The Strange Case of Dr. Dave and Mr. Hyde

Or, how the Sun-Sentinel got two sports columnists for the price of one

Mr. Hyde had been a first-row, silly-looking doubter, but Dr. Dave had no way to know that.

August 13, 2001: Just a week later, Mr. Hyde was sucked back into the fray with a column that was, no joke, headlined, "This Is Just the Start... Uh-Oh."

"You had that sinking feeling right from this preseason's first steps," Mr. Hyde wrote. "Tampa Bay's Frank Murphy took the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Uh-oh... You entered Monday with the hope for a glimpse of the upcoming season. You left with the fear -- uh-oh -- that's maybe just what you got."

Is it me, or is there an echo of uh-ohs around here?

But this was a landmark column, as Dr. Dave chipped in parenthetical remarks to make fun of Mr. Hyde in the very same space. Who could forget quips like, "(Hey, don't pay attention to any of this, folks. I'm just getting ready for the regular season... this game doesn't mean anything, everyone knows that)."

It was both eerie and not quite funny all at the same time.

September 9, 2002: Despite Mr. Hyde's sinking feeling, the Dolphins made the playoffs again, which sprung Dr. Dave from the parentheses that shackled him. The team came back strong last year, prompting the good doctor to write, in midseason, that, "Wannstedt keeps making the right moves, keeps pushing the right buttons."

With all this button-pushing going on, you'd think the coach was a stenographer. But it goes to show that two poles of Dave Hyde have one thing in common: Both repeat stupid clichés and phrases. For instance, a Nexis search shows they've called the readers "folks" in 102 columns during the past decade.

December 31, 2002: After a disappointing loss at New England that kept the Dolphins from the playoffs, Mr. Hyde emerged with a vengeance, calling for the hiring of Bill Parcells to replace the guy who just a few months before was pushing all the right buttons and had fairly recently done the greatest coaching job in world history. Mr. Hyde ranted that "South Florida has dibs on the un-coach of the year... This is how the autopsy looks today. Everything gets back to the head coach."

The evil Mr. Hyde likes to refer to corpses, but you have to give him props for originality this time. Who ever heard of a sportswriter calling for a coach to be fired?

May 1, 2003:Dr. Dave detected the hypocrisy and penned a column titled "Time to Give the Guy a Break":

"Isn't it time to stop pounding Wannstedt like tenderized steak over this off-season? Well? Come on, folks, check out how the new team picture is developing for the Dolphins."

Take that, Mr. Hyde.

September 8, 2003: Which brings us up to the Texans loss and the horrible return of the dark half. "The Wannstedt Watch is about to begin," Mr. Hyde wrote after the opener. "The question, after this disaster, isn't whether he survives the season. It's whether he survives September.

"All his Up With Dolphins optimism in the offseason didn't work, obviously. All his free-agent buys, as sound as they look, didn't fix anything... It's the same game, the same non-surprises, as last December. There were again so many leaks, in so many areas, that you don't know where to start."

Apparently, Wannstedt found the right buttons to push, since his team has won impressive back-to-back games. That plus the Marlins' success has brought Dr. Dave back in all his gleeful glory. Just listen to this gush of treacle he wrote after last week's sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies: "The story was more remarkable than winning. It was of being loved in return," wrote the apparently Moulin Rouge-addled columnist. "The author said there are no second acts in America. But he wrote that from another generation, back before seeing how many there are in love, in life and in the love of a baseball life, as this Marlins season has shown us."

Excuse me now while I throw up.

But you know Mr. Hyde is lurking in the shadows, folks, ready to pounce as soon as the slightest thing goes wrong.

Uh-oh.

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