Posted on: March 13, 2013 7:34 pm
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Fans expectations of Derek Rose

Everyone should realize that an avid and devoted sports fan that has an emotional attachment to a team is virtually unreasonable. People who invest so much energy into supporting a team have unrealistic and irrational beliefs; essentially living vicariously through his/or her team's successes and failures. 

Some sports fans are so fanatical that they schedule rumbles against a rival team's supporters around the world in soccer. When the Jets play the Dolphins, there's always fights in the stands. Some crucial losses even result in suicides. So irrationality is part of the fabric of the ardent sports fan. 

Fans see a rich and young NBA player, like Derek Rose, who is medically cleared to play by independent medical professionals and wonder why he's not in uniform and competing. The average sports fan is hard working and used to making sacrifices just to make ends meet and succeed. I've been guilty as such in the past being a Miami sports fan whose Dolphins have been irrelevant for a long time. I cringe at some f the personnel decisions that have been made and, as misiry loves company, share my thoughts with friends over aa few beers here and there.

So, yes, it's fair to a point to criticize someone for not lacing up if he's healthy. Rose should play. He's financially set for life because of the game of basketball. Time to play, even though I'm not as irrational a fan as some of my friends, I understand the frustration of a a sports fan. I want my sports icons to fight through injury and struggles to lead my team to victories and championships. A healthy player who is sheepish about playing while healthy just blows up the sports fans' collective image of a sports hero like a Derek Rose.
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 20, 2013 12:49 am
 

The NCAA's Botched Investigation vs. Miami

As I learned of a freshly minted letter of allegations sent to the University of Miami from the NCAA Infractions Committee on Infractions stemming from Nevin Shapiro, a convicted felon and ex-UM booster, I could not help but be frustrated and disappointed. The NCAA has botched the investigation from the get-go. It used heavy-handed and unscrupulous tactics to obtain information. If this was a criminal justice case going to trial, the presiding judge would throw the case out. The evidence is tainted.

As the Miami Herald's Greg Cote so elequently put it:

Dear Infractions Committee:

There are three reasons why there should be no added sanctions against Miami from this point forward. Under normal circumstances none of the three alone might be reason enough. But in this unique circumstance the combined weight of all three factors should be enough:

1. The NCAA’s botchery of the case — Emmert himself Monday called this an “embarrassment” and a “debacle.” It was estimated 20 percent of the investigation’s findings were tainted. That chunk of info supposedly will be stricken from the record and not held against Miami when the infractions committee deliberates, but any first-year lawyer will note you can’t put the smoke back in a cigar. A judge can admonish jurors to disregard what they improperly heard. But they still heard it.

An investigation 20 percent tainted is a tainted investigation.

This wasn’t even the first or only ethical question involving the NCAA’s probe of Miami. Investigators threatened potential witnesses who would not voluntarily testify, telling them Shapiro’s claims against them would be believed unless they did. That is the presumption of innocence turned upside down. That is a dirty, strong-arm tactic bordering on extortion.

Even Emmert would not defend it Monday, saying only, “We have to sit down with our membership and determine what approaches to obtaining information they find acceptable.”

How about this approach: Be aboveboard and ethical and don’t do anything that makes you look even worse than the people you are investigating and about to judge.

(The NCAA also apparently has provided Shapiro a free cellphone. If that isn’t an ethical breach, it’s enough a blurred line that I would hate to defend it if I were Emmert.)

2. The accuser — I’m guessing it isn’t often that the NCAA’s key witness against a school is a man serving hard time in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, as Shapiro is.

Hurricanes fans who might be angry at Shapiro are nowhere near the front of the line compared to victims he was found guilty of swindling.

This isn’t to pin all of UM’s troubles on Shapiro. That would be wrong. If there are not willing athletes on the other side with hands out, renegade boosters do not exist.

I would imagine, though, that an accuser’s motives and reputation would be given weight in any case, and that in this case the accuser, let’s just say, has relinquished any future bid for sainthood.

