Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm curious and egotistical and wanna know if anyone has anything they wanna ask me, so ask me ANYTHING

What celebrity would play you in a movie about your life?

No one...its hard to play me honestly

Ask me anything

Ask me anything

Ask me anything

Monday, December 14, 2009

The College Football Playoffs According to Tommy

The BCS matchups were introduced recently, and of course, they chose #1 Texas vs. #2 Alabama as the National Championship game. Meanwhile, three unbeaten teams got left in the cold. TCU and Boise State will fight it out in the Fiesta Bowl so that they may play a competitive game against each other instead of one team going to the Orange Bowl and beating Georgia Tech and Boise State destroying Iowa in the Fiesta Bowl thus making the calls for a playoff louder, and Cincinnati and their lame duck coach/dumbest man on the planet gets to get whupped on by Florida in the Sugar Bowl. It’s very possible that at the end of the year, we could have three undefeated teams, and there will definitely be a controversy if Cincinnati beats Florida (considering a motivated Tebow and the fact that the Bearcat’s coach is a lame duck coach, not likely) and Texas beats Alabama (very likely).

Would I rather see a playoff similar to basketball’s March madness? Of course, and so would everyone, including the President of the United States. Will it happen? Well, probably not, too much money and tradition in the Bowl games. However, I’ll dispute that Bowl Game tradition by pointing out that once upon a time, each bowl meant something other than money (in other words, it’s all about money). So they bastardized the bowls yet won’t put in a playoff system, hell they even said they tried but yet couldn’t think of a playoff system.

I’m here to help.

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, college football fans of all ages, I Thomas Arsenio Galicia, am proud to present to you a whole new idea…The NCAA College Football Division I-A Playoffs! How will it work you might ask? Well, first off we’re taking 17 teams, why not a round 16? Because to become the 16th team, just like in basketball with the 64th team, the two lowest ranked teams have to play in the play-in game. Why? Well first off, 11 bids will go to the winners of all 11 college football division 1-A conferences (since we’re actually doing a playoff, no need for the Football Bowl Subdivision title, its back to division 1-A and division 1-AA). No longer will the teams from just the 6 BCS conferences have a better chance at a National Championship than teams from the five non-BCS conferences. The last 6 bids will go to at large teams based off of the BCS rankings, which will be changed to the Playoff Series Rankings. Simply put, if you’re in the Playoff Series Top 16, yet are not a conference champion, you will be considered for a playoff spot depending on your ranking, and the 7 highest ranking non-conference champions will get playoff berths.

To facilitate this and eliminate that stupid “co-champion” tag, each conference will have a conference championship game, regardless of how many teams are in each conference. (I find the whole “you must have 12 teams in your conference to have a conference championship game” rule stupid but that’s just me.) And, since they won’t get any special favors, Notre Dame must join either the Big East (of whom they’re a basketball-only member) or the Big 10 (where they’re geographically from, and by doing this they’ll still be able to play Michigan, Michigan State and Perdue every year, if they were a Big East team this wouldn’t be possible, fuck it, Notre Dame’s joining the Big 10 under my plan but it will still be the Big 10 despite having 12 teams, they already have 11 anyways and there’s already a Big 12, so why rock the boat?)

How will the conferences without conference playoffs do this despite not having divisions? I’ll make the divisions for them.

Big Ten


Penn State Wisconsin

Michigan Minnesota

Michigan State Iowa

Ohio State Illinois

Indiana Purdue

Notre Dame Northwestern

The natural rivalries are even lined up with one another, although you have two, this way the schedule format would stay the same. Championship Game played in Indianapolis, IN.


South North

USC Oregon

UCLA Oregon St.

Cal Stanford

Arizona Washington

Arizona St. Washington St.

Why put Cal and Stanford in different divisions? Because the schedule won’t change at all, the divisions are only for the purpose of the championship game. Unlike with the Big 10 who’s championship game site would be fixed in Indianapolis, the Pac 10 would rotate their game each year between: Qwest Field in Seattle, The Coliseum in Los Angeles until they build a new NFL stadium, Candlestick Park in San Francisco until the 49ers get their new stadium, and University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

And you get the idea. I’m not going to break up the divisions for the WAC, Mountain West or Sun Belt because, well, I just don’t feel like it.

So how does this playoff system work? Well I gave you the short version already, here’s the long version.

Each conference champion makes it in without fail.

Whether you’re the SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big XII, or Sun Belt Conference, if you can win your conference, you get invited to the party. Pretty simple right? Well there’s 11 conferences, meaning 11 births. Done!

Six at large entries are invited to participate to round up the playoffs.

Why not just have the 11 conference champions compete? Well, how shitty would it be if say Florida, which went undefeated in a tough conference all year until the final game was shut out of the playoffs, yet a team like Troy that went 8-5 and couldn’t even hold the jockstraps of the fourth best team in the Big XII (losing 55-24) could make it in? We need the at-large teams. How are they invited you ask? Well the way the bowls pick out what teams to invite actually has nothing to do with record, it’s based off of how many tickets they could sell. Well these are the playoffs, they should sell themselves! So, we base these at-large teams on the BCS now Playoff Series rankings. The six highest ranked non conference championship teams would get the invites.

The 16 teams will be split off into four regions of four.

And to keep some semblance of tradition, the brackets will be named after the four BCS Bowls: The Orange Bracket, the Sugar Bracket, the Rose Bracket, and the Fiesta Bracket. Why? Because those regional finals would be held in the locations of those bowls. I’ll explain the logistics considering that three of those stadiums are also used by NFL teams.

The first week of the playoffs all games would be played at the home stadium of the higher seed.

We’re looking at a good four weeks of games. Best place to play them is the stadium of the higher seeds for the first round right?

The second week of the playoffs, aka the regional finals, will be played in specific regions.

Easy. The Orange Bracket finals will be played in Miami, Sugar in New Orleans, Fiesta in Phoenix, and Rose in Pasadena. Sure this will take place about a week earlier than the actual games would, but trust me, this works out well.

Based off of a rotating basis, two of those sites will be used for the semifinals, one for the finals, and the other will take a year off.

Let’s say this year its Pasadena’s turn to host the Finals. The Sugar and Orange Bowl would then host the semis with the Fiesta Bowl left out for one year. Then Next year it would be the Fiesta Bowl hosting the finals with the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl hosting the semis and the Sugar Bowl skipping, the year after that the Sugar Bowl hosts the finals with the Fiesta and Rose hosting the semis and the Orange Bowl skipping, then finally the Orange Bowl hosts with the Fiesta and Sugar hosting the semis and the Rose skipping. It’s done, its fair, plus it makes sense because these are the only four locations I’d consider hosting these games anyways.

The championship will be determined at the same time as it is now.

