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October 31, 2011

Video: Lions turn Tebowing on Tebow; it's least of QB's concerns

It was inevitable as soon as the Tebowing fad went viral that an opponent would get into the act inspired by Tim Tebow’s habit of dropping to one knee in prayer.

Sunday was a much better day for Tebowing than for Tebow, and at least two Lions offered their rendition during a 45-10 rout of the Broncos. After sacking Tebow, linebacker Stephen Tulloch struck the pose that inspired the website Tebowing.com. Tulloch’s celebration was included in the “Nuttiest Moments of the Week” video on NFL.com.

Tulloch told reporters that he wasn’t mocking Tebow or his religion, he was just having some fun.

Tebowing became the rage last week after Tebow led the miracle comeback against the Dolphins. After people began sending their own renditions to Tebowing.com, Tebow embraced the practice and even tweeted his favorite or a young cancer patient who wrote, “I’m Tebowing while Chemoing!”

Having opponents Tebowing him is the least of Tebow’s worries after a dreadful performance that calls into question whether he will remain the Broncos’ starting quarterback. Of greater concern has to be the scathing reviews of his performance, including comments by Lions that called it “embarrassing” and “a joke.”

POSTED IN: NFL (178)

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World Series Game 7 a hit with largest audience since 2004

It took a while for the World Series to draw interest, but it ended up a big ratings hit with Game 7 the most watched baseball game since 2004 when the Red Sox ended their 86-year championship drought.

According to Fox and Major League Baseball, the Cardinals’ championship-clinching victory over the Rangers drew an average of 25.7 million viewers and a 14.7 rating.

It was the highest-rated Friday night program ever on Fox and the most-watched Friday night program on any network since NBC’s telecast of the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics. It produced the highest-rated, most-watched night on any network this broadcast season and Fox’s best prime time night since the American Idol finale in May.

Game 7 gained impetus from the Game 6 extra-inning thriller the night before in which the Cardinals rallied from two-run deficits in the ninth and 10th innings and won on David Freese’s walkoff homer in the 11th. Couldn’t have asked for a better setup to the first World Series Game 7 since 2002.

After a slow start, the Series averaged 16.6 million viewers, up 19 percent from 2010 when the Giants beat the Rangers in five games.

Game 7 fell short of the audience for the last Game 7, when the Angels’ victory over the Giants in 2002 draw 31 million viewers for a 17.9 share. In 2004, 28.8 million tuned in as the Red Sox finally brought a title to Boston.

But Fox isn’t complaining after winning the prime time battle on six of the seven nights of this year’s Series. The network also sold out its Series advertising months ago.

The late surge of interest showed that it isn’t essential to have big-market teams playing, that a compelling story is enough.

St. Louis, the No. 21 market in the U.S., led all markets with a 52.7 rating. At its peak, 89 percent of households in St. Louis were tuned in to Game 7. Dallas (No. 5 market) averaged 40.3/61 for the night. For the Series, Dallas averaged a 38.0 rating, 22 percent better than in 2010 when the Rangers lost to San Francisco.

POSTED IN: MLB (110)

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October 28, 2011

Tebowing latest photo fad on the Web, so get down on one knee and strike the pose

tebow-skier.jpg
The endless silly season fostered by the Internet has provided plenty of amusing nonsense.

Recently the fad of Planking flourished with people posting photos of themselves stretched out like a board in unusual places. That inspired Owling, which involves sitting in a perched position.

In the spirit of football season, are you ready for some Tebowing?

Tebowing.jpg
In the wake of Tim Tebow leading the Broncos to an improbably comeback over the Dolphins, it’s all the rage. Numerous photos going up on Tebowing.com showing practitioners in various settings down on one knee, fist to forehead ala Tebow giving thanks.

According to the web site, the idea is “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” The site is already selling T-shirts with the slogan as well as images of a Tebowing pose. Got to give them credit for creative marketing.

Some of the amusing submissions include five tiny ballerinas Tebowing in a Gainesville dance studio, a pilot Tebowing in the doorway of a plane and a Tebowing scene patterned after the Beatles Abbey Road crosswalk photo, as well as a skier shown above.

The web site Knowyourmeme.com points out that photo fads predate the Internet, noting the habit of politicians to flash the V sign for the camera.

