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28 posts from February 2007

February 28, 2007

Marlins' new stadium closer to reality?

     We've been teased so many times on this issue, our optimism is calloused. Yet Miami-Dade County announcing a financing plan seems like a significant development in the Marlins' efforts toward a retractable-dome stadium in downtown Miami. Find the story here.

     Seem to you this thing is finally going to get done? Or are you still wait-and-see?

On Dolphins, Heat, Bertuzzi, Cornbread's 'Hardaway moment' and more

     A little smorgasbord for a Wednesday...

     1. NFL free agency commences Friday and it looks like QB Joey Harrington, DE Kevin Carter and guards Seth McKinney and Bennie AndAaalevierson will be among salary cuts. Add OT Damion McIntosh testing the FA waters and it seems clear offensive-line has become a priority with some urgency. If it isn't substantially solved through free agency, Penn State OT Levi Brown would be looking more and more likely as a draft pick at No. 9.

     2. Meanwhile, the Dolphins say they want to re-sign Sammy Morris but remain noncommittal on wanting Ricky Williams back. Something a bit screwy about the preceding sentence.

Aaabush      3. President George W. Bush meeting with Pat Riley at The White House. You think they got into a commisserating discussion about which was the more beleaguered leader? Too bad the chairman of JetBlue couldn't join them.

     4. I'm not discounting Scottie Pippen-to-the-Heat. He wants a comeback, he lives here, and he might fit.

Aaabilly      5. College basketball: Wondering how Gators fans regard those repeat-championship hopes now that UF has lost three of its past four games. And wondering if it has occured to anyone that UM football gets criticized for discipline/off-field issues but Frank Haith has had a nightmare season with that -- with Denis Clemente's suspension the latest woe.

     6. Thanks for the memories, Todd Bertuzzi. You were the big deal in the trade that cost the Panthers Roberto Luongo. You played a handful of games then went out for the season with a bum back. A Bertuzzi "Florida era" retrospective is airing tonight from 8 to 8:01.

     7. Then-Marlins manager Joe Girardi offered tips to Phillies pitcher Jon Lieber last season because they were former teammates with the Cubs? Say it ain't so, Joe. That's plain wrong.

Aaacedric      8. It is being reported that Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell, the 1980s Celtic now a radio broadcaster for the team, said this the other day in disagreement with a call by referee Violet Palmer: "Get back in the kitchen!" And then: "Get back in the kitchen and make me some bacon and eggs!" It isn't quite an "I hate gay people" rant a la Timmy H. More like '70s era Archie Bunker: Sexism so antiquated it's almost funny. I said almost

February 27, 2007

Forget this season, Dwyane

     Dwyane Wade wanted a second opinion? He gets one (unsolicited) from from me in today's paper. Most fans are hoping Wade hurries back, but I'm thinking the opposite. Seems as if his having surgery now, and forgetting about the rest of this God-forsaken season, would be best for the player's (and team's) future.

     You'd find my column by clicking here. Many of you have already weighed in below on what Wade should decide, but I wanted to give you an outlet to opine on what I've written if you'd care to.

2007-08 Super Bowl odds

     Courtesy Jimmy Shapiro and the folks at Bodog, early Super Bowl odds for this coming season aren't showing much love to the Dolphins, who are tied for 18th at 35-1. At least we'll be spared a repeat of the fraudulent SB hype that began last season.

     Odds against winning the next Super Bowl

     6-1: San Diego.

     7-1: Indianapolis.

     8-1: Chicago.

     10-1: New England.

     12-1: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia.

     15-1: Carolina, Denver, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Seattle.

     18-1: N.Y. Giants.

     20-1: Dallas.

     25-1: Jacksonville, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets.

     35-1: Atlanta, MIAMI, Tennessee.

     45-1: Washington.

     50-1: Arizona, Buffalo, St. Louis.

     60-1: Green Bay, Oakland.

     70-1: Minnesota.

     80-1: San Francisco, Tampa Bay.

     90-1: Detroit, Houston.

     100-1: Cleveland.

Roberts escapes Panthers mess

     Can't blame veteran wing Gary Roberts for waiving his no-trade clause so the Panthers could deal him to Pittsburgh today. Penguins are playoff-bound; Florida (or does this go without saying?) is not.

     I like the Cats trading a fading, injury-marred 40-year-old for a young guy and draft pick. Meantime the clock has begun to tick on Jacques Martin, the latest Panthers coach who seems unable to fix this mess. Give him next season (his third here) then try someone else if the postseason drought hasn't ended.

     Florida last made the playoffs in the 1999-2000 season and last won a playoff game on April 17, 1997, almost a full decade ago. That's an embarrassment.

February 26, 2007

I feel a draft in here

     [Apologies, first, for not blogging the past couple of days. Waiting for Dwyane Wade's decision has incapicitated me. I have become a nun at the Vatican staring raptly for papal smoke signals.]

