Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reds Steal Win Over Marlins

     In one of the most bizarre calls ever in South Florida baseball history, that involved the newly implemented Rule 7.13, the Cincinnati Reds escaped with a 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday night at Marlins Park. The Reds snapped a ten-game road losing streak which was their longest since 1998.
     The outlook on the contest was changed in the top of the eighth when Cincinnati(54-54) had the bases loaded with one out and the Fish were up 1-0. Todd Frazier flew out to right field and Giancarlo Stanton fired the ball home where Zack Cozart was tagged out at the plate. The call was overturned due to the replay rule by the Major League Baseball office in New York City.
     Ryan Ludwick followed with a two-run single into shallow center field to score Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton as the Marlins trailed 3-1.
     Miami(53-55) scored their only run of the game during the first inning as Stanton smacked a solo home run to left field on a 0-1 pitch against Johnny Cueto. He is now tied in the National League with his 25th homer of the season.
     Cueto went seven innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out nine to raise his record up to 12-6. Tom Koehler dropped to 7-8 as he gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings. Aroldis Chapman collected his 24th save of the year for the Reds.

Miami Heat Moves

     Numerous decisions were made on free agency by the Miami Heat in the month of July. The franchise looked to continue their recent success after winning four Eastern Conference titles and two NBA championships over the last four seasons.
     The big prize LeBron James decided to opt out of his contract with Miami. He moved back to Ohio and play with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The other two players who made up The Big Three back in July 2010 were Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They both opted out of their long-term contracts and resigned new deals with the Heat. Longtime Heat player Udonis Haslem reworked his deal and remained in Miami.
     Miami looked elsewhere to sign more free agents to fill in their roster for the upcoming 2014-15 season. The Heat were able to sign Luol Deng after spending last season with the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Deng had played over nine seasons with the Bulls after being drafted by them in 2004.
     The Heat also added Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts to the roster. Granger, who played over eight seasons with the Indiana Pacers, helped them face Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals back in 2013. He spent last season with the Pacers and the Los Angeles Clippers. McRoberts is a journeyman who played last year with the Charlotte Bobcats.

Marlins Trade Jake Marisnick For Jarred Cosart

     The Miami Marlins have traded Jake Marisnick, Colin Moran and Francis Martes for Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez and Austin Wates on Thursday. The deal came on the final day of the trade deadline throughout Major League Baseball.
     Marisnick was brought up to the majors in 2013 by the Fish where he had one home run, five runs batted in and hit .185 in 40 games. He played 14 games this season and had a .167 batting average. Marisnick was part of the 12-player deal with the Toronto Blue Jays in November 2012.
     Moran, who played college ball with the University of North Carolina, was the first overall pick and the sixth overall in the 2013 MLB Draft. He has played single-A minor league ball in the Marlins system as a third baseman.     
     Cosart has been on the major league roster over the last two seasons with Houston. He is 9-7 this season as he has started 20 games, struck out 75 in 116 1/3 innings with a 4.41 earned runs average.
     Hernandez, who plays as a middle infielder and outfielder, made his major league debut with Astros in July 1. He has played 24 games with one home run, eight runs batted in and a .284 batting average.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Marlins Shut Out Nationals

     The Miami Marlins continued their winning ways as they blanked the Washington Nationals 3-0 at Marlins Park on Tuesday night. The Marlins, who have won six consecutive games, have been victorious nine of their last ten games and reached the .500 mark for the first time since June 25.
     Henderson Alvarez moved his record to 8-5 for the Fish as he pitched seven innings of shutout ball and allowed three hits. Steve Cishek collected his 27th save of the year. Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg went seven innings and allowed one run on four hits as he fell to 7-9.
     Miami(53-53) got a quick rally during the sixth inning to take a 1-0 lead. Jordany Valdespin led off with a base hit into center field and then scored on a double by Giancarlo Stanton to left field.
     Washington(57-47) surrendered two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Reed Johnson singled to left and Christian Yelich knocked him in on a double with a double into left-center field against Jerry Blevins. After a Valdespin sacrifice, Aaron Barrett replaced Blevins. Stanton followed with a base hit to left and Yelich crossed the plate for a Marlins three-run margin.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Marlins Miracle Comeback Over Nationals

     The Miami Marlins scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the Washington Nationals 7-6 at Marlins Park on Monday night. The Fish overcame a six-run deficit in the final three innings to beat the National League East leading Nats.
     The Marlins got their eight walk-off victory this season which is tied for second in the majors. They came back from at least six runs down for the first time since July 2009 against Arizona. In that game they were down by seven runs.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Strikers Tie Cosmos

     The Fort Lauderdale Strikers and the New York Cosmos finished with a 1-1 tie on Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium. The Strikers had lost three straight matches against the Cosmos since their NASL rivalry renewed last year.
     New York raced out to a 1-0 lead six minutes in the game. Hans Denissen headed the ball ahead to Jemal Johnson and he kicked in a volley shot from 13 yards out by Strikers goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky.
     Fort Lauderdale received a penalty kick in the 24th minute as defender Ayoze was called for a hand ball when he stuck arm out on a crossing pass. Jenison scored as he blasted the ball into the low left corner by goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer to tie it at 1-1.
     Strikers midfielder Ronaldo Vieira was booked for a red card as he took down from behind Cosmos midfielder Daniel Szetela in the 39th minute. Fort Lauderdale played shorthanded for the remainder of the contest.
     The Cosmos had one last great opportunity in stoppage time at the end of the second half. Forward Mads Stokkelien fired a half-volley shot from 16 yards out over the head of Contofalsky and the ball banged out off the crossbar.  