According to the site, planking was inspired by an Australian rugby player who made it his trademark to strike the board-like pose after scoring. What seemed like a harmless pastime turned deadly when a man in Brisbane, Australia fell to his death while planking on a balcony.

Tebowing was inspired by Denver native Jared Kleinstein, who told the Wall Street Journal that while watching the celebration of the Broncos’ victory, “Everybody was jumping up and down, and we noticed Tebow Tebowing.” He got some friends to photograph themselves posing like Tebow and posted the photo on Facebook.

Photos: Skibow courtesy Tebowing.com; Tebow, file photo

POSTED IN: NFL (178)

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Nobody watching World Series? It topped the NFL in TV ratings

Freese-Cardinals.jpg

The television ratings game has never been more confusing or less enlightening.

When applied to the World Series the picture skews like a roller coaster depending on which headline you grab on to.

Fox reported that Thursday’s stellar Game 6 had an overnight rating of 13.8, higher than every other game of this year’s series and last year’s. At its peak there were nearly 21.5 million watching what is being called one of the greatest World Series games ever. It carried Fox to an easy victory in the night’s primetime battle.

At the same time it was lowest-rated Game 6 ever played. Darren Rovell, of CNBC.com, reported the audience was down 11 percent from the last Game 6, in 2009. Understandable: That series was between the Yankees and Phillies, two much bigger markets than the Rangers and Cardinals play in.

While the first five games this year were comparable to the 2010 Giants-Rangers Series, which matched 2008 as the lowest-rated, the surprise of the week was that Games 4 and 5 blew away the audience for the NFL’s Sunday and Monday night games.

Just shows the fallacy in using ratings to build a case for declining interest in baseball. Looking at ratings for historical perspective is misleading. Viewers have many more choices now than ever before.

In the early 1970s, when the World Series was routinely drawing 50 percent or more of the audience, there were only three networks, no cable, no Internet, no smartphones.
Despite all the choices now, Games 1, 2 and 4 of this World Series were among the top 10 network primetime shows for Oct. 17-23.

Baseball’s problem is the games go on so long and end so late it is difficult to hold an audience. It doesn’t help to have Tony La Russa waving in relievers like a cop directing a July 4 traffic jam. La Russa has made a record 71 pitching changes this postseason, and the 65 by Rangers manager Ron Washington rank second.

But a case can be made that postseason baseball is capable of the best drama in sports. The Cardinals’ improbable Series-saving victory in Game 6 will take its place alongside the Carlton Fisk and Kirk Gibson homers as iconic moments.

Twice the Cardinals were down to their last strike. They rallied from two-run deficits in the ninth and 10th innings. The winning homer in the 11th by hometown hero David Freese set off the wildest victory celebration in memory, with jubilant teammates ripping off his jersey.

All of which set up the best theater in sports: Game 7. Think anyone will watch?

Photo: The Cardinals' David Freese has his jersey torn off by jubilant teammates after hitting winning home run in Game 6. JIM YOUNG/REUTERS

POSTED IN: MLB (110)

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October 27, 2011

Marlins bring play time back to Little Havana school near new ballpark

The Marlins haven’t officially moved into their new home in Little Havana, but they gave the go-ahead to begin play Thursday with the opening of a playground a few blocks away at Citrus Grove Elementary.

The kids at Citrus Grove, a high-poverty school that enrolls more than 1,000 students, have been without a place to play for two years. Their jungle gym was condemned and the Miami-Dade school district did not have enough money to replace it. That's when a group from Leadership Miami, the Chamber's leadership development program for young professionals, stepped in.

Volunteers from Leadership Miami enlisted financial support from the Marlins, Hunt Construction Group, Odebrecht and dozens of other local companies and individuals to construct a new playground. The group also built a community garden at the school and held a field day for several hundred children in April.

“Building a playground for the kids of our future neighborhood is part of the Marlins ongoing commitment to the Little Havana community and to South Florida”, said Alfredo Mesa, Executive Director of the Marlins Community Foundation. “The Marlins will continue to prioritize the development of our future neighbors’ quality of life as we approach Opening Day in 2012 and beyond.”

