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16 posts from June 2008

June 29, 2008

Who is the face of South Florida sports? (with poll)

     The seed for this blog post (and poll) was a question a friend posed the other day: "Is it ludicrous to think Michael Beasley might already be the face of the Heat over Dwyane Wade?" Got me to thinking: Who is the face of South Florida sports from a national perspective? By however you'd define that, who is the most prominent figure currently involved on one of our local pro teams?

     Partake of The Daily Poll (nominees are listed alphabetically) and add a comment to say why you voted as you did. Also let me know if I left anybody off the list. No "Where's Marino!?" please. Remember, this is current.

June 27, 2008

HEAT DRAFTS BEASLEY NO. 2 OVERALL! (with poll)

Aaa1beasley_2      After all of the speculation, rumors, smokescreens and possibilities, the Heat did the simplest, safest thing with the NBA Draft's second pick Thursday night, and what I hoped they would: They drafted Michael Beasley, the big-scoring, big-rebounding Kansas State forward. To have and to hold -- not to trade.

     This was sort of expected, yet, given all the talk about O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless and trades, it wasn't a given Miami would select Beasley until the very moment commissioner David Stern called his name. Thankfully Pat Riley quickly gave assurances Miami planned to keep Beasley.

     Your thoughts on the selection are invited. Partake of The Daily Poll and expound with a comment.

     But it wasn't just Beasley at the top that made this a big, positive Heat draft. What were the odds that Miami would land three players and that one would be from Kanasas State and the other two both would be from Kansas?

     Big get to score point guard Mario Chalmers in a trade. Miami gave up a lot (two 2009 second-rounders plus cash), but gets a quality guy in a big need-position, and a great defender. Also liked the Darnell Jackson pick. Miami then traded Jackson to get one of those second-round picks back, so that's a wash.

     A question: Does a nucleus of Dwyane Wade, Beasley and (maybe) Shawn Marion make Miami an instant player in the Eastern Conference? How optimistic are you right now?

   [Note: Congrats. You all made this our 22nd blog poll to surpass 1,000 votes within 24 hours, this one easily. Keep the votes coming!]

June 26, 2008

BeasleyBeasleyBeasleyBeasley! (and more)

Aaa1beasley_4    The fresh new mess o'  miscellania, all free, just for you...

    [Note: We'll have a separate post within moments after the Heat makes its top pick this evening, with a poll, so get those instant opinions ready!] 

     IT'S MICHAEL BEASLEY DAY IN SOUTH FLORIDA: Better be, right? The Heat needs to pick Kansas State forward Michael Beasley with the NBA Draft's No. 2 overall pick tonight. They ought not draft-and-trade, nor should they settle for the best point guard not named Derrick Rose, who'll go No. 1. Beasley is a special talent. Click here to read today's column by me on the Heat and draft and Beasley. Then give me your take.

     UH-OH TIME FOR MARLINS?: Swept away at home. Three bad losses in a row to Tampa Bay knocks the Marlins down to only two games over .500. Now it's three here vs. the division leading D-Backs, three vs. the Nationals, then 11 in a row on the road heading into the All-Star break. Florida will prove it is a contender, or prove itself a pretender, over the next two-plus weeks.

Aaa1cardigan_3     WIMBLEDON FASHION REPORT: Roger Federer's herringbone cardigan. Maria Sharapova's "tux-inspired" ensemble. Raise your hand if your'e as tired as me of so much attention being paid tennis outfits. The exception: Rafael Nadal's Capri pants, which can never be mocked enough.

     SHAQ ATTACK UPDATE: Shaquille O'Neal's profane freestyle rap targeting Kobe Bryant (see post below this one for video) has cost him his special deputy's badge in Maricopa County, Ariz. The video does not prove Shaq would make a bad police officer, but the video does prove he makes a bad rapper. Worst of all? "Tell me how my a-- taste" surely has entered the lexicon as the newest put-down.

Aaa1jennie     WE INTERUPT THIS BLOG POST...: ...to bring you a gratuitous photo of U.S. Olympic softball player Jennie Finch in a bikini.

