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8 posts from July 2009

July 29, 2009

Shula 5th greatest coach ever; plus Heat/Lamar Odom (with poll), D.Wade raps (with video), Phils trade puts heat on Marlins, & more

     [Join the rollicking bandwagon at Twitter.com/gregcote. By the way, I cry your pardon for being AWOL from the Wednesday live chat today. My fault, 100 percent. A pure mental hiccup by me after two weeks not doing it while on vacation. Anyway, we'll pick it back up next Wednesday, Aug. 5. Click on ChatCity to post questions at any time].

     [Michael Vick update: Voluminous email on my Wednesday column saying the Dolphins missed a big opportunity by saying no to Vick. Fairly evenly split, although people proposing either that I am an idiot or that Vick is the devil may be a slight majority thus far. Column link is here in case anybody wants to continue the palaver in this blogpost...]

1dons      Shula scores big in greatest-coaches poll: The Sporting News anoints Dolphins legend Don Shula the fifth greatest coach of all time in any sport, in a new survey of 118 Hall of Famers across all sports. Ahead of him: UCLA icon John Wooden, hat-wearing Packers great Vince Lombardi, hat-wearing Alabama god Bear Bryant, and Lakers Zen-master Phil Jackson. Hard to argue. I was half-expecting the list to diss Shula, but fifth seems fair. At least he rightly whupped the Pats' Bill Belichick, who is 20th. Other notables include Bobby Bowden 24th; Pat Riley 30th; and Bill Parcells 33rd. The complete Top 50 follows, with your impressions welome. Anything strike you as out of whack?

1. John Wooden, college basketball
2. Vince Lombardi, NFL
3. Bear Bryant, college football
4. Phil Jackson, NBA
5. Don Shula, NFL
6. Red Auerbach, NBA
7. Scotty Bowman, NHL
8. Dean Smith, college basketball
9. Casey Stengel, MLB
10. Knute Rockne, college football
11. Pat Summitt, women’s college basketball
12. Paul Brown, NFL
13. Joe Paterno, college football
14. George Halas, NFL
15. Chuck Noll, NFL
16. Bob Knight, college basketball
17. Joe Gibbs, NFL
18. Tom Landry, NFL
19. Mike Krzyzewski, college basketball
20. Bill Belichick, NFL
21. Adolph Rupp, college basketball
22. Joe McCarthy, MLB
23. Eddie Robinson, college football
24. Bobby Bowden, college football
25. John McGraw, MLB
26. Bill Walsh, NFL
27. Woody Hayes, college football
28. Connie Mack, MLB
29. Bud Wilkinson, college football
30. Pat Riley, NBA
31. Pete Newell, college basketball
32. Joe Torre, MLB
33. Bill Parcells, NFL
34. Tom Osborne, college football
35. Walter Alston, MLB
36. Bo Schembechler, college football
37. Toe Blake, NHL
38. Sparky Anderson, MLB
39. Al Arbour, NHL
40. Amos Alonzo Stagg, college football
41. Tony La Russa, MLB
42. Geno Auriemma, women’s college basketball
43. Dick Irvin, NHL
44. Ara Parseghian, college football
45. Chuck Daly, NBA
46. Bobby Cox, MLB
47. Hank Iba, college basketball
48. Tommy Lasorda, MLB
49. Gregg Popovich, NBA
50. Herb Brooks, NHL

     [Ranking postscript: Dolphin Chad Pennington is rated the 6th-best active quarterback in a "Great 8" list by the website Cold, Hard Football Facts, which admits that's a surprise. The Eight in order: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, The Chad, Drew Brees and Donovan McNabb].  

1odom      Heat's pursuit of Lamar Odom: Miami's 2009 free-agent pursuit seems to have focused on a Back to the Future reacquisition of former Heatnik Lamar Odom. What say ye? I like it. He's 6-10 and about as versatile as you could find.


1clifflee      Phils turn up heat on Marlins: The pressure is now squarely on the Marlins to make a significant deal by Friday's trade deadline, after division rival Philly on Wednesday worked a pending major deal to acquire Cleveland ace Cliff Lee (pictured), the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. How will Florida counter? The Phillies may now be impossible to catch in the NL East, but a wild-card spot remains very much in play. What is the Marlins' biggest need? I still say a closer, although if they traded for Roy Halladay I suppose that'd be OK, too (!). Another big bat wouldn't hurt, either. Does reacquiring Josh Willingham excite anybody? Click here for my Marlins column, online now and in today's/Thursday's paper.

     Dwyane Wade raps! Sort of: Click here for a slow, mercifully brief a-capella rap by Dwyane Wade. No, seriously. 

1breesmina      Drew Brees' mother apparently loony: Bizarre story involving Mina Brees (pictured), the estranged mother of the Saints quarterback. Seems as if she was trying to extort money from Houston restaurants. Click here for the odd tale.

     Fantasy baseball kicking my a--: I would like to announce that I suck at fantasy baseball. I am the Manny Acta of fantasy managers. My Adler's Marlsox have fallen to 8th place in a 10-team league, and some of that is my own doing, such as when I started two players who were on the 15-day DL because I forgot to update my roster. Fantasy football: Simpler. Better.

     That'll do it for now. Check back. It says here I'll be adding more stuff.

July 27, 2009

Ciao! I'm ba-aack; plus Dolphins blow big chance on Vick, Erin Andrews peep video, Favre, Ricky & nude family haunts Delray

     [Check me out at Twitter.com/gregcote and join the resumption of our live online chats this Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click on ChatCity to join live then or to post a question early].

     [BULLETIN: Brett Favre announced Tuesday afternoon he will stay retired, pending his next change-of-mind tentatively scheduled for the day after tomorrow].

     Greetings one and all. Happy to be back in the Homeland (and Heraldland) after being blissfully incommunicado on two weeks' vacation -- a European holiday with the family. We spent three days in Rome and then hopped a seven-day cruise to Italy, Spain, Monaco and France, spending so many Euros that I am now officially in line for a federal bailout.

     Much of the dough was offered in penance to the cruise casino. Actually I did OK overall amid the merry din of bells, hitting big in roulette (including a stack of four chips on the 33; thank you Sammie Smith) and also lucking a few jackpots in slots (including a 7-7-5xpay). My oldest son, better at the tables, did well enough at blackjack and poker to ceremonially and with exquisite nonchalance flip us a $500 chip to offset the cost of copious beverage consumption.

1beggar      I won't burden you with a travelogue except to note that I found out what al dente really tastes like, and was stunned visually by the Vatican, inside and out. The shrine attracts too many beggars to count, forlorn souls playing on the sympathy of the believers. We saw one old crone dressed in black, pathetically supine on the pavement, palm upraised. I bent to the battered tin beside her, surrepticiously snatched a 5 Euro, and ran like hell.

     Another observation: the Sistine Chapel (smaller than you'd imagine) loses some of its aura when filled with a couple of thousand tourists whose collective murmur produces a droning buzz that overwhelms the occasional hopeless "Shhh!" of chapel attendants.

1casino2      One more: the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino can kiss my American a--. You pay a 10 Euro cover charge to get in. The casino is small and quiet as a cemetery, with snooty guys in tuxedos motioning for you to remove your hat. Gimmie a break. That whole Monaco self-appointed royalty thing is a farce, not that you asked me.

     Overall had a terrific time, though. Rome's architecture and my digital camera fell in love; the piazzas at night a romantic vista. Genoa, Villefranche, Barcelona (reawakening memories of the '92 Olympics), Palma De Mallorca, Sardinia and its Argiolas winery -- magnifique! 

     Anyway, what's been happening around here?

     Blew through old papers and found that highlights in my absence included...

     The Marlins getting hot (but the bleeping Phils staying hotter).

     Carlos Boozer lobbying to join the Heat (so far fruitlessly).

1markantony      And singer Marc Anthony becoming the latest Dolphins' minority owner in the stable of celebrity-loving Stephen Ross. (Maybe it's because I've been in Italy, but when I first heard that I thought they meant Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius), pictured, the Roman politician and general from B.C.

     Seems like it's been pretty quiet while I was away, actually. But that is changing very soon, with King Sport about to unlimber and the Canes and Dolphins soon opening camps.