It was announced during the opening ceremony that Citrus Grove was changing its mascot and team name to Marlins following a vote of students, parents and staff. They had been known as the Dolphins, like the team that once played in the Orange Bowl on the site of the Marlins’ new retractable-roof park.

“Citrus Grove Elementary is extremely proud of its new playground, said Citrus Grove Principal Sharon Johnson, “which is the product of a community-wide effort. It will be enjoyed for years to come.”

Hanley to remain at shortstop

Marlins President David Samson, during the playground ceremony, told MLB.com that Hanley Ramirez will remain the starting shortstop. New manager Ozzie Guillen had created some room for speculation when he said recently that he just wanted Ramirez on the field, whether at short or another position.

Ramirez is recovering from surgery on his left shoulder. The Marlins remain hopeful he will be ready for Opening Day on April 3.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193)

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October 26, 2011

More TebowMania on Fox Sunday; Dolphins get national audience

In case you didn’t get enough TebowMania in Sunday’s Miracle/Meltdown in Miami, Fox will give much of the country, including South Florida, a chance to view the next installment.

The Detroit at Denver game (Sunday, 4:15 p.m.) will be Fox’s offering in many markets (CBS has the doubleheader this week), and why not? If you want drama, if you want the chance to witness something unique, it would be hard to top tuning in to Tebow.

Despite considerable sentiment that he’s not good enough to play quarterback in the NFL, Tebow is the talk of the NFL. After 3½ quarters of epic ineptitude, Tebow led a comeback unseen since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, leading the Broncos from a 15-point deficit with less than three minutes remaining to victory.

All of which served to reinforce arguments on both sides of the Tebow debate and greatly increased the chatter. You can’t flip on ESPN and avoid Tebow Talk this week. All of which is great for the business of the NFL and its television and merchandising partners.

Love or loathe Tebow, it’s difficult to resist watching what he does next. More intriguing theater is promised in the matchup with the Lions’ defense led by tackle Ndamukong Suh, who taunted injured Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan last weekend and has earned a reputation as one of the league’s dirtiest players.

Certainly a lot more allure to sell there than with the winless Dolphins at the Giants, which is the 1 p.m. game most of the nation will be subjected to on CBS. As the national telecast, viewers will get the No. 1 broadcast duo of Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf.

The Broncos-Lions will be called by Dick Stockton and John Lynch, the latter a former safety for the Broncos.

The interest in Tebow has generated some creative efforts along with the outpouring of opinion. Super Fans (Tim Tebow Song) is a rap number that goes on and on way too long. I didn’t stick with it to the end.

More entertaining was “We Didn’t Stop Tim Tebow” on Finsnation.com, more of a clever poke at the Dolphins than a tribute to Tebow. The parody of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was penned by Kevin C. Mayer.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186)

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October 15, 2011

50th Super Bowl up for grabs in 2016: South Florida has hope but obstacles to overcome

With the 2015 Super Bowl awarded to Arizona, the intrigue shifts to who gets the big prize, the 50th anniversary game.

The Dolphins would like to have it at Sun Life Stadium to coincide with their 50th season. Despite being shunned in recent bids, South Florida can’t be ruled out.

Mike Dee, CEO of the Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, said recently that the team will join with the South Florida Super Bowl Committee in preparing a bid for the 2016 game but acknowledged the obstacles.

The biggest are the NFL’s call for significant upgrades to Sun Life Stadium as well as the strong sentiment for staging Super Bowl L in Los Angeles, which hosted the original.

L.A. would seem to have a much bigger obstacle: It has no team or stadium. The plan for a $1.2 billion stadium in downtown L.A. got a significant boost from the California legislature in late September, but it won’t be ready in time to stage the Super Bowl in February 2016.

There is support for staging the game in Los Angeles provided construction is under way on a stadium, perhaps at the Rose Bowl.

Why? Why not just wait for the new venue to be ready, with 2017 being a more realistic target? Sentiment for the 50th is understandable, but it’s just a number – or in this case a letter.

South Florida is mentioned among the usual suspects of other possibilities, along with New Orleans and Dallas. New Orleans has the game in 2013, Dallas hosted it this year.

The selection process, which isn’t expected to begin before next May or June, will give an indication of how serious the NFL is of forcing renovations for Sun Life Stadium in order to remain in the Super Bowl picture. Those plans are in limbo since a bid for public funding went nowhere in the Florida Legislature this past spring.