     DOLPHINS' NEW AD CAMPAIGN: Have you seen it? It revolves around the new triumvirate of VP Bill Parcells, GM Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano. Hmm. Not sure, but I don't know that it's a good sign when you can't find a single player to thusly promote.Aaa1sports_bra_2

     AS CAREER MOVES GO...: Grabbing your general manager by the neck and throwing him to the ground as Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon did probably is not one. Do you think Scott Olsen can recommend a good anger-management class?

     IN HONOR OF THE HEROIC SPORTS BRA: Click here for an astonishing headline you thought you'd never see. This marks a dramatic resurgence for the underachieving sports bra, which hadn't saved anyone or anything since combining with Brandi Chastain to briefly save women's soccer in 1999.

     IT'S FRESNO STATE...: ...prevailing over Georgia Wednesday night in Omaha to win the We No Longer Give a Rat's Ass About the College World Series Because UM Got Eliminated. 

   Aaa1sumo_3 OK, I'VE HEARD OF UNFAIR MISMATCHES IN SPORTS, BUT C'MON!:

    

    

    OFFICIALS ARE AT A LOSS TO EXPLAIN...: ...why golf has suddenly become so popular with young boys in Bloomfield, Colo.

     Finally, a reminder: Our live online chat is every Monday from 1-2 p.m., but you can post a question anytime throughout the week. Click here to do so.

June 23, 2008

Is Wade in Olympics good? (with poll), Shaq rap slams Kobe (with video)

     [Note: Thanks to all who joined us on today's Q&A Forum live online chat. We do it every Monday from 1-2 p.m. Click here to read a transcript or post a question and join us next week!]

Aaa1dwade      To no one's surprise Heater Dwyane Wade was named today to the U.S. Olympic basketball team, although I think it continues to be fair to wonder if this is necessarily good news for Wade, the Heat or the Olympic team.

     Wade still is rehabbing from shoulder and knee surgeries and is not, right now, physically fit to compete all-out. The Olympic team convenes July 20 in Vegas before heading to Beijing.

     "Dwyane we fill will be healthy by then," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said Monday. "We wouldn't use him 'til we got medical clearance [from the Heat]. And he thinks he's well on the way to getting that. By July 20 he thinks he'll be 100 percent."

     At issue: Whether Wade will hurry back too soon to play in the Olympics, whether medical clearance may be rushed to satisfy him, and whether the risk of re-injury is too great. Would Wade and the Heat be better off if he skipped the Olympics and geared all focus on being ready for the NBA season?

     Wade being his old self by late October in Miami is more important than him trying to be his old self in Beijing in August. Nothing including Thursday's No. 2 overall pick is as crucial to the Heat as Wade returning to dominating, elite form.

     We invite you to dip into The Daily Poll and expound with a comment.

     By the way, have some new draft odds from bodog.com. On what will happen with Miami's pick at No. 2. Odds are 1/3 they draft Michael Beasley and keep him; 4/1 they trade the pick or draft Beasley and trade him; 9/2 they draft O.J. Mayo; and 3/1 they draft soembody else.

     "TELL ME HOW MY A-- TASTE": Hey that's not me saying that. That's Shaquille O'Neal with a fresh rap last night in New York that slams Kobe Bryant. Fairly shocking. Click here to hear it. And let us know what you think.

June 21, 2008

Vote Uggla '08, giving away Olli, George Carlin

Aaa1carlin     [Update: Just realized I have Uggla below with 24 homers. He only has 23. I'm not wrong, exactly, just predicting the future! By the way, the new Sports Illustrated on newstands Wednesday 25th has a nice feature on Uggla, who, if he keeps this up, may go down as Our Greatest Dan Since Marino]. 

     [Bulletin: George Carlin, one of the all-time great comics/social commentators, has died at 71. Followed him since the '70s. Saw him in Vegas a few years ago. Terrific, mind-bending stuff right 'til the end. R.I.P.]

     OAaa1danu_3K it's time to do some shameless campaigning for the local guy. I feel it's my civic duty. Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla is running only fourth in NL all-star voting despite leading the league in home runs (24), playing great defense and generally being a legitimate MVP candidate.

