The Miami Marlins announced it would play next season without fans in attendance, a move the team says has nothing to do with the spread of coronavirus, but a practical decision given the team’s historically low attendance records.

“It costs a lot of money to pay all the janitors and hot dog vendors for our games, and it just isn’t worth it since we’re only getting like 250 fans per game anyway,” said Marlins’ CEO Derek Jeter. When asked whether the spread of coronavirus contributed to the team’s decision, Mr. Jeter said it hadn’t. “It’s just a coincidence that people are avoiding major sporting events around the world. They’ve been avoiding us for years.”

The Plantain spoke to Marlins player Brian Anderson about whether it will impact his game to not have fans in attendance. “I don’t think I’ll even notice,” said the third baseman as he walked to the Stadium from the home of an elderly Haitian man who lives next door and lets the players park their cars in his front yard for only $10 a game.

The Small Business Development Center at FIU Business is providing assistance to local small businesses. As of April 6, the center has helped local businesses obtain nearly $3.5 million in Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans, which provide up to $50,000 loans to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Aha! See, you thought we were going to mention the bridge collapse, right? Well, we are more mature than that and the entire above linked paragraph is true. I stole it verbatim from FIU’s website. I guess we aren’t just “reckless punks who have no respect for anyone” like Donna Shalala’s staff keeps telling everybody.

This is a scary time and FIU is a great institution that does a lot of good for our community. Like did you know that FIU employs more people in Miami than Pollo Tropical? Or that during this entire pandemic not a single FIU professor was caught looking at college co-ed pornography during a Zoom lecture?

The point is FIU is great. So what if they had one negligently built bridge collapse and kill a bunch of people? I’m not going to bring that up because it is not the right time to remind everyone that the bridge had multiple design errors and the collapse could have been avoided according to reporting by the Miami Herald because it’s old news. In fact, if we were to bring it up we would probably be criticized because it probably wasn’t even FIU’s fault even though they oversaw the project thus negating the need for a federal inspector to be on site. So we’re not mentioning it.

The Plantain loves FIU so much. That’s why when we received an email from them this week asking us to leave money to the School if we die of Coronavirus we called our lawyers and updated our wills to bequeath funds to FIU that we asked to be earmarked to help its students purchase UM hats and jerseys.

Stay safe South Florida. Go Panthers.

Actress Tara Reid endorsed Joe Biden for President today during a Zoom conference organized by his campaign.

“Make sure when you publish your story you write ‘Tara Reid Endorses Joe Biden‘ in the headline,” I was told by media strategist Amanda Abromowitz before she sent me the private link to the conference. I thought it was odd that the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee would so eagerly court the endorsement of an actress from the American Pie franchise, but was told that “Joe Biden is loved by Tara Reid in an avuncular, purely non-sexual way, and even if it was sexual it would be purely consensual.”

Tara Reid was 25 minutes late to the online conference on account that she “had to run to the store for some Marlboro Lights,” so Joe Biden took questions from the audience to the horror of the staffers also watching the event online.

What is your response to Tara Reade’s allegations?” asked a reporter in a backward hat for the Young Turks.

“They’re absolutely true! Tara Reid thinks I’m going to be a great President and I agree with her,” said Joe Biden after spending 20 minutes asking his grandson to “show him how to talk to the god damn computer phone, Jeez-Louise, Kyle.”

“No, Tara Reade your former staffer who has accused you of–” interrupted the Young Turks reporter before losing his connection.

“Sorry I’m late, bitches!” screamed Tara Reid as she entered the Zoom. She was wearing a bikini and, I don’t know, something just was off about it.

“Ah, Tara, so good to see you,” said Biden.

“Who are you?” asked Reid.

“I’m Joe Biden, of course,” he laughed before whispering “this girl is as flighty as a hummingbird,” to an old TV guide he confused for his wife.

“Oh, I thought this was for Joe Budden. Ok, whatever, so my name is Tara Reid and I endorse Joe Biden for President and he never raped me,” said Ms. Reid.

“There you have it, folks. Never raped Tara Reid, please print that in your publications, goodnight!” said Joe before turning to his TV guide and asking “now how on earth do I close out the meeting?”

“Um, excuse me, Tara?” I asked as Joe Biden tried to figure out how to end the meeting.