The proposal to add a partial canopy roof to cover seating areas seemed a pipe dream from the start. Upgrades to seating and infrastructure would seem more plausible.

“Hopefully we’ll figure out a solution on a public-private [funding] partnership that somehow can help us to get these things done,” Dee said in a recent interview about the future of the stadium. “We’ll continue to be aggressive in pursuit of more Super Bowls. We’ve got our expression of interest [in the 2016 game]. If we’re invited to bid we’ll be working with the Super Bowl host committee on that.”

POSTED IN: Super Bowl (53)

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October 11, 2011

Tebow starting vs. Dolphins may fill stadium but embarrass home team

Tebow.jpg

No doubt, Tim Tebow’s promotion to starting quarterback in Denver will spur ticket sales for the Dolphins’ game against the Broncos on Oct. 23 at Sun Life Stadium, perhaps even extend to streak without a television blackout.

It will stir interest and an emotional frenzy perhaps never seen for a game between a pair of hapless teams, currently a combined 1-8.

It may lure a sellout crowd for a Dolphins team struggling mightily to fill seats. But this is a case where what’s good for the bottom line isn’t necessarily good for business.

It does set up the inexplicable spectacle of a large segment of the home crowd cheering on the visiting quarterback on the occasion of a controversial sanctioned celebration by the Dolphins that day. Imagine the embarrassment if Tebow leads the Broncos to victory as he did the Florida Gators to the national title on the same field in 2009.

It could be the final dagger for the Tony Sparano/Jeff Ireland regime and cue the chorus of crickets at Sun Life for the remainder of the season.

The announcement during the preseason of a ceremony honoring the Gators championship team set off an uproar. Miami Hurricanes fans were outraged at the notion of celebrating a rival team on their home field.

A poll on The Phinsiders web site showed that 59 percent of respondents were against the idea and wanted the tribute canceled. Only 12 percent support the plan to honor the Gators, while 29 percent were opposed but recognizing the need to aggressively pursue ticket sales.

Dolphins officials have acknowledged being surprised by the degree of objection. They viewed it as a way to tap into a deep pool of potential ticket buyers during a challenging time to sell tickets. There are 100,000 Florida alumni in South Florida.

A driving force behind the idea was Nat Moore, a former Gator who is senior advisor to Dolphins CEO Mike Dee.

Dee made the announcement of the Gator Day plans on television during a Dolphins exhibition game. The pushback began almost immediately. That the Dolphins had offered a similar celebration of UM’s 2001 national title, which the school declined, did little to soften the indignation.

‘Canes Nation was ticked off and continues to be.

“I know they both have very passionate fan bases. We recognized that. We certainly root for the ’Canes. They are a partner of ours, a tenant of ours,” Dee said. As it relates to having to aggressively market the Dolphins and tickets to our games, we have to be agnostic, we can’t not reach out to Dolphins fan who are also Gator fans and try to give them an incentive and a reason to come to a Dolphins game at Sun Life Stadium.”

In other words, beggars can’t be choosers. The Gator Day celebration remains on -- as it was after Tebow was demoted to third string. The team is expected to announce details of the celebration later this week.

The Dolphins conceived Gator Day as a celebration for Dolphins fans who are also UF fans. Dolphins center Mike Pouncy and Tebow were the common links to stage it with the Broncos game. Now all of the focus will be on Tebow leading to the game.

Will all of those Dolphins fans with UF ties resist throwing their allegiance behind their idol? Will they make the Broncos feel like the home team? Or will everyone simply be lending voice to the Suck For Luck campaign?

As of last week, ticket sales for the Broncos game were lagging similar to the last home game against Houston, when the Dolphins and sponsors bought up about 10,000 tickets to maintain the streak of 103 games without a television blackout. Even giving away those extra tickets to season-seat holders, attendance was just over 51,000.

Even Tebow starting doesn’t guarantee a sellout, but there is a week and a half for the Gainesville legend to exert his influence.

It does create a name-driven event in an area that responds best to them. But will it spur a disaffected fan base to pony up cash when the Redskins, Bills and Raiders come to town?

