« January 2012 | Main | March 2012 »

14 posts from February 2012

February 28, 2012

Dolphins should trade-up, draft Robert Griffin III No. 2 overall. But worth cost? (with poll); plus Marlinsanity on SI cover, Daytona, Trump, Baby On Board & more

1aa1davyjones[1) It is Thursday, March 1. Click here for my latest column previewing South Florida's busiest, most varied sports month. 2) R.I.P., Davy Jones (pictured), original Monkee. 3) Radiohead opened tour this week in Miami. I'm weird with Radiohead. Never been a huge fan overall although "Creep" absolutely is one of my favorite songs of all-time. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Time for Dolphins to be bold,  get Griffin: Click Not Manning or Flynn -- RG3 to read my Wednesday column on the Dolphins quarterback saga. Now what is your opinion? Vote in our poll below and say why.

DOLPHINS WEIGHING HUGE TRADE-UP TO NO. 2 FOR RG3: ESPN reported that St. Louis, holding the draft's overall No. 2 selection, definitely plans to trade the pick, that Cleveland (picking 4th), 1aa1baylorgriffinWashington (6th) and Miami (8th) are the most likely trade partners, and that negotiations with all three already have taken place. The Rams are using as a framework for their demands what the Chargers got from the Giants in 2004 for the rights to Eli Manning. That was two 1st round picks, a 3rd round and a 5th round. Clearly the Dolphins still prefer a healthy Peyton Manning, led by an enamored owner Stephen Ross. A rumor out there -- and only a rumor -- is that Manning, WR Reggie Wayne and center Jeff Saturday would come as a package deal. Miami could puruse Green Bay free-agent Matt Flynn if they can't reel in Manning. But negotiations to trade up to No. 2 for Griffin III (pictured) suggest that could be an aggressively pursued option if the Manning/Flynn options do not pan out, or even a preferred option, perhaps. The news that St. Louis will trade the No. 2 pick advances this story and in my mind sort of elevates Griffin back up to the level of Manning and Flynn in terms of viable possibilities for Miami. The question: Should the Dolphins spend two 1sts -- including the swap of firsts with St. Louis -- plus a 3rd and a 5th (or thereabouts) to get Griffin or would Manning or Flynn or something else be a wiser option? Take a dip in our poll and say why.

1aa1coversi'MARLINSANITY' MAKES COVER OF SI: Marlins fans who are believers in the Sports Illustrated cover jinx should say a prayer. Ozzie Guillen and Jose Reyes appear on the current issue's cover with the banner 'MARLINSANITY,' reflecting how wild and crazy this season could be (as I'd written in a recent column. Here is the cover.

THREE EX-CANES ON COLLEGE HALL BALLOT: The 84 newly announced 2012 nominees for College Football Hall of Fame include ex-UM quarterbacks George Mira (1961-63) and Vinny Testaverde (1984-86), and ex-Canes coach Jimmy Johnson (1984-84). The '90s Gators QB Danny Wuerffel is only other state-school guy on the ballot.

NASCAR'S DAYTONA NIGHTMARE: Ever since 9/11 I stopped applying words like disaster too casually to sports, and certainly in auto racing the word only applies to a death or terrible injury. But the Daytona 500 opening NASCAR's 2012 season surely qualifies as a nightmare for the sport. Delayed by rain and then by a bizarre accident involving a track-drying truck, a race scheduled for Sunday finally ended in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. That Matt Kenseth won seems superfluous. The story was the calamity that overshadowed and diminished the sport's signature race and the start of a new season. Having said all that, TV ratings were stout all things considered.

MARLINS AND EMILIO: Marlins announced today that Emilio Estefan will produce the club's April 4 Opening Night Festivities. 

1aa1donaldtTRUMP BUYING DORAL: Donald Trump and His Bizarre Hair are buying Doral golf resort including the famed Blue Monster course for $150 million. Off-the-board certain is that the place will be rechristened to include the word "Trump." Less likely but certainly possible is that Trump, never far removed from ostentatiousness and oneupmanship, will order all of the fairways and greens covered in a undulating carpet of money.

BABY ON BOARD!: I thought those distinctive yellow car-window signs had gone out of fashion along with the trendiness of the word "yuppie" but I've noticed several 'Baby On Board' signs just lately and am 1aa1babyreminded how they annoy me. They imply that I am a naturally reckless driver but will be more careful because of your precious cargo. Guess what? A baby on board is equally precious to me as anybody else on board. I am not more or less careful based on who my fellow motorists might be. (Are you?) The 'Baby On Board' signs convey, falsely, that one car's occupants are more important than another's. A 'Baby On Board' sign to me is roughly as mildly offputting and not much different than if suctioned to the back window of my car was a sign reading, 'WHITE MAN ON BOARD.' You get me?

PANTHERS' QUIET GAMBLE: Florida Panthers standing pat with no pre-trade-deadline deals will be second-guessed if the team falls short of ending its long NHL playoff drought, especially considering the the intensely close battle and the Cats' general lack of scoring punch. GM Dale Tallon is all in on the hand he has. Let's see how it plays out.

1aa1gabunionMORE THAN D-WADE'S GIRLFRIEND: Gabrielle Union is best-known as an actress and longtime girlfriend of Dwyane Wade (pictured) but deserves credit for her activism, too. She was among a panel speaking yesterday in Washington at a Capital Hill briefing on preventing teen dating violence. Click here for more. I spend a lot of time needling and poking fun in this blog but good-doing gets occasional credit, too.

NOTE TO CEMETERY EXERCISERS: This week I saw three people abreast walking briskly through a cemetery. 1aa1cemeteryjogExercising, they were. How rude, I thought. How gallingly disrespectful. Imagine you are at a gravesite quietly paying respects to a loved one as joggers pound past. What's next? Cemeteries overrun by picknickers? Frisbee dogs? How about I bring my 9-iron to a cemetery and start hitting range balls using Uncle Fred's grave as a tee box? A simple rule: Only dead people, people visiting dead people and employees should be in cemeteries. Walkers, joggers and exercisers, go to a local park and let the deceased rest in peace you self-absorbed cretins.

Click back. Will be updating and adding to this latest blogpost...

February 27, 2012

D-Wade (NoseGate) and LeBron (The Shot Not Taken) put Heat Big 2 in odd spotlight; plus UM 2012 football schedule, Marlins, J-Lo's Oscar dress & more

"The Oscars and NBA All-Star Game on at the same time. It was confusing. I just asked Dwyane Wade, 'Who are you wearing?'"  --Greg Cote

[1) Rick Santorum called President Obama a "snob" and now he's attacking JFK. Somebody tell Rick to get back on the meds. 2) Votes still accepted in our all-star-games poll in post directly below this latest one. 3) UM women, after loss at Duke, fall 5th to 7th in latest poll. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

DWYANE AND LEBRON'S BIG (AND WEIRD) WEEEKEND: Kobe Bryant has a nasal fracture, or what the old folks like to call a broken 1aa1nosegatenose. That is because the Heat's Dwyane Wade momentarily forgot about the code that says nobody plays defense in an NBA All-Star Game -- let alone hard-foul defense. That the West beat the East 152-149 Sunday would verify the no-defense part. Except midway through the third quarter in Orlando, as Bryant attempted a layup, Wade fouled him from behind, over the shoulder (pictured), about as flagrant a foul as you'll see in an all-star game. Bryant's nose was bleeding within seconds. D-Wade never offered an apology. The Heat happen to play the Lakers in L.A. this coming Sunday, when Wade surely can expect some sort of physical payback. The All-Star Game also was spiced by The Shot Not Taken by LeBron in the final minute. I write about Wade and James' interesting Sunday in my latest column, newly online and shipping to Tuesday's pulp editions. Click on Never a Dull Moment for that column.