We wouldn’t have to change much. Championship Saturday is still the first week of December, they get the second week off (except for the play-in game), the third week of December is for the first round, fourth week of December is for the regional finals, New Year’s day both semifinals get played, and the week after that, the finals. That wasn’t too hard now was it? Plus, New Years Day football games will mean something again!

This idea could work right? Well it should. In Fact, here’s a breakdown of how it would go if they implemented it for this year.

Sugar Bracket:

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Georgia Tech

4. Play-in game winner (East Carolina vs. Troy)

Fiesta Bracket:

1. Texas

2. Boise State

3. Iowa

4. LSU

Orange Bracket:

1. Cincinnati

2. Florida

3. Central Michigan

4. Miami

Rose Bracket

1. TCU

2. Oregon

3. Virginia Tech

4. Penn State

Already, this looks promising…haven’t even gotten to the games yet, and you know what? Here’s how I’m going to do it: Every Saturday I plan on using NCAA 2010 to simulate these games, and I’ll tell you how they pan out. Then we’ll crown a real National Champion, well, not really but, I’ll just show how exciting this is and how it would really help college football, and it wouldn’t take an act of congress to pull all of this off either.

Update: East Carolina defeated Troy 39-10. This Saturday: Round 1:

Orange Bracket: 4. Miami @ 1. Cincinnati; 3. Central Michigan @ 2. Florida

Rose Bracket: 4. Penn State @ 1. TCU; 3. Virginia Tech @ 2. Oregon.

Sugar Bracket: 4. East Carolina @ 1. Alabama; 3. Georgia Tech @ 2. Ohio State

Fiesta Bracket: 4. LSU @ 1. Texas; 3. Iowa @ 2. Boise State

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dilemma? What Dilemma?

Dilemma. It means a choice between undesirable alternatives. Well, Dolfans have a dilemma this week in the hugely anticipated game that could be a Miami Super Bowl preview: Patriots-Saints.

Um, Excuse me Mr. Kotex? But what kind of a dilemma would this hold? I mean, it’s a matchup between the team that is currently two games ahead of the dolphins in the AFC East race, and a team that’s in first place in the NFC South, which means the Saints aren’t even in the same division as the Dolphins; they’re not even in the same CONFERENCE!

Somebody will win, and, no matter who, it's going to be a blow to the current Dolphins' playoff hopes, or to the franchise's hopes of keeping a unique claim on the Perfect Season.

Oh GOD! That’s why this is such a dilemma? Ok, let’s sort this out once and for all.

This is not a dilemma, a quagmire (giggity giggity goo!) or even a tough choice to make. So if the Saints win, coupled of course with a Dolphins victory over Buffalo Sunday afternoon, then the dolphins will be exactly ONE game out of the AFC East crown going into a home game against the Patriots next week. If that all comes to pass and the Dolphins beat the patriots, then not only will there be a tie for first place, but the dolphins will hold the key tiebreaker in this situation, division record, meaning the dolphins only have to win out and they win their second straight AFC East title, while the Patriots would have to win out AND hope the dolphins lose sometime down the stretch. However if the Patriots win on Monday Night against the Saints, even if the dolphins beat them the next week, the Patriots would still be in first place in the AFC East, comfortably in the driver’s seat. (Of course if the phins lose to the Bills on Sunday all of this is a moot point.)

However if the Patriots lose, then that 72 Dolphins team will be closer to finishing the year as still the only undefeated team in NFL history.

Leave it to Greg Cote of the Miami Herald to tell us that we should be emotionally torn over this. (Full article here.) That as Dolphins fans we should root for the Patriots because of the fact that we should take pride in the fact that the 1972 Dolphins are the only NFL team to go undefeated throughout an entire season. It’s a load of horse shit honestly.

Fact is, the 1972 Dolphins do not resonate with me for the simple fact that I was born in NINETEEN EIGHTY FRIGGIN-THREE! That’s right, ELEVEN YEARS after they accomplished this feat, I was brought into the world. Since you really don’t begin to follow sports until you’re about five or six, that would mean there’s a good SIXTEEN YEARS between the time the 72 phins went undefeated and when I started watching football. They really don’t resonate with me, that’s like asking a Bears fan born in 1989 about the how 85 Bears and the Super Bowl shuffle affected their lives as sports fans, or a Yankees fan born in 1992 about what the Reggie Jackson Bronx Zoo teams mean to them, or a Lakers fan born in the late 80’s to early 90’s about Magic, Kareem and the Showtime Lakers.

Fact is the only teams that mean anything to you are the teams you grew up watching. Bears fans born in 89 can tell you plenty about Urlacher and Hester, but couldn’t pick out Gary Fencik or Richard Dent out of a police lineup unless their obsessive sports dorks. Yankees fans born in 92 know about Reggie from his Oscar winning performances in The Benchwarmers and BASEketball and know from history being handed down to them about his three home runs off of three straight pitches in game 6 of the 1977 World Series, but couldn’t tell you about it because they haven’t really seen it, to them their Yankee heroes are Jeter, Rivera, and after last year’s post-season even A-Rod. And Lakers fans born in the late 80’s and early 90’s will always be able to tell you that Kobe is the greatest basketball player in the world today, know of Magic Johnson as the guy who tested HIV Positive in 1991 yet is still alive and healthy enough to become almost a self-parody of himself, and know of Pat Riley as the head coach of the Miami Heat that traded Lamar Odom for Shaq and forced Stan Van Gundy to “spend some time with the family”, but their only experience of really seeing the Showtime Lakers is if they stumble onto some YouTube clips or ESPN Classic.

Well, myself, and many other Dolphins fans under the age of 40, are like the fans that I mentioned. To me, Bob Griese is the ABC College Football analyst and father of Brian, Nick Bunnocoti was once the host of Inside the NFL and is known for raising money and awareness towards curing paralysis after his son was involved in an unfortunate incident where he injured his spine playing football in college. Don Shula was Dan Marino’s coach who could never figure out how to build a running game around him, not the run-first head coach known for ball control. The Orange Bowl is the former UM stadium that got knocked down to make room for the new marlins stadium, not the “Home of The Miami Dolphins”. Larry Csonka is the former host of American Gladiators, I could go on. I’m not trying to deny the accomplishments of these men; I’m just saying that, to me they aren’t really relevant.

Fact is, no one is going to take away what they did in 1972, it’s an accomplishment that has only happened once in the NFL’s 90 year history, so even if it happens again this year, they’re still in an exclusive club and should still be proud of what they did.

But the NFL, like all sports, is about “What have you done for me lately?” (YES! I was able to work Janet Jackson into a blog post!) The 2009 Dolphins are more important to me than any other dolphins team. Why? BECAUSE ITS 2009! Next year the 2010 Dolphins will become the most important, and so it will go on.

A true Dolphins fan would rather see the New Orleans Saints go undefeated by beating New England on Monday night and make it so that the Patriots are one game up on the Dolphins going into next week in Miami, then see the Dolphins take advantage of that and beat New England and take control of the driver’s seat in the AFC East.

Now Cote did mention that the post-season seems “unlikely” for the dolphins even if the Patriots do win. I feel that unlikely seems like a strong word that encourages negativity (oh yea, like what the Miami Herald has done with this Dolphins team with the exception of LeBatard for the last 20 years, and LeBatard only has a part-time role with them because he’d rather do radio. And the Newspaper industry wonders why they’re in such trouble!)

A better word would be improbable, which means it’s still possible, still likely, but you’re not quite sure, but consider that their tough schedule is really a tough schedule with winnable games. First up is Buffalo, a game they SHOULD win. Then comes the Patriots at home, they already lost the first one, and usually when the dolphins are decent their due for at least one win against the Pats per season. Then comes Jacksonville in Jacksonville, which if the dolphins win their next two games, could potentially lead to road trips for Dolphins fans to Jacksonville making it like a 9th home game, hell, it might even sell out! Jags are actually better on the road than at home, so this is good for the phins. That’s followed by a visit to Nashville to play the titans, which will be tough but winnable. (I think we can stop Vince Young and make him win the game with his arm.) Then it’s Houston, and, let’s be honest, we’re due to beat Houston, plus it’s at home. Then finally to round it out, we take on a Steelers team that might not have Polamalu (btw Pittsburgh is winless without him this season) and just lost to the Chiefs. Each game, while tough, is against teams with their flaws, and the Dolphins so far have beaten teams that they are better than, and have shown they can keep it close against teams that are supposed to be better than them. Now that you see everything, all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so “unlikely” hell, it doesn’t even seem improbable!

Then as impossible as it seems, if we can keep that momentum up, then the 2009 Dolphins can get their second chance against the Saints in Super Bowl XLIII, played here in Miami, and we could be the ones to end their run towards history.

So now that you have the evidence, why in God’s name would any right thinking Dolphins fan want the Patriots to win come Monday Night?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Mission Statement

I've dabbled in writing for years, yet I could never seem to finish anything. But I feel that by posting this goal of mines to the public on facebook, I'm going to have to deliver the goods or else I face massive backlash, while at the same time hopefully get some encouragement from my friends to finish this.

I decided that my first book will be a part fiction but mostly fact book about The History of South Florida Sports. Think of it this way, an Encyclopedia of everything you've ever wanted to know about sports in South Florida, mixed in with Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. This project doesn't have a deadline but lets just say if its not finished by this time next year, bad things will happen to good people. I'm going to write it piece by piece and not in chronological order, and some of it (when relevant) will be posted up in my blogs on blogger and myspace. I'm not sure how long the book will be, but it will definitely take a lot of research, I might even have to go to some libraries for this one! Of course if you'd like to serve as my unpaid intern (thats a nice way of saying my bitch) feel free to contact me at or leave me a message here on myspace. The first part that I've written is actually going to be somewhere much later on in the book, for I've already figured out what would go where and how.

Here's a link to that blog post right here: or you could go to the blog on my myspace profile and read for yourself. Tell me what I should change, your feedback is very important to me.

Thank you in advance, and if this damn thing ever does get published, then I'll most definitely thank those that helped out with the book in the book itself, as well as purchase them something nice along with an autographed copy of the book.

A Great Idea for South Florida Sports and TV

I’m not a business man, I’ve never tried to be, and I try not to be. I’m a writer and a sports fan at heart, and yes, this is about sports, but more the business of sports for today.

Sports teams are a business. There, I said it! We want to believe that they’re for civic pride, just ask people in Seattle how much civic pride they have over their Super Sonics right now, or ask a Hartford resident how much civic pride they have over the mighty whale right now, or rabid hockey fan living in Winnipeg or Quebec City, who I’m sure are just BURSTING with civic pride over their Jets and Nordiques respectively. No, they’re businesses, they can pick up and leave when they want, and they’re out to make money.

Of course, they also operate as a monopoly. The Miami Heat is the only NBA team in Miami, the Florida-soon to be Miami Marlins are the only professional baseball team in Miami. Both teams at one point were on the verge of moving before getting new stadiums built. The Heat got the American Airlines Arena which I must say is aging like a fine wine as opposed to the old Miami Arena and the Marlins will be moving into their new ballpark in exactly 162 home games not counting the playoffs. What does one have to do with the other? They both always take a backseat to The Miami Dolphins, both in the hearts of the fans, and in the media. On top of that, they both have to share a regional sports network cartel with teams from other parts of the state of Florida! In 2012, it’s only going to get worse, since the Marlins new stadium is a retractable roof ballpark, they will be competing for events such as concerts, conventions, professional wrestling, and other events where they can make money other than the team’s games themselves. It doesn’t have to be this way, and on top of that, it won’t, if they can heed my idea. Unlikely, but I have to get it on paper somehow.

The Marlins and The Heat should merge all of their non-baseball and non-basketball operations together.

Has this ever been done before, two teams of different sports merging? YES, pun intended! Why is the pun there you may ask? Well, the YES network started off as a merger between the New Jersey Nets and the New York Yankees. This was done in 1999 in order to leverage their television deals together. We ended up with YES network because they found that if they just produced their teams own games and broadcasted it on their own network, hence collecting the advertising themselves, they’d make more money than just selling their rights to a Fox Sports Net type channel. Other teams followed suit and got in the act afterwards, in some cases it succeeded (Comcast Sports Chicago, owned 25% by Comcast, 25% by the Chicago Cubs, and 50% by Jerry Reinsdorf the owner of the White Sox and Bulls; Altitude which is owned by the owner of the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche; NESN which actually predates YES and is owned 80% by the Red Sox and 20% by the Boston Bruins; and SportsTime Ohio which is owned by the Cleveland Indians), and in some cases its failed (Victory Sports One lasted a cool 3 games when it was established in 2004 by the Minnesota Twins, however when it failed to get cable coverage anywhere in the established markets of the Twins and thus folded as the Twins moved back to their local FSN).

However this merger isn’t just about their own television network, which we WILL get to, as well as WHY it would succeed, it’s about integrating the businesses of two sports franchises that seem so different but really together could be the same.

Now, I don’t know if Mickey Arison and Jeffrey Loria know each other, hell, I doubt they’ve even been in the same room, but one has to think that if presented with such an idea, something could be worked out. For Arison, it would be a chance to own a piece of a Major League Baseball team. I’m not sure if that’s something he’d be interested in, hell if he was he probably would’ve competed against Huizinga to bring baseball to South Florida (No way he would’ve bought the team from him in 1998 when the team was up for sale, the two men hated each other!) For Loria, it would be something new to his portfolio, an NBA team, and the glitz and glamour that comes with it. The model with this though is one of efficiency.

