Business & Pleasure of Sports: Enhancing understanding and enjoyment of the games, teams and athletes | Sun Sentinel blogs

The Business & Pleasure of Sports

previous December 2012 | Main | February 2013 previous

January 30, 2013

Marlins seek professional help for PR problem

The biggest challenge of the upcoming baseball season may be the one facing JeffreyGroup, the marketing and communications agency hired this week to help repair the Miami Marlins’ tattered image.

“We plan to help the team communicate effectively with each of its key stakeholders, including media, community leaders, partners and, most importantly, loyal fans,” said Mike Valdes-Fauli, President of JeffreyGroup.

Fans have been in an uproar this offseason since the Marlins dumped about $150 million in salary in trading veteran players for prospects following their first season in their new ballpark that was funded largely by public money.

The team has also taken a PR beating in comparisons with the Dolphins' approach in seeking support for stadium renovations. The discussion has revived animosity about the Marlins' ballpark deal.

JeffreyGroup replaces RBB, a Coral Gables firm that has represented the Marlins since 2003.
“We feel it’s critical to enhance our dialogue with the community to ensure we are doing the best job possible,” Marlins President David Samson said in a statement.

-Craig Davis

POSTED IN: Miami Marlins (42)

Discuss this entry

January 29, 2013

Getting state sales-tax money a tough sell for Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins managed to gain support from Miami-Dade County politicians for stadium renovations despite the lingering sour taste about the Marlins’ ballpark deal that got the mayor recalled.

Winning a favorable vote from state legislators for a sales tax rebate and tourist tax increase will be more challenging. Once again, timing is not on the Dolphins’ side.

They will be making their pitch in the upcoming legislative session during a time that Republican governors in several states are pushing for greater reliance on state sales taxes than personal income tax for operating revenue.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is leading the charge to repeal his state’s personal and corporate income taxes and compensate with higher sales taxes. Similar debates are taking place in Nebraska and Kansas, and the approach of taxation on consumption rather than income has become a conservative agenda nationwide.

That is, of course, already the status quo in Florida where there is no state income tax. Now the Dolphins are asking a Republican-controlled legislature in Tallahassee that lately has not been receptive to helping out pro sports teams for a significant chunk of sales tax money.

A bill introduced after the Dolphins announced their renovation plans for Sun Life Stadium would net $3 million a year through a tax rebate for a sports team undertaking at least $250 million in improvements, provided the team owner will pay at least 50 percent of the cost. Dolphins owner Steve Ross has vowed to pay more than half of the project expected to cost up to $400 million.

Granted the rebate would come from sales of goods and services at Sun Life Stadium. But gaining support with law-makers outside South Florida in a cash-strapped state that relies on all the sales-tax revenue it can grab may prove as problematic for the Dolphins as trying to build a Super Bowl-contending team.

The proposed legislation is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Oscar Braynon (D-Miami Gardens) and Rep. Eduardo Gonzalez (R-Hialeah). To track the status of the companion bills, click on HB-165 and SB-306.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (203)

Discuss this entry

January 25, 2013

Yormark twins have Panthers, Nets on the rise

SUNRISE That wasn’t double vision fans were experiencing in Club Red during Thursday’s Florida Panthers game against Ottawa.

It was just twin sports franchise bosses Michael and Brett Yormark sharing the view of the game at the BB&T Center.

yormark-brothers.jpgAs usual, Michael was working on closing a deal. But the Panthers president and COO didn’t need to apply hard-sell tactics to convince brother Brett to buy two memberships to the new premium club overlooking center ice at the BB&T Center.

“It’s an easy sell, and he’s going to pay rack rate, no discounts,” Michael Yormark said.
Although Brett runs a team based 1,200 miles away, he figures he’ll get enough use of the memberships which go for about $16,500 a year for access to all events at the BB&T Center.
The CEO of the Brooklyn Nets has a home in Boca Raton and spends considerable time in South Florida.