Heat, LeBron huge picks for title, MVP: Latest odds from Bovada have Heat a huge 7-5 favorite to win NBA championship, followed by Oklahoma City at 17-4, Chicago 5-1, L.A. Clippers 12-1, and L.A. Lakers and San Antonio 14-1. Miami's LeBron James is a prohibitive 1-2 betting pick for MVP, followed by Kobe Bryant 9-2, Kevin Durant 6-1, Chris Paul 9-1, Derrick Rose 15-1 and Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard both 20-1.

Chris Bosh and custody: Click here for a part of the Heat star's life he'd probably prefer to not see splashed across TMZ.com.

HURRICANES 2012 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE: It is made official today and here it is, with all games 1aa1canestheuSaturday except the one noted otherwise and with home games in all caps: Sept. 1 @ Boston College; Sept. 8 @ Kansas State; Sept. 15 vs. BETHUNE-COOKMAN; Sept. 22 @ Georgia Tech; Sept. 29 vs. NORTH CAROLINA STATE; Oct. 6 @ Notre Dame; Oct. 13 vs. NORTH CAROLINA; Oct. 20 vs. FLORIDA STATE; Nov. 1 (Thursday) vs. VIRGINIA TECH; Nov. 10 @ Virginia; Nov. 17 vs. SOUTH FLORIDA; and Nov. 24 @ Duke. All starting times are to be determined. In addition, UM's Spring Game will be April 14 and the ACC Championship Game is Dec. 1 in Charlotte. Quick observations: Kansas State, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame make a tough three-game road stretch, but getting FSU and Va-Tech at home is a big break.

1aa1big3vanityFAMOUS ATHLETES POSING: For no reason at all, here is a picture of Serena Williams, Tim Tebow and Venus Williams last night at the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Serena (far left) looks like she could kick the crap out of me and possibly out of Tebow as well.

UM HOOPS (AND FANS) LOOKING THE PART: UM upsets No. 16 Florida State here yesterday despite the suspension-absence of Reggie Johnson, so thrilling the packed house that fans jubilantly stormed the court afterward. For that moment, this looked and felt like a college basketball town, and the Canes looked and felt like a squad deserving of an NCAA Tournament bid. UM's men, remember, also upset No. 5 Duke this season, up there amid the Cameron Crazies. Alas, coach Jim Larranga's group has lost its five other games against ranked opponents, and the 17-10 overall mark with two games left likely will leave Miami just outside the big bubble and settling for the NIT. (Meantime the national-title-dreaming UM women have won 40 consecutive home games. Extraordinary).

Haith on Reggie Johnson: Former UM coach Frank Haith, now at Missouri, says here he is cooperating with the NCAA over the matter that caused current Canes center Reggie Johnson to be suspended. 

1aa1ballparkskyLORIA RAISES THE BAR FOR MARLINS: Owner Jeffrey Loria on Sunday called this the "strongest" team in his 11-year ownership entering a sesaon, and considering that would include the 2003 World Series champions, consider the bar officially raised. Loria is routinely overly optimistic in the spring, which leads to his managers tending to not last long. Clearly, though, an NL East title or wild-card playoff spot are not merely hoped for but absolutely expected. Are you listening, Ozzie Guillen? [Pictured, an aerial view of the new ballpark]. 

RAIN 1, DAYTONA 0: NASCAR's season-opening Daytona 500 postponed by rain until tonight for first time in race's 54-year history. Looking for a breakthrough by Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Danica Patrick. Didn't say expecting one. Said looking for one. 

1aa1leftnipON J-LO'S LEFT NIPPLE: Hey now there's a read-me headline! Normally I don't deal with gratuitous naughtiness in this blog  :D  but I figure since Jennifer Lopez is in the Offical Coterie of Stephen Ross Celebrity Friends of the Dolphins, it's practically a sports story. So I am dutybound to report that the edge of J-Lo's left nipple appeared to peek from her dress (see screen grab) during last night's Academy Awards as she presented (Irony Alert!) the award for Best Costume Design. Click on the pic to see a larger version. Twitter lit up with this apparent wardrobe malfunction, verifying once again that people who use Twitter lead the league in free time.

On Billy Crystal: Oscars host Billy Crystal looked mummified and that one hug-a-black-woman joke hit an off key as mildly racist, I thought. Still, always have to shake my head when something like "who is Billy Crystal" starts trending on Twitter. Dear People Unaware of Anyone Under 40: Here's what you do. You Google the words 'Billy' and 'Crystal' before broadcasting your comically narrow-minded youthfulness. (Trending next on Twitter: "What is Google.")

1aa1babyspoiled2CELEBRITIES ARE DIFFERENT THAN YOU AND I: We conclude our Oscars report by mentioning that a movie called Hugo kept winning and I kept annoying my wife by saying, "Isn't that about a killer whale?" Also I was surprised Meryl Streep beat that black actress from The Help who pronounced the word children chirren. The fact that Celebrities Are Different Than You And I was evident not only at the Oscars but in the many exclusive after-parties. What I mean is embodied in this photo, which pictures, left to right: Elton John holding the World's Most Spoiled Baby, Fran Drescher holding a truly fightening looking miniature dog-bear that might or might not be a stuffed animal or a bizarre puppet, and Katy Perry with metallic-blue hair.

Click back. Will be updating and adding much more to this latest blogpost...

February 26, 2012

NBA or MLB: Who has best (or least bad) All-Star Game? (vote now); plus Marlins' Big 3 Danica/Daytona, Canes, Oscars, Homeless Voice & more

[Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

NBA AND MLB VIE FOR LEAST-AWFUL ALL-STAR GAME: Thought we'd chew over all-star games as the Heat's Big 3 prepare to play in the NBA's version tonight in Orlando. All-Star Games get slammed by the 1aa1allstarmedia, some deservedly. But I actually think two of the four major-sport ASG's are pretty good and legit for what they are. I would eliminate from contention the NFL's absymal, roaring anticlimax of a Pro Bowl and the NHL's utterly forgettable pick-up skate. Baseball at least gives you a game that matters by awarding home-field advantage in the World Series (plus a Home Run Derby that probably is the best of all the ancillary events attached). Basketball simply gives fans what they want: A nonstop display of skills, showmanship and parading alley-oops against a backdrop of barely-there defense. The timing of this little boutique poll favors the NBA stars game but I'm still curious how many of you prefer baseball's Midsummer Classic. Who knows? Might even be a few fans of the Pro Bowl or NHL game floating around. Vote now and say why. [See related 'The List' at end of this blogpost].

MARLINS HAVE A BIG 3, TOO: The current March 5-dated ESPN the Magazine "Analytics Issue" may be the most unreadable, tedious wonk/stats amalgam in the history of magazines, but redeeming it somewhat is an early Top 100 fantasy baseball ranking. Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols are 1-2, but the Marlins' own Big 3 emerges, with Hanley Ramirez 12th, Jose Reyes 20th and Mike Stanton 24th ... but no other Miami guy among the hundred.

CANES AT COMBINE: I find it curious that members and entities of the University of Miami athletic department are Tweeting updates on how Hurricanes football players who left early are faring at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. These are the same handful of players whose ill-advised departures -- only RB Lamar Miller has even an oustide prayer of going in the first round -- has weakened the 2012 team and privately upset coach Al Golden. Not saying they are traiterous enemies of the state now. Just saying it's weird for UM to applaud players whose decisions and departures hurt UM.

1aa1danica2 1aa1danicaDAYTONA 500: Tony Stewart begins defense of his Sprint Cup championship today in Daytona, Carl Edwards is on the pole, Jimmie Johnson tries to get his mojo back, Dale Earnhardt Jr. tries to sate his legion of fans -- a lot going on as NASCAR begins its year. But my main focus of interest will be on the Sprint Cup debut of Danica Patrick (pictured), who is racing against not only other drivers but also all the hype. She has a chance to assert herself today, or to leave doubts. I root for her to do well, but also am amused by her assertion she'd rather the media didn't dwell on her sex appeal. Dear Danica: Are you for real? Seriously? With all the photo shoots you've done (see right) that make your sexiness the main point? And those GoDaddy ads? You can't play the Kim Kardashian hot card and beg to be taken seriously all at once. Well, until you start winning, at least.

