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13 posts from March 2009

March 30, 2009

Do we want Jason Taylor back? (with poll); plus Zo's place, Vegas disses Marlins, The Good Saban & more

Aaa1jt      The latest little hill of stuff, all free and just for you...

     Jason Taylor's future: Free-agent defensive end Jason Taylor is telling anybody who'll listen that he'd like to play for the Dolphins again. But are the Dolphins listening? Thus far the division-rival Patriots have shown more public interest. Clearly the decision is Miami's, not ther player's. What best reflects your thoughts on Taylor possibly rejoining the team he left controversially just a year ago? Take a dip in our poll:  

     [Note: The above is our 57th blogpoll to buzz past 1,000 votes in the first 24 hours. Thanks. And keep 'em coming!]

Aaa1zo      Zo's place in local history: The Heat retired Alonzo Mourning's No. 33 last night, a richly deserved honor. I was there and filed this column. And it got me to thinking. Has South Florida ever had a greater athete in terms of both on-field/court greatness and impact away from the game in the community as well? I might place Zo second only to Dan Marino. You?

     Long odds for Marlins' chances: Vegas is not as optimistic about the Marlins' playoff shot this season as the Marlins seem to be, based on new odds from Bodog. Florida is 50-1 overall to win it all (19th), and well below the NL East divisionmates Mets (8-1), Phillies (15-1) and Braves (20-1). The complete NFL East odds are Mets 7-5, Phils 7-4, Braves 3-1, Marlins 10-1 and Nationals 18-1. These odds don't tell us the Marlins have no shot. What they do tell is the Marlins have no respect.

     R.I.P., Lou Saban: The Miami Hurricanes' football coach in 1977-78 has died, at Aaa1lousaban age 87, after a famously well-traveled career. Saban is pictured here in his last coaching ncarnation, circa 2002, at Division III Chowan State in North Carolina. The UM predecessor to Howard Schnellenberger, Saban helped recruit Jim Kelly and set the foundation that led to The U's rise to national prominence. Compared to a more recent Miami coach of the same surname, we'll call Lou "The Good Saban" and leave it at that.

     George W. Boooooosh: he Texas Rangers have announced that former President George W. Bush will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the home opener. It will mark the first time in about three months the public has had an opportunity to boo Bush.

     D-Train off the rails: Detroit's Dontrelle Willis on the 15-day disabled list with anxiety disorder. Don't lik the sound of that, especially all he went through last season. Hoping Willis can again be the pitcher who was so popular and so good for awhile with the Marlins. But beginning to wonder. 

     Thanks to all who joined in our live online chat today. We do it every Monday from 1-2 p.m. in the Q&A Forum. Click here to join live on Mondays, to read past transcripts, or to post a question at any time during the week.

     [Note: Looking for our March Madness blog post with the new Final Four poll ? Find it just below].

March 27, 2009

Why is UM ducking FIU?; plus Jason Taylor to Patriots & more

     [We have named a winner in our March Madness Haiku Contest. Check the blog post just below this one].

     The latest little hill of stuff, all free and just for you...

     UM ducking or dissing FIU. Why?: Very curious the University of Miami's decision to stop playing crosstown upstart Florida International University in revenue sports -- which in turn led angry FIU to stop playing UM in other sports, too. Miami cites the schools' 2006 football brawl, but that seems lame. It's been awhile. Plus both schools have different head coaches and athletic directors since then. The Golden Panthers may have started that brawl, but the Hurricanes are guilty in this latest escalation. These schools need to have a relationship and build a natural city rivalry. What's happening now is petty and must not stand.

     Jason Taylor to Patriots?: The former Dolphins sackman is said to prefer New England as his next landing spot, and interest is said to be mutual. It would fit the Patriot m.o. Bill Belichick loves extracting the last fumes of veteran stars. Question: Should Miami have tried harder to reacquire its ex-star rather than see him end up with the chief division rival? 

