Saturday, January 28, 2023

Mr. Endurance Interviews Mr. Endurance

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

I have to admit that I met my match, not personally, but on the road.

I’ve been driving since I was 16 which amounts to 44 years on the road.

When I passed my drivers test on my birthday, December 29, 1962., on a blustery winter day in Southfield, MI, my dad never let me hear the end of it in a joking way that I ran a red light in Waterford, MI.

I would joke around with him that even though I had that inadvertent mishap, I’ve managed to do well through the years and and he smiled at me.

I recently bought a hat at a Truck Stop called “King of The Road” and for those that know me, I enjoy taking trips across the country instead of flying. 

I’m not a fan of security checks at the airport, don’t like overspending on rental cars and having to get to the airport at least two hours for a flight. There is always the anxiety that a flight could get cancelled.

Between business and cross country drives, I’ve driven over four million miles.

My wife gave the the name, “Crazy Man” because of the fact that I get stronger as the drive wears on, especially driving at night. 

During the night hours, I like to play music and like the fact there is less traffic on the road. 

My late mother-in-law was very nervous about my adventures especially knowing I was doing them with her daughter in the car. 

She was okay as time wore on. 

I couldn’t call my late grandmother Sophie because I was afraid that I would make her sick. But she was glad to see me when I got home because of all the stories I would tell her. 

A few years ago, I got my taste of covering endurance racing at Sebring Raceway. 

The race is held in March and it’s called the 12-Hours of Sebring which is on a race track that was the site of Hendricks Army Airport. 

The course of the track is 3.74 miles that has a lot of holes on the surface which takes a toll on the automobiles.

The man that gave me a good education on endurance racing was Sebring Historian, who handles the Media Credentials, Ken Breslauer.

I met a lot of writers that were pleasant and gave me pointers and by the end of the weekend, I started interviewing drivers.

But there was one person I met that impressed the heck out of me and we became friends.

His name is Graham Goodwin and this 58-year old is the Editor of Dailysportscar. 

He’s been covering endurance races for 21 years.

Graham and I spoke at the Roar Before The 24, which are preliminary races leading up to the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway that takes place from January 26-29.

Our interview occurred on “No Limits” that is on the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel. There in no charge to subscribe. 

What amazes me about Graham is he’s covered 13 Rolex 24’s and 89 24-Hour Races.

I asked him a lot of questions during the interview that lasted slightly over an hour.

I asked him his routine during a 24 hour race, whether he gets sleep, talked about the various tracks he’s been to and he gave me advice on covering my first 24 hour race.

I even told him that he reminded me of Lou Gehrig (New York Yankees) Cal Ripken Jr. (Baltimore Orioles) and Gordie Howe (Detroit Red Wings) as iron men in their respective sports.

I have to tell you that this was the fastest one hour interview that I’ve experienced in 43 years during My Sports Media Career.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.

IMSA, which does the endurance racing doesn’t get the notoriety that IndyCar Racing, open wheel or NASCAR gets, but it’s a money machine when you factor that sports car racing at long increments tests tire durability, the engines from manufacturers like Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Cadillac, Porsche and many others.

But if you want to get an education on endurance racing, Graham Goodwin will give it to you.

Covering endurance racing is a far cry from the conventional sports that I’ve dealt with in the past.

But the Rolex 24 has always been a bucket list item and now that I can check that off the list. 

My hope is to get addicted to this because unlike the regular motor sports events, you track drivers and manufacturers. 

Nobody is going to turn their head around non-stop for 12-24 hours especially when you have a combination of daylight and darkness.

Since I figured out Sebring twice, there will be a huge gratification of me when I’m doing this.

I’m definitely doing a journal and taking in all of the media availability’s available to me.

In the meantime, Graham Goodwin has been a good tutor, has traveled all over the world doing these events, but I feel good that I’ve demonstrated enough endurance in traveling all over the USA. I’m also proud of the fact that I’ve hit all 50 States.

But it’s real cool that Mr. Endurance got to Interview Mr. Endurance at the “World Center Of Racing” (Daytona International Speedway).

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, once again, Subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel to see all of Scott’s broadcasts. 


NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson’s Continues To Tackle More Challenges

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Every sport can make a case as to which athlete is The Greatest Of All Time (GOAT).

