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19 posts from February 2008

February 29, 2008

Josh McHow-thrilled-are-we? (with The Daily Poll)

Aaa1josh_2 Aaa1josh2      The Dolphins signed QB Josh McCown today as free agency began. Still trying to figure out if this is good news. Not at all sure if McCown is a qualified NFL quarterback. Not even sure he's the Best Available McCown.

     I don't have to tell you Josh has been mediocre with three teams, but would offer a reminder of that with this career resume.

     I'd still be more excited if they'd signed David Carr, as you'd know if you read this column by me in today's paper.

     Welcoming Dolphin free agency commentary of every stripe, particularly on how the McCown news McStrikes you. To me, McCown vs. John Beck for the starting job sounds like they'd better not be done shopping (or drafting) for a quarterback yet.

     Oh, and hey! I'm talking to you. Yes, you. Do not just vote 'n run. That would be cowardly, almost. To be a real man, or woman as the case may be, you would click on 'comments' below and offer for the waiting blogosphere your elaboration. It is a way to matter. To leave a legacy that your offspring can be proud of, particularly if they are easily pleased. Many thanks.

February 26, 2008

Answers: Matt Ryan, Michael Beasley (with The Daily Poll)

     Today's column by me (click on Matt 'n Michael) is on the Dolphins' and Heat's upcoming drafts, the benefit of the misery.

Aaamatt      I write why the Dolphins should draft Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan with the No. 1 overall pick. And why that would be smarter than trading down or picking someone else.

Aaamichael      The Heat situation is more clear: Dream of Michael Beasley, the Kansas State power forward. Every loss grows the possibility.

     Find a poll on the Dolphin draft below. Let us know what you think either team's greatest need is, and what you'd be thinking draft-wise if you were Bill Parcells or Pat Riley today.

February 25, 2008

Barry Bonds a Marlin?

Aaa1bonds_2       Whoa. There are no indications it will happen. It's just one of those incendiary, left-wing media headlines. Just another example of irresponsibility in the blogosphere. I may or may not be a Communist!

     Seriously, though, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are talking about trying to sign the free-agent Bonds, while Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa admits an interest, too. And couldn't the Marlins use a few homers to replace the ones that departed with Miguel Cabrera?

     Question: If the price was right, would you support the Marlins trying to sign Bonds? Hey I'm just asking! And if not, is it the age issue or is it the ethical matter involving the steroids/legal cloud? Weigh in, partner.

February 24, 2008

Two troubling points on Dolphins and Zach Thomas

     Zach Thomas signing with the Dallas Cowboys is perfect for him. He's a Texas boy. The fit is snug and works both ways. Good for Zach.

     Two points to make, though, about the Dolphins releasing Thomas outright and getting zero for him:

     1. If he is good enough to start for the title-contending Cowboys (as the contract he was given suggests) and also good enough to have generated offers from the Patriots and Saints and interest from others ... is this not a man who could still have helped Miami? Rebuilding doesn't mean getting rid of all of your veterans.

     2. Why did Miami give Zach away? I like that the Dolphins showed loyalty by not trading him to a bad team. But the competing interest in Thomas suggests Miami likely could have gotten at least a mid-low or conditional draft pick for him from the Patriots or Cowboys. It seems like Team Tuna underestimated either how good Thomas still is or how good others teams still believe him to be.

     Question: Does the strong interest in Thomas make you second-guess whether Miami should have either kept him or gotten something for him?

February 22, 2008

Huizenga begins his goodbye (with The Daily Poll)

     The Dolphins announced today that Wayne Huizenga has sold 50 percent of the team (and stadium and surrounding land) to real estate developer Stephen M. Ross. I wonder: Does that mean Huizenga haters are half-happy?

     Huizenga will remain "managing general partner" for now, but clearly Ross will transition into that role eventually, likely as majority owner.

     The first question was whether this would spook new VP of football operations Bill Parcells, who signed here with the assurance Huizenga would be his owner. Early indications are no.

     The bigger picture is the legacy of Huizenga as he begins the slow fade. Your thoughts welcome.

Ask the Blogmaster General: February

Aaa1q Aaa1 Aaaa      [Update: the Blogmaster General window for questions has closed for the day, forced to do so prematurely because the breaking news on Wayne huizenga's partial sale of the Dolphins forces my attention. Elsewhere. Sorry. But thanks to all. We'll do another Q&A in two-three weeks, around mid-March].

     The Blogmaster General (that's me) returns with the latest installment of our somewhat semipopular mid-monthly or thereabouts Q&A in which I directly answer any questions you may have.

     You know the daily give-and-take here is your forum (often smooth-running, occasionally run amok). But once a month I invite and reply to your queries 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, gourmet cooking, presidential politics and Famous French poets.

     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.

February 20, 2008

On Taylor dancing (with The Daily Poll), Marlins stadium, Castro and more...

Aaa1jt_2       Dolphin Jason Taylor on ABC's Dancing With the Stars this spring should make perfect sense to those who know Taylor. He is nearing the end of his football career and he is a smart calculating man who knows this gig will grow his celebrity by spotlighting his male-model looks and personality. He'll be better positioned for a next career in TV or entertainment.

