June 04, 2011

Should Heat retire Shaq's number? (with poll); plus idiot Sabean, the (Burger) King is dead, greatest songs & more


1aa1shaqheat SHOULD HEAT RETIRE SHAQ'S NUMBER?: Shaquille O'Neal's retirement this week unleashed a deserved onslaught of praise for The Big Fella, truly an all-time great and maybe the best quiniela of talent and personality in sports history. The Lakers immediately announced they will retire his number. But should Miami? A trickier question. Shaq played only 3 1/2 seasons here but made three all-star teams, averaged 19.6 points and of course had a huge hand (literally) in the 2006 championship. Is that enough? I believe in exclusivity in all the retired-number/ring-of-honor stuff, and think Shaq might fall just short of having his No. 32 hanging from the rafters. Agree or no? Vote and say why.

1aa1brians BRIAN SABEAN IS AN IDIOT: San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean (pictured) should be disciplined by MLB for some pretty outrageous comments against the Marlins' Scott Cousins, who barreled into (and injured) catcher Buster Posey in a home-plate collision. The play was legal -- Posey was blocking the plate without the ball -- but Sabean called it "malicious," said he'd be happy if Cousins never played another big-league game, and threatened retaliation with, "We'll have a long memory." The club apologized for his unprofessional comments. That isn't enough. Here is an interesting opinion from somebody who know a little bit about catching, Johnny Bench.

1aa1burgerking2 THE BURGER KING IS DEAD: Miami-based Burger King has a new marketing firm that is phasing out the company's iconic, eponymous and wonderfully creepy mascot. This is a travesty! Just about every other fast-food chain's mascot is eminently more deserving of the swift axe, starting with Ronald McDonald and Jared from Subway. Ronald McDonald looks like the cross-dressing, lifelong-bachelor uncle you never ask to babysit. The good news in all of this is that The Burger King is doing OK (see photo) in his sudden, unexpected retirement. Besides, once actually dead, he'd stand certain to be transmogrified into the leading role in a vampire movie.

1aa1kyles MLB DRAFT IS MONDAY. KEEP IT QUIET: We can't get enough NFL and NBA draft talk but the baseball draft always slips in like a good burglar. It starts Monday and let's hope the Marlins do better than in 2008. ESPN.com listed the 10 worst top-10 picks of the past 10 MLB drafts and had at No.7 Florida's '08 choice of catcher Kyle Skipworth sixth overall -- the Marlins' only single-digit pick in that span. Skipworth is now at Double-A Jacksonville, hitting around .180 and fanning a lot.

NEXT SUPERHERO: FORESKIN MAN?: Could I say it in a blog if it weren't true? Click here.

Click back. Might be adding more stuff later...

THE LIST: GREATEST SONGS: Rolling Stone has gotten almost as list-crazy as Forbes and me, and RS' latest is the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time. Their top 10:

10. Ray Charles "What'd I Say"

9. Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

8. Beatles "Hey Jude"

7. Chuck Berry "Johnny B. Goode"

6. Beach Boys "Good Vibrations"

5. Aretha Franklin "Respect"

4. Marvin Gaye "What's Going On"

3. John Lennon "Imagine"

2. Rolling Stones "Satisfaction"

1. Bob Dylan "Like A Rolling Stone."

Note: All 10 artists are in my iPod and nine of the songs are, all except number 10. Sorry, Ray. What's notable is that except for Nirvana all the songs are fairly ancient.

March 29, 2010

How exciting is this Final Four? (with poll); plus Dorell Wright's latest apology (with incriminating photo)

1aabutler 1aabutler2 1aabutler3 1aabutler4 THE FINAL FOUR: YOU LIKE?: Granted, I might be a professional curmudgeon. Might be too hard to please. Might be obsessing on the Kentucky-Kansas final I was savoring. But this doesn't strike me as a scintillating Final Four based on the matchups and teams involved. You cannot claim a true Cinderella when the worst of the seeds is No. 5 (even though most would assign Butler that role). And, to me, the only top seed to advance, Duke, might have been the weakest of the 1's. Could turn out to be a great Final Four as it plays out. But, on paper, it feels somewhat disappointing. Then again, I could be wrong. Tell me. Take a dip in our poll. Try to vote not based on how your bracket fared or how your team did, but based on how excited you are about this Final Four.


