Will's Sports Blog

South Florida Sports From Local10.com

Blog Moved To Local10.com

Posted by local10 on July 27, 2011

I have moved my blog to Local10.com and will no longer be updating it on WordPress.

The new blog is located at:   http://www.local10.com/willssportsblog

You can also send questions and post comments at the bottom of each entry.

See you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Heat-Bulls in East Conference Finals

Posted by willmanso on May 13, 2011

Here’s the series schedule:

Game 1 – Sun May 15 Miami at Chicago 8:00PM TNT

Game 2 – Wed May 18 Miami at Chicago 8:30PM TNT

Game 3 – Sun May 22 Chicago at Miami 8:30PM TNT

Game 4 – Tue May 24 Chicago at Miami 8:30PM TNT

Game 5 * Thu May 26 Miami at Chicago 8:30PM TNT

Game 6 * Sat May 28 Chicago at Miami 8:30PM TNT

Game 7 * Mon May 30 Miami at Chicago 8:30PM TNT

*if necessary

Posted in Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs, NBA schedule | Leave a Comment »

Lebron’s “Redemption Song”

Posted by willmanso on May 12, 2011

It was fitting that on the day after the 30 year anniversary of Bob Marley’s death, Lebron James would finally find his redemption against the Boston Celtics.  Redemption can mean so many things to so many different people, but to the Heat’s new star, it was all about beating the Celtics.

It was exactly one year ago, while playing for Cleveland, that James nightmare started.  He was knocked out of the playoffs in 5 games by Boston.  Fans and media started calling him a quitter, and this was even BEFORE his infamous decision show.  Now, here he was, leading his new team against Boston in a final 5th game of a series.  This time, though, it was Lebron doing the winning.  He put his stamp on the series by scoring the final 10 points of the game after it was tied at 87.  In the process, he exorcised what Heat coached Erik Spoelstra called “a lot of demons against this team.”  

It’s only one series and Miami is still only half way to it’s goal, but for Lebron James it’s a big step.  Most importantly, a step forward, and for once, a chance to truly forget the past.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Checking in from Philly…

Posted by willmanso on April 21, 2011

Hello from the land of our founding fathers and great cheesesteaks. While we’re still in the process of giving the blog a new look, but I just wanted to check in from Philadelphia. I’m sitting court side at the Wells Fargo center, the home of the Sixers. I get the feeling, though, the Heat will be feeling right at home in a few hours. I’ll be here over the next 4 days covering Miami’s trip to Philly.  Meantime, enjoy the game. Chances are it won’t be as good as the Philly Cheesesteak I had for lunch!

Posted in Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Blog on Break…

Posted by willmanso on March 9, 2011

I apologize to those who have e-mailed me over the last couple of weeks, but we’ve been changing things on our website and are looking for ways to change the blog.  It may be a total redesign or a few tweaks, but the hope is to make it easier to use, get to and promote.  I appreciate your patience as the blog takes a break.  I’m hoping to having it back in full force in the next few weeks.

You can always read my take and give your sports opinions on my Facebook and Twitter pages.  Just search under my name.

As always, thanks for your support and for watching Local 10.  Remember, our website is now Local10.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

FIU botches Wittels situation

Posted by willmanso on February 16, 2011

On Wednesday afternoon, FIU star baseball player Garrett Wittels is scheduled to meet with the media about the upcoming season and his current 56 game hitting streak.  It should be a feel good story about a local kid on the brink of making college baseball history.  Of course, that’s the not the case because of one simple fact. Wittels was arrested in the Bahamas late last year and charged with raping a 17-year-old girl.  His father denies the charge, and as it should be, he’s innocent until proven guilty.  Yet, FIU is turning what is already an uncomfortable situation into a sideshow.

The athletic department has threatened to end the news conference immediately if any questions about the rape case are asked to Wittels.  They’re also saying that season credentials could be pulled for the organization that asks a case related question.  Needless to say, this is a joke.  This isn’t even about Wittels anymore.  I don’t know him personally, but I have talked to some people who do know him quite well.  All indications are that he is a good kid, and he comes from a good family.  I’m told by those close to him that he had a lapse in judgement that night, but that he didn’t commit any crimes.  All of that is to be determined by the law.  It’s not in my place to bring the kid down without all the facts of the case coming out.  Again, he is innocent until proven guilty.

The real issue I have is with FIU’s threats and insistence to make this more difficult than it needs to be.  Last season, while Wittels was on his amazing streak, FIU couldn’t have enough coverage.  They made him available and loved all the attention he brought to the school.  It became a national story, and it helped make FIU a nightly mention on the local news.  It’s always nice when things are going well.  Of course, now that Wittels has put himself in a bad spot, the school is rewriting the rules and being difficult with the media.  Well, guess what?  You can’t have it both ways.  My job, as well as all my media colleagues, is to ask the pertinent questions about a story.  No matter how amazing his streak is, the story right now is the rape arrest.  It’s Wittels right to not answer the questions or to not give specifics about the case.  He can say as much or as little as he wants.  I’m sure his lawyers have made clear to him what subjects can be discussed.  It would be beyond silly to think you can hold a newss conference without someone asking a question about the case.  Simply put, FIU is handling this situation very poorly.

