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24 posts from May 2007

May 31, 2007

Somebody stop Billy Donovan!

Aaabilly      [Updated late Thursday: He's gone. Good luck, Billy].

     The Orlando Sentinel is reporting (find their story here) that Billy Donovan -- pictured at left kneeling and praying for divine guidance -- is "expected" to bolt the Florida Gators for the NBA's Orlando Magic. We all know there's a bunch of wiggle room in that word.

     Assuming he leaves, please spare me the outrage. He'd have the right. He has delivered UF two national titles. Leaving wouldn't make him a "traitor," a "backstabber," "disloyal" or anything like that.

     But it would make him not very smart, I'd say. He's the king of  Gainesville (or at least the crown prince). In the NBA he'd challenge a long history of failed attempts by college hotshots to make the jump. He'd be switching, in effect, from a coach's league to a player's league. He'd instantly be closer to a firing line than a championship parade.

Aaaclash      Adapting the immortal words of The Clash: "Should he stay or should he go now? If he stays it could be trouble. If he goes it could be double."

Did A-Rod cheat? Twice!?

     And you wonder why the New York tabloids love Miami's own Alex Rodriguez even if Yankees fans don't always seem to?

Aaastrayrod2      The instant-classic headline 'STRAY-ROD' blared from the New York Post yesterday, for this story claiming A-Rod has been squiring a certain not-his-wife blond to various high-end strip clubs, restaurants and hotels. An inside Post headline called him 'Yankee Doodle Randy.' Gotta love those tabs!

Aaaarod      But A-Rod wasn't done. Today he's the subject of a 'YANKEE PANKY' headline from last night's game vs. Toronto, when Alex yelled something that made Blue Jays 3B Howie Clark not catch the ball. A-Rod admitted he shouted, "Hah!" Clark thought he heard, "Mine!" Big controversy, with Jays calling it "bush league." That story here.

     A question for each issue:

     1. Is A-Rod's off-field life (including his suggested infidelity) fair game for the media?

     2. Shouting to distract an opponent is neither against any rule nor very sportsmanslike. Do you give A-Rod credit for resourcefulness or agree it's bush league?

     Postscript: Don't feel too bad for Alex. In Sports Illustrated's latest Fortunate 50 list of biggest-earning American athletes -- Tiger's first, Shaq's fourth, complete list here -- Mr. A-Rod pulls in No. 9 at $28 million. That buys a lot of anything, including but not limited to blonds and divorce lawyers.

Contest: What's your pet peeve?

Aaapetpeeves     [Updated Thursday, 5-31: Keep those peeves comin'. Entrants accepted through midnight Friday. Winner announced Monday morning].

     We all have particular little annoyances we call "pet peeves." I have a slew; 10 of them are listed below.

     Now it's your turn. Mention your pet peeve -- no more than one per comment please! -- and we'll pick the one we like best and lavish you with some sort of prize. (If winning peeve is mentioned more than once, first one posted wins).

     Possible prizes will include a special-access pass to the Dolphins' June 8-10 minicamp; a Marlins media guide; a 2007 NBA Finals replica trophy; or your chance to write a column on any topic and have it appear (with your photo) in this blog.

     Check out my pet peeves, then give me one that's more original or even more peeving than these...

     Parents who seat their baby/toddler on counter when ordering at restaurant -- Saw it most recently at a Dunkin' Donuts. Dear Parent: We don't want your precious one's ass where the food goes.

     Advertising where it is jarringly out of place -- Ever eaten at an Original Pancake House? The menu (the menu!) is filled with ads. "Am I ready to order? Yes. I'll take another restaurant."

     Unsolicited callers trying to sell something -- Sure, I'd love to refinance my home through some stranger who just interupted my dinner! Especially love them calling their intrusion "a courtesy call."

     Drivers who tie up traffic by waiting for parking spot to open -- There are plenty of open spots right over there, but Gomer here is going to wait two minutes with his blinker on for this spot.

     Teams giving fans in stands less info than they'd get watching on TV -- Example: Player is injured and leaves game. Viewers at home get the full story asap. Fans in attendance hear nothing.

     Readers/e-mailers who say I have written something incendiary to "sell papers" -- Bulletin: Major events (Hurricane Andrew, Heat win title) cause spike in sales. Today's column by me? Probably not. 

     Drivers unprepared for toll booth -- They pull up and only then begin fumbling for their money. Act like you've done this before, Jed. Have the bills or change ready.

     Adult baseball fans way too enamored of foul ball -- I don't mean you shouldn't be excited to get one. But don't elbow past a child or reach over some kid's waiting glove to do it.

     Loud talkers -- Most noticable when they are on a cell phone or in a restaurant. Dear Oblivious Megaphone: Tone down the decibels. What you are booming could not be of less interest.

     Restaurants that won't accomodate small request -- Example: I love chicken wings, but the "flat" kind, not the drumsticks. Is giving me 10 all-flats really that impossibly taxing to the diva fry cook?

     OK. Now what's your pet peeve?

Kobe to Heat ... NOT!