“Yes! Joe?” said Tara, apparently confusing me for the 80-year-old she just endorsed. After explaining that I was not Joe Biden, I asked the Van Wilder actress how this endorsement came about.

“Oh, you don’t have to answer that, honey,” said Joe to a coatrack with a yellow hat, but the actress went on.

“Someone at Joe’s campaign reached out to me on Cameo and paid me $125 to endorse him and tell everyone that he never sexually assaulted me,” Reid went on. I asked the Sharknado actress whether she believed the campaign reached out for an endorsement because she has the same name as former Senate staffer Tara Reade who has accused Joe Biden of raping her in 1993.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” said Ms. Reid as she popped another White Claw. “But I don’t believe her, I mean, women lie all the time. Remember when I played Bunny in the Big Lebowski?” I had forgotten that Tara Reid played the wife of the Big Lebowski who kidnapped herself to extort her husband,” but by the time I was ready to ask a follow-up, Biden had given up and unplugged his computer to end the Zoom.

Shortly after the conference, I received a frantic call from Ms. Abromowitz asking me why I would bring up the allegations of rape against Joe Biden. “Because he is running for President and is being accused of rape,” I said.

“Yes, but do you really want Trump to win? He raped lots of more people than Joe Biden!” she said. I asked how what Trump did was any different, to which Ms. Abromowitz said the women that accused Trump were telling the truth, whereas Tara Reade is making this up.”

“But how do you know the Trump women are telling the truth,” I asked. “Because you need to believe all women when they come out as assault victims. I agreed. “But not Tara Reade?” I asked. “Exactly!” she said. I told her I would think about how to report this piece.

After hanging up the phone I was conflicted about what to do. I didn’t want Donald Trump to be President. But I was still disturbed that Joe Biden was being accused of assaulting a woman and that all of his supporters, including Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams and Kristin Gillibrand, don’t seem to care at all. Shortly before publication, Ms. Abromowitz reached out to me and asked whether I would use her headline.

I said I would because I don’t want Trump to win, but that I would also include a long description of the events of the press conference and an editorial about how I was uncomfortable with Biden’s supporters’ willingness to turn a blind eye to serious accusations because they want to, understandably, beat Trump.

“Okay, great. As long as the headline says ‘Tara Reid endorses Joe Biden’ it’s fine, no one reads your articles anyway.”

Congressleprochaun Donna Shalala is under fire this week after admitting to–wait, are you serious? Uch, what an unforced error, okay–COMMITTING A FEDERAL CRIME BY NOT REPORTING THE SALE OF STOCKS SHE OWNED. The Plantain spoke with Ms. Shalala about the FEDERAL CRIME SHE COMMITTED, which the freshman Congressmen explained that it was a “mistake” that she chalks up to her youth and inexperience. “I was only 78 years old when it happened. I’m 79 now and learned my lesson.”

When asked how an error of the magnitude of FEDERAL FUCKING CRIME could occur, Ms. Shalala was unsure of the details, explaining only that she and her team of investment advisors took the position that they did not have to comply with federal law: “For the life of me, I cannot remember what made us think that we were wise and we’d never compromise,” said Ms. Shalala, adding that “she was merely a freshman…congressperson.”

Donna Shalala’s FEDERAL CRIME has caused some to question whether she should be appointed to the House Oversight committee overseeing the distribution of emergency Coronavirus funds. As of this publication, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not ask Donna to step down, chalking the entire controversy up as a “simple mistake” not at all like what Republican Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler did which was much worse for some reason..

The Plantain asked Ms. Shalala if she regretted selling her stock in violation of federal reporting laws, to which she said she did. We then asked whether she also regretted selling environmentally sensitive land owned by the Univesity of Miami when she was its President to developers to make a fucking Walmart to which the Congresswoman told me to fuck off and then had a staffer reach out to one of my friends in the Democratic party to ask me to “cool it” since the most important thing is defeating Trump and presenting a united front.

According to a new study by The University of Miami’s Mambi Center for Marijuana Studies, a majority of the State’s marijuana users mistakenly believe the drug has been legalized.