     It's good to be back. In America. And in South Florida.

     Dolphins wrong to say no-way to reinstated, available Vick: You know by now I think Michael Vick would be a perfect fit for the Dolphins' Wildcat offense -- a proven version of what the club hopes rookie Pat White might become. It had been conjecture. Until this week. Monday the NFL reinstated Vick, making him available to sign with any team immediately. Alas, the Dolphins announced Tuesday they have no interest. I still say Miami should have taken a chance, "distraction" be damned. Click here for my new column on this, online now and in today's/Wednesday's paper. The online headline, 'Fins are running scared,' is strong but I do not disown it. I believe teams, including Miami, are pandering to PR in saying no-to Vick. The team brave enough to sign him is going to be glad it did. Agreement or dissent welcome as Sunday's opening of training camp draws near.

1ricky      A massage from Ricky Williams: The Dolphins running back is the subject of an interesting feature piece in the New York Times (click here) about his post-football plans. The story's accompanying photo is shown at left.

     1erinandrews2 Ha! Just kidding about Erin Andrews video!: Relax, Miami Herald legal team. I put that in the main headline just to shamelessly draw readers. I think it is terrible that some pervert videotaped a nude Erin Andrews, the ESPN sideline babe, through a hotel peephole. It was a total coincidence that I happened to have the room next to hers. Kidding! (Is it too soon to kid?) I would never provide such a video link in this church-going family blog. Although anyone who has it may forward it to me so that I might be more fully informed in my outrage. Show right is a freezeframe from the video, first published in the New York Post. Am I wrong to show this photo?

1family      Nude family terrorizes Delray Beach: Complaints arise in Delray over a sculpture of a nude family outside a shopping center there. Click here for the story. Not sure what the art work is titled, but based on this photo I'm going to go ahead and suggest, "Anorexia In Bronze."

July 15, 2009

The Ultimate Miami Dolphins Poll


     NOTE TO VALUED READERS: I am off on vacation this week and next. (How DARE I!?) Will be back blogging, columnizing and Twittering beginning the week of July 27. Live online chats will resume July 29. 'Random Evidence' Sunday notes column returns Aug. 2.

     I leave this as an open thread in my absence. Talk amongst yourselves. What's going on? Marlins playoff chase? Dolphins and Hurricanes getting close? Pat Riley/Dwyane Wade stalemate continuing?

     As a conversation starter here is a poll I've been thinking about for awhile. Do more than vote. Drop a comment explaining why. I usually have a strong feeling on where my vote goes in most polls that I post here, but this one I think is a genuinely tough call, with three great choices. Pretend like it's debate class. Make your case.

     Have fun. See you in a bit...

July 13, 2009

All-Star Game, Brock Lesnar polls; plus We're No. 82!, Wade, Artest MJ song, Dolphins, Marlins, tattoos & more


     Bulletin: We're No. 82!: Miami is ranked the 82nd most sports-knowledgable city among 186, based on a nationwide NTN Buzztime trivia quiz that took place recently in sports bars and restaurants across the country. To the degree a city might be proud of its abject mediocrity ... congrats! Leading the sports-trivia smarty pantses: Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth. (LA? Really!?)  

1brock       Brock Lesnar's clown act hurts MMA: Brock Lesnar makes a perfect idiot, a perfect villain, a perfect idiot-villain. What he doesn't make, as we saw in UFC 100 the other night, is a very good frontman for Ultimate Fighting Championship or mixed-martials arts in general. At least not if MMA hopes to establish itself as a legitimate mainstream sport, which it still is not. Lesnar's actions blur the line between mixed martial arts and WWE, and make UFC seem like the bare-fisted cousin of pro wrestling, no better, and not to be taken seriously. (By the way, whatever happens to Kimbo Slice?)

     All-Star Game shouldn't weigh on October: Baseball did wrong a few years ago by deciding the All-Star Game -- won yet again by the AL last night -- should determine home-field advantage in the World Series. By choosing to make one game more important, it made 162 games less important. The WS team with the better record over 162 games should have home-field advantage. The All-Star Game is big enough on pomp, tradition and star-power to stand on its own as a ceremonial exhibition. But that's just me. What do you think?