     The best thing about the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis is that it is almost over. The bad news? It commences two months of ceaseless buildup to the NFL Draft, festooned by 4,386,411 mock drafts. And that's just by Mel Kiper Jr.

     Let's do our part to contribute to the madness by inviting thoughts on two matters:

     1. Dolphins. Have results from the Combine done anything to change your mind on who Miami might/should select at No. 9? Have you joined or fled the Brady Quinn bandwagon (I hear there's plenty of room) or do you align with a less-splashy pick like Levi Brown?

     2. UM. Don't know the 'Canes have a no-doubt first round pick this year. I'd make tight end Greg Olsen the closest thing, partly because his is a niche position. You hear safety Brandon Meriweather mentioned 1R, and less so LB Jon Beason, but neither is certain. Who's the 2007-draftable UM'er most likely to be a pro star?

     Gotta run. I've hired a telepathist to help read D-Wade's mind, and he's knocking at my door. The telepathist, not Wade.

February 23, 2007

What should Dwyane decide?

Aaadw_2     [Updated Friday, 2-23. Originally posted under the headline, 'Wade injury = Heat nightmare.' He is presently deciding whether to A) have season-ending surgery now, or B) rest-and-rehab for six weeks, return in time for the playoffs and put off surgery 'til after the season. What would you do? What should Dwyane do?].

     Dwyane Wade in a wheelchair.

     Could a Heat fan imagine a more unsettling picture? Could there be a development more fitting of this nightmare season than Miami's leading scorer and best player going out with a significant injury?

     Wade's dislocated left shoulder, sustained last night in Houston, is likely to sideline him six weeks or more. This follows Shaq missing most of the season's first half, coach Pat Riley just now coming back after surgery and rehab, and a season-long struggle by a reigning NBA champion to merely get up over .500.

     A word like "disaster" rarely applies to a sports season and does not here. But seeing that photo of Wade in a wheelchair, the word seemed pretty close to accurate.

     I cannot imagine this fractured team reaching the NBA Finals, and the thought of a HeatPeat seems beyond even remote consideration.

     Riley's late attempts to add a point guard before the trade deadline failed. The question now: What will Wade decide?

February 22, 2007

Spring has sprung: Marlins begin

     [Updated Thursday, 2-22: Column by me in today's paper on Miguel Cabrera. You'd find it by clicking here].

     What is on a Marlins fan's mind as spring training rolls out? Is it excitement and optimism? It is chagrin over another low payroll?

     Inviting thoughts on these and myriad other Marlin matters, such as but not limited to: A new-stadium deal supposedly being finalized by this fall. Fredi Gonzalez as manager. Projected numbers for Miguel Cabrera (35 and 120?). What pitcher will lead in victories. Answers to questions at the center-field and closer spots.

     And, overall, will this be a playoff-contending team?

February 21, 2007

On Barry Bonds

     I wrote a column on Barry Bonds today (find it here) in which I said his pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record is less a "chase" than a criminal assault.

     How do you feel about Bonds' all-but-certain rise to No. 1 in career homers given the steroids/amphetamines cloud?

February 20, 2007

On Marlins, Heat, Trump's hair and more

     A little smorgasbord for your Tuesday...

Aaafla      1. The Marlins' first full-squad spring workout is Wednesday up in Jupiter. The team overachieved last season, winning only five fewer regular-season games than eventual-champion St. Louis. What will be the keys to the Marlins contending again? And what is your degree of optimism as spring is sprung?

Aaapat_1      2. The Heat, at .500, launch the second half of the NBA season Wednesday in Houston. The Herald today devoted a huge photo, a story and a column to Pat Riley running a practice. If Pat's return is as big to the team as it was in the paper ... HeatPeat, baby!

Aaahair      3. Donald Trump and wrestling's Vince McMahon are betting their hair -- the winner will shave the loser's head -- based on the result of an upcoming WWE Wrestlemania match in Detroit. The match is April 1, in case you're taking this seriously. May we presume the referee will be Britney Spears?

     4. A-Rod says his relationship with Derek Jeter has deteriorated. Jeter counters that there is no rift. You know the marriage is in trouble when you can't even agree on how well you don't get along.

     5. Wisconsin the new No. 1 (for the first time) in men's college hoops. I'm no Brackethead, never as enamored of March Madness as most seem to be, but I must admit the MM upcoming looks like it should be a thrill ride. Still liking a Gators repeat. 

     6. The latest of 11,413 mock drafts I have seen (this one today on ESPN.com and findable here) has QB Brady Quinn going one spot ahead of Miami at No. 8, and the Dolphins then selecting Michigan DT Alan Branch.

     7. After a nightmarish week that threatens to cripple the company, has there ever been a more aptly named airline than JetBlue?