The NASCAR Series can make a case for Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Another driver that you can easily make a case for is 47-year old Jimmie Johnson.

The native of El Cajon, California., has won 83 races, has 3744 Top Tens and 36 Poles in his NASCAR Cup Series career. He has run 686 races in 20 years and is a seven time NASCAR Cup Champion. He has won the Daytona 500, four times.

He’s also competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Johnson ran 25 races in two years in the IndyCar Series.

If there was ever a driver that liked to compete with lots of different competition ranging from ovals and road courses, it’s Johnson as a few years ago, he took a crack at the 12-Hours of Sebring. 

It was interesting to see him compete on a demanding track such as Sebring.

During the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, Johnson addressed us about his future racing plans.

I did manage to get a pair of questions and I will share them and his responses with you.

Q: When it’s all said and done, do you want to feel like you’ve accomplished everything that you can on the Motor Sports Stage, where you left nothing undone?

A: Yeah, I think that is buried in my mind somewhere. More than anything, I just want to drive race cars. I think the last couple years I’ve proven that or I’ve even showed that, I should say, and an opportunity like this is once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s the last thing on my bucket list, as well, my own personal list that I’ve had through the years, is to go to LeMans. But I also feel like my involvement now with Legacy Motor Club and my future in the sport itself, I’m not done. I love motorsport far and wide and really look forward to the years that I have a head of myself. I think there are less years of driving the car and holding the steering wheel and more outside of, but really excited for the challenges ahead.

Q: The thought of driving in a 24-hour race, is that something that—how do you approach that knowing that this is one heck of a challenge and it’s on that list of things that you’re looking to accomplish?

A: I have enjoyed the races I’ve had here at the Rolex 24 and can only imagine what it will be like in France. As an endurance sports athlete, doing triathlons and marathons and such, I just love that kind of challenge. I’ve always left a 24-hour race here just exhausted physically and mentally with a smile on my face. I really do enjoy the challenge.

Little did Johnson know that I was covering my first 24-hour race in my 43 Sports Media Career. 

I’ve covered the 12-Hours of Sebring a couple of times.

But this is a guy that is simply a “Racer” not a “Driver” and his competitive desire to keep on going at a high level is truly amazing. More importantly, he’s an even better person.

You can watch the entire press conference in this story and see all of what Jimmie and the rest of what was said from the individuals that spoke to us. 

It will truly be worth the watch.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, By Subscribing to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel, you can see all of his different broadcasts that cover a wide range of interests.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Jaguars Home Hat Trick

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

What a football season it’s been!

I mean it literally and figuratively.

Try scrambling to finish the end of MLB and then work NASCAR into a busy Fall.

Before going to Cooperstown, NY in August with My wife Candy, I was able to attend the Miami Hurricanes Media Availability and got a lot a lot accomplished!

By the end of August, College Football began a demanding schedule that saw us cover the majority of the FAU Owls Home Games and all of the Miami Hurricanes,

I’m thinking that I wonder if I’ll have the opportunity to cover NFL Games this year.

The answer to that question was yes!

The break in my schedule came on December 18, 2022 when I made the five hour trek up to Jacksonville to see the Jaguars host the Dallas Cowboys.

Finding a hotel was practically impossible as the Cowboys fans invaded Northern Florida. 

But we did manage to find one in nearby St. Augustine.

Things didn’t look good for the Jaguars, who trailed by 17 points, but this team coached by Doug Pederson and quarterbacked by Trevor Lawrence showed no quit and came away with a walk off 40-34 win in overtime.

Lawrence would amass 318 yards and threw for four touchdowns. 

Meanwhile, Dak Prescott showed why he’s the most scrutinized QB in the NFL. 

He had three touchdown passes, but also tossed two interceptions including a costly pick-six in overtime that saw Dallas remain winless at TIAA Bank Stadium at 0-2.

The Jaguars would proceed to win the next two road games against the New York Jets and Houston Texans 19-3 and 20-16.

This set the stage for the next game we’d cover that occurred on Saturday, January, 7th as the Jaguars played in a Nationally Televised flexed prime-time contest that would decide the AFC South against the Tennessee Titans.

Before I get to the particulars, we spent the previous two weeks in Racine, WI., visiting family during the holidays, then had a quick turnaround heading back to Jacksonville.