The Heat and Marlins obviously wouldn’t merge their baseball and basketball operations. As funny as it would be to see how Larry Beinfest would try to woo LeBron to the Heat, or see Pat Riley find a way to make Freddi need to spend some time with his family, or see Cody Ross run the point, or even Dwyane Wade fully emulate his hero Michael Jordan and hit below the Mendoza line for the Carolina Mudcats one year, it’s just not going to happen that way! Here’s what WOULD be merged:


-Stadium/Arena operations. The Heat own and operate American Airlines Arena, and while Miami-Dade County will own the new Marlins Ballpark with the Marlins operating it. The two teams thru their merged company could create a company in charge of operating both places. Now the New York Yankees and The Dallas Cowboys set up a joint-venture between the two of them to operate both stadiums, this plan is similar but like I mentioned before there’s more to it. The positive of this is no competing for events. Concerts expecting to have large draws in the winter in South Florida’s perfect winter weather take place at the Marlins Ballpark, while smaller summer shows would take place at the Triple-A. Plus it would also open up the possibility of a Regular Season Heat game played outdoors in front of possibly 40,000 Heat fans sometime between December and February. (I’d suggest an annual Christmas Afternoon game against the Magic, Knicks, or Bulls and tie it in to the Orange Bowl Festivities, and while we’re at it, BRING BACK THE ORANGE BOWL PARADE DAMMIT, sorry, that’s another blog!)


-Sales and Marketing. Now here comes the drawback, if you merge their sales and marketing departments, which deal with ticket sales, marketing, and the Miami Heat team store, and sponsorships, well, people are going to lose their jobs. I’m sorry; it’s a fact of life with these mergers. BUT, wouldn’t it be more efficient and save both clubs a lot of money if their sales and marketing departments were combined? Just imagine the possibilities: Heat season ticket holders get discounts on Marlins tickets, Marlins season ticket holders get discounts on Heat tickets, and season ticket holders of both teams could actually purchase packages that combine the two teams. Example: say you but a 20 game Miami Marlins season ticket package. Well, season ticket sales for baseball are made right in the middle of basketball season, so you buy a 20 game Marlins ticket package, and you can get 50% off any 4 Heat games from the time you purchase the tickets until the end of the season. Plus, you could by Heat tickets at Marlins en Miami, the Marlins Little Havana ticket office, or Marlins tickets at the Triple-A. Hell, you could buy tickets for any event taking place at either arena at any of the arenas. Metaphorically speaking, you could catch a Saturday Afternoon Marlins game in April that begins at 1pm. You’re out by 4, and there are tickets available for the Heat’s 7:30 matchup with the Knicks that could determine what seed the Heat get in the playoffs. Well with your Marlins ticket, you could go to a ticket window at the Marlins Ballpark (or even a computer kiosk if you’re using a credit card, which many people would anyways) show the Marlins ticket to the attendant (or scan it if you’re using the kiosk) and just like that, you could get 25% off your tickets to the heat game. In fact, the Marlins will even be kind enough to even let you know the best time to do it (it's when you hear the PA say “now pitching for the Miami Marlins, Renyel Pinto.”) Same could go with the Heat at the Triple-A as well.


- Shared Sponsorships. Of course the myth in sports is that they make their money from the fans that come see the games. Well, sort of. Sponsorships like it or not, drive the economy of sports. After all, there are as many as 19,000 sets of eyeballs at the Triple-A, and during a sell-out there could be as many as 37,000 at the Marlins ballpark. Now with both teams negotiating joint sponsorships, odds are companies could pay less money but reach more people. They could probably even pay less for the two teams combined then they do for the Dolphins alone. The two teams already have many of the same sponsors, such as Pepsi, Papa John’s, American Airlines to name a few. An appealing proposition to sponsors though would be the opportunity to sponsor both teams, purchase advertising in both venues, AND purchase ads on their new Television Network, which brings me to the final point (I know you’ve been reading this for a while and are at word number 1,590 right now, so just bare with me.)


-Their own Television Network/Radio Network. Now they already have their own “radio networks” but those are really just a loose chain of radio stations that cover the team. Well, they could sell their radio packages together, or even purchase a Sports Talk radio station in South Florida of their own (Best station for that would be the low-rated 940 The Sports Animal WINZ. Great coverage not only in Miami-Dade and Broward, but could be picked up as far North as Palm Beach and as far west as Ft. Myers, both within the markets of the Heat and the Marlins. Then make Dan LeBatard and Jorge Sedano offers they couldn’t refuse for Drive-Time, while developing new local talent as opposed to syndicated sports programming with the exception of ESPN Radio and Westwood One’s NFL and NCAA package, then purchase an FM Talk station geared towards men 18-45 for overflow programming and general talk or syndicated talk programs like Dan Patrick and Jim Rome.) Of course I’d also suggest purchasing stations throughout the Marlins and Heat’s territory including Naples-Ft. Myers, and West Palm Beach to simulcast such programming.

.. ..

Then there’s their television network. Fox Sports owns a monopoly on sports programming throughout the State of Florida, owning two Regional Sports Networks: Sun Sports and FSN Florida. Unfortunately, these two networks cover sports in the ENTIRE sport of Florida. This leads to the Heat and Marlins getting subpar deals to broadcast their games, on a Sports Network with virtually no other local programming, not even a nightly report on all that’s going on in Florida Sports. In fact, if I have to see The Best Damn Sports Show Period one more time, I’m going on a 5 county killing spree!

There IS a better way, and this one will not only benefit the Heat and Marlins, but the Panthers, Dolphins, even whichever Television stations in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Naples-Ft. Myers Networks decide to sign on.

.. ..

The new cable net would be based in Miami, with studios based in the Triple-A for Heat games, and in the New Marlins Ballpark for Marlins games, and main studios based in whatever Miami television station they’d partner with (Of course, the network would encompass all of South Florida, when I say all of South Florida I’m not just speaking of the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale DMA, but also West Palm Beach’s DMA and Naples-Ft. Myers DMA.) They’d purchase the rights to Heat and Marlins games, produce them, and the teams would collect the revenues from Advertising. If they choose, they could bid on the Panthers, BUT, I could mainly see them just making a serious bid on them, before FSN decides since they’re already losing the Marlins and Heat to make a serious claim to the Panthers, thus driving up the price for the Panthers.

.. ..

Of course, if the Marlins-Heat TV partnership wins the rights to the Panthers, then they’d have a South Florida only regional sports net, a good idea would be a South Florida Cable only news network to accompany it as sort of a South Florida version of Headline News with bureaus in all of the local Television Stations affiliated with them in South Florida (before they went all Nancy Grace on us) plus a venue for overflow programming (I.E. Panthers Games)

.. ..

Again, the programming would be strictly local. If they do somehow manage to own the monopoly on South Florida Sports Coverage, they could also bid on exclusive rights to Miami Dolphins pre-season football, plus Miami Dolphins post game press conferences, off-season press conferences, and during draft time a Miami Dolphins draft special. During the day they’d also air press conferences of any of the teams involved, plus hourly news and weather updates from their partners.