“It’s affordably priced, they’ve created a nice value proposition with the all-inclusive [aspect] and all events,” said Brett, who brought about 40 of his key personnel from the Nets and their new arena, the Barclays Center, for a two-day strategic think tank in South Florida.

The Barclays Center has a super-exclusive club known as the Vault, with 11 private floor-level suites that go for $550,000 a year. Jay-Z, a Nets part-owner, had a hand in the design.

The hard-driving Yormark brothers are well known for the novelty of identical twins rising to chief executives of professional sports franchises. Until recently another shared distinction was that both of their teams, though playing different sports, could be grouped under the subheading of long-downtrodden.

Michael’s Panthers finally broke through last year with their first playoff appearance after a 10-season drought. Brett’s Nets have undergone a more dramatic transformation with the move this season from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

“I think we’re in uniquely different situations. When we were in New Jersey we were a struggling franchise. We were in survival mode,” Brett said. “Brooklyn has enabled us to really become a premium franchise in the marketplace.

“Not to say Michael doesn’t have a premium brand here, but our position in Brooklyn has certainly changed and is allowing us to do different things now.”

The Nets are no longer the overlooked stepchild on the fringe of the market. The move brought a new identity and access to more fans. The Manhattan-based Knicks have deep footprints in the city, but their long history doesn’t include a championship in nearly 40 years.

“The Knicks obviously are a legacy brand in the marketplace. But there’s room for two NBA franchises,” Brett Yormark said. “We’re off to one of the best starts in the history of our franchise. We’re selling out our games, we have a world-class building in the Barclays Center. So we’re doing quite well.”

Brooklyn is known for its roller coaster, at Coney Island, and the Nets have brought another in their first season at the Barclays Center.

There was the 11-4 record in November that earned Avery Johnson Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors. Then losses in 10 of the next 13 games that got Avery fired. An embarrassing Christmas Day loss to the Celtics prompted Brett Yormark to tweet an apology, saying “Nets fans deserved better.”

They are getting it lately, winning 12 of 14 games under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo and rising to the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Yormark brothers are ultra-competitive but downplay the sibling-rivalry aspect of their relationship. They do discuss marketing ideas, and several years ago did some cross-promoting with a ticket exchange program between the Panthers and Nets.

Brett will be seeking insights from his brother about hockey management with the New York Islanders due to move to the Barclays Center in 2015.

“It’s a fabulous building. Very intimate – the footprint is a little bit smaller than [the BB&T Center], but it was very well done,” said Michael, who has attended several events at the facility including the Jay-Z concert on opening night and the first Nets-Knicks game there.

The Barclays Center is part of the ambitious Atlantic Yards project that incorporates the arena into an expansive business and residential complex. Getting it built spanned years of controversy that spanned lawsuits and an ownership change of the Nets from real estate developer Bruce Ratner, who conceived the project and retains controlling interest in the arena, to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

“It was an eight-year journey. Most people didn’t think we’d ever get there. To get there in the way we did is something that I’m very proud of,” he said.

Michael Yormark shepherded the Panthers through the ownership change from Alan Cohen to Cliff Viner and the franchise’s recent return to relevance. The ongoing quest of new revenue for a franchise that has operated in the red for years, has stirred some controversies, such as dislodging some long-time season-ticket holders from their seats in order to develop Club Red.

A Panthers spokesman said that revenue generated by selling the premium areas make it possible to offer some season-tickets in the upper level for as cheap as $7 a game.

Michael Yormark said that Club Red, which opened during the NHL lockout, is nearly 70 percent sold.

Asked about the possibility of offering single-game admission to the club, which includes gourmet food and beverage service, Yormark said, “You can’t do that or you really destroy the integrity of the club. It’s a member’s-only club.

“This is our super-premium club, but you do have to have something for everyone. We’ve tried to accommodate the entire market, whether it’s Duffy’s Sky Club, the ADT Club, Club Red or just regular season-tickets.”

The Barclays Center takes the exclusive-club concept to another level with its ultra-private suites that seat eight and cater to an elite clientele.

