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16 posts from April 2009

April 29, 2009

Beck's place among Dolphins' 2R draft busts; plus Fredi on hot seat?, Torretta & more

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     The latest little ration...

     Dolphins' Top 10 (Bottom 10?) Second-Round Draft Busts: Lot of chatter lately about the second round, what with Miami drafting Pat White and cutting John Beck back to back. Here is our list of the franchise's 10 worst 2R picks:

     1. Eddie "Earthquake" Blake, OG, Auburn, 1992 (43rd overall) -- Injured his entire rookie season, never played a down for Miami.

     2. Chuck Bradley, C, Oregon, 1973 (52nd) -- Heady days for the franchise, no thanks to that pick. On IR as a rookie; never played a down.

     3. Andrew Greene, OG, Indiana, 1995 (53rd) -- Started one game and long gone after one year.

     4. Eddie Moore, LB, Tennessee, 2003 (49th) -- IR as a rookie, three career starts, gone by '95.

     5. Stan Winfrey, RB, Arkansas State, 1975 (49th) -- Zero starts, 55 carries in two seasons.

     6. John Beck, QB, Brigham Young, 2007 (40th) -- Failed in four-start shot as rookie, inactive third stringer by '08, released outright by '09.

     7. Jay Brophy, LB, Miami, 1984 (53rd) -- Eleven starts across first two seasons, then gone.

     8. Jim Keyes, LB/PK, Mississippi, 1968 (35th) -- Didn't play defense, 7-16 on FGs as rookie.

     9. Loaird McCreary, TE, Tennessee State, 1976 (49th) -- Three seasons, no starts, seven catches.

     10. Guy Benjamin, QB, Stanford, 1978 (51st) -- Twelve pass attempts as reserve, gone by year three.

     Note: See, poor Rick Graf (25 starts, 1987-90) wasn't that bad. Well, relatively speaking.

     Division-champ Dolphins an '09 longshot: Did Miami actually go 11-5 and win the AFC East? You wouldn't know it by the lack of respect based on betting odds for this year. BetUS.com's new post-draft NFL odds have the Patriots  favored to win the Super Bowl at 6-1 followed by the Steelers (9-1) and Giants (10-1). The Dolphins? A distant 45-1. That's tied for 23rd-longest odds. In a 32-team league.

Aaa1fredig      Fredi on the hot seat?: I know, right? Ridiculous. He isn't. Or shouldn't be. Heck, Marlins are 13-8 after a second-straight win today vs. the Mets. But for what it's worth the same BetUS.com has the Marlins' Gonzalez (pictured) as 8-1 to be the first manager fired this year. Washington's Manny Acta "leads" at 2-1. Only eight managers (including Yankee Joe Girardi at 6-1) are deemed on a hotter seat than Our Man Fredi. The two grains of plausibility are that 1) any regime that fires a manager-of-the-year (as Florida did with Girardi) must be considered a bit mercurial, and 2) the 11-1 start sets up the season (and Fredi) to be judged as underachieving if there is no playoff contention. Would I put Fredi on the hot seat entering May. Not even close. But might he be there in four months? I could see it.

Aaa1ginot      College Football Hall of Fame inductees: Former Hurricanes QB Gino Torretta (1989-92, pictured) has been inducted into the college hall. That Heisman, its echo lasts a lifetime. In all 16 will be inducted anew. Other nominees include former Cane Russell Maryland (DT, 1986-90) and ex-Dolphins Jake Scott  (Georgia), Marco Coleman (Georgia Tech) and Bobby Humphrey (Alabama). My question: Who gives a crap about the College Football Hall of Fame? Actually I think that's a statement more than a question.

Aaa1swine      Boycott Muscle Milk: Been meaning to mention. Did you see, on NFL Draft day, the scene in which LB Clay Matthews and three of his goon-friends all were wearing "Muscle Milk" T-shirts while bottles of the product sat on the coffee table for the ESPN cameras? Whore-TV should refuse to air such a ridiculously commercial scene. Matthews, ESPN and the offending product all should be embarrassed. It's almost enough to make me want to start a rumor that Muscle Milk causes Swine Flu. Almost.   

     Click back. Adding more stuff here later.

April 27, 2009

Dolphins release QB John Beck

Aaa1beck     [Join the following at Twitter.com/gregcote. Looking for Heat-Hawks Game 4 post? Find it immediately below this post].