I know this can’t be an easy position for FIU to be put in.  They are an institution of higher learning, above all things.  Some have criticized the school for not suspending Wittels.  In my mind, unless they have information that points to him being guilty, he should be given the benefit of the doubt and let the legal process play out.  Instead, what might play out on Wednesday is a farce, and FIU should be ashamed of that.  It’s not a lesson they should be teaching Wittels or any other student at the school.

Posted in FIU, FIU baseball, Garrett Wittels, Wittels rape case | 2 Comments »

Marlins New Stadium on track…

Posted by willmanso on February 15, 2011

I took a tour of the Marlins new stadium this afternoon, and I must say, I was very impressed with the place.  Simply put, it was amazing to look at.  Granted, it’s costing close to a half-a-billion dollars to build, but it’ll likely be one of the most impressive home parks in all of baseball when complete.

The site lines to watch are all great, and the park has a real intimate feel.  The upper deck feels like it’s right on the field, so most fans in the 37,000 seat stadium will have good views of the action.  Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told me the stadium was on target to be ready for March of 2012.  Remember, the Marlins wouldn’t play there in a regular season game until April of 2012, so basically, it’s right on target.  As for the players, a handful of guys were there and took batting practice.  Of course, the people shagging the balls were construction workers, but that didn’t stop players from being in awe.  Mike Stanton told me, “this place is awesome.”  He then went ahead and hit a home run that landed on what will be a cat-walk in left-center field.  It bounced right out of the stadium.  The reaction about the stadium was similar from Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez.  You can see the place for yourself in some of the pictures I took today.  Here’s the link below:

Marlins New Stadium Tour pictures

Posted in Florida Marlins, Hanley Ramirez, Jeffrey Loria, Major League Baseball, Marlins New Stadium, Mike Stanton | Leave a Comment »

Loria Expects Playoffs…

Posted by willmanso on February 15, 2011

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has never been someone who holds back his true feelings.  It was no different on Monday during the team’s annual pre-season media luncheon.  Loria said point-blank that he thinks the Marlins should be a playoff team and said, “I’d match my guys up with anybody.”   I asked him if he would be disappointed if the team didn’t make the postseason.  His response was, “why wouldn’t I?  The answer is we’re gonna try to get there.  We have the horses to do it.”

Loria does have some horses, and a couple of them attended the lunch.  Ace pitcher Josh Johnson looked to be in great shape and said he was already at his playing weight, while 20-year old slugger Mike Stanton looked to be even stronger than last season.  That’s saying a lot for one of the biggest and strongest players in the game.  His potential is really unlimited.  Stanton told me that he doesn’t feel much pressure now that he’s starting the year on the big league club.  He added, “I’ve gotta be patient and let it come and not try to do too much.”  While he doesn’t feel the pressure, the Marlins are pinning a lot of their hopes on Stanton to be a run producer to make up for the loss of Dan Uggla.  He may end up being another Miguel Cabrera, who produced from the start with the Fish.  Then again, young players are unpredictable.  I’d put my money on Stanton producing, but it’ll be something to watch.

The biggest topic of discussion, in particular for the starting pitchers, was the effort made to improve the bullpen.  The Marlins focused on taking care of that major issue from last season.  While the addition to the middle relief unit should really help the starters, I’m still not 100% sold on Leo Nunez as the full-time closer.  He showed more flashes of becoming consistent last season, but overall, he’s still a real question mark.  If he can be consistent, the Fish seem to have the right guys in the pen to hold the lead for the starters.

As for those starters, we know Johnson is the ace, and he’s a Cy Young candidate when healthy.  Ricky Nolasco got a long-term deal in the offseason, and the Marlins have to hope he’ll keep his focus and determination now that he’s getting paid.  Meantime, Anibal Sanchez looked in great shape today, and he’s a guy I think can make a huge jump this season.  People can’t forget about the veteran addition of Javier Vazquez.  Most view Vazquez as a guy who’s flamed out in big spots with the Yankees, but overall, he’s been one of the more consistent starters in baseball over the last decade.  He’s a lock to pitch 200 innings and win 11-14 games.  That’s not bad on a staff that’s filled with so much potential.  Finally, Chris Volstad will get the first crack at the #5 spot in the rotation, but look for lefty Sean West to push him for the job.

Another question mark is what happens at 3rd base?  Youngster Matt Dominguez will get a shot at the job, but I’ll be honest with you, everything I’m hearing is that he may not be ready offensively to handle the majors.  He doesn’t need to be a machine at the plate in the spring to earn the job.  If he just shows he can make adjustments and handle the learning curve of facing major league pitching, he’ll get a fair chance to be the opening day 3rd baseman.  The more likely scenario to me is that newly acquired super utility man Omar Infante will start the year at the hot corner, and speedster Emilio Bonifacio will get the 2nd base job.  Again, this is just speculation on my part.  The Marlins will also give seldom mentioned Ozzie Martinez a look at 2nd base.  He showed some ability in limited action last season, and he intrigues the Florida front office with his potential.  If Dominguez falters, and the Fish prefer to have Bonifacio in a spot-starter, utility role, Martinez could earn the job.  This will all play out during the spring. 

