Heat trying our patience in early stretch of season

Certain things we come to expect in local sports. They are not surprises. We brace ourselves. We expect and accept them. Dolphins out of the playoffs. Marlins leading the league in cheapness and outrage. Panthers idled by an NHL lockout. A Hurricanes bowl ban. Not surprising.

The Heat is supposed to be our antidote — not surprising, but in the opposite direction. Uninterrupted excellence to offset the disappointment elsewhere.

This isn’t supposed to happen: The Heat surprising us with fallibility. With nights that make you wonder if the guys secretly agreed that winning another championship would be unbecoming, indicative of greed.

A loss to a Wizards team that was 1-13? Seriously? No defending champion ever has lost to a team with that bad a record. Then a 20-point home loss to the Knicks? Really? Miami in its Big 3 era has never been so humbled (read: embarrassed) on its own floor.

I swear. If you tell me the Heat lost Saturday night to 5-12 New Orleans, that might just send me over the cliff like Thelma and Louise. I mean, the Hornets are not only bad, they’re changing their nickname to Pelicans. What, Dodo Birds was taken? When you lose to a team called the Pelicans, it’s time to quit.

So enough with this mortality, Heat. No more surprises of the negative sort.

Don’t make me unretire that rumor about Pat Riley getting the coaching itch and Erik Spoelstra wanting to spend more time with his family. You push me and I will!

• Miami hosts the Jan. 7 BCS Nationals Championship Game after the Jan. 1 Orange Bowl, and three out of four (teams) ain’t bad, right? Alabama-Notre Dame is perfect for the title game, and FSU is as good as the OB could expect. But Northern Illinois? From the Mid-American Conference? Seriously!? What, Ball State was busy?

• This is Day 85 of the NHL lockout and talks apparently have stalled again, but commissioner

Gary Bettman

said he was “pleased with the process.” Thus redefining the phrase, “Easily pleased.”

• The prestigious annual Orange Bowl International Championship of junior tennis ends Sunday in Plantation. Some of the best young players in the world competed and were berated loudly by their boorish, abusive, domineering, jerk parents.

• 49ers coach

Jim Harbaugh

played a football player in a 1996 episode of NBC’s

Saved By the Bell

. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, in his current role he plays a very good coach with an awesome defense.

• Aside to Dolphins coach

Joe Philbin

: If Sunday’s game comes down to Miami having to stop a late drive by the 49ers, you might consider putting

Cameron Wake

in the game. Just a thought.

• San Francisco QB

Colin Kaepernick

is covered in tattoos. Usually, Wake’s uniform shows grass stains after a game. On Sunday, it might show ink stains.


Ryan Tannehill

? Sure, I’d say that other than having a spotty running game, no premier receivers and now

Jake Long

on injured reserve, he’s getting all the help he needs. Absolutely!

• The Heat’s

Chris Bosh

told a local film festival he does not want his name associated with a short animated film in which he is portrayed as an intergalactic time traveler. I get his point. What basketball player wants to be associated with traveling?

• The Lakers saw the movie


as a team Thursday night and

Kobe Bryant

kidded that half his teammates were surprised by the ending because they didn’t know Lincoln had died. I don’t wanna say the Lakers are dumb, but the other half wondered if he was named after the car.

• The Marlins announced their first spring-training game is Feb. 23. So you have only 11 more weeks to create those angry, vitriol-filled signs that the club will order confiscated.

• The baseball winter meetings ended in Nashville without much happening of note other than all of the other club owners getting together and agreeing none of them liked

Jeffrey Loria


• Yankee

Alex Rodriguez

will miss the start of the MLB season and teammate

Derek Jeter

could, too. Both are trying to recover from being really old.

• Canes women’s basketball was 6-1 and No. 23 before Saturday, and men’s team is 5-1. It isn’t enough to make a UM fan forget about that self-imposed football bowl ban, but it’s a noble effort.

• Answer: The Ravens’

Terrell Suggs

was ordered to turn in his seven guns, including an AK-47, after a domestic-abuse complaint filed by his wife. Question: You don’t think the murder-suicide involving the Chiefs’

Jovan Belcher

hints at a dangerous gun culture among athletes, do you?

• NBC’s

Bob Costas

preached for gun control following the Belcher tragedy, then a day later said it was a mistake to do so. That-a-way to be righteously wishy-washy, Bob!

• The NFL is considering abolishing kickoffs. Evidently the question in the room was, “What’s the silliest, most extreme thing we can do to make it seem like we care about players’ safety and health?”

• FIU football coach

Mario Cristobal

turned down overtures from Pitt and Rutgers before being fired this week by athletic director

Pete Garcia

, who never got the memo about loyalty being a reciprocal thing.

• Local thoroughbred racing has moved from Calder to Gulfstream. You can always tell because the casino is full of horses playing the slots between races.

• NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers want a new soccer stadium. They averaged 3,615 fans in the old stadium. Sounds like the Strikers don’t need a new stadium as much as they need new fans.

• Someone told me

John Huh

• Cubs manager Dale Sveum was accidentally shot with pellets by Robin Yount on a hunting trip. [Your dusted-off Dick Cheney punchline goes here].

• Dennis Rodman was ordered to pay $500,000 in back child support. If only he’d swayed the court with a better excuse than the exorbitant cost of tattoos and body piercing.


Parting thought:

The Marlins traded shortstop

Yunel Escobar

to the Rays for a minor leaguer in yet another payroll cut, but don’t think the club isn’t in the holiday spirit. I hear they’re having an employee turkey giveaway. Each Marlins employee must bring in a turkey to give to the owner, Ebenezer Loria.

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