Marlins Blank Astros

     The Miami Marlins faced a former National League rival on Friday night as they beat the Houston Astros 2-0 at Minute Maid Park. The Fish have won five of their last six games while the Astros have lost three straight games.
     Miami(49-53) starting pitcher Brad Hand hurled 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball and allowed three hits to improve his record to 2-2. Dallas Keuchel started for Houston(42-61) as gave up two unearned runs on nine hits, struck out nine in seven innings and fell to 9-7. Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 25th save of the season.
     The only scoring by the Marlins was during the seventh inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia reached base on a fielding error by Astros center fielder Enrique Hernandez with one out. He went to second on a passed ball and advanced to third on a two-out infield hit to short by Adeiny Hechavarria. Jeff Mathis followed with a two-run double into left-center field to score Saltalamacchia and Hechavarria.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

South Florida Sports Media Notes

     Several former South Florida media members have made changes over the past week in their broadcasting careers. They consist of two radio personalities and one former NBA player.
     Marc James has been promoted to morning show host at 92.9 The Game WZGC-FM in Atlanta. He joined that station on June 2 as an afternoon co-host with Carl Dukes. He was employed prior to that for three years at 610 WFNZ-AM in Charlotte as an afternoon co-host with Taylor Zanzour. James, formerly known as Marc Bernarzyk, last hosted a morning drive show at 1400 The Fan WFLL-AM in Fort Lauderdale for several months until the station flipped from a sports talk format in May 2006.
     Former Miami sportscaster Scott Kaplan has added television duties with Fox Sports San Diego for the next two months as a studio co-host with longtime radio partner Billy Ray Smith. Both he and Smith have hosted a radio sports show in San Diego for over 13 years. Kaplan, who has announced NFL sideline reports on CBS, started his broadcasting career in the late 1990s as a sports anchor at Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM and moved on to co-host a morning show with Sid Rosenberg at CBS in Fort Lauderdale.
     Former Miami Heat forward Grant Long has left his position as television game analyst for Oklahoma City Thunder games on Fox Sports Oklahoma. Long, who was selected in the second round of the 1988 NBA Draft, was on the first Miami Heat team in franchise history. He helped Miami to their first playoff appearance in 1991-92 along with Glen Rice, Steve Smith and Rony Seikaly. Long played with the Heat for six seasons until he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Kevin Willis.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nick Boynton Joins Arizona Coyotes Radio

     Former Florida Panthers defenseman Nick Boynton has joined the Arizona Coyotes as a radio game analyst. He played for the Cats during the 2008-09 season and had five goals with 16 assists in 68 games.
     Boynton was with the Boston Bruins from 1999-2000 until 2005-06 and the Phoenix Coyotes for two seasons from 2006-07 to 2007-08. He was traded to the Panthers along with Keith Ballard for Olli Jokinen in June 2008. He would play the final month of the 2009-10 season with the Chicago Blackhawks where he won a Stanley Cup championship.

Friday, July 11, 2014

LeBron James Leaves Miami Heat

     LeBron James has agreed to sign a long-term contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will leave the Miami Heat. He played his first seven NBA seasons with the Cavs and led the team to an Eastern Conference championship in 2007.
     James played with the Miami Heat over the past four seasons. He helped the franchise capture two NBA championships in 2012 and 2013 along with four consecutive Eastern Conference titles and four straight Southeast Division titles from 2011 to 2014.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Miami Ratings June 2014

     104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM was the top sports format radio station in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region for the tenth consecutive month. Their margin of victory was cut slightly in the most recent ratings period by Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM.
     The ratings for 104.3 The Ticket dropped from an all-time high of 2.5 to a 2.3 in June. It was the sudden end of the Miami Heat playoff push for a third consecutive NBA championship which caused the bump down. Regardless of the fall, it was the second highest ratings ever for the station in their ten-year history.
     WQAM saw their ratings increase from a 0.9 to a 1.1 in the June period. It was the third straight month that their ratings were on an uptrend due to the addition of the afternoon show with Marc Hochman and Zach Krantz. It was their highest mark for that station since October 2012.
     Miami Sports 940 WINZ-AM remained flat with a 0.2 for the fifth consecutive month. The station remained stable as they have stayed with the same personnel on their programs.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ozuna Home Run Sinks Arizona