.. ..

What would they air other than press conferences, specials, and the games themselves you might ask? A lot! I’d sign a deal with WWE for one. MSG in New York has one, why not our theoretical regional sports network? First you’d have programs from the WWE’s developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling every weekend. It could air late at night or in the early mornings. Then you could have WWE’s Florida Classics. If a significant wrestling event from WWE, WCW, NWA, or any wrestling organization whose library is owned by WWE took place in Florida, it could be shown on WWE Florida Theatre hosted by none other than the great Craig DeGeorge!

.. ..

During afternoons you could simulcast LeBatard’s show since he loves to be on TV so much, along with the previous night’s Marlins or Heat or Panthers game or even classic Heat, Marlins or Panthers games, Fall Friday Nights could be for the High School Football game of the week, with coverage of the State Football playoffs and championship. Then after games a comprehensive post game show, then a 30 minute South Florida Sports wrap up show similar to SportsCenter, without all of the superficial shit they include, that also includes relevant National Highlights.

.. ..

Now I mentioned all of these partner TV stations in the three television markets this station would have cable coverage in, but you're probably asking, what would this station do for them? A LOT! This would be a lucrative package for any Television stations that decided to sign up for such a partnership. Just cut sports completely from their budget and pay a flat fee to the network for a nightly 2 minute sports report at 6pm and 11pm (or 10pm depending on the station) PLUS, a Friday Night Marlins package, a Friday Night Heat package, a Saturday Night Panthers Package, and possibly if Friday Night doesn’t work or even as a supplement to Friday Nights, a Sunday Afternoon Marlins package (this one would only last until September if the partner stations are CBS or Fox affiliates because of football.)

.. ..

Of course the main studios would be located at the flagship broadcast station, meaning we need a station that’s state of the art, would appreciate the programming, and wouldn’t mind also running a local cable only supplement to their main news programming. From Miami, I’d eliminate WFOR because, hell, its 2009 and they haven’t even gone HD yet even though they’re a CBS owned and operated station. While the thought of an all news station would appeal to WSVN, it hurts that it’s a Fox Station and Fox wouldn’t be too thrilled with one of their stronger affiliates linking up with someone that drove them out of a lucrative market. WPLG has the ABC affiliation BUT then if ABC gets interested and decides to stir the pot a little bit, we’d wind up with ESPN South Florida and honestly we don’t want that (even though the radio station would be an ESPN radio affiliate AND late nights the RSN would air ESPNNEWS, an ESPN clone is NOT a good idea.)

.. ..

This leaves us narrowed down to two options in South Florida: WTVJ, an NBC owned and operated station, and WSFL, a tribune owned CW affiliate. (WBFS is owned by CBS like WFOR, therefore it’s eliminated by proxy despite being the home of WWE Smackdown due to its MyNetworkTV affiliation.) Well, thing with WTVJ is that they’d enjoy the cut costs from not having a sports department, but as for an all news channel operated by them, eh, sorry, couldn’t see it working. Plus, we already mentioned a Friday Night Marlins/Heat package meaning Jay Leno would be pre-empted, something we all know NBC doesn’t wantdespite the fact that it’s been this year’s television EPIC FAIL!

.. ..

In South Florida this leaves us with WSFL. Once upon a time it was just known as Channel 39, then WB 39, then CW South Florida, until finally they rebranded the station SFL. They already have the rights to SEC Football and basketball and have been aggressive in purchasing programming. Their afternoon programming to compete with other station’s news programs includes top hits such as Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Two and a Half Men. They’re also looking to expand their local news presence, and are operated by the Sun-Sentinel, a local Miami newspaper (both are owned by Tribune Company, who has a similar arrangement in Chicago to the local TV station-local cable news net idea for South Florida that I’m posting.) They’ve already launched a morning show that has seen its rough patches but improves on its ratings daily, and with the backing of the Sun-Sentinel could most likely run a 24 hour news station using up and coming talent that are fresh from graduation from FIU or UM to possibly in the future promote into the big leagues (which in their case would be a 10pm newscast.) Plus, other than SEC football and basketball, no other sports programming from any networks (CW doesn’t have the rights to any sports coverage) and weekend programming that mainly consists of re-runs and movies (and since the CW doesn’t program on Sunday Nights, the occasional Sunday Night Heat or Panthers game could find its way onto SFL’s schedule.)

.. ..

This seems way too perfect not to work, especially since Tribune has experience with their local stations airing local sports teams games (WPIX in New York with Mets, Rangers, and Knicks, WGN in Chicago with the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks). As for the other partners, Well, let’s go with the CW affiliates in both markets: WTVX in West Palm Beach, which has no plans for a newscast but would sure welcome one either produced by WSFL but geared towards West Palm Beach (or even an hour long newscast simulcast to both CW stations done in Ft. Lauderdale servicing both markets since Ft. Lauderdale is in the middle of both.) And for the Ft. Myers-Naples area, since their CW affiliate WXCW had a newscast produced by CBS affiliate WINK, both stations could contribute and be a member of this loose network, with WINK getting some Marlins, Heat and Panthers games in the Friday-Saturday-Sunday timeslots that they’d normally air anyways that don’t interfere with CBS Network programming, plus the money they’d save on their sports bureau.

.. ..

Of course you’re thinking this wouldn’t work, as the station would mainly give out Marlins and Heat propaganda. Not the case, it would be independent of the two organizations, but owned under the same corporate umbrella. The reporting would have to be fair, and not abused like say with negative attacks and editorials about departing free agents or players they want to trade (not at least without a dissenting opinion). The revenue’s they’d bring in with advertising, and their partnerships with these stations would be enough to give the Marlins plenty of money to spend, as well as give the Heat more than enough to cover any luxury tax payments they’d have to make.

.. ..

Of course, all of this is just a pipe dream, but a great idea none the less. If I’m the Marlins and Heat and this offer was proposed to me, I’d take it in a cocaine heartbeat. What are the chances of this happening? We probably would never see it, but if anyone reads this that can make things happen and get things done, they might want to forward the link to this blog in an e-mail to Mr. Mickey Arison and Mr. Jeffrey Loria, that way at least they’ll waste money hiring consultants to tell them exactly what I’m saying they should do and telling them for free.

And if it does happen, Mr. Arison, Mr. Loria, and their consultants can take all of the credit.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

LeBron 2 Miami: From Fantasy to Possibility!

On our podcast, my cousin and I made a pretty bold prediction last summer when every NBA team with cap room except Miami went crazy: D-Wade and LeBron will be teammates on the Heat next year. As I heard that come out of my cousin’s mouth, I was both shocked that he’d make such a bold statement, and in my head I questioned it. After all, why would someone like LeBron, who’s as much a mini corporation as he is a basketball player want to mess up the best thing that could market him, a Magic-Bird type rivalry with Wade? Because of that, I saw LeBron and Amare joining forces in New York with Wade and Bosh joining forces in Miami, followed by the next decade of a relevant Heat-Knicks series where we would get to shut up New York fans once in for all. Hell, I WANTED that, something you could pencil in as the Eastern Conference Final every year, BIG TV ratings for ABC/ESPN and TNT, and for at least the next 3 or 4 years the winner taking on the Lakers. Hell, that’s what the NBA itself probably wants, or so we’re lead to believe.

