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October 02, 2012

Diamond in rough season: Marlins MVP vote (w/ poll); plus Dolphins sign Jabar Gaffney, D-Wade changes shoes, Cabrera/Yaz, pix 'n fantasy, SOPY Top 10 & more

[1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2. Find results of our latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter -- a number surprisingly high -- in blogpost directly below this new one. 2) Visit or video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and see our latest mini-commentary on Saturday's big day by QB Stephen Morris and the Canes. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

MARLINS MVP: FINDING THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH: A miserable Marlins season expires with games tonight and Wednesday, and most disappointed fans are grateful for it to end. From the Ozzie Guillen/Fidel mess to the Hanley trade to the injuries to Heath Bell to all the losing -- what a bleepin' nightmare. I know that when I 1aa1miaminvite you to select a team Most Valuable Player the inclination might be to vacate the award in disgust and say nobody deserves it. But we'll be bigger than that. (Won't we?) I think three men have most stood out above the mess. Mark Buerhle has been the starting pitcher they thought they were getting: Solid, consistent, 13-13 despite poor run support, a team-leading 202 innings and 3.74 ERA. Shortstop Jose Reyes has lived up to expectations, too: .284 with 37 doubles, 11 triples and 38 stolen bases. And outfielder Mike Stanton, despite missing a month injured, hit .290 with 37 homers and 86 RBIs. Who is the diamond in the rough season? Vote for the Marlins' 2012 MVP and say why.

JABAR GAFFNEY AN UPGRADE FOR DOLPHINS: Farewell, Legadu Naanee. If only you had more catches than vowels. Dolphins upgraded today by replacing Naanee with veteran Jabar Gaffney, 31, the ex-Gator. Should slot in as a nifty third WR after Brian "Sudden Star" Hartline and Davone Bess. Gaffney's past two seasons (with Broncos and Redskins) were his best, totaling 133 catches for 1,822 yards (13.5 average) and seven TDs.

D-WADE DUMPS NIKE FOR LA-NING: Heat star Dwyane Wade has left the Nike Jordan brand in favor of Beijing-based La-Ning in terms of shoe and apparel endorsements. Change effective Oct. 1.

Heat ranks among ESPN Top 500 players: LeBron James No. 1, of course, Dwyane Wade No. 8 and Chris Bosh 18. Others ranked: Ray Allen 64, Mario Chalmers 104, Shane Battier 107, Udonis Haslem 129, Joel Anthony 209, Mike Miller 236, James Jones 252, Norris Cole 256 and Rashard Lewis 257. What jumps out is Lewis' low ranking. Guaranteed, Heat expects a healthy-again Lewis to perform like a top-100 guy. Wouldn't surprise me if he won the starting power-forward role.

Poll result: Three rings the magic number for Heat's Big 3: In a recent blogpost we asked how many NBA championships it will take for the Heat 's Big 3 era to be fully seen as a success, and a plurality of 46.6 percent said three. Two rings got 26.7%, four or more got 17.5%, and only 9.2% said the one title already achieved.

ON CABRERA, YAZ AND THE TRIPLE CROWN: Carl Yastrzemski, last man to win baseball's Triple Crown 1aa1cabmin 1967, was my first boyhood idol. I never particularly liked Miguel Cabrera, the ex-Marlin. Now the Tigers' Cabrera (pictured) is poised to win the Triple Crown. With two games left he is plus-4 in average, plus-1 in homers and comfortably up in RBIs. I have mixed emotions, but ultimately I think Cabrera would be a worthy successor. Among active players only Albert Pujols has had a start to his career better than Cabrera's, and even that is arguable. Cooperstown beckons. If only he'd remained a Marlin. If only.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: Had a bit of a bounceback with my picks, but my fantasy slump continued. NFL predix: I went 10-5 straight-up last week and 7-7-1 vs. the spread, a modest rebound both ways, but numbers to neither encourage boasting nor chagrin. You killed me with those five picks last night, Romo. Way to come up big on a big stage, you Gagmeister. Greg's Lobos: We lost, 149-122, not getting enough beyond Aaron Rodgers' 35 points. You're usually in trouble when your second-leading scorer is your defense (Houston, 23).

AMERICA'S RYDER CUP COLLAPSE: I love to play golf (badly), like it as a TV sport and was riveted by the weekend U.S. vs. Europe Ryder Cup even though the match-play can be confusing. How could the Americans blow a 4 1/2-point lead entering Sunday!? What a choke. Seriously. Captain Davis Love III, face of the team Tiger Woods and culprit/goats like Jim Furyk should all be embarrassed. Get outta my country!

1aa1lilwLIL WAYNE AND ELVIS: Rapper Lil Wayne has topped Elvis Presley's record for most charted songs on the Billboard Hot 100, with 109. However a large asterisk is required. Only 42 of Wayne's songs were essentially his; all the rest found him credited as contributing, often in a minor way. Pictured is Elvis. Nah. It's Lil.

BIRK: RHYMES WITH...: Ravens center Matt Birk has broadcast his narrow-mindedness by writing an anti-gay marriage editorial in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, apparently in reaction to teammate Brendan Ayanbadejo's public comments in support of marriage equality. I remember the simpler days when teammates argued about play-calling, not politics. Birk argues his stance does not represent homophobia. I guess it only represents him thinking he is somehow better than or at least entitled to more rights than gay people. I leave you with the delightful irony of a man with Birk's views making his living, as a football center, with another man's hands constantly under his crotch.

SOPY RANKINGS (WEEK 5): CANES' MORRIS LEAPS TO NO. 2 OFF RECORD DAY: This college football season marks the blog debut of our weekly State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, which I 1aa1bjdcall the "Sunshine State Heisman" until a Heisman lawyer tells me to stop. Our chart encompasses the most productive seasons of any quarterback, running back or receiver from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida and FSU, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. (Note: Rankings consider only passing, rushing and receiving, not returns). Our formula awards one point per offensive yard gained running or receiving and a half-point per yard passing, plus six bonus points for touchdowns thrown or scored. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. After Week 5 it's B.J. Daniels of South Florida (pictured) on top for a third straight week, with UM's Stephen Morris leaping to second after his record-setting 566 yards passing. The SOPY Top 10 entering Week 6:

Rank (LW)     Player, Team-pos.     SOPY Pts. Week=Year

1 (1)     B.J. Daniels, South Florida-qb     155.5 = 985.5

2 (4)     Stephen Morris, Miami-qb     315 = 902.5

3 (2)     E.J. Manuel, FSU-qb     136 = 830.5   

4 (3)     Jake Medlock, FIU-qb     DNP = 616.5

5 (6)     Chris Thompson, FSU-rb     98 = 606

6 (7)     Duke Johnson, Miami-rb     69 = 542

7 (5)     Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb     BYE = 527

8 (9)     Blake Bortles, UCF-qb     145.5 = 521.5

9 (--)     Phillip Dorsett, Miami-wr     208 = 484

10 (--)     Graham Wilbert, FAU-qb     96 = 460.5 

Bubble: Mike Gillislee, Florida-rb, 446

State of the State rankings: 1. FSU (5-0); 2. Florida (4-0); 3. Miami (4-1); 4. UCF (2-2); 5. South Florida (2-3); 6. FIU (1-4); 7. FAU (1-4).

BIEBER VOMITS ON STAGE: Hours after the Dolphins left Arizona Justin Bieber performed in Glendale Sunday and vomited on stage. Click here if you dare. The teen- and preteen female audience didn't seem to mind. In fact I hear Bieber's expelled chunks are now selling on eBay.

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

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