3. Time already served. The university and its athletic department — the football program especially but also men’s basketball — have lived with this cloud for some 2 1/2 years now, serving a de facto probation period and facing an uncertain future that has hindered recruiting. Who’s to say even Miami losing assistant football coach Mario Cristobal to Alabama on Monday wasn’t related in some way to possible looming sanctions against UM.

More tangibly, Miami already has self-imposed two seasons of football postseason bans that have encompassed two bowl games and what would have been the school’s first ACC Championship Game. Eight players already served a total of 19 games in suspensions. Coach Al Golden self-imposed a reduction of five scholarships on National Signing Day earlier this month.

This strikes us as fair punishment from what we already know of the allegations.

No other school ever investigated by the NCAA has stepped forward and volunteered more sanctions to put this in the past and move on.

No other school’s accuser has been more personally suspect and notorious.

No other school’s investigation was put on hold while the NCAA investigated its own wrongdoing in the case, its own violation of public trust.

Enough.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/
19/3241515_p2/greg-cote-ncaa-should
-drop-case.html#storylink=cpy
Posted on: January 12, 2011 9:14 pm
 

Lebron James' Tweet

Man, this is getting old! All that bitterness is still around, spewing nonsense after incoherent nonsence from people who don't even know all the facts. Yeah, going on television and uttering that famous line didn't do him any favors. I mean, where were his public relations people? But, essentially, it was nothing but a major NBA super star who had enough of propping up a team full of role-players that was not going to win the Larry O'Brien trophy anytime soon. Just like any other career in any field, people yearn for personal success, especially Type A personalities in the sports world like LeBron James .

Do you know that it was 2 and 1/2 million dollars that Lebron James donated to the Boy's and Girl's Clubs of America? Yes, it was the proceeds from ad sales during the showing during "the decsion", but lots of good came from it. I just don't get it. If you're a lawyer in a mediocre firm and you get to defend petty criminals for a living, wouldn't you jump at the chance to go work for the one of the top legal firms in the region and be recognized as one of the best at what you do? Of course you would and you can substitute whatever profession you like and the end result will be the same. It's called upward mobility and it's as American as apple pie.

Karma is an Eastern philosophy that pretty much states that you reap what you you sow. The Cav's owner blurted out almost every negative word in the dictionary in insulting Lebron for doing what Gilbert himself has done in life. Leave one job for a better job. Gilbert started as a small time lawyer and then bought a small mortgage firm then he transformed it into a successful lender which then was bought by Quicken Loans and then he eventually bought it back and is now a billionaire. See? He didn't stay put. He worked his way into a better financial and personal position when given the chance. Just like Lebron.

This whole thing about "oh you better get a police motorcade and watch your backside Lebron when you go to so and so..." is so ridiculous that it begs to wonder. Are fans that fanatical these days that they ponder physical harm? Seriously? I say you try it. Just you and Lebron in a bare-knuckles fight in a dark back alley. Ok, going too far there...Karma is meant for those who have harmed others. Did Lebron really harm the city of Cleveland? No, he gave seven great years to the city and the owner and general manager could never surround him with enough talent to get over the hump.

The frantic venemous vitriol that came out of Cav'z owner Dan Gilbert's mouth was over the top embarassing and prophetic in a twisted sort of way. Gilbert launched words like "curse" and "coward" and "betrayal" in a classless open letter to Cavaliers fans. He's one of 30 NBA owners and he should be held to a higher standard. Lebron was not pleased with the working conditions at his current job so he left for a better job with more chance at success; plain and simple. Like those in the mob say, "it's nothing personal, it's just business". So, karma has found its way to Dan Gilbert's doorstep. Fittingly. The Cavs are worse than ever; ever since the Heat came to visit. And Gilbert should thank Lebron for showing what a hypocrite he really is.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 2:17 am
 

Hurricane Football Program Faltering

The 2010 Hurricane football team is schizophrenic. They played with emotion and energy against North Carolina last week, even though every college football talking head expected the Canes to win because of all the Tar Heels player suspensions and expulsions due to NCAA violations. Nonetheless, they won convincingly and showed the college football world that they are indeed a force to be reckoned with and a potential ACC championship was on the horizon.