1judas      Brett Favre backlash?: Hey! There's a Packers fan wearing a shirt that has 'JUDAS' over Favre's number! Maybe the fan's name is Judas. Maybe he thinks Favre is a traitor. Maybe he's into Judas Priest. How can we know, really?

     A personal plea to my media brethren: ENOUGH DWYANE WADE CONTRACT DRAMA AND DAILY WILL-HE-WON'T-HE-AND-WHEN UPDATES!! Pretty please? No more news stories with no news in them, no more reheated columns, no more blogoney. We get it, OK? Dwyane is eligible to sign a contract extension now, but is prudently waiting, but that implies not a bit that he won't eventually re-up long-term with Miami. So that's it. Now let's give this story the rest it so dearly needs.

1artestron      Ron Artest's Michael Jackson tribute song: NBA basketball fading-star Ron Artest (right) has cut a hip-hop tribute to Michael Jackson. No, seriously. Click on I Cry For Mike to listen. It's nothing special, although I have heard worse. WARNING: The song aims diligently for street-cred with requisite, repeated use of the N-word. That's the N-word rap-style, Whitey, ending in a soft 'a,' as in one brother to another. I believe the F-word also rears its head, so the easily offended ought not listen

     No Dolphins top-5's at any position: A small bit of anecdotal evidence furthering the perception that the Dolphins may be defending AFC East champs but hardly are considered division faves in '09. Bucky Brooks on NFL.com ranks his top five players at 10 positions -- quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, running back, cornerback, safety, inside linebacker, edge rusher and defensive tackle -- and Miami is shut out. But there are two Patriots included (QB Tom Brady No. 1 and and WR Randy Moss No. 2), and also two Jets (CB Darrelle Revis and DT Kris Jenkins, both No. 4).

1bargains      Marlins No. 1 in bang-for-buck: Data-minded reader Dave Oliver computes that the Marlins rank No. 1 in all of baseball in wins-per-dollar, based on 2009 player payroll divided by victories at the All-Star Break. Florida is spending "only" $800,304 per W, followed by the Padres ($1.19 million) and Pirates ($1.28 mill). At the other extreme? New York, New York. Yankees ($3.95 million per win) and Mets ($3.23M) lead the majors in uneconomical spending, followed by Cubs at $3.14M. (Thanks for the number-crunching, Dave!)

  1tats2    TattooLaPalooza: Regarding that tattoo festival on Miami Beach, remember when tattoos were a statement that meant something? You were ID'd as a tough guy or a social iconoclast. You stood out. Now? Now it seems like everybody and their mother (and aunt, cousin, girlfriend and mailman) have tattoos. Yawn. It has reached a point where people who are inked up are the comformists, and people without tattoos are the rebels. I mean, c'mon Britney, yours is one of 63.8 million American female derrieres with artwork atop the great divide. How daring or special can you possibly feel? Popularity has killed the mystique of the tattoo in much the same way it ruined Harley-Davidson. Harleys and their riders used to be badass, but that was before the company marketed to Middle America and sold its soul in the name of Harley-Davidson Cafes and logoed coffee mugs, barstools and dog vests.

     That'll do it for now.

July 09, 2009

UM football-expectations poll; plus D.Wade's nemesis, man named Gerald out to save Herald, Dolphins/Marlins needs, Strikers & more


     Dwyane Wade's dubious choice in business partners: Kudos to Miami New Times for a fascinating read on the estranged business partner who heaved bunches of accusations at the Heat's Dwyane Wade -- and whom Wade is suing for slander. Click here for the story.

     Herald's online sportscaster poll: The story introducing it begins, "The last time The Miami Herald conducted a sportscaster poll, Tony Segreto was anchoring local sports..." Hmm. Not to quibble, but our lil' ol' blog here conducted a major local sports-radio poll in January 2006 (Jim Mandich won) and a local TV-sportscasters poll in May 2008 (Joe Rose won). You could look it up, as the saying goes.