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186)

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October 10, 2011

Panthers get only national exposure Tuesday on Versus; complete NHL TV schedule on NBC/Versus

The Panthers will make their first appearance on national television in two seasons Tuesday night when they face the Penguins in Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. on Versus. It will be their only chance at national exposure during the regular season.

Shut out of the national TV schedule last season, the Panthers made one appearance on Versus in 2009-10 and one the previous season.

The Panthers can be seen in South Florida in 73 regional telecasts on Fox Sports Florida. The team recently signed a multiyear contract extension for FSF to broadcast all games not prohibited by the NHL’s national television contract.

The national schedule has expanded with the NBC Sports Group, in the first season of a 10-year, 42 billion TV deal with the NHL, showing 100 games on NBC and Versus, up from 77 last season. Versus, which becomes NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2, will have 90 nights of exclusive cable coverage (up from 54 last season), mainly on Wednesdays, with added games on Sundays.

The focus will be on the traditional powers and large Eastern markets, led by the Rangers with 16 appearances scheduled on NBC/Versus. The Red Wings and Bruins will be on 14 times, as will the Capitals.

The Flyers and Blackhawks get 11 appearances, as do the Tampa Bay Lightning, coming off a run deep into the playoffs. Perhaps the Panthers can play themselves into more of the national picture next season by ending the long playoff drought.

NBC will begin its broadcast coverage on the Friday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25). In what is planned as an annual post-turkey day occurrence, the defending Stanley Cup champions Bruins will host the Red Wings in a 1 p.m. matchup.

Other highlights of the NHL on NBC/Versus:

NBC will continue its national Game of the Week coverage on Sundays, starting Jan. 14 with Chicago at Detroit.

Hockey Day in America, launched last season, is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 19, with six hours of coverage: three regional games with staggered starts (Pittsburgh at Buffalo, San Jose at Detroit, St. Louis at Chicago) followed by a national broadcast of Boston at Minnesota.

Ten games will be televised in the final seven days of the regular season, including a triple-header on Saturday, April 7.

Here is the 2011-12 schedule for NBC/Versus

On NBC

Fri., Nov. 25 Detroit at Boston 1 p.m.

Sun. Jan. 2 New York Rangers @ Philadelphia 1 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 14 Chicago at Detroit 12:30 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 22 Was at Pit or Bos @ Phi 12:30 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 12 TBD 12:30 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 19 Pit @ Buff / SJ @ Det / STL @ Chi 12 p.m.

Boston at Minnesota 3 p.m.

Sun., March 4 Bos @ NYR or Phi @ Wash 12:30 p.m.

Sun., March 11 LA @ Chi or Bos @ Pit 12:30 p.m.

Sun., March 18 Pit @ Phi or Was @ Chi 12:30 p.m.

Sun., April 1 Bos @ NYR or Phi @ Pit 12:30 p.m.

Sat., April 7 Was @ NYR or Phi @ Pit or Chi @ Det or Buf @ Bos TBD

On VERSUS

Thurs., Oct. 6 Philadelphia at Boston 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Vancouver 10 p.m.

Fri., October 7 New York Rangers/Los Angeles* 1 p.m.

Sat., October 8 New York Rangers/Anaheim* 1 p.m.

Mon., October 10 Tampa Bay at Washington 7 p.m.

Tues., October 11 Florida at Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.

Wed., October 12 Boston at Carolina 7:30 p.m.

Mon., October 17 Colorado at Toronto 7 p.m.

Tues., October 18 Pittsburgh at Minnesota 7:30 p.m.

Tues., October 25 Tampa Bay at Buffalo 7:30 p.m.

Mon., October 31 San Jose at New York Rangers 7 p.m.

Tues., November 1 Anaheim at Washington 7:30 p.m.

Wed., November 2 Philadelphia at Buffalo 7:30 p.m.

Mon., November 7 New York Islanders at Boston 7 p.m.

Tues., November 8 Carolina at New Jersey 7:30 p.m.

Wed., November 9 Philadelphia at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.

Mon., November 14 Buffalo at Montreal 7 p.m.

Tues., November 15 Colorado at Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.

Wed., November 16 New Jersey at Buffalo 7:30 p.m.

Mon., November 21 Boston at Montreal 7:30 p.m.

Tues., November 22 Los Angeles at St. Louis 7:30 p.m.

