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15 posts from June 2009

June 29, 2009

Soccer bashing? No; plus Dolphins' No. 1 concern (with poll); Chad Pennington half-nude (with video), Rosenhaus, Marlins, Madoff, Billy Mays & more

     [LIVE ONLINE CHAT! Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join chat live tomorrow or post questions at any time].

     [Twitter.com/gregcote]

1soccer      "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-Awww": Voluminous amount of e-mail on my soccer column today and most of it expressing displeasure with what some see as a "soccer-bashing" column by me. I do not consider it bashing, but rather a realistic take on soccer's place in the fabric of American sports and interests. Click here for the column, which is online and in today's/Tuesday's paper. Miami-Fort Lauderdale was the No. 1 TV market in the country for US-Brazil viewership Sunday, so I'd have certainly been more popular cheerleading the sport. The U.S. men's team led Brazil 2-0 in Sunday's FIFA Confederations Cup championship match, only to lose 3-2. It marked a big accomplishment nevertheless, because in international soccer we're not as good as much of Europe and South America, but it's important to us to be respected in global futbol circles as not sucking, either. I think soccer will never catch football, baseball or basketball in popularity here, but that's OK. I'm curious if you all think I am being realistic, or bashing.

     Dolphins'-biggest-problem-area poll: It's one month from Dolphins training camp. Do you know where your team is? Earlier today in the blog I had a pick-a-poll contest and (perhaps predictably) "anything Dolphins" was pretty much the winner. Thanks to all who e-mailed me topics. Even the guy who suggested a poll on health-care reform (seriously), which might have been my dullest, least voted-on poll since "Beige vs. Taupe." So here goes. Let's try something overview-y with training camp roaring close. What is your one biggest concern about the team as the season nears?

1chadpen      Chad Pennington exposed!: Click here for the YouTube video of Dolphin QB Chad Pennington's cover photo shoot for SoBeFit magazine. Included are some shots of Chad shirtless and all sexy, for you ladies out there. Or men as the case may be. Or future opponents looking for bulletin-board material.

1drewr      Rosenhaus expanding kingdom?: Is Miami superagent Drew Rosenhaus expanding his kingdom beyond the NFL? Drew today Tweeted that he has been hired by Florida Panthers fans to negotiate lower season-ticket prices. Bizarre. I am launching a full investigation! UPDATE: It was a publicity stunt by the Panthers, who already were planning to lower prices. 

     Time for Marlins to spend, not retreat: Being broomed by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend doesn't mean the Marlins have stopped being playoff contenders -- especially with the schedule softening a bit now. Florida needs bullpen bolstering with Matt Lindstrom on the DL for a long while, and, as we were reminded in St. Pete, could use some offensive oomph as well. This is the time for the cheap-o Marlins ownership to spend for some reinforcements. But will they? There is no good reason not to. Florida's is the lowest payroll in the bigs, and revenue sharing and TV income means Jeffrey Loria is pocketing plenty of money that could be going to bringing in help. So, c'mon, Loria. Surprise us. Open the wallet. 

     Jason Taylor takes the fifth: ESPN.com came up with a Top 25 list for NFL players this decade (because it's summer, slooowww), and Dolphin-again Jason Taylor is No. 5. Ahead of him: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson and Seahawks tackle Walter Jones. No other Fishies. Click here for the whole list. More Dolphins: Click here for a recent Ronnie Brown interview with Atlanta radio. One question not asked: Ronnie, how do you feel about the Dolphins not offering you a contract extension yet?

     Ladlylike Chrissie Evert joins anti-grunting crusade: Demure Chris Evert, Fort Lauderdale's own, has joined the civil chorus against the increased grunting and shrieking in women's tennis. Click here for the story. Women's tennis these days sounds like a cross between a childbirth delivery room and the throes of passion. Watch any women's match at Wimbledon to see for yourself. As the chair umpires like to say, "Quiet, please." It continues hilarious to me that a female player will stop and glare at the soft whir of a camera shutter or murmur of whisper from the crowd but seconds later scream "AAAHHHHNNNGGGG!!!!" as she hits the ball.

1misty     Dwyane Wade tops locals up for ESPYs: The 17th annual ESPY Awards, one of the many ESPN conceits that amount to the The Worldwide Leader congratulating itself, happen July 19. Samuel L. Jackson will host, because evidently the even-more-ubiquitous Jamie Foxx was busy. There will be 37 categories, meaning the show will end around July 21. Nominees with So-Fla ties include Heat star Dwyane Wade (best NBA player); Palm Beach's Serena Williams (top overall athlete and best tennis player, female); Miamian Helio Castroneves* (best driver and best moment for winning Indy 500); Misty May-Treanor, wife of then-Marlin Matt Treanor (pictured; best championship performance for Olympic beach volleyball); and local-boy-made-weird Mickey Rourke (best sports movie for 'The Wrestler'). I think only Rourke will win. (*-Surprised Helio wasn't also nominated in the new category, Best Dodge of Federal Prison Sentence on Tax-Evasion Charges).

