Wasting Away In Corporitaville: The Fins Sell Their Soul To Buffett

Ever wonder what it looks like to sell your soul?

At Dolphin Stadium, it looks something like this: A white guy in a pink sombrero and plastic lei jerks to the grating jingle of "Margaritaville." Three young men covered head to waist in blue paint awkwardly bob to the faux-Caribbean beat. A man adjusts the cheeseburger on his head.

On a stage in the plush VIP lobby, Jimmy Buffett is tanned and dancing before a huge banner for LandShark Lager, the latest money machine in his corporate empire.

You know, Robert Johnson got the chops to be the best bluesman in the Delta. Faust got unlimited power. Even Bart Simpson got $5 from Milhouse.

But based on the gala kickoff, all the Dolphins got for their deal with the Devil is a few million bucks, an atrocious new fight song and the most ridiculous corporate sponsor in pro-sports history.

Welcome to LandShark Stadium, Miami.

"This is all such a farce," says Richard Penders, a gray-haired retiree in a Dolphins jersey.

Penders, a lifelong fan, shakes his head sadly as he surveys the

roomfull of Parrotheads who have invaded his cathedral of pigskin.

There's the woman in a head-to-toe foam parrot suit. The guy with an

inflatable prop plane tied to his straw boater. The couple in matching

grass skirts.

For most of the crowd of Buffett-worshippers, there was no conflict at

all in this strange corporate merger. "It's just natural. How can you

live in Miami and not love Buffett and the Dolphins?" asks David

Kerstetter, clad in a loud red tropical shirt.

Fins boss Stephen Ross takes the stage after a three-song Buffett set

and hails a "unique branding opportunity." He won't say just how much

cash Buffett - or his friends at Anheuser Busch -- sent his way. "I'm

just a lifelong fan," he gushes.

As the Parrotheads file out, Penders stands off to the side looking

surly. "His music is just not my style," Penders says. "It's always

about the cash for these guys. Can't we just play some football?"

WEB BONUS: Want to read the lyrics to Buffett's new Dolphins song? You probably should. After the concert, Fins president Stephen Ross promised reporters that fans would be hearing it "several times" a game. Enjoy the masterpiece:

"'Fins' For The Fish"

We drove down on Interstate 95
And up on U.S. 1
It's game day in Miami town
Where the Dolphins are No. 1
We play down by the ocean
In the warm South Florida sun
The tailgate's down so gather round
For some pre-game LandShark fun

Can't you feel us circlin' Dolphfans
Can't you feel us schoolin' around?
We got fins to the left, fins to the right,
We're at the only game in town
Oh Oh Oh Oh
We got fins to the left, fins to the right,
It's the only game in town.

From Lauderdale and Boca
Palm Beaches and the Florida Keys
It's a game day mass migration
High fives fill the breeze
Kick off time's approaching
We gotta shut off our cell phones
And get our arms up in the air
We are entering the "FinZone"


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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink