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22 posts from July 2007

July 31, 2007

On Ronnie, Smush, Walsh vs. Shula, D-Train and more

     A melange of miscellania (pardon the redundancy; I'm a slave to alliteration) for a Tuesday in paradise...

Aaabrown      RONNIE BROWN: This is the offensive system and the year that will tell us whether the Dolphins' third-year runner has the talent to become Lil' LaDainian (Tomlinson East?) or not. How good can Ronnie be? Click here for today's column by me. Then tell us what you think.

Aaasmush      SMUSH POWER!: They called William Henry Parker's father "Smush" and the nickname was handed down. The Heat's new point guard is low-budget and off the marquee in terms of free agent signings, but I give him a shot to beat Jason Williams for the start. You?

     STUFF IT, JOSE: Jose Canseco, pimping an upcoming new book, tells a Boston radio station he has "other stuff" he'll reveal about Alex Rodriguez. Doesn't say he means steroids. Doesn't say he doesn't. At some point Canseco turned from baseball to slimeball. Sad.

     DAUNTE HEADING WEST?: Oakland media reporting Daunte Culpepper is talking with the Raiders. He'd be a better fit in Jacksonville, which offered him a three-year deal he rejected.

     AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE BY BARRY BONDS: Geez get it over with already, will ya?

Aaabill Aaadon      WALSH VS. SHULA: The late Bill Walsh is being revered and eulogized as a legendary NFL innovator in a manner exceeding the credit given all-time wins leader Don Shula. Anybody disagree? It may be crazy to ask, but does Shula get the credit he deserves?

     TRADING WILLIS?: Save an offer too good to refuse by tomorrow's deadline, the Marlins ought not trade Dontrelle Willis. Innings-eating 25-year-old lefties are too valuable. D-Train is 65-49 with a mid-three career ERA. I don't think he's done, or close to it.

Aaagwynn      COOPERSTOWN: You catch the Hall induction ceremony? Cal Ripken Jr. is in because he played a record 2,632 games in a row. Coincidentally, by the look of it, Tony Gwynn currently has eaten 2,632 meals in a row.

     DAVID BECKHAM: The most exciting injured guy not playing in the history of sports.

     CURTIS MARTIN: Jet retires fourth all-time in rushing yards. That alone should get him to Canton, but I don't call him a Hall lock or a first-ballot guy. Led the league in rushing but once. Never who you thought of first (or second, or third...) when the topic was elite backs.

     CELTICS STRATEGY: Adding Kevin Garnett to a lineup with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce gives Boston star-power. Not sure it makes the Cloverleafs instant contenders, but it does shift the NBA power balance from West to East a smidgen more.

     X GAMES: The annoying contrivance of ESPN's starts Wednesday. Bunch of slackers on skateboards. Anybody admit to being interested?

Aaapanda      Finally, Headlines You Thought You'd Never See, one in a series.

Save the Orange Bowl rally!

Aaaob       This Saturday, Aug. 4, at 11 a.m., friends of the Orange Bowl plan to gather outside the west end zone of the grand old stadium to rally in support of saving the OB as the home of University of Miami football.

     Will you help? Will you spend a bit of your time on this grass-roots effort to maintain 70 years of UM and South Florida history?

     Maybe these efforts will attract only a passionate few dozen. Maybe hundreds will show up. Or maybe -- if enough people care -- thousands wilAaaob2l appear. I have no idea. That's up to you.

    Likewise we can't know if this effort will do any good, only that it couldn't hurt. It will let Donna Shalala know where Hurricane hearts are in a manner that individual letters and e-mails cannot.

     A UM/OB fan named Mike Mangini has agreed to volunteer as an organizational hub for this rally. You may reach Mike at myami_002004@yahoo.com to pledge involvement or ask questions.

     Another UM/OB fan, John McGrady, started an online petition that you'd find here. It had more than 3,000 signatures when last I checked.

     Yet another 'Canes fan, Rory Ellis, is behind the "Orange Revolution," a plan for fans to dress in that color for all home games. You'd find his website here.

     By the way, in case you don't know (or couldn't guess) how I stand on the OB issue, click here to read my June column.

