<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Sports]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:50:30 -0400 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:50:30 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Florida Panthers Drop Lady Panthers Cheerleaders]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:11:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/022811+florida+panthers+dancers.jpg

The Florida Panthers are dropping their cheerleading team after nine seasons, the team announced Wednesday.

"The #FlaPanthers thank the Lady Panthers for nine years of service to our team and community," the team said in a Twitter post.

The Lady Panthers have been a staple during games at the BB&T Center and throughout the South Florida community, making public appearances and releasing an annual calendar.

"Moving forward our game presentation will feature a skating only team," the Panthers tweeted.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Saltalamacchia's Big Night Lifts Marlins]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:27:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/452496736.jpg

The Miami Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Thursday in comeback fashion to win the four-game series.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a run-scoring single in the top of the ninth to give Miami the lead. That hit came after two doubles earlier in the game for the catcher. Saltalamacchia now has 13 doubles on the year.

Both of Miami's early runs came in the fifth inning. Adeiny Hechavarria picked up his 19th run batted in while Christian Yelich added his 34th. At the time, the Marlins were trailing 2-0.

Giancarlo Stanton had a two-hit day and also walked. Casey McGehee continued to struggle however as he was 0-4 and left four men on base. The third baseman grounded into a double play and came away empty in multiple run scoring opportunities.

Henderson Alvarez turned in a great effort only five days after leaving a start early with an injured shin. Alvarez showed no ill-effects of that injury and looked strong. The right-hander went eight innings and left with the game tied.

Alvarez allowed two runs on six hits during his time on the mound. Atlanta also walked once and stuck out four times. It took the Marlins' ace 101 pitches to get through the eight innings. When the Marlins scored in top of the ninth and held on, Alvarez picked up his seventh win of the season.

Steve Cishek earned his 24th save of the year with a perfect ninth inning.

The Marlins will head to Houston on Friday to open an inter-league series with the Astros. On the mound for Miami will be Brad Hand.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami's Winning Streak Comes To An End in Atlanta]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:25:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/452577970.jpg

The Miami Marlins lost to the Atlanta Braves 6-1 on Wednesday which ended their three-game winning streak.

Nathan Eovaldi allowed five runs in the first two innings and then settled in for five shutout innings after that. Unfortunately for Eovaldi and the Marlins, those two innings cost them the game.

Eovaldi went seven innings in which he walked two, struck out two and allowed six hits. The right-hander fell to 5-6 on the season and saw his E.R.A rise to 4.20. 

In the eighth, Sam Dyson entered and allowed an additional run to pad Atlanta's lead to five runs.

It was a tough day for the bats in Miami's lineup as the team combined for ten strikeouts against Braves' starter Ervin Santana. In addition to the strikeouts, Santana held the Marlins to only five hits and they were all singles.

Adeiny Hechavarria and Christian Yelich each had two hits and did not strike out at all. Donovan Solano and the aforementioned duo were the only three players in Miami's lineup to not strike out on Wednesday.

The Marlins had their opportunities to score but were unable to pick up timely hits. As a team, they left eight on base and were 1-7 with runners in scoring position.

The four-game series in Atlanta will wrap on Thursday when Henderson Alvarez takes the mound with Miami looking for a series win.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins Start 2014 Journey on Thursday]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:48:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP134431391725_0.jpg

Summer may still be in full swing, but football season officially returns in South Florida on Thursday when the Miami Dolphins begin their 2014 campaign. The team is set to report to training camp Thursday and should be at almost full strength to start the season.

The only notable absence from the Dolphins roster will be center Mike Pouncey. The Pro Bowl center is the only holdover from last year’s offensive line and was expected to be the glue the held together the all-new line tasked with protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

But, Pouncey had to have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip last month and will not be back until September or possibly October at the earliest.

So, the Dolphins will have five new starters across the offensive line to start the 2014 season. It’s almost unheard for a team to completely revamp the offensive line, but after giving up more than 50 sacks last year; the team decided on the complete rebuild.

The Dolphins signed free agent Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert to anchor the line. If he stays healthy, he should solidify the left tackle position for the first time since 2009-2010 when Jake Long was outside.

The Dolphins then drafted right tackle Ja’Wuan James in the first round and guard Billy Turner. The Fins also signed free agent guard Shelley Smith and hope last year’s third-round pick, guard Dallas Thomas, can lock down a spot on the line.

The Fins projected line could look something like this (with Pouncey healthy): Left tackle – Branden Albert, Left Guard – Dallas Thomas/Billy Turner, Center – Mike Pouncey, Right Guard – Shelley Smith, Right Tackle – Ja’Wuan James.

The line will be expected to give Tannehill time to connect with a talented group of receivers. Wideouts Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and Brandon Gibson return from last season’s squad. The Fins also have high hopes for Rishard Matthews and expect good things for receiver Jarvis Landry, a rookie out of LSU.

If Tannehill can connect with Wallace, Hartline, and Gibson returns from an injury last season in good shape; and Jarvis Landry plays as expected; the Dolphins could have one of the most talented groups of receivers in the league.

The running back position will also be closely watched as the team hopes Lamar Miller can finally put his potential into production on the field. When he gets healthy, the Fins hope Knowshon Moreno can also help produce in the running game to take the pressure off Tannehill.

The offense will live and die with Tannehill’s improvement. The third year quarterback showed some progress last season, but still took 58 sacks and threw 17 interceptions. Tannehill completed 60 percent of his passes and threw 24 touchdown passes in 2013.

Still, when the Dolphins needed Tannehill to produce the most in the final two weeks of the season, the entire offense disappeared. In the final two games, which the Dolphins needed to win just one to get into the playoffs; Tannehill was 30-67 (45 percent completion rate) for 292 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.

On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins should be loaded on the defensive line. The Fins return Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake along with defensive tackles Randy Starks and Jared Odrick. The Fins also have Olivier Vernon opposite Wake coming off an 11 sack season last year.

In addition, the Fins hope to get a return on their investment in defensive end Dion Jordan. The former number three overall pick struggled last year with an injury and had a hard time getting on the field. He’s bulked up ahead of this season and said he hasn’t lost any of the speed the Dolphins saw in him when they drafted him.