1berniemadoff      Reaction to Madoff sentence: HAHAHAHAHA!!!: Serial swindler and dream-stealer Bernie Madoff, 71, was sentenced Monday to the maximum 150 years in prison as his financial victims cheered in the courtroom. Madoff, following a century and a half of unending abuse from fellow inmates, will be eligible for parole when he is 221, at which time his victims' cheated, grudge-bearing heirs, robbed of their inheritance, will be waiting to kill Madoff with futuristic vaporizing guns upon his release. After torturing him first.

1billymays      Heaven just became a more irritating, annoying place: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, AND NOW BILLY MAYS THE SHOUTING TELEVISION PITCHMAN!!! Mr. OxiClean has gone on to that great infomercial in the sky. They say his death at 50 could be related to a bump on the head while on a USAirways flight. I speculate it was related to depression over missing out on the coveted ShamWow account. Anyway, apparently it's true what they say: Death comes in threes, followed inevitably by a fourth. And then a fifth, if you count semi-obscure comedian Fred Travalena.

     That'll do it for now but check back. Plan to add stuff including a poll.

June 26, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

1mj     [Comment on the HEAT DRAFT in the blogpost immediately below this one, and click on Twitter.com.gregcote to join the following].  

     Like many of you I am stunned by the news that, yesterday afternoon, singer Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest at age 50. I believe we have lost a titan, an American treasure (warts and all). I believe we have lost a giant of pop culture and one of the most talented, charismatic and influential performers in the history of entertainment. For me, in my lifetime, his loss ranks with those of Elvis Presley and John Lennon in terms of music deaths that have touched me.

1moonwalk      Michael's music was important to me, integral with my life's soundtrack from his early days leading The Jackson 5 through his peak, "Thriller" years and beyond. The memory of him doing the Moonwalk on TV is seared in my mind.

     His later life, beyond the commercial success, was in many ways an American tragedy. There was the freakish obesssion with facial surgery and pigment. There were the more uncomfortable, darker elements involving an obsession with children. These things are an undeniable part of the whole picture. These things are why a friend of mine's reaction Thursday was, "Michael Jackson died years ago." That's harsh, but surely resonates with many.

     For me, though. stepping back to see the whole picture, the entire life, Michael Jackson is the talent, the music, to a degree overwhelming the weirdness and bizarre afterlife that followed.

     Your thoughts on Jackson's legacy and what he meant to you are invited here.

     ***************************************************************************

     Favorite songs: Also wondering your one favorite Jackson song or the one you most associate with him. For me the early-era song would be "I'll Be There," and the peak-years song would be "Billie Jean." Click on Ten Gems to see the videos for A-B-C, Beat It, Billie Jean, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, I Want You Back, Man In The Mirror, Rock With You, The Way You Make Me Feel, Thriller, and Wanna Be Starting Something.

     Click on Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough to listen.

June 25, 2009

Heat nets two in draft, UM's McClinton to Spurs; plus website craps on '72 Dolphins, Shaq joins LeBron & more

     [Twitter.com/gregcote]

1farrahFARRAH FAWCETT: 1947-2009, R.I.P.

 

1beverley       Heat drafts two in second round, trades for one, trades away one: (Click on Heat Lose Ground in East for my draft-day column). Miami acquires No. 42 overall pick Patrick Beverley (pictured), the Arkansas point guard, from the Lakers for a future second-round pick and cash. Heat selects LSU shooting guard Marcus Thornton 43rd overall -- then trades him to New Orleans for 2R picks in 2010 and '12. Miami Hurricane Jack McClinton finally goes 51st overall, to San Antonio. Then the Heat closes the draft with the 60th pick, Memphis forward Robert Dozier, who has the wingspan and perimeter defending Pat Riley loves. Depth picks, obviously. Hoping for one gem. Sort of surprised Miami traded to get a point guard, considering they had a rookie starting at PG last year.

     Preamble: 11:04 pm--NBA vows Miami will select sometime this century. 10:26 pm--The first round has ended. Analysts are calling it the most boring first round ever not involving Mel Kiper Jr. ..... 10:15 pm--It is now being estimated that the Heat's first selection, 43rd overall, will be made in roughly early July. ..... 10:06 pm--Has the draft started yet? ..... 5:33--Pat Riley emerges from Draftcave to deny rumors Miami plans to use 43rd and 60th picks to select Gloria and Emilio Estefan. ..... 4:53 pm--Heat continues to not draft anybody. ..... 2:58 pm--No pick yet. ..... 2:10 pm--Nah. Still nuthin'. ..... 1:01 pm--Heat has yet to make a pick, because draft doesn't start for more than six hours. (Stay tuned for updates).

     Original post: Heat has no first-round pick tonight and selects twice (43rd, 60th) in the second round. Miami has a sketchy record on second-round picks, as you can see by the choices in the following poll. These are about the only five guys ever drafted 2R by Miami who amounted to anything with the club. As a preemptive strike for those thinking WHAT ABOUT MARIO CHALMERS YOU JERK!, I would remind that Chalmers was drafted by Minnesota a year ago and then his rights were acquired by Miami in exchange for two 2009 second-round picks and cash. So he was not an official draft pick of the Heat, who then spent more than a second-rounder to get him -- hence his exclusion from our poll.

