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33 posts from March 2007

March 31, 2007

Play 'Which Will Happen First'

    Which will happen first...

    One semifinal (Short-Term Frustration Division): "Dwyane Wade will rejoin the Heat" vs. "The Dolphins will sign David Carr or Trent Green."

    The other semifinal (Long-Term Frustration Division): "The Panthers will make the playoffs" vs. "The Marlins will play in a new stadium."

Good, bad & ugly of Sony tennis

     GOOD: The Sony Ericsson Open gets a heavyweight women's final today with Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin. (And no, wise guy, I am not referring to the fact the WTA media guide laughably lists Serena's weight as 135 pounds, which was accurate about 30 pounds ago). Serena attempting to regain her old dominance is tonic for the sport.

     BAD: As for Sunday's men's final? It's tough on a tournament when you lose Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick. I'm sure Guillermo Canas and Novak Djokovic are nice guys who'll put on a nice match, but if they were playing in my back yard I believe I might draw the blinds and call the cops.

     UGLY: Also, a quick message to the geniuses who decided this tournament needed all those bells 'n whistles such as purple courts and ancillary "entertainment." You were wrong. You put a clown nose on the Mona Lisa. This is a great tournament with a strong field in an idyllic setting. Let that be enough.

March 28, 2007

On Wayne's threat, Alejandro de Who?, The Next Pat, LeBron's new shack and more

     Ponderables for a sporty South Florida spring day...

Aaahuiz      (*) The NFL Draft is a month away and Uncle Wayne Huizenga, Dolphins owner (pictured here, playing hardball), is huffing that the team's draft picks had better report on time or else. Or else they won't be playing. I like the bravado, although I figure most agents are thinking it's a bluff. Thoughts?

Aaadeaza      (*) Love the big pronouncement that the Marlins' starting center field job has been won by 22-year-old Alejandro de Aza, who a month ago seemed a longshot to even make the roster. His grip on the job is sort of like Sanjaya's grip on the American Idol crown.

     (*) Georgetown coach John Thompson III, rumored sought by the Charlotte Bobcats, is the latest college hotshot being wooed by the NBA. Gator Billy Donovan's name has been linked here as Pat Riley's possible heir, as most know. Who'd you'd pr efer, Heat fan? John the Roman Numeral, Billy or neither?

     (*) Rehabbing Dwyane Wade seems close to rejoining the Heat. Send out a prayer to St. Mayhisshoulderstaylocated.

     (*) Bengal Levi Jones is calling new Dolphin Joey Porter a "coward" for supposedly having some buds with him when he decked Jones in that Vegas casino recently. However it should be noted that Jones is several thousand miles away when saying that.

     (*) The NFL has made instant replay permanent. Good. I was getting tired of the annual further review of further review.

     (*) You are NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, meeting with troubled Titan Pacman Jones, whose rap sheet makes the Cincinnati Bengals look like Good Samaritans. What do you tell him?

Aaacrocs      (*) Another in a series of You Could Live To Be A Hundred And Never Anticipate Seeing This Headine.

     Aaajames(*) Finally, LeBron James is having a 35,000-square-foot house built in suburban Cleveland that will include a six-car garage, a recording studio, a bowling alley, a casino (!), a 63-foot-wide movie theater, a sports bar, a two-story closet and a barber shop. What, no golf course?

What is it about Serena?

     Tennis star Serena Williams -- fresh off a 6-1, 6-1 rout of Maria Aaaserena Sharapova and earlier the vicim of racially tinged heckling by a "fan" -- is the talk of the women's side of the Sony Ericsson Open going on down at Key Biscayne.

     What is it about Serena that inspires the polarizing, love/hate reaction? It has to be more than the fact she is an African-American excelling in a "white sport." So is Tiger Woods, who is beloved in a way Serena is not.

     You'd find some of my thoughts on this in today's column. Your comments are invited.

March 27, 2007

On Dolphin "reshuffling," Noah, Kobe, Theismann and more

     Well I'm back in town after spending a rather glorious little getaway weekend with the wife in New York City. Went to Elton John's Aaaelton 60th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden (it was so good even Isaiah Thomas couldn't screw it up); saw Wicked at The Gershwin; did the Museum of Modern Art; supped at Tribeca Grill and Tao. I haven't stopped to consider how much money the weekend cost because I hate to see a grown man cry.

     Dolphins GM Randy Mueller says the team isn't rebuilding, but is "reshuffling." What would you call it?

     Florida's Joakim Noah is great at turning vague, perceived slights Aaanoah into motivational fuel. Says people are "hating on" the Gators. Huh? Says the champs aren't adequately respected. Huh? Now he warns UCLA, "Be careful what you wish for." Huh? Whatever works, I guess, although there is little more ridiculous in sports than a highly ranked, highly regarded defending champion playing the no-respect card.

    Heat overtook first place in the division last night, despite missing first Shaq and then Riley and now Wade for long stretches. There's a word for this. It is "stunning."

Aaakobe     Not sure who the NBA MVP is, but I doubt it's Kobe Bryant, despite his run of 50s and overall scoring. Should the MVP come from a sixth-seed? 

     The Marlins have solved their closer question (supposedly) by acquiring from Arizona one Jorge Julio. He'll use his signing bonus to buy himself a last name.

Aaajoe      Joe Theismann says he is "stunned, confused and disappointed" by being dropped from ESPN's Monday Night Football booth. Dear Joe: You are a gasbag. You talked way too much. Listeners found you annoying.

     By the way, punk Sergio Garcia should have been bounced from the tournament for spitting in that cup.

     I'm heading down to Key Biscayne in a bit to catch the Serena Williams-Maria Sharapova match and maybe get in a little heckling.

