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

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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.