Mon., November 28 Tampa Bay at Minnesota 7:30 p.m.

Tues., November 29 Pittsburgh at New York Rangers 7:30 p.m.

Wed., November 30 Tampa Bay at Detroit 7:30 p.m.

Mon., December 5 Phoenix at Chicago 8 p.m.

Tues., December 6 Detroit at St. Louis 7:30 p.m.

Wed., December 7 Philadelphia at Buffalo 7:30 p.m.

Mon., December 12 New Jersey at Tampa Bay 7 p.m.

Tues., December 13 San Jose at Colorado 9 p.m.

Wed., December 14 Chicago at Minnesota 7:30 p.m.

Mon., December 19 Anaheim at Dallas 8 p.m.

Tues., December 20 Chicago at Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.

Wed., December 21 Philadelphia at Dallas 7:30 p.m.

Mon., December 26 Dallas at St. Louis 7:30 p.m.

Tues., December 27 St. Louis at Detroit 7:30 p.m.

Wed., December 28 New York Rangers at Washington 7:30 p.m.

Mon., January 2 San Jose at Vancouver 8 p.m.

Tues., January 3 Detroit at Dallas 8 p.m.

Wed., January 4 Boston at New Jersey 7:30 p.m.

Sun., January 8 Detroit at Chicago 7:30p.m.

Tues., January 10 San Jose at Minnesota 7:30 p.m.

Wed., January 11 Pittsburgh at Washington 7:30 p.m.

Sun., January 15 New York Rangers at Montreal 7 p.m.

Mon., January 16 Dallas at St. Louis 7:30 p.m.

Tues., January 17 Nashville at New York Rangers 7:30 p.m.

Wed., January 18 Buffalo at Chicago 7:30 p.m.

Mon., January 23 St. Louis at Detroit** 7:30 p.m.

Tues., January 24 Minnesota at Colorado 9 p.m.

Wed., January 25 Detroit at Montreal 7:30 p.m.

Fri., January 27 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft TBD

Sat., January 28 NHL Skills Competition TBD

Sun., January 29 NHL All-Star Game TBD

Tues., January 31 Washington at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.

Wed., February 1 New York Rangers at Buffalo 7:30 p.m.

Sun., February 5 Boston at Washington 12:30 p.m.

Mon., February 6 Detroit at Phoenix 8 p.m.

Tues., February 7 Los Angeles at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.

Wed., February 8 Boston at Buffalo 7:30 p.m.

Sun., February 12 Philadelphia at Detroit 7:30 p.m.

Mon., February 13 San Jose at Washington 7:30 p.m.

Tues., February 14 Anaheim at Minnesota 7:30 p.m.

Wed., February 15 Boston at Montreal 7:30 p.m.

Sun., February 19 New Jersey at Montreal 6 p.m.

Mon., February 20 Washington at Carolina 7:30 p.m.

Tues., February 21 Detroit at Chicago 8 p.m.

Wed., February 22 Los Angeles at Colorado 9 p.m.

Sun., February 26 Chicago at Anaheim 7 p.m.

Mon., February 27 New Jersey at New York Rangers 7:30 p.m.

Tues., February 28 Los Angeles at Minnesota 7:30 p.m.

Wed., February 29 Pittsburgh at Dallas 7:30 p.m.

Sun., March 4 Bos @ NYR or Phi @ Wash 7 p.m.

Mon., March 5 Buffalo at Winnipeg 8 p.m.

Tues., March 6 Minnesota at Colorado 9 p.m.

Wed., March 7 Toronto at Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.

Sun., March 11 LA @ Chi or Bos @ Pit 7:30 p.m.

Mon., March 12 Anaheim at Colorado 9 p.m.

Tues., March 13 Carolina at New York Rangers 7:30 p.m.

Wed., March 14 Colorado at Buffalo 7:30 p.m.

Sun., March 18 Pit @ Phi or Was @ Chi 7 p.m.

Mon., March 19 New Jersey at New York Rangers 7:30 p.m.

Tues., March 20 Phoenix at Dallas 8 p.m.

Wed., March 21 Detroit at New York Rangers 7:30 p.m.

Sun., March 25 Minnesota at Washington 5 p.m.

Nashville at Chicago 7:30 p.m.

Mon., March 26 Tampa Bay at Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.