HOMELESS VOICE: GET OFF MY INTERSECTION, PLEASE: What I am about to write is politically incorrect 1aa1homelessvoiceand will cast me as heartless to some. But it needs to be said. The people from Broward-based HomelessVoice.org hawking their newsletters for donations at intersections (see photo) should not be there. They are a nuisance and a blight; worse, they are a traffic and safety hazard. The disarming, I'm-no-threat wave they give you and the bright-colored vest they wear does not disguise the simple fact these folks are panhandling at major intersections. That their cause may be good is not the point. They should not be fund-raising at intersections, that's all. I am stunned that liability-conscious cities like Plantation allow it. There are plenty of other, safer ways and locations to help the homeless than for an organization to put them and drivers at risk in traffic.

GUILTY PLEASURE: THE OSCARS: I'm not a huge movie guy. The Help is the only nominated film I've seen that comes to mind (White Woman Solves Racism!), although I'll get around to Moneyball and a couple of others. But I do enjoy watching the Oscars. Ididn't say the pregame show, the "red carpet" nonsense. My least favorite, most annoying question in all the universe is, "Who are you wearing!?" Why are you caring!? might be the proper reply. 

The List bonus: Top 10 Greatest Oscars: My ranking, excluding the Academy Awards icon itself (himself?): 1. Oscar Wilde, writer; 2. Oscar the Grouch, Muppet; 3. Oscar Robertson, basketball; 4. Oscar Mayer, business (hot dog guy); 5. Oscar de la Hoya, boxing; 6. Oscar de la Renta, fashion; 7. Oscar Madison, TV character; 8. Oscar Hammerstein, music; 9. Oscar Peterson, music; 10. Oscar Gamble, baseball. Bonus fact: Oscar is the most popular male name in Sweden.

THE LIST: ALL-STAR GAMES IN FLORIDA: Eight all-star games in the Big Four sports have been played in our state including four in South Florida, in all sports except baseball. A chronology:

Year   Game          Location

1974   Pro Bowl      Miami

1977   Pro Bowl      Tampa

1990   NBA             Miami

1992   NBA             Orlando

1999   NHL             Tampa

2003   NHL             Sunrise

2009   Pro Bowl       Miami

2012   NBA             Orlando

Click back. Will be updating and adding to this latest blogpost...

February 23, 2012

Heat defense puts the L in Linsanity; plus Manning-to-Miami push, [bleep]ing Marlins, SoBe wine-food fest review & more

"And in politics, men named Mitt and Newt are trying to unseat a man named Barack. Whatever happened to guys named Bill and Ted?" --Greg Cote

[1) President Obama visited the University of Miami yesterday. Click here to see and hear the prez singing 'Sweet Home Chicago.' 2) Thanks to Professor Michelle Kaufman for having me address her UM sports journalism class. Enjoyed it. Bright group. 3) You may still vote in our Dolphins-QBs poll in blogpost directly below this new one. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

HEAT DOMINATES WHATSHISNAME: Jeremy Lin has been the biggest and maybe best story in the NBA this season, but the Heat has been the biggest, best team story -- no maybes. Last night's 102-88 win 1aa1bossover the visiting Knicks was Miami's eighth straight win, all by at least 12 points, and a suffocating defense reduced Lin (pictured losing a staredown vs. LeBron James) to looking like what he is: a nice little role player from Harvard. Lin had eight points on 1-for-11 shooting, only three assists and eight turnovers. The Heat's Big 3 stepped up as you knew they would, Chris Bosh with 25 points, Dwyane Wade with 22 and James with 20 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, five blocks and two steals. Terrific night for the Heat, which now enters the all-star break a league-best 27-7. Scary-good. Original post: Miami and the NBA's MVP favorite, LeBron James, tonight hosting New York and the league's MDP (Most Discussed Player), Jeremy Lin. Oh my. LeBron and 1aa1amasianLin ... IN THE SAME GAME! If ESPN had a head, it would explode. Lin, of course, is the out-of-nowhere sensation who has inspired an unending parade of awful and occasionally racist wordplay such as is pictured. Tonight could only be a bigger media event if Tom Brady's wife sat courtside blaming Spike Lee for the Pats' Super Bowl loss as Tim Tebow inexplicably started Tebowing at midcourt. Click here for my Wednesday column previewing tonight's game. A playoff atmosphere will permeate the downtown arena because this is one of those "event" games that blessedly break up the monotony of an NBA season. Yes, monotony, even when your team is really good, because everything is so geared to the playoffs that the regular season can seem like little more than the perfunctory bridge there -- except on nights like this. Here is what will happen: While most eyes are on Lin, two players from the other team, guys named LeBron and Dwyane Wade, will remind everyone who the best players in this game are, and Miami will win comfortably. Trying to get a quick patent on the headline, 'Knicks Have Lin But Heat has Win.' Hey. I made it through this entire item without once using the word "Linsanity"! Damn. So close.

NBA All-Star Weekends odds: From Bovada, LeBron James is All-Star Game MVP favorite at 13-2, with Dwyane Wade 12-1 and Chris Bosh 25-1. Rising Stars Challenge fave is (surprise!) Jeremy Lin at 5-1, with Norris Cole 20-1. Three-Point pick is Anthony Morrow at 5-2, with James Jones 7-2 and Mario Chamers 4-1. And Slam-Dunk fave is Paul George at 3-2. What, no John Ringo?

Shane Battier's South Beach Battioke: Clear here to be enlightened.

1aa1ozCOVER YOUR EARS! OZZIE'S HERE!: I have a partial representative transcript of Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen answering a question: "I don't [bleep] if they [blank] as long as they [censored] because all that other  [deleted] is [oy!]." If paid by the F-bomb, Guillen would have more money than owner Jeffrey Loria. Click on Ozzfest for the latest column by me off this week's opening of spring training up in Jupiter. This Marlins season should be a wild, loud, fun ride for a number of reasons and one of them is that the refreshing Guillen in Rex Ryan in cleats. 

1aa1manningmiamiMANNING TO MIAMI? HERE'S A SIGN: Two Dolphins fans up in Stuart have started a ManningtoMiami.com website and paid for this Miami billboard to promote their cause. What's next? A competing, pro-Matt Flynn group called the Miami DolFlynns? Update: GM Jeff Ireland, at the NFL Combine in Indy, reports Miami wouold not rule out a short-term solution at QB. Well, no duh, Jeff. Everybody knows the team is interested in a healthy Manning. So in other words Ireland is not ruling out the quarterback they want. Another update: Dolphins win coin flip with Carolina and will draft eighth overall, not ninth. DOLPHINS DOMINATE COIN FLIP!

FAITH IN HAITH: Missouri coach Frank Haith, formerly of the Miami Hurricanes of course, is favorite at 5-2 odds to win NCAA men's basketball coach of the year, says Bovada. After that it's Michigan State's Tom Izzo at 7-2 and Kentucky's John Calipari at 5-1.  

ON RYAN BRAUN: I wrote a blog item on Milwaukee's Braun, the NL MVP and ex-Miami Hurricane, when he tested positive for a banned substance in October, so it is only fair I do so again now that those results have been overturned on appeal. Baseball needs to check its testing system, which evidently was wrong then or wrong now. Fans must have confidence that players who test positive absolutely are guilt of having used a banned substance. And players deserve to not be falsely accused and have their reputations stained. Braun will always be the guy who once tested positive, whether he was ever guilty or not.

1aa1breastsAUGMENTATION NATION: This woman (left) has had 22 breast-enlargement surgeries and isn't done yet. Hey, this is a blog. Could I say it if it weren't true!?


