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15 posts from June 2009

June 10, 2009

Name Dolphins' biggest rival (with poll); plus Magic finds pulse, Tom Brady overboard & more

     [Have you heard? President Obama says the best way a small, private individual like yourself can help boost the economy is to sign up to follow along at Twitter.com/gregcote]

     OK. So who IS the Dolphins' biggest rival?: Loving this offseason smack-chattin' among the 1rivals Dolphins, Jets and Patriots, especially this latest volley between Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder and Jets coach Rex Ryan as detailed in this story by our own Jeff Darlington. Close call whether Crowder or Joey Porter will lead the team in tackles and strong quotations this year. Keep yappin', fellas. Ryan acted like he wasn't even aware of Crowder and said, "All I now is he's all tatted up, so I guess I ought to be nervous." Dear Rex: Most players in the NFL and even more in the NBA, particularly the black guys, have tattoos. Welcome to today, Whitey! Crowder responded by admonishing Ryan for not knowing a starting LB in his own division and instructing him, "Learn who your rival is." So that got me thinking: Hey, an easy idea for a blog poll! Take a dip in our poll. By the way, I included the Bills just to be polite, although the additon of Terrell Owens can't but help ramp up that series back closer to Shula-era intensity as well.

     I WENT TO ORLANDO AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY COLUMN: Here it is, off last night's game. Sort of. Because of deadlines I had to file at 10 p.m. (mid-second quarter), with scant time to rewrite upon the result. The Magic had it easier than I did, and they barely escaped. I still think Lakers win in 6 games, but at least it's a series now.

     Tom Brady gets all wet without meaning to: Patriots QB Tom Brady flipped his rented kayak and had to be fished out of the Charles River, according to this report in the Boston Herald. Either that, or he was intentionally provided a faulty vessel by Sparano Kayak Rentals.

     It's axiomatic...: You know how they say you wash your car and it's guaranteed to rain? Here's a new one. I bench somebody from my fantasy team and he's guaranteed to perform. Latest example: Jeremy "Walkoff Homer" Hermida.

     Barry Bonds' marital news: Barry Bonds' wife has filed for a legal separation after 10 years' marriage. Geez, and things had been going so well for Barry.

     The return (eventually) of Hialeah Park: South Florida's historic horseracing plant, closed since 2001, plots its comeback. It will reopen, no date or even year yet, with quarterhorse racing but in time get back to the full thoroughbreds. The now-requisite casino also is envisioned. I cheer these plans. In its day Hialeah Park was a gorgeous place to visit and its absence has left a void.

     The Sports Authority. But not the number authority: Saw an advertisement by The Sports Authority pushing replica Dan Uggla jerseys, with the ad picturing Uggla's No. 8 jersey. Minor problem: Uggla wears No. 6. I think while I'm in there I'll also pick up a vintage Dan Marino No. 17 jersey.

     Nod to North Miami Beach High: The NFL has announced that NMB was one of only 12 high schools, and the only local one, with two players drafted recently. They were defensive backs Louis Delmas (Lions, 22nd round) and E.J. Biggers (Bucs, 7r).

     Jimmy Johnson update: Nothing new to report, although we're pretty sure laid-back Jimmy continues today to again live life to the fullest and be much happier than the rest of us.

     Check back. Adding more stuff here later.

June 07, 2009

Who's right on how good Dolphins will be? (with poll); plus Lakers up 2-0, JJ's monkey, Tonys, Federer, Rios video & more

     LIVE ONLINE CHAT TODAY/MONDAY 1-2 PM! Click here to join live or post question at any time.

     [Our recently added followers include USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, Fort Lauderdale's "Off the Hookah" bar and the retired CEO of Atlas Pen & Pencil Corporation. What do they know that you don't? Twitter.com/gregcote]

1dolphhelmet      Great expectations? Modest hopes? Weigh in, Dolfans: There is no NFL city more than Miami where expectations for the 2009 season vary so wildly. The experts are in near agreement that a healthy Tom Brady, coupled with the Dolphins' much-tougher schedule, makes New England the team to beat in the AFC East. The Las Vegas over/under on Miami wins is only eight, lowest of any 2008 playoff team. But Dolphin players -- notably LBs Joey Porter and Channing Crowder -- have taken umbrage and say the experts are wrong. Take a dip in our poll and let us know realistically why your expectations are where they are.    


     [Blogpoll commentary: MAN, you all are optimistic!]

     Lakers win again, grab 2-0 lead: Won't be a 25-point blowout like Game 1 was, but I see L.A. winning at home again to put Team Van Gundy in a deep hole. And they did! It was 101-96 in OT. Magic had a chance to win it in regulation but Courtney Lee blew a layup of an alley-oop pass. Not discounting Orlando altogether from here, but still liking my pre-Finals pick of Lakers in 7.

