A look back at the somewhat insane week in Florida sports. The Marlins went on a bender, Jacksonville developed mustache fever, and the Magic's CEO drunk dialed his way to infamy.
As a state, Florida is known for its wacky and weird news stories. Every state has their oddities, but for some reason, Florida attracts the crazy like no other. Each of the major newspapers in the state has a special section of the website devoted to the most insane local news stories, and the headlines in these sections can be jaw dropping.
Don't believe me? Here are a few examples from the last three days:
- Man bangs neighbor's windows, walls with jug o' urine
- Don't place your neighbor's stolen holiday ornaments on your lawn
- Man brandishes machete at brother who ate his Nutty Buddy, police say
Personally, I prefer the Sun Sentinel version of the Nutty Buddy story, as it chronicles the long list of machete-related incidents in Florida. Apparently it's the weapon of choice for unhinged lovers in the Sunshine State.
Florida's craziness has mostly stayed confined to the Local section of the paper, but recently, it's started to infect other areas. Notably, the sports section. In case you missed any of the sports action this past week -- and believe me, there was plenty of it -- here are some of the most insane highlights.
The week started off with a bang as the Miami Marlins stormed into the Winter Meetings in Houston with cowboy hats on and guns a'blazing. They reached an agreement with Jose Reyes on Sunday night, and then proceeded to blow everyone's minds by being one of the highest bidders for both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Although the Marlins ended up with neither player, their new-found "cojones" caught nearly everyone by surprise.
The Marlins better watch out, though; after being a low-profile team for so long, their aggressiveness is taking its toll on their beat reporters. Those poor guys, they didn't know what they were getting into this week.
On Monday night, a sudden outbreak of Khanitis (or as it's more commonly known, "mustache fever") was reported in Jacksonville, although local emergency response teams claimed that the outbreak was isolated to a very small section of central Jacksonville. The outbreak was quickly contained, and upon testing, was shown to have a porous defense that was highly susceptible to the Rivers vaccine.
Major news organizations picked up on the outbreak, but falsely linked it to Charlotte instead.
This story is too serious to parody or make jokes about. On Tuesday, news broke that Blount had been involved in an assault on a Buccaneers fan in September. It's unclear exactly how large a role Blount had in the incident and if he could have done anything to stop it, but it was still shocking news to Bucs' fans who saw Blount as their team's one offensive bright spot.
On Wednesday, the Big East announced in a press conference that they would be adding five new teams to the conference: Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU, and UCF. The UCF Knights have been hoping to join the Big East for a long time, and this announcement brought them one step closer to their ultimate goal: being exactly like the USF Bulls.
In a press release, the Knights reacted to the news: "We are excited to be given the chance to compete in the Big East, and pleased that they have been so accommodating as to ignore our spotted track record, poor 2011 performance, lack of an athletic director, and corrupt recruiting practices. We look forward to competing in the future against football powerhouses Rutgers, UConn, and Louisville, and we can't wait to show those slimy bastards over in Tampa just who's boss."
When reached for a comment, the USF Bulls did not pick up. The answering machine's message said the receptionists job had been cut due to budget issues, but to be sure to pick up tickets to see the best athletic department in the Big East in this year's bowl game.
On Thursday, just when I thought the week couldn't get any crazier, news broke that Marlins reliever Juan Oviedo (AKA Leo Nunez) was arrested in the Dominican Republic for having two identities. Like many young players from Latin America countries, he had originally falsified his age and name in order to have a better shot at making the majors, and he got caught in the act this past season.
Thankfully this situation looks like it'll end well for Oviedo, as he was released from prison on Saturday for cooperating with the police's on-going investigation. But this story didn't go well for me, as I repeatedly misspelled Oviedo's name in my original writeup. My problem? My subconscious kept wanting to spell his last name "Olvidado" (Spanish for "forgotten").
This story is so ridiculous it doesn't need parodying. On Tuesday night, rumors broke that Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide has resigned after calling Dwight Howard late at night and a few drinks in. Which leads to this glorious quote:
"I was playing paddle with friends and had a couple of glasses of wine," Vander Weide told BHSN. "Maybe Dwight thought it was inappropriate to talk business after a couple of glasses of wine... Maybe I should have waited until the morning." (BHSN)
Before you ask, yes, there is apparently a game in the Midwest called "paddleball." Envision racquetball, only with a giant wooden paddle. Of course, I'm not exactly sure why you'd be playing paddleball and drinking multiple glasses of wine at the same time -- dehydration for the win! -- but hey, whatever floats your boat.
After this story was confirmed as true, things just went from weird to inane. Vender Weide claimed again and again that there was no connection between the phone call and him stepping down, but that didn't stop Deadspin from having some satirical fun at his expense. And then during the press conference to announce Vander Weide's retirement, one reporter peppered Vander Weide with hard-hitting questions about his conversation with Howard...using quotes from Deadspin's satire piece.
Congratulations Florida, you win. The title "Crazy Capital of the U.S." is yours now and in perpetuity.