SOUTH BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL: Took in last night's opening of the SoBe Wine & Food festival, pricey but worth it. Paid extra for early access, chowing and imbibing nonstop while those who hadn't paid for early access waited outside. It's strange, the feeling of privilege and (yes) superiority. I felt a little like I do walking through an airport 1aa1guytwoand watching cigarette fiends (the modern lepers) penned in their smoke-filled room sucking cancer herb. Where was I? Oh yeah. I sampled enough ribs, brisket, pulled pork sliders and barbecue tacos to fill a raft. (BBQ theme, obviously). Also some yummy, vinegary slaw. Much of the food was sublime, some of it was not. Pork belly? C'mon! Sipped a bit of champagne, mostly stuck to Malbec, ended the liquid portion of my evening with cognac, neat. The most fun part was seeing the star chefs, including two personal culinary heroes of mine, Emeril Lagasse and Masaharu Morimoto. The official co-host along with Lagasse was Guy Fieri (both are pictured). I like his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives but because of it I think of him as more an eater and host than a chef. A bit much on the packaging, too, for me. The spiked hair, shades on the back of the head. Working a bit too hard for the biker/rock-star persona. C'mon! Also enjoyed seeing Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern, the bravest eater on Earth. Saw him walk up to a plateful of brisket and ask the chef, "Do you have that in vegetarian?" Chuckled, I did. Good times. Original post from Thursday: This is the 11th annual, and tonight for the first time I'll be attending. (Tried to get Heat-Knicks to postpone their game, but uncooperatively they refused). Boss wanted me at the Heat game but wife reminded me how much the festival tickets cost and started swearing at me like Ozzie Guillen so my decision was pretty clear. I'll have a report here tomorrow on what this event is really like. After several glasses of wine tonight I plan to pick a fight with Emeril Lagasse or perhaps start throwing shrimp at Guy Fieri to spice up that report, so we'll see how that goes.

1aa1katewalshNUDE MAG COVERS TURNS BLASE': Remember when [Your Female Celebrity Here] posing nude yet artfully covered on a magazine cover was different and daring? Now it's more unsual if somebody isn't nude. Here is actress Kate Walsh on the cover of Shape. I think she thinks she looks really good for 44. Also, in this particular case, I thank God for the airbrush.

Click back. Will be updating and adding much more to this latest blogpost... 

February 22, 2012

Dolphins QB situation: To gamble (Manning) or to gamble (Flynn)? Vote now; plus Heat's run, defeat for Nevin, best-president poll, ESPN Lin-Gate, Marlins, dwarf bullfighting & more

"I'm old-school. It's great if you 'Friend' me, 'Follow' me or 'Like' me. But I'd prefer you 'Read' me." --Greg Cote

[1) I might have a self-image problem. Yesterday I kept hearing people refer to 'Fat Tuesday' and I assumed they were talking about me. 2) It was reported the Chad Henne era is over in Miami. No one on the face of the Earth was surprised. 3) Hear a new Bruce Springsteen song, "Shackled And Drawn" from his forthcoming Wrecking Ball CD. 4) Hurricanes women up one to No. 5 in latest Associated Press college basketball poll, highest ranking ever for a UM women's team. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

DOLPHINS' QB CHOICE? RISK VS. RISK: The exciting Marlins prepare to open spring training and the excellent Heat are looking more and more like champs, but the hard-luck Dolphins approach their big

1aa1mflynn 1aa1pmanningpatch of offseason -- free agency and the draft -- looking more and more precarious in terms of the quarterback upgrade that is the team's main focus. Click on Roll Dice And Pray for today's latest column by me on that situation. Miami's main two upgrade options, Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn (pictured), both are totally opposite types of gambles, but gambles nonetheless. It's four vs two: Peyton's four neck surgeries or Flynn's two career starts. Is there a right choice? Will the Dolphins make it? In the worst way, this recently unlucky franchise needs to hit big with this and for a blessed change have a major decision go right. Take a dip in our poll and say which of these likeliest two options is most preferable to you and why. Assume that Manning becomes a free agent and that medical reports are optimistic he'll be healthy by the season. Hut one, hut two, vote!

HEAT COUNTDOWN TO LINSANITY: Heat won a seventh straight game by double-digit points last night over visiting Sac Town, shot 56 percent including another scorching night by Dwyane Wade, and afterward coach Erik Spoelstra's first words were, "We weren't necessarily sharp..." Then he was asked about how the team looked "flat." Miami is at that point where sometimes Spoelstra must do the limbo to find ways to motivate a team that is the best in the league when pushed and pretty damned good even when coasting. Click on Perfunctory Turns to Linsanity for my forward-aimed column off the game. "I don't think motivation will be a problem Thursday," Spoelstra said with a small smile. That of course would be Jeremy Lin and the Knicks up next, and although indications are NYK is a one-man team, they also happen to have Carmelo Anthony back from injury, as well as some guy named Amare Stoudemire. Thursday will have a playoff feel to it. In the NBA, where everything is geared to the playoffs, such a regular-season night is a rare treat. Expect the Heat at their A-game best, which can be a scary, wonderful thing.

A DEFEAT FOR NEVIN SHAPIRO BLUSTER: The latest update in the tale of the convicted felon and all- 1aa1ratround louse Nevin Shapiro (pictured) rings as good news for UM in its hope of avoiding serious NCAA penalties over Shapiro's allegations. In a deposition a former Canes football assistant equipment manager confirmed a few allegations but denied others including the major one, saying he had no knowledge that Shapiro gave $10,000 to the family of basketball player DeQuan Jones. The allegations confirmed (a dinner here, a strip club there) were small change compared to that one.

NFL TOP 50 CURRENT QBS: This out today from the website BleacherReport, for what it's worth. Top five: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning. Other notables: 12. Peyton Manning, 20. Matt Moore, 21. Matt Flynn, 23. Michael Vick, 29. Mark Sanchez, 44. Tim Tebow, 45. Chad Henne.

NEW MIAMI HERALD VIDEO: The Miami Herald's internal annual meeting today marked the premiere of a new 6 1/2-minute video in which a couple of dozen employees (myself included) talk about the continuing importance of newspapers. Click here to watch and listen. I hope you enjoy it. My brife appearances are at 0:39, 3:19 and 5:51. Please watch anyway. (May I say as a preemptive strike: Me and the extreme closeup were not meant for each other).

THE GREATEST MODERN-ERA PRESIDENT IS...: Today is President's Day. Bill Clinton attended yesterday's 1aa1amerprezHeat game. Like I need more reason for this poll? I'm both a sports fan and a political junkie so maybe some of you are, too. You can huff indignantly about a poll like this being in (ostensibly) a sports blog, or you can vote. Or you could do both, I guess. This is a modern-era presidents poll, which I arbitrarily put at 1970s or later to include these eight men, listed alphabetically:

President's Day Bonus: Click here for a video compilation of 15 funny presidential impersonations.

1aa1vontaeVONTAE DAVIS GROWS THE VONTAE DAVIS BRAND: "Enough with all the Darrelle Revis hype, what about ME!?" says Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis with his new, brand-growing T-shirt (pictured). Reads, "Water Covers 2/3 Of The Earth And Vontae Davis Covers The Rest." Not bad. Click here to buy. 

KIPER: IOWA TACKLE TO DOLPHINS: Mel Kiper's newly released Mock Draft 2.0 has Miami taking Iowa tackle Riley Reiff ninth overall. No 1R QBs after Andrew Luck first overall to indy and Robert Griffin III fourth to Cleveland. No Canes, either, although I think RB Lamar Miller could sneak into low first round.

LIN-GATE! ESPN APOLOGIZES FOR RACIST REFERENCES: The Worldwide Leader has apologized and fired editor Anthony Federico, the employee who wrote the "Chink In The Armor" headline that briefly appeared on ESPN Mobile early Saturday following the Knicks' first loss with Jeremy Lin as a starter. ESPN also suspended ESPNews anchor Max Bretos 30 days for using the same reference. It also was heard on ESPN Radio New York. Let's stop using such obviously racist puns and get back to inappropriate wordplay of a sexual nature like in the following item, shall we? 