The Dolphins also hope free agent addition Earl Mitchell can continue to push the pocket backwards like he did in Houston the last few seasons. Altogether, the Fins’ defensive line should once again be one of the strengths of the team.

Behind the line, the linebacker corp will have a different look as the team hopes moving Koa Misi to middle linebacker will help firm up the linebacker play. Misi played last season at outside linebacker, but the Fins will move Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler outside this year as both are playing to stay on the team.

In the defensive secondary, if the unit stays healthy, it should also be a strength of the team. Cornerback Brent Grimes got a contract extension and played like a Pro Bowler last season. The Fins hope a similar reclamation project will happen with fellow cornerback Cortland Finnegan. The Dolphins also have Jamar Taylor, a promising second-year player that may get on the field at times this year.

At safety, the Dolphins return Reshad Jones who struggled last year after securing a large contract extension from the previous regime. Jones had 84 solo tackles and one interception on the season, but the Fins still want more from Jones in 2014.

Strong safety may have the biggest question mark in the secondary. The Fins signed a big hitter in Louis Delmas, a South Florida native, to take the position. The key for the Dolphins with Delmas will be keeping him on the field. The sixth-year player has missed 13 games over the last three years.

Last season, Delmas had 64 tackles, two sacks, and three interceptions on the year. A repeat performance by Delmas, who had spent his entire career with the Detroit Lions, will help the Fins’ secondary in a big way.

The Dolphins fell apart in the final two games of the 2013 season and missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2008 when Chad Pennington quarterbacked the Fins to a 10-6 record when Tom Brady of the New England Patriots was out for the season and the Dolphins rode the Wildcat to several wins.

Can the team take the next step into the playoffs and become a consistent contender? The team will start anew Thursday when training camp officially opens at the team’s facility in Davie.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Hang On For Third Straight Win]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:39:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/452538030.jpg

The Miami Marlins won for their third game in a row on Tuesday with a 6-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Jacob Turner made the start after spending over a month in the bullpen for Miami. With a consistent difficulty in finding a fifth starter, Turner was given another opportunity to join the starting rotation. After Tuesday's effort, it is likely that Turner will remain in the rotation.

The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits in five innings of work. After 82 pitches, manager Mike Redmond elected to lift Turner as he is not stretched out as of yet. The most innings that Turner threw while serving as a reliever was three. The win improved Turner's record on the year to 3-6 to go along with a 6.03 E.R.A

In the eighth inning, Mike Dunn got himself into some trouble and allowed a run. Bryan Morris was brought in with two runners on and both ended up scoring. The right-hander ended up escaping the inning with the Marlins still leading by one run.

Steve Cishek earned his 23rd save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. The lead-off hitter, Chris Johnson reached on a single. Jordan Schafer entered as a pinch-runner and was thrown out trying to steal second. Cishek then retired the next two hitters in order.

Donovan Solano had a four-hit game and reached base five times when he walked as well. One of the hits for Solano was a double as he made a statement for more playing time at second base.

Doubles were popular for the Marlins with Giancarlo Stanton and Turner also doubling in the game. It was the second two-bagger of the season for Turner. All three of the doubles came off of Atlanta starter, Mike Minor.

Miami will try to make it four in a row and pick up a series win on Wednesday when it sends Nathan Eovaldi to the mound.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Honors Bernie Rosen for 65 Years of Service]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:47:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/bernie+rosen.jpg

On Tuesday, NBC 6 celebrated one of our own. Bernie Rosen returned to the WTVJ newsroom to be honored for 65 years of distinguished service.

Flanked by his family, plus former and current NBC employees, Rosen was recognized for his accomplishments in a special presentation and video tribute.

Rosen started his career at WTVJ as an intern in 1949 – the station’s inaugural year. Working alongside fellow broadcasting legends Ralph Renick and Bob Weaver, Rosen began by shooting film and sweeping floors before soon establishing South Florida’s first local sports broadcast.

For 35 years, Rosen served as sports director, chronicling all local sports events including live coverage of the Orange Bowl, University of Miami football and wrestling. Rosen developed an exclusive relationship with Muhammad Ali – then Cassius Clay – as he trained at Miami’s 5th Street Gym.

Rosen, who turned 87 Tuesday, has covered every Miami Dolphins season, including the 1972 undefeated team, every Miami Heat season and every Miami Marlins season. He was honored with the Golden Circle Award presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for more than 50 years of service joining only Bob Weaver to receive that recognition.

Rosen hired the nation’s first female sportscaster Jane Chastain in 1967. During his tenure, he helped develop national sports personalities like Chris Myers, Roy Firestone and Suzy Kolber. He was the first to put local sports fixture Tony Segreto on the air.

After 35 years as sports director, Rosen retired to a part-time role as sports assignment editor, serving in that capacity until 2013.

Health issues have ended his career at WTVJ, but he continues to maintain a presence at many local sporting events.

Photo Credit: Courtney Fallon/NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Christian Yelich Wins Heart and Hustle Award For Marlins]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:30:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/174367103.jpg

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association named Christian Yelich as the Marlins' winner of the Heart and Hustle Award on Tuesday.

Each of the 30 MLB teams has one player named as a team winner every year. Those 30 winners are then eligible for the final award which is presented in November. Every winner will have a moment prior to an upcoming home game where their achievement is recognized.

The MLBPAA describes the award as follows:

"Created by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association in 2005, the Heart & Hustle Award is voted on by Alumni and active Major League players and is presented annually to an active player who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game"

Yelich plays the game with a noticeable effort each and every day both in the field and at the plate. The left-fielder is known for not giving away an at-bat regardless of the score at the time. Yelich will work a count and do his best to reach base for the run producers batting behind him. In the field, he has made leaping catches and has done everything he could do to keep his team in games.

Last season, Juan Pierre was the team winner for Miami as he too demonstrated a daily ability to give his all. Previous Marlins that won the team award included Gaby Sanchez, Jose Reyes, John Baker, Dan Uggla, Alfredo Amezaga and Dontrelle Willis. 