     Sounds like a notion applicable elsewhere: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Ruud has told Muslims wishing to live in his country under Islamic law to either adapt to Australia or leave. As he put it, Muslims chose to live in Australia and have every right to exercise their freedom to depart. Makes sense.

     Check back. be adding more stuff to this post later.

r.duke wins March Madness Haiku Contest!

     The March Madness Haiku Contest selection committee, holed up in a Motel 8 conference room, has emerged with to declare r.duke the champion of our fourth annual contest. Congratulations, r.duke! E-mail gcote@miamiherald.com, confirm your IP number so I know the prize is going to the right person, provide your address, too, and you'll be receiving in the mail a 264-page NCAA 2009 Men's Final Four Record Book.

     r.duke's winning haiku:


     Generously and controversially, the committee accepted "every" as a two-syllable word in the spirit of the common phonetic pronounciation "ev-ry."

     The prize is tantamount to overall reward for d.duke, who also submitted two other entries the judges liked, with: "Where is Bobby Knight / To throw chairs across the court? / March Madness too sane." And with "Marv Albert bite, bite / Marv Albert a transvestite? / He scores from downtown!"

     (The latter haiku actually was the favorite of some of the committee, but ultimately was downgraded because Albert is associated with NBA broadcasts more than with college hoops).

     Honorable mention to:

     Beau with "Will four ones repeat? / The Mid-Conference says no / Cinderellas dance."

     Colleen with "NIT for me / Alma mater not dancing / Withhold donations."

     Geno with "Mom watching Matlock / Son playing his clarinet / Won't see KU lose."

     OC Dolphin with "A stimulus for Tar Heels / And a bailout for Cards / Don't let them fail." And...

     The shadow knows with "NIT is good / The Big Dance is much better / Basketball now rules."

     Thanks again to all who played!

March 23, 2009

Hallelujah! Marlins stadium vote passes!; plus Wade, WBC bowout, Dolphins

     [Thursday morning update: We've been on a few days' hiatus from the blog, begging your indulgence, but shall return with a vengeance later today. P.S.: The March Madness Haiku Contest ends later today, so this is your last chance to enter your haiku in the MMHC post below...]

     The latest hill of miscellania, all free and just for you...

     Marlins stadium final, FINALLY approved!: Miami-Dade County commissioners took until almost 10:30 last night but finally passed by a 9-4 vote the final hurdle allowing construction to begin on a new Marlins ballpark. The city of Miami had already has approved it, now it was the county's turn to show the same forward-thinking. And it did. Congratulations to the "Miami nine" who voted for progress. Congrats to the Marlins. It's a good day for Miami and South Florida. Click on Marlins Reach Home for my column off last night's big decision.

     The wonder of Wade: Here's how great  Dwyane Wade's season is for the Heat. I was at the Triple-A for NCAA hoops Sunday and caught just the last minute of the Heat win in Detroit. I asked a colleague how many points D-Wade had scored. He answered 39. And my immediate reaction was, "Average."

     Japan shames Team USA in WBC: This is where I avoid making a lame, offensive Pearl Harbor reference. (Oops!) The American squad was all banged up, but it's still pretty embarrassing we can't win an international competition in the sport we [bleep]in' invented! Now, ESPN will present, for your enjoyment, a Japan-Korea championship game. Look for the ratings down there somewhere between women's soccer and cricket.

     Dolphins jeopardize NFL lead in Samoans: Miami traded center Samson Satele to Oakland for a low draft pick. A minor deal but smart, considering the Dolphs had previously acquired Jake Grove from Oakland to replace Satele. It's like Beyonce says. Upgrade me, baby.

     Check back. Will be adding more stuff to this post later.

     Looking to enter our March Madness Haiku Contest? See the post just below this one.

Grand prize revealed! Enter March Madness Haiku Contest now! Deadline fast-approaching!

     [Note: Thanks to those who joined in or followed along in our weekly online chat today. We do it every Monday from 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join live, to read transscripts of past chats, or to post a question at any time]. 