     Monday fantasy-baseball update: Adler's Marlsox sit in third place of 10 teams with 58 points, but it's a nnervous perch. A charging herd is right behind, with the next four teams all bunched between 57.5 and 55 points.

1jjpic      Jimmy Johnson stopped by airport security carrying monkey: But it was only a dream! Today's big Herald piece on Johnson (click Happy JJ to read) confirms it: Johnson has moved up the charts into second place, now trailing only laid-back icon Jimmy Buffett, on the list of people who have gotten the most mileage out of their carefree, happier-than-us, fishin' 'n flip-flops lifestyle.

1tony      Straight man looking forward to Tony Awards: Yes I am. I am looking forward to the Tony Awards for Broadway plays on TV tonight mainly to see if the Elton John musical Billy Elliot sweeps as expected. There. I said it, OK? By the way, who the hell is Tony!? I looked it up. Tony -- actually Toni -- was the nickname of a long-ago Denver actress, Antoinette Perry (pictured right as a child), who later was a successful producer and director in an era when women rarely had those roles. So why aren't they the Toni Awards? I think I'm starting to spend too much time thinking about this. [Thus concludes the single most non-sports item ever to appear in this blog].

1hatguy      Federer conquers clay, clay pigeon: Roger Federer today won his first French Open and tied Pete Sampras with a 14th career major, dispatching some guy who was ill-prepared to give him a decent match, as well as a loony fan (left) who ran onto the court thinking it would be a good idea to try to put a silly hat on Federer. Should we be beholden to that majors record, though, by saying Federer and Sampras or either are the greatest ever? I dunno but it doesn't quite feel like it to me. And in other tennis news...

1grunt     Woman gives birth to two-set victory: In the French women's final between two Russians, all of that grunting made the match sound like childbirth. Either that or the throes of passion that lead to childbirth. I felt like a voyeur. How about a little modesty, women? Can't you strike a damned tennis ball without such an unladylike display of audible exertion? Imagine if we had that in other sports: Kobe Bryant releases a jumper with a superloud UNNNGHH! Hanley Ramirez swings at a curve with a blood-curdling AARRGGH!

     Alex Rios video: Click here for what can happen when a fan says the wrong thing to a ballplayer the night after he went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. Warning: F-bombs.  

     Red Wings' champagne on ice: Detroit up 3-2 over Penguins heading into Tuesday's Game 6 in Pittsburgh. Age taking Youth to school. Octupi ready! 



June 05, 2009

Kobe's beef: I'm still the greatest! Is he? (with poll); plus Dolphin co-MVPs, Obama dog, 300, Sosa, Berman & more

     [Our recent Twitter followers include WPLG sports guy Will Manso, the Florida Marlins and cookbook author Beverly Mills. What do they know that you don't? Twitter.com/gregcote]

1bryantk      New evidence that Kobe still the greatest: Lakers take Game 1 of the NBA Finals over Orlando in L.A. last night on the wing of Kobe Bryant's 40 points. Interesting dynamic at play here. Kobe hears all this fan and media chatter about how he's no longer the best. Hears that LeBron "King" James has taken over. Hears that Dwight "Superman" Howard is the man now. Heck, if he's listening in So Fla, he even hears that Dwyane Wade may be better. I thought with his performance last night that Kobe Bryant was pretty much telling everybody that -- even in his 13th season and turning 31 in August -- he might still be better than anybody. Take a dip in our poll, and, Heat fans, try as best you can to be honest, OK?

     (By the way, Wade suing his former business partner for $100 million will come as no surprise to readers of this blog. Click here for our Feb. 11 post on that).

     Pennington, Porter are Dolphins co-MVPs: QB Chad Pennington and LB Joey Porter were announced as Dolphins' co-MVPs for the 2008 season at a media brunch today at Joe's Stone Crab, one of my favorite restaurants. Pennington also won the leadership award, while LB Akin Ayodele (community service) and RB Ronnie Brown (courage) also were winners. By the way, since I had a conflict and was unable to attend the brunch at Joe's, anybody in the media who did is a [bleep]ing, soul-selling whore!

     Bulletin: Another Mourning dawning: Alonzo and Tracy Mourning announced last night they are expecting their third child. Congrats! Good people. By the way, there is a hip-hop song out called "I'm a Zoe." Apparently "Zoe" is street-slang for gangsta or some such. Say it ain't so, Zo!

     Overlooked 'boutique' column begs readers: People sometimes ask how I go about choosing column topics. It varies. Sometimes it is event-driven. Sometimes it is imagining what people want to read. Other times it is what interests me. Today's column -- click on Calvin Borel -- fits the latter category. I know a column analyzing the Dolphins' backup long-snapper situation would have been be better-read (anything Dolphins sells itself in this market), but this is a tale, on the eve of the Belmont, that I find worth telling.