     Football website craps on '72 Dolphins: Because it's the offseason and something must be done for 1shula attention, the website Cold, Hard Football Facts denigrates the status of several NFL accomplishments including Miami's 1972 Perfect Season in a piece you'd see by clicking here. This is the kind of thing that drives Don Shula crazy. It's the standard reheating of the fact Miami's schedule that season (70-126 opponents' record) was soft and included only two regular-season teams with winning records, both 8-6. Writeth CHFF: "Miami's 1972 schedule was so easy we wish we dated it in high school." [Cue canned laughter]. It is the same underbaked logic that would undermine Babe Ruth's 714 homers because, for example, he played before integration. Bulletin: You cannot control the era you play in or your competition, as Shula is pictured at left trying to patiently explain. Fact: Miami played the schedule it was given and won every game, and nobody else, no matter the schedule, has done that. Ever. Any questions? Naw, I didn't think so.

1shaqlebron      Shaq headed to Cleveland LeBronaliers: Reports are that Phoenix has agreed today to trade the ghost of Shaquille O'Neal to LeBron James' Cavaliers in exchange for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, a second-round pick in tonight's NBA draft, and cash. (Shaq and LeBron are pictured at right dancing with joy). Not sure Shaq has enough game left to push Cleveland over the top in the East. The bigger question: Does Shaq have enough ego left to try to take credit for LeBron like he did with Kobe and D-Wade?

1marlins      Marlins doing good. Shhh!: Psst, don't tell anybody, but the Marlins are over .500 and now only 1 game back in the NL East after winning again tonight. That's between us. 

     Miami doctor linked to Manny Being Busted: ESPN.com is reporting (click here) that a Miami doctor, Pedro Publio Bosch, anjd his son are implicated in having providing Dodger Manny Ramirez the banned performance-enhancing drug that got him suspended.

     Dolphins confirm Estefans involvement: Over a breakfast news conference this morning star-struck 1nayib Dolphins owner Stephen Ross confirmed Miami husband-wife music-making team Gloria and Emilio Estefan now have a (very small) minority ownership stake in the franchise. Gloria already has recorded a version of "Are You Ready For Some Football" to be played at this season's two national ESPN games hosted by the Dolphins. As part of the ownership agreement, Dolfans queued at stadium concession stands will henceforth be said to be waiting in "Conga lines." Also, the Estefans' 28-year-old son, Nayib (pictured at right with his ma), becomes the team's starting left cornerback.

1golfball      Let me ask you something...: ...would it be sexist or in poor taste if I posted in my blog a photo such as the one to the left? See, I'm trying to start running more items having to do with golf and I felt this picture showed proper posture. (Not sure what the woman pictured shot on the front nine, but I think it was 44s).

     Wade, Zo tackle foreclosure crisis: Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning are speaking in Miami black communities today as part of Hope Now Alliance's "Bring Hope Home" national bus tour informing lower-income folks how to get help if facing home foreclosure. Hopefully affected residents will follow Wade's personal advice for avoiding foreclosure, which to to become incredibly rich and positioned to sign a six-year, $120 million contract extension with the Heat.

     NCAA violations odds: BetUS.com odds on which school will be busted next for NCAA violations has USC (8-1) and Ohio State (9-1) on top, which Florida among schoolls at 10-1. FSU is there at 12-1. Miami is not among 25 schools listed. Take that, U-haters!

1school      Caution. Skool Zone!: City of Miami road stencilers misspelled "school" as "scohol" outside Goulds Elementary. Thought it was worth posting the proof before the city requisitions a dictionary and makes a correction.

     That'll do it for now.

June 24, 2009

OMG. U.S. stuns Spain; plus Wade 'n trade (for Bosh), Favre a Vike, greatest-sidekick poll, English-only & more

     [Click on Twitter.com/gregcote to follow us Tweet-wise. Click on Chatsville to join our live online chat Wednesdays from 1-2 p.m., to read past transcripts or to post a question/comment early].

1amersoccer       Stunning: U.S. shocks Spain 2-0 in soccer: The U.S. stunned world-No.1-ranked Spain 2-0 this afternoon in a semifinal of the FIFA Confederations Cup -- a huge shocker that must rank on a short list of the most impressive victories in international soccer history for the Americans. Spain had a record-tying streak 35 consecutive matches without losing, dating to November 2006, before today. There is a tendency, in international soccer, to think of the World Cup as the only event that matters, especially from the casual-fan perpsective held by most Americans. but this is a big tournament, and an even bigger win. Yeah I'll say it: "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

      Thoroughly unsolicited advice for Riley and Wade: Click here for today's column by me on the Heat. I'd like to see Miami accelerate the move from decent to contender by making moves this summer, not in 2010. That means a trade for Chris Bosh (interest is mutual) even if it meant giving up Michael Beasley. But only if Dwyane Wade would then commit to extend his contract this summer and not work the free-agent market in a year. By doing this you pair Wade-Bosh a year sooner and get to the future quicker. By waiting you make it tougher to get Bosh because competition for him will be more intense in a year. But enough about me. What do you think? (Notice I have tried my hardest to avoid discussing the Heat draft, which happens Thursday night. No first-round pick. Weak draft. Probably no Mario Chalmers this time).