     Finally, no matter how long you live, there are some headlines you just never expect to read. Like this one.

March 26, 2007

Glamour Final Four: Florida-UCLA, Ohio State-Georgetown

     Yeah, yeah, it lacks a classic, out-of-nowhere underdog. So what. This is a terrific-looking Final Four.

     YoAaauclau've got mighAaaflaty, defending champion Florida attempting to become college basketball's first repeat champ since the early '90s vs. historically mighty, Kansas-slaying UCLA and the ghosts of Wooden.

      Aaaoh You've got Aaagatowntop-seeded Ohio State with kid-wonder Greg Oden vs. UNC-ousting Georgetown and its Thompson/Ewing lineage.

     Great stories, great matchups. Early thoughts welcome.

March 23, 2007

Texans cut Carr, clearing path to Miami

Aaacarr     [Updated late Friday afternoon 3-23: The Texans have released David Carr, freeing his path to sign elsewhere. This story is gaining steam].

     David Carr? Go for it, Dolphins. He was worth a third-round pick in a trade and would have been a steal for less. But now that Houston has released him, he is the NFL bargain of the offseason.

     Carr is a former first-rounder in his physical prime, turning 28 in July. He's accurate (68.3% completions last year) and has good mobility. Just because he wore out his welcome with the Texans, dragged down by awful offensive lines, does not mean he won't blossom for somebody else.

     I know this: Carr is a better choice than Trent Green, who'll be 37 in July and is coming off a concussion-ruined season.

     Acquiring Carr would provide legitimate competition for fellow No. 8 Daunte Culpepper, and wouldn't preclude Miami from still drafting a quarterback prospect with a lower pick -- although it likely would discourage Miami from trading up for a shot at, say, Brady Quinn.

     Thoughts welcome on the Dolphins' ever-evolving QB situation now that Carr has driven into the picture.

On lucky Saban, Drivin' Dirty, the new Pope, Kobe, replacing Riley and more

    A few ponderables for a springtime Friday...

     (*) Are you following that terrible story about the Pakistani cricket coach being murdered after favored Pakistan lost a big match? All I can say is, Nick Saban is lucky to be alive.   

Aaahardaway      (*) Tim Hardaway's car wash has closed. Business suffered. The new advertising campaign -- "I Only Hate Gay People Who Drive Dirty Cars" -- just never caught on.



     (*) Don't you?    


     (*) Can't believe my youngest has his learner's permit. But I'm taking no chances. I just signed him up for lessons at LaRussa Driving School.

Aaaking  Aaapope            (*) Terrible mixup at the Vatican. Benedict XVI is pimping a boxing card, and Don King is the new pope. How he gets that mitre over his hair I'll never know.

     (*) Marshall Faulk is retiring. Hall of Famer? A tenuous likely -- far from a slam dunk.

     (*) Don't like that the Dolphins signed Az-Zahir Hakim. Oh, he might help the team. It's just that the name always messes me up.

    Aaakobe (*) Here's how hot Kobe Bryant is. He just dropped another 53 points, and the Lakers weren't even playing.

    (*) For what it's worth, ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan speculates on Pat Riley's eventual Heat replacement and mentions assistant Eric Spoelstra, Florida's Billy Donovan and Marquette's Tom Crean.

     (*) Bill Cowher will star in a race car reality-TV show. Always love it when coaches retire to spend more time with their families and then do stuff to get away from their families. 

     (*) I just looked up "tank" in the dictionary and saw a picture of the Celtics intentionally losing to gain lottery balls.

     (*) Now that tennis has begun on Key Biscayne, I'm wondering which is more garish: Those awful new purple courts? Or whatever Serena Williams is wearing?

Aaahoudini      (*) Evidently Houdini may have been murdered. My question: Houdidit?

March Madness Sweet 16: Gators beat Butler, distraction

Aaabilly Aaarumors Aaakentucky      It was Day 2 (rather Night 2) of the Sweet 16, with the other eight teams in action including No. 1s Florida and North Carolina. The Gators faced not only Butler but the minor nuisance of rumors and speculation that coach Billy Donovan is being (or certainly will be) wooed to replace departed Tubby Smith at Kentucky.

     For me UNLV had the best shot among tonight's four lower seeds. This tournament could use a dad-gum upset. Then again, the prospect of an historic first -- all four No. 1 seeds reaching the Final Four -- is pretty enticing, too.

     Comments welcome here on the Donovan speculation and its effect, and on the days four matchups and outcomes.

     HAIKU REMINDER: Our March Madness Haiku Fest is still accepting entries. Scroll down a bit to the appropriate blog entry and give us your haiku today. You could win a fabulous prize! Not in this contest, but I mean at some point in your life.

March Madness Sweet 16: Ohio State, Kansas escape

Aaa16       Aaadick[Updated Friday 3-23].

The men's NCAA Tournament resumed with a quadruple bang Thursday night with half of the Sweet 16 in action and No. 1s Ohio State and Kansas escaping by a combined four points.

     In that close-don't-count, however, this continues to be a tournament ruled by high seeds, full of almosts but bereft of genuine, shocker-level upsets.

     This could be the first time in history all four No. 1 seeds advance to the Final Four. Good chance or no chance? Would that be the ultimate in your mind or is March Madness -- with UNLV the lowest remaining seed at No. 7 -- lacking for the absence of a classic Cinderella?

     Comments welcome on Thursday's four Sweet 16 games, and how the results treated the health of your bracket.

     HAIKU REMINDER: Our March Madness Haiku Fest is still accepting entries. Scroll down a bit to the appropriate blog entry and give us your haiku today. You could win a fabulous prize! Not in this contest, but I mean at some point in your life.