Aaakobe     [Updated Thursday, 5-31. You'd find right here today's column by me on the Kobe saga. He went from demanding a trade to being mollified pretty quickly. Not sure if we should believe the mollified part]. 

     Kobe Bryant on Wednesday made official his strong desire that the Lakers trade him, then softened his rhetoric by day's end. We are left not sure what to believe.

     Speculating on a possible trade, Miami is probably one of the potential destinations that may be ruled out entirely, because Shaquille O'Neal is here and because Dwyane Wade is Da Man, to name two huge reasons.

     A few questions:

     1. Would you blame Kobe for wanting out?

     2. What team would most likely to get him?

     3. Just for fun, because it would never happen unless Pat Riley suddenly lost his mind: Would you trade Wade to get him?

May 30, 2007

Lost & Found, Episode 2

     Our new Lost & Found series features occasional columns catching you up with former prominent South Florida sports personalities who have fallen from the headlines.

Aaamira      Today in Episode 2 we bring you UM's first star quarterback, George Mira. The Heat's early-'90s unlikely fan favorite, Alan Ogg. And the original Dolphin starting quarterback, Dick Wood.

     (By the way, because a few e-mailers have asked: The recipient of Mira's "MIRAcle" pass was Nick Spinelli. And the Gator defender who forced Mira's hand was fellow Key Wester Sam Holland, now a Miami attorney).   

     Episode 1 featured Sammie Smith, Earl Weaver and Sam Jankovich.

     Have in mind a suggested subject for a future Lost & Found episode? Drop a name below or to gcote@miamiherald.com.

May 29, 2007

Grilling ribs, rating Chambers, dissing Danica and more

     A Tuesday torrent to bust the spell of a long holiday weekend...

     Sorry we haven't fed the blog for a few days. Too busy Aaaapron solemnly marking Memorial Day Weekend and all it stands for by partying with friends and consuming a vat of Miller Lite. Wife and I argued at length Monday over whether it's advisable to par-boil ribs before grilling. I think we've been married way too long. Ribs turned out OK, not great. The good news? At least I wasn't wearing a nerdy chef's apron like this guy.

     Feature in the paper today (find it here) about Dolphin receiver Chris Chambers. Rate Chambers. Great? Good? OK? Disappointment?

     Danica Patrick, eighth in the Indianapolis 500. Still hasn't won a race. Tick-tock, Dani. You and Michelle Wie are in a pitched battle for the Anna Kournikova Cup, awarded to the female athlete who has seven tons of hype, but no wins.

Aaaashley      That reminds me. Dario Franchitti wins the Indy 500 and goes home with Ashley Judd. I could work up a pretty strong dislike for that guy.

     Anaheim takes the opener of the Stanley Cup Finals, raising the question: Is there a more embarrassing nickname in professional sports than Ducks?

     Congrats to UM baseball for making another NCAA regional. The last time the Canes didn't make a regional, it was only because Doubleday hadn't thought up the game yet.

Aaacharlesnelsonreilly      R.I.P., Charles Nelson Reilly. You acted flamboyantly gay before it became trendy. Also you wore glasses the size of television screens.

     Miss Japan was crowned Miss Universe, although the title is not being recognized by Greg Cote, who issued a statement saying, "I dunno. To me, she really doesn't look Japanese." 

     Le Batard wrote Sunday the Marlins don't need the song and dance at home games: the Mermaids, fireworks, post-game concerts etc. Wrong. Dolphins and Heat don't need the bells and whistles. But a baseball team averaging around 15K? I say throw in a raffle and the rumor of a public stoning of Castro if it'll fill seats.

     My paper also had a recent column advising Marlins fans to start worrying because the annual rumors about trading Dontrelle Willis are bound to start. Why People Hate the Media, part 643.

Aaajimmy      Finally: "Your blog's OK, but I'll never visit again unless you run a photo of Jimmy Johnson wearing a funny hat after -- apparently -- several Heinekens."

May 25, 2007

Great Marlins fans, beer pong, dogs on Viagra and more

     Some Friday meanderings to kick-start Memorial Day Weekend...

     Marlins fans catch a lot of criticism for non-support. You know Aaadwillis what, though? Those few thousand who stayed 'til the end past midnight last night, through the rain, and after a 1 1/2-hour rain delay -- they have to be some of the best fans in baseball. I mean that. You'd find right here today's column by me off that wild game. Congrats to all who stayed. Glad you were rewarded.

     Pat Riley asking for decisions from Alonzo Mourning and Gary Payton prior to the NBA draft, and it's simple. Zo has some fuel and fire left, and Heat fans should hope he returns. Payton? In the immortal words of Borat: "Not so much."

Aaabeerpong      Oh, and Riles is right in ripping the NBA's lottery system. Let's make it official that ping-pong balls should not be used for anything except ping-pong. With the possible exception of beer pong.

     Redskin running back Clinton Portis, the ex-UMer, backed Michael Vick, seeming to find no problem with dog-fighting. Then quickly said he wasn't condoning it. C'mon Clint. If we knew you could backpedal that fast, you'd have been a cornerback.

    AaadanicaNot sure I'll be watching Sunday's Indianapolis 500. However, I will be interested in seeing Danica Patrick climbing in and out of her car.