      Favre in purple: Spreading wild across the Internet: Various reports that Brett Favre and the Vikings have an agreement in principle. Does that make a today a national holiday in Peter King's house? Think it makes the Vikings a little better, short-term. Think it helps Favre's legacy not a bit. Think a slew of Cheeseheads feel betrayed. Me? I'm just glad the protracted saga is (apparently) finally over. Let us now hear nothing more of Favre until his first three-pick day.

     Top sidekicks/second bananas poll: With Ed McMahon's passing the obvious impetus for this, name the No. 1 sidekick of all time. Our ballot only allows 10 answers, so we had to leave out the likes of Chewbacca, Donkey, Samwise Gamgee, Ethel Mertz, Dr. John Watson. Nobody from the world of sports stood out. Jim Kiick to Larry Csonka? Too parochial. Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan? Can't bring myself to consign sidekick status to a player named one of the 50 greatest ever. (Who is sports' greatest or at least most prominent sidekick?) Poll time!

1buchanan2       English first! (Spelling second): A group of very conservative people frightened by diversity thinks English should be declared the official language of the United States, and this group met over the weekend at a national conference at which far-right Pat Buchanan, Spokesman for the Far-Right White Community, was guest speaker. I don't know about this language mania. What I do know is this: When trying to come off like an intelligent, thoughtful group that should be taken seriously, it may be a good idea to not misspell the word "conference" on your big fancy sign.

     A-Rod not a villain, after all (in this case): Update to a previous blogpost's "A-Rod snubs former team" item on Alex Rodriguez reportedly not meeting with the 2009 state championship Westminster Christian team prior to Saturday's Yankees-Marlins game here. The Yankees now say neither they nor A-Rod were aware of the ceremony honoring the team, and that Derek Jeter just happened to be out there at the time. Neither did the Marlins inform the Yanks or A-Rod. So there. 

     Vontae Davis claims an identity swipe: Seems more and more likely the report of the arrest of Dolphins top pick Vontae Davis was bogus. Click here for the word straight from the man's very own blog. (Stolen wallet? What are the odds a cornerback would be picked?) If Vontae is right, the media is wrong here. What happens is, the more we see athletes arrested, the more numb we become to it, and the more believable every report becomes.

     Signs Barack Obama may be too enamored of sports stars: A recent guest was Tony Hawk, who skateboarded down a White House hallway. Seriously. I'm not sure which is sillier. That going on in the White House. Or the very idea of a 41-year-old man skateboarding. Give it up, Tony. Adulthood calls!

     That'll do it for now.

June 23, 2009

A-Rod snubs his old school; plus Neil Rogers, Wade v. Riley, fight video, Family Guy poll, Dolphins-Estefans, Mickelson & more

     [Twitter.com/gregcote]

     A-Rod snubs Westminster Christian: A mole tells us Yankee Alex Rodriguez snubbed his former school, Westminster Christian, when that school's baseball and softball teams were honored for the 2009 state championships prior to Saturday's Marlins-Yanks game here. Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter and others met with and congratulated the kids. A-Rod was a no-show despite direct requests through both clubs and through WC coach Rich Hofman. Well, so much for Alex's post-steroids image rebuilding. Then again, he had a great excuse. He was suffering fatigue, remember!? Greeting those kids would have been just too, too exhausting for the poor fella!

     The rap on Vontae Davis?: New broke today that the Dolphins' recent No. 1 draft pick was arrested June 9 in his old college town of Champaign, Ill., because his vehicle was too loud and he was driving without a valid license. But the Dolphin say Davis was here at a practice that day. We'll see how this shakes out.

1neil      Uncle Neil off the air. OY!: WQAM just announced that longtime and legendary rant-radio fixture Neil Rogers is leaving the air by mutual agreement. That's big news in local Marconi wireless circles. Also a boost for rival 790 The Ticket, because Uncle Neil remained a ratings monstah. 'QAM plans to replace Neil with sports talk from 10-2 because, well, you know, there just are not nearly enough sports-yak blowhards in this market! ( :D ) Rogers says he has no plans to seek another on-air job, which means offers are invited and he'll be back on the air soon.

1adwyane      Wade vs. Riley: Who blinks?: It's amusing, this little public back-and-forth between Heat prez Pat Riley and superstar Dwyane Wade. Riles say he won't make any major personnel moves until D-Wade signs a long-term contract. Wade can wait until 2010 to do that and says the Heat should make their moves now, not wait a year. Hmm. What's it all about? What will happen? Rest assured the people who are intensely watching include Chris Bosh. And should include Michael Beasley, too. I'll explore all of this in an upcoming column. What Riley and Wade do -- and whether they do it this summer or in '10 -- is all that matters with the Heat now. That's especially so with Miami having no first-round pick in this week's NBA Draft. Picking 43rd and 60th is not likely to mine a lot in the way of lasting talent, considering Rasual Butler is about the only Heat 2R pick this decade who amounted to much of anything, although Mario Chalmers from last year obviously looks promising.