1herald      Inspirational dirge, man named Gerald out to save Miami Herald, newspaper industry: Click here for 4 minutes 53 seconds of the oddest song you have ever heard or ever will. The rumor that this is me singing -- you know, that rumor I just started with this unprompted denial? -- is false. I thought it was an unearthed demo from a 1970s promotional campaign that never aired. And with good reason. (The actual artist was a guy named Rochester Slim; click here for his website). The song probably is not Top 40 or dance-floor material. If only we could have found this in time to have Michael Jackson overdub a hiccup or a hee-hee. Nevertheless, remember that, although times may be dark for our industry and this song sounds oddly and perhaps presciently funereal, always, for God's sake always remember, no matter what: The Herald is your friend!

     [Miami Herald song update: "Rochester Slim" and I have been in touch via e-mail. He is Alan Donovan, brother of the late, great Herald research librarian Liz Donovan. Alan says he did the song purely for Liz's amusement on a cheap four-track cassette recorder around 1996].

1amiami      Set the bar on UM football expectations: Miami Hurricane football seniors wax optimistic about the coming season in a Herald piece (click here), saying, essentially, that the storm is past and happy days are here again. I'd say the program's rebound is headed right but is ongoing, not complete. I see improvement over last year's 7-6 record but probably not a BCS-bowl type of season, especially with that brutal stretch of @ FSU, Georgia Tech, @ Virginia Tech and Oklahoma opening the 12-game regular season. But that's just me. How about you? Take a dip in our poll and together you all, right here, right now, will set the bar on 2009 expectations:

     [Congrats, and thanks. You made the above our 66th blogpoll to surpass 1,000 votes in its first day. Keep 'em coming!]

     Marlins need bat help, but mostly a closer: With the team seriously contending -- and how 'bout that comeback last night! -- this would be a good time for management to make a move and trade for a proven closer. Could use some lineup pop as well, but there are internal options there such as Cameron Maybin. Click on Saving Grace for today's/Friday's column by me on the Marlins' needs as the July 31 trade deadline looms.

1evian      Evian Roller Babies: Fans of adorable infants doing amazing stunts on roller skates, click here for a YouTube video. 

     On Steve McNair's legacy: We have seen, with Michael Jackson, what death can do for a man. It is the ultimate in accentuating the positive. So it was that thousands attended McNair's stadium service to say goodbye only to a great quarterback, family man and community good-doer -- not to the imperfect man whose philandering played a role in his own death in the murder-suicide inflicted by a girlfriend. The way it ended for McNair lends a posthumous stain to his reputation that is unfortunate but real. Doesn't overshadow all the good, but it doesn't go away either. Euologies get to omit all the bad. Legacies don't.

1strikers      Memories of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers: I was among a panel speaking to a sports-marketing class at Barry University this week. Topic: the curious, astounding, fleeting success of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers soccer team in the late 1970s and early '80s. I covered the team then. With me on the panel were former player Thomas Rongen (now coach of the U.S. national under-20 team) and former team marketing guy John Adams. Sweet memories of the special ambience around Lockhart Stadium in those halcyon days. Any old "Striker Likers" still out there? If so drop a favorite memory or two.

1allenwill      Dolphins must corner the market: The Dolphins could use a veteran cornerback. Right now Will Allen (pictured) is the only proven, starter-caliber corner. Vontae Davis might become that. Isn't now. But I'm not surprised the club isn't interested in considering the return of Patrick Surtain or Sam Madison, both available. Patrick is 33 and Sam 35, and both were banged-up reserves last year with the Chiefs and Giants, respectively. Miami can do better, and younger. But until it does, a reliable, ready-now complement to Will Allen trails only the lack of a proven, premier wide receiver among unmet Dolphin needs as training camp draws near.

1hankIII      Hank Williams III: Hank III and his band Assjack play downtown Fort Lauderdale tonight/Friday. An item in my paper's Weekend section is, alas, mistakenly accompanied by a photo of his daddy, Hank Williams Jr. Therefore I feel obliged to publish a photo (right) of Hank III, a blog favorite.  

1ladygaga      Women Who Have Managed to Create A Sexy Image Despite Being Generally Unattractive: Today, Lady Gaga.