1aa1linsideINAPPROPRIATE JEREMY LIN PUN DU JOUR: A young woman proudly held up this sign at a Knicks game. She really did. Verifying to all doubters that it is now official: Every possible pun variation on the name Lin has now been exhausted.

HANLEY ON MOVE TO THIRD: An article in the Dominican newspaper Hoy implied Marlin Hanley Ramirez isn't taking kindly to hs move from shortstop to third base to accomodate Jose Reyes. Ramirez fired back on Twitter, saying (translated from Spanish) that the article was "trying to soil my image with lies." Haney added, "Third base with the Marlins forever baby.” Stay tuned.

COLLEGE PLAYER OF YEAR ODDS: Kansas' Thomas Robinson is favorite to win NCAA men's basketball player of the year honors at 7-4 odds, says Bovada, followed by Kentucky's Anthony Davis at 2-1 and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger at 13-2.  

"HONEY, YOU SMELL LIKE A THOUSAND BUCKS...": Lady Gaga is developing a perfume she wants to smell "like an expensive hooker." Click here to verify. This is a blog. Could I say it if it weren't true?

1aa1dwarfDWARF BULLFIGHTING: It happened over the weekend (pictured) in Colombia. Here is the story.






BILLY THE MARLINS NEWS: Feeling threatened by a scary looking dog in a kerchief, a panicking Billy the Marlin impaled the dog in the right eye with his long sharp bill seconds after this photo was taken, killing the canine as its horrified owner shrieked. OK none of that really happened at all.

Click back. Will be adding more to this latest blogpost...

February 17, 2012

LeBron James talks too much; plus Ron Fraser, Dolphins, naked sock thief & more

[1) R.I.P. Gary Carter, Hall of Fame catcher, taken by brain cancer at age 57. 2) You may still vote in our Jeremy Lin poll in blogpost directly below this one. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

RETURN TO CLEVELAND? LEBRON TALKS TOO MUCH: And don't get me wrong. Usually I love that absence of an internal editor in the Heat's LeBron James. He has a carefree, almost innocent honesty about him that usually is refreshing. Like when he was so genuinely excited about the Big 3 era that he bodaciously counted championships as, "Not one, 1aa1jameslnot two..." Or like when he sees Blake Griffin monstah-dunk over Kendricks Perkins and Tweets about it with a fan's delight. But there are other times -- like now -- when you wish not every bit of candor inside LeBron was allowed to get out and run free. 'LEBRON DOES NOT RULE OUT RETURN TO CLEVELAND' is the national headline now, and I would make two points: 1) Would Cleveland want him back? A year ago Cleveland would have scoffed indignantly (if cities could scoff). We'll be able to gauge Cavs fans' current level of animus toward LeBron when Miami plays in Cleveland tonight, but I suspect he is still seen as a traitor by most there, and that his bridge with owner Dan Gilbert has burned -- making what James said not only ill-advised, but almost stunningly presumptuous and perhaps moot. 2) Publicly mulling over your next move leaves the impression Miami is just a temporary stop to you. LeBron, Heat fans want to believe you will end your career here and help win multiple championships, not that you might opt out and leave in two years. Your comments underline every Heat fan's concern that the Big 3 is something temporary, something fragile. Your comments also seem to imply you are less than thrilled with Miami, even if that is not the case. [Update: Today, in Cleveland, LeBron backtracked. But not really. "I answered truthfully," he said. "But it's all about this season for me and playing for the Miami Heat and trying to win a championship. The fans in Miami shouldn't be woried about anything at this point." At this point!]. More dunk-ee, LeBron, less talk-ee.

1aa1fraserrREMEMBERING RON FRASER 20 YEARS LATER: Led by coach Jim Morris and the compelling comeback of ace pitcher Eric Erickson, UM tonight begins its 20th season since the retirement of iconic coach Ron Fraser. That anniversary was all the excuse I needed to make my latest column a fond remembrance of Fraser (pictured), who is now 78 and battling health issues. Click on An Ode to The Wizard for that column. A statue of Fraser in front of the stadium is in the works. I'd say the stadium itself should be named for the one man without whom there would be no stadium. (Minor correction: I wrote in the column that Fraser's championships were in 1982 and '84. The second was in 1985, of course. I know better. I was there).

DOLPHINS COACHES OPTIMISTIC: New Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and defensive chief Kevin Coyle are optimistic and like what they see of the team's direction. That's fantastic. I will pay, from my own pocket, the first newly hired coach in any sport who publicly expresses pessimism. I want to see the headline, 'Sherman, Coyle doubt team's direction.' Or, 'Dolphins' new coordinators not hopeful.' By the way, new coach Joe Philbin has 21 assistant coaches on his staff. Lot of specialists there. I think the backup long snapper has his own coach. Speaking of the Dolphins, here is today's Extraneous Peyton Manning Update: Colts and Manning have begun negotiations for him to possibly remain in Indy. Superfluous updates as warranted. 

1aa1nakedwalmartLARGE AND NAKED IN WAL-MART: A 6-4, 300-pound man (pictured right) stripped naked, sauntered into an Exton, Pa., Wal-Mart, donned a pair of stolen socks and continued to wander the store until being Tasered by police. Click here for the surveillance video. Seriously, though. Haven't we all done that?

Click back. Will be adding a slew more to this latest blogpost...

February 15, 2012

Explaining Jeremy Lin: Charmed by Linsanity or sick of it? Vote now! (with poll); plus Le Batard TV ratings, Heat, nude coach, Manning, Tiger, queen's bath & more

[1) Ron Jaworski bumped from Monday NIght Football booth. Damn. I enjoyed listening to Jon Gruden call him "Jaws" about 40 times a game. 2) Adele said she is taking a five-year break from music, and nobody believed her. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

JEREMY LIN: RACE, REALITY AND A MEDIA-BORN PHENOM: Why has Knicks guard Jeremy Lin become such a sensation? Glad you asked. Four quick points. 1) The market. Everything is way-magnified by the New York media machine and also in this case by the fact Knicks fans have been desperate for a 1aa1jlinhero ever since Willis Reed entered a game on crutches and a full body cast in 1970. Knicks were 40-1 odds to win NBA title before Lin's recent 5-game magic and are now 18-1. That says more about the NY market and its money 1aa1linmsgthan about Lin. 2) His race. Yes. The fact he is Asian-American. This reality does not diminish Lin or what he is doing, nor is it racist or prejudicial to say it. Part of what defines newsworthiness is, "is it different?" If Lin were black in a predominantly black league and doing the same thing, it would not be as attention-getting. Larry Bird was a bigger star because he was white. Tiger Woods was a bigger phenom because he was of color than if he were white in a white sport. The focus on Lin's race is such that MSG Network is in trouble for briefly airing the image at left (click on photo to enlarge), depicting Lin (who is Taiwanese-Chinese) emerging from a fortune cookie labled 'The Knicks Good Fortune'. 3) Our tendency toward premature phenom-enizing. We -- usually media first, with fans taking the cue -- did it with Tim Tebow. Now it is Lin's turn. We take an absurdly small sample (in this case five games), shoot it up with media steroids (i.e. ad nauseum rotation on ESPN SportsCenter) and package it as a national sensation worthy of sociological study. This isn't an outrage. It's rather comical, actually. 4) What Lin is doing. Five games of out-of-nowhere heroics from a Harvard guy on what amounts to a national stage has been exciting and fun and even charming. It IS a good story, a neat novelty. But his performance itself ranks only fourth on the scale of why this kid is a capital-p Phenom. Where do you stand on the Lin story on a scale of charmed to over-it? Take a dip in our poll and say why:

JIM ROME VS. DAN LE BATARD TV RATINGS: ESPN2 quarter-to-date viewership for its 4:30 p.m. time slot that Jim Rome's Rome Is Burning occupied until Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable recently was 1aa1dlhqmoved there shows that Rome averaged 252,000 viewers for 21 shows in that slot to Le Batard's average of 192,000 for nine shows there so far. My interpretation: Those are pretty good relative numbers for Dan and Papi. His show is newer, and the time slot represented a change. For DLHQ's numbers to be that close to those of the more established Rome is encouraging I'd think.