The Plantain spoke to the Center’s lead marijuana researcher Dr. David Vera about the results of the study. “Among Miami’s marijuana users, something like 70% believe the drug is legal,” said Dr. Vera, himself a habitual marijuana user. “Many people in the government I guess believe recreational marijuana is dangerous even though no one has ever died from weed,” pontificated Dan, adding that 40,000 people have so far died from Coronavirus and the Governor opened up the fucking beaches this week.

When asked what accounted for local pot users’ mistaken belief, Dr. Vera explained it was due to widespread misconceptions about the result of the State’s medical marijuana referendum, uncertainty about local efforts to reduce arrests for marijuana possession, as well as a third reason that Dr. Vera couldn’t remember, but described as significant before getting distracted and asking whether this reporter watched Bojack Horseman. When I told him I had not, Dr. Vera described several of his favorite jokes and set pieces from the animated show about a washed-up alcoholic actor, who also is a horse.

“It’s hilarious,” giggled Dr. Vera to himself as he took a bite of an oversize marshmallow. “But also so sad, you know. I watched an episode last night and they made an “if you give a mouse a cookie” reference! My mind was blown,” explained the researcher before interrupting his own story because he finally remembered that the third factor contributing to local marijuana user’s unfamiliarity with drug laws is “the lack of discourse about issues that impact young people within our community.”

The Plantain decided to test Dr. Vera’s theory and catch up with a group of marijuana enthusiasts we found at Indian Hammock Park.

“I’m pretty sure we voted for it a few years ago,” said 26-year-old Hialeah native Yasmin Alvarez, referring to a 2016 medical marijuana referendum that definitely did not make weed legal for everyone. “So it’s legal, right?” asked the high school civics teacher as she was handed a half-consumed joint from her friend, 31-year-old GameStop employee Derek Medina.

“No, yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s legal, right? I mean, I buy weed all the time from the gas station,” said Mr. Medina before saying “but now that I think about it, it’s just this one gas station, and only when my friend Tony is working.”

When asked whether they would stop using marijuana now that they knew it was still illegal, Ms. Alvarez and Mr. Medina said they would not.

“Weed it like natural and homopathic,” said Ms. Alvarez as she took a hit of the joint packed with a strain of marijuana known as “Elian Gonzalez” which was engineered to produce a “body and mind high so extreme it makes you want to hide in the closet.” “There’s no reason to stop,” Ms. Alvarez said once again before laying her back on the grass to take what appeared to be an impromptu emergency mid-day nap.

Among the other conclusions reported in Dr. Vera’s study is the identification of other commonly held misconceptions about marijuana among Miami-Dade residents, including:

• You can smoke in your car if traffic is annoying;

• You can possess up to 28 grams (1 oz) of marijuana if you have anxiety about getting more marijuana;

• You can smoke in your car during work breaks if you make less than $9 per hour or more than $115,000 per year;

• You should try to avoid blowing smoke in a cop’s face, but whatever.

Outside a Sedano’s Supermarket in Hialeah, the Plantain caught up with stock boy Gonzalo Diaz-Balart as he smoked a blunt and enjoyed an expired Smuckers Uncrustables behind a dumpster on his lunch break. “I need to stay medicated all day, you know. For work. I’m glad we live in such an enlightened and modern city.”

When informed that what he was doing was still illegal in the state of Florida, Mr. Diaz-Balart expressed disbelief. When told that the question of whether medical marijuana should be made legal in Florida would, once again, be put to voters this November, the stock boy said he thought that was “dope”, but admitted he probably wouldn’t vote.

“I just don’t see the point of voting. None of that shit affects me,” said Mr. Diaz-Balart as he took another hit and added, “Bro, this Pie Face OG has me lifted as fuck.”

Florida’s small businesses, including THIS ONE, breathed a small sigh of relief after the State unveiled an Emergency Bridge Loan program that offered low-interest loans to small businesses struggling to make payroll. In the week since applications have opened up the state has run out of money and…of course has been abused by fraud.

Before the state’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program ran out of money earlier this week some business owners managed to get five and even 10 emergency loans, but only 815 people got anything while 37,000 others got nothing.

Among the 815 people who received multiple loans are the proprietors of Panther Coffee, a company with six locations that consistently gets me to pay more than $4.00 for an iced tea.