1estefans      The Conga line forms here: Star-struck Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is expected to announce Thursday that Gloria and Emilio Estefan (pictured) -- voice and brains behind the Miami Sound Machine -- will be new minority partners in the Dolphins. Earlier Ross brought Jimmy Buffett into the fold. If this is a systematic march through every So-Fla celeb in the music business, I can only presume the Dolphins will somehow find a way to skip over Luther Campbell and 2 Live Crew.

1joshj      $pending big to keep Josh Johnson: The Marlins, not known for opening the wallet on long-term contracts with the exception of Hanley Ramirez, need to pull the trigger again for pitcher Josh Johnson, who is 14-2 since returning -- better than ever -- from surgery. This guy is a legitimate ace, and still only 25. He had better make the all-star team, at 7-1, with a 2.66 ERA and 3.7-1 K's/walks ratio. Johnson's agent said over the weekend it may take close to CC Sabathia money to sew up Johnson. Will the Marlins pony up? A major selling point of the new stadium was the increased revenue streams allowing competitive payrolls. That was tantamount to a good-faith promise.  Well, it looks like spending to keep Johnson will be a major test on whether Jeffrey Loria will put his money where his mouth is. [By the way, click here for a YouTube video of a fight in the stands at Sunday's Yanks-Marlins game].

     'Family Guy' poll: I love Family Guy. It's one of the few things on TV I try not to miss. This is one of those niche polls for people who feel as I do. My favorite character is a dead-heat between Brian and Peter, followed closely by Stewie and Quagmire. Weigh in.

     Mickelson falls short: Phil Mickelson finished as U.S. Open runnerup for a record fifth time today, with Lucas Glover winning. Sorry, Luke, but outside of your family, I doubt many people in America wanted to see you deny Phil his emotional tribute to his cancer-stricken wife. Click here for my column on the U.S. Open finish, online now and shipping to Tuesday's paper.

1hut 1quonset      Pizza Hut becoming The Hut: Corporate rebranding for some reason fascinates me, like when Kentucky Fried Chicken over time became KFC and now plots to disassociate entirely from the once-iconic Colonel Sanders. The latest? Pizza Huts are dropping the 'Pizza' from their name and gradually becoming The Hut. Seriously. (See left). I doubt this is a good idea. The word 'hut' alone conjures the phrase "Quonset hut" (right) and invites the notion that when you enter a Hut restaurant you will dine in the humid squalor of Spartan, 1940s-era corrugated-metal army barracks and be served gruel by emaciated, time-warped prisoners of war.

1cycling      Cote Rules: Cycling: Guys, be a serious cyclist. Own an expensive bike. But, unless you are Lance Armstrong ascending the Alps, do not -- do not -- wear the colorful, logoed racing garb of a competitive cyclist. Seriously. Because, when you are biking on local roads looking like this guy here, 84 percent of the motorists who see you are thinking, "Dork," and struggling to resist a strong urge to "accidentally" run you into a ditch.

     That'll do it for now.

June 21, 2009

Finally! Boo or cheer A-Rod? (with poll); plus Dolphins forming choir, Kosar, US Open, NCAA screws Bobby & more

     HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all my fellow Dads out there!

     [New studies indicate that people who are followers at Twitter.com/gregcote have zero incidence of swine flu and are thought to be better-looking than the general population].

1arod2      A referendum on A-Rod: Almost-native son Alex Rodriguez returns with the Yankees for a three-game  set vs. the Marlins and today -- finally! -- we get to see him actually play at BadBeer Stadium after he sat out the first two games with (!) fatigue. Click on The Circus Comes to Town for the column by me. This is our first chance to react to him since the revelation of his past steroid use. I don't count his Febuary appearance at the ceremony naming UM's baseball stadium after him, because that was a small, select audience of people cheering his donated millions.  The Sunday reaction will be a better gauge. How we forgiven? Forgotten? Do we still care? Take a dip in our poll.

1acapella      Dolfans let your voices be heard!: Are you a Dolphin fan who sings well enough that the cat doesn't howl? The Dolphins are forming an 8-person a-capella vocal group to perform the national anthem at home games this season and also to make other appearances on behalf of the club. Feels like an epiphany of new entertainment-obsessed owner Stephen Ross. (Also feels like nobody in Ross' inner city has the spheroids to say, "Bad idea, Steve"). It isn't so much a bad idea as a weird one. An a-capella mini-choir sounds about as hip as a barbershop quartet and not exactly NFL-manly. Reminds me of the host of the recent Tony Awards singing, "This show couldn't be gayer if Liza Minelli were mayor." An a-capella troupe called Dolphin Voices? Really? What's next, the Dolphin Repertory Theatre Players? Anyway, if you are capable of singing credibly while sober and are interested, the open tryout will be Saturday, June 27 at 9:30 at BadBeer Stadium. Enter through Gate C.  