     Just so we're clear on this: Newly retired Keyshawn Johnson? No shot at Canton. Has stats sufficient to be discussed, but zero chance of getting in. Still, I wonder if the Gimme the Damn Ball! author's next book will be titled, Gimme the Damn Hall!

     Welterweight Zab Judah had his father sit in for him on a conference call and pretend to be him. That's OK by me. With so many athletes either dull or surly, why not give their Dads a try?

     Check out this video if you don't mind the preceding 15-second commercial. Not every day you hear about a pit bull on Viagra.

Aaamichael      Finally, Michael Jackson is being paid $10 million to appear -- not sing, just mingle -- at a birthday party for 25-year-old Prince Azim of Brunei. Must go now. Am overcome by a wave of infinite sadness and have begun to weep.

May 24, 2007

Trent Green held hostage and more...

     Cornucopia of miscellania for a Wednesday in South Florida, updated Thursday...

Aaagreen       Aaakoppel"Trent Green Held Hostage, Day 100. I'm Ted Koppel, and this is Nightline." (I know Koppel doesn't host that show anymore. But he did last time I watched it). You'd find right here today's column by me on the endlessly pending-imminent-but delayed Green trade.

     The Portland Trail Blazers bucked NBA lottery odds to win the No. 1 pick in the June 28 draft. Uh oh. Anybody Aaabowie remember Sam Bowie? Last time the T-B's had a pick nearly this high (No. 2 in 1984) and a decision this big, they chose Bowie over some guy named Michael Jordan. We hereby challenge Portland to top that this year by not picking Greg Oden or Kevin Durant.

     Pssst. The Marlins have won four straight. Keep it to yourself.

     Question: Is anybody outside the partcipating cities interested in an Ottawa-Anaheim Stanley Cup Finals? The national TV ratings will be socceresque.

     Thanks, by the way, to the more than 1,200 bloggers who have cast around 10,000 votes in our latest poll, found just below. Good stuff. Going to try to start offering at least one poll a week here.

Aaanick      Love all the Nick Saban-as-Satan coverage of him back in So Fla recruiting for Alabama. Please! You think some local player all starry- eyed over the chance to play for the storied Crimson Tide gives half a rat's a-- that Saban left the Dolphins on bad terms?

     Former Olympic speed skating champ Apolo Ohno won Dancing With the Stars last night. Tonight the daughter of ex-NFL cornerback Phillippi Sparks, Jordin, will win American Idol. New rule: From now on, no athletes or their kin may compete on reality shows. Participants will be limited to regular people with dork bloodlines.

     Jason Giambi supposedly failed an amphetamines test. OK. You know what, though? Guys who come clean and admit what they've done should catch a break over those who deny and deny and then are proved liars as well as users.

Aaacaveman      ABC is turning the Caveman from that Geico commercial into a sitcom. Initial thought: Evidently the network execs haven't seen those amusing Saturday Night Live skits that bombed as full-length films.

     Finally, "Once I'm asleep, nothing wakes me. Seriously."

May 23, 2007

Can FIU catch UM?

Aaafiu_2 Aaaum_2  Aggressive new Florida International University athletic director Pete Garcia says he believes FIU can eventually be as big in football and in sports overall as any college in the state including the University of Miami. He means on-field product, fan support, media coverage, national stature -- everything.

     You'd find today's related column by me here.

     Is Garcia dreaming? Or is he right? (And will he stay long enough to find out or, as I suspect, jump back to The U in a year as Paul Dee's replacement?)

     Inviting thoughts from Golden Panthers fans, 'Canes fans and impartial observers alike. Try to keep it civil, though. Try to avoid verbal brawling. Remember: This is a blog, not a football game.

May 21, 2007

POLL: UM, Dolphins, Bonds, Japanese chefs and more

     We haven't thrown a poll your way in a while, so here's one on a variety of topics:

Which option do you favor for University of Miami home football games?
Stay at Orange Bowl
Move to Dolphin Stadium

Which of these two stations do you prefer for local sports-radio?
790 The Ticket

What is Greg Cote's most annoying schtick?
The Upset Bird
The Singing Sportswriter
The Sunday 'Random Evidence' notes column
No, I enjoy all that crap

Upon reflection, how do you feel about the Dolphins' No.1 draft pick?
Glad they selected Ted Ginn Jr.
Still wish they'd chosen Brady Quinn

Who do you expect to be the Dolphins starting QB on opening day?
John Beck
Daunte Culpepper
Trent Green
Cleo Lemon

Who do hope will be the Dolphins' starting QB on opening day?
John Beck
Daunte Culpepper
Trent Green
Cleo Lemon

Where would you prefer the Marlins' new stadium be?
Downtown Miami
In Broward
Adjacent to Dolphin Stadium

How confident are you the Marlins will make the playoffs?

Barry Bonds' imminent all-time home run record will be?
I'm not sure

Degree of concern that Dwyane Wade, post-surgeries, won't be the same 'Flash' as before?
Quite concerned
Mildly concerned
Not concerned at all

Do diners at Benihana have a right to expect their chef/performer to be Japanese?