But then, you realize that the Knicks only have enough cap space for one superstar to get the max contract, meaning LeBron on the Knicks will be the exact same situation only magnified, he’ll be destined to fail in New York, and the media will unfairly skewer him. New Jersey is not the option everyone thinks they are, they’re ownership situation is uncertain, in fact they don’t even know if they’re going to be in Brooklyn or Newark in the coming years. (Because you know if you sign a superstar, you might just want to take care of such pressing matters.) LeBron won’t play out west, I know people are thinking Dallas and Cuban will do whatever it takes, but the only way they could do it is with a sign and trade, and the Cavs won’t make such a deal without getting Dirk, and Mark Cuban has a humungous hard-on for Dirk so that won’t happen.

This means LeBron realistically only has 2 choices, Cleveland, which can re-sign him, and, that’s it, and Miami, which can sign him, and, get ready……….


……..I’m going to have to increase the font size for this……


Sorry about that, I did not mean to shout, but, if you think about it, it makes total sense, hell, even the much respected Chris Broussard says it makes the most sense for LeBron if he doesn’t win this year in Cleveland. (I’d say it makes the most sense for LeBron no matter what, if he wins this year and Cleveland and resigns, it will be his last championship, if he stays with Cleveland, he’ll stay until the bitter end, where as if he doesn’t win this year in Cleveland, which he won’t, and signs with the Heat, he’ll have at least 3 rings.)

Not only will he have Wade if he signs with Miami, but he’ll also have a great young defensive PG who can hit 3’s and distribute the ball well in Chalmers, and both LeBron and Wade will have a calming presence on Beasley, who will be the 3rd option. (And in all honesty, is really a 3rd banana, more of a Kukoc/Horry type than a Pippen type.) Those two are the only Heat players who will be under contract on July 1st, BUT, Haslem would definitely take less money to stay with Miami, I could even see JO doing the same. (My money though would be on the Heat picking up a shot-blocking center on the cheap that could clean up the boards and get at least 8 pts a game through put-backs, tip-ins, and alley-oops, and yes, there would be PLENTY of alley-oops! I’d see it being either Marcus Camby with the heat grabbing a big man in that mold in the draft, or Channing Frye. Honestly I’d go with signing Camby to a one year deal, then grabbing a bargain in Sean Williams currently of the Nets, then letting Williams learn the ropes from Camby and Zo, it would be more cost-effective than JO, plus would set up the Heat in the future.) In fact, Miami would be able to keep most of their bench intact, setting up a rotation that goes as follows:


PG #6 Chalmers

SG #3 Wade

SF #32 Lebron. (Why 32? We retired 23 to honor the contributions Jordan made to the game, and I believe the rest of the NBA should follow suit! I’m sure LeBron won’t mind wearing Magic’s instead! And no, #32 should NOT be retired, I don’t care if you win one championship in your 3.5 years of service with the team, your number should NOT be retired from the Heat’s rotation Shaq, let LeBron have it instead!)

PF #30 Beasley

C Camby/Williams (numbers to be determined)


#8 Arroyo (PG)

#40 Haslem (PF)

#14 Cook (SG/SF)

Williams/Camby (whoever didn’t start that night)

#22 Jones (SF)

Draft pick

Draft pick

I mean, doesn’t that look like a solid rotation? You could replace with generic free agent point guard, Haslem will provide great D off the bench and will still play about 28 minutes per game, and Cook looks like a potential 6th man of the year (sort of our version of Ron Harper, Vinnie “Microwave” Jones) with Jones also providing great perimeter defense AND the ability to shoot open 3’s. (There would be A LOT of open 3’s, and yes, you could even see stretches where LeBron and Wade aren’t on the court at the same time, making it more like Hockey where you have different shifts, however both would start the game and both would finish it, and they’d both equal #35 minutes a game.)

Of course, LeBron wants to be a global icon, and some still don’t see Miami as a global city. Well, this video is a sales pitch that WTVJ used in 1987 to drum up advertisers to their station. 1987! Look at the numbers they tout:

320 days of sunshine: LeBron will be thinking about that this winter as he’s watching his handlers shovel snow.

Miami is the 2nd largest financial center in the country. I’m sure that will make him think about things.

16th ranked TV market. I know, this doesn’t seem so big when you think about it, BUT, for everything EXCEPT TV, they count Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast along with Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe County. There are Heat fans in Palm Beach County, and more importantly, It’s Palm Beach County, only one of the most affluent counties in the United States!

The 11th Largest retail market in the country. That was in 1987. According to my research (yes that means click on it to take a look) as of 2003 we’re at #5. That’s right, we jumped 6 spots in the span of 16 years! I know financial times in South Florida are a little bit tougher right now, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t fall 6 spots in years.(1999-2005 was one of South Florida’s many Boom Times, and if you watch the video, they do fudge it a little when they say its “never boom nor bust” because that’s just how we are thanks to piss poor city planning, and while I’m at it, I’ll give my take on the City of Miami Mayoral race even though I’m not a resident of the City of Miami, I live in Miami-Dade County’s Kendall area, but, thanks to everyone who voted for Regalado, Diaz had a lot of great ideas that wouldn’t and couldn’t be implemented because of how provincial this city can be, Regalado’s going to set The City of Miami back a good 20 years! Diaz was trying to make sure Miami didn’t remain Boom or Bust, but hey I guess we want that instead of being a well planned, well run city. I’d elaborate more but that’s another blog for another day.)

Those facts are important to LeBron, and to Wade, add in the Riley factor and I’d say it’s a GREAT possibility that we could see it happen. And since it would sell more tickets and get more sponsors, Arison wouldn’t mind paying the Luxury taxes he would probably have to pay, hell if anything whatever sponsors we’d have would pay for that! (And maybe with LeBron and Wade he’d move one step forward to joining up with Loria and saying F-U to FSN and Sun Sports and starting their own Regional Sports Network, BUT make it only for South Florida instead of the whole state, again, another story for another blog, but I’ll just say this, it’s kind of moronic to have a regional sports network that caters to ALL of Florida, let alone two. Why can’t Miami just have their own with a viewing area that covers Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Nielsen DMA (That’s TV terminology for TV Market), West Palm Beach DMA, and Naples/Ft. Myers DMA. I’ll elaborate more later, and yes, the TV Network they could start would also off-set the price of the Luxury Tax if its run right, in fact if it’s done the way it should be done, it would be like the Panthers would be paying the Heat’s Luxury Tax!)