     Former Mullet King rolls 300: Congrats to Giants pitcher Randy Johnson on his 300th victory yesterday. He may be the last in our lifetimes to do it. No? Then click on this list of active wins leaders and tell us who else might? (See! Nobody).   

1berman     Ralph Wilson taps Chris Berman: Buffalo Bills founding owner Ralph Wilson, 90, has selected profusely sweating, madly gesticulating ESPN punster Chris Berman (left) to deliver his Hall of Fame induction speech in Canton this year. Which may answer once and for all whether Wilson still has all his faculties.


     Washington, D.C. (Faked-Up News) -- I mean the reporter, not the puppy. (Click here for story and video on the lovable antics of First Dog Bo).

1asteroids      Sammy Sosa set to retire: Sammy already sort of was retired via universal lack of interest in him, but announced in Santo Domingo that he plans to make it official. Thus will begin the five-year clock until he is first eligible to be denied entry into Cooperstown because of a widely held belief that he was in the steroids wheelhouse circa Mark McGwire/Rafael Palmeiro/Barry Bonds. Said Sosa: "I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame." Hey, good luck on that, Sam! (Pictured left, the cover on baseball saviors McGwire and Sosa that Sports Illustrated might like to have back).

     Blog exclusive that nobody cares about!: Been told that Parade magazine's yet-to-be-announced 2009 boys' and girls' high-school All-American soccer teams will include two local boys, Hasani Sinclair of American Heritage and home-schooled Stefan Jerome, and with one girl, Kelsey Wys of Douglas.

1houstonw      Houston? We have a problem: Word is out that on Sept. 1, warbler-turned-druggie Whitney Houston, once the hottest thing in pop music but now a high-mileage has-been at 45, prepares to drop her first new CD in seven years. And iiiiiiiiii-eeeeeiiiii-eeeeeiiiiiiiiii don't give a crap.

     Man sues strip club, risks lifetime of ribbing from friends: Click on Dangers of Nude Dancing for the harrowing tale.



June 04, 2009

Ma nature screws Marlins; plus David Carradine, Greatest Music Decade (with poll), & more

     [Our most recent Twitter followers include PGA Tour golfer John Daly, the Versace Mansion and a Dutch band called Driftkickers. What do they know that you don't? Twitter.com/gregcote]  

1david      R.I.P., Grasshopper...: I used to think people who committed suicide were cowards. I don't anymore. I still think people who commit murder/suicide are cowards. But the regular suicides deserve our understanding -- even as understanding usually is elusive. Why, David Carradine? Why?

1johnsonr      Mother nature screws Marlins: Nobody was sadder than the Marlins about last night's Giants-at-Nationals rain postponement that will mean a doubleheader today. Had Randy Johnson (pictured) pitched for San Fran last night as scheduled and lost or gotten a no-decision, he would have gone for career win No. 300 Monday night vs. the Marlins right here at BadBeer Stadium. That would have been a true event portending a huge crowd even in blase So Fla. Instead, he'll pitch today and not at all in the Giants series here. Means we are robbed of a great shot at seeing history. Johnson could be the last pitcher to win 300, considering next on the active list are Jamie Moyer with 250 at ancient 46 and Andy Pettitte with 220 at a sharp-declining 37. Most wins by a twirler under 30? A mere 122 by CC Sabathia at 28.

1fat      Twitter taking over sports world like giant moth eating Tokyo: Twitter is blowing up, and if you still don't know what Twitter is, get with it Granpappy! Prominent athletes like Shaquille O'Neal and Lance Armstrong have famously successful Twitter followings, while, at the other extreme the phenomenon is ripe for fakery. My paper had a piece in which Dolphins QB Chad Pennington proclaims he does not Twitter and that the person pretending to be him is an imposter. Pictured right, in a blog exclusive, is an action photo of the fake Chad Pennington in mid-Tweet. Also comes news that Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa (click here for story) is suing Twitter over a fake purporting to be him. As an experiment I Twitter-searched names of two randomly picked local athletes, Dan Uggla and Daequan Cook, to see what I'd find. There is one (likely fake) Dan Uggla who turns up with 45 followers despite have posted zero Tweets. There is no Daequan Cook. So get on it, imposters! Curious what athletes you follow on Twitter and how you trust they aren't fakes. In light of these scandals I would like to assure my own meager yet inexplicably growing Twitter following that it really is me at Twitter.com/gregcote, mainly because I am not popular enough to have spawned an imposter. (This concludes a blog item that ostensibly was about athletes Twittering but actually was a flimsily veiled vehicle to plug my own Twitter page).

1cohen      Panthers changing owners: Our NHL team's majority owner, Alan Cohen (pictured), is in the process of selling the club (and arena) to a New York-based consortium called Sports Properties Acquisition Corporation. My take? With no playoff appearance since 2000 and no playoff win since 1997, any change has got to be better than what we've had. Click on Cats For Sale for today's column by me.

     Corporate-sponsored NFL jerseys on way: King Sport quietly has approved allowing a 3.5x4.5-inch ccorporate patch on team practice jerseys, surely a dreadful precursor to a 'Your Ad Here' deal on game-day jerseys in the forseeable future. "Row, row, row your boat down the revenue stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, it's enough to make you scream."

     Musical tastes within blog: This is one one of those offbeat little sidetrips where we get to remind each other that, although we love sports, we don't love only sports. Take a dip in our poll on what you think has been the best decade for pop music. Also volunteer who have been the favorite music artists in your life. My list might include John Anderson, Beach Boys, Beatles, Beck, Brendan Benson, Chuck Berry, Dire Straits, Dylan, Eagles, Eminem, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Elton John, Kid Rock, Kinks, Led Zep, Bob Marley, Police, Elvis Presley, Raconteurs, R.E.M., Stones, Sinatra, Snoop Dogg, Springsteen, Staple Singers, Sublime, UB40, White Stripes, Hank Williams Jr. and Stevie Wonder. To name a few. You?

     Lakers favored, so why bother playing?: BetUS.com has Lakers favored at 5/9 with Magic at 21/10. Kobe Bryant is 1/3 to win NBA Finals MVP, followed by Dwight Howard at 11/4. Still looking for a line on who Shaquille O'Neal will be rooting hardest against: old cartoon-rival Kobe or the coach he called a "master of panic," Stan Van Gundy. (Shaq says he roots for Kobe. but none too enthusiastically, I'm sure).

     Dolphins release receiver I'd never heard of: Fare thee well, Todd Lowber. Fare thee well.

     Penguins taken off endangered list: So much for that 4-0 Red Wings sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals. Pittsburgh lives, now down just 2-1. With the Pens' big win and what looks like a 7-game NBA Finals in Lakers-Magic starting Thursday, I got to wondering what have been the most recent 4-0 championship sweeps in hockey, basketball and baseball. The answer: MLB Red Sox over Rockies (2007), NBA Spurs over Cavaliers (2007), and NHL Red Wings over Capitals (1998). 

     Beware the little-known perils of the unnaturally bronze appearance!: Been following that local murder trial in which a man is accused of strangling his wife? The latest defense strategy is to claim the woman died from poison in a spray-on tan! Evidently defense attorneys couldn't think of an even less-believable claim, so they went with that.

June 01, 2009

Lakers-Magic: Black Mamba slays Superman. Agree? (with poll); plus Jacques dumps Cats, Canes pack it in & more

     [One of my latest followers on Twitter is Deadspin. What does Deadspin know that you don't? Twitter.com/gregcote. By the way, thanks to all who joined our online chat today. We do it Mondays from 1-2. Click here to join live or to post questions at any time.]

1dwighttttt 1kobeeee      Kobe Bryant and the Lakers turned back Denver 4-2 and then last night Dwight Howard and the Magic eliminated the Cleveland LeBrons by the same 4-2 series score.

     So the NBA, TV and Nike get half of their dream Finals, the Kobe half. Sorry, LeBron. Wonder if Nike has a Muppet version of Stan Van Gundy ready? 

     What do you think of this Finals matchup? Who wins and why? I 1jack 1jack2 am inclined to say L.A. in 7 but not at all sure, Should be a good one. Definitely find myself rooting for Orlando, partly because I like Van Gundy, a blast of fresh air, and partly because this is clear Goliath/David stuff, with L.A. having mined nine NBA titles from 22 Finals appearances, and the Magic a bereft 0-for-1 (1995).

     Take a dip in our poll and tell us why you voted as you did. (And does who you want to win differ from who you think will?)

1jmartin      Jacque dumps Panthers for Montreal: Panthers GM Jacques Martin (pictured) today leaves the club to become head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. Can't blame Jacques, leaving a place where hockey is an afterthought for a city where hockey is passionately embraced. Can't give Jacques much of a parting gift, though, either. His five years here, as coach, GM or both, were an ultimate failure. He was here to end the long playoff drought. He failed.

1jmorris      UM ends disappointing season on diamond: Jim Morris -- pictured here either kicking a game-winning field goal or displaying displeasure over a call -- knows the routine. Unless you get to Omaha around here, it's a down year. And so it was for the Canes, who once were over-ranked in the top five but who disappointed in the ACC and then in the NCAA regional. Spare me the fire-Morris histrionics, but we'll admit Jim has some work (i.e. recruiting) to do to make Miami a national player again and a major factor in a good baseball conference.

     Fantasy baseball update: My Adler's Marlsox begin the week in a season-high second place in our 10-team league, with 61 1/2 points. No time for bragging, though. A handful of teams are within a handful of points so it's been a wild ride.

     Check back. Adding more stuff to this post later.