     This is not right. And we can do something about it. Join a grass-roots campaign, Vote Uggla '08. Vote for Uggla as many as 25 times, the allowable maximum, and email the link to as many like-minded friends as possible and exhort them to do the same. You can make a difference! And even if you can't, it'll make you feel good. It's almost like doing charity work, but without spending anything but a few minutes.

     (Shortstop Hanley Ramirez could use your vote, too. He's running a close second. But that's about where he should be. Uggla is the guy having the better year and deserving better than he's getting).

     Click on Vote Uggla '08 to access the official MLB online ballot. Vote-vote-vote. Then copy the link and forward it like crazy. Do not delay. Uggla is pictured here waving at you, thanking you in advance for your support.

     GIVING AWAY OLLI: The Panthers last night traded longtime captain and most-reliable-scorer Olli Aaa1olli Jokinen to Phoenix for a low-second-round draft pick and two OK defensemen in Nick Boynton and Keith Ballard. It was a grade trade...for Phoenix. I wasn't against dealing Olli. The Cats never made the playoffs with him, it's obvious there were conflicts between him and GM Jacques Martin, and "fresh start" is a good thing when dealing with a playoff drought like this one. But what about the first-round pick he was worth and they were after? The Coyotes get a very, very good player. The Panthers get two OKs and a maybe. Seems Florida did the same thing with Olli that the Dolphins have done with Jason Taylor: Wait too long to trade him, and settle for what they could get.

June 19, 2008

Cane collapse (with poll), Wade in Olympics, Jason Taylor explains himself, Tiger's injury

     [Urgent Friday night update: Satisfying your need to know about the off-hours meanderings of our sports stars, Random Evidence is reporting exclusively tonight that Kimbo Slice and his "Team 305" shirt wearing posse conspicuously occupied an upstairs VIP room last night at Art Bar, at Riverfront in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Coincidentally nearby at the club Automatic Slim's, Dolphin No.1 draft pick Jake Long partied more quietly (and less noticed) with a smaller group. Our blogmole for this report? My just-turned 21-year-old son. Note to self: Tell clubby son to take it easy on the bar-hopping].

     New stuff, just for you:

Aaa1jimm_3    THE GREAT CANE COLLAPSE: The Miami Hurricanes baseball team went to Omaha expecting to come back with the school's fifth national title. Instead they got sent packing way too soon with a 1-2 record in the College World Series, victimized by a lack of clutch hitting among other things. Coach Jim Morris is pictured at right, jokingly sticking his tongue out and making a face that perhaps approximates most Canes fans' displeasure today. "Disappointing" doesn't quite cover it. This was the No. 1-ranked team in America, with talk of it being the best team UM had ever fielded. Two questions: 1. Who do you blame? 2. Do you still count it a good season overall or does the quick Omaha ouster make it a failure? Partake of The Daily Poll and expound with a comment. Click here for today's column by me, a Canes baseball post-mortem. 

     [Poll note: This, I believe, is the closest vote in the long, rich history of The Daily Poll].

     WADE MAKES OLYMPIC TEAM*:  The asterisk (*) is that it won't be official until Monday. But you may now bet the mortgage and your children on it. The Heat just put out a media advisory on the USA Basketball teleconference to announce the 12 players. So ask yourself: Would Miami publicize an announcement it thought might amount to a public rejection of its star player? You're right. No. For better or worse, it now seems certain a big chunk of Wade's rehab for the next NBA season will be on a court in Beijing.

     Speaking of the Heat, is it news that Chicago is going to draft Derrick Rose No. 1 overall if that's been the presumption for weeks and weeks? No. That isn't news. News is whether Miami spends No. 2 on Michael Beasley or O.J. Mayo. When you find that out, let me know.

     JASON TAYLOR EXPLAINS HIMSELF: Got an interesting call at home last night from one of Taylor's reps. It was about the last item in my Sunday "Random Evidence" notes column, which read: 'A Miami Dolphins charity golf tournament is happening Monday, but Taylor is not expected to play. He heard it was a shotgun start and was worried that meant Parcells might be there with a shotgun.'