     The blog's March Madness Haiku Contest selection committee has revealed this year's prize: a 264-page 2009 Official Men's Final Four Records Book. Trust me, you want this. It is the bible of the NCAA Tournament and a must for any March Madness fan, with all-time school-by-school results, yearly brackets, records and much more.

     Entries will close at 100 haikus and we were into the 80s when last I checked, so better get your haiku in pronto. Follow the simple rules below and enter here.

     Original post:    

     Here it is, hoopheads: Our blog's fourth annual "March Madness Haiku Contest," celebrating the Aaa1haiku  Aaa1dickv natural marriage of fanatical American men's college basketball and mystical Japanese short-form poetry. Just imagine the two men pictured here are brothers who share each other's interests.

     Two rules only:

     1. Haikus must be about the NCAA Tournament or college basketball and must be in haiku form, meaning precisely 17 syllables. We do NOT require 5-7-5 metrical phrasing, and rhyme-or-no-rhyme is your choice, but only entries of 17 syllables will be considered.

     2. Enter as many times as you like, but only ONE entry per comment, please! (We'll give you plenty of notice as to the deadline for entries). In the case of similar haikus, favored status will be given to the first posted.

     There will be a prize to be announced for the best or most original or inventive haiku. Not sure what. Maybe a 2009 NCAA Final Four Record Book or some such thing.

     (Bonus  tip: "Krzyzewski" is three syllables).

     To give you some idea of what this is all about if you haven't a clue, here were winning entries from the past three years:

     2008 winning haiku-blogger Tococane with: "The Padawan Haith / Will Do Battle With Darth Barnes / The Force Will Prevail"

     2007 co-winning haikus. From Bruce with: "Slighted Syracuse / Sadness Surrounds Snow City / Orange Turned to blue." And from David Tucker with: "The Five Gator Boys / Only Forty Minutes Left / History Awaits."

     And 2006 winning haiku-blogger Kurt from Boca with: "Stay Home and Watch Games / Or Check Scores from the Office / Forget Champ by June."

     (OK, wiseguys and wisegals. Don't like those? Think it's easy? Accept a challenge. Do better).

March 20, 2009

Marlins stadium critics: Shut up! Go away! (with poll); plus Dolphins, naughty Panthers fan (with video) & more

     [Saturday's updated March Madness blog entry -- Day 3: No. 1s UNC, UConn lead surge to 'Sweet8' -- may be found in the post just above this one. Also, March Madness Haiku Contest will close at 100 entries sharp. Enter now!]. 

     The latest hill of miscellania, all free and just for you...

Aaa1marlinstad        Time for losing side in stadium debate to admit defeat: Miami city commissioners on Thursday at last approved the new Marlins stadium, common sense prevailing in a chamber where that isn't always the case. Now Miami-Dade County figures to do the same -- and should -- this coming Monday. At last it is time for the short-sighted, the progress-resistant, the anti-tax zealots and other stadium critics to drop their placards, quit their griping admit they lost in a fair fight. Just as it is time for Marlins' fans obsessed against the Orange Bowl site to get over it, move on and rally behind this major effort to save the Marlins and make Miami big-league. Take a dip in our poll and tell me (and each other) why I'm wrong or you're right.

     Panthers fan exposes breasts at game: And on live TV! Have you seen the video yet? Here it is: Click on Icecapades to watch. But only if you are over 18! [Note to self: Cover more Panthers games].      

Aaa1maria      Sony Ericsson Open suffers double-hit: Just got word Maria Sharapova (shoulder) and Nikolay Davydenko (foot infection) have withdrawn from the major Key Biscayne event that starts this coming week. Sharapova -- pictured soothing her shoulder -- is the hottie who was supposed to be launching her big comeback here after several months' sidelined. Davydenko is only the event's defending men's champion. Ouch. Twice.  