     Just announced. Obviously the club failed in efforts to trade him. Evidently couldn't even get a lousy 7th-round pick for him. GM Jeff Ireland said in a statement: "We want to thank John for his work ethic and professionalism." Greg Cote said in a statement: "We want to thank John for  being one of the worst second-round picks in recent memory."

     Your favorite Beck memories and highlights go here. Please. Keep them brief!

Red Sox executive to be Dolphins CEO?; plus punching Jose Canseco & more

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     (Note: Blog posts on the Dolphins draft, including a grade-the-draft poll, may be found immediately below this post).

Aaa1mikedee      Bosox marketing whiz to head Dolphins' makeover?: Boston Red Sox chief operating officer and Fenway Sports Group president Mike Dee (pictured) will become CEO of the Dolphins in a decision to be announced imminently, according to today's Boston Herald online. It is reported in a gossipy-type column called Inside Track, but neverthless is made to sound pretty certain. Click here for the story and take it for what it's worth. This would not be a football/team-related role. Dee would be in charge of the franchise's business side and stadium operations, and probably be the pointman for new owner Stephen Ross' plan to increase the Dolphins' brand and make games more of a celebrity-attracting happening. Dee's areas of expertise are said to include marketing and building brand loyalty. The integral, beloved way the Red Sox  are associated with Boston obviously is what Ross has in mind for the Dolphins and South Florida.

     This is me, bragging: I told you exclusively in this very blog way back on Jan. 12 (you could look it up) that Bill Parcells was enamored of Pat White and hoped to draft him for the Wildcat. I must Pat myself on the back, since opportunities to crow about being right are so rare. :)

     Will the real Marlins...: Are the Marlins the team that was 11-1? Or the team that has lost six straight? If you have any idea, please tell me.

Aaa1jose      Would you like to punch Jose Canseco in the face?: Who wouldn't? I know I would. You may enroll to do so this Saturday, May 2, from noon to 4 p.m. at Miami-Dade Mall and (for a $50 sign-up fee) you may be selected to fight Canseco (pictured) on June 27 in a "celebrity boxing match" in Fort Lauderdale. E-mail info@mediaproductions.tv for more details. The sign-up is taking place at the mall's Smoking Everywhere kiosk, which sells "electric cigarettes." I am not certain which is more pathetic: Canseco boxing. Or an "electric cigarette." Entrants must have no pro or amateur boxing experience. I would imagine most of the people signing up will be former baseball players Canseco -- The Man For Whom Reality-TV Was Invented -- has ratted out in his tell-all books.

     The perks of being No. 1: New Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford, top overall draft pick, will present David Letterman's Top 10 list tonight. If at least one or two lines don't make fun of the Lions I'll be disappointed, Dave.

     Fantasy baseball update: Adler's Marlsox finished week three in fourth place of 10 teams with 59 points (down from third and 68.5 a week ago). Thanks for nothing, Matt Lindstrom.  Also, if somebody wants to wake up David Wright's bat I'd sure appreciate it.

     Latest round of thanks...: ...to all who joined our live online chat today. An especially big response. We do it every Monday from 1-2; click here to join live, to read transcripts or to post a question at any time. Thanks also to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Indianapolis radio, RotoTimes.com and 790 The Ticket (as always) for growing the product.

April 26, 2009

Grade the Dolphins draft (with poll); Day 2 brings 2 WRs, TE, S, OT, OLB

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     (Go to blog post just below this one to comment on Dolphins' Day 1 draft and vote in a poll specific to top pick Vontae Davis!) 

     The Dolphins' 2009 draft -- led by Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis and West Virginia Wildcat- specialist Pat White -- is complete. We'll know in a year or three how good the draft really was, but why wait! Take a dip in our poll and toss an instant grade at Team Tuna:

    [Congrats! You all have made the above our 60th blogpoll to surpass 1,000 votes. Keep 'em coming...]

    NFL Day 2 Dolphin picks:

Aaa1pturner      3R (87th) -- Patrick Turner, WR, Southern Cal. An underachieving college career, but I like the pick from a balance standpoint. I advocated WR as a primary need and hoped they'd go there No. 1, so finally at least they target the position. Click on Patrick Turner (pictured right) for his bio and stats.

