Miami: A Haven For Sports Fans

Sunny Florida’s prime jewel Miami is truly a paradise for sports lovers! The city’s excellent climate affords fun and games through the year. Sportsmen and women of all ages are drawn to the sunny Miami shores for some amazing water sports and world class golfing opportunities. Not to mention the city’s high tension games at college and professional levels.

For football fans, there are the Miami Dolphins, a venerable program that allows stars of different calibers to shine on the field and off it as well. What better way to spend time with family and friends than a day at the football stadium enjoying some prime time action.

Baseball fans have the Florida Marlins. The 2003 World Series Champs boast a tremendous track record and are always a fan favorite for the pinnate race. The baseball diamond has never been better as the venue is one of the best on the East Coast. You can follow the team from spring during their training period until the fall when they compete in the post season.

The Miami affiliate of the NBA (National Basketball Association) is the Miami Heat. It boasts of some of the most capable players of the NBA. Their home court is the state of the art American Airlines Arena, which visitors flock to in order to cheer their team.

Race fans especially love Miami, as the nearby Homestead Miami Speedway is home to a heart pumping Nextel Cup race. Recently renovated with an extra 20 degrees of banking added to the track, its no wonder why Homestead is a fan and driver favorite as this traditional sport heads back to Florida.

Golfers love Miami for its abundance of golf courses suitable for all levels of competition. From professionals to amateurs, the golf courses of Miami are great for all ages and skill levels. Take time from your vacation to hit the links to hone your craft and practice your passion. A trip to Miami is the perfect opportunity to teach the budding golfer in your family the tricks of the game.

If fishing is your scene, then you will love Miami’s warm waters and the chance to try your hand at catching the big one! Miami’s deep waters are teeming with all sizes and types of fish from delicious dolphins to massive marlins through the year. The fishing license can be purchased through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website. So, you can actually obtain the proper documentation for your fishing excursion, before you start your holiday.

Another great way to enjoy the crystal clear waters of Miami and its amazing ocean life is to snorkel or scuba dive. You can enjoy other water sports like wake boarding or water skiing. In good wind conditions, even wind surfing or kite boarding can be enjoyed. Miami is sure to offer a treat, whatever your sport interest may be.

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Miami – A Sportlover’s Paradise

Miami is known to be the place for all the sports freaks. Miami is chief destination for all the sports lovers belonging to any gender and age group. It bustles with action on the school and college grounds with competitions, but is also witness to sports such as golf and water-sports. Revel in fun, the year round, in the pleasant climate of Miami.

If you are in the market for fantastic football, check out the Miami Dolphins. This venerable program allows stars of all calibers to shine on and off the field. A day at the football stadium is an excellent way to spend time with the entire family, or have a friends day out while watching some prime time action take place on the grid iron.

Baseball fans have the Florida Marlins. The 2003 World Series Champs boast a tremendous track record and are always a fan favorite for the pinnate race. The baseball diamond has never been better as the venue is one of the best on the East Coast. You can follow the team from spring during their training period until the fall when they compete in the post season.

The Miami affiliate of the NBA (National Basketball Association) is the Miami Heat. It boasts of some of the most capable players of the NBA. Their home court is the state of the art American Airlines Arena, which visitors flock to in order to cheer their team.

Miami is not only restricted to basketball and football but it is also a haven for racing aficionados. Homestead Miami Speedway is the destination of the thrilling Nextel Cup race. This is the hot spot for the race and recently it has been renovated by adding 20 degrees of banking making it a rage amongst the race lovers.

For Golfers, Miami offers an abundance of golf courses suitable for every level of competition, ranging from amateurs to professionals. You can use your Miami vacation to hit the links and hone your golfing skills or to teach a budding young golfer in the family some tricks and tips of the game.

If fishing is your scene, then you will love Miami’s warm waters and the chance to try your hand at catching the big one! Miami’s deep waters are teeming with all sizes and types of fish from delicious dolphins to massive marlins through the year. The fishing license can be purchased through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website. So, you can actually obtain the proper documentation for your fishing excursion, before you start your holiday.

If you feel you have had enough of Miami’s sport extravaganza then you are in for a pleasant surprise as there are water sports still to go. For all the scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, there is the resplendent marine life waiting for you to be explored at Miami. Enjoy a leisurely ride on a boat or indulge in a more adventurous sport like wind surfing or water skiing. You name the sport and Miami sure has it.

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Fearless (perhaps Foolish) Playoff Predictions For 2006 – Who Wins It All?

Recently, the picks for who will make the playoffs in 2006 were laid out in the open. Since we’ve opened ourselves up to look foolish enough trying to pick playoff teams in the spring, we figured we’d pass the dead time on the league calendar taking things a step further.

Below you’ll find our picks for who will advance through the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. If you’re just a casual football fan, this will save you the time of watching or attending any games. If you’re a rabid follower of the league, we’ll be ready to hear you blast away at the predictions that don’t pan out as the year goes along.