July 27, 2007

POLL: On Dolphins as camp opens

     Taking the pulse of Dolfan Nation as the 2007 season ceremonially unfurls with Saturday's first full-squad workday of training camp...

What best reflects your attitude for the coming season:
Very optimistic
Cautiously optimistic
Been disappointed too often; show me

What best reflects your general early opinion of Cam Cameron:
Very favorable
Mostly favorable
Mostly unfavorable
Jury still out

What is your degree of confidence in QB Trent Green:
Very confident
Somewhat confident
Not very confident

How are you liking Ted Ginn Jr. as the No. 1 pick:
I'm excited and think he was the right choice
Not sure yet
Still wish they'd picked Brady Quinn

Rate the club's handling of the Daunte Culpepper situation:
Just right
Just awful

What is your biggest area of concern entering camp?
Offensive line

What is your verdict on the "home" game in London?
Positive: It's good for the team and the league
Negative: It should be at Dolphin Stadium, not Wembley

Grade Wayne Huizenga as Dolphins owner:

How do you see the Dolphins faring this season?
The playoff drought ends! (10-plus wins)
Improved with a chance at a wild card (7-9 wins)
Not this year (6-or-fewer wins)

     Discussion is welcome on any of the above or anything else on your Dolfan mind as camp opens.

Huizenga wins bluff; Ginn signs

     [Updated Friday, 7-27: Ted Ginn signing today ahead of Wayne Huizenga's deadline means we'll never know if ol' H was bluffing about suspending any rookies not signed by the start of camp. Give Huizenga credit, though. He won the hand and without even having to show his cards].

     [Updated Thursday, 7-26: Ouch! Getting the distinct impression most of you didn't like the column. It's OK. If you all agreed with everything I wrote I'd be worried. For both of us...]

     Well my column appearing in Thursday's Herald was posted online early (click here) so I figured I'd open up a blog post for commentary should any in the populace feel so inclined.

     How I would love it if Ted Ginn wasn't signed by Friday, testing Wayne Huizenga's edict that rookies unsigned by the start of training camp would sit the entire season.

     It isn't an "anti-Dolphins" opinion. Rather, it is an examination of why Huizenga's deadline is toothless and ultimately counter-productive when it comes to a No. 1 pick. Let's say Ginn had missed the deadline by a day. Anybody honestly think he would have been banned from playing for the year or that he should have been. I sure don't.

July 24, 2007

On the Fantastic Four, nameless 'Canes, benching Vick, coddling Olsen and more

     A bowl of Tuesday jambalaya...

Aaamt      Well, it's Don Shula, Dan Marino, Joe Robbie and Wayne Huizenga on South Florida's mythical, sporting Mount Rushmore via The Herald's Fantastic Four vote. You OK with the choices? The results tell you what you already knew: That the Dolphins rule this town.

     UM football coach Randy Shannon stripping the names off the backs of jerseys this season to symbolically emphasize "team" over "me." Small thing. But good.

     NFL bars dog-fightin' Michael Vick from Falcons training camp until Aaamv Aaamv2 the league reviews federal charges against him. Good idea, and likely a relief to the Falcons. I write about the embarrassment facing each of our Big Three sports -- Vick, NBA ref scandal, Barry Bonds -- in today's column you'd find here

     Seems the Marlins are being lax with Scott Olsen by not disciplining him for his latest display of immaturity. How do you get suspended for a minor altercation with a teammate ... but not for a DUI bust in which you evaded police, resisted arrest with violence and had to be tasered?

     Which Harrington has had a better week: Padraig, winning the British Open? Or Joey, becoming No. 1 QB on the wing of Vick's mess?

Aaab2     David Beckham is injured. The good news? Victoria seems quite healthy.

     Drew Carey, taking over for Bob Barker on The Price Is Right. Big buildup to an announcement concerning a show nobody has watched for 20 years.

     Headlines You Thought You'd Never See, one in a series.

Aaanigeria      Finally, Nigerian pupils have begun using inexpensive, donated laptops. At left, a student is pictured ogling a nude photo of Serena Williams in Greg Cote's blog.