Aaa1samsung    Taylor knew it was a joke, but apparently has been getting beaten-up on the message boards over snubbing a team charity event. That's where the explanation comes in. Taylor wanted me (and Dolfans) to know he was in New York Monday at a conflicting charity event, Samsung's seventh annual Four Seasons of Hope dinner at which Taylor and Michael Strahan helped introduce honorees Dan Marino, Arnold Palmer, Wayne Gretzky, Boomer Esiason, Rudy Giuliani and Joe Torre.

     Bottom line? JT is open to fair criticism for wanting to be traded, for skipping a mandatory mini-camp, maybe even for dancing in the first place. But he had a legit reason for missing the Dolphin golf tourney, and does enough good with community-service stuff to catch a break on that.

     As for the latest on Miami possibly trading Taylor, papers that cover the Packers are reporting Green Bay may be willing to give up a second-round pick if Taylor backs off his intention to play only one more season. Big if. Read the latest here. As I've written often, a 2R pick for Taylor is a solid deal that Miami should make if given the chance.

Aaa1tiger     TIGER'S SEASON-ENDING SURGERY: Click on The Legend Grows for today's column by me on Tiger Woods winning the U.S. Open despite what we now know was a serious knee injury, not fakery. Woods says his doctors tell him he should be 100 percent by the start of the next PGA Tour season in late January. Of course some in the hand-wringing media wonder about that, such as the Sun-Sentinel's golf writer, Dr. Randall Mell, who frets over "what we don't know" and refers to Tiger's "now uncertain future." Please. He'll repair, he'll rest, he'll rehab like a maniac, and he'll be back kicking ass in '09. Who doubts it?

     Check back. Probably be adding more crap later.

June 17, 2008

"Joe" will auction 600 ball (with poll) and Wade/Olympics

     A blogmole who works at Dolphin Stadium and is in the know filled me in on details regarding the mysterious "Joe" and the future of Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th home run ball.

     The news: "Joe" is dealing with Denver-area sports memorabilia collector Marshall Fogel, who is making arrangements with a major auction house. Estimates are the ball will go for $100,000 to $150,000, and Griffey Jr. will be on a list of "potential clients" invited to the auction. In other words, if he wants the ball, he'll need to send a representative to the auction to outbid others.

     My mole confirms Joe is a longtime fan in his early 40s, and says he has been told witnesses have Joe catching it cleanly and calling a lawsuit by a second claimant baseless. Joe is said to attend games regularly with a charter boat captain who often takes Marlins players on day-off fishing trips.

     Police escorted Joe and the prized ball to a holding room, and confirmed the ball's authenticity by a code-phrase (G36) near the MLB logo. Police then transported Joe and the ball to his home near Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The cops then returned him to the stadium to pick up his car, and escorted him back home afterward.

     We invite you to partake of The Daily Poll and add a comment. Interested in thoughts not just on this case, but in general on the "right thing to do" with historic, milestone baseballs.

     WADE ON OLYMPIC TEAM?: Unconfirmed reports today have the Heat's Dwyane Wade as one of 12 guys who'll be officially announced Monday as having made the U.S. Olympic team. Safe guess. I don't doubt it. I don't think a player of Wade's stature and reputation is as open as he's been about wanting on the team unless he has some backroom assurance he won't be publicly embarrassed by a rejection. The better question: Is his making the team good for him and for the Heat? Sure seems like common sense to me that a summer spent rehabbing to be ready for the NBA season might be better for him than the rigors of the Olympics. I may be wrong. Meantime, new odds from bodog.com have Miami at 40-1 to win the 2009 NBA title. That's midpack (tied for 16th of 30 teams) but seventh in the East, which projects to a low playoff seed.    

June 16, 2008

Dolphin Honor Roll (with poll), Canes win, Tiger wins, Lakers win and more

     [Just finished with our live online chat. Thanks to all who participated. Next week we return to our regular Monday slot, 1-2 p.m.]

     A fresh Monday update for our latest free pile o' miscellania...

