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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...

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