The Jaguars outscored Tennessee 13-3 in the second half to win 20-16 in front of 70,050 fans.

Lawrence had a solid night by going 20-32 with one touchdown and zero interceptions. WR Christian Kirk had six receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown.

The Cardiac Cats would live to see another week.

They would face an opponent they they dominated in Week 3 by thrashing the LA Chargers 38-10.

Going into the game, this marked the Jaguars fifth home postseason game and first since they defeated the Buffalo Bills, 10-3 on January 7, 2018, a game which I covered and the QB was Blake Bortles.

Jacksonville has recorded a 3-1 record in home playoff games while head coach Pederson, has served as the head coach inn three home playoff games and recorded a 2-1 record.

This game turned out to be the second time the Jaguars had played a home post-season game on Saturday. 

In their lone Saturday home postseason contest, they thrashed the Miami Dolphins, 62-7. The Jaguars entered the game 7-7 all-time in the postseason.

Forty players on the Jaguars active roster made their postseason debut. 

Thirteen current players have been on an active roster for a game in the postseason. 

Cornerback Darious Williams leads the Jaguars with six playoff games, including the 2022 Super Bowl with the Rams.

I’ll take a phrase from the legendary late broadcaster Jack Buck when he called LA Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson’s legendary home run in the 1988 World Series against the Oakland A’s in the first game.

“I can’t believe what I just saw.”

What we saw was the Jaguars fall behind 27-0 late in the first half. 

I had the same feeling that I had from the Dallas game, how are they going to pull out this win?

The Jaguars scored a touchdown late in the first half, trimming the deficit to 27-7.

Lawrence was downright dreadful to begin the game as he became the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw four interceptions in the first half of a playoff game joining Detroit’s Gary Danielson and Denver’s Craig Morton.

But he bounced back as well as anyone in NFL history. Jacksonville’s comeback goes down in post-season lore behind only Buffalo’s rally on January 3, 1993 (32 points against Houston) and Indianapolis on January 4, 2014 (28 points against Kansas City).

After throwing four interceptions, the former Clemson signal caller finished 28-47-288 yards and threw for four touchdowns. 

Lawrence engineered the final drive, highlighted by Travis Etienne’s 25-yard run, that would subsequently lead to a Riley Patterson 36-yard field goal on the final drive, giving Jacksonville an epic 31-30 win in front of 70,250 jubilant fans.

The Jaguars (10-8) won their sixth consecutive game and fifth straight at home, all five in come from behind fashion.

Amazingly enough, dating back to college, Lawrence is 38-0 on Saturday’s.

The Jaguars improved to 8-7 in the playoffs and 4-1 at home.

During the week, Kansas City Chiefs Coach Andy Reid has been complimentary of Pederson’s work in what’s been an unbelievable season for Jacksonville. 

Pederson got to know Reid as a backup quarterback in Green Bay and as a starter in Philadelphia, before coaching under him build the Chiefs into the juggernaut they are today.

Pederson has said that 30 years of his professional life that he’s been influenced by them.

But the stage is set, the Jaguars have a chance to avenge a 27-17 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Saturday’s match-up has the Jaguars as 8.5 underdogs but in the grand scheme of things, the Chiefs enter the contest 14-3 and have won five straight.

After the Dallas Game, when I asked Pederson a question that the late Yogi Berra said, ‘it’s not over until it’s over,’ he smiled and said, “My players are a resilient group and they play hard for 60 minutes. I don’t need to give halftime motivational speeches.”

To defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville will have to play a turnover free football game.

The Jaguars are matched up against Patrick Mahomes, who was born in 1995, the same year Jacksonville entered the league. 

Mahomes has eight playoff wins while the Jaguars have eight in franchise history. 

The last time Kansas City was in the AFC Conference Championship was on 1-30-2022. Jacksonville appeared on 1-21-2018. Mahomes has won one Super Bowl, while Jacksonville hasn’t made a Super Bowl Appearance.

Time will tell how this ends for Jacksonville, but what looked like an impossibility worked out quite well as we were able to be around for the “Jaguars Home Hat Trick” and all three contests were won in dramatic fashion!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmnail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, there is no cost to Subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel where you’re going to find all of his shows and then some. 


Thursday, January 5, 2023

Jaguars Quick Turnaround

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

What a difference a year makes!

