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Dolphins 2009 Expectations Poll; plus Marlins get help, Heat don't, Big Papi, golfing llamas & more

     [Follow along at Twitter.com/gregcote and join us this coming Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. as our live chats resume. Click on ChatChat to post a question early].

     The Great Expectations Poll as Dolphins open camp: Time to set the bar, Dolfans. How high, or low, will it go as the team opens training camp on Sunday? Do you expect a championship season? At least a playoff year? Or a downturn based largely on a much-tougher schedule? Try to be as realistic as you can. Remember, this isn't asking what you hope will happen but what you think will. Vote, and drop a comment on why you feel the way you do, and what your biggest concern is as the preseason unfurls. (Click on King Sport Arriveth for the new column by me, online now and in Monday's column, off the opening of training camp. I explore the disconnect between the enthusiasm of Dolfans and the low expectations assigned the team by Las Vegas and most experts. Favorite quote? Guard Justin Smiley: "We're not a bunch of slappies.").

1pat     [Poll observation: There is new evidence suggesting that approximately 9 percent of football fans may be delusional. That, or unaware of the meaning of the word "realistic."]  

     Dolphins' Pat White eschews holdout, signs: Pro Football Talk had reported that Miami second-round pick Pat White (pictured), the QB obtained as a presumed Wildcat triggerman, was at odds with the club over incentives and could be an early training-camp holdout. (Click here for the story). I doubted that and would have been very surprised if the kid was not present and accounted for at Sunday's opening of camp. Sure enough, he signed. (By the way, The Miami Herald reported exclusively Saturday that the Dolphins need playmakers.GEE, YA THINK!?! No team that fancies itself in the playoff hunt has a less-scary receiving corps. The whole impetus for the continuing reliance on the Wildcat is an attempt to make up for the lack of playmakers. That's one of the reasons I thought they should have drafted a receiver No. 1, why I pushed them to go after Anquan Boldin, and why I unsuccessfully championed Miami getting Michael Vick).

1nick      Nick Johnson a good get for Marlins: Florida gets in Friday's deadline trade a veteran, positive clubhouse presence, a strong glove at first base, and lefthanded .290s hitter and high on-base guy with occasional power. All for the low price of a minor-league pitcher. Management needed to do something to demonstrate belief in the team's playoff chances, as I'd written, and did just that.

     Heat's frustrating offseason continues: They really, really wanted Lamar 1jamaal Odom. Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade lobbied hard, only to watch Odom re-up with L.A. I wonder if Wade committing to extend his contract rather than pointing himself toward free agency in 2010 might have convinced Odom to come here. Whaddya think, Dwyane? Now the team is relegated to fishing around for free-agent point guard Jamaal Tinsley (pictured right). Oy. Maybe they can still work a deal for Carlos Boozer to salvage what so far has been a tough offseason in which Miami hasn't done much except watch other teams in the East get better.

1llama      North Carolina golf course offers llamas as caddies: Click here for the story and video. (Reminds me: Did you read John Daly just shot an 88 and is pondering retirement? When I shoot 88, which happens occasionally, I am cartwheeling off the 18th green and buying drinks).

     Big Papi the latest to disappoint: David Ortiz was an unlikely Hall of Famer except in the prejudiced hearts of Red Sox Nation. Five all-star appearances and 304 career homers don't cut it. But the revelation this week that he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs  in 2003 makes certain the Cooperstown door won't open even a crack to consider him. Click here for my column this week on Ortiz, now downsized to Little Papi, and the latest steroids fallout. It's time for baseball to name names. All of them. [For a different take on the steroids issue, catch Le Batard's Sunday column. It's a hoot. Dan, apparent spokesman for the Illicit Pharmaceutical Association, ignores the overwhelming consensus of medical opinion and the small matter of ethics and writes from a pro-steroids perspective. Seriously].

     Music news from the Vatican: Pope Benedict XVI -- Big Popi? -- plans to release an album. Could I say it if it weren't true? Click here for details. No word on whether an arena or stadium tour will follow.

1towtruck      You give multitasking a bad name: A western New York tow-truck driver was texting on one cell phone while talking on another as he rammed into a house and careened into a swimming pool. Click on Dumbass for the true tale.

     Hope you have a better weekend than the former driver for Adams Towing.

     That'll do it for now but click back. May be adding/updating.