AFC Playoff Picture

Teams: Patriots, Steelers, Browns, Colts, Broncos, Chiefs.

Wildcard Round: Steelers over the Browns, Patriots over the Chiefs

The Broncos and Colts have more favorable schedules than the Steelers and Patriots, which is why they’ll earn the week off. Other than playing an extra game, there will be no other difference after the first weekend of the playoffs, between the top four seeds. The Browns will shock everyone and make the postseason, but will not be able to withstand the environment visiting the World Champions in the playoffs. The Chiefs will have a successful year as well, but it’s hard to win in Massachusetts in January.

Divisional Round: Colts over the Patriots, Broncos over the Steelers

The Colts will finally get over the psychological hump of beating the Patriots in the playoffs, and wouldn’t it just tickle Colt fans everywhere if K Adam Vinatieri wins the game with a last-second field goal? The Patriots will miss Vinatieri during crunch time, and it may just cost them their season. The Broncos will have revenge on their minds when they get their second consecutive chance to host the Steelers in the playoffs. The Steelers knocked them out last year, but this year’s Broncos will have WR Javon Walker creating matchup problems and QB Jake Plummer will play better in the playoffs this year knowing that he’ll be trying to keep Jay Cutler on the bench in 2007.

AFC Championship: Broncos over Colts

Peyton Manning will be denied again, as the Broncos will ride their patented running game with their newly-potent passing attack past the Colts and their average defense. The Broncos will do just enough to slow Manning down and will sneak away with a conference championship.

NFC Playoff Picture

Teams: Cowboys, Bears, Packers, Panthers, Seahawks, Cardinals

Wildcard Round: Bears over Cardinals, Cowboys over Packers

The Seahawks and the Panthers have schedules that should give them the top two seeds, but like in the AFC, form will hold through the first round. Both the Packers and Cardinals will be surprise playoff entries, but neither will have enough to win on the road when it matters most.

Divisional Round: Cowboys over Seahawks, Panthers over Bears

The Cowboys will spring the first upset” of the playoffs when they knock out the Seahawks in Seattle. Dallas will enter the playoffs much more battle-tested than the Seahawks, as their schedule and division are both much more difficult. The Panthers will have the offense this year to match their defense, which should give them just enough points to advance.

NFC Championship: Panthers over Cowboys

Dallas will have a tall order on hand when they must go from Seattle to Charlotte on consecutive weeks. The Cowboys will be tough, but one of the mainstays of the John Fox regime is toughness, and Carolina will be ready with everything on the line. The Panther defense will harass Drew Bledsoe into mistakes, and the Panthers will grind out a hard-fought win.

Super Bowl XLI: Panthers over Broncos

The Lombardi Trophy will return to the NFC, as the Panthers will use the same formula that worked against Bledsoe to pressure Jake Plummer into mistakes. The Panthers have the ability in 2006 to grind out the clock with a once-again healthy stable of RBs and a great possession WR in Keyshawn Johnson to compliment Steve Smith. It’ll be a great Super Bowl, but the Panthers will be the champs in 2006.

Of course, injuries, suspensions and several other unforeseen factors could make this prediction look ridiculous in the months to come, but that’s what the dead” season is for – figuring out where teams stand and assessing their potential.

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Baseball History May Be Ever Changing But Some Things Never Change

Baseball history, like all history, certainly is ever changing, but some aspects of the game have remained unchanged for well over a half-century. There are a few reasons for this – over time the basic rules of the game have for the most part remained unaltered; the development of essential skills continues to involve an investment of time and personnel by ball clubs; and fans have always flocked to see money players and exciting teams.

In 1976, Major League Baseball (MLB) was changed forever with the birth of free agency. Since its inception, the owners had held power over all players. They could trade anyone at anytime and control, with relative ease, what individuals would be paid. Great players, like Babe Ruth, usually commanded solid salaries but with free agency players were able to negotiate their contracts and to go to a team willing to pay their price.

Still, as it had always been, players had to have the skills a team needed to get their price. The one major difference was that players were now able to sign guaranteed contracts, which stated that they would be paid their salary no matter how they performed and even if they were injured.

Seventy-three years before free agency, professional baseball underwent a change that would influence the way in which the Majors conducted business and found players. In 1903 the National Association of Professional Base Ball Leagues, better known as the Minor Leagues, was formed in order to create some order in which Major League teams acquired players from small market clubs. In the 1930s the great Branch Rickey developed the structure for what we know today as the “Minor Leagues.” Rickey’s formalization of the “Minors,” which became dedicated to developing players who could perform in the Majors, was jokingly called the “farm system” because small town clubs were raising young players “like corn” down on the farm.

Since the 1930s, MLB has relied upon affiliate farm teams to develop players for the big leagues to supply promising prospects for trades, or to simply provide adequate replacements when necessary. Today, the Minor League system is highly developed, bringing players up through A, AA, and AAA ball. When a team is looking to make a trade for a solid Major Leaguer, one way they can sweeten the deal is by including prospects from the minors. Additionally, one way for owners to keep costs down is to bring up players from the “farm team” when they’re ready. By doing this a MLB team can save millions of dollars.

Bringing up an adequate second baseman from the minors and paying him the minimum $327,000 for the season can prove to have more value than paying a veteran infielder 2.5 million dollars. Using a certain number of non-veterans allows a team to spend more money on other positions, especially pitching, which is always at a premium and comes at a high price.

The Minor Leagues have always been a cost-saving venture for clubs but with today’s exorbitant salaries, the strength of the players union, and most clubs carrying payrolls of under one-hundred million dollars, the strategic use of Minor League players can make the difference in both turning a profit and winning the World Series.

Using players from the farm club actually gives owners more power, since those team members who have been brought up are not eligible for salary arbitration until they have three years in the Majors and cannot become free agents until they’ve accumulated six or more years in the big leagues. Today, for a brief part of a player’s career, National and American League owners have the power they used to possess over every player prior to 1976.

Teams looking to win a championship and attract as much revenue as possible have often invested money in key players. Throughout baseball’s history, there have been owners willing to pay more than others. In 1919, some of the Chicago White Sox, which was owned by Charles Comiskey, decided to throw the World Series to their National League counterparts, the Cincinnati Reds.

The White Sox players felt they were both underpaid and under-appreciated by their boss and figured if they bet on the underdog Reds and insured that the National Leaguers would win, they’d make a tidy profit. They did just that, but they also got caught. It became known as the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, and it’s a constant reminder to owners of how a man like Comiskey, who had a whole lot of money, could be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Of course, spending a lot of money does not insure a team will win the World Series or even the League Championship. Since the New York Yankees payroll exceeded one hundred millions dollars five years ago, they’ve been unable to win it all. The last few years Steinbrenner and company have been handing over two hundred million in team pay. Last year’s champs, the Chicago White Sox, paid out a little over seventy-five million to their players. It was ironic, because they had not won the Series since 1917, prior to the big scandal.

Most analysts agree that a MLB club needs to wisely spend about seventy million to be competitive. That’s why some pundits believe that the Toronto Blue Jays, who reached that magic salary mark this season by adding quality players and about thirty million to their pay roll, are a club to watch.

The basic idea at work regarding salary prior to free agency is that a happy player – one who feels he’s being treated and paid fairly – can equal a happy owner with a winning team. After free agency, the thought became that in order to compete a team had to pay a player what the market dictated and owners, to a degree, had the ability to control that market. These are, in essence, two sides of the same coin.

If we could resurrect Cy Young, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and Home Run Baker and bring them out to the ballpark, they’d certainly still understand the game, even though it has changed. Since their time, there has been the development of specialty pitchers, creation of artificial turf, and the addition of the designated hitter in the American League. The mound, strike zone, and scoreboards are all different too.

Player skills are still fundamentally the same, except more advanced. They would get the idea that a better player should command more money than a player with less skill. But the overall economics of the game would probably baffle those great players. That has added a new type of off-field strategy that owners who want to win must master. Since the turn of the 19th century, it’s been the greatest change MLB has seen.

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Finding the Most Diverse Sports Store

Odds are, if you enjoy one athletic activity, you probably enjoy a few others as well. Finding people to keep up with your active lifestyle can sometimes be challenging, but finding gear doesn’t have to be. If you are determined to buy all of your sporting goods in one place, you will find that there’s a sports store for you.

Health and fitness are becoming a much more regular part of the society today, and with this increased interest in physical fitness, there are more stores selling the right equipment. Many chains are popping up around the country that offer all of the usual gear: running shoes, compression shorts, jump ropes, and all other varieties of equipment. Despite this, not every sports store carries everything that you need, especially if you are interested in more extreme outdoor activities.

When you have a real drive for that active lifestyle, you know that there is simply no good time to have down time. You have an activity for every season and for every occasion, always working to keep your heart pumping. During the summer, you might be caught playing some disc golf and during the winter your friends will find you skiing on the slopes. If this describes you, then you need more than the run of the mill sporting goods retailer.

Fortunately, finding a sports store that can keep up with your lifestyle is not a fantasy. In fact, many cities around the country have one or more all-purpose stores that offer this type of equipment. Rather than having to go from shop to shop hoping you find what you need, this helps eliminate your trips and allows you to get everything in one place.

Of course, the last thing you want to do is trade convenience for quality or price. In other words, you need to be careful when you find an all-purpose sports store to ensure that you are not purchasing inferior quality goods. Fitness and activity may be important, but inferior products could lead to injury, which is something you never want to endure. Similarly, buying your products in one place should help lower your overall cost, so don’t waste time shopping at a place that will inflate prices just because of the convenience factor.

Ultimately, a good sports store will offer equipment and apparel for a variety of different activities. Whether you are looking to get gear for your competitive sporting event or simply looking to prepare for another outdoors adventure, having the right store in mind can make your supply run that much easier. This will help ensure you always have the right equipment when you need it, and that you will never have a dull moment.

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