1bernie      Kosar is bankrupt: We told you here in the blog a couple of days ago it happened. Bernie Kosar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Miami, claiming assets of $1-10 million and liabilities of $10-50 million. A messy divorce and business failings helped sack the former UM quarterback. We wish him well. (Great piece on Kosar in today's paper by Dan Le Batard).

     NCAA screws Old Bobby: [Click on Saving Bobby for my column on this -- newly online and shipping to Saturday's paper]. The NCAA is allowing three termites to fell a giant 1bobbyb redwood. I mean, C'MON!! An FSU tutor and two low-rank staff members feed some answers to athletes taking an online course in [bleep]ing music history (!) and THIS should rewrite college football history by denying Bobby Bowden his shot at the career wins mark? Really? So let me get this straight. A dumbass student-tutor whispers "Bach" to a backup left guard and now Bowden must forfeit 14 wins and cede the all-time crown to Joe Pa? It isn't right. There is no indication the football players involved had any vital role in any of those wins, nor was Bowden in any way involved in the fraud limited to a single course. FSU discovered this issue itself, turned itself in and cooperated fully, but with apparently no favorable mitigation. Punlishment was warranted, but probation and a reduction in scholarships was enough. Vacating wins is excessive. Bowden has worked 50 years to build and grow and earn a legacy, only to have a few pinheads on an infractions committee steal what is his. It's rotten.

     Tiger, Phil and, and, um...: Rain is messing with the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black (Clouds). The tournament includes Tiger Woods, gunning for his 15th major, and Phil Mickelson, playing in honor of his cancer-stricken wife, plus dozens of other guys nobody cares about.

1donte      NFL's swift justice on Stallworth: I have no problem with NFL commisar Roger Goodell suspending Browns WR Donte Stallworth indefinitely without pay in the wake of the player pleading guilty to DUI-manslughter in Miami. Stallworth got off easy in the courts in large part because the victim's family did not press a harsher sentence in exchange for a big wad of money. But the league is free to mete out its own punishment, and is justified in this case. Bottom line: An NFL player driving drunk killed somebody. And he can't pay off the league, as he did the family, to leave it as a wrist-slap.

     Latest thanks...: ...for growing the product go out to Anchorage Daily News, Chicago Daily Herald, Kamloops (BC) This Week, Merced (CA) Sun-Star, OPENSports.com, Regina (Sask.) Leader-Post, Sacramento Bee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, San Diego Union Tribune, Seattle Times, SportsBusiness Daily and as always 790 The Ticket. Even when they ask me to be interviewed while running on a treadmill.

June 18, 2009

Stallworth suspended indefinitely; plus greatest-athlete poll, D-Wade to White House, road rage, Fightin' Zos, Phelpstache & more

     [Chat: Thanks to all who celebrated our live-chat's move to Wednesdays! Join us every Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. or post a question at any time by clicking Chatcity. Twitter: Our latest followers include HurricaneSports, MiamiNewTimes and some local guy. What do they know that you don't? Twitter.com/gregcote]

     Update: NFL commish does what Miami-Dade judge didn't: The NFL late this afternoon suspended Browns receiver Donte Stallworth indefinitely without pay for the DUI-manslaughter guilty plea that brought only a one-month prison sentence from the Miami court system. In NFLspeak, Browns fans, I'm thinking that means half the season. At least. 

     The all-time greatest athlete is...: I say today in this column that it's Michael Jordan leading my list of the top 15 greatest athletes ever. The column is generating a ton of e-mail from readers offering there opinions, so I thought I'd divert the topic to the blog and throw in a poll as well. Note: The poll only allows 10 choices, so I whittled my top 15 to nine plus "other." After voting, drop a comment saying who you picked No. 1 and why.

1dwade      Wade goes to Washington: Don't worry. It's not a trade. The Sun-Sentinel has the story today -- hey, credit where credit is due -- on the Heat's Dwyane Wade getting an invite to meet fly-killing President Obama (see item below) on Friday at the White House. Wade will speak to local youth in D.C. about achieving goals, then participate in a round-table discussion, all geared around Father's Day and responsibility. I suspect a quick game of 1-on-1 on the White House basketball court may happen as well. (Dear Mr. President: If you have time, in between hosting sports stars, could you please fix the economy? Thanks.) 

     Miami loses road-rage crown: Sad news. Miami, after four straight years leading the nation in road rage, has fallen to seventh in the latest poll, with New York, Dallas/Fort Worth and Detroit checking in 1-2-3 for angriest and most aggressive drivers. This is an outrage. How can Miami drivers -- augmented by all the transplanted New Yorkers down here -- not lead the league in tailgating, horns, fingers and guns? I demand a recount!

     Bernie Kosar's financial woes: We hear Bernie Kosar, former UM championship quarterback,  may announce today he is filing for bankruptcy. No jokes on this one.  Sorry to hear it. Bernie is a good guy and a local hero and we wish him well.

     Welcome to Mourning High, home of the Fightin' Zos!: Miami-Dade School Board votes today whether to name a new high school in North Miami after former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno or retired Heat star Alonzo Mourning. Hmm. Now I love Zo and all the community work he does, but Reno, as the nation's first female attorney general, probably deserves the honor more. Who;'ll get it, though? I predict Mourning. Mainly because Reno angered many Miami Cubans by ordering 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba and the school board will pander to that.

1fly      President Obama kills innocent fly: Barack Obama, during an interview with CNBC Tuesday in the East Room of the White House, swatted dead a nettlesome housefly that had lit on his left hand. Click on Swat Team for the video. You know, I always thought it would be fun to be a fly on the wall of the Oval Office. Not so sure anymore. No word yet whether PETA is planning an outraged protest, while a spokesfly (pictured) for the Musca Domestica Linnaeus Anti-Defamation League said that group is investigating the tragedy.

1mphelpsstache      Michael Phelpstache: Champion Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is cultivating a mustache (pictured). Friends say it may be an attempt to disguise himself and avoid publicity in the wake of 1hassidic that bong photo/marijuana scandal. May we then say that Mike is moving from a stash to a 'stache? Swim experts worry that any facial hair runs counter to the concept of aerodynamics and slows a competitor's time -- one reason why, in the history of Olympic swimming, no medal has ever been won by a Hassidic rabbi.

1minervini      The past lives of Craig Minervini: South Florida's enduring sports broadcaster and a fixture on Florida Marlins telecasts, Minervini in the late 1980s went by the stage name Craig DeGeorge and did interviews with WWF's Superstars of Wrestling shows. He is pictured here in that early-career role. In the immortal words of Big Poppa: "If you don't know, now ya know, bloggaz."

June 16, 2009

Donte's DUI-death sentence: Right or light? (with poll); plus Sammy Sosa, Artie Lange

     [Click on Twitter.com/gregcote for free to follow along. And join us tomorrow from 1-2 p.m. as our live weekly chat moves to Wednesdays. Click on Chattytown to post a question at any time].

     Was justice done with Donte' Stallworth?: Cleveland Browns receiver Donte Stallworth pleaded guilty in Miami to DUI-manslaughter for striking and killing a man and today was sentenced to one month in jail, followed by two years' house arrest, eight years probation and 1,000 hours of community service. (News story here). The initial reaction of many will be outrage: "One month for killing a guy!?" But I think the overall sentence is fair considering Stallworth's prior clean record, his taking responsibility, the role victim Mario Reyes played in his own death, and also the monetary agreement reached with the family. Take a dip in our poll and offer your opinion.

     Sammy Sosa took steroids. NOOOOO!!!!!!!!: The New York Times reports that Sammy Sosa tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003. Gee, imagine that! Sosa, out of baseball and about to formally retire, announced last week he'll be awaiting his call from Cooperstown. Good luck on that wait, Sam. Maybe you can share the same waiting room with Bonds and McGwire. Keep each other company!

     The awful, fantastic debut of 'Joe Buck Live': Joe Buck's new show on HBO debuted last night and what people are talking about today about is how Artie Lange, the insult-comic from Howard Stern's show, hijacked Buck's show. Brett Favre was supposed to be the big guest. But Lange upstaging Buck was the TV gold that made the new show noteworthy out the box. Save the outrage, Joe. You can't buy pub like this. Besides, have you heard Artie Lange before? Are you familiar with Stern at all? Booking Lange and being surprised by the act is like swimming with a crocodile and being shocked by the bite marks.

June 15, 2009

Miami Cat Killer worse than Michael Vick; plus Hanley's whining, Dolphins & Kobe vs. MJ poll

      [Twitter.com/gregcote. Reminder: No chat today. Our live online chats move from Mondays to Wednesdays beginning this week]

1cattwo 1mvickmvick   Cats and dogs, black and white: What the Miami Cat Killer is accused of doing is worse than what Michael Vick (right) has done time for doing. It won't get the national attention or have the same shelf-life for media interest because obviously a perp who happens to be a celebrity NFL quarterback tends to draw a spotlight. But I wonder if race will also be a factor in the general comparative reaction. I think the reaction to Vick's crime was somewhat magnified unfairly because he is black. Now, I wonder if the reaction to accused Miami Cat Killer Tyler Hayes Weinman, 18 (pictured left), will be less outraged than it should be because is young, clean-cut -- and white.

     I say Weinman's alleged crimes are worse than Vick's because murder was the express purpose in the cat killings, which were heinous (eyes gouged out, snouts cut off, etc.) and meant to horrify the pets' families. Vick's canine killings were a result of a dogfighting operation. Both are horrible. Dead is dead. But the cat killings were premeditated and first degree. Vick did serious time. I'll be following intently to see how the sentence Weinman is given -- if found guilty -- compares.

