Keep your sabermetrics, kiddo. The only number Jack McKeon needs to know when it comes to baseball is 72. That's how old McKeon was when Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria tapped the venerable coach to take over as manager of his rudderless young team midseason in May 2003. And that's how many years McKeon's got in his gut telling him how to play ball. He might not know exactly the right names of any of these kids running around the field in black and teal, but he knows who to play, who to pull, and when. Can a team win a World Series on bunts? Can a pitcher keep hurling fire on only three days rest? Before the 2004 series any other baseball person would have said, "No!" Ask the old guy, and the answer is the young Florida Marlins winning their second world championship in six years.

As leadoff hitter, Alabama-born center fielder Juan Pierre set the pace for the 2004 Florida Marlins and helped slay giants (and Cubs and Yankees, oh my). The main artery in a world championship team filled with heart, Pierre gave his all to hitting, base running, and fielding. He almost always put himself in the right part of the outfield at the right time to make the play. On those rare occasions where his positioning failed him, Pierre compensated by flying rather than diving to get to the rock and leave hitters feeling robbed. That speed served him around the bases as well. Clocking in at 3.6 seconds from home to first, Pierre led the National League in steals. And who can forget the team's first at-bat in World Series play, when Pierre tapped the ball into a dead zone in the Yankee defense, showing again that even in the age of steroids and home run kings, it's the small things that make champions. That and giving it your all.

As weekend fans of WLRN-FM (91.3)'s venerable Sounds of the Caribbean show know, all is not copacetic in the world of Miami reggae radio. In fact there is no reggae radio as fascinating as the show put on by DJ Ital-K since his program was terminated in October. Kevin "Ital-K" Smith might not be spinning reggae nuggets on air, but he is waging war with the public radio station, which is run under the auspices of Miami-Dade Public Schools. Smith's fight, made even more rancorous after he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging WLRN with racial discrimination, is entertainment enough. Who would have thought that such a sweet program could lead to such bitterness? To hear the best in reggae warfare, tune in to the monthly broadcasts of the Miami-Dade School Board meeting on LRN. Smith, technically a suspended employee of the school district, has come before the board at least four times asking for an explanation as to why he was yanked from the radio. He has yet to get an answer, and his repeated requests for meetings have been dismissed, promising more great debate shows as he continues his struggle. It's hoped his old show will be returned and everyone can get back to the island grooves. Meanwhile, though, the hottest sounds in reggae come from the bickering and battling between a DJ and an institution.

As weekend fans of WLRN-FM (91.3)'s venerable Sounds of the Caribbean show know, all is not copacetic in the world of Miami reggae radio. In fact there is no reggae radio as fascinating as the show put on by DJ Ital-K since his program was terminated in October. Kevin "Ital-K" Smith might not be spinning reggae nuggets on air, but he is waging war with the public radio station, which is run under the auspices of Miami-Dade Public Schools. Smith's fight, made even more rancorous after he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging WLRN with racial discrimination, is entertainment enough. Who would have thought that such a sweet program could lead to such bitterness? To hear the best in reggae warfare, tune in to the monthly broadcasts of the Miami-Dade School Board meeting on LRN. Smith, technically a suspended employee of the school district, has come before the board at least four times asking for an explanation as to why he was yanked from the radio. He has yet to get an answer, and his repeated requests for meetings have been dismissed, promising more great debate shows as he continues his struggle. It's hoped his old show will be returned and everyone can get back to the island grooves. Meanwhile, though, the hottest sounds in reggae come from the bickering and battling between a DJ and an institution.

First the transformation of the nightclub: Gone the primal throb of original owner Prince; gone the Cristal-slick poses of Gerry Kelly's fashionista friends. Instead the enormous main room is thronged by a more idiosyncratic and inventive form of hip. Every dancer in town of every age, ethnicity, and race, it seems, has gathered in this electronic tango dreamscape. Dismembered limbs kick, dip, and turn on an enormous video screen. The atmosphere shivers like Line Kruse's violin, sobs with Nini Flores's bandoneon, gasps at Eduardo Makaroff's guitar, and drowns in vocalist Cristina Villalonga-Serra's mournful melodies. DJ/producers Philippe Cohen-Solal and Christophe Müller mine the deep, luxurious sorrow of tango, sampling, dubbing, milking grief until it gives the most exquisite pleasure. When the band runs out of material to play for encores, pianist Gustavo Beytelmann embarks on a heart-stinging version of an Eminem hit. Tango changes everything.

