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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  A Christmas Wish List for the Teams We Care About
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Monday, December 2,2019

A Christmas Wish List for the Teams We Care About

By Mark Tudino  
The fall season is upon us (though you could never tell here in South Florida) which means the big fat man in a red suit will soon be visiting us, trying to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. For the teams we root for, the things they most need won’t always be the flashiest or the most expensive toy – but it’s what they could most use to take the next step.

We begin with the Dolphins, the longest-tenured franchise, and the one with the most immediate needs – or so it seems. When the season began, the team traded away a number of good players and in turn, obtained a raft load of draft choices, the idea being to rebuild the roster, starting with the quarterback. After watching the college football season unwind, the quarterback’s worth became obvious, watching those who played for Alabama (Tua Tagovailoa) and LSU (Joe Burrow). Unfortunately, the best laid plans of mice and men don’t always yield the best of results; when the team won consecutive games in November it actually potentially harmed their long-term plans. Ironically, winning actually hurt their chances to rebuild quickly – if you believe the smart guys. So, our wish for the guys in Davie is to get smart people in the front office to match the passion and determination exhibited by the players and coaches.

Moving to the winter sports, how ’bout them Heat? Miami has for the longest time stuck to a script, authored by Pat Riley, and faithfully executed by his staff. The problem is, the script requires luck: you need lottery, ping-pong ball luck to get to the next level (think Lakers, Clippers, Raptors and Bucks). They have a nice nucleus, but lacked the star power to take over in crunch time; that changed over the summer when they inked perennial all-star Jimmy Butler to a contract. That, plus the addition of solid young players lead by first round draft choice Tyler Herro, have your hoopsters in first place at the time of this writing. The wish? For continued health to their stars, and the wisdom to only add the pieces necessary so as to allow them to, maybe, play meaningful games in May and beyond.

Our other winter tenant, the Panthers, thought they had the answers after making a splash in the off-season with a series of acquisitions. The results so far? A bit of a mixed bag, but the men on skates are part of a long season with a ton of twists left in the narrative. The wish for these guys is for the fan base to increase – and be patient as the season plays itself out.

Finally, the Marlins. What can anyone say? The perpetual rebuild is underway – again – and Derek Jeter and his crew are feeling the heat following multiple seasons of trades of proven players, in return for a lot of unproven talent. It doesn’t help your cause when the players you’ve traded away end up winning MVPs and world championships, but such is the path they have chosen. The hope? That the young guys acquired will pan out and finally reward the long-suffering baseball fans who’ve gone through this rebuilding thing more than once.

I realize we omitted the college teams, as well as David Beckham’s foray into the soccer world, but Santa only has so much room in his sleigh, you know? So I wish for a blessed holiday for all those who share this space with me. Next up, our top 10 stories for 2019. Cheers!

 

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