The rest of the team doesn’t have much drama or question marks.  Gaby Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez are set in the infield, while John Buck was brought in and paid big bucks to catch most days.  The outfield has great potential with Logan Morrison in left field, Chris Coghlan returning from injury in center and Stanton in right.  Depth is a major issue.  The Marlins need these 3 players to stay healthy.  Any injury means guys like Bonifacio, Scott Cousins and Bryan Peterson could be thrown into more significant roles.

Overall, I don’t think Loria is crazy to think the Marlins can challenge most teams.  I think it’s clear the Phillies are the top team in the National League, but everyone else is fair game to the Fish, including the Braves.  A healthy Marlins team could win 85-90 games and earn a wild card spot.  Like most seasons with this team, health will be a key and depth will be an issue.  Edwin Rodriguez has been given a nice core to try to prove himself before the  new stadium opens in 2012.  It’s clearly a one-year audition.  Loria’s proclamation about the playoffs is basically his alibi for letting Rodriguez go after the season, if the Fish don’t make noise in the playoff race.  Be warned skipper, the expectations are high.

Posted in Atlanta Braves, Chris Coghlan, Dan Uggla, Florida Marlins, Gaby Sanchez, Jeffrey Loria, Josh Johnson, Logan Morrison, Major League Baseball, Marlins Bullpen, Marlins New Stadium, Marlins Predictions, Mike Stanton, Philadelphia Phillies | Leave a Comment »

Canes 2011 Football Schedule

Posted by willmanso on February 14, 2011

While national signing day just passed, and the regular season is still months away, it’s never too early to look ahead to the Canes season.  The schedule has been released and it’s tough!  Miami does catch a break from the original talk that they’d open the season at Florida State or Virginia Tech.  While kicking off the season on Labor Day at Maryland is no easy task, it certainly beats opening up in Tallahassee or Blacksburg.  Here’s the complete schedule:

Sept. 5             at Maryland (Monday), ESPN, 8 pm                          

Sept. 10           OPEN

Sept. 17           OHIO STATE

Sept. 24           KANSAS STATE

Oct. 1              BETHUNE-COOKMAN

Oct. 8              at Virginia Tech

Oct. 15            at North Carolina

Oct. 22            GEORGIA TECH

Oct. 27            VIRGINIA (Thursday), ESPN, 8 pm

Nov. 5              DUKE

Nov. 12            at Florida State

Nov. 19            at USF

Nov. 26            BOSTON COLLEGE

Dec. 3              ACC Championship Game (Charlotte, N.C.), ESPN

Again, the good news is they’ll open at Maryland and not FSU or Va Tech, and they’ll get a bye week before Ohio State at home.  That said, the stretch of games from Ohio State on is brutal, even with an easy win against Bethune-Cookman squeezed in.  Back-to-back visits to Virginia Tech and North Carolina will be tough.  3 very winnable home games follow, but the annual showdown against rival Florida State is looming in mid-November this year.  Simply put, we knew Al Golden had a tough road ahead in his first season at UM, and the schedule certainly isn’t doing him any favors.

Posted in 2011 Hurricanes Schedule, Al Golden, Florida State Seminoles, Hurricanes Football, Miami Hurricanes | Leave a Comment »

R-E-D-E-M-P-T-I-O-N

Posted by willmanso on February 13, 2011

With the Heat looking for some redemption against the Celtics in a key Eastern Conference battle on Sunday afternoon, I thought I’d tell everyone about a little redemption of my own.  I’m not exactly this story will inspire the Heat to finally beat Boston, but it certainly brought me some closure to a bad childhood memory.

The background is this:  in the 5th grade, I got to the quarterfinals of a spelling bee at school.   I was coasting along until I absolutely froze on the easiest of words:  biscuit.  Yup, that’s right.  I spelled biscuit wrong.  I spelled it B-I-S-C-U-T.  Laugh away, but it drove me nuts for years.  After that day, whenever I would have to spell a word out loud, I would think back to that embarrassing moment.  Well, go figure, some 20-plus years later, I was asked to be a guest speller in the Tony award-winning play, “The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee.”  My role was simple.  I would go on stage, as myself, along with 3 other audience members, and compete against the actors.  I was not told which words I would get.  All I was told was to try my hardest.  With the memory of 5th grade in my mind, I went out and spent almost an hour on stage.   I ended up being the non-actor who spent the most time in the competition.  Redemption at it’s finest.  Oh, and don’t forget, you can watch me play myself again during our Local 10 pre-game special on Sunday at noon.  I’ll be joined by former Heat star Jamal Mashburn.  We’ll get you ready to see if Miami gets redemption in Boston on Local 10 and A-B-C at 1pm.

Posted in Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA | Leave a Comment »

 
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