On January 9, 2021, the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Indianapolis Colts 26-11 at TIAA Bank Field and knocked their division rivals out of the playoff picture, which also signaled the end of their signal caller Carson Wentz.

The Jaguars finished last in the AFC South with a 3-14 record, but still managed the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft as the Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers to finish 3-13-1.

Jacksonville proceeded to take Georgia’s Travon Walker.

But the biggest off-season pickup for Jacksonville was the hiring of Head Coach Doug Pederson!

During the hiring process, the Jags interviewed former QB Byron Leftwich but this never came to fruition because the former signal caller didn’t want to work with GM Trent Baalke.

If you want to talk about a situation that was a blessing in disguise, this was it!

All Pederson did was hire a strong coaching staff and told franchise QB Trevor Lawrence to forget the disastrous season he endured under former Coach Urban Meyer. It was time to start all over and learn a new playbook and start from scratch.

Pederson has won two Super Bowls, one as a player for the Green Bay Packers and another as a head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.

More franchise QB’s are ruined due to instability with the head coach and offensive coordinator.

During many of my shows throughout the 2022 Season, I’ve been consistent hammering Leftwich for not taking this job and said there is a stature to be built for Pederson if he has sustained success especially if the team reaches the Super Bowl, let a lone wins a championship. 

I still stand by that statement!

The Jaguars are one of four teams that haven’t reached the big game. 

The Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and the Houston Texans are the others.

Things didn’t start out well for the Jaguars as they started the season 3-7.

But in Week 11, the team had a bye week.

On Sunday, November 27, Jacksonville defeated the Baltimore Ravens at TIAA Bank Field 28-27.

Jacksonville didn’t fare well on December 4, 2022 as it traveled to Detroit and the Lions devoured them 40-14 and the team dropped to 4-8.

This would be the last time the Jaguars would lose a game in 2022 as the Cats proceeded to win four-straight games. 

They stunned the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on December 11, 2022, 36-22 to improve to 5-8.

On December 18, 2022, I took the five hour trek up to Jacksonville and watched the Jaguars defeat the Dallas Cowboys 40-34 in overtime. 

During this game, the Jaguars attendance was 69,050 and the stadium was electric. The Dallas Cowboys traveled well and I almost felt like I was in Texas. 

Finding a hotel was a huge challenge and those that were available were quite costly. We stayed in nearby St.Augustine.

They Cowboys fans were loud as Dallas jumped out to a 27-10 lead and as I went downstairs for lunch, I heard FOX’s Michael Strahan comment that the Jaguars would have to find a way to get back into this game. 

What he would see later was these Jaguars don’t quit!

Jacksonville went on to score 21 consecutive points to take a 31-27 lead in the fourth quarter.

But Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and the Cowboys countered with a 13-play drive that included three third point conversions. Running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 58 yards and a score for Dallas, joining Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith as the only backs in franchise history with rushing touchdowns in seven straight games.

This game would end with a Rayshawn Jenkins interception of Prescott’s bobbled pass and he returned it 52-yards for the game winning touchdown that gave the Jaguars an improbable 40-34 OT win. 

The Cowboys five-game winning streak was snapped and Dallas has never won a game at TIAA Bank Field dropping to 0-2. 

This is the only NFL venue the Cowboys have never won in.

Leading the way for Jacksonville, Lawrence was 27-42 for 318 yards and four touchdowns.

Running back Travis Etienne had 19 carries for 103 yards.

Zay Jones led the Jaguars in receiving with six receptions for 109 yards and three touchdowns.

Offensively, Jacksonville out gained Dallas in total yards, 503-397 despite the Cowboys leading time of possession 35:26-27:41. 

Prescott threw two interceptions and was sacked three times.

The Jaguars played the contest without Travon Walker. 

I asked Lawrence about him being inactive mentioning the team being behind by double digits that is the team used to overcoming adversity?

“Yeah, today is his birthday, actually. I don’t know if you guys knew that. So I saw him in the training room and he’s been trying to go all week. Just doing everything he can to play because he wants to be out there, and (I) saw him there not suiting up so I knew he wasn’t going to play. 

“I saw him today. I was like, hey, we got you. We’re going to get this one for you. That was what I told him. Saw him after the game and gave him a hug. I was like, I told you. That’s how this team is. It’s awesome.”