     Fanning flames of Wade hysteria!: An unnamed South Florida publication that rhymes with "Un Entinel" includes a column fathoming the "devastation" of Dwyane Wade leaving the Heat in free agency. Good column, but for the fact it wouldn't happen for a year if it happened at all. Which it almost certainly won't.

     Funny Headlines With Sad Endings, one in a series: Click here.

1naked      Naked came the receptionist: A British marketing firm, in an effort to boost morale, has asked employees to work in the nude. Click here for the tail tale. As an experiment to see what it was like, I was nude while writing this blog item. I wish other people in The Miami Herald newsroom would quit staring.

     That'll do it for now. 

July 08, 2009

Signing Iverson a start to keeping Dwyane (happy); plus Cuba happier than U.S., Michael Jackson excessive-adulation poll & more


     Allen Iverson is The Answer. For now: The NBA free-agency signing period begins today and click here for today's column by me on why the Heat should sign FA guard Allen Iverson, who'd love that to happen. He's a veteran playmaker Miami needs, and it would be a step toward keeping Dwyane Wade happy, which is a prerequisite to keeping Dwyane Wade. [An Iverson-to-Heat blogpoll is still accepting votes one post below this one].

     On the Michael Jackson service: Watched most of it. Thought it was well done. Found much of it quite moving, such as the Maya Angelou poem and the young daughter's brief, emotional words. But I must remark derisively on Al Sharpton telling Michael's three kids, "Wasn't nothing strange about your daddy..." C'mon, Rev! Love Michael as a performer, as a person, whatever. But don't try to tell me he wasn't strange. Who in public life has ever been stranger?

1cuba      People in Cuba much happier than we in U.S.: This may surprise Cuban Miamians who fled Castro's tyranny and poverty, but people who live in Cuba are rated the seventh happiest, most content people of 143 countries surveyed, with the United States ranking a dismal 114th. No wiseguy, the survey was not conducted by Fidel and Raul. It was conducted by an independent British group; click on happyplanetindex.org for more info. The top 10 in order: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guatemala, Vietnam, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Brazil and Honduras. (Hey don't shoot the messenger. It ain't my list!).

     The Josh and Ricky Show: If Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco stay healthy and keep pitching like this, the Marlins will win the  NL East. Period.

     What athlete is most at the top of his game right now?: If you had to pick just one, would it be basketball ace LeBron James, tennis champion Roger Federer, baseball slugger Albert Pujols, golf champ Tiger Woods, or hot dog-eating king Joey Chestnut?

     King of New York slimes King of Pop: New York Congressman Pete King goes on a YouTube diatribe against Michael Jackson (click here for the video), calling him a lowlife, a pervert, a pedophile and saying there was "nothing good about this guy." The invective starts at about the 48-second mark. (Aside to Brett Favre-loving, Sports Illustrated NFL maven Peter King: Change your name immediately). Rep. King says Jackson does not deserve all of the media attention and national mourning he is getting. Agree? Take a dip in our poll.

     On McNair's tragic death: Steve McNair's death is no less sad or no less a tragedy because it was apparently related to an affair he'd been having. By the way, the boyfriend of the woman found dead next to McNair says some pretty self-incriminating stuff on his MySpace page. When are people going to learn that MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and the like are dangerous things in the wrong hands. Or minds.

1serenawms      Serena. Nice titles!: Serena Williams (right), after winning Wimbledon, was seen wearing a T-shirt that read, "Are You Looking At My Titles?" Short answer? Yes. Absolutely.

     Miami fails to make "stylish cities" list: Oh man, the cultivators and caretakers of the South Beach image and lifestyle are going to be verklempt over this one. Miami is nowhere to be found among the world's 10 most stylish cities based on the 2009 Anholt-GfK-Roper City Brands Index. (Click here for the story). The places more stylish than us, in order: Paris, Milan, New York, London, Rome, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Madrid, San Francisco and Barcelona.

     "Old age" begins at 68: That's according to a new survey of Americans. A bunch of 67-year-olds are running around shouting "Yesss!!" and getting tattoos. 

1beckhams 1decarlo      Beckham, wife in underwear!: It certainly is not unsual for soccer heartthrob David Beckham and perpetually pouting, sullen-looking wife Victoria to be photographed in undies. What interests me about this latest ad is the streak in Dave's hair. Is that lighting? Or is he going for a look that pays homage to the late, great Yvonne DeCarlo from the Munsters?