“We deal with premier customers in a New York dynamic, so we have to accommodate them the best we can, and I think we have,” Brett Yormark said. “All buildings are segmenting themselves. You’ve got the rank-and-file customer, but you’ve got customers that are looking for that high-end experience. When they’re paying that premium dollar they want that premium experience. It’s no difference with Club Red here or what we have with the Vault at Barclays Center.”

Photo: Michael, left, and Brett Yormark are chief executives of the Florida Panthers and Brooklyn Nets, respectively. (Sun Sentinel file photo)

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (116)

Discuss this entry

January 22, 2013

Dee: Dolphins not moving, but stadium needs improving

Dolphins owner Steve Ross has no plans to move the team, but stadium renovations are essential to the future of the franchise in South Florida, team CEO Mike Dee said Tuesday.

During an appearance on the Keith Sims Show on 640 Sports, Dee reiterated Ross’s comments to Sun Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde that his interest in attempting to buy the company managing the proposed stadium in Los Angeles is a venture separate from the Dolphins.

“On his watch the Dolphins would never be relocated,” Dee said.

Dee used the question about whether Dolphins fans should be concerned the long-term stability of the team as a bridge to address the importance going ahead with the $400 million renovation of Sun Life Stadium that was proposed last week.

Ross vowed to pay more than half the cost of modernizing the stadium. The team is seeking public money through a sales tax rebate on goods and services generated at the stadium, as well as 1-cent hike in hotel bed taxes in Miami-Dade County.

Dee said that if financial support does come from Miami-Dade, the county would get preference in plans for hosting Super Bowls and college championship games.

In bidding for Super Bowls in 2016 and 2017, which will be awarded in May, Broward County is vying along with Miami-Dade to serve as the focal point for events during the week leading up to the game. The NFL has requested that a designated urban core of activities be specified in bids that are submitted.

Officials in Broward vehemently rejected a request to authorize tourist tax money when the Dolphins sought help for stadium improvements in 2011. This time the team has focused its effort in Miami-Dade.

“Miami-Dade is our partner. As such we need to do what we do as it relates to Super Bowl events and where teams stay and where NFL headquarters are and things that we can control -- it seems to be the right thing to drive as many of those things as possible to Miami-Dade County if they going to be a partner with us in keeping the stadium competitive,” Dee said.

“It doesn’t mean that value won’t go to Palm Beach and Broward counties. Fans will stay there, but the things that we can control it seems sensible should be based in Miami.”

It was reported Monday by SportsBusiness Journal that one of Ross’s companies, RSE Ventures, is among eight groups bidding for Anschutz Entertainment Group. AEG manages several stadiums and arenas, including AmericanAirlines Arena, the Miami Heat’s home, as well as the proposed football stadium in Los Angeles. That prompted concern that Ross might be interested in moving the Dolphins to L.A. if he is unable to get backing for renovation of Sun Life Stadium.

Dee said it could fall to a future Dolphins owner to address the stadium issue and determine the fate of the team if it doesn't happen soon, pointing out that Ross is 72.

“This facility cannot serve this team, the Hurricanes and the Orange Bowl for the next 25 years unless a major modernization takes place at some point. It is now or is it later?” Dee said.

“At some point you can’t modernize this facility. Somebody would be talking about a new facility, and the cost of that is well over a billion dollars based on the most recent facilities built around the country. The thought of a new facility and how that would be financed is daunting, to say the least.”

Lingering animosity over the Marlins’ ballpark deal, stirred up for the recent salary purge by owner Jeffrey Loria, have made it more difficult to gain public support for the Dolphins’ stadium plans. But the use of tourism tax money has received the endorsement of a number of major hotels in Miami-Dade, including the InterContinental, Loews Miami Beach, Fontainebleau and Marriott.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (203)

Discuss this entry

January 17, 2013

Eclipse Awards good show for racing fans, Broward tourism

Caught between the spectacle of the college football championship and talk about the push for stadium improvements to remain viable as a Super Bowl host is another event getting overshadowed this week that is enhancing South Florida’s big-event reputation.