The final award which has never been won by a Marlin will be announced on November 18th.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jones Comes Up Big For Miami in 10th]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:54:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/488857631.jpg

The Miami Marlins beat the division leading Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Monday in ten innings on a big hit by Garrett Jones.

Jones was 1-4 on the night before a two-run single in the top of the tenth inning. The hit plated Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton. It went on to be the deciding factor when Miami finished off the victory.

Tom Koehler gave the Marlins 6.2 innings of stellar pitching but left with a no-decision. The right-hander struck out seven, walked one and allowed a run on five hits. Koehler was lifted in the seventh inning with a runner on third and two outs.

Mike Dunn replaced Koehler and retired the only batter to come to the plate to end the inning and keep the game tied at one. A.J. Ramos and Bryan Morris gave the Marlins an inning each of scoreless relief. Morris picked up the win when Miami scored in the 10th.

Steve Cishek came in for the bottom half of the 10th and pitched a 1-2-3 inning for his 22nd save of the season.

Miami got on the board in the fifth inning when Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his tenth home run of the year. The blast was a rare offensive moment for the Marlins who were quieted by Julio Teheran for most of the game.

In the ninth inning, the Marlins loaded the bases with nobody out against Craig Kimbrel. The Atlanta closer went on to retire the next three batters in order including a pair of strikeouts. 

Atlanta and Miami will battle again on Tuesday with Jacob Turner scheduled to make the start for the Marlins in his return to the rotation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WNBA Coach Michael Cooper has Tongue Cancer]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:24:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP13030709140.jpg

Atlanta Dream coach Michael Cooper has early stage tongue cancer and has taken a leave from the WNBA team.

He will have surgery this week at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta and a full recovery is expected, the Dream said Monday.

The 58-year-old coach is expected to miss about two weeks, with assistant coach Karleen Thompson filling in. Atlanta plays at Minnesota on Tuesday.

"I'm fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection," Cooper said. "I know the team will be in good hands with coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon."

Cooper is in his first season with Atlanta. His team leads the Eastern Conference with a 15-6 record. He coached the East to a 125-124 overtime victory at the WNBA All-Star game Saturday.

Cooper won five NBA titles as a shooting guard with the Los Angeles Lakers during the "Showtime" era from 1978-90. As a coach, he won two WNBA titles with the Los Angeles Sparks and one NBA Development League championships with Albuquerque.

After his second run with the Sparks, Cooper was hired as the women's coach at Southern California. He resigned in March following an 11-20 season, his first losing mark in four seasons.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Stanton Want Marlins to Keep Cishek: Report]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:12:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/450128908.jpg

Fans of the Miami Marlins may be about to go through the exact same thing Miami Heat fans just got done with: a star player who can leave making it known who he wants to keep on the team, but may leave anyway.

According to the Miami Herald, a major league scout said if the Marlins trade closer Steve Cishek, “they could pretty much kiss him (Giancarlo Stanton) goodbye.”

Stanton has repeatedly said he wants to see the team show a commitment to winning before he decides where he will sign a long-term contract. This year, the Marlins started off strong but when ace pitcher Jose Fernandez went down; the wheels slowly began to come off for the season.

The Marlins are currently in fourth place in the National League Eastern division with a 43-52 record. The team is in Atlanta, who is tied for the division lead, for four games including Monday night’s tilt at Turner Field.

If the Marlins fall further out of contention, the trade rumors around the team will turn from being a buyer, to a seller. The Herald reported the team may wait to see how the four-game series in Atlanta turns out before deciding whether or not to move players.

Cishek could command several young players in a trade with a contender. He’s under team control through 2018, according to the Herald. He is qualified for salary arbitration and made $3.8 million this season and will get much more in the next four seasons.

Signing Stanton long-term could be the team’s first chance to get rid of the image of being a team more worried about payroll than competing. The team, according to the Herald, is planning on offering Stanton a contract extension after the current season.

If Stanton declines a contract extension, he would be eligible for arbitration next year and will become a free agent in 2017.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Two Pro Athletes Arrested Outside South Beach Club]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:48:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/dunbarmugshots2.jpg

Authorities say two professional athletes have been arrested after fighting outside a Miami Beach nightclub.

St. Louis Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar and NBA free agent Donte Green were arrested early Sunday outside Dream Nightclub in South Beach, Miami Beach Police spokeswoman Vivian Thayer said.

Thayer said the athletes got into a fight with each other outside the club.

Additional details about the altercation were not immediately available. Thayer says no other arrests were made.

Dunbar and Green each face charges of battery and disorderly conduct, Thayer said.

Miami-Dade County jail records did not show either man in custody Sunday afternoon. Details about the bonds they posted were not immediately available.

Dunbar, 29, joined the Rams after four seasons with the New Orleans Saints. Greene, 26, spent parts of four seasons with the Sacramento Kings but hasn't played an NBA game since 2012.

Stay tuned to NBC 6 and NBC6.com for updates.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Alvarez Exits Early in Sixth Straight Loss For Miami]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 11:06:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/452396538.jpg

The Miami Marlins continued to struggle on Saturday as they dropped their sixth straight game in a 5-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

Besides losing the game, the Marlins also lost their ace Henderson Alvarez in the third inning. A ball hit back to the mound nailed Alvarez in the shin and he limped off the field. The team listed him as day-to-day with a shin contusion and he could make his next start.

Before exiting, Alvarez gave up one earned run on three hits in 2.2 innings. Due to the fact he left with the Marlins already behind, Alvarez was tagged with his fifth loss of the year. The All-Star still has a sparkling E.R.A at 2.64.

With Alvarez out of the game early, manager Mike Redmond had to scramble to find an arm to bring in. Sam Dyson was the choice and he did an admirable job of saving the bullpen. Dyson threw 70 pitches over 3.1 innings. The Giants did get to Dyson for three runs on four hits but his effort could pay dividends if the pen is needed on Sunday.