HEAT GO BACK-BACK-BACK...: The marvelous Miami Heat last night became the first NBA team since the 1970s to win three games in three consecutive nights on the road, the opportunity availing itself because of the compacted schedule due to the lockout. The Big 3 still has to win a championship so I resist getting too carried away, and yet I think it is fair to say Miami has not enjoyed a team this dominant since the 1972-73 Dolphins were 32-2 and champions twice. Although Jimmy Johnson's 1986-87 Hurricanes, to me, came close.

POINTLESS PEYTON MANNING UPDATE!!: The Colts will probably release Peyton Manning by March 8, or there is a chance they won't, but if they do the Dolphins are expected to be interested, but only if his health is good or seems headed that way. This has been the case for weeks now and will continue to be. 1aa1pmbearsNothing has changed despite the illusion of news broached in occasional media "reports" such as the one about Peyton's arm strength not being 100 percent yet. (Well, no duh). The latest is that Indy (supposedly) wants Manning to stay if he'll agree to a restructured, incentive-laden contract. That's hollow talk from Jim Irsay. If the Colts draft Andrew Luck (which they will), Manning will want out. Period. Stay tuned for largely unnecessary updates as warranted. Pictured: Attempting to duplicate the stress of a pass rush, Manning rehabs his neck by throwing on beach while under attack by bears.

WAITING FOR SPRING TO HAVE SPRUNG: And now Tiger Woods says he is playing both Doral and Honda!? I'm dizzy. Here are a few of the sporting things happening in So Fla in the coming weeks: Marlins christen new ballpark with Ozzie Guillen and an uber-exciting 1aa1oneroster, Heat move toward playoffs as NBA title favorites, Dolphins pursue Peyton Manning ans prepare for NFL draft, Panthers move to end long playoff drought, Al Golden and top-10 Canes recruiting class conduct spring practice, UM women carry championship hopes into March Madness, world's best 1aa1tigerwtennis players come to Key Biscayne, the Florida Derby runs, Wrestlemania is here and, yes, both spring PGA Tour stops here will include El Tigre. What? I couldn't hear you above all that cheering. What was that you were saying about Miami being a lousy sports town? Woods, by the way (pictured), remains the most compelling, interesting player in golf -- in some ways more so trying to regain his game in his post-infidelity decline.

1aa1pekingesePRETENDING THAT UGLY DOGS AREN'T UGLY: Malachy the Pekingese (pictured) won Best In Show at the prestigious 2012 Westminster Dog Show.

FOOTBALL COACH IN NUDE SCANDAL!: OK it's just some high-school coach fired for accidentally posting a nude photo of himself on Facebook. Click here for the story. Admit it, though. You read the headline and the first thing to cross your mind was, "Andy Reid."

1aa1kateuMORE KATE UPTON: Speaking of nude photos reminded me to post another picture of Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Kate Upton, for strictly educational purposes. She's in a bathing suit, which suggests swimming, which clearly is a sport, at least during the Olympics once every four years. And speaking of romance reminds me to mention an example of Valentine's Day Fun Gone Awry.

DRAWING A BATH FOR THE QUEEN: Buckingham Palace is looking to hire a person of impeccable discretion to draw baths for the ultimate Royal couple, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. No one knew of 1aa1bathqueenthat before I, who held the position until recently. (Not a lot of people know it). My job standing soured after that time I set the prince's bath to a scalding 250 degrees as an April Fool's joke. Things later turned irrevocably worse when I convinced the queen that bathtime would be enhanced by several cognacs, after which palace guards saw Her Majesty tipsying on the grounds wearing only a diminishing cover of bubbles, a lopsided grin and a crown set rakishly askew. So that's why they're looking for somebody new to draw baths.

1aa1dwighte2 1aa1dwighteHEADLINES YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU'D SEE (one in a series): Click here. Comment: I think I'll let the two photos at left speak for me.


1aa1dogwater2DEAR GREG...: "Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show an adorable yet mildly frightening photo of a dog diving into water to retrieve a colorful tennis ball. Thank you." Dear Reader: Will see what I can do. No promises.

Click back. It says here more will be added to this latest blogpost...

February 13, 2012

Big Five teams. Two votes. Let's go! (with poll); plus Lin-sanity is overreaction to Jeremy Lin, Yoenis Cespedes, SI swimsuit cover, Nevin Shapiro, 18-foot LeBron & more

1aa1valentine 1aa1dolphval1) Hope y'all had a happy Valentine's Day! 2) R.I.P. former Dolphins receiver Freddie Solomon, gone at 59 from cancer. 3) Randy Moss to Dolphins -- can we not go there please!? Gawd. 4) Recently passed 5,000 Twitter followers. Thanks. Now within 17,361,000 of Justin Bieber. Look out, Biebs. Join us @gregcote.

ARE THESE THE NEW GOOD-OLD-DAYS FOR MIAMI SPORTS?: Today's column by me (click on Turning  A Corner to read) posits that this -- now into spring and early summer -- is the most interesting time we 1aa1goodolddayshave seen as South Florida sports fans in terms of what is going on collectively with all our biggest teams. Consider that all of these things are somewhere between likely and very plausible: Dolphins signing Peyton Manning. Heat winning the NBA title. Marlins being a playoff team. Panthers winning their first playoff series since 1996. And, just beyond all that, Hurricanes football, despite the unknown of possible NCAA penalties, parlaying a highly touted recruiting class to a return to 1aa1math25national prominence. In the column I mention a bunch of other good stuff happening, including the No. 6-ranked UM women's basketball team being a legit national-title contender. But for the purpose of this poll let's limit it to our Big Five teams. Which TWO of the five poll statements on the horizon do you think are most likely to come true next? And why? As always (for what it's worth), not asking what you most hope happens but what you honestly think will.

MARLINS LOSE YOENIS CESPEDES TO A'S: It seemed a no-brainer that Cuban-defector outfielder and slugger Yoenis Cespedes would end up a Marlin, but he signed today with the Oakland A's. It apparently came down to money. He agreed to a four-year $36 million deal with Oakland. Am told Miami's offer topped out at $8 million per year. Cespedes had said outright he'd like to play here, and the Marlins were envisioning marketing gold, but it came down to Cespedes exercising his newfound freedom to embrace capitalism for all it's worth. Cannot blame the Marlins for what seemed a fair offer. Plenty of potential in Cespedes, but not enough proof to go higher on the $$$. Oh, and that big exhale of relief you just heard was Emilio Bonifacio hanging onto the Marlins' starting center field job for now.

It's Showtime for Marlins, anyway: No Yoenis? No problem. Showtime made official today the Marlins will star in season 2 of the network's MLB reality TV series, The Franchise. With Ozzie Guillen, a new stadium, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson, Carlos Zambrano and Logan Morrison leading the zoo, the Marlins were a natural.

IT'S SHEER LIN-SANITY!: I barely know of Jeremy Lin and already I'm tired of him. Check that. I'm tired of the instant, predictable and typically premature phenom-enization of him by Your Friend the Media. I 1aa1jlinget why Knicks fans and the NY tabloid back-page headline writers are breathless over an out-of-nowhere point guard who has scored 109 points in his first four starts. Neat little story. Fun. The Lin-sanity isn't that the Knickdom is abuzz; the Lin-sanity is that he has, by media decree, become a national wonder for a week's work (and, by the way, for four games of the type we see this season from LeBron James so routinely we barely pay them notice). You know that if Le Batard devotes a Sunday column to a subject it must have gravitas and demand far-reaching perspective, so I guess that's where we are with Lin. We saw the same rush to phenom-hood with Tim Tebow. Lets see if Tebow is even starting, let alone, starring, a month into next Broncos season. And let's see if Lin is still earning gaping, awe-struck adoration or more likely has settled back down to who he is even 10 days from now, when the Knicks visit Miami Feb. 23.