The Eclipse Awards are horse racing’s Oscars, and the spotlight is on Broward County for the gala presentation Saturday night at Gulfstream Park as well as related events.

While it won’t match the 30,000 visitors who spent $25 million in Broward for the BCS National Championship, the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood is packed with horse-racing royalty from around the country.

“We’ll have a full house of more than 500 people [for the ceremony]. Many of those individuals are relatively affluent. They’ll be staying two to three days here in the South Florida area and shopping and entertaining themselves here for the next several days,” said Keith Chamblin, senior executive producer of the awards.

Obviously, a welcome post-holiday boost for tourism, but also a rare opportunity for racing fans.

This is the first time the Eclipse Awards, established in 1971, will be presented at a race track, though the event has alternated in recent years between Los Angeles and South Florida venues such as the Fontainebleu.

Staging the event at Gulfstream has provided the opportunity to make the Eclipse Awards more accessible to fans. While the dinner and ceremony in the Sport of Kings Theatre is sold out, the Fans First event is free and open to the public at Gulfstream during the show.

The live broadcast on HRTV will be shown on television monitors throughout the facility and in the paddock walking area. Immediately after receiving their Eclipse Award on stage, the winning connections for each of the 17 human and equine awards will be brought outside the theatre for photos and interviews.

Coverage of the awards show begins at 8 p.m. on HRTV. It can also be seen on Racetrack Television Network (RTN) and

“If you are a fan of these great athletes -- of either the human or equine athletes -- you are going to have a very unique opportunity to be up close and personal with the champions of our sport on Saturday night, and I hope people take advantage of it,” Chamblin said.

“It absolutely is the equivalent of the Academy Awards: It’s the Oscars for thoroughbred racing. If you look at the roster of past recipients, it reads like a who’s who of hall-of-fame members.”

Another new addition this year is a series of events to raise money for four racing-related charities. Fund-raisers included a golf tournament Tuesday at the Westin Diplomat course, as well as Gulfstream hosting a slots tournament Wednesday, a poker tournament Thursday and a reception and auction Friday in the walking ring.

Chamblin said checks will be presented during Saturday’s show to the four charities: Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund, the Gulfstream Thoroughbred Aftercare Program and The Race for Education scholarship program.

“I’m hopeful that on Saturday night we’ll be presenting a big check to the four charities that will have a six-figure amount written on it,” Chamblin said.

The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse and bestowed upon horses and individuals for outstanding achievements in racing in North America. The awards are voted on by members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters.

In addition to the 17 award categories, as a salute to horseplayers the handicapper of the year award will be presented to Michael Beychok, of Baton Rouge, La., who won the 2012 National Handicapping Championship. Beychok, a 49-year-old political consultant, earned the title and $1 million prize by a single dollar in the yearlong series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities, and horse racing and handicapping websites.

The most coveted Eclipse is for Horse of the Year. This year’s nominees are Fort Larned, I'll Have Another, and Wise Dan.

“If we can keep the acceptance speeches to the appropriate length, hopefully we’ll be done and announcing the Horse of the Year around 10:15 p.m.,” Chamblin said.

Here are the 2012 Eclipse Awards finalists, in alphabetical order:

2-Year-Old Male
1. Shanghai Bobby
2. Uncaptured
3. Violence

2-Year-Old Filly
1. Beholder
2. Dreaming of Julia
3. Executiveprivilege

3-Year-Old Male
1. Bodemeister
2. I'll Have Another
3. Union Rags

3-Year-Old Filly
1. Believe You Can
2. My Miss Aurelia
3. Questing

Older Male
1. Fort Larned
2. Little Mike
3. Wise Dan

Older Female
1. Groupie Doll
2. Include Me Out
3. Royal Delta

Male Sprinter
1. The Lumber Guy
2. Shackleford
3. Trinniberg

Female Sprinter
1. Contested
2. Groupie Doll
3. Mizdirection

Male Turf Horse
1. Little Mike
2. Point of Entry
3. Wise Dan

Female Turf Horse
1. Marketing Mix
2. Tapitsfly
3. Zagora

Steeplechase Horse
1. Demonstrative
2. Divine Fortune
3. Pierrot Lunaire

Horse of the Year
1. Fort Larned
2. I'll Have Another
3. Wise Dan

1. Godolphin Racing
2. Midwest Thoroughbreds
3. Reddam Racing

1. Adena Springs
2. Darley
3. Brereton C. Jones

1. Bob Baffert
2. Todd Pletcher
3. Dale Romans

1. Javier Castellano
2. Ramon Dominguez
3. John Velazquez

Apprentice Jockey
1. Jose Montano
2. Irad Ortiz, Jr.
3. Angel Suarez

POSTED IN: horse racing (2)

Discuss this entry

Fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for Panthers' opener

A sellout appears likely for the return of hockey in South Florida.

As of Thursday morning, fewer than 1,000 tickets were available for the Florida Panthers-Carolina Hurricanes opener Saturday night at BB&T Center in Sunrise. Fewer than 75 tickets remained unsold in the lower bowl.

Opening night will feature the raising of the Southeast Division championship banner prior to the game. Every fan in attendance will receive a commemorative mini-banner and other fan-friendly promotions are planned.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. Saturday with the puck dropping at 7:30.

Ticket are available at or by calling 954-835-PUCK.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (116)

Discuss this entry

January 12, 2013

Free Florida Panthers tickets up for grabs

For those in need of a hockey fix, there are a couple of ways to get one for free to see the Florida Panthers this season.

Team President Michael Yormark has launched a contest on Twitter in which two lower bowl tickets will be awarded prior to each Panthers home game during the regular season. Just answer trivia questions and retweet @PanthersYormark using the hash tag #7thman for automatic entry. Winners will sit with Yormark for part of the game and have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss matters relating to the Panthers.

In addition, Panthers tickets are being awarded this weekend to randomly-selected fans at Duffy’s Sports Grill locations throughout South Florida.

Ratification of the new labor agreement by the players' association is expected later Saturday, and the Panthers are expected to being a 48-game regular season on Jan. 19 at the BB&T Center.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (116)

Discuss this entry

January 11, 2013

Kosar: Treatments in Florida helping relieve head trauma

The same day it was revealed that former linebacker Junior Seau was suffering from degenerative brain disease when he committed suicide, Bernie Kosar said he has finally found some relief from the numerous concussions he suffered in football.

Kosar, the former Miami Hurricanes and Miami Dolphins quarterback, held a news conference near Cleveland to talk about treatments he has been receiving from a doctor near Tampa that he called “a gift from God.”

The treatments by Dr. Rick Sponaugle, which involve intravenous and oral medication intended to increase blood flow to the brain, have dramatically reduced the headaches, mental buzzing and insomnia that Kosar said he has endured for more than a decade.

A radio interview in early December, in which Kosar was incoherent and emotional, raised concerns about his well-being. After undergoing 15 treatments as the Sponaugle Wellness Institute, Kosar said he feels 20 years younger. He said he was speaking out in hope that other athletes suffering from head trauma can get help.

“I actually think there are hundreds if not thousands of guys dealing with issues and pain that I was describing, and I think many of them are losing hope,” Kosar said.

Kosar, who played 13 years in the NFL, suffered a dozen known concussions, but there were countless other times when he was “dinged” and temporarily disoriented from a hard hit.

In an interview last summer with the Sun Sentinel, Kosar said, “Toward the end of my career I had smelling salts in my belt for when you got drilled and light-headed.”

He said he tried numerous other remedies, including acupuncture, massage, pain medication, sleeping pills and holistic approaches, but all were ineffective.

“This isn’t something I think guys know about, whether the younger kids playing or ex-NFL players, I don’t think a lot of people know there is hope for them,” he said during Thursday’s news conference, “that there is something that can genuinely help them get better, and it doesn’t involve living the rest of your life in pain and agony and on medication.”