     The Miami Marlins were down to their final strike of the game until Marcell Ozuna hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth inning to give them a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night at Chase Field. The Fish had five hits in the contest and won for the third time in four games.
     Arizona(38-54) scored the first run of the game during the fifth inning against Brad Hand. Vidal Nuno led off and reached first on an error by Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee. Ender Inciarte then got on base with a bunt single. Aaron Hill followed with a base hit into right field for Nuno to score and make it 1-0.
     Addison Reed was called in to get the save for the Diamondbacks in the ninth inning, but Miami(44-46) pulled off a comeback. Ed Lucas walked, Giancarlo Stanton struck out and McGehee lined out to center field. Ozuna, who extended his current hit streak to a league-high 14 games, homered to center field on a 2-2 pitch for his 15th home run of the season.
     Hand went 6 1/3 innings and allowed one unearned run on eight hits. Steve Cishek notched his 20th save of the year for the Marlins with a scoreless ninth. Nuno, who make his Diamondbacks debut after being traded from the New York Yankees on Sunday, gave up no runs on three hits and struck out seven in seven innings.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Rocco Pendola At The Street

     Former South Florida sports host Rocco Pendola is now a columnist at The He was the evening host at Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM for one year during the mid-1990's. Pendola began his broadcasting career as a sports host in Buffalo where he worked at WJJL-FM, WMJQ-FM and WGR-AM.
     After his stint with WQAM, Pendola moved on to WEAE-AM in Pittsburgh, KTCK-AM in Dallas and Sportsfan Radio Network in Las Vegas. He then went to college in the San Francisco area and was a part-time host at KSJO-FM.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Shane Battier Joins ESPN

     Former Miami Heat forward Shane Battier has joined ESPN as a basketball studio analyst. He retired following the 2014 NBA Finals after a 13-year NBA career. Battier played with the Miami Heat for the last three seasons and helped the franchise capture two NBA championships in 2012 and 2013 along with an Eastern Conference title in 2014. He also received the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award for the 2013-14 season.
     Following winning the NCAA National Championship with Duke University in 2001, Battier was selected sixth overall in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. He played his first five seasons there and was named to the 2002 NBA All-Rookie team. Battier was dealt to the Houston Rockets in June 2006 and was rewarded second team All-Defensive honors in 2008 and 2009. The Rockets dealt him back to Memphis in February 2011 to finish the season.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Florida Panthers Sign Free Agents

     The Florida Panthers went on a spending spree during the first day of free agency in the NHL on Tuesday. General manager Dale Tallon was able to sign six different players with a wealth of NHL experience. It was the first time that the Panthers went through this procedure with new owner Vincent Viola.
     Center Dave Bolland played last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs and had eight goals with four assists in 23 games. Bolland played with the Chicago Blackhawks prior to that for seven seasons and won two Stanley Cup championships in 2010 and 2013. He scored the series-winning goal in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Tallon drafted him in 2004 when he was the Blackhawks assistant general manager.
     The Cats also signed forward Jussi Jokinen. He has been known for his high scoring percentage in shootouts. Jokinen had 21 goals and 36 assists in 81 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last year. Jokinen has scored many timely goals against the Panthers during his nine-year NHL career.
     Right wing Shawn Thornton was added for his veteran status and bruising play. He was with the Boston Bruins in 2013-14 as he compiled five goals and three assists in 64 games. He helped the Bruins capture their first Stanley Cup title in 39 years when they won in 2011. Thornton played with the Chicago Blackhawks from 2002 until 2006 under Tallon when he was general manager, assistant general manager and director of player personnel.
     Florida got a fourth-line center with skills in penalty killing as they acquired Derek MacKenzie. He played for the Columbus Blue Jackets during 2013-14 and contributed nine goals with nine assists in 81 games. MacKenzie played the last seven seasons with Columbus. 
     The Panthers added a veteran defenseman with the signing of Willie Mitchell. During his four-year stint with the Los Angeles Kings, he won two Stanley Cup titles with them in 2012 and 2014. He added one goal and 11 assists in 76 games for the 2013-14 campaign.
     Al Montoya was signed as a backup goalie for Roberto Luongo. He played last year with the Winnipeg Jets where he went 13-8-3 with a 2.30 goals-against-average and two shutouts in 28 games.

Panthers Release Ed Jovanovski

     The second stint of defenseman Ed Jovanovski ended on Monday as he was released by the Florida Panthers as they bought out the final year of his contract. He was put on waivers by the club on Sunday and was not claimed by any team in the NHL.
     Jovanovski, who was the captain of the Cats for the last several seasons, led the team in 2011-12 to their first division title in franchise history.  He missed half of the 2013-14 season due to recuperation from a hip injury where he had one goal and four assists in 37 games. He was with the team for the last three seasons as he played 109 games and had four goals and 15 assists.
     He was drafted by the Panthers as the first overall pick of the 1994 NHL Draft. Jovanovski joined the club in 1995-96 where he helped Florida win the Eastern Conference and appear in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche. After several years with the Cats, he was involved in a multi-player trade as the Vancouver Canucks picked him up for Pavel Bure.