1aa1kateuKATE UPTON, RIGHT HERE: Call it my valentine to the fellas. Here in all its glory is the cover of the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue featuring superdupermodel Kate Upton. I have seen skimpier swimsuits, but only in my dreams. I decry the annual swimsuit issue for its sexist nature. OK not really.

1aa1lebron18HEY IT'S AN 18-FOOT-TALL LEBRON JAMES!: A locally based company has created an 18-foot LeBron James statue, because they could. Pictured is a facial closeup of the mega-Bron. Click on LeBron At 18 for the YouTube vid that explains it all and shows the finished statue.

LeBron and the heckler: Click here for a story about a LeBron exchange with a heckler at the recent Wizards game up there. If this is accurate, the fan started it with an over-the-line comment and James had a right to respond. Better he ignored it, but human nature kicks in sometimes.

NO MORE PLATFORM FOR NEVIN SHAPIRO, PLEASE: Nevin Shapiro, the convicted Ponzi schemer, disgraced ex-UM booster and all-round two-legged sac of scum, was given a forum in Sunday's Miami Herald to threaten and rant yet again against the Hurricanes from his prison cell. ENOUGH, PLEASE! Dear fellow media: Not everything this deranged person utters is newsworthy. Giving a soapbox and voice to Shapiro is an affront. He should be excommunicated and left to rant to no one but his cell mate, who UM fans and victims of his mass swindling can only hope is a randy and immensely flatulent 400-pound biker with anger issues.

1aa1dukejTake that, Nevin: UM's recent top-10 recruiting class was a direct defeat of Shapiro, and RB Duke Johnson personified players who believed in the Canes and their immediate future. Sports Illustrated has a nice piece on Johnson and that belief. Click here to read. Johnson is pictured in his custom-designed UM cap.

ON GRAMMYS, ADELE, WHITNEY: Enjoyed the Grammys last night, especially live performances by Bruce Springsteen, Adele, (too little of) the reunited Beach Boys, and the moving segment with Glen 1aa1adeleCampbell. I loved Adele's deserving sweep of six awards because she is so refreshing: the Anti-Diva. She does not require ridiculous clothes/persona like Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga. She does not require blue hair or bombastic stage pyrotechnics like Katy Perry. She does not require contrived controversy or pandering to over-the-top sex appeal. Adele is a singer. She sings. Bravo! The various tributes to Whitney Houston were a bit much for me but probably obligatory. I was not a big fan -- I discovered her only song in my iPod is the never-listened-to "Didn't We Almost Have It All" -- but I respect how her death has seemed to impact so many.

JULIE DURDA FAN CLUB: I rarely if ever watch televised weather, which I find unnecessary 99 percent of the time, but it came to my attention today that WSVN-Channel 7 has a weather person, 1aa1julied2 1aa1julied3Julie Durda, who merits designation as The Official Weathercaster of This Blog. Durda (pictured) is a former 49ers cheerleader who is (how to put this) comfortable flaunting a rather stunning profile. Can rock an angora sweater, is what I mean. Call me sexist, but this morning I found myself enjoying Durda's weathercast without hearing a word she was saying. She could have been reporting a meteor was bearing down on Greg's Cote house, but Greg Cote wasn't listening because he was transfixed playing the internal men's parlor game, Fake or Real. If I found myself wishing for the onslaught of a Category 5 hurricane solely to increase Julie's air time, would that be wrong?

1aa1heavyDEAR GREG...: "Your blog's OK but would be immeasurably better if occasionally you would run a photo of the world's heaviest woman, 643-pound Californian Pauline Potter. Thank you." Dear Reader: I would but I am concerned people would misconstrue that as my making fun of her, which of course I would not be at all!

Click back often. Will be adding much more to this latest blogpost...

February 09, 2012

How confident are you Heat will win title this year? (with poll); plus Hanley's revenge, Manningphins, Vick, Yoenis, panhandling, infant sumo wrestling & more

[1) R.I.P. Whitney Houston. 2) Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" album was released this week in 1964. 3) You can still vote in our Ricky Williams/Dolphins Honor Roll poll in blogpost directly below this newest one. 4) I'm not sure. Is this the proper time to reveal that I once had an affair with Mimi Alford? 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

THE WAVERING CONFIDENCE OF HEAT FANS (OR NOT...): I hear regularly from many Heat fans when you couple my own circle of friends and acquaintances with readers, and a general consensus seems to be that fans 1aa1champsare hopeful Miami can win the NBA championship this year more than confident Miami will. Then I again I may hear from a curmudgeonly crowd. A poll to get a better, broader read on this had been clanging around in my thoughts for awhile and sort of got birthed into the blog by last night's 102-89 loss in Orlando that maybe reawakened doubts. That the Heat is better than last season is a presumption, but is it true? Miami in Year 1 of the Big 3 was 58-24 (.707) in the regular season and right now the record is 19-7 (.731), but a game like last night's makes you wonder. Me, anyway. Maybe not you? I do think the Heat is better in Year 2 and I'd still call Miami a title favorite, but that status to me falls somewhere between shaky and slight. Take a dip in our poll, be honest as you can, and say where your confidence is at. 

#ThingsBlamedOnLeBron: To that hashtag Twitter discussion I contributed: Wreck of the Costa Concordia, global warming and the mild headache for which I just popped an Advil.

Another thing on LeBron...: Is it me, or is the media fascination with the Kendrick Perkins/LeBron Tweet-war much ado about very, very little?

HANLEY RAMIREZ IS TAKING NAMES: LeBron-like, Marlins star Hanley Ramirez is keeping a list of all those who doubted him or Tweeted ill of him and writing their names on his bat. Well, at least that is the premise of a new 30-second Spanish language Powerade commercial starring Hanley. Click here for the YouTube vid.  

1aa1manningfaceTHE MIAMI MANNINGPHINS: Pictured is a conception by this artist of what the Dolphins logo would look like if the dolphin's face subtly and somewhat resembled the high-forehead profile of Peyton Manning.

LET IT GO, AMERICA, ON MICHAEL VICK: A new national survey by Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research indicates the following are the 10 most disliked athletes in America, with my parenthetical guess on the root of the dislike: 1. Michael Vick 1aa1mvick(dog killing), 2. Tiger Woods (infidelity), 3. Plaxico Burress (gun toting), 4. Ndamukong Suh (opponent stomping), 5. Kris Humphries (Kardashian dumping), 6. LeBron James (Cleveland jilting), 7. Kobe Bryant (just being Kobe), 8. Terrell Owens (just being T.O.), 9. Alex Rodriguez (steroids/wealth) and 10. Kurt Busch (cantankerousness). First, congrats to the Heat's own LeBron for continuing to slide down these unpopularity lists. General dislike of LeBron (at least outside of Cleveland) is less and less over "The Decision" and increasingly settling on simply the King James Factor, the perceived arrogance. Now to my main point. I am well aware from past emails that one is not allowed to support or defend Vick in any way without being labeled an advocate of puppy torture, but I must say -- again -- that Vick (pictured) served some pretty serious time for his dog-fighting operation and has shown proper regret, enough time served and contrition that we should lay down the MURDERER! placards and let it go. I'm an animal lover (have two pets), and I think breeding dogs to fight at their great and sometimes deadly peril is an awful and rightly punishable thing. But it isn't homicide or child rape, either.