Aaa1brianh      4R (108) -- Brian Hartline, WR, OhioState. Well, two wideouts in a row to start Day 2. I think that's an acknowledgement this was a huge need. (Maybe even one that should have been addressed on Day 1, dare say!) Click on Brian Hartline (pictured left) for bio and stats.

Aaa1johnn      5R (161) -- John Nalbone, TE, Monmouth. Doesn't seem like a real position need. Click on John Nalbone (pictured right) for bio and stats.

Aaa1chrisc       5R (165) -- Chris Clemons, S, Clemson. Depth at safety sounds like a fair idea. Still no pass rusher. Welcome back, Jason Taylor? Sure beginning to seem like it. Click on Chris Clemons (pictured left) bio and stats.

      Aaa1andrewg6R (181) -- Andrew Gardner, OT, Georgia Tech. Depth on the O-line never a bad idea. First pick on either oline for Miami. Click on Andrew Gardner (pictured right) for bio and stats.

Aaa1jd      7R (214) -- J.D. Folsom, OLB, Weber State. Finally, a pass rusher. But likely too low to make a difference. Meaning it's still JT time! Click on J.D. Folsom (pictured left) bio and stats.

     [Final pick (7r/237 )traded to Kansas City]

     One thing to look out for: Miami did not draft a pass rusher yesterday. If they don't hit that need hard and early today, it would seem to me to increase the likelihood they'll end up re-signing Jason Taylor.  

     Gems are harder to come by on Day 2 but they're out there to be mined. Dolphin draft picks in the third round or later have included, chronologically: Dick Anderson, Mercury Morris, Jake Scott, Vern Den Herder, Nat Moore, Doug Betters, Tony Nathan, Mark Clayton, Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor. (Also Larry Seiple, Jim Kiick, Ed Newman, Duriel Harris, Jim Jensen, Reggie Roby and ... you get the idea). Most recent Day 2 keepers have included Yeremiah Bell and Channing Crowder.

     Somebody drafted today will turn out to be a Dolphins star for years. Let's find out who. We'll update this blog post with Miami's Day 2 picks throughout the day and invite your astute commentary.

     ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

     GUESS-THE-NO. 1-PICK CONTEST RESULTS: Nobody wins! Actually four of our bloggerhood correctly had Vontae Davis in the first round: pjs918, rostrancane, jimbo and Herbal Minded aka HM. But none survived the tiebreaker by accurately guessing one of the second round picks. Sometime between now and the season we'll have another Dolphin-related contest and give away that media guide. Promise. Or maybe I'll take one media guide and split it four ways for the above disappointed sort-of winners.

     MOCK DRAFT RESULTS: Mixed results. My annual mock draft correctly included 29 of 32 first-round players, or 91 percent -- better than my career mark of 77% going in. But I had only 5 direct hits (exact player to exact team), or 16 percent -- below my career average of 23%. My Dolphins pick (Darrius Heyward-Bey) was doomed early when Oakland picked him 7th.

April 25, 2009

Dolphins Day 1 draft: Vontae Davis No. 1! (with rate-the-pick poll); Pat White, Sean Smith in 2nd

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     [Heat playoff blog in post just below this one]

Aaa1vontae Aaa1nfldraft     Dolphins select Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis (pictured) No. 1 with the NFL Draft's 25th overall selection. Y'all know I advocated a wide receiver. But hard to argue with a corner many thought would go earlier, in a position of need. Click on Solid Pick for my column on the Dolphins' Day 1 draft, online now and shipping to Sunday's paper.

     Dolphins take West Virginia QB Pat White with their first second-round pick (44th overall). That's a likelihood we told you about several weeks ago in this blog. Miami likes White as part of its Wildcat package offensively.

     Miami makes Utah CB Sean Smith its second 2nd-round pick, 61st overall, after a slight tradedown. I don't pretend to know Smith, though do think it a bit odd they'd draft the same position they took first.

     Other notable 1R picks:

     No. 1 -- Lions take QB Matthew Stafford, as expected.

     No. 5 -- Jets in a major tradeup from 17th and select USC QB Mark Sanchez. If he's as good as they hope, that's a major AFC East player and now a concern of Miami's for years.

     No. 7 -- Oy! Raiders surprise everybody by picking Darrius Heyward-Bey  -- the guy I had Miami taking 25th. That's a reach for him to go so high, but I think it underlines how good he is and what a great pick he'd have been for the Dolphins.