“$4.00 is too much to spend on an iced tea!” I say every time I have to go to Panther Coffee to meet someone who gives me the stink eye when I suggest meeting at Starbucks who only charges me $3.20 for an iced tea. But still I pay it, because they are a local company and they support the local community and give jobs to all of those young tattooed people who don’t know enough about music to work at Sweat.

But are they really helping the community if they take more than what they should? I’m not saying they acted illegally or anything, but is it not immoral to run a business under multiple corporations and then apply for limited State funds totaling $400,000 when so many other actually small businesses will get nothing and go out of business? I applied for a loan for The Plantain also seeking funds to cover “payroll” but there is no money left over. Now, my application was fraudulent because we have no employees and utilize a group of unpaid “interns”, but it’s okay when I do it because it’s satire and protected by the First Amendment probably. The point is Panther’s actions have hurt me and lots of other companies that actually need the money.

Panther Coffee is by no means the only company taking advantage of this situation, but it is the one that I frequent the most and that has tried to situate itself as a local brand that cares about our community. And that is the only reason I give them more than $4.00 for a cup of iced tea that is, frankly, mostly ice. There are lots of other bad actors taking advantage of this situation, and maybe it is just the Miami way to get what you can at any expense. That’s why toilet paper is still sold out and someone will cut you off on the 826 and then give someone the finger as they try to merge into their lane. But I don’t think it’s cool. And I think Panther is less cool because of it.

So good job, Panther Coffee. You got yours and because of you and companies like you, 37,000 other people get nothing and I missed out on my own chance to defraud the State of Florida.

WWE was deemed an “essential business” in Florida, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said Monday, allowing the company to resume live television shows from its Orlando training facility and Full Sail University in Winter Park.

The decision, outlined in an April 9 memo from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office, could open the door for other sports to resume in the state.

According to Demings, WWE initially was not designated as essential and therefore was not exempt from the state’s shelter-in-place order, which took effect April 3 and runs through at least April 30. That decision was reversed after “some conversation” with DeSantis’ office, Demings said Monday during a news conference.

Essential businesses that are supposed to remain open during Florida’s stay-at-home order include those in the health care, financial, energy, food, communications and transportation sectors. According to the memo sent by the governor’s office on Thursday, recent additions to the list of “essential services” in the state include “employees at a professional sports and media production with a national audience — including any athletes, entertainers, production team, executive team, media team and any others necessary to facilitate including services supporting such production — only if the location is closed to the general public.”

A spokesperson from DeSantis’ office told ESPN on Monday that such services were characterized as essential “because they are critical to Florida’s economy.”

Asked if this would apply to UFC events, the spokesperson said, “The memo does not specify specific sports, as long as the event location is closed to the general public.”

The UFC has suspended all events and does not have a time frame for a return, though UFC president Dana White has made it clear that he wants to resume as soon as possible.

Starting Monday with its Raw program, WWE will run live shows without fans after several weeks of taped programming, a spokesperson confirmed to ESPN on Saturday.

“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said in a statement. “We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance.”

Editor’s Note: This entire story is real. We’re quitting the satire business.

Florida has reported a record-low number of unemployment claims filed this week by residents following a system-wide failing of the State’s unemployment website. The Plantain spoke to Governor Ron DeSantis, who said that the sharp decrease should be viewed as proof of his administration’s success and not the result of mass incompetence and systematic underfunding of the State’s unemployment program by his and former Governor Rick Scott’s administrations.

“The fact that we have had no residents successfully file for unemployment shows you that we are doing everything right,” said Governor DeSantis before he cracked open a cold Brewsky, took off his shirt, and started to vibe to some Brooks and Dunn.

The Governor said he believed the inability of people to file unemployment claims meant that there had not been an increase in joblessness in Florida, arguing that if people really wanted to file for unemployment they would pull themselves up by their bootstraps and find a way to do so. When confronted with the fact that the State’s unemployment website had crashed, Governor Desantis said if people were really desperate they would call the Government and ask for help. When asked whether any such calls had been made, DeSantis said he was unsure, telling the Plantain that more than 2 million calls had been made and have gone unreturned to the unemployment office in the last week, a number he admitted was high, but chalked it up to the great job he was doing.