Cut to the Virginia game in Charlottesville on Halloween Eve. The visiting Hurricanes, a 2 touchdown favorite, met up with the reeling Cavaliers who had lost the previous 9 ACC conference games, in the hopes of impressing the pollsters and building up momentum for the rest of the year and getting a chance at the ACC chmpionship. What followed was as an embarassing a loss as could be imagined.


The Miami veteran offensive line again had problems with pass protection and opening up space to run through. This has been an ongoing problem for the last couple of seasons. Why isn't the offensive line getting any better, especially against inferior teams? The line failed to block a 260 lb. behemoth that planted QB Jacory Harris into the field dirt as he dropped back to pass. And, as has been the pattern, the pass was thrown into triple coverage and intercepted. Harris was knocked out of the game and, basically, the Canes could not recover after that. The second and fourth string UM quarterbacks combined for another four interceptions.

Even with all the turnovers and the Jacory's injury, the Canes were one score away from winning the game late in the fourth quarter. But, as has been the case this season, the defense could not stop the Cavaliers on two crucial 3rd down conversions to get ballback and go for the win.

After Jacory left with the undisclosed injury, I sort of felt a little guilty for feeling a little pleased that he might be out for an extended period of time and, thus, his replacement will be more efficient and lead the Canes to a successfull rest of the season. That was not to be. I could not believe what I saw. The Virginia Cavaliers out-rushed the Canes 185 to 179 total yards. I see a lot of the time that the players are not lined up right, jump off-sides and blow coverages. That smacks of bad coaching and bad preparation.

I like Coach Randy Shannon. He has cleaned up the program, increased player graduation, and epitomizes a no-nonsense disciplinarian attitude. I just don't see him motivating the team to play hard on every play. There is little to no emotion even as his players are repeating stupid mistakes over and over. I wish that just once he would grab Jacory Harris' by the facemask and tell him to stop making dumb mental mistakes, not to mention all the other players who have had a lackluster season.

So, late in the 4th quarter, as freshman quarterback Stephen Morris brought the Canes back by throwing a touchdown to Travis Benjamin after an onside kick, I said to myself, "nah, the comeback victory will come just a little short". And so they did. 

Alas, another disappointing season. Jacory Harris has not gotten any better than when he played as a freshman. And neither has a lot of other players from his recruiting class. Travis Benjamin? Inconsistent, runs bad routes, and drops passes. Aldarius Johnson? Invisible. 

I sure hope Shannon can inspire this team for the rest of the season. His job may depend on it.

Posted on: October 12, 2010 2:40 pm
 

Hurricane football meltdown

Grading Hurricanes vs. Florida State: Defense gets a ‘G’

If this was the NFL, guys would be getting cut and fired today.

OFFENSE: Where do we start? Don’t know if anybody can really argue that Jacory Harris hasn’t regressed from last year. Some of his throws defy imagination. Why hasn’t Harris gotten better? That’s a question coach Randy Shannon and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple need to confront. In Harris’ defense, he appeared to be playing hurt for most of the game. The kid is tough. But he’s not helping his team right now. It hasn’t been all Harris’ fault. I’m tempted to go back and watch each game tape to count up how many many passes UM’s receivers have dropped this season. Conservatively speaking, I’d estimate 25 to 30 drops. Leonard Hankerson dropped two critical passes. Tight end Chase Ford was repeatedly compared to Jeremy Shockey by Shannon before the season. He must have been talking about their country twangs because Ford hasn’t been able to catch a cold. Damien Berry had a 101-yard effort including a nice 26-yard touchdown run, but his second quarter fumble proved critical. Lamar Miller’s absence was definitely felt. The offensive line got pushed around. GRADE: F.