Young Heat player Dorell Wright, just off a brief suspension following a DUI bust, is apologizing again -- this time because a photo of Wright  brandishing his private parts (pictured) has appeared on the Internet. Tell you what, sports fans. Just assume your local players are doing something stupid unless you hear otherwise.

DOLPHINS BEAT HEAT, PANTHERS IN DOUGH: The TV show Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay ("Yes?") visited a Boca Raton restaurant and Dolphins Nate Jones, Lousaka Polite and John Denney won a pizza-making contest over the Heat's James Jones and the Panthers' (radio announcers) Randy Moller and Bill Lindsay. Click here for video. My favorite part: Moller saying, "We wanted to make [the pizza] a success, just like the Panthers." Hmm. That might have been a pizza topped with shards of glass or motor oil, considering how long it's been since the Panthers last made the playoffs.


NCAA ELITE EIGHT SUNDAY: CBS GETS ITS WISH: Be assured CBS-TV is rooting for Final Four regulars Duke and Michigan State to win today and give the Final Four some familiarity and heft, and the likelihood of better ratings. Saturday provided Cinderella-ish Butler and outsider West Virginia, so Tennessee and Bayor winning today would hardly form a dream-like Final Four. Well, CBS got its wish. In the early game No. 5 Michigan State did its job, edging No.6 seed Tennessee, 70-69. Then 1-Duke eliminated 3-Baylor, 78-71. (And what were the odds that Duke, seen by many as the weakest of the top seeds, would be the last No. 1 standing?)

NCAA ELITE EIGHT SATURDAY: WHO LET THE 'DOGS IN!?: Today's early game, No. 5 Butler vs. No. 2 Kansas State, meant nothing to me; neither was alive on my bracket. But that 63-56 upset win means everything to Butler, which now will enjoy home-court advantage in next week's Final Four in Indianapolis. Seemed there was a lot of feeling for a Butler upset, and it proved correct. I liked the K-Staters led by former Miami High coach Frank Martin, but was wrong. Saturday's late game was 2-West Virginia vs. 1-Kentucky -- and another stunner. Mountaineers, 73-66, for WVU's first Final Four spot since 1959. I thought nobody left alive was better than Kentucky. What the hell do I know, apparently. Tournament totals entering Sunday's games: 21 upsets in 58 games, or 36.2 percent. Also, regret to inform I have dropped to third in the Miami Herald bracket challenge, now seven points behind leader Manny Navarro.

1aafrankm ON FRANK MARTIN: Speaking of Kansas State's coach, were we filled with pride, South Florida? Or would we just as soon have not be reminded he is one of us? Many but likely not all know Martin is Miami-born and raised, of Cuban-immigrant parents, and an FIU graduate. Mostly he is remembered for coaching Miami High to three straight state championships in 1996-98 -- and also for being fired after the latter title was vacated over a recruiting-violations scandal that included several prominent players including current Heat yeoman Udonis Haslem. The FHSAA commissioner at the time called it "one of the most, if not the most, blatant violation of rules that I have ever encountered." More than a decade later, Martin is an immensely successful (and volatile) major-college coach whose season ended one win from the Final Four. But his Miami legacy remains decidedly mixed, and ultimately tinged in the kind of controversy that later, bigger successes never quite erase.

THE LIST: ELITE EIGHT: The eight teams trying to get into the 2010 Final Four have a combined 41 previous FF appearances, although the two schools with the most -- UCLA and North Crolina with 18 each -- are nowhere to be found. Final Four appearances of this years' Elite Eight entering weekend play:

14   Duke

13   Kentucky

7   Michigan State

4   Kansas State

2   Baylor

1   West Virginia

0   Butler, Tennessee