     No. 11 -- Dolphins division-mate Bills select Penn State DE Aaron Maybin. 

     No. 16 -- Chargers take Northern Illinois OLB Larry English. This is the first player drafted (other than Heyward-Bey) who I think the Dolphins expected might be available at 25 and might have considered.

     No. 18 -- Broncos take Tennessee DE/OLB Robert Ayers, another guy I think Miami would have considered.

     Original post: 

     The Dolphins are on the clock in the NFL Draft, selecting 25th in the first round and probably making their pick in the 7 o'clock hour. In my Mock Draft I have the team choosing Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey but admit not feeling real confident about that, given Bill Parcell's drafting track record. A defensive player may be more likely, but we'll soon see.

     Comments welcome here on draft day in general and on how the unfolding picks might affect the Dolphins. Once Miami picks, weigh in with your instant reaction to the choice. Within seconds of the pick we'll also have a poll here for your gut-reaction to the selection.

     [Blog note: Due to popular demand we have reverted to our former Comments format, meaning comments now appear chronologically again, not with the most recent comments listed first. Thanks for the input, by the way. Remember: This blog is your blog, this blog is my blog, from California to the New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters ... this blog was made for you and me!]

Who will Dolphins take No. 1? (Contest now closed; winner announced Sunday morning)

     [Hey what are you waiting for!? Click on Twitter.com/gregcote to join the following because it's fast, free and fun and I asked you nicely].

     Blog note: Due to popular demand we have reverted to our former Comments format, meaning comments now appear chronologically again, not with the most recent comments listed first. Thanks for the input, by the way. Remember: This blog is your blog, this blog is my blog, from California to the New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters ... this blog was made for you and me!

    My 18th annual NFL Mock Draft has appeared magically online -- click on Quit Mocking Me! to read  -- preparatory to it landing in Saturday's newspaper. (Thanks, by the way. Y'all have made my Mock Draft the most viewed/read thing in the entire website!) It no longer is a secret that I believe Miami will draft Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey No. 1 and 25th overall on Saturday. (Although I do admit it may be wishful thinking and probably isn't the safest pick).

     Now it's your turn. Tell me why I'm right or wrong, and let me know who you think Miami will choose first. IT'S A CONTEST! One entry per IP address, please. I check. Multiple entries eliminates you. Give me one name only for Miami's top pick!!! Then, as a tiebreaker, give me a second name for a second-round pick.

     Enter now because in the event of a tie even after the second-round tiebreaker, the first winning entry received of those tied will win. Entries close at 4 p.m. sharp as the draft begins!

     Prize: A 650-page 2009 Miami Dolphins Media Guide & Record Book.

April 23, 2009

Dolphins Pre-Draft Poll!; plus LB Clay Matthews to Miami? (& much more)

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Aaa1clay      Final Dolphins pre-draft poll! (Probably, maybe): Been two weeks since our last Dolphins draft poll. We're due! Miami is in the throes of indecision with what to do with the No. 25 overall pick. His Tunaness Bill Parcells isn't asking for your help, or mine, but let's give it to him anyway! I say my piece with a column online now and in today's paper; click on Better to Receive. The new Sports Illustrated in my mailbox today has Southern Cal linebacker Clay Matthews (pictured right) to Miami in Peter King's mock. (I can see that; I mention the Matthews possibility in my aforementioned column). But what do you think? Take a dip in our poll. Remember we're asking what you think the Dolphins SHOULD do with the pick. Let us know why, or if that's different than what you think they WILL do.

     Deaths of polo horses blamed on Somali pirates: Not really. I just wanted to come up with a gratuitous "read me" headline. Having said that, the Somali pirates have yet to deny involvement in the recent deaths due to poisoning of 21 polo horses in Palm Beach. [Brief aside: Waiting for the PETA press release blaming the horse deaths on people who eat meat].

     Singing a Dire Tune: This week's Boston Marathon was won by an Ethiopian man named Deriba Merga and a woman from Kenya named Salina Kosgei. The best part? I had both in my office-pool bracket. Also of note: The women's runnerup was named Dire Tune. Seriously. Dire Tune. Who finished third? Funeral Dirge?

     Pace of play unsatisfactory: Anybody but me think it's ridiculous that Game 2 of the Heat-Hawks series is three days after Game 1? These first-round NBA playoff series will last up to two weeks. Dumb. Wake up, Stern!