“Look, when you have the lowest number of unemployment claims filed in State history it’s not unreasonable to expect millions of people to call you up and tell you you’re doing a great job,” said DeSantis before breakin’ out his acoustic guitar and playing along to “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.”

President Donald Trump reportedly sought the advice of former pro baseball player Alexander Rodriguez on how to best handle the coronavirus outbreak and also how to get fuckin’ ripped fast.

Mr. Trump admitted in an exclusive interview with The Plantain that he has known Alex since his days as a Yankee, noting that they used to “bang the same broads if you know what I mean.” We told him we understood, but he still elaborated. “We used to have sex with the same models, you know?” We told him we got it, but he still went on, “but they weren’t all models. I mean, they all could have been models. The women we would bang. But they weren’t all professional models–“. This explanation went on for some time before we interrupted to ask about the contents of his call with the baseball player.

“Right–Well, when I was, you know, having sex with these beautiful women, I would ask them who had the better body, me or Alex Rodriguez. They would say I did, but deep down I knew they might be not telling the truth because at the time he was a professional athlete at the prime of his career and I was a 63-year-old reality TV star who lived on filet of fish sandwiches and diet cokes.”

It was at this point when the President stopped talking. “Mr. President, are you there?” I asked.

“What, oh…yeah. What were you asking me about?”

“Why you had a call with Alex Rodriguez.”

“Oh, right. So I would be having sex with these models–“

“You said that part already.”

“Oh, right. So anyway, I was always aware of Alex’s body so I figured I want to look tough on TV so if coronavirus is watching it is intimidated and maybe decides it doesn’t want to fight a strong, muscular man like me, so I call Alex and asked him if there was something I could take that would let me have a body like his. Not his body now, which, let’s be frank is a bit doughy, but his body 15 years ago when we would bang the same broads, meaning have sex.”

After taking all that in, I asked the President if Alex had been of any help, to which the President said he was extremely helpful and offered to introduce him to an unlicensed Hialeah-based physician who could “hook [the President] up with some really great, really strong roids.” I asked whether he thought it was appropriate for the President of the United States to take illegal medications from an unlicensed doctor, to which the President called me a pussy and explained that “this guy gets all the best medicines, no questions asked.” He went on to say that Arod told him this “doctor” was “the best” and that based on that recommendation he was considering having him replace Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institute of Health, whom the President said was “too small” to intimidate Coronavirus.

The Plantain reached out to Alex Rodriguez for comment, but upon learning that we would be recording the conversation he hung up and had his lawyer send us a cease and desist letter.

Between interviews on local television and releasing a rap song that surprisingly fucks, the ‘Only In Dade’ crew is having quite a month. Now those crazy Jabberwockys are at it again with the launch of a new Insta page “Also in Broward.”

“I was in Pembroke Pines looking at affordable housing options and saw a naked man riding a moped that was on fire and was like ‘ONLY IN DADE!’ but then some old man wearing a Lacoste shirt stopped me and told me that stupid shit also happens in Broward,” said one of the sites masked founders who asked that we not reveal his identity. “I can’t risk it, you know. Life can be dangerous for an internet mogul,” said the unidentified man before offering to sell me an Only in Dade shirt from the trunk of his suped-up Mazda.

The Only in Dade crew had to update some of its cultural references for a Broward audience. For example, where Only in Dade features jokes about croquettes, cafecitos, and Versailles, Also in Broward has jokes about cheese sandwiches, mountain dew, and Arbys.

“We want to make our Broward audience feel like we understand the dumb shit that makes them unique. So instead of like a joke about an Abuela throwing a chancleta at her grandson for talking during Walter Mercado, our Broward page will have a Bubbe feed brisket to her grandson as she sort of racistly explains why she left Miami after Hurricane Andrew.”

“I think this is great,” said Coral Springs resident Nathan Something-White, of the new Always in Broward page. “Broward has everything Miami has plus like a ton of Arby’s, it’s about time we got a hot meme Insta and a catchphrase,” said Mr. Whitename as he bit into a cheese sandwich at Arby’s. “ALSO IN BROWARD, DUDE!” he said before chasing it down with some Mountain Dew.

Update: The Plantain will be launching its own Broward specific satire website called The Oxycontin, a reference to Broward County’s chill attitude and horrible prescription drug problem.