     Fixing March Madness: I have a separate NCAA Tournament blog post (just below this one), but let me say here that early results have confirmed a long-held belief that the bottom dozen or so teams every year have no business playing with the big dogs. The all-time record of 15th and 16th seeds is 4-192. Thursday scores involving bottom-feeders included 103-47 and 101-58. The Tournament needs to accept that Cinderella is largely a myth and start inviting the best 64 teams in America, period.

     Canes bow out of NIT: UM's loss in Gainesville last night ends the Canes' season at 19-13, a disappointment considering the No. 17 preseason ranking. With Jack McClinton leaving, any sort of winning record a year from now will be a minor miracle. To his credit, coach Frank Haith said he is  staying, ready to tough out the expected downturn.  

     Dolphins' trade is small but smart: I like Miami sending a seventh-round draft pick to Jacksonville for 6-7, 310-pound defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who is only 24 and started three games last year. Mainly I like it because seventh-round draft picks usually spend a month in training camp and then the next 10 years asking if you want fries with that. 

     Woman with penis beats other women in tennis; vanquished opponents cry foul: Could I say it if it weren't true? Click on He Said She Said here for the tale.

Aaa1henrik     Golfers Gone Wild: Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson (left) stripping to his undies for a shot out of the water at Doral? Doesn't impress me. Wake me when the trend reaches the LPGA.

     On Donte' Stallworth: Miami police won't confirm reports that the Browns receiver was drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian. With all due respect to presumption of innocence, where do you think the safe bet goes?

     AIG: Avarice, Insolence, Greed: AIG executives accepting $165 million in bonuses prior to public indignation scrapping the plan. Gall has a new face. I say we corral all of those executives, duct-tape a dozen steaks inside their pants, and lock them in a room with a hundred starving pit bulls. Throw Madoff in there, too.

     At least she doesn't wear Dad's bandana: A man impersonating Brooke Hogan performed on a stripper pole at Calle Ocho last week. Wait. What? Oh. That was Brooke Hogan!

     Obey your bumper sticker: Driving home from the vet's office after picking up my dog this morning, I trailed a light-blue Volkswagen Beetle with a JUST BE NICE bumper sticker. From the window flew a lit cigarette butt. Throw that guy in the steak-pants room, too. 

     Latest round of thanks...: for growing our modest little franchise go out to BCLocalNews (Victoria, British Columbia), Chicago Daily Herald, Detroit Free Press, Miami New Times, National Post of Toronto, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Seattle Times, Vernon (British Columbia) Morning Star, Wall Street Journal, and of course 790 The Ticket (Tuesdays, 4:20 p.m.) as always. Thanks as well to UM for having me speak to one of its journalism classes. Also recently taped several segments for top-10-themed shows that will be airing on NFL Network this summer and fall. Consider yourself warned.

     Check back. Will add more stuff to this post later. Meantime check out our March Madness blog and enter of March Madness Haiku Contest. Deadline almost upon us!

March 17, 2009

QB Jay Cutler to Dolphins? (with poll); plus NCAA odds, All-Time Patricks, Bryce Brown, Haith's non-denial & more

Aaa1patrick3_2 Aaa1patrick2_2      Hey, Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody! Check at the bottom of this blog post for our All-Time South Florida All-Patrick team. Meantime, ponder how, over the years, the symbol for St. Patrick's Day has changed from the man at left to the man at right. This may or may not mark an advancement for civilization.

     The latest ration, all free and just for you...

     QAaa1cutleruarterback Jay Cutler's relationship with new Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has deteriorated to the point Cutler has asked to be traded. Interest would be huge. The Jets, Bears, Vikings and 49ers come to mind. Question: Should Miami be interested?

     Cutler, 6-3, turns 26 in April and is coming off a Pro Bowl season of 4,526 yards and 25 TDs. Chad Pennington also is coming off a great year but turns 33 in June. There is little doubt Cutler would be an upgrade especially with age factored in. The issue is how much it might take to acquire him. Would you give up Pennington and the No. 1 draft pick? Even more? Would you offer Chad Henne and a No. 2 pick? Or would you say no thanks and stick with the Flying Chads?

