By Gustavo Mendez
Greetings to all my friends in this wonderful media, Doral Family Journal, you are now ready to travel into the most amazing and wonderful world, the WORLD OF SPORTS.
This is going to be a journey that we will be taking every time you open these pages and be assured that it is going to be a thrill, I will not bore you down, and instead you will relive the feelings of emotion and enjoyment that we look for when we watch or attend a game.
Major League Baseball, American Football, Ice Hockey and, of course, Basketball, the game where Miami is the best in the World right now, those are the professional sports that you will be following with me in this trip to a place where not many get to go.
Let’s start by telling you that my name, as written above of course, is Gustavo Mendez, I am a journalist with more than two decades of experience who has had the pleasure of broadcasting and reporting all major sports events both in Venezuela and the United States. You can currently listen to my reports live at Radio Paz WACC 830 AM (in Spanish). I am responsible for the Sports Segment of the Daily News at 6:15 am, 7:15 am and 12:40 pm from Monday to Friday.
If you prefer to adjust to your own schedule and listen whenever you have the time, that’s OK too, and you can find those reports at my Website: www.momentodeportivo.net, there you will also get interviews, my blog and direct links to the best of the best, the professional Sports Teams of Miami.
Yes my friends, I am more than a journalist, I hate to make a dull report, when I talk or when I write I feel the emotion of my teams; which means that I am a Marlins fan, as well as a follower of the Dolphins, the Panthers in Ice Hockey and above all, a real supporter of your current NBA Champions, your Miami Heat!
I cannot come here and just tell you results, you know them already. I cannot come here and tell you what others are saying or have already said, same thing, you know that already. What I do is something entirely different.
Simple, I tell you the opinions of the players I interview, what they tell me when we are in the locker rooms, sometimes or many times, without a microphone present, because those little gadgets make people behave differently. I tell you what I hear and, of course, that I am allowed to say without breaking the confidence of those that talk to me.
You will be there with me! Within those parameters of trust and confidence, that I am bound to respect, you will be there with me. Actually I want you there with me, because when the players, managers, coaches and technical personnel of a professional sports teams knows that you are there, they treat the journalist, in this case myself, with a lot more respect and consideration.
So instead of you thanking me; I will be the one thanking you, for your support, your presence and your questions.
Yes, your questions, because I expect you to write to me, right here at Doral Family Journal, or to my Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you want to read or hear about. That’s why I am here for, to serve the audience, not myself.
You may like what I do or you may not. What can I say; we are not golden little coins as the old saying goes, right? But whether you do or you do not, let me know your opinion. The reason is clear, if you do not tell me what goes into your mind when you read this, I will be sure that I am totally and completely right all the time and therefore, I will continue making you angry or happy, depending on your liking or not liking my ideas.
For example: I am still rejoicing in the recent NBA Championship for your Miami Heat. I have been following these guys since before they became champions in 2006 and now in 2012. But do you want to know what was my best moment of the championship run that took us to defeat the supposedly unbeatable Oklahoma City Thunder?
Well, it was not the actual moment of winning the Championship, holding the cup, the party in the locker room or even the parade. My best moment happened even before we won our first game as locals in the Finals.
I was inside the locker room and there he was, my dear friend Mike Miller. He was in his usual spot, sitting there getting all the treatments to diminish the pain he was always going through in his legs, his knees and his elbows and shoulders. He was always gracious and willing to talk. That day I told him:
“Mike, you know what? I cannot afford to go back to Oklahoma, so you guys have to do me a favor, the series is tied 1-1 and we have three games coming in Miami, beat those guys and let’s get it over with right here.”
He looked at me, smiled briefly and said: “Ok Buddy, will do.”
Then came game number five. Miami was ahead 3-1 and Mike Miller came to the floor shooting three after three with amazing sharpness. He got seven in a row. Incredible!.
Miami won the series, Lebron got his first ring, but in the locker room there was only one guy I was looking for, and that guy was Mike, he saw me and said:
“Did as promised!”
Isn’t that a thrill! Well it is, and that is one of the stories I will be telling you from now on.