Chris Hatcher, Dan Jennings and A.J. Ramos also each worked an inning to round out the pitching side for Miami. The three relievers all did so with scoreless efforts.

The Marlins attempted to come from behind in the ninth inning while trailing by four runs. Giancarlo Stanton hit his 23rd home run of the year to start the inning the second blast in two days for the slugger. After a Marcell Ozuna double, Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to bring him home and cut the deficit to two. Adeiny Hechavarria followed and flew out to the end the game.

The Marlins will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday when Brad Hand takes the mound.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Second Half Starts With Giant Loss]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:18:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/450825740.jpg

The Miami Marlins opened the second half of the season with a 9-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Friday.

It was the fifth loss in a row for Miami and also the second consecutive game in which they lost 9-1. The finale of the first half against the New York Mets had the same score. That series in New York also opened with a 7-1 loss for the Marlins.

Nathan Eovaldi struggled and was knocked around by the Giants. The right-hander allowed eight runs on nine hits in four short innings. It took Eovaldi 84 pitches to get through those four frames and the Giants did not seem fooled in the slightest. The effort pushed Eovaldi's E.R.A to 4.08 on the year and was also his fifth loss.

Dan Jennings came out of the bullpen and allowed a run of his own in his one inning to extend the lead for the Giants. The rest of the relievers kept San Francisco off the board but it was too late with the game out of reach. Those other arms to take part in this game were Chris Hatcher, Mike Dunn, Bryan Morris and Steve Cishek.

Giancarlo Stanton ended a home run drought when he hit his 22nd blast of the season in the sixth inning. The slugger had gone 75 at-bats between home runs before Friday's.

Henderson Alvarez will make the start on Saturday after taking part in the All-Star Game festivites on Tuesday. Alvarez did not end up pitching in the Midsummer Classic and last pitched on July 11th.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Heat Sign First-Round Pick Guard Shabazz Napier]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 21:46:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/482978125.jpg

The Miami Heat continued stocking the roster Friday announcing the signing of first-round draft pick point guard Shabazz Napier.

Napier played 143 games for the University of Connecticut over his four-year career. He averaged 13.7 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.0 rebounds for his college basketball career. Napier also won two national championships at UConn including last year when he averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists.

“Shabazz is a proven winner and one of the most mature college players that I have ever met,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “Not only did he help lead UConn to two NCAA Championships, but he also knows exactly what he needs to do to make an impact at the NBA level. I believe the experience he had during the Summer League is going to payoff in leaps and bounds when training camp begins.”

Napier joins the Heat after most assumed Miami drafted him in hopes of keeping LeBron James with the team.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Heat Re-Sign Forward Udonis Haslem]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:37:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/169686488.jpg

The Miami Heat continued to bring back veteran leadership to the roster by re-signing power forward Udonis Haslem to a two-year contract. The deal will be worth approximately $5.5 million over the two years as part of the team’s mid-level exception.

Haslem was one of the numerous players who opted out of his former contract to help give the Heat more flexibility to restructure the roster. The hope was to keep LeBron James in Miami, but he left for Cleveland and the Heat reloaded with Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, and others.

Haslem has never played with another team but the Heat. He’s likely to finish his career in Miami.

The roster Haslem returns to will be mixed between youngsters and veterans. Among the names that will be with Haslem next year are: Dwayne Wade, Mario Chalmers, James Ennis, Deng, McRoberts, Chris Andersen, Danny Granger, and Chris Bosh.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Dolphins Sign Third-Round Pick Billy Turner]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:24:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/New+Dolphins+logo.jpg

The Miami Dolphins will have their full roster of draft picks when training camp begins next week. The Fins announced Friday that it had signed third-round draft pick Billy Turner.

The offensive lineman was a four-year starter for the North Dakota State Bison and a two-time Football Championship Subdivision All-American. Turner stands 6’6” and weighs north of 313 pounds. He played left tackle for the Bison in college.

But, the Dolphins are set at the tackle position and Turner could be moving inside to guard. He could push for a starting position at the left guard position. Turner’s primary competition to get into the starting lineup at guard looks to be Shelley Smith and Dallas Thomas.

If Turner shows the same nasty streak that he played with at North Dakota State in training camp and the preseason; the Dolphins may have a quality starter along the line to go along with left tackle Branden Albert.

<![CDATA[McEnroe's Son Arrested for Drugs]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:11:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kevin+mcenroe.jpg

Kevin McEnroe, the 27-year-old son of tennis champion John McEnroe and actress Tatum O'Neal, was arrested in New York City after he was allegedly caught with dozens of oxycodone and morphine pills, authorities say.

McEnroe was arrested late Tuesday after an alleged drug exchange with another suspect on East Fourth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A in the East Village, the district attorney's office said.

Police found 20 oxycodone pills and 10 morphine pills in an inner pocket in his jacket, according to the criminal complaint. 

McEnroe was arraigned on two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance Tuesday and released on $5,000 bail. He's next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 16. 

His attorney declined to comment.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Draft Moving to L.A. or Chicago: Report]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 22:32:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/4888459211.jpg

The National Football League will take the 2015 Draft on the road. According to the L.A. Times, the NFL will choose between Los Angeles and Chicago as the host of the annual selection show.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the statement about the movement of the draft during a panel discussion in Beverly Hills, according to the Times.

New York has been the host of the draft for decades, but in recent years, Radio City Music Hall hasn’t been able to make dates available to the NFL in late April/early May to hold the draft. According to the Times, the league is also considering stretching the draft to four days.

Goodell said, according to the Times, that 12 cities showed interest in hosting the draft. The draft has attracted an entire industry of mock drafts and scouting experts who spend the months of January through April making predictions about the show. It’s also generated record ratings for the league on television.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brad Penny Makes Progress in Comeback Attempt]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:25:51 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/111440918.jpg

The Miami Marlins could add a familiar face to the rotation by the end of the month as Brad Penny continues to throw well in the minors.

Penny is on a minor-league contract but can opt-out of it if he isn't in the big leagues by July 31st. With his success thus far in the minor leagues and the deadline hovering, Penny could be promoted by the end of the month.