DEFENSE: Just when everyone thought the defense might be channeling the 2001 season, they come up with a performance reminiscent of 2007. Whenever it needed a big stop, the defense wasn’t able to provide it. The entire defensive line was absolutely manhandled. The Seminoles registered nearly 300 yards rushing, much of it right at the heart of UM’s defense. The Hurricanes weren’t able to do much against the passing game either. While Christian Ponder completed only 12 passes, he threw for 173 yards and wasn’t sacked once. The same defense that forced six turnovers against Clemson, came up with only one against FSU and that was an interception that turned out to be as good as a coffin-corner punt for the Seminoles. Middle linebacker Colin McCarthy , usually steady, had a game to forget. He missed several tackles and made the bonehead play of the game – a personal foul penalty in the second quarter that turned a 3rd-and-17 situation into an FSU first down. The Hurricanes had scored their first touchdown to make it 21-7 prior to McCarthy’s penalty, but any potential momentum was lost after the infraction led to an FSU field goal with 1:48 left in the first half. The coup de grace for Miami’s defense came on Chris Thompson’s 90-yard touchdown run – the longest against UM in team history – near the end of the game. The play smacked of UM giving up. GRADE: G.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Matt Bosher’s missed 32-yard field goal on UM’s first offensive possession was a sign of things to come. Bosher, by the way, has already missed more field goals (3) than he did in either of the last two seasons. FSU’s Greg Reid had a couple of long kickoff returns, including a 55-yarder after the Hurricanes had cut the ‘Noles lead to 21-7. The Hurricanes badly missed the presence of special teams star Cory Nelms . Since returning a punt for a touchdown against Ohio State, Travis Benjamin has done nothing on special teams. Eduardo Clements’ decision to return a kickoff from deep in his own end zone after FSU’s first touchdown was a freshman mistake. GRADE: F.

COACHING: Shannon took the blame for his team’s putrid performance, and he was right. Miami’s showing was unpardonable considering the stakes involved. Nothing like hosting a giant party with all your friends and finishing the night with a lampshade over your head. Shannon often seems strangely detached at times. On Saturday, his entire team came together in one giant huddle before a critical 4th-and-inches in the first half. The entire team that is except for Shannon, who stood several yards away by himself. I’ve longed maintained that Shannon’s teams don’t seem to play with much joy and often seem uptight. On Saturday, they were also unprepared. GRADE: F.

 

 

Jorge Milian

 

 



Posted on: June 24, 2010 10:52 pm
 

What this all means for the Heat...

Yeah, I agree. He was lights out in 2008 shooting from long range and won the three-point shooting contest at the 2008 NBA All-Star weekend. He always displayed class and never complained about his limited time on the floor. I think a change of scenery is going to benefit Cook. There is a strong nucleus of players in the Oklahoma Thunder squad, so he should be a good complimentary guard/small forward and will contribute from the bench and he's a decent on the defensive side of the ball.

Cook's trade now leaves the Miami Heat with most cap space in the NBA. It's very exciting to imagine what GM Pat Riley has in store to replenish the roster wih some All-Stars. How does Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade on the same tem sound? It sounds like championships. I think that's possible. A couple of more moves before NBA teams can sign free agents on July 1st will accomplish that.

Center Jermaine O'Neill's huge contract and forward James Jones' trade will mean that the cap space for the third super star will be available. Bosh would love to play in Miami and if Lebron signs with Miami first, Bosh would soon follow. Or vice-versa. I'm salivating thinking about the possibilities. Even if it's Carlos Boozer and not Bosh, that will still give the edge to the Heat to sign James. That's not too shabby either. Of course, Wade needs to sign first. That, to me, it's a foregone conclusion. The Heat can pay Wade the most money and Florida has no state income tax. Cha-ching!