July 23, 2007

Serena Williams ... NUDE!!

Aaaserena_2     Tennis star Serena Williams appears nude in the upcoming Jane magazine. Pictured at left is Serena with only a small bunch of flowers over her ample derriere, an example from the magazine courtesy MediaTakeOut.com.

     The photo would be bigger but I'm trying to keep my job. (It's bigger and clearer when you double-click on it). I have personally always thought Serena looked a bit too muscled, although, after intense scrutiny and reconsideration, I may be coming around to her way of looking.

     To any who may be offended, I realize this is a family blog. But look at it this way. Everybody in every family, is, when you get right down to it, naked.

     As long as we're in a blog post that is salacious, I might as well go ahead and ask: Who is the one sports figure (male or female) you'd be most pleased to see clothing-free?

     I also want to know if you are offended by this blog post or you think it's OK. Also curious for your general opinion on sports stars doing the skin thing in mags.

July 22, 2007

Hey Dolfans! Do you have a negative vibe?

Aaads      My boy Dan Le Batard proffers a poesy of pessimism in his Sunday column (find it here), under the headline, "Who can blame Fins fans for their negative vibes?"

     I found it gloomy yet sadly accurate, but wondered if it spoke for most fans. Which is why I offer this forum for Dolfans to weigh in as the 2007 season unfurls in a week with the opening of training camp.

     Was the column's tone on or off the mark? What is your state of optimism or pessimism as the South Florida flagship prepares to set sail with Cam Cameron and Trent Green at the wheel?

Aaads2      I might pose the question another way if only as an excuse to run the gratuitous photo at left: Are the team's prospects looking as good as the team's cheerleaders?

July 21, 2007

Scott Olsen: Pathetic

Aaaolsen      Pitcher Scott Olsen, arrested early this morning and pictured here in his police booking photos, has obvious anger-management problems or other mental issues that the Marlins had better start to deal with, fast. Meanwhile he should be suspended again. He has become an embarrassment to the club with his immature behavior. It would be a shock if anybody in the clubhouse still respected or trusted this kid after such a series of punky behavior.

     Find the sad story here. There is a clear difference in the matters of Olsen and of Dolphin Chris Chambers. Chambers' recent police matter was his first public blemish, a record that earned benefit of doubt and lenience. In Olsen's case it's just the latest problem.

     Dear Scott: You owe your team and Marlins fans a public apology, and a new attitude. One more incident and the Marlins ought to trade your no-class ass to whatever team is willing to put up with your s---.

July 19, 2007

Ask the Blogmaster General (July)

Aaaq2     [The questions window for July has nicked shut. Solid response, thanks. Check back mid-August for another episode of A the BG].   

     The past month has flown by quicker than a Daunte Culpepper best-of Dolphin highlight reel. Seems like we just did this, but it's time again for our somewhat semipopular mid-month-or-thereabouts feature, in which I directly answer any questions you may have.

    You know by now the daily give-and-take here is your forum. But once a month I invite and reply to your Q's on a variety of topics including but not limited to: Me, this blog, my columns, sports writing, The Miami Herald, other media, local teams, national stories, current events, pop culture, singing on the radio, cooking, Michael Vick dog-grooming tips, and whether the Heat have set a new record for most turn-downs by NBA free agents.

     Any questions you've asked of me in the daily blogs that have gone rudely unanswered -- now is the time and this is the place. I'll check back periodically throughout the next couple of days and reply with the exactitude and alacrity you have come to expect.

July 17, 2007

Culpepper cut: Final thoughts?

Aaadc      Dolphins made it official today and waived QB Daunte Culpepper, who they'd earlier made persona non grata in favor of Trent Green.

     I'm Culpeppered out. I've had my say in a couple of columns and a few blogs. You know by now I think the Dolphins treated the man unfairly and didn't act in the team's best interest by not giving him a fair chance to win the starting job.

     Miami couldn't trade Culpepper because every other team knew his release was coming. He'll be signed by somebody soon. I wish him well.

     Your final thoughts on the Culpepper saga are invited. Mine are: "Thank goodness we're done with this clumsily handled mess. Let's move on."