The last time that the veteran pitched in the major leagues was 2012 when he was with the San Francisco Giants. Things didn't go so well that season as Penny had a 6.11 E.R.A in 28 innings pitched. All of those innings came out of the bullpen and it was the first time Penny was used exclusively as a reliever in his big league career.

In 2011, Penny was a starter for the Detroit Tigers but he didn't see much in the way of success that year either. The right-hander had a 5.30 E.R.A in 31 starts and his W.H.I.P was high as well at 1.563. That was mostly due to the 222 hits that Penny allowed and is a number that he will need to be better at if he is promoted.

Penny elected to sit out the entire 2013 season but then decided to give it another try this past off-season. After a brief stint during spring training with the Kansas City Royals, Penny joined the Marlins in June. He is set to earn a pro-rated portion of $800,000 if he makes the big leagues.

Thus far in the minor leagues, Penny has made stops in Single-A Jupiter and AAA New Orleans. In three combined starts, Penny has a 3.45 E.R.A and has shown good command. The 36-year old has only walked one batter in 15.2 innings while striking out ten. The hit total is respectable as well with 13 hits allowed in those innings.

Penny's most recent start was in AAA and was his best thus far. He went five shutout innings in which three hits were surrendered. The veteran also struck out six in that game and he is set to make another start on Friday.

The Marlins are looking for arms as they enter the second half with a four-man rotation. Once that fifth spot comes around, the team will have a decision to make. In addition, Brad Hand has not been spectacular and could end up losing his rotation spot as well in time.

Penny should have an opportunity to return to the big leagues if he continues to throw well in AAA. Coupled with Miami's needs, the return for the 2003 World Champion could come sooner rather than later.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Derek Jeter's All-Star Goodbye]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 08:12:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Jeter-ASG-Goodbye-0715.jpg

The All-Star Game telecast opened Tuesday night with Fox’s Joe Buck surveying the impressive talent in the American League locker room as he made his way to the undisputed star among all stars: Derek Jeter. But the Yankees’ captain waved off the announcer, telling him, “We’ve got a game to play, bro.” 

His words, even if possibly scripted, offered a vintage Jeter moment: It’s never about him, it’s all about the game.
Jeter played his 14th and final All-Star contest Tuesday night, in what could be his farewell appearance before a major league-sized national TV audience, barring a Yankees playoff run. The bittersweet milestone marked the latest leg in a victory lap for the future Hall of Famer – and for baseball.
Like his longtime team mate Mariano Rivera, who earned a similar sendoff last year, Jeter emerged as a standout in the 1990s as the game rebounded from labor strife on the bulging backs of sluggers with a seemingly endless capacity to belt the long ball. But the home run heroics turned out to be an illusion fueled by witches’ brews, injected by cheaters who, hopefully, will never see Cooperstown.
Amid the cloud that hung over the game, Jeter shined, not as a slugger, but as player whose dirt-caked uniform testified to an all-out style that sent him flying into the stands after balls. His stats, especially in the post-season (a record 200 hits on the way to five World Series victories), speak to his clutch hitting. With Derek Jeter, there’s no room for illusion: What you see is what you get.
He gave us plenty to watch Tuesday. In the first play of the game, Jeter, at age 40 and in his 20th season, dove for a ball with the verve of a rookie. He later ran full steam as he laced a double in his first at bat and scored the game’s first run. Jeter added to his stature as one of the greatest to grace the diamond – among them his fellow shortstops Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken, Jr., who also embodied a love for the game with their ceaseless hard play and leadership, on and off the field.
Even amid the World Cup afterglow and the return of LeBron James to Cleveland, Jeter’s last All-Star berth on his way to his final Major League at bat provided a potent reminder of why baseball remains out National Pastime, a game equally capable of breaking hearts and sending them soaring. He transcends his storied franchise and the game, with a quiet class to which other players – and other sports – aspire.
Jeter is the kind of player who commands the respect of all who love baseball – even those of us who hate the Yankees. Cheers, from fans and rivals alike, filled Minnesota’s Target Field Tuesday as Jeter left the game at the top of the fourth inning.
Even the commercials packed an emotional punch: A spot for Jordan Brand featured everyone from Michael Jordan to Red Sox fans to Mr. Met tipping their hats to a player who helped mend his sport and will leave it stronger when he caps his career at the season’s end. Check out the clip below as baseball tips its cap to a player who wears No. 2, but ranks higher in the estimation of many who share his love – and respect – for the game.


Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Heat Re-Sign Forward Udonis Haslem: Reports]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:38:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/169684663.jpg

The Miami Heat continued filling out the roster Monday with the signing of long-time Heat forward Udonis Haslem to a new contract, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman.

Haslem’s signing came just hours after the team re-signed Dwyane Wade on a two-year contract. Wade took an $8 million pay cut and Haslem also saw his pay cut this year with the Heat.

According to Winderman, the Heat will use a “room” exception to sign Haslem to a two-year contract for $2.7 million in the first season with a 4.5 percent raise in the second season.

Haslem appeared in just 46 games last season with 18 starts. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting better than 50 percent from the field. For his career, Haslem averages 8.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Haslem turned 34 in June and may be on his final NBA contract, depending on his production over the next two years.

The Heat has used just two long-term contracts on players it has re-signed this offseason. The Heat gave Chris Bosh a 5-year deal and Josh McRoberts a four-year contract. The Heat will also likely keep Shabazz Napier under contract for three seasons at least.

Currently, the Heat is scheduled to wipe away Dwyane Wade’s $15 million salary, Luol Deng’s $10 million salary, and more at the end of the 2015 season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dwyane Wade Re-Signs with the Miami Heat: Reports]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:21:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/120713+dwyane+wade.jpg

The Miami Heat continued filling out their post-LeBron James roster by re-signing the superstar who has been a Heat player his entire career, Dwyane Wade.

Wade has been expected to re-sign with the Heat for several days. The team has been busy signing players and trying to fit everything under the salary cap since LeBron left for Cleveland last Friday.