Sponaugle, who joined Kosar for the announcement, said he has treated 18 NFL players, including a lineman who couldn’t remember the play three seconds after he left the huddle.

More than 2,000 former players are suing the NFL, contending the league never properly addressed the problem of head injuries, and in many cases withheld information about the long-term effects. The league is contesting the lawsuits, but has taken some steps to confront the problem through rule changes and funding for medical research.


Discuss this entry

January 10, 2013

Sony Tennis founder Buchholz jumps to golf's Cadillac Championship


The man who made Key Biscayne a force in the tennis world is bringing his creative expertise to golf.

Butch Buchholz, founder of the Sony Open Tennis tournament, has been named tournament chairman for the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral on March 6-10.

"I am thrilled to be associated with a world-class event like the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and look forward to reconnecting with South Florida business and golf communities,” Buchholz said in a statement. “The Cadillac Championship is truly a jewel of an event featuring one of the best fields in golf and one of the game’s best and most recognizable title sponsors in Cadillac.”

Buchholz, 72, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, played on the U.S. Davis Cup team and rose as high as the No. 5 amateur player in the world. But he is best as an event organizer.

In 1985, he founded the Lipton Championships in Delray Beach and built the event, now known as the Sony Open Tennis and staged on Key Biscayne, into the largest tennis tournament in the world outside of the four Grand Slam events.

Buchholz’s role with the WGC-Cadillac will be to raise the charitable impact, profile and entertainment and social atmosphere of the event.

“We are going to bring fashion, music, business leaders and celebrities together to create events during tournament week that will make the Cadillac Championship one of the most desirable tickets to get here in the Miami area,” he said.

Buchholz’s legacy is the Crandon Park Tennis Center, transforming a rundown 70-acre patch of Key Biscayne into a world-class tennis facility.

When he stepped down as chairman of the Sony event in 2010, Buchholz recalled, “I was in heaven, until I realized it was a garbage dump. It was horrific. There was a dead dog, broken down cars, and the smell was awful. But then I looked across the street and saw 5,000 parking spaces, then I knew we had found our home.”

With the Cadillac Championship, Buchholz will be lending his expertise to enhancing one of golf’s premier events at a renowned facility that is in transition since being purchased last year by The Trump Organization.

Photo: Butch Buchholz, at the Crandon Park Tennis Center, which he had built as home of the the Sony Open Tennis tournament. (Sun Sentinel, file)

POSTED IN: Golf (13)

Discuss this entry

January 7, 2013

Baumhower: 'Bama has might, experience to win BCS title

Bob Baumhower played for two of the greatest football coaches: Bear Bryant at Alabama and Don Shula with the Miami Dolphins.

The former standout defensive lineman expects Alabama coach Nick Saban to cement his place as the top coach in this era of college football. A victory in Monday’s BCS National Championship would give the Crimson Tide their third title in four years and Saban’s fourth overall.

“Alabama is probably in a lot better shape physically than they were at the end of the year. With the offensive line they’ve got and the experience they’ve got. If they can establish the running game they ought to be able to win the game,” Baumhower said during a pre-BCS seafood fest he co-hosted with former teammate and fellow restaurateur Kim Bokamper at Bokamper’s in Miramar.

“But this is a special Notre Dame team. It’s good to have Notre Dame back in college football where they are. Obviously, I’m pulling for Alabama to get it done with their running game and be able to wear these guys down.”

Baumhower, a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Dolphins Honor Roll, operates 13 restaurants in Alabama. He got his start in the restaurant business in Fort Lauderdale in 1979 in partnership with Joe Namath and Richard Todd in Bachelors III.

Baumhower’s chef served Alabama-style gumbo and shrimp in the event at Bokamper’s.
“Coming down here to watch Alabama play in my old stadium and see all of my old buddies and serve some really good Alabama seafood, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

“When I got into the business full time somebody said, ‘What are you doing in the restaurant business, you don’t know anything about it?’ I said, I know but it’s not rocket science, I’ll figure it out. We’ve been working hard and I’m still trying to figure it out.”