     I think Cutler is special and that Miami should seriously investigate doing what it takes to get him, within reason. Click on Jay Time for my column. Then take a dip in our poll and drop a comment to 'splain your opinion.

     [Note: The above is our 56th blogpoll to surpass 1,000 votes within th first 24 hours, this one easily. Thanks again. Keep those votes coming!]

Aaa1blakeg      March Madness odds: From our friends at BetUS.com, wagering favorites to be the tournament's leading scorer are Oklahoma's Blake Griffin (pictured) at 2-1; North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough at 5-2; Kansas' Sherron Collins at 7-2; and, at 4-1 each, Duke's Kyle Singler, LSU's Marcus Thornton and Arizona State's James Harden. The group at 5-1 includes FSU's Toney Douglas.    

     Bryce Brown a Tennessee Vol: As first reported by The Herad in this blog, this afternoon the nation's No. 1 high-school football recruit, running back Bryce Brown from Wichita, announced at a news conference that he will play for Tennessee, the last school he visited. Hometown Kansas State, LSU, Oregon and Miami were Brown's other finalsist, although we'd been told accurately and reported earlier in this blog that the kid had eliminated Miami despite his early soft committment here.

     Frank Haith's tepid non-denial: Here was the UM men's basketball coach's response today to a report he may be interested in the Alabama opening: "'Obviously I've heard the rumors about me looking at other jobs, or people being interested in me and that's just what they are -- rumors. I'm not going to give that any time, each time my name is mentioned with a job. I want to get that out there first so we can move on to something important, which is us being in the postseason four out of five years.'' Hmm. Nowhere in there are you denying interest, Frank.

Aaa1riley3_2      All-Time Patricks/Pats: In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we rank the nine professional Patricks or Pats who have played or coached for the Dolphins, Marlins, Panthers or Heat: 1. Pat Riley, Heat coach, 1995-03, 2005-08: No-brainer. Hall of Famer. The Pat by which all other Pats are measured. 2. Patrick Surtain, Dolphins CB, 1998-2004. Tied for fourth in club history with 29 picks. 3. Pat Rapp, Marlins P, 1993-97. Won 37 games as semi-reliable, not-bad starter. 4. Patrick Cobbs, Dolphins RB, 2006-present. Capable young No. 3 back. 5. Pat Cummings, Heat F/C, 1988-90. Journeyman, expansion-era rebounding grunt. 6. Pat Jones, Dolphins assistant coach, 1996-2003. Maybe should rank higher, but nobody cares about assistant coaches. 7. Patrick LeBeau, Panthers RW, 1993-94. Played four games, scored one goal. 8. Pat Swoopes, Dolphins DE, 1991. Inconsequential cup of coffee. But at least I've heard of him. 9. Pat Johnson, Dolphins S, 1995. Cup o' joe. Never heard of him.

     Blog contest alert!: Our fourth annual MARCH MADNESS HAIKU CONTEST will hit the blog sometime Wednesday. Get ready to stake your claim to a fabulous prize! All entries must be in haiku form, or precisely 17 syllables! So get those poetic juices flowing. Remember, though: Don't enter here. Wait for the official March Madness Haiku Contest blog post coming Wednesday!

March 15, 2009

On Frank Haith (with poll); plus Phil wins Doral, WBC, Wade, O.J., Obama picking his nose & more

    Live online chat today/Monday 1-2 p.m! Click HERE to join live or to post a question at any time.

     [NCAA Selection Sunday update: Big East triumvirate Louisville, Pitt and UConn all garner No. 1 regional seeds along with ACC'er North Carolina. UM is relegated to the NIT as expected. Check back because coming soon the blog will have its annual March Madness Haiku Contest. That's right. You heard it. A March Madness Haiku Contest. The uninformed ought to Google "haiku" and get to creating because huge prizes will be offered. Not really. But still].

     The latest hill of miscellania, all free and just for you...

     Mickelson hangs on, wins Doral event: Phil Mickelson wins World Golf Championship event at Doral today, outlasting by one stroke unheralded Nick Watney. Tiger Woods finished eight strokes off the pace in his first match-play event since June knee surgery. Note: Click here for my Mickelson column off the final round, online now and shipping to Monday's paper.

Aaa1frankh     UM losing Frank Haith to Alabama?: He is interested in filling the Crimson Tide's men's basketball coaching vacancy, according to the CBS Sports website. Canes are coming off a disappointing season -- when you were ranked as high as 16th in the polls but settle for the NIT, that's disappointing -- but Haith remains a strong recruiter and good coach whom I hope the school can keep. Yet I can't blame him being receptive to a move away from UM's lukewarm fan support to a real college hoops atmosphere. Take a dip in our Haith poll and drop a thought if you'd like.

Aaa1pr      Team USA stays alive, beats Netherlands: That was tonight. But still can't get over Puerto Rico beating Team USA 11-1 in World Baseball Classic play at Dolphin Stadium on Saturday. That was bad enough, the insult only worsened by the "mercy rule." (What is this, Little League?) Every bit as bad as the loss was the crowd of 30,000-plus being pro-Puerto Rico. Sad, sad. Reminds me of when the U.S. and Mexico play in soccer in L.A. and you'd think you were in Guadalajara. I love that Miami is a host for these games -- the WBC is a great event -- but you can bet Team USA would rather be in an America city that actually offered a home-field advantage. Alas, that wasn't the case here last night. [Postscript: I happened to catch the end of the game last night at the Hard Rock Casino -- hey, a busy sports journalist needs to wind down! -- and a few Puerto Rico fans were blowing whistles to celebrate. In the casino! Rude, no?]. By the way, the Netherlands will always be Holland to me. What can I say?

     Dwyane being Dwyane: D-Wade drops 50 on the Jazz last night to continue an MVP-worthy season for the Heat. Oh yeah, by the way, in doing so he surpassed Alonzo Mourning as the cluib's all-time leading scorer. The milestone is almost unnecessary in Wade's case. He is so obviously and clearly the greatest player in franchise history, we hardly need a table of stats to tell us.   

Aaa1me_49      "Dear Greg...": ..."Your blog is OK, but would be that much better if occasionally you would show a personal photo of yourself out and about. Perhaps even a photo that Mrs. Cote might not necessarily appreciate because it shows you at a sports-related event in the company of a young fan who isn't but appears to be wearing lingerie. A photo such as this might illustrate how hard sports writers work and help in some way to haul the newspaper industry out of its current abyss. Thank you."

      Golf rules overboard!: The PGA Tour sent out this explainer on Aaron Baddeley's disqualification from the event at Doral for signing an incorrect scorecard: "Baddeley hit his tee shot into the hazard on Aaa1aaron2 No. 3. He called for a rules official to determine if he could move a stone that was under his foot during his stance. The rules official informed Baddeley that he could not intentionally move the stone. When Baddeley reached No. 9, he realized that during the second round, he had hit his tee shot into the same hazard and HAD moved a stone that was under his foot in his stance. He called a rules official again, and Baddeley was asked if he intentionally moved the stone, or if it happened incidentally as he took his stance. Baddeley determined that it was intentional, therefore calling a penalty on himself (violation of Rule 13.4c). Since the penalty occurred during the second round, Baddeley had signed an incorrect scorecard and is therefore disqualified." So it wasn't enough that Baddeley -- pictured here trying to balance a cap on his head -- was honest and called a one-stroke penalty on himself when he didn't have to. They had to DQ him? Silly.

Aaa1oj      O.J. has his hand out. Anybody got a machete?: A website has been set up to raise monetary donations for O.J. Simpson.  So let me get this straight. With America in its worst economic condition in decades, Americans hurting for money are being asked to donate to one of the nation's most notorious dirtbags. Hey, good luck with that!