First the transformation of the nightclub: Gone the primal throb of original owner Prince; gone the Cristal-slick poses of Gerry Kelly's fashionista friends. Instead the enormous main room is thronged by a more idiosyncratic and inventive form of hip. Every dancer in town of every age, ethnicity, and race, it seems, has gathered in this electronic tango dreamscape. Dismembered limbs kick, dip, and turn on an enormous video screen. The atmosphere shivers like Line Kruse's violin, sobs with Nini Flores's bandoneon, gasps at Eduardo Makaroff's guitar, and drowns in vocalist Cristina Villalonga-Serra's mournful melodies. DJ/producers Philippe Cohen-Solal and Christophe Müller mine the deep, luxurious sorrow of tango, sampling, dubbing, milking grief until it gives the most exquisite pleasure. When the band runs out of material to play for encores, pianist Gustavo Beytelmann embarks on a heart-stinging version of an Eminem hit. Tango changes everything.

If the Miami Dolphins can conjure up a quarterback and an offensive line, Ricky Williams will set rushing records for years. Combining speed and agility with Riggins-esque old-school muscle, Williams was the only moving part in the Dolphins' offensive engine last season. Williams's personality also makes him more interesting than your average hunnerdtenpercent-givin' jock: The 230-pound Heisman winner has dealt with social anxiety disorder all his life, and at one point only consented to interviews while wearing his helmet and Vaderlike visor. The eerily soft-voiced bruiser was also, for a time, unable to leave his house for fear of having to interact with people who recognized him. But a well-documented recovery (thanks to therapy and medication) and a trade from New Orleans to Miami in 2002 have resulted in a more confident Williams, on and off the field. Now all the Dolphins need to do is fire their coach, shore up the defense, and bring in the aforementioned QB and offensive line.

The Florida Panthers are a mediocre team with an outstanding goalie. Despite tepid group play all around him, Luongo has been stellar this season, racking up six shutouts by late February, when he led the National Hockey League in saves and was second in the league with a stingy .934 save percentage. Luongo has gotten better over three seasons with the Panthers, turning himself into one of the league's top goalkeepers. Unfortunately (and like Miami's biggest sports star, Ricky Williams) Luongo isn't getting a lot of help from a young, inexperienced Panthers defense. Part of Luongo's one-step strategy for filling up the net: Be big. At six feet three inches and 205 pounds, there's simply not much space to squeeze a puck around him.

How did they get all those people on I/O's little stage? That was the recurring question during Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra's sweaty set there this past December. With a full horn section, percussionists, and an organist rounding out the fourteen-piece band, it was a wonder the singer didn't find himself crashing into either of the guitarists. Antibalas didn't leave too much time for thinking, though. Firm believers in the maxim that if you free your ass, your mind is sure to follow, the band never let up for a minute. Channeling the spirit of fabled Nigerian Afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti (via their own hometown of Brooklyn), they whipped through a set of thick funk that had the diverse crowd of hipsters, indie rockers, and barefoot Deadheads all frugging madly. Just imagine the cream of James Brown's get-on-the-good-foot riffs, not only taken to the bridge, but spun out for an entire evening. Yeah, it was that good.

How did they get all those people on I/O's little stage? That was the recurring question during Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra's sweaty set there this past December. With a full horn section, percussionists, and an organist rounding out the fourteen-piece band, it was a wonder the singer didn't find himself crashing into either of the guitarists. Antibalas didn't leave too much time for thinking, though. Firm believers in the maxim that if you free your ass, your mind is sure to follow, the band never let up for a minute. Channeling the spirit of fabled Nigerian Afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti (via their own hometown of Brooklyn), they whipped through a set of thick funk that had the diverse crowd of hipsters, indie rockers, and barefoot Deadheads all frugging madly. Just imagine the cream of James Brown's get-on-the-good-foot riffs, not only taken to the bridge, but spun out for an entire evening. Yeah, it was that good.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®