So what if the cap space is breached if it means a dynastic run for the Heat. I'm sure Heat owner/billionaire Micky Arison wouldn't mind paying a a few hundred thousand for the luxury tax if the Heat can become a yearly championship contender. Just think of the ticket sales to see Lebron, Bosh and Wade picking apart opposing defenses. And, yes American Airlines Arena is big enough to accomodate three super stars. Unlike the former champion Boston Celtics, this team will be much younger, with three all-stars leading the way for several years to come. The championship window will not shut suddenly like the aging Celtics', but will remain open long enough to win a few rings.

That's right! The Heat dynasty is almost upon us. I can't wait.

Posted on: January 20, 2010 7:18 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2010 11:52 pm
 

UM Recruiting

W ith National Signing Day two weeks away, 12 of UM's 26 oral commitments are from South Florida. But what concerns some UM fans is only two are ranked among Rivals.com's top 25 recruits from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. That compares with UF's seven and FSU's three. Yes, it's a little disturbing that the recruiting and commitments this year seems a little disjointed. That's a marked decline from last season's excellent class that was rated in the top 5 nationaly. I hope Shannon and his recruiting coordinators are right about their evaluations. Shannon and his staff need to go the extra mile to convince some of these star recruits and stop letting ego and football philosophies get in the way.

It seems that Coach Randy Shannon and offensive coordinator Mark Whipple have a wish list of the type of players they need and it does not necessarily entail signing 4 and 5 star recruits who don't fit the mold. Apparently, Whipple wants tall and physical receivers who fit his offensive system and Shannon wants large defensive specimens to play at the U. If a highly rated recruit like Miami Northwestern's defensive tackle Todd Chandler is not given an offer of a scholarship to UM, it's because he's under-sized. Apparently, being a highly touted 5'10" speedy wide receiver is not good enough anymore. That, to me, is total hogwash. A player's will and determination as well as his football I.Q, creates a winning football program. No one labeled LB Ray Lewis a blue chip recruit, yet he became a force, not only for the Hurricanes, but in the NFL for the Ravens. Why? Because of work ethic, energy, and an unstoppable will to win. How about NFL Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed. He was only a 3 star recruit when he landed in Miami.

It must also be mentioned that the University of Miami has a more stringent admissions policy for prospective recruits than Florida and Florida State, both public state colleges. It does disqualify a few recruits that can definitely help the UM football program as the school's administration wants UM to also stand as a beacon for higher education. Yet, there are many more rough diamonds out there in South Florida high schools that who are ripe for the picking. There needs to be a balance between educational standards and the institutional will to win National Championships. Four and 5 star recruits do help tremendously, but so does developing less recruited players that have passion and determination to win football games no matter their size or 40-yard dash time. Coaching matters more no than ever, especially since parity among FBS schools are at its height.

Coach Shannon's 2010 team better play better and win a BCS bowl game to prove to all Canes fans that he is the right man for the job.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 14, 2010 5:05 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2010 1:58 pm
 

The State of Miami Sports

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The Miami Heat are hovering at around .500 (LBJ & Flash in 2010-11?!), the Dolphins start evaluating their roster and formulating a 2010 draft and free agent strategy, the Marlins are exposed by Major League Baseball and the players union for failing to spend their share of revenue sharing on players' salaries, and the Hurricanes football team improve for a third year in a row with nine wins but nary a conference title or a bowl win. I can confidently state that the state of sports in South Florida are, at the moment, severely lacking.

The Dolphin's 2009 grueling campaign just got put out of its misery. After winning the AFC East title in 2008 and making it to the playoffs, the 2009 Dolphins' squad faced the league's most difficult schedule, a myriad of injuries, and a defense that took a step backward, to some questionable personnel decisions prior to the campaign. The Fins led the league in turnover differential in 2008 (+17). The opposite was true in 2009 as the Fins were tied for 26th in the league (-8).

The list was daunting; RB Ronnie Brown, DT Jason Ferguson, CB Will Allen, QB Chad Pennington, all valuable starters ending up on injured reserve. ILB Channing Crowder did not play to the expectation and missed a few games, Starting free safety, Gibril Wilson, was given a lucrative off-season 5-year contract and could not cover a lick. The lack of defensive turnovers and a run stopping linebacking crew also hurt.