Of course, it’s not like this is a slam dunk or anything, in fact, who knows what might happen, hell, we might lose out on both of them, but, it’s a strong possibility, and tonight’s game gives us a chance to think about it.

If the Heat are really interested in him, the best thing for them to do tonight is make LeBron win the game for Cleveland, while not letting Wade carry the load. They should make it so LeBron has to score in the 40’s while Wade only has to score between 25-30 but also throw in between 7 and 10 assists and all 5 Heat starters and Haslem score in double figures while Miami holds Mo-Pete to 10 pts or less and Shaq to his season average this year of 11-7 (I’m dead serious, that’s what he’s been averaging, he’s been a DISASTER for them so far with the exception of last night when he drew all those tacky fouls on Howard!) Whether the Heat win tonight or lose, if they can turn in a performance like that, then LeBron will really start to think. In fact if Miami does turn in a performance like that, even if LeBron scores 50 or more, I think the Heat either win this ballgame or lose by less than 6. Either one of those scenarios would make the Heat’s chances of picking up LeBron better, in fact losing by 6 or less would be ideal, then LeBron could play the “What if I was on their team” game in his head and realize that if he was, he’d probably only have to drop a 25-10-10 (yes he’d drop a triple double) and they’d win by at least 30! (BTW, another thing about LeBron signing with the Heat, he would average a triple-double in at least one season, and if he didn’t it would be more like 25-9-8 or something absurd like that, something else I’m sure he thinks about!)

Well, in less than 2000 words, I just explained why Miami is the best place for LeBron, and how the Heat can lure him here, all of the benefits the heat could reap, and I even left out the fact that Knicks fans everywhere would probably be more upset about it than Cavs fans who secretly have been dreading LeBron’s departure since he was drafted.

Wait, Knicks fans would be pissed, there we go, another benefit! Come to Miami Lebron!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Andrew 17 Years Later...

I had never encountered anything like it before or since. His wrath was pure hell. It sounded like a war zone out there, while we were safely bunkered in our house, Andrew pounded South Florida with its giant dick like we were a fresh virgin pussy.

See, I knew I could somehow turn the second worst natural disaster in American History and worst I’ve ever lived through into a giant double entendre, but I honestly think that hurricanes are named to provide these. It’s more fun to say that New Orleans was fucked by Katrina than it is to say New Orleans was decimated by a hurricane, it also makes it easier to find the parallel’s in relationships too. But the experience itself was not fun.

Yes, there’s such a thing as fun hurricanes. In 2005 while everyone’s focus was on the devastation in New Orleans, Miami actually got hit by two storms (Wilma and the aforementioned Katrina), And grazed by one more (Dennis). Wilma and Dennis I’ll admit were fun, it’s easy to make hurricanes fun when they’re category 3 or lower. Get friends together, get some alcohol, maybe some weed (if you smoke weed that is, I don’t but just putting it out there) play some music and just party till the storm ends or the power goes out, whichever comes first. Katrina wasn’t as fun because of the location I was at (dad’s house, he’s a bit more conservative) and because of the fact that the storm was really worse than the Miami Media had us believe it to be. (They said it was a category 1 when it came ashore, yet it didn’t feel like a category 1, and the damage I saw outside didn’t say category 1, however, it still wasn’t bad enough to stop MTV, who held the VMA’s only three days later.)

Andrew though, which ravaged the South Dade area 17 years ago today, was when I lost my hurricane cherry. Part of the reason why I can look back at Dennis, Katrina, and Wilma so fondly was because I was old enough to know and respect what hurricanes can do, I could see the sense of humor in them, and because by the time these storms came to us, we knew what we had to do to prepare. Hell preparing for hurricanes has become old hat down here. We know that at any time between June 1st and November 30th; even more so between August 1st and October 1st, whenever we see a tropical wave coming of the western coast of Africa, it’s time to get ready. See I know the science of hurricanes now, they’re necessities, they cool off the earth by releasing excess heat, and they take seeds of plants from Africa and move them to Florida, creating Mangroves, which are used as habitats for many of Florida’s diverse wildlife. God has a reason for everything. (Once again, Science and Religion CAN MIX!!! Don’t let anybody tell you differently! Science proves God, and even the best scientist will tell you, even if he’s atheist, that there are some things that science alone cannot explain.)

However, no one sees the good of hurricanes, and it’s pretty easy to ignore it when levies are bursting open in New Orleans, or houses are being flattened in Homestead and Florida City. The flip side of the coin is that sometimes, people do lose everything. Granted, in the case of Katrina as well as Andrew, the disaster was compounded by man-made human errors. We all know about the case with New Orleans, the city government’s continual procrastination in fortifying the levies, but no one talks about why Andrew really messed up South Florida the way it did anymore, it’s become a lost story, so to speak.

Because South Florida was growing so much, new developments sprung up like weeds in the late 80’s-early 90’s, mainly in South Dade. These houses were built quickly and efficiently, however, the houses that were built were built poorly, and code enforcement wasn’t as strict as it should’ve been. This lead to scenes like this one: listen to what the guy is saying, that was pretty much the sentiment, that the homes were death traps. Yet no one talks about it anymore. (BTW: Most of the older houses survived Andrew with flying colors, to the point where my mom would rather ride out a hurricane in an older house built pre-Andrew. To her, if it could survive Andrew, it could survive anything, which is probably true.)

Let me describe for you Miami, Fl on August 23rd, 1992. We were still a growing community, on the cusp of becoming an economic and trade center, a gateway to the Americas so to speak. New developments seemed to spring up where there was once nothing but swamp and forests. We had gotten out of the Cocaine Cowboys/Miami Vice era, and while crime was still bad, it was nowhere near the early-80’s levels that caused Time Magazine to put the city on the front page with the title “Miami, Paradise Lost.” The day before, I was supposed to go to Disney World following my last basketball game, I was looking forward to school starting the following Monday (I was entering the 3rd grade) and the Dolphins kicking off their season against the Patriots (September 6th was the original date of their home opener.) As the family had gone to Wal-Mart to prepare for our Disney Trip on our last week off/last minute back to school shopping, we were greeted by a full store (I know, Wal-Mart’s on a Saturday Afternoon have been and always will be full, but that’s not the point) BUT unlike most Saturday afternoon’s, they were purchasing hurricane supplies, extra water, canned goods, power tools, generators. It was then that it hit my parents, still together at the time and only 6 months away from an acrimonious split that would turn out to be for the best in the end because of the blessings it gave us, holy fucking shit, this storm is coming right at us.

We enjoyed the rest of the day as a family, even ate at Tony Roma’s and took in the Dolphins/Bucs pre-season game there, which was played under a cloud of uncertainty, after all, Andrew was being looked at as “The Big One” and as such, it was a good possibility that maybe, just maybe, it could be the last game ever played at the then-Joe Robbie Stadium. (I didn’t realize the scope of it now, but seriously, had the hurricane’s center only hit about 20 miles to the north, very easy to do since hurricanes tend to wobble as they travel, for all we know the Dolphins could’ve been that year in the same situation as the Saints were after Katrina. And by the way, they still play at Joe Robbie Stadium, only now it’s called LandShark Stadium.)