What will happen now
I am not really sure Mike will be able to come back, but if he does not, he is a hero already, a hero with an NBA ring that was embraced by a happy and tear-eyed Udonis Haslem, his friend in the same locker room after the celebration had started. You guys were there with me.
As you will be when the USA team takes the route to gold in the Olympics. I am not saying that the Lithuanians, Spaniards, Germans, Argentinians and other teams are not worthy of respect; those guys are good, of course, but not better than us. We may not have D-Wade or Chris Bosh in this team, but Lebron and Deron Williams and Kobe and the rest, more than make up for it. Am I being a bit too arrogant when I think that no one else has a chance?
Come on, you think as I do, we have the Gold in Basketball, or I will have to start swallowing my pride.
For those of you who know that MLB Baseball and not Marlins Lose Ball game, I am going to tell you something. I am at a loss at the record of our Miami Marlins this season, so is Oswaldo Guillen, the manager. We do not get it, the commentators and reporters do not get it.
First time in years
For the first time in years, the Marlins spent money in the post season and got what were supposed to be good players. We had a great month of May and then the June troubles began same as last year: no hitting and if there was pitching, then the closers, or rather the so-called closer, made a mess of so many games that we decided not to keep count.
His answers have been as best as he can.
“Well, I have these players and I expect them to perform. I put them on the field, and they are the ones that have to hit, score and pitch. I cannot do that for them. They are the ones that have to play. I can make changes, as many changes as possible, but if they do not play good baseball, there is nothing else me or anyone else can do.”
For those who do not remember, Oswaldo was a star short stop for many years with the Chicago White Sox, Rookie of the Year and a very enthusiastic player.
In Venezuela he led a group of baseball players that made his team, La Guaira, a champion more than once. Why?
He once told me: “those players in Venezuela were maybe not the most talented ones, but they gave everything they had, the left everything in the playing field, that is why we won.
Maybe the Marlins are not doing it.
Maybe our local team has too many guys making too much guaranteed money. Maybe they know that whether they do well or they do badly, there will be no problem when you got to collect the millions of the paycheck. The thing is that when they are on the field, something is missing. What? We can call it spirit, desire, I do not want to call it anything that cannot be printed in a family newspaper, but you know what I mean.
I do not see it there. I do not see the will, the desire, the effort.
The season is more than half way.
And for those who think that there is a lot of time left, there is, but the problem does not lie in the number of games we still have to play, the problem lies in the way we are playing those games.
If it were not for the new stadium, people would have stopped going to the games already, but there is a little of that wonder left in the many that want to enjoy the wonders of the new ballpark.
But unless something is done, and soon, this season will be a failure.
What can they do
Sorry, what I am going to tell you does not have the deep wisdom of an analyst, maybe I will sound like Yogi Berra when he said that the game ain’t over until it is over, but the only thing that they can do to make this right is: Win.
Play right, play hard and win.
That is the only thing that they have left.
Yes, they may try to change some guys, maybe Hanley, although guys inside the team told me it is not likely. Anyway, I do not believe anything anyone tells me about trades, because most of the time, they lie to hide their true intentions; but even if you wanted to trade Heath Bell, who would want him now?
And that is exactly what happened when they let go of their most valuable defense on the infield, second baseman Omar Infante, solid defender and a good hitter. They did not tell anyone about the trade, just did it because they wanted to free some money, especially with Anibal Sanchez, a man who is making 8 million this year and could make more in the next seasons, they did not want to pay more and let him go. These changes for unproved newcomers tell us one thing, they are not thinking of winning this year.
The only change I would advocate right now is to get former closer Leo Nuñez, now Oviedo, to come and pitch the last inning. Other than that, I said it already. We need to change the comfortable attitude and make the game interesting.
Play hard, play intelligently, move the runner, steal bases, score runs and pitch like you know what you are doing.
We cannot continue looking like the worst team in the league in batting and scoring runs. We have to do something to make it good.
Now we know each other, remember, we will be here ready to talk to you whenever you are.