    Aaa1obama_2 President mines nostril for gold: It turns out Barack Obama is human just like the rest of us, only smarter. The president is pictured here picking his nose, following the instruction of a teleprompter. This photo is a world exclusive of this blog. Unless you've seen it before, in which case I stole it. (Click on photo to see a larger, clearer version in a separate window).

    [Can't get enough Dolphins? Opine on the team's work in free agency so far and partake of a related poll in the blog post just below this].

March 13, 2009

CB Samari Rolle, WR Torry Holt to Dolphins? (with poll); plus Ouch! UM one and done in ACC & Rory McIlroy on doubting Tiger

     The latest, all free and just for you...

Aaa1dolphs      Dolphins free-agency report card: Baltimore has confirmed it plans to release cornerback Samari Rolle and his $4.1 million salary, and St. Louis has released wide receiver Torry Holt -- both positions of need for the Dolphins, both interesting possibilities. Rolle is 32 but has started 47 games the past four years for a very good defense. Does that make him good enough to start for Miami? Sure seems he is better or at least more proven than recently signed Eric Green. Holt, also 32, has been a hugely productive receiver who may have a big year or two left. Should Miami pursue either or both? Also, with the first wave of signings and departures in, do you like what you've seen so far? I don't mean the cheerleader here. I mean, has the team improved? As free agency continues and the draft fast-approaches, what are the team's biggest holes or needs? Take a dip in our poll and elaborate by dropping a comment below.

     [Thanks once more. You have made the above our 55th blogpoll to surpass 1,000 votes within the first 24 hours. Keep 'em coming! By the way, this week's Sports Illustrated has an early NFL mock draft, and in it Miami at No. 25 is selecting Cal center Alex Mack. Umm, I don't think so, SI...]

Aaa1acc      Oy! UM out in first round of ACCs, out of hope: Miami got whipped by Virginia Tech today 65-47 in the opener of the ACC Tournament in Atlanta. Jack McClinton obviously was not himself, scoring only nine points with seven turnovers. UM needed to win at least twice in the tournament for a shot at an NCAA Tournament invitation. Now, alas, the season will be spelled N.I.T on Selection Sunday. Still a successful year? Hard to think that right now, isn't it?

     Tiger isn't his old self yet: One of the neat things about a blog is that I can more informally pass along information that by itself might not merit an entire story or column but is nonetheless interesting. So in that spirit, this:

     One of my friends and blog spies attended the Heat-Boston game here -- the game another feather Aaa1rory in Dwyane Wade's burgeoning MVP headdress, but I digress -- and happened to be seated next to Rory McIlroy, (pictured left) the 19-year-old Northern Ireland golf phenom and potential "Next Tiger" playing at Doral this week. Proof of my friend's credentials as a serious golf fan is that he recognized Rory McIlroy, who I wouldn't know from Adam (Scott). They conversed, and McIlroy said, "I hear Tiger's not playing well," further leaving the clear impression that, within the tour, the word is Tiger Woods isn't right yet phyiscally, isn't back all the way.

     Soon after, unsolicited, a veteran golf photographer who shot his practice round Wednesday emailed me that he thought Woods "seemed distracted, not fully there."

     I followed Woods on Wednesday for a column -- click on El Tigre to accesss -- but do not pretend to have discerned enough from one practice round to agree he isn't right. But in the column I do raise the issue of Tiger facing doubts maybe for the first time, at age 33, coming off knee surgery, coming off a long hiatus, and after a disappointing match-play performance in his return.

     Will he ever again be as dominant as he was? We can't know yet. Don't know now, with Tiger trailing leader Phil Mickelson by 10 strokes at Doral's midpoint. Might not know after Sunday, either. But it is a fair question, and one that will override the PGA Tour in 2009. Your thoughts welcome.