According to the Associated Press, the deal is reportedly for 2 years and worth around $34 million with a player option next season. The contract will pay him approximately $8 million less than the two years and $42 million contract he was under this past season, but opted out of before free agency started.

Wade took to social media Tuesday to say that he was a #HeatLifer:

Wade, who has taken two straight pay cuts in contracts to help the team, can still cash in on one more big deal depending on what happens this season. For his career, Wade has earned more than $120 million from his Heat contracts alone.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Man Accuses Pouncey Brothers of Assault]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 22:52:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ricky+vasquez+cameo.jpg

A popular South Florida social media user is accusing two professional football players of assault at a Miami Beach nightclub.

Ricky Vasquez made several posts on Twitter and Instagram, alleging that Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and his brother Maurkice, center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, attacked him and a female friend at Cameo Nightclub early Saturday morning.

“I just got jumped by 4 bouncers and the Pouncey Twins at Cameo,” Vasquez posted on Twitter. “I'm going to press charges. My face is swollen.”

The Pouncey brothers were at Cameo celebrating their 25th birthday Friday night, according to an online flyer from the night club.

Vasquez said in a phone interview with NBC 6 that the Pouncey brothers started taunting him in the VIP section.

"From there, somebody grabbed me and I got hit," Vasquez said. "Somebody lifted me up and dragged me out of the club. I was being beat up, I was getting punched and kicked. A bottle hit me."

In his posts on social media, Vasquez said he was punched and has a chipped tooth, as well as a cut that required 10 stitches. He claimed that the Pouncey brothers also used anti-gay slurs.

Miami Beach Police confirmed to NBC 6 that police were called to Cameo around 4:20 a.m. Saturday in response to an altercation inside the nightclub.

"At this time we have not confirmed or identified the Pouncey brothers as being involved," Miami Beach Police Spokesperson Vivian Thayer said in a statement. "A report has been made by the alleged victim."

Thayer says the situation is under investigation. Vasquez said he plans to hire an attorney.

A message left with the Miami Dolphins and Cameo Nightcl seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Stay tuned to NBC 6 and NBC6.com for updates.

Photo Credit: Ricky Vasquez]]>
<![CDATA[Victims in Alleged Pouncey Brothers Attack to Sue]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 23:36:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ricky+vasquez+cameo.jpg

The victims in an alleged altercation with two professional football players at a Miami Beach nightclub have said they will file a lawsuit against them.

Riquan James, also known as Ricky Vasquez on social media, made several posts on Twitter and Instagram, alleging that Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and his brother Maurkice, center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, attacked him and a female friend at Cameo Nightclub early Saturday morning.

James said in a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the Pouncey’s and Club Cameo that not only was the attack physical, but verbally as well.

“The music was loud, but I know for a fact I heard *expletive* *expletive*, *expletive*. I know I heard that for a fact,” James said.

The Pouncey brothers were at Cameo celebrating their 25th birthday Friday night, according to an online flyer from the night club.

Vasquez said in a phone interview with NBC 6 that the Pouncey brothers started taunting him in the VIP section.

"From there, somebody grabbed me and I got hit," Vasquez said. "Somebody lifted me up and dragged me out of the club. I was being beat up, I was getting punched and kicked. A bottle hit me."

In his posts on social media, Vasquez said he was punched and has a chipped tooth, as well as a cut that required 10 stitches. Miami Beach Police confirmed to NBC 6 that police were called to Cameo around 4:20 a.m. Saturday in response to an altercation inside the nightclub.

Riquan said that a friend and a stranger both say they saw the incident with the Pouncey’s and were also injured.

“I noticed Maurkice had his hand in Ricky’s face and he just hit him,” said Niya Pickett. “So I jumped in to try and intervene and separate Ricky to get him out of there. That’s when Maurkice turned around to punch me in my face.”

Bentley William said, “The fight knocked me over on a table filled with tall glasses. I fell to the floor. I suffered a cut , I think is about two inches that I had to get 9 stitches and lacerations in my leg.”

The Pouncey's attorney, Jeff Ostrow, issued a statement saying: “Mike and Maurkice were not involved in any altercation with the accuser or anyone else that night and did nothing wrong. It appears that the accuser is an opportunist seeking attention and possible financial gain. Any attempt by the accuser or anyone else to bring an action against them based upon these false allegations will be vigorously defended. If the accuser continues to perpetuate these lies, we will bring an action against him.”

“I’m 5’6”. I’m brave, but I’m not stupid. I’m not going to bother two huge guys,’ James said.

Cameo has not returned calls for comment and the lawsuit didn’t specify any monetary damages.

<![CDATA[WATCH: Derek Jeter Ad Creates A Buzz]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:32:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/DerekJeter21.jpg
Fans, celebrities, and rivals alike, are tipping their hats to departing New York Yankee Derek Jeter in a new star-studded ad creating a buzz online.
The commerical honoring the all-star shortstop, who will take his final walk off the field this year after 20 seasons with MLB, debuted online Monday, part of Nike's Jordan Brand. The two minute clip has racked up more than 2 million views ahead of its scheduled on-air debut during tonight's All-Star Game in Minneapolis. 
The Jordan Brand ad features Jeter’s wide fan base from sports stars like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, to entertainers including Jay-Z and Billy Crystal - all paying homage to the award-winning captain. Even Boston Red Sox die-hards and New York Mets’ fanatics cannot deny their admiration for him. 
Jeter is respected not only for his talent, but also his character. “You try to carry yourself the right way. I’ve always tried to do that,” Jeter told NBC 4 New York. “I am who I am. I don’t try to be any different.”
The 40-year-old signed with the company in 1999, and became the first Jordan Brand-endorsed baseball player. He is one of Nike’s longest sponsored athletes, according to the Bleacher Report. The world famous brand also awarded Jeter his own RE2SPECT collection.  
The RE2PECT ad will debut tonight on TV during Jeter’s 14th and final All-Star game. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stanton Hits Six Home Runs in Derby]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 23:22:08 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/452163250.jpg

Miami Marlins' slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit several mammoth blasts in the 2014 Home Run Derby on Monday.