Tues., March 27 Tampa Bay at Boston 7:30 p.m.

Wed., March 28 Detroit at Columbus 7:30 p.m.

Sun., April 1 Bos @ NYR or Phi @ Pit 7:30 p.m.

Mon., April 2 Washington at Tampa Bay 7 p.m.

Tues., April 3 Pittsburgh at Boston 7:30 p.m.

Wed., April 4 Detroit at St. Louis 7:30 p.m.

Thurs., April 5 Columbus at Colorado 9 p.m.

Fri., April 6 Phoenix at St. Louis 7:30 p.m.

Sat., April 7 (Two Games, TBD) TBD

* NHL Premiere Games in Europe

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October 8, 2011

Photo clearly shows Miami Marlins logo in new ballpark

marlins-seats.jpg
Here is more evidence that appears to confirm the new Miami Marlins logo at the end of seat rows in the Marlins ballpark.

marlins-seat-logo-small.jpgThis photo was posted on Twitter by @Fishatbat showing the now familiar logo consisting of a bold M accented by an abstract marlin. The team will officially unveil the logo and uniforms on Nov. 11.

An examination of photos taken during the media tour last month reveals that most of the supports at the end of rows were not yet in place, at least in parts of the part that were made accessible. In this Miami Herald photo, the one end piece that can be seen has a cover over the area bearing the logo.

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October 6, 2011

New (alleged) Marlins logo has promise without cacophony of colors: here's latest version

marlins-seat-logo.jpg

Spot the new Miami Marlins logo has turned into a popular game and will continue to be until the team’s coming out party on Nov. 11.

This latest one (above) is purported to be on the seats in the new ballpark. I’m not convinced that’s what we’re seeing here. It doesn’t seem to match any part of the seats that can be seen in photographs taken during the media tour last month. And it was not visible that day.

marlins-logo-new-smaller.jpgIt could be a UFO – Unidentified Fudged Object. Or it could be part of some genuine structure in the park in Little Havana. The Marlins have to be amused – and yes, pleased – by all the intrigue.

But just in assessing this version of the image, it crystalizes what I dislike about the original leaked alleged logo. Without the box of crayons run amuck, the graphic elements have promise.

The marlin in this version is less anorexic and carries more weight. The beveled, meatier M is a more pleasing foundation. Those subtle tweaks make a difference.

I suspect that on Nov. 11 the Marlins will unveil a logo similar to what we’ve seen with enough refinement, with color variations (hopefully fewer of them) to be palatable and ultimately accepted.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193)

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October 5, 2011

Hope Solo one of four nude cover subjects in ESPN's 'The Body Issue'

Solo_cover_large.jpg

U.S. women’s national team and magicJack soccer goalie Hope Solo steps up her game from World Cup star to nude action figure on one of four covers of ESPN The Magazine’s third annual The Body Issue that appears on newsstands Friday.

The others are Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin and New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.

The Body Issue features male and female professional athletes posing naked in a tasteful fashion. That is, with private parts strategically covered.

The stated objective is exploration and celebration of the athletic form. The cover shot shows Solo looking competitive and powerful in a high-stepping pose. There is another odd photo of her in the front yard of a house with a hose watering the lawn that makes no connection to athletics at all.

So is it exploration or exploitation?

Solo, who appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated following the United States’ loss in the World Cup Final, let it be known she was posing sans uniform in August via Twitter when she tweeted. “Being naked outside is very liberating....atleast I hope it will be @ESPN and @ESPNMAG!!! GAMETIME BABY! Ball up!”

In a promotional video for The Body Issue, she reiterated that the experience was “liberating” and said, “I don’t take it serious being a sex symbol at all. I’m an athlete, that’s all I am. If a sex symbol is now a top female athlete, I think that’s pretty amazing and it shows how far our country has come from the stick-thin models you see in most magazines.”

The four cover subjects are featured along with 18 other athletes posing nude in the “Bodies We Want” section of the issue.

The other women are: Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone; Sylvia Fowles of the WNBA's Chicago Sky; LPGA rookie Belen Mozo; track and field star Natasha Hastings; hockey player Julie Chu; tennis player Vera Zvonareva; surfer Steph Gilmore; roller derby skater Suzy Hotrod and bowler Kelly Kulick.