Aaa1baum Aaa1betters      DOLPHIN HONOR ROLL: Two of the "Killer B's," Bob Baumhower and Doug Betters (pictured), were revealed as the latest on the Dolphin Honor Roll. They'll join (chronologically) Joe Robbie, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Langer, Paul Warfield, Nick Buoniconti, 1972 Undefeated Team, Larry Little, Dwight Stephenson, Bob Kuechenberg, Don Shula, Nat Moore, Dan Marino, Mark Clayton and Mark Duper, Dick Anderson and Richmond Webb. The question: Who's missing? Who needs to be on the list and should be chosen next? Partake of The Daily Poll and leave a comment to either lobby for your guy or let us know who we left off the list. You may vote for up to TWO players. (Note: Only players retired from football are eligible, which is why Zach Thomas is not on the list).

     Click here for Tuesday's column by me on Betters. And click on For The Children for the website of the good cause Betters founded.

      [May I say? I think you all are hitting a bull's-eye with this poll so far. Jake Scott is an egregious omission].

Aaa1bbum      CANES BAG MUST-WIN IN OMAHA: After blowing a 9th inning lead and losing 7-4 to Georgia Bulldogs in its College World Series opener, UM bounced back today to stay alive and eliminate rival FSU, 7-5. The Canes still have major work to do. Miami must still win five games in a row for the title -- continuing with the next on Wednesday night vs. Stanford. How confident, Canes fans?

     TIGER WINS U.S. OPEN: Wow. Just double-wow. Tiger Woods made two eagles Saturday including one on the 18th to take the lead. Then he curls in a long putt on the 18th Sunday to force sudden death with Rocco Mediate. Then, today, he wins the extra round on the extra 19th hole -- all of this despite a sore knee that had him limping and grimacing much of the tournament. Tiger in the hunt at a major is delicious stuff, and I believe El Tigre has officially feathered his legend.

     LAKERS FORCE GAME 6: Predictable as summer rain in South Florida, the Lakers won at home last night to pull within 3-2 in the NBA Finals and force a Game 6 in Boston. Will the Celtics now lose two straight at home. No. No no no. This is Kobe Bryant's season, and series, to cut into Michael Jordan's huge lead in the best-ever sweepstakes. But it ain't happening.      

Aaa1deboer      PANTHERS HIRE NEW HEAD COACH: Will Peter DeBoer be DeMan for the Cats? Get used to the awful wordplay, by the way. It's inevitable. As I wrote in this week's Sunday Random Evidence notes column, if his team is dull they'll be DeBoring. If they lose, fans will be DeBooing. I sort of like the choice, even though I find it thoroughly unsurprising GM Jacques Martin would select as his replacement a neophyte NHL head coach, all the better to control. DeBoer is youngish at 40 and a hot commodity, with a couple of other recent head-coaching feelers before choosing Florida. Recycle cans, not coaches. The hire feels fresh.

     MARLINS VS. RAYS: Host Tampa Bay took two of three from the Marlins over the weekend. If the season ended today the (Don't Call Me Devil) Rays would be the AL wild-card team while the Marlins presently are second in the NL wild-card chase. Rather Amazing. And yet our not-so-beloved Fish are last in the majors in attendance and the Rays aren't much better. Is there a common link? Could it be that six weeks of spring training and exhibition games in the state wear us out before the season even starts? Hey, you got a better theory, genius?

June 12, 2008

How many wins for Dolphins? (with The Daily Poll)

     OK, folks. This is your official Dolfans' Progress Report now that offseason practices ended Thursday and the team doesn't reconvene until preseason training camp in five weeks or so.

        You have weathered 1-15. Seen all the coaching and administrative changes. Considered the free-agAaa1sparanoent signings. Mulled the draft. WeigheAaa1longd the minicamps and the OTAs. You know major questioAaa1questionns remain (especially who'll be the starting QB and the future of Jason Taylor), but chances are by now you feel you have begun to have a decent sense of how improved Miami will be in '08.

     So tell us. Tell each other.