     Adler's Marlsox suck: That's my fantasy-league baseball team, which has slipped and slided to seventh place. A fantasy baseball rookie, I have discovered that this is harder than fantasy football, at least for me. I'm not sure why.

     Latest round of thanks...: ...to Las Vegas Review-Journal, Merced (Cal.) Sun-Star, Philadelphia Daily News, Regina (Sask.) Leader-Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Seattle Times, SportingNews.com, and, as always, 790 The Ticket.

1rihanna      Dear Greg...: ...your blog's OK, but if you're going to post a bunch of non-sports stuff like this can't you at least show a picture of Rihanna partying at Tao in Las Vegas wearing only silver-sequinned stars under her tuxedo jacket? Thank you.

      Geez, you'd think with Rihanna dressing like that we'd rank higher than 114th on the damned happy meter! That'll do it for now.

July 05, 2009

Happy Fourth Weekend! Our most American sport (with poll); plus Iverson-Heat poll, epic Wimbledon final, Hanley & Josh, McNair


     "Celebrate Fourth of July Weekend with a Blog Double-Poll Extravaganza!"

1alleni      Iverson to Heat?: Pat Riley, looking for veteran help at bargain prices, put out feelers to Allen Iverson and Ron Artest. Artest is going to the Lakers (the rich get richer), but A.I. is still out there on the free-agent board. Iverson has some obvious baggage. He is 34, had back and groin injuries last season, and has suffered me-me-itis at times in his career. But he is a maniacal hustler on the floor and obviously has some game left, averaging 17.5 points last season. Iverson can play both guard positions, meaning he could lend the veteran experience Miami now lacks at the point. I say if the Heat can get him cheap, why not? Take a dip in our poll.

      Marlins Hanley, Double-J make all-star team: Baseball announced its all-star rosters today and Hanley Ramirez is voted an NL starter at shortstop, with pitcher Josh Johnson also selected to the team. Both designations are well-deserved. Can't really argue that any Marlin was unfairly omitted. (Although Ricky Nolasco sure has looked the part lately, hasn't he?)

1sam      Star-spangled Wimbledon: An All-American women's final Saturday with Serena Williams beating older sis Venus. Then it was American Andy Roddick reaching Sunday's men's final vs. Roger Federer -- an epic five-set final that ended with Federer prevailing 16-14 in the last set to capture his record 15th major. Roddick and his fans always will wonder what might have been if he hadn't blown a second set tiebreaker that would have put him up 2-0. A tennis weekend almost the way Uncle Sam would want it.

     McNair tragedy: Downer in the festive weekend, the news late yesterday that former NFL quarterback Steve McNair had been shot to death. It's still a mystery. Was it a murder-suicide involving a 20-year-old woman who reports are was in a relationship with the married McNair? Or was it made to look like that by the woman's boyfriend? No matter the particulars, yet another reminder that star athletes are not immune to life's tragedies.

     Our most American sport: Happy Fourth of July weekend everybody! We'll be celebrating with a group of friends on Fort Lauderdale Beach in an 18th annual Magical Wheel of Meat cookout extravaganza possibly involving limited amounts of beer. Do you have a special July 4 tradition? In honor of the holiday vote on what you think is the most American of all sports.

     [Poll observation: Can't believe, even in a Football Town, that more of you people aren't voting for baseball. I mean, hullo? Warts and all, it's AMERICA'S BLEEPIN' PASTIME!!]


July 01, 2009

Miami fans: "We're No. 100!" (Yeah, DEAD LAST!); plus Fredi-Erik-Randy Most Worrisome Coach poll, local title-odds, Arguello, Vick & more


1mh    Miami named nation's lousiest sports town: Men's Health magazine, which I personally don't read because it disrespects my dedicated beer-and-no-exercise lifestyle, ranks 100 American cities for "sports obsession" in its July/August issue and Miami ranks No. 100. Dead last, fans! How does that make you feel? Do we deserve this dubious title? Click here for the mag website. Arlington, Tex., ranks first overall on the list, which is based largely on attendance at events. Jacksonville does well (sixth), but otherwise Florida cities are royally dissed, with Tampa rated 87th, St. Pete 89th, Orlando 96th and, of course, Miami pulling up the sagging rear. I take it the magazine's research was confined to attending a midweek Marlins game during a rain delay? This is an outrage! Even if it's accurate, it's still an outrage! I feel like suing somebody.