The next day, it really was a big blur. Every TV station carried wall to wall news coverage of the impending storm, each with their own interpretation of the events. While everyone remembers Bryan Norcross and his calm demeanor through it all on WTVJ, I still remember Rick “Twitter God” Sanchez on channel 7. The sky was falling according to him; it was the anti-Norcross. Since I was only 8 and couldn’t help out anyone, all I could do was watch TV to see what would happen. It was repetitive. 2pm update from the National Hurricane Center, press conference from the Dade County emergency management office or whatever its called, press conference from Gov. Lawton Chiles, news report from gas station of people filling up their tank as well as filling up their spare tanks, news report from Home Depot, news report from Publix, 3pm update. It was the same thing, over and over again. Then it was time to go to sleep, but not for Andrew.

Andrew did its damage late at night; honestly, I slept through most of it. Because of my age and sleeping through most of it, I couldn’t tell you about Bryan Norcross that night, how he pretty much talked South Florida through the worst thing to ever happen to it. And yes, normally I’d make a Dave Wannstedt joke here, but this is a serious part of the blog. I didn’t know what was going on outside, in fact, our house got out of it unscathed, despite the fact that we were in Kendall, one of the areas that received the brunt of the damage. It was only when we woke up that we saw how bad it really was. One house only 5 blocks away from us had its entire wall ripped off. Just 5 blocks away! Sunset drive, the street our townhouse complex was (still is in the case of my dad, who lives there to this day) was completely flooded. I saw signs toppled, power lines knocked down like nothing, trees that were there, gone! This was a lot for my 8 year old brain to really comprehend. All I was thinking was “When does school start” and of course, “What does this mean for the Dolphins?” (Why wonder about the Dolphins? They had a great team that year, and no, Andrew had nothing to do with what ended up happening, I’ll explain later.)

It wasn’t until we were fortunate to get our power back only 3 days later that I found out what had really happened down south. The footage here doesn’t quite do it any justice. Even 17 years later, it’s still heartbreaking to watch. I ended up living in this area during 2005, and we came up relatively unscathed. The areas have picked up beautifully since then, but the psychological fear whenever a storm is approaching is still there. Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Publix and Winn Dixie are always filled, sadly the shelves of water and non-perishables (and in the case of Home Depot and Wal-Mart, power tools and generators) are not. Plywood is bought in bulk like it’s going out of style, because shutters are way too expensive. We’ve made it through other storms since Andrew, but they’ve been brushed off like mosquitoes. Andrew though, well we still haven’t quite shaken it off.

Homestead almost looks brand new. Before Andrew their main focus was the Air Force Base. Things were looking up for the city, the Cleveland Indians were to conduct Spring Training in a brand new stadium there, and Homestead AFB was one of the main Air Force Bases in the Southeastern United States. Andrew however would destroy the stadium, and did enough damage to the base for the Government to consider closing it down completely before instead deciding to make it an Air Reserve Base.

The stadium, while it was rebuilt, wasn’t ready in time for the Indians though, who decided to move up to Winter Park in 1993 before moving back to Arizona last year. The stadium is now used for, well, I don’t even know what it’s used for, it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page for God’s sakes, everything has a Wikipedia page, our podcast is getting one soon!

The one benefit that Homestead received was the construction of a new race track that is the home of NASCAR’s Season Finale. It has been called one of the prettiest tracks in all of NASCAR and also hosts Indy Car races from time to time. The area has also undergone a building boom since Andrew due to the lack of available land throughout Miami-Dade County. It’s still a mostly rural community like it’s been for most of its life, but not as much as it’s been in the past. Still, it took nearly 10 years for the area to fully recover from Andrew’s wrath, and those that where there before and are still there to this day have not recovered psychologically from it.

The rest of Southern Miami-Dade County recovered quicker. Cutler Ridge mall, which was virtually destroyed by Andrew, was reborn as Southland Mall. It’s still kind of ghetto, but I like it. The only signs of Andrew you’ll see around there are psychological signs, and that’s only during Hurricane Season. Metro Zoo, which was destroyed during Andrew, has rebuilt, and while it’s not as much fun to go as it was when I was a kid (and a hell of a lot more expensive) that was probably bound to happen anyways.

Meanwhile, Broward County, mainly Miramar, Weston, and Pembroke Pines, grew thanks in part to those living in South Miami-Dade who lost their homes. Eleven insurance companies closed up shop and left Florida for good, some of them even went out of business outright.

On the sports side of things, which of course I’m known for, The Miami Dolphins ended up having to move their opening day game against the Patriots, but it was complicated. The original plan was to switch the dates, with the Dolphins opening up in New England and the Patriots closing it up in Miami. But due to a scheduling difficulty, the two teams instead had to take Week 1 as their bye week and make up that game on October 16th, their original bye week. They didn’t use that as an excuse though, as the Dolphins started 6-0, finishing with an 11-5 record, good enough for home field advantage in the playoffs. But their season came to an end at home as the Buffalo Bills defeated them 29-10 to move on to the Super Bowl where they would get destroyed by the Dallas Cowboys. (The Dolphins would’ve at least shown up for the game, the second time that had happened in the Marino era: Dolphins host the AFC Title game, lose to inferior opponent in said title game, watch inferior opponent lose Super Bowl, ugh, fucking Tom Olivadotti!)

The Heat (I know, I haven’t mentioned them all blog!) ended up hosting a charity game against Michael Jordan and the Bulls, a game that I had the pleasure of attending for free. Other than that, they were the pro sports team the least affected by the storm. Their season didn’t start until November anyways, so other than the Hurricane relief game against the Bulls, really not much to write about with them.

The Hurricanes probably had it the worst. Many players lost their homes in the storm. Yet the team ended up going undefeated during the regular season, including Wide Right II, before losing to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, thanks in part to their cocky trash talking, and the efforts of one Mr. George Teague.

The Marlins didn’t exist until March of 1993. Obviously had they been around, it probably would’ve been a tremendous problem for them. But they weren’t, so we can move on, not that I would’ve cared.

In 17 years, South Florida has changed since Andrew; the biggest change was the fact that it accelerated the White Flight that had been occurring in South Florida. Andrew for many was the last straw. But it also showed a community that came together in the aftermath, people were nicer to each other, and were always willing to help out. Sometimes, that’s the positive part of this otherwise terrible disaster. Plus, building codes were beefed up and are now the toughest in the country, and as a whole, we’re better prepared to handle any situation that comes our way. Andrew might have been a tragedy, but in the long run, can actually be looked at as a good thing, plus, a badge of honor for anyone living in Miami at the time.