     On the hand Taylor, as the first active NFL player to do this, risks merciless and unrelenting ridicule from teammates, opponents and visiting fans. You also picture hard-liner Bill Parcells reacting to this with the look of a man who has bitten into a lemon. And handing JT a tutu and ballet slippers.

     Do more than vote in the poll below. Elaborate and tell us: Would you have agreed to this if you were Taylor? Why or why not?

     (*) Marlins fans need to rally and support this new stadium that might finally be approved on Thursday. The time for complaining about the site is over. The critics need to shut up. You'd click on Back the Ballpark to find today's column by me on the subject. What's your opinion?

     (*) How big a deal is Fidel Castro resigning if his brother or his ideology replace him? That's the easy non-Cuban perspective. But I know that to many Cubans who fled that tyranny, his resigning still is a huge deal symbolically. To those among us, congratulations for the day you have dreamed of.

     (*) Quick blogkeeping note: The February edition of "Ask the Blogmaster General" will post at 7 a.m. Friday.

February 17, 2008

On trading Taylor, Marlins' stadium and Daytona 500

Aaa1jt      Must disagree with my boy Dan Le Batard, who writes in today's paper (click here) beneath the headline, '[Jason] Taylor deserves to be set free.' The idea is the Dolphins should trade J.T. to a contender to give him a shot (a la Zach Thomas) at a ring, as a reward for Taylor's long service here.

     No. The Dolphins should do what is best for the team -- this season and down the road -- not what's best for any one player. Bill Parcells' job is to rebuild the team but also to try to be competitive in the meantime. Taylor is Miami's best defender, by far.  The team should keep him unless Tuna can get a first-round pick in return (very doubtful) or at least a second rounder.

Aaa1marlins      (*) Neatly timed with the start of spring training, it looks like the city of Miami, at this Thursday's commission meeting, finally, formally and officially will approve funding for a new Marlins stadium at the Orange Bowl site. This would end some 10 years of starts, stalls and stops -- of failed efforts. The new ballpark would be ready for hopefully the 2010 season, or 2011 at the latest.

     I can hear the whining and complaining already, mostly over disagreement with the less-than-ideal location. People, please. The only perfect site is the one close to you, personally. But not too close. The club realizing a new stadium at last is positive news that should override everything else.

Aaa1d500      (*) I'm in the Daytona 500 media center as I write this, awaiting today's race. They are parading in today's performers: Chubby Checker, Kool & the Gang and Michael McDonald so far. Chubby Checker!? I guess all of the artists who've been popular in the past 20 years were booked.

     Wait. A current act, Brooks & Dunn, just walked in. Trisha Yearwood, too. "I'm nervous," said Trisha, national-anthem singer. "But Junior Johnson just gave me some alcohol, so I think I'll be OK."

     I just saw John Salley traipsing across the Daytona grounds. Off-hand, I can think of no one whose continuing celebrity is more unfathomable.

     [Update: Ryan Newman wins the race in a typically frantic finish. Just as pertinently, Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't win the race]. 

February 15, 2008

Zach goes out in style

Aaa1zachg_2       My cell phone buzzed this morning and a familiar drawl touched my ear. Zach Thomas calling, to say goodbye, to thank me. This is not standard in the athlete/sportswriter orbit. It tells you a little about the class and character of the Dolphins' departing veteran linebacker.

     Click on Farewell Zach to read today's column by me.

     A few snippets from his call to me this morning:

     Zach wants to refute the notion he "welcomed" his release, although he did expect it ("I knew it was coming for the longest time") and understand it.

     His agent's phone is active. He will play in 2008, with a contending team. "I feel like a college recruit again," he said. He will not re-sign with Miami for less money, and it isn't the money issue, he said, it's that Bill Parcells wants to go younger.

     He leaves with the right attitude. He hoped for the "storybook ending" here, the Super Bowl with the Dolphins. "I always wanted that last chapter, getting that trophy." Now? "Everything from here to me is a bonus."

     Zach wanted to thank Jimmy Johnson for drafting him, "for taking that shot on me." And Parcells for showing respect to him. Zach also tried to explain how much Dolfans have meant to him. "When you go out in public and see someone with your jersey on, that never gets old," he said. "People would come up to me and apologize for bothering me. That was my honor, man."

     We invite your participation in our poll below. Also, tell us what you think it was that made Thomas so popular with Dolfans? Who, other than Dan Marino, has been a bigger fan favorite in this franchise's history?

February 14, 2008

Farewell to a Dolphins great: Team waives Zach Thomas

Aaa1zach_3      The Dolphins anounced late this afternoon the end of Zach Thomas' stellar 12-year career with the club. Thomas, 34, was plagued much of this past season by migraine and concussion issues but had started every game the year before.

     The new regime severing ties with Thomas is not a real surprise but still arrives as a gut-punch. Zach has been a fan favorite and a one of the kindest, most introspective athletes I have covered.

     Your thoughts on today's development and on Thomas' Dolphins career are welcome here. Also curious: How high would you rank Thomas among this franchise's all-time greatest defensive players?