Throwing to Stanton was his manager Mike Redmond as players are allowed to choose their pitcher. Heading into the Derby, the skipper and Stanton had been practicing prior to Marlins' games.

In the first round, Stanton hit six home runs which was good enough for a bye to the third round. The new format for 2014 rewards the top hitter in each league with rest for the second round. The six was the most in the National League with Troy Tulowitzki finishing the round with four.

One of the bombs in the first round for Stanton went a projected 510 feet and nearly left Target Field. The right-fielder also hit a ball to dead center into the second deck. Players from both leagues could be seen watching in awe of the display.

Players from around Major League Baseball shared their thoughts after the first round action took place

In round three, Stanton took on Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds. Frazier was the first hitter of the night and only had two home runs. After a swing-off tiebreaker and a strong second round, he earned the right to take on Stanton.

Frazier only hit one home run in round three. Stanton then headed to the plate needing only two blasts to advance to the finals. The slugger was unable to hit any home runs however and was eliminated.

Stanton will start in Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game as the designated hitter and will bat fifth.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chalmers To Sign Two-Year Deal With Heat]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:38:04 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/464398975.jpg

Mario Chalmers is returning to the Miami Heat on a two-year contract, according to a report by ESPN.

The guard was an unrestricted free-agent and was considered unlikely to return until LeBron James made the decision to return to Cleveland.

With more money available and a need for talented players on the team, the Heat moved quickly to secure Chalmers' services. Terms of the the deal were not disclosed as of yet.

Chalmers himself took to Twitter to confirm the report:

Chalmers is set to remain the starting point guard for the Heat leaving Norris Cole and newly drafted Shabazz Napier on the bench as depth. Cole should see the bulk of reserve minutes with Napier more of a project for the future.

The Heat have been in the process of reshaping the roster and have already added Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger and Luol Deng in recent days. The Deng signing was reported earlier on Sunday and was also a two-year deal.

In addition to the new names, the Heat have also brought back Chris Bosh and are expected to re-sign Dwyane Wade as well.

Barring further changes, the Heat starting five should be Chalmers, Bosh, Wade, McRoberts and Deng to begin the 2014-15 season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Sharks Fans Protest Sexy "Ice Girl" Uniforms]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:36:19 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ice+girls.jpg

The San Jose Sharks are taking a hit on social media over their decision to recruit midriff-baring "ice girls" to sweep away the ice, which some fans say is exploitative of women's bodies.

Online petitions, tweets, and a Facebook page called "Say NO to Sharks Ice Girls," have already begun to circulate, calling for the team's management to reconsider the design of the ice girls uniforms, the San Jose Mercury News reported Monday.

The ice team, which is "devoted to maintaining excellent ice conditions and energizing the crowd," according to the team's audition page, will include both men and women. But while the men's uniform would include a zip-up jacket, the women would wear cropped long-sleeve shirts, exposing their midriffs.

Under the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Shark's ice team auditions web page, the guidelines state that there is no height or weight requirement for auditions, but "please be aware that uniforms may be form fitting with some skin exposure," and the list of requirements calls for a "physically fit/athletic appearance."

The "Say NO to Sharks Ice Girls" Facebook page calls the outfits sexist and objectifying, stating, "Their decision to change the women's uniform, but not the men's, is inherently sexist and only reinforces a negative double-standard where men are taken seriously but women are sexualized and objectified." 

As of Monday morning, the Facebook page has 705 "likes" since it was created on July 2.

"If the guys are not going to be wearing tightfitting clothing, then why are the girls wearing tightfitting clothing? I don't know where the trade-off is," Jarrod Hicks of San Jose told NBC Bay Area. "And also, it won't make us win a cup, and that's what San Jose wants."

Another Sharks fan tweeted at the San Jose Sharks, "My 6 year daughter plays hockey and Ice Girls is not how I want her envisioning herself. #saynotoIceGirls #SJSharks," Tania Chadwick tweeted.

Other Sharks fans find the ice girls to be a positive addition to hockey.

Michael Alameda, 25, of San Jose told the Mercury News he likes the idea.

"Every sport has cheerleaders, and it's kind of like a cheerleader," he said

In the National Hockey League, 21 other teams have ice girls, many of which have female uniforms that are more revealing than the Sharks', according to the Mercury News.

Sharks management says the current design for the uniforms is not set in stone.

"Once all of the final details are in place, we're confident the final version of the ice team will be very tasteful and appropriate for the city of San Jose and the Sharks," John Tortora, the team's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[New Scoreboard Coming to UM's BankUnited Center]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:47:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/buc+scoreboard.jpg

The BankUnited Center in Coral Gables will be receiving a new scoreboard just in time for the University of Miami's 2014-15 basketball season.

The scoreboard costs $1 million and is being funded by FMSbonds, a South Florida bond firm that regularly donates money to University of Miami Athletics.

“This state-of-the-art scoreboard is one more way that UM, which excels in so many areas, will stand out among the premier programs in the country,” said FMSBonds President James A. Klotz, in a media release.

The new scoreboard will feature four sides of video and will show game and player statistics.

The Hurricanes 2014-15 basketball season will begin in October.

Photo Credit: University of Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Heat Re-Sign Chris Andersen]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 13:52:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/451158770.jpg

The Miami Heat announced that they will retain another big part of their roster as Chris Andersen has agreed to a multi-year deal.

The length and financial details of the new deal have yet to be announced but recent deals in Miami have been of the two-year variety. It's possible Andersen's contract will also be of that length as Miami continues to look for flexibility following the 2015-16 season.

"Chris Andersen has had two great seasons with us and without him, we would not have been able to win the 2013 NBA Championship," said Heat President Pat Riley. "I'm happy he decided to come back and we're looking forward to a great season from him in the power rotation."

Andersen was coveted by several contending teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the end "Birdman" elected to stay on-board with the team he has gone to the NBA Finals with the past two seasons. Andersen had opted out of the final year of his contract earlier in the off-season but was always seen as an option to re-sign with the Heat.