     (As an aside, I read that Weinman's divorced parents are a dentist and a "life coach." Taking a wild guess, I'm thinking that being a divorced life coach with a son accused of cat-mutilating cannot be good for business. It'd be sort of like hiring a personal trainer who's fat and smokes).

1hanley      Hanley Ramirez's bad timing: C'mon, Hanley! The Marlins are finally showing signs of life, winning three straight in Toronto and leapfrogging Atlanta into third in the NL East and instead of good feelings there is controversy because Ramirez got hit by a pitch Sunday and his team failed to respond with outrage. What, you wanted a bench-clearing brawl? The issue boiled to the point manager Fredi Gonzalez booted reporters from the clubhouse for pressing questions on the matter. Hanley may have been right. The HBP may have been intentional. And maybe it did call for Fredi to jaw at the ump a little. But Ramirez going all me-first with public emotion and blame-casting hurts the team just when it seems to be righting itself.    

     The Dolphins. Men of Mystery: Click here for today's column by me on the Dolphins as the team wraps up its minicamp work and pretty much leaves the stage until reconvening for training camp in late July. The no-pads/no-hitting time of year tells us very little about a team, and so nobody -- not Tony Sparano, not me, not you -- knows how good Miami might be this season. 

     Let the vilifying of Van Gundy begin!: Magic got spanked in the NBA Finals, with Lakers taking the series 4-1 in Mousteown last night, and so now I suppose the bashing of Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy should be expected. It'd be dumb, though. L.A. won because it is clearly better and because Kobe Bryant 1kobekobe 1jordan was the best player in the series by far and because the next best was Pau Gasol, not Dwight Howard. The only legit quibble with Van Gundy is that he forced Jameer Nelson back into his guard mix and that didn't work. But that wasn't the difference. Kobe was. Now take our poll. Does his latest championship, this one Shaq-free, push Kobe over the top as the NBA's greatest player ever or does Michael Jordan still wear that crown? 

June 12, 2009

Dolphins should sign Michael Vick. Yes? (with poll); plus Penguins, Riley, Magic, Marlins & more

     [It's free, and the key-striking energy it takes to sign up will help you burn an estimated two calories: Twitter.com/gregcote]

1michaelvick      Should the Dolphins sign Michael Vick?: Atlanta has relinquished contactual rights to the out-of-prison Michael Vick, and that's a big step. Means a team can now sign him with no compensation due the Falcons. And it's a buyer's market, meaning he'll come cheap because the dogfighting thing makes him such a public-relations risk. As the NFL weighs lifting his suspension, now is the time for teams to seriously consider signing Vick. I say Miami should. He would be perfect for the Wildcat. He is what the Dolphins dream Pat White becomes. (I mean football-wise, not pit bull-wise). Yes or no, then? Should the Dolphins be interested in Vick? Take a dip in our poll.

     [Update: Vick-to-Patriots rumors are out there. Click here. Vick wants a starting-QB job but obviously would take what he can get. Miami and the Wildcat would be a perfect opportunioty to showcase himself ro a year and then go elsewhere].

     

1rileypat      Pat Riley to Cavaliers! Or not: This is what happens in the Internet age, where the most innocuous, baseless speculation in some distant blog (or even in a Tweet!) can metasticize to the point it masquerades as actual news. That's why Heat bossman Pat Riley had to issue a firm denial of speculation that first bloomed in a New York Daily News blog about him maybe taking over for supposedly embattled Cleveland coach Mike Brown. Riley is pictured here making the international gesture for "Shhh" in an effort to quiet silly rumors. As for Brown being in trouble? That'd be the same Brown who just won NBA coach of the year. An even bigger reason why he's safe: LeBron James likes him. Period.

1pens      Penguins rule ice kingdom: Watched the end of Game 7 at the Hard Rock Casino bar last night and it was exciting enough and big enough to draw in even non-hockey fans. Big events. Electric. Pittsburgh had a spotty regular season and struggled to make the layoffs before achieving serendipity when it mattered. As for the Red Wings? Well, one more reason to feel depressed about living in Detroit. 

     Poof! Magic disappears: Speaking of the NBA, after choking away that overtime lead and falling behind 3-1 in the Finals last night, the Orlando Magic and coach Stan Van Snakebit now officially have zero chance to overcome the L.A. Lakers for the title. By zero chance I mean you hitting the Lotto, or trying to find a lost contact lens on the beach.

1chadjames      Marlins draft: The Marlins this week drafted several dozen players nobody has ever heard of. That's the nature of the MLB draft, and the reason why it will never be remotely as big as the NFL or NBA drafts. Florida's first-round pick was an 18-year pitcher, Chad James, from Yukon, Okla. Hey, welcome, Chad! We'll see you in four or five years. Maybe. (Chad is pictured at right, looking sort of sad, like he's on the verge of tears. Maybe he just found out what the Marlins' signing-bonus offer was).

     Online chat moving to Wednesdays: Our weekly live online chat is moving from Mondays to Wednesdays beginning June 17. Time will still be 1-2 p.m. Clicks on Chatsville to join live, read transcripts or post a question at any time.