Alas, a 7-9 season. The Dolphins have the foundation to be a good playoff bound team in the coming season. First, they need to address stopping the run by acquiring, via draft or free agency, a run stopping linebacker and a defensive tackle. Joey Porter and Jason Taylor, as promising as they were when rushing the passer, they were just as inept when it came to stuffing the run. The Fins will get Will Allen back healthy and their two young corners who fought hard, but struggled in their rookie years, will be one year smarter and, hopefully, that much better. Second year QB Chad Henne did an admirable job filling in for Chad Pennington and he will be the outright starter. He showed glimpses of greatness and, at times, horrible decision making and untimely interceptions. He will be a more polished pocket passer. To help Henne achieve success, the franchise needs to attain a playmaking receiver. Find a way to draft Dez Bryant, I say. Thirdly, personnel decisions, especially developing roster depth, is critical to winning in the NFL. Addition by subtraction should include letting go of safety Gibril Wilson, Joey Porter, and a couple of the aging inside linebackers who could not cover a tight end if their lives depended on it. All in all, the future looks bright (I'm an eternal optimist) for the Dolphins who have a knowledgeable football wizard manning the helm in Bill Parcells (save for the 2nd round pick on Pat White).

One of the  Badgers of Wisconsin running backs just ran over another Hurricane as I finished typing this sentence. To be serious, the Champs Sports Bowl was another disappointing loss suffered by the Miami Hurricanes football program. I expected to see a fired up 'Canes's squad play with energy and determination. What I saw was a lackluster effort by a group of players who, on paper, were more athletic and faster than the other team. Yet, the Badgers bullied the Hurricanes at the line of scrimmage and sucker punched them all day long. Wisconsin sacked Miami QB Jacory Harris five times and ran the ball at will, possessing the ball for over forty minutes.

The Hurricanes began the season with a gauntlet of tough games. They survived it by beating the Seminoles, Yellow Jackets, and the Sooners, while not showing up against the Hokies on the road. Offensive coordinator, Mark Whipple, instituted a pass-happy offense that seemed well oiled and hummed like a fine tuned Masaratti. Heck, Jacory Harris was even mentioned as a Heisman candidate. Then opposing teams' defensive coordinators adjusted their game plans to counter Harris' propensity to throw deep, especially on first down. What happened down the stretch need not be rehashed, but the bottom line is that Jacorry Harris and the rest of the young 'Canes team did not play winning football. Harris threw into coverage and had many untimely passes picked off, the running game struggled, the offensive line could not block and the defense could not adequately cover and tackle.

A lot of the troubles can be pinned on the fact that the 'Canes were a very young and inexperienced team. However, it boils down to coaching in my estimation. I saw every Hurricane game and I noticed a clear lack of adjustments made by the coaching staff during the games to offset what was killing the team defensively and offensively. Whipple continued to call long pass plays even though Harris had no pass protection from his offensive line and the opposing defense was playing with two deep coverage with their. The offense did not utilize the screen pass or the tight ends enough. When defenses repeatedly blitzed, there was no hot route option to make the defenses honest. The coaching part of the game was failing the team. Similarly, the defense became porous and the tackling atrocious, as opposing offenses passed for huge numbers, especially to the tight ends. That tells me that the outside linebackers are not able to cover.

Coach Randy Shannon has one year left in his contract to coach UM. Last year's recruiting class was rated in the top five. So far this year, recruitment has been a disappointment. Many of the local South Florida football stars are being plucked away by Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, and Florida State. Previous transfers out of Miami signals to me that all is not right with the recruiting. There is no depth at offensive linemen, quarterback, running back, defensive back, and defensive linemen. National signing day is only a couple of weeks away. The Hurricanes need to continue to attain stronger and faster players to replenish the mediocre talent that former coach Larry Coker had in his three years at UM. There needs to be a marked improvement in the upcoming season. If Shannon cannot, at the least, take the 'Canes to a conference championship next year, the cries for his outing will grow much louder.