     Vote in our poll -- try to make it a realistic prediction of how you expect they will do, not what you hope -- and offer a comment on why you voted as you did. Share your sense of how the Tony 'n Tuna Show is doing so far. What is your most pleasant surprise and biggest concern?

     We'll have a similar poll just before the regular season, but let's see where expectations are now.

June 10, 2008

Marlins' biggest rival (with poll), trading Olli, unnamed Joe, Chris Simms, Viagra and more

     Yet more free stuff for your consideration, with a fresh Wednesday update...

     CHICKS DIG THE LONG BALL: Click on Longball City here for my column off last night's Marlins win. It's about how the team misses Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis not at all -- mainly because homers are flying off Florida bats at a pace that could challenge the all-time major league season record].

     CATS TRADING OLLI?: Looks like the Panthers may have a chance to trade long-time captain Olli Jokinen, 29, prior to the June 20 NHL draft. If they can get a fairly high first-round pick for him with maybe a decent player thrown in, I say do it. You?

Aaa1marlins      MARLINS' BIGGEST RIVAL: 'Biggest rival' is not an easy question in So Fla regarding our big teams, other than maybe FSU being it for UM football. Is it Jets for the Dolphins? You'd get an argument. How about the Heat and Panthers? No clear answers. Marlins? I'd say the Phillies, the team in town for a three-game series. It's debatable, though. Partake of The Daily Poll and expound in a comment by answering this: What is the single-best rivalry involving our Big Four pro teams and why?

VIAGRA IN SPORTS: There have been reports of competitive bicyclists using the sex-aid viagra as a performance-enhancer in their sport. Now the New York Daily NewsAaa1v (click here) reports viagra is turning up in baseball clubhouses, too. I can't think of a single punchline that wouldn't get me fired, so I'll move on.

     DOLPHINS BEEF UP PERSONNEL DEPT.: Dolphins announced they hired Dick Haley as a player personnel assistant; he was with the Jets from 1992-2007. Team aso added a personnel coordinator, a national scout and a regional scout. This is further indication that the new regime believes the root of Miami's problems the past several years has been talent evaluation. 

     CHRIS SIMMS AVAILABLE?: The question of possible interest by Miami will be out there if the Bucs dump him, which seems imminent -- especially because of Bill Parcells' past with daddy Phil. Click here for Chris' career numbers. He only fits as a Dolphin possibility here if you believe he's a better temp-starter than Josh McCown. Do you?

     LAKERS' TURN WITH REFS: I said mark my words. That L.A. would go to the free-throw line significantly more than Boston in NBA Finals Game 3 last night, a payback for the Celtics' crazy 38-10 advantage in foul shots the other night. I was correct. These things even out. By the way, how tired are we of the obligatory shots of Jack Nicholson in the crowd?

     DOING GOOD IN OMAHA: Click here for Tuesday's feel-good column by me on Jim Morris and the Canes as they set out for Saturday's opening of the College World Series.

     GRIFFEY 600 BALL: So a Marlins fan identified only as "Joe" (and wearing a Sergio Mitre jersey) grabs Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th home run ball and declines to give it to the Reds in exchange for souvenirs. In other words: Cha-ching! Joe wants big bucks. Dear Joe: It won't be worth as much as you hope. Be a regular Joe, not a mercernary Joe. Do the right thing. Give the ball to Junior.

Aaa1aaawhores      EMBARRASSMENT HAS ITS PRICE: With apologies to Keith Olbermann, click here for The Two Worst Women on Earth.   

      GERMANE CONVERSATION: Lately at my local Publix I have noticed more and more shoppers using a sanitary wipe provided by the store to clean the handle of the shopping cart before proceeding. These people strike me as germ freaks taking a wholly unnecessary precaution. But I may be wrong. Weigh in.

     FACEOFF: In today's Most Unwelcome Musical Comeback, it's New Kids on the Block vs. The B-52's.

Aaa1bras_4      DEAR GREG: Your blog's OK, but it would be much better if you would show a photo of elderly women stripped down to their bras in a rally for better pension benefits in Melbourne, Australia.

     Hey! I made it through an entire blog post without even once mentioning Jason Taylor! Oops. Damn.