Aaa1perezhilton2 Aaa1perezhilton     Beauty vs. blogger: Miss California is claiming she didn't win the Miss USA pageant the other night because, when asked about gay marriage, she admitted that in her family marriage was considered to be a man-and-woman thing. (Bulletin: It's a free country. She is allowed to have that opinion). The questioner was judge and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who has since gone on a media blitz bashing the contestant and her views. (That's gay-bashing, but the other way). I must side with Miss Cali here, as I find it philosophically difficult to agree with any views held by a person who rips off Paris Hilton's name and dresses like this guy.

Aaa1umpartyAaa1jj       Hurricanes earn coveted party crown: Playboy has named the University of Miami the No. 1 party school in the nation. Is there is a trophy involved? If so, here's betting it was left in a South Beach club this morning at around 4 a.m. Cannot confirm UM athletic officials are presently checking with lawyers to determine if the university is allowed to claim the party-school title as an ACC championship. (Pictured left: UM students studying for a chemistry exam. Right: Jimmy Johnson celebrates UM honor).

     Helio outraces government: Had the weirdest dream last night. Helio Castroneves taking the checkered flag in an IndyCar race, finishing a split-second ahead of a car filled with federal prosecutors in business suits.

     Click back soon! Love, Twitter.com/gregcote

April 20, 2009

Marlins' start vs. history; plus Dolphins' latest draft guess & much more

     [Join the army. It's fast, free and fun. Twitter.com/gregcote]

     [Note: Marlins beaten in Pittsburgh tonight, 8-0, ending 7-game win streak and falling to 11-2].

Aaa1marlins      Marlins' 11-1 start in historical perspective: Did a little research on the best 20-game starts in major-league history. Here is what the best start in Marlins history is chasing in terms of the best overall starts of the last three decades, since 1980: 18-2---1984 Tigers and 1987 Brewers; 17-3---1981 A's and 2003 Yankees; 16-4---Nine times; most recently 2005 White Sox.

     As far as best 12-game starts, the 1982 Braves and 1987 Brewers are the only teams this century to start 12-0. The last to start 11-1 before Florida right now were the Royals and Giants, both in 2003. In other words, the Marlins' start isn't just great. It's pretty are historically.

Aaa1nicks      Will Dolphs on clock mean time for Nicks?: For what it's worth -- and everybody including your mother has a Mock Draft this time of year -- the new MD by respected Pat Kirwan of NFL.com has Miami selecting North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks 25th overall. Nicks is pictured at right holding up five fingers, as in 5x5=25 to Miami. Kirwan had previously guessed Rutgers WR Kenny Britt for the Dolphins. Kirwan guesses the second round, too, and has Miami taking Boston College nose-tackle Ron Brace 44th and Southern Cal defensive end Fili Moala 56th. (Monday night update: Just saw that another mock-d has Miami drafting Connecitcut cornerback Darius Butler. For what that's worth). 

     Stock rising in fantasy league: Our beloved Adler's Marlsox have moved up to 3rd place in our 10-team league after two weeks, with 68.5 points. That's 8.5 off the lead. We were 5th a week ago. Pitching led by Johan Santana has been great, and got a big salami el grande from Matt Kemp yesterday. Now getting Ichiro off the DL. (For those who have wondered about our team name: Marlsox is a combo of Marlins and Red Sox, my two favorite teams. Adler's is a nostalgic nod back to my first Little League team. Our sponsor was Adler's Rexall, a long-gone drug store in west Hollywood).

     Latest round of thanks...: ...to all who joined our live online chat today. We do it every Monday from 1-2 p.m. Click here to join live or to post a question at any time. Also, most recent thanks for running my stuff to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Washington Post and, as always, 790 The Ticket.

Aaa1brooklyn2      Andy Roddick's nuptials: Tennis player Andy Roddick got married over the weekend to model Brooklyn Decker (pictured). Never again will I accuse him of having a bad year. Still think Andy is an underachiever who can't win the big one. Only now he's an underachiever who can't win the big one but is going home to that.

