Random evidence of a cluttered mind

Greg Cote: Miami Marlins suffer from different kind of March madness

 

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Today: World Baseball Classic. The third WBC is under way, following tournaments in 2006 and 2009 — both won by Japan. Leading countries from first two events, based on combined records:

Win Pct. Country Record
.750Korea 12-4
.706 Japan 12-5
.667Puerto Rico 8-4
.643Venezuela 9-5
.600Dominican Republic 6-4
.500United States7-7

Note: Japan def. Cuba, 10-6, in 2006 final, and Japan def. Korea, 5-3, in 2009 final. Other combined records from the 16-nation event: Mexico 5-7; Canada 2-3; Netherlands 3-6; Italy 2-4; Chinese Taipei 1-4; Australia 1-5; China 1-5; Panama 0-5; and South Africa 0-5.


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WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT

1. UM BASKETBALL: Canes battle revenge-seeking Duke, Cameron Crazies: No.5 UM men visited No. 3 Duke on Saturday, after earlier routing Blue Devils 90-63 here. Mike Krzyzewski complained about lack of security Thursday when Virginia fans stormed the court after beating Duke. Sure, because Duke fans are always so calm and polite toward opponents!

2. HEAT: Team does Harlem Shake, seeks club-record streak Sunday at Knicks: LeBron James wore a crown, Dwyane Wade a giant bear head and Chris Bosh a cowboy hat for a Heat Harlem Shake video, then beat Memphis for a 13th win in a row. Miami could tie the franchise-record streak Sunday at the Knicks. Would that be the Harlem Shake II?

3. MARLINS: Loria goes on attack to defend cost-cutting fire sale: Unpopular Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria embarked on an unsuccessful three-day publicity blitz to try to justify his latest money-saving roster gutting. He called his decimated team “championship caliber,” after which he declined all media invitations to undergo a Breathalyzer test.

4. DOLPHINS: Ireland prepares for crucial free agency/draft season: NFL free agency begins next week and from then through the late-April draft will be crucial for the future of the Dolphins and of embattled general manager Jeff Ireland. Dolfans don’t know how Ireland will spend all of that cap-space money and all of those draft picks, but sincerely pray he has a clue.

5. GOLF: Withdrawal of McIlroy gut-punches Honda: PGA Tour’s Honda Classic ends Sunday, with Doral on deck, but fans are a-buzz over Friday withdrawal of Rory McIlroy. He played badly, was “not in a good place mentally,” then blamed a sore wisdom tooth. Can’t recall Tiger Woods ever leaving a course early, except times he was following a tall blonde.


gcote@MiamiHerald.com

The arrival of March begs a quick look at what “madness” means to us.

March Madness we mainly associate with college basketball, of course, with the approaching national onset of bracket-mania surrounding the NCAA Tournament. And this season figures to see Miami more prominent on the dance floor than ever before, after so many years watching the party from the outside.

This is good madness. Loony-giddy-crazy-fun madness.

There is a darker March Madness going on here, too, though.

It is what envelops the Marlins and what Marlins fans are feeling as the new baseball season nears.

This is bad madness. Madness as in mad, angry. Madness as in, “Who’s running the asylum?”

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria this week tried to justify his latest payroll slashing with a public-relations push, with a full-page ad and media appearances, but it was futile. Even as Loria irrationally was saying he had “revitalized the franchise,” a blog poll of mine indicated 98 percent of fans wished he would sell it instead.

It is nearly impossible to get that kind of agreement on any Internet poll question. I could ask if you preferred love or hate and love wouldn’t get 98 per cent.

Loria might now have taken over as the single most unpopular person in South Florida.

“Finally, I’m off the hook!” said Fidel Castro.

Should we now expect a profession of admiration for Loria from Ozzie Guillen?

•  LeBron James decided not to end his elaborate pregame dunking despite criticism on Twitter over his declining to enter NBA All-Star dunk contest. Folks, it might be we’re looking too hard for controversy if the biggest criticism of LeBron is that his pregame warm-ups are too exciting.

• Now Magic Johnson has offered LeBron $1 million to enter the official dunk contest. It has been voted most frivolous cause ever for a $1 million donation.

• The third World Baseball Classic is under way, with second-round games scheduled for Marlins Park starting next week. The WBC isn’t very good, according to Americans incredulously offended that the United States hasn’t won or even reached the final in either previous tournament.

• Overlooked Hurricanes baseball improved to 10-0 Friday by winning in Gainesville to end an 11-game losing streak to the nemesis Gators. Poor Jim Morris should be standing on street corners with a sign reading, “Will Work For Attention.”

• The truncated NHL hockey season isn’t even half over but there already is speculation the slow-starting Florida Panthers might pull the plug and have a fire sale. Wait. When did Jeffrey Loria buy the team!?

• As UM considers its response to the NCAA Notice of Allegations, embattled NCAA president Mark Emmert got a vote of confidence from the group’s executive board. “Our standards are low,” explained the committee.

• UM spring football practice has begun. Three keys to the team’s outlook in 2013: The play of QB Stephen Morris. Improved pass rush. Mood and whim of NCAA infractions committee.

•  Serena Williams, of all people, got in trouble for taking a picture of Tiger Woods during the Honda Classic. Photos of golfers are strictly prohibited because golfers, like many Aborigines, believe a photograph steals a piece of their soul.

• My headline to reflect media coverage of last week’s NASCAR season opener: DANICA FINISHES 8TH IN DAYTONA 500; SOMEONE ELSE WINS

• Answer: Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus missed a spring game with a sore arm blamed on a recently acquired tattoo. Question: Is it ever a good idea to probably lie about why you missed a game?

• Dolphin Jared Odrick is enrolled in an NFL “Hollywood Boot Camp” for players considering post-football careers in film. Based on his sack dance, your Pee-wee Herman punch line goes here.

• I really must get my hearing checked. I thought I just heard someone say Joe Flacco is the highest-paid player in NFL history.

• Congratulations to South Florida’s basketball dynasty. What? You thought I meant the Heat? I meant a fourth consecutive state championship for the Fort Lauderdale Dillard High girls’ team.

•  Ronda Rousey won UFC 157, the first mixed-martial arts card headlined by women. Sorry, but on the grand scale of trail-blazing women I doubt Ronda will rank with the Suffragettes or Susan B. Anthony.

• More than 8,000 masochists participated in last week’s Miami Super Spartan Race, a grueling eight-mile obstacle course that involved crawling through a mud bog. I stood along the course not so much supporting the athletes as holding a sign that read, “What is WRONG With You People!?”

• That reminds me. The eight-day, 300-mile Everglades Challenge for kayakers is under way. There is something about outdoorsmen that is romanticized. How come indoorsmen like me never get any credit?

•  Parting thought: Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones is on the new season of Dancing With the Stars. I’d rather see his ex-teammate Ray Lewis on the new season of “Squirrel-Dancing With the Stars.”

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote.

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