I asked Coach Pederson a pair of questions but the one that stands out was, Do you want to get to a point where the Jacksonville Jaguars are no longer a trap game, that the people are going to start taking your program a lot more seriously?

“Well, I don’t get into a lot of that as much as I want our team to understand that we need to be playing meaningful football games in December and January, and we’ve put ourselves in that position. So I’m proud of the guys for doing that.

“Our season could have gone sideways three, four weeks ago, and the guys weren’t going to let that happen. I don’t get caught up in all the storylines and all that, the shoulda-coulda-wouldas. It’s a matter of those guys in the dressing room believing in themselves and getting the job done.”

Four days later, the Jaguars would continue to win and defeated the New York Jets 19-3 on a rainy night in the Meadowlands on December 22, 2022. 

This game was billed at the battle of the top two draft choices in the 2021 NFL Draft, Lawrence vs Zach Wilson. 

By the end of the night, Wilson was benched and Jacksonville raised its record to 7-8 and let a Nationally Televised Audience know to take them seriously.

Jacksonville started the New Year the same way it ended the old one, with a win but this time, the Jags barely cracked a sweat by demolishing the Texans in Houston with a 31-3 triumph. 

The team improved to 8-8 and the NFL decided to flex the Week 18 Finale with the Tennessee Titans to 8:15 PM on Saturday Night on ABC.

During the beginning of the week, I emailed David Wolfe and told him that the Dallas Cowboys losing to the Jaguars was one of the best wins I’ve ever seen. 

I told him that I’m ready for Tennessee and he told me that I hope the Titans Game on Saturday is the best game you’re going to see and inserted a smile emoji as his way of saying, come on up, you’re approved.

So the stage is set, the Jaguars now can win the AFC South Division as it hosts the Titans, 7-9, in prime time!

Who would have imagined this a year ago as Owner Shad Khan and Baalke had to deal with a peril but now they have a chance to host a playoff game?

What a difference a culture change will do and Pederson looks like a genius but most of all, unlike a lot of highly drafted QB’s, Lawrence won’t be classified as a bust!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Please subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel to see all of his shows.


Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Power of an Adrenaline Rush!

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH 

There are two things that I can say about the year, 2022.

First, on December 29, 2022, I finally hit 60 years old. 

All year long, I’ve faced numerous medical challenges but somehow found a way to get through this year.

Second, 2022 would be the year of the Adrenaline Rush!

During the Fall, I fulfilled a lifetime goal and that was to drive around a NASCAR sanctioned Speedway, by traveling at a top speed of 147.54 MPH at Homestead-Miami Speedway. There is nothing more gratifying that driving at a high speed on an oval doing just left turns. 

I hope one day, I’ll be able to do this again.

On My Birthday, it was time to experience Go-Cart Racing at Accelerate Indoor Speedway in Milwaukee, WI with three other family members. This was totally different then the NASCAR Experience because the carts were low to the ground and my top lap was 33 MPH.

We ran two different races on a road course and I was getting banged into especially going into the corners around sharp turns.

I was intrigued by this experience but when we were done racing, the NASCAR Driving Experience was far better.

During my 44 years on the road, I’ve driven over four million miles and have taken lots of cross country trips in all kinds of weather conditions, with a lot of nighttime driving. I enjoy driving at night because there is a lot less traffic, plus I tend to go faster in some states.

This recent trip from Deerfield Beach, FL to Racine, WI saw my wife travel 25 hours driving in snow storm conditions, forcing me to drive slower and decided it was safer to get passed then get in an accident.

How do you define an Adrenaline Rush?

For me, it’s driving higher speeds and treating an interstate like a racetrack treating it like one long straightaway. What I’ve learned through the years is you better know the states and not get caught up in a speed trap. My dad always taught me to keep up with traffic.

After my phenomenal time in Homestead-Miami Speedway, I look forward to see what track I’ll race at. But as for Go-Cart Racing, I have no plans to do this again because since I’m taller, it’s difficult for me to get into a lower vehicle as well as get out of it.