MORE ON YOENIS CESPEDES: My newest column, on the Marlins' pursuit of Cuban-defector slugger Yoenis Cespedes (click here for the column), was, surprisingly to me, the most-read thing on all of MiamiHerald.com. That says two things: 1) Interest in the Marlins is increasing exponentially, and 2) the club's belief that signing Cespedes would be a huge hit with Cubans in Miami is on the mark.

HERALD NEWS: We don't have a sports ombudsman to pass along internal news, so I adopt the task and tell you that Israel Gutierrez is soon leaving the mothership to become an NBA writer for ESPN.com and also do stuff for other World Wide Leader entities. Good luck, Iz.

PANHANDLER TIPS (one in a series): The thought that a surprisingly high percentage of my blog readers are homeless or destitute may not be accurate. In any case if you can't personally relate to this 1aa1homelessPanhandler Tip, surely you can pass it along to someone you see haunting an intersection, cardboard sign in hand: Panhandler, do not beg help with a cigarette dangling from your maw. It suggests you will take my hard-earned offering and use it not for food or baby diapers, but for yet another pack of cancer herb. Smoking while panhandling is akin to waving a HOMELESS AND HUNGRY sign while the neck of a Jim Beam pint juts from your dungaree pocket. Or bumming coins while on your iPhone. It just isn't good for business!

WORLD RECORD FOR DUMB WORLD RECORDS: Guinness the beer, I like. Guinness the world-records people, not so much.If you don't agree there are too many asinine world-record categories you will after clicking here. (Somewhere, Gene Simmons and his own famous tongue has never felt more like a has-been).


     BEIJING (Faked-Up News) -- The Chinese government is under fire from global women's rights groups for chemically encouraging the birth of gigantic babies in order to promote a national league of infant sumo wrestling.

1aa1ochocincoWe leave you for now with the Twitter icon (left) of Chad Ochocinco @ochocinco: "Relax: It's just egg shells." Of course it is egg shells. Click on image to enlarge and see for yourself. (Man, some of y'all got a dirty mind!) Visit us again. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...

February 07, 2012

Is Ricky Williams worthy of Dolphins Honor Roll? (with poll); plus first look at Marlins ballpark in action!, LeBron, Yoenis, Louis Vuitton condoms & more

1aa1hank3[1) Thanks to all today's live-chatters. Do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join us then or to post questions any time. 2) You can still vote in our best-NFL-quarterback poll in blogpost directly below this newest one. 3) Excited! Hank 3 (pictured) playing the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale March 7. He's Hank Williams' grandson and Hank Jr.'s kid, a bizarre amalgam of hell-billy punk-country. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1ricky2MEASURING THE CAREER OF RICKY WILLIAMS: Longtime former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams told the Ravens today he retiring, according to multiple news reports. Williams, 34, had a very good NFL career, his 10,009 rushing yards making him one of only 26 runners to reach that plateau. He is not a Hall of Famer, but enjoyed a much above-average career from a football 1aa1ricky1standpoint. The more interesting discussion is the measure of his Dolphins career that spanned 2002-10 with a couple of controversial years off in between. I present the poll below because I think the question is arguable. The case for his being on the Honor Roll someday: His 6,436 rushing yards as a Dolphin rank second in club history, trailing iconic Larry Csonka by only 301 yards. The case against: The abrupt retirement and drug-related suspensions calling to question whether Ricky's name and the word "honor" should be linked. (Then again I would remind that Csonka left the Dolphins in the lurch, too, once, leaving for the WFL). Williams led a fascinating career/life, going from vilified by fans here to somewhat beloved, embraced again. Do I think Williams will make the team's Honor Roll someday? I would bet hugely against it. But do I think he should? I'd lean yes but don't feel strongly. How do you feel and why?

1aa1mlb12FIRST LOOK AT MARLINS NEW BALLPARK IN ACTION!: This is good. This will be worth a minute of your time. Courtesy PlayStation and MLB 12 The Show, here is a video simulation of what the new ballpark will look like during a game, complete with crowd, retractable dome, fish tanks, wacky home-run wheel, everything. Very realistic. Puts you there.

"THIS ISN'T A NORMAL MVP YEAR...": That was Erik Spoelstra when I asked him about LeBron James 1aa1lebronjbefore last night's Heat win over Cleveland here. We measure great athletes not only by their best performances (and the frequency of them), but by how good they are even when they are -- for them -- not so good. That was LeBron last night. Seemed like he was quiet. Off night. And he still ends up with 24 points. Click on King James for my new column, an ode to the best individual season we have seen since Dan Marino's 1984.

LOUIS VUITTON CONDOMS: Guys, Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Do you want to surprise your wife 1aa1louis2 1aa1louis1or lady with something special? Are you worried that expensive dinner, flowers and jewelry won't be enough? Are you concerned even the splendor of your own personal magnitude might come up short? Rest easy. Just slip on a Louis Vuitton condom! It's for the man who has everything ... except a wife who uses birth-control pills. The LV designer condom is pictured both packaged and poised for use. We'd show you the thing in action but this is a family blog.

CESPEDES IS MARLINS' TO LOSE: I think Miami Marlins president David Samson would have to wear an 1aa1cespedes"English Only!" button on his lapel today or ask prized Cuban-defector outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to play for free to not win the sweepstakes for this 26-year-old outfielder. Clearly he is the Marlins' to lose. "There is no doubt that I would like to play in front of so many Cubans in Miami," Cespedes (pictured) told El Neuvo Herald upon arriving in town for today's meeting with the club. "I will not deny that I would like to play for the Marlins." The question is less whether Miami will land him than how well and how soon those five tools of his will translate to MLB.

HERALD TOP 50 FROM 2011: Just saw an internal list of the 50 most-read stories on MiamiHerald.com in 2011 and No. 1 was Dave Barry's 2010 year in review with 770,222 hits. Surprised to see only six sports-related pieces made the list: 24. Sarah Palin's supposed one-night fling with ex-Heat star Glen Rice with 122,918 hits; 29. LeBron just wasn't LeBron throughout the NBA Finals with 111,919; 30. Bottom line: Miami Heat didn't do enough to fulfill dream (a column of mine) with 111,575; 39. Miami Dolphins fire coach Tony Sparano with 86,891; 42. Miami Hurricanes may declare investigated players ineligible with 84,201; and 50. Another Sarah Palin/Glen Rice story with 73,387.

ONLY-IN-MIAMI HEADLINES (one in a series): Click here. Comment: No doubt the homeowners said the explosives belonged to Porky.

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Rick Santorum resuscitates flagging campaign by sweeping Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri in Tuesday primaries, dealing an embarrassing blow to supposed frontrunner Mitt Romney. Meanwhile Newt Gingrich continues to defiantly act like a frontrunner with scant evidence to show, and Ron Paul is still rambling like the lovable uncle you think might be in the early stages of dementia. The Obama campaign is howling.    

1aa1keywestsb2BE PROUD, FLORIDA. WE DOMINATE 'TRASHY' RANKINGS!: Woooo! Although Las Vegas is No. 1 in a Coed Magazine (!) list of America's 10 Trashiest Spring Break Destinations, our state otherwise dominates thanks to Key West (2nd), Daytona Beach (4th), Miami Beach (6th), Panama City Beach (7th) and Fort Myers (8th). Criteria includes a city's number of Hooters, strip clubs, liquor stores, motorcycle bike-weeks, "Girls Gone Wild" shoots and tattoo parlors. Sounds reasonable. Pictured: Key West spring breakers celebrate the city's No. 2 ranking in the traditional manner.

JERRY SANDUSKY UPDATE: I Googled the word "Creepy" and saw this story about a local elementary school complaining because Jerry Sandusky was watching kids from his nearby home while under house arrest.

1aa1werewolfSISTERS BESET BY WEREWOLF SYNDROME: Three sisters from India (right) suffer from an incredibly rare condition called Werewolf Syndrome. Could I say it if it weren't true? Read more here.

Click back. Will be adding to this latest blogpost...