Aaa1baconbra      "Dear Greg...: ...your blog's OK, but it would be much better if occasionally you would show a picture of a woman wearing a "bra" consisting entirely of strips of bacon. I truly believe this might help extricate the newspaper industry from its current woes." 

     Click back. Likely adding more stuff to this post later. Seriously.

March 10, 2009

Dwyane Wade is God; plus Tiger Woods nude (with poll), WBC, Japanese eating from toilets & more

     The latest hill of sports pearls and cultural observations, all free and just for you:

Aaa1dwyane      Dwyane Wade is God: I don't mean that as an insult. I truly believe that God deserves to be mentioned in the same company. Did you see the latest Wade magic to win last night's Heat game? The tear he has been on since the all-star break is like nothing we have witnessed locally since Dan Marino in 1984. The season he is having is simply phenomenal. I explore Wade's MVP chances in a column that is online now -- click here to access it -- and shipping to Wednesday's paper. Kobe Bryant or LeBron James might still be the smart-money picks, but Wade looks more and more like the guy who deserves to win. Yes?

Aaa1tiger_2     Tiger Woods is among us: The great wizard of the small dimpled ball has landed in our midst preparatory to a practice round at Doral tomorrow/Wednesday morning, and then the World Golf Championship event the Blue Monster is hosting starting Thursday. Woods is pictured here in the nude. (OK he might be wearing pants. But we don't know that). Take a dip in our poll and tell Tiger what you think of him. (I am told he is a big fan of this blog. Actually I am told no such thing. But he might be!)

Aaa1wbc      World Baseball Classic rocks!: I am avidly following the WBC and I don't care who knows it. I am looking forward to the WBC games at Dolphin Stadium and I hope Team USA kicks the rest of the world's ass and I don't care who knows that, either. Although I must admit much of my liking the WBC has to do with it being more real and interesting than regular spring-training baseball.

     One more reason to loathe Bernard Madoff: Now the shamed swindler argues in court that his wife should get to keep the $70 million of his stolen money that is in her name. The only thing worse than a heinous thief is a heinous thief with gall.Aaa1mt2


     Am no longer hungry. Just flushed down big meal: In Japan there is a new and remarkably successful restaurant chain called Modern Toilet. Diners are seated on toilets and food is served in bowls shaped like small commodes. I could not possibly be making this up.

     Urban language: Speaking of toilets, Florida football coach Urban Meyer, Aaa1urban appearing at a Nike Coach of the Year clinic in Pennsylvania, repeatedly used the word [bleep], by which I mean a four-letter word that is the more ribald cousin of "crap" and rhymes with "snit." Meyer is pictured here, possibly getting ready to swear. See, all you Randy Shannon haters. All least Randy doesn't say s--- in public!

     Why newspapers are struggling: You may have heard the latest round of major cutbacks is hitting The Miami Herald this week. Jobs will be lost. I don't know that mine won't be. To help explain why my industry is hurting, click here for an interesting YouTube video on the advancement of information technology. I find the piece inspiring and frightening in equal measure. Five minutes well spent.

     American Idol phone sex: American Idol owns the phone numbers 1-866-IDOLS01 through 12. But this season there will be a 13th finalist. And the number 1-866-IDOLS13 happens to be owned by a phone sex operation. I only knew that by reading about it. I swear.

Aaa1bill     A mildly off-color joke...: ...making the Internet rounds points out that Barack Obama signed his stimulus package at the same desk where Bill Clinton got his package stimulated. (Oy! Can I say that in a newspaper blog!?) 

     Latest round of thanks...: ...include the Chicago Daily Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, San Diego Union Tribune, Seattle Times and Vernon (British Columbia) Morning Star for running our stuff. And of course 790 the Ticket, which I am on Tuesdays (today) around 4:20 p.m. Also am taping some new stuff with NFL Films later this week. Will let you know when it is to air.

     Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this post later. I say that mostly so you might click back. But also because it's usually true.