Now that we have to refer to Dolphins Stadium as "Land Shark" and suffer piped-in "Key West-style" contrivance, is it wrong to back new minority owners Gloria and Emilio Estefan in a coup?
Owner Stephen Ross announced this morning as expected that the Estefans, who are Cuban-American, have purchased a small stake in the franchise. The deal is "timely, right, and right for this community," he said, noting that one of his two goals upon buying the Fins was that the franchise that reflected the unique makeup of the surrounding community (the other: "have a winning team," thankfully).
''This is probably one of my happiest moments and one of the things I'm most proud about,'' Ross said. "The team is a public trust. I wanted to bring ownership that would represent the community. There's no community that has the diversity that South Florida has.''
He's not wrong, and there are painfully few Hispanic owners in professional sports, minority or otherwise -- so if it takes a transparent attempt at securing Latin American fandom to accomplish diversity, then be that as it may. The problem for Miami fans lies in the knowledge that if anyone can run a good thing into the ground through overexposure or too much celebrity, it's Ross and his right-hand man Mike Dee.
Though the news was delivered with the signature Stephen Ross showbiz pizazz that would befit a larger deal, it's unlikely the Estefans will have any involvement in day-to-day operations of the Dolphins. Details of the sale weren't released, but early reports categorized the stake as "very small."
The couples' presence will, however, be felt on gameday; Mr. Estefan -- after delivering his original statement in Spanish -- told reporters "of course" he planned to write some tailgating tunes to further the atmosphere at the stadium. He also said he'd love to bring Bongo's Cuban Cafe, another of their business enterprises, to Land Shark.
Though the Estefan's involvement is just as much a business deal as the one Ross made with Jimmy Buffett, this one doesn't feel as hokey. At least the Miami Sound Machine wasn't trying to sell us a lifestyle as much as a record. As Gloria Estefan noted in her opening remarks, she's been in the Miami community nearly her entire life (since the age of 2, actually, when her family fled Cuba). Her husband has long been a Dolphins fan and loves Dan Marino (boring, but acceptable); she herself remembers vividly following the Fins through their undefeated season as a 15-year-old.
The two have long been involved in philanthropic causes focusing on South Florida; that they would be the ones to represent the community in "buying in" makes sense. Since Ross already sold out to Jimmy Buffett, what's the harm in tossing in a few Latin-flavored tunes and an extra option for food?
Since re-tooling songs for gameday is all the rage, a few suggestions to save Mr. Estefan some time:
The Rhythm is Gonna Get You (If Jason Taylor Doesn't)
Don't Wanna Lose You, AFC East
Get On Your Feet Chad Pennington
(Ronnie Brown) Cuts Both Ways
Coming Out of the Dark: A Tribute to the 2008 Season
Janie Campbell thinks Stephen Ross's celebrity obsession is insane, but at least the Estefans offset the Parrotheads. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.