POSTED IN: BCS Championship (2)

Discuss this entry

January 6, 2013

Ultimate underdog Rudy likes Notre Dame's chances in BCS

Rudy Ruettiger knows all about underdogs. The poplar movie “Rudy” depicted how he overcame limitations and long odds to realize his dream of playing for Notre Dame.

Ruettiger is in South Florida to watch his alma mater face Alabama in Monday’s BCS National Championship, and he likes the Fighting Irish’s chances.

“It comes down to one thing, Notre Dame is hungry, [more than] 20 years they haven’t been here. So they’ve got that heart, and they’re the underdog,” Ruettiger said Saturday at Bokamper’s Sports Bar and Grill in Miramar.

“I think the underdog has the edge. He’s got that extra fight.”

Ruettiger says the 1993 film, in which he was portrayed by Sean Astin, endures because of its inspirational message. He talked about how he helped lift the spirits of the family of a Sandy Hook shooting victim.

“The mother got on the phone and she said it gave us the strength and courage to move on. Those are why the movie is worth it, those moments,” Ruettiger said.

He noted another cinematic angle to the BCS showdown.

“When I arrived at the airport a guy says, ‘Hey, it’s Rudy vs. Forrest Gump.’ Remember, Forrest Gump played for Alabama. It’s funny how people connect all that. It’s fun,” Ruettiger said.

POSTED IN: BCS Championship (2)

Discuss this entry

January 4, 2013

Bokamper, Baumhower host BCS seafood bash


Former Miami Dolphins teammates and now restaurateurs Kim Bokamper and Bob Baumhower will get the good times rolling for the BCS Championship as hosts of the Alabama Gulf Seafood Tailgating Party at Bokamper’s Sports Bar and Grill in Miramar on Saturday from 1-5 p.m.

Baumhower (pictured above), who has a chain of restaurants in Alabama, and Bokamper were teammates on the Dolphins “Killer B’s” defense in the 1970s and '80s.

Guests include Rudy Ruettiger, the Notre Dame underdog and inspiration for the movie “Rudy,” as well as former Alabama and Dolphins players Dwight Stephenson, Tony Nathan and Don McNeal.

Admission is free to attend the event, featuring autograph signings, music by Southern Rock Society and panel discussions, including tips on preparing Alabama Gulf seafood by Baumhower’s corporate chef Steve Zucker.

Alabama Gulf Seafood dishes, featuring the same gumbo served at Baumhower’s and The Compleat Angler Restaurants throughout Alabama, as well as a classic Alabama Gulf shrimp boil, will be available for purchase. Event proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The event is being co-hosted by Baumhower’s signature restaurants, The Compleat Angler and Baumhower’s, Bokamper’s Sports Bar and Grill, Alabama Tourism’s Year of Food, and Alabama Gulf Seafood (

Some notable food celebrities will also participate: in addition to Zucker, Food Network Star finalist Martie Duncan and Orange Beach, Ala., “Seafood Boil-Masters” Dale Burgess and Danny Martin.

Bokamper's Sports Bar and Grill is at 15500 Southwest 29th St., Miramar.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (203), NCAA (39)

Discuss this entry

January 2, 2013

Marlins to have new batting practice caps


Major League Baseball and New Era are coming out with a new design for the caps that teams will use during batting practice during the 2013 season. has provided a sneak preview of the caps. It’s a departure from those that have been used since 2007, a more traditional look. Notably the piping is gone from the front of the cap.

The Marlins will use two batting practice caps, according to The one with a white face uses black at the center of the M logo. The other has an orange bill.

The new BP cap is show above along with those the Marlins used in recent years.

The Marlins’ batting practice jerseys will remain the same as in 2012.

Photos: As shown at


POSTED IN: Miami Marlins (42)

Discuss this entry

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.
Connect with me

Search this blog
E-mail newsletters
Get the news that matters to you delivered to your inbox. Breaking news, hurricane alerts, news from your neighborhood, and more. Click here to sign up for our newsletters. It is fast, easy and free!