The other men are: Steven Jackson of the NFL's St. Louis Rams; speedskater Apolo Ohno; hockey player Ryan Kesler of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks; UFC fighter Jon Jones; IndyCar racer Helio Castroneves; snowboarder Louie Vito; boxer Sergio Martinez; marathoner Ryan Hall and Paralympian Jeremy Campbell.

In the promotional video, Solo said, “Looking at my body I’m perfect for what I do.”

That doesn’t mean it was easy to show it off during the eight-hour photo shoot. In an interview with Access Hollywood, she said, "I started screaming when I dropped the robe, but by the end of the day I was talking to people like it was nothing."

Here is a link to videos of the four cover models and a photo gallery of all of the athletes featured in the The Body Issue.

Follow Craig Davis on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns

POSTED IN: Soccer (15)

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October 4, 2011

Florida Panthers watch parties set for opener at two Duffy's Sports Grills

For hockey fans who want to gather for a first glance and discuss the new-look Florida Panthers, two watch parties are planned for Saturday night’s season opener at the New York Islanders.

The watch parties are at Duffy’s Sports Grills in Plantation (811 S. University Dr.) and North Miami Beach (3969 NE 163rd St.).

The team-sponsored events will feature appearances by the Panthers Street Team, Redline Lady Panthers and Stanley C. Panther (Plantation only), as well as special $10 buckets of Coors Light and other specials.

Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon overhauled the roster with the acquisition of 11 players with NHL experience. In addition, the Panthers’ No. 1 draft pick in 2010, defenseman Erik Gudbranson, is set to make his debut, as is new coach Kevin Dineen. The watch parties will give fans a chance to share their thoughts on their expectations for the season.

Ten Panthers watch parties will be held this season, with those set so far for: Saturday, Oct. 29 vs. Buffalo; Saturday, Nov. 26 vs. Tampa Bay; and Sunday, Dec. 11 vs. the New York Rangers.

The Duffy’s North Miami Beach will also host a question-and-answer session on Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m., with Panthers players Marcel Goc, Dmitry Kulikov and Evgeny Dadonov.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108)

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Winless Dolphins can help others cash in on new Florida Lottery game

The Dolphins have yet to produce a winner on the field, but they are joining with the Florida Lottery to give fans a chance to cash in on a new game being offered in South Florida.

In the Dolphins Fin-tastic Fantasy 5 game, running through Dec. 6, those purchasing a Fantasy 5 ticket of $5 or more at select retailers will receive a voucher with a serial number that can be entered on the Florida Lottery’s website (FlaLottery.com) for a chance to win Dolphins experiential prizes, including season tickets and a 2012 Ford Fiesta.

Five Dolphins Fin-tastic Fantasy 5 Football drawings will be held from Oct. 12 to Dec. 7, from vouchers entered the night before each drawing. In each of the five drawings, two players will win tickets to the Dolphins-Jets regular-season finale on Jan.1, where they will have the chance during halftime to win cash prizes of up to $2,500 or a Ford Fiesta.

“With last year’s program being such a hit with fans and lottery players throughout the state, we are excited to again partner with the Florida Lottery on this special promotion,” said Jim Rushton, Dolphins senior vice president of corporate partnerships and integrated media.

There will be 155 Dolphins prizes awarded in the second-chance drawings. In addition to the Ford Fiesta giveaway, other prizes being awarded in this promotion include:

A “Dolphins VIP for a Day” experience at Sun Life Stadium, including two Ford Sideline Club and Lounge passes, two executive suite tickets, a private stadium tour, a meet-and-greet with the Dolphins CEO or player personnel, an introduction on the field that will be broadcast on the stadium video board, a souvenir photo taken on the field and a $500 Dolphins Team Store credit;

A Dolphins game day Experience, consisting of two 100-level game tickets, two tickets to Nat’s BBQ Bash and one parking pass; as well as season tickets and game-day tickets.

Despite their struggles on the field, Dolphins popularity throughout the state was reflected in sales of the Florida Lottery’s three NFL Scratch-off games over the past year. The Dolphins Scratch-off (game ended) had $19.7 million in sales statewide, compared to the Bucs ($15.5 million; that game continues through Oct. 28) and Jaguars ($7.13 million).

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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