Now that the season is over and I've had some time to let things marinate, it's really hard for me to be upset. It was a hell of a ride and a pretty fun way to kick off the next decade of Heat basketball, and knowing our front office and organization, you can bet that even though we have plenty of talent, Pat Riley and co. are going to continue to tweak the roster and make the team even better.
Going over the past year in my head, it had to be the most fun I've had covering, or even following any team that I've been around. Everything began almost a full year ago when the insanity of ‘2010 free agency' got started, and things were even crazier from my perspective thanks to my wonderful job directly inside of all things that are South Florida sports. Since I've been going over this year in my head I thought I'd give you a little insight into the way it happened from my perspective.
For those who don't know, along with PIM I work for a sports-talk radio station in Miami and do as many different jobs as I can. I get to cover pretty much every sports team down here, meaning I'm at Dolphins practice (when there is a season) several times a week, Heat practices and games, Marlins games, Panthers games and the occasional Miami Hurricanes practice. I do a lot from inside the station as well, producing Marlins games and live shows, engineering for anything and everything we put on the air as well as getting in front of the mic to do on-air updates and even host the occasional show.
I remember how stressed out people down here in South Florida were getting when Dwyane Wade visited other teams, especially Chicago. It's probably because I try to be a ‘glass half-full' kind of guy (if you haven't already noticed that), but I never once thought that Wade would sign elsewhere. Everything he had ever done and said pointed to him remaining with the Heat, his team, and I was quite certain that he was the kind of person who would do the honorable thing.
Heat fans were of a different opinion though, and I remember getting a lot of calls at the station with people freaking out about Wade leaving and wondering what would happen to the franchise if he did. For the most part, I would always respond with the same three words: "Trust Pat Riley". Thankfully, good ol' Pat didn't let me down, and on the day where Wade and Bosh went live on ESPN to announce they were both signing with Miami...well lets just say that it was a rare day in radio where it seemed like everything was positive and nothing could bring us down.
Next up was the day of ‘The Decision', which came a week after Wade and Bosh made their choices known. I was going to be at the station that night regardless because I was producing the Marlins game, and they were out west playing Arizona. The plan was, if LeBron decided to join the Heat, we were going to come on the air and host a show all night long, beginning as soon as our Marlins broadcast ended which would be around 1am assuming the game didn't go to extra innings.
Along with maybe two other people at the station, we watched LeBron say he was ‘bringing his talents to South Beach' and we went crazy. It was such an awesome feeling, like winning the basketball lottery. And let me pause the story to say that I sit here, almost a year later, and I'm just as happy that we got King James. I know there are some Heat fans out there that for whatever reason don't seem to appreciate what LeBron does for this team and think we would be better without him, and hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm just thankful that the people making the basketball decisions for the Heat know what we have in Mr. James and plan to continue to build around him, Mr. Wade and Mr. Bosh as well.
So yeah, after the decision we had to go on with our Marlins broadcast, but immediately following the game (a 10-4 loss in case you were wondering), myself and two other guys hosted a show all about the Heat and LeBron James choosing to come here. It was one of the most fun shows I've ever done, and we stayed on the air until 5am when our morning show took over. South Florida was buzzing too because we had a full board of calls almost the entire time. Then about a week later I got to be a part of the big celebration that has gotten a fair amount of flack around the country, which is something that I couldn't care less about.
I totally understand people being upset about it, for the same reasoning they were upset about the Heat getting such good players. This was a time for Miami Heat fans to celebrate, for us all to come together and enjoy the moment. Not for anyone else. Just us. We are a tight-knit unit and have been though a lot together, and now we had a reason to celebrate doing something historic, and involving the fans in that was brilliant. It's one of the best Heat-related memories that I have, especially getting to go behind the scenes and be there for the press conference, ask questions and watch them sign their contracts just a few feet away from me. It was certainly a long night, but one I wouldn't trade for most of my other awesome sports experiences. YES. WE. DID.
The year since then is still a bit of a blur, especially about 20 games into the season when my station became the flagship for the Heat, meaning that we were the main station that would broadcast them on the radio. If other stations wanted to play the Heat game they had to get it from us, and with that came a pleothra of different Heat-related shows and segments as well as increased coverage and access to the team which is something that helped me a lot with getting fast and exclusive information for PIM.
When baseball season rolled around again in 2011, things once again got super busy. Still, just because it was busy and a little crazy doesn't mean that its not a lot of fun. However, now that the Heat season is over I know that once everything sets in there is going to be some emptiness. Not only do I have no more basketball games to work, but there is also no football yet. As much as I enjoy working Marlins games, having no Heat, no Dolphins and no Panthers (FYI- I am a HUGE hockey fan) to cover, it makes me a little sad.
That's why I've been sitting back and trying to reflect on the past year as a whole. It's been one hell of an awesome experience as both a Heat fan and a part of the media, and it's a year that I'll certainly never forget. I didn't spend much time talking about my other job on the blog but I did include some of the perks in my posting, with all the audio cuts I would get, the occasional inside info that other outlets may not have known about and the timely news I tried to get out as quickly as I could.
So on that note, I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane from my perspective. While obviously this summer couldn't possibly compare to last year, I still think that Pat Riley has a few ticks up his sleeve that will have Heat fans getting excited for another title run in the upcoming season this fall. Anyone who thinks that he is content with the team as it is doesn't know Pat very well, and I'm certain that he has had several plans in place for when the season was over.
I'll wrap this up with a thank you that goes out to all the readers of PIM, and a special thanks to the guys that have been here all season, turning our Game Threads into a place where Heat fans knew they could find at least a couple guys to chat with during games, and giving each blog post a nice comment feed for people to share their opinions and have discussions. This isn't just a blog, but a community, and that is thanks to you all. Have a great summer, and GO HEAT!