     Speaking of rankings...: ESPN's 2009 "Ultimate Standings" are out, a ranking of the 122 Big Four sports teams based on how much they give back to fans. Our teams still rank pretty low, but all four have improved over a year ago, with the Heat ranked No. 55 (up from 87), the Dolphins at No. 61 (up from 108), the Marlins at No. 77 (up from 99) and the Panthers at No. 90 (up from 98).

     Most Worrisome Coach poll: OK, here's the idea. Y'all love Tony Sparano. Swoooooning! And don't much care about the Panthers' Peter DeBoer. That leaves it a three-way race among Fredi Gonzalez, Randy Shannon and Erik Spoelestra among the major local coaches in whom you have the LEAST confidence. Who is it? Take a dip in our poll.

     Dolphins third-likeliest of nine state pro teams to win title next: Our friends at BetUS.com list odds on the next state pro team to win a championship: Rays 2-2, Magic 3-2, Dolphins 5-2, Jaguars 3-1, Buccaneers 11-2, Heat 6-1, Marlins 12-1, Panthers 15-1, Lightning 20-1. First manager/coach to be fired? It's Marlin Fredi Gonzalez first at 3-2 and then Heat's Erik Spoelstra 7-4. Joey Porter over/under on sacks: 12.5.  Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams over/under on combined rushing yards: 1,699. Likelihood of Dwyane Wade re-signing with Heat in 2010: 1-2. First Marlin to be traded: Jorge Cantu 2-1, Jeremy Hermida 5-2, Cody Ross 9-4, Dan Uggla 3-1.

     Obligatory Michael Vick mention: I have a column (click here) reacting to ex-NFL coach Dennis Green predicting Michael Vick will end up with the Dolphins. I wish, but don't hold your breath, kids. I had a poll on this recently and 59.5% of y'all said no-way and 40.5% said Miami should be interested. Still feel the same?

1alexis     Alexis Arguello, R.I.P.: Man, the celebrity deaths just keep coming don't they? Sad to hear Arguello, the former terrific boxer with Miami ties, died suddenly and apparently of his own hand. Sympathy to his family and fans. (I was a part of The Herald's coverage of that 1982 Arguello-Aaron Pryor bout at the Orange Bowl early in my career. My biggest memory is being at Pryor's winning post-fight party and seeing all of his handlers and sycophants in a loosely formed Conga line chanting, "HAWK TIME! HAWK TIME! HAWK TIME!")

1booth      Bulletin: Panthers do something right!: Our mostly hapless Florida Panthers today buttoned up left wing David Booth with a six-year contract. That's great. He is young (24) and could blossom into a 40-goal scorer (had 31 last season including two hat tricks). I also find myself rooting for any NHL'er not from Eastern Europe or Canada (David's from Detroit). 

     About this Honduras thing...: All I can tell you is that I have a friend who is Honduran and he supports the military coup because he says the overthrown president wanted to illegally reconfigure the Constitution to position himself as a ruler for life along the lines of the megalomaniacs who have ruined Venezula and Cuba and other places in the region. So there.

1square      Square watermelons: Japanese farmers have developed square watermelons by growing them inside the vine in square containers. I don't know that this ranks with the automobile or computer among inventions, but a pretty neat idea nonetheless. Inspired, I myself am in the early stages of planning to develop a square bowling ball.

1swimbutt     Swimsuit malfunction: Italian Olympian swimmer Flavia Zoccari was disqualified from a race when her swimsuit was torn asunder in the rear. I don't find this particularly newsworthy; however, I do find it an opportunity to see if I can get away with posting this photo -- oopsies! -- in my family-values blog. As for being DQ'd? Heck, I think as an incentive women should automatically win when this kind of thing happens! 

     That'll do it for now, unless I add more stuff later.