While he has not made one start since joining the Heat, Andersen has made a tremendous impact. His passion for the game and his overall talent were big reasons for the recent success Miami has enjoyed. Andersen will likely continue to serve as a reserve with a good deal of playing time. The veteran averaged 19.4 minutes per game in 2013-14 and could even see a slight increase next season.

It has been a busy off-season for the Heat and president Pat Riley but they have done a great job of keeping most of the team together. With LeBron James' exiting, it was critical to keep the rest of the core together in order to stay competitive.

Andersen joins Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers as players who have agreed to new deals with the Heat. Dwyane Wade is also expected to sign a new contract in the near future.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron Captures World Cup Streaker in Instagram Video]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 11:56:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Streaker-LeBron.jpg

Basketball star LeBron James posted an Instagram video of a streaker who ran onto the field during the World Cup final showdown between Germany and Argentina.

The game was briefly delayed in the second half when a fan ran onto the field with the words “Natural Born Prankster” written on his chest, according to USA Today Sports.

The incident did not make it on air, as broadcasters cut away to a shot of Christ the Redeemer. James, however, managed to capture the moment and post it on Instagram, which you can see below.

The NBA star captioned the video: “Hahaha!! We're going streaking! Everyone's doing it. Man that was hilarious. #WorldCupFinal #Brazil”

Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup.

Recently, James announced he will be leaving the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

<![CDATA[Marlins See Good and Bad During Uneven 1st Half]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:10:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/167869841.jpg

The first half of the season for the Miami Marlins started with a flourish, but it ended with a whimper.

After losing 100 games in 2013, the Marlins came out of the gate in a big way this season. Each passing week, the team would eclipse win totals from last year in eye-opening ways. Optimism started to run wild and the team began to believe it could make the postseason when all is said and done.

A big hit for Miami came when Jose Fernandez went down with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. The ace required Tommy John surgery which ended his 2014 season and also will likely keep him out until the midway point of next season. Fernandez had meant so much to the team, not only for his performance but also for his enthusiasm on the bench.

With Fernandez gone, the Marlins needed to find a new arm for the rotation. Unfortunately for the team, that's a project that they still haven't completed. Names have come and gone such as Randy Wolf and Kevin Slowey. Neither pitcher was able to take over the rotation spot and hold it. The veterans ended up being subsequently released and the search continued for Miami.

Andrew Heaney, a highly touted prospect was brought up but he showed signs of not being quite ready and was quickly demoted back to the minors. Anthony DeSclafani, another prospect was given a chance but he too was optioned to New Orleans after a handful of starts.

As the Marlins head into the break, they do so with a four-man rotation and with one of the slots being held by Brad Hand. The left-hander has not enjoyed much success this year but is out of options and is also one of the few choices Miami has in the organization for the rotation.

Once the second half begins, Miami will need to add a fifth starter and may also elect to replace Hand at some point. Heaney and DeSclafani could return, as could fellow minor-league arm Bryan Flynn. There's also a possibility a new name such as Justin Nicolino could be given an opportunity to pitch for Miami. As long as the team remains in playoff contention however, leashes will be short.

One of the biggest stories of the 1st half pitching wise was Henderson Alvarez. The right-hander stepped into the ace role after Fernandez went down and he put up All-Star numbers. Alvarez will be taking part in his first Midsummer Classic on Tuesday due to his success. It's been a good story for Alvarez as he finished the 2013 season with a no-hitter and then went on to hurl three complete game shutouts in the first half alone.

Another great story has been Casey McGehee who could come away with Comeback Player of the Year honors. McGehee is not going to the All-Star Game but many believe he belongs there. The third baseman leads the National League in hits going into the break and also paces the league in hits with runners in scoring position. He has provided protection for Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup and given the Marlins the kind of production they needed at the hot corner.

Stanton, who is headed to his second career All-Star Game, has been huge for Miami despite a slump towards the end of the half. The slugger is tied for the NL lead in home runs and leads the league in runs batted in. He'll also be taking part in his first ever Home Run Derby on Monday and is the favorite to win the event.

After a tough end to June and a sub par beginning to July, the Marlins find themselves in fourth place in the NL East. Still with 68 games to play, it is feasible that Miami can inch back into contention. Currently the Marlins are 7.5 games behind first place in the division and trail by 7 games in the Wild-Card race. A solid start to the second half could bring that into a more manageable number for the team.

If Miami wants to contend this year, it will mean finding a second reliable arm in the rotation either via trade or promotion. Alvarez has been consistent but behind him, it's been a mixed bag of results. It's possible that the Marlins will be buyers before the trade deadline at the end of month but they also could end up sellers. A lot will depend on how the team begins play on Friday.

The team will also need to find a second baseman who can provide consistent production. After losing Rafael Furcal to injuries, there has been a revolving door at second base for Miami. Derek Dietrich went down with his own injury and has struggled in the field. As of late, Donovan Solano has manned the role but has provided little offense along the way. Optimally, Miami would acquire a second baseman with speed who can be a table setter. It remains to be seen if such a player will be on the market however.

The bullpen has been another problem for the Marlins. Outside of Steve Cishek, it's been difficult for the team to find a reliable and consistent arm. Even Cishek has struggled as of late in several games including a blown save on Wednesday. A.J. Ramos looked good but also shaky on other days. Bryan Morris did not allow a run until Saturday after coming over in a trade in June. Morris however has been hittable and that could end up meaning a lot more runs cross the plate against him in time.

The Marlins are a better team than they have appeared to be in recent games but they are also not as good as they seemed early in the year. It's unlikely the team will play in October this year but it should finish with a better record than it did in 2013.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron's Cleveland Move Triggers Support, Snark ]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:51:52 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/070714+lebron+james.jpg

LeBron James on Friday told Sports Illustrated that he is returning home to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years with the Miami Heat. The news immediately made #BackToCleveland, #TeamCavs, #imcominghome, #TheReverseDecision, #BandwagonFans and the like trending hashtags on Twitter as fans, pro-athletes, companies and sports media mavens voice a mix of support, humor and snark on social media.

Even James jumped in the fray with his own tweet and Instagram photo. Scroll down to see what people are saying.

Live Blog LeBron James

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>