April 15, 2009

Rough seas for Dolphins in '09 (with poll); plus Fire Isiah T-shirts? Welcome to Miami!; tea-party idiots & more

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     Bulletin: Dolphins' schedule is really, really hard!: You may have heard that Miami will have the NFL's toughest schedule in 2009 based on opponents' combined 2008 records. It suggests to me the Dolphins could have a better team this year and still not make the playoffs. Click on Voice or Doom or Voice of Reason? for my column online now and shipping to Thursday's Miami Herald on the Dolphins' outlook factoring in the brutal schedule and upcoming draft. Meantime, take in a dip in our poll, which is a good example of why the Dolphins' schedule is so tough. The four sexiest home games, and not a guaranteed win among them...  

Isiah! Aaa1FIU      'Fire Isiah University': An Internet entrepreneur exploiting the negative bent of many sports fans didn't take long to produce the T-shirt pictured, reconfiguring FIU as an acronym for Fire Isiah University. Clever and sad, all at once! Click on T-Shirt With Bad Attitude for the website if you dislike FIU hiring Isiah Thomas enough to spend 20 bucks to say so on your chest. Note: Although my column hardly cheer-leads the hiring -- click on Skeptical Me -- I am not advocating the message on the shirt. In fact to counter the shirt (balanced journalism!) I created the heroic image at right. In fairness, I say we wait until the first 20-loss season or sexual harrassment suit, whichever comes first, before we talk about firing the guy. Meantime, do you find this T-shirt amusing or awful? I find it somewhat funny, an obvious lampoon coming out on the day he's hired. Sort of like seeing an 'Impeach Obama' bumper sticker on Inauguration Day. Obviously idiotic. But funky-fun in a free-expression sort of way. Then again, I am occasionally wrong.

Aaa1teaparty      Nationwide "Tea Party" protests: Lunatic pockets of anti-tax zealots gather around the country on Tax Day today to blast government bailouts, spending and taxes. Please. The only decent tea party is of the type pictured at left. The rest of you un-Americans need to pay your [bleep]ing taxes or move the [bleep] to a different country. Because you know what I'm protesting? I'm protesting self-righteous idiots who increase the tax burden on me by not doing their legal share! 

Aaa1me      Hey look! I'm Obamafied!: In case you haven't discovered this yet, click Obamicon.me and you can make an Obama/Hope-styled poster from your photo, too. Maybe it'll look even as dorky as mine on the right. Cheap thrills make the world go 'round.

Aaa1navyseal      And coming up next...: ...an exclusive interview with one of the heroic Navy Seals snipers who ended the recent Somali pirates standoff. 

     Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this post throughout the day.

     Love,

     Twitter.com/gregcote

April 14, 2009

FIU rolls dice on Isiah Thomas (with poll); plus Dolphins schedule, A-Rod's new squeeze

Aaa1isiahthomas     [Twitter yet? Join the following at Twitter.com/gregcote]

     Hall of Fame point guard and former NBA coach Isiah Thomas is the new men's basketball coach at Florida International University. Twenty-four hours ago that would have seemed crazy. Now that it's happened, well, it sort of still seems crazy.

     FIU certainly gets the national attention it always craves in the constant shadow of the University of Miami. But is it a good hire?

     Click here for my column on the hiring, newly online and shipping to Wednesday's Miami Herald. I think the hiring is an attention-getting quick fix in terms of publicity, but dubious as a long-range solution. But that's just my opinion. Give us your opinion. Take a dip in our poll and elaborate.

Logo      Prime-time Dolphins in '09:  Zero nationally televised Dolphins games in 2008, four in 2009. That's how far Miami has come in synopsis form. Click here for the NFL schedule page and the Dolphins slate of games, newly released by the NFL tonight. Prime-time games are Monday Sept. 21 vs. Colts; Monday Oct. 12 vs. Jets; Thursday Nov. 19 at Panthers; and Sunday Dec. 6 vs. Patriots. Season opens Sept. 13 at Atlanta. Looking at the schedule -- the league's toughest based on 2008 records -- I'd say the Dolphins may find it nearly impossible to repeat last year's 11-5. My quick glance has a 4-8 record with four games as tossups. Beyond that, let's not overanalyze something that isn't happening for five bleepin' months!   

Aaa1bethenny      A-Rod's latest hobby: Rehabilitating Yankee and UM ballpark-namesake Alex Rodriguez reportedly has been in Miami in the amorous company of Real Housewives of New York City reality-TV star Bethenny Frankel (pictured). What's weird is, this is believed to be the first time A-Rod has ever been tabloid fodder or the subject of any off-field attention.

     Check back later. May be updating or adding to this post later.