But now that I’ve compared and contrasted NASCAR and Go-Cart Racing, I encourage you to try both and send me your thoughts. Regardless of what you choose, I’m always looking for the Adrenaline Rush and I’m looking forward to the next one that I find.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com. You can find him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

To see his broadcasts, there is no charge to Subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Canes Looking To Become Bowl Eligible Tonight

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

As rarely as I watch movies, there are certain lines that I’ll always remember.

My favorite one is from Hoosiers by Gene Hackman, “Let’s see what hand I’ve been dealt.”

First year Miami Hurricanes Coach Mario Cristobal has been dealing with the same narrative all season long.

During Spring Practice at DRV-Pink Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, he inherited QB’s Tyler Van Dyke and Jake Garcia. The Spring Game was an opportunity to get familiar with the signal callers and see which one would lead the 2022 squad.

During my first year covering the Hurricanes in 1982 under coach Howard Schnellenberger, I had the opportunity to interview and write a story on Heisman Trophy Candidate Jim Kelly.

Kelly was well on his way towards having a shot at winning the award until he sustained a shoulder injury on the road at Virginia Tech. He would be replaced by Mark Richt and Kyle Vanderwende.

I’ll make another movie reference, let’s go “Back To The Future” as during the season, Van Dyke was performing at a high level until the injury bug hit him. He would be replaced by Garcia and and Jacurri Brown. 

Miami’s last home game was a disastrous 45-3 rout to the Florida State Seminoles. In this contest, Florida State amassed 454 total yards while Miami had 188. The Seminoles held Miami to 62 passing yards and the Canes were 4-13 on 3rd Down Efficiency.

Miami was penalized nine times for 72 yards.

The Hurricanes trailed 31-3 at halftime and the crowd of 66,200 bolted left the game early with the exception of the FSU fans,

If there is any bright spot to this game, the cliche “Misery Breeds Company” applies to the recent run that the Seminoles, 9-3 run has been like. 

In their past five games, FSU has defeated Georgia Tech 41-14, Miami, Syracuse 38-3, Louisiana 49-17 and won their finale against Florida 45-38. The Seminoles victory over Florida was the highest scoring game in the rivalry that dates back to 1958.

The Seminoles completed a sweep of its state rivals for the first time under Mike Norvell, who has done an outstanding job turning around the program replacing current FAU Coach Willie Taggart and Texas A&M Coach Jimbo Fisher.

After losing the Florida State game, Cristobal and some of his players addressed where the team was at. Check those out in the inserted videos and please subscribe to our You Tube Channel.

The following week, the Hurricanes rebounded and went to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech as this squad works toward becoming bowl eligible. Miami defeated the Yellow Jackets 35-14.

Last week in front of a Nationally Televised audience, the host Clemson Tigers made a case to stay in the College Football playoff hunt with a 40-10 win over Miami. Clemson improved to 10-1 while Miami dropped to 5-6.

So the stage is set for the home finale, as the Hurricanes face the 7-4 Pittsburgh Panthers. There is one more opportunity to become bowl eligible. 

Can they get it down and improve to 6-6? 

The game is at 8 ET so by Sunday morning, we’ll either talk about the upcoming bowl match-up or beginning the talk of Cristobal’s plan for next season.

Needless to say, when you compare last season’s 7-5 mark under former Coach Manny Diaz vs the first season under Cristobal, there will always be comparisons between these two coaches until the team makes the next steps for being a National Championship Contender.

Nevertheless, there is a bigger narrative that has yet to be figured out that we’ll have answers before long, especially after hearing the post-game press conference after the Panthers game.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, to see all of his remote shows and streaming broadcast, please Subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.

We hope that everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and we appreciate you very much!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Marlins GM Kim Ng, Under The Microscope

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

When it comes to making ground breaking hires, the Miami Marlins have an excellent track record of doing just that.

On November 13, 2020, Kim Ng was hired as general manager of the club. She became the first woman to become a general manager of a men’s team in the history of major North American Sports. She also became the first female Asian-American and first East Asian-American general manager in MLB History.

In the Marlins first season under Ng, they finished fourth in the National League with a 67-95 record.

This past season, Miami finished with a 69-93 mark in what would turn out to be the final campaign for Manager Don Mattingly.

I remember the fan fare when the hire was made. 

During our Zoom Media Availability, this session was packed. 

I wasn’t able to get a question in this time although it didn’t matter because everything I wanted to ask was addressed.