The schizophrenic Miami Heat continue on, mediocre at best. Are the Heat a playoff team? The roster is full of young talent, some getting better and some are a wash. Point guard Mario Chalmers has been demoted to the bench in favor of Carlos Arroyo. Neither seem to have the athleticism and strength to match the new wave of scoring point guards in the NBA. Michael Beasley is definitely improving. He's an offensive juggernaut but a defensive liability, although his defense and rebounding are improving. Jermaine O'Neill is still serviceable as the starting center, but he is in the twilight of his career and a free agent next year. Small forward Quentin Richardson is a bench player at best and is a stopgap until a better option is available. Forward Udonis Haslem is an undersized player with a warrior mentality, an over-achiever that is coming off the bench for the first time in his career. The bench is average. Daequan Cook, last year’s 3-point shooting expert, has regressed. Dorell Wright is long and athletic and should be part of the future in Miami. Overall, not a fearsome bunch, except for perennial all-star Dwyane Wade.

What's in the cards for the Miami Heat team after they lose in the first round of the NBA playoffs this year? The Heat are poised to make a splash in free agency with all the cap money they'll have next season. Wade, who has a player's signing option, will sign a long term contract because he loves his home in South Florida where there's no state tax and he'll have a new all-star partner to play with. Who? That's the 60 million dollar question. I am officially starting a petition to sign Lebron James. Think of the possibilities of Wade and James together. An unstoppable force. It's possible given the cap space the Heat will have the next off-season.

Miami Herald columnist Israel Gutierrez writes,


Initially, the thought of a James-Dwayne Wade pairing seems unreasonable when you consider that neither would appear willing to play a supporting role, as well as unfair when you consider that no other team in the league would even stand a chance at competing when two of the league's top three forces have unified their powers. As fun as domination sounds sometimes, isn't competition what makes these games fun to watch?

If they team up and start collecting championship rings like trading cards, dominating the league for a decade and winning more titles than Michael Jordan ever did and possibly even reaching Bill Russell numbers, wouldn't that be so much more memorable than winning a championship or two on their own? Think about the impact this would have. Together, they could go down as the most dominating force this league has seen.

I just got the chills thinking about it.

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As far as the Marlins go, I'm a fan and have been after witnessing their 1997 game 7 World Series dramatic win against the Cleveland Indians. I go to a few games. I watch a lot of them. Now, what has been evident to me and the local sports media for a long time, the Marlins franchise used the shared revenue structure, that began in 1997 by taking money from successful franchises and giving it to less fortunate (and losing) ones to create parity in Major League Baseball, to line their own pockets while not spending any significant money in signing free agents or re-signing their own players.

Like any other Marlins fan, I felt betrayed by the "fire sales" of distinguished players after season's end. It's not as if the fire sale ensued following a rotten season. Following the 2003 World Series victory over the Yanks, World Series MVP Josh Beckett was traded to the Red Sox. So, the Marlin's brass do not like to spend money on signature players. That's a given. They do a good job of scouting, drafting, and developing young talent. But something's amiss when you are in a pennant race and you have a glaring hole in your line-up and you don't pull the trigger on a free agent that will immediately upgrade your team and maybe get you over the hump and into the playoffs. First baseman Nick Johnson was signed last year before the trading deadline and helped, when he was healthy. Now he's gone to play for the Yanks. I don't know why, but the Marlins have a discombobulated apprehension when it comes to signing anyone except temporarily.
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Now, the whole of baseball knows that the Marlins take advantage of the revenue sharing system, that's supposed to help teams put a better product on the diamond, and prefer to use the money to pay for something else. What, I don't know. I do know that the Marlins will have a new retractable-roof baseball stadium opening in 2012 and that they will profit greatly from this. It was mostly publicly financed. Therefore, the Marlins better start putting a much better product on the field to compliment stars like pitcher Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez by spending a lot more than the measly thirty-five million a year.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com