During the past two years, I’ve enjoyed a good working relationship with Ng. She’s very knowledgeable, polite and quite cordial. 

When she was hired, there is no question that the 54-year old native of Indianapolis, Indiana possessed the qualifications to get the job.

From 1990-1996, she served as assistant director of baseball operations for the Chicago White Sox.

From 1998-2001, she was the assistant general manager for the New York Yankees and also held the same role with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2002-2011.

She is a three time World Series Champion, earning rings in 1998, 1999 and 2000 with the Yankees.

Yes, this is the same club that Yankees legend Derek Jeter captained into an incredible dynasty.

When Bruce Sherman finalized a deal to purchase the Miami Marlins, the sale was completed in September of 2017. Jeter had a 4% stake in the franchise and was named Chief Executive Officer of the team, and Sherman, the controlling owner, entrusted him to oversee day-to-day operations of the team.

On February 28, 2022, Jeter announced that he would no longer serve as CEO of the Marlins or hold any shares in the club, thus ending the relationship.

When Jeter left, Sherman has put his faith in Ng to run the show and as I mentioned earlier, the Marlins suffered another tough season leading to the mutual parting of ways with Mattingly.

When Mattingly departed during the final week of the season, the mood was somewhat shocking and Ng answered questions as you’re going to see in the video inserted in the story.

The Marlins had a very thorough search to find their next skipper that led to the hiring of 42-year old Skip Schumaker, the former Bench Coach of the St. Louis Cardinals.

When the Marlins report to Spring Training in February, the new manager won’t have to travel far to meet his new players at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. 

He’ll just have to walk across the field and go to the Marlins offices and clubhouse on the third base side of the facility.

But as Mattingly said when he left, Ng will have hired her own manger and a new voice will lead the squad. 

That individual will inherit the Marlins first ever Cy Young Award Winner Sandy Alcantara.

Ng has been a part of a couple drafts so it will be interesting to see how these prospects develop.

She now has the keys to put her footprint on this franchise and as I mentioned, she came to South Florida with tremendous qualifications.

This past week, the Marlins promoted Caroline O’ Connor to president of business operations, making them the first U.S. major sports franchise to have women serving simultaneously as president and general manager.

O’ Connor is just the second woman to serve as president of a Major League Baseball team; Seattle’s Catie Griggs is the other.

Ng handles the on-field business, O’Connor runs the off field business.

In addition to the hiring of O’Connor, legendary Marlin Jeff Conine rejoined the club as a special assistant to Sherman.

What do all these off-season moves mean?

The Marlins have no problems being pioneers when it comes to making ground breaking hires.

But that’s all fine and dandy, however, the bottom line is the results must show on the field. 

Ng is entering her third year on the job and if the club doesn’t start making significant strides in the next two years then she’ll be under heavy scrutiny.

Furthermore, if she fails, could this be a step backwards for other women trying to get a job as a general manager of a major sports team?

Time will tell. 

But now she has her own manager, not one that she inherited. 

There are no excuses.

I’m sure that the presence of Conine will give her another person she can turn to especially when it comes to making Baseball decisions. 

Conine has won a pair of championships with the Marlins in 1997 and 2003.

There is no reason why this franchise shouldn’t have some success. 

They’re solid in player development and produce a lot of home grown talent.

Let’s not forget that in the 2022 All-Star Game, the Marlins had three players represented,

As a pair of these moves have been made this week, I’ll be interested to see how this team is built which is considered the Hot Stove portion of the off-season.

What will the Marlins roster look like when Spring Training resumes?

I’m looking forward to finding out.

With a new regime in place, I’m sure a lot of people will be looking to see if this team can make it’s way back to the playoffs.

The Marlins snapped a 17-year postseason drought in 2020 under Mattingly and he went on to win the Manager of the Year Award. 

The team won a playoff series versus the Chicago Cubs.

I’m sure Mattingly will enjoy taking a break to see if Ng and Schumaker can take this club to levels had had hoped to knowing the limitations of the market. 

It even remains to be seen whether Mattingly will return to the club in some type of advisory role.

There is no doubt that Ng could use his Baseball mind, but in reality, we know now that she’s under a major microscope and it’s up to her to either sink of swim.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, you can hear his streaming broadcasts or remote shows by Subscribing to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.

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