1) It is THURSDAY, JANUARY 10. How is Katherine Webb, Miss Alabama, not on the cover of this latest Sports Illustrated!? OUTRAGE! 2) Dolphins today signed seven players, none of them people most of us have heard of. Click here for the info. 3) Am back today at the prestigious Guesswork Laboratories to cook up my next NFL playoff predictions. Guards have been instructed to deny entry to the Upset Bird. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
UM'S GOLDEN HIRES CRISTOBAL: University of Miami football coach Al Golden has hired recently fired FIU coach Mario Cristobal as the Canes' new associate head coach. Strong hire. Smart. Cristobal, an ex-Cane, is a bright young guy who was stupidly canned by FIU. He solidifies Golden's staff and will be big in local recruiting. (He also gives the staff a potential natural and experienced successor to Golden if and when Al would depart -- the mere mention of which should not constitute a rumor, please!).
HEAT: ENOUGH SELF-ANALYSIS. FLEX MUSCLE AND JUST PLAY!: Maybe it eminates from coach Erik Spoelstra, who tends to talk in New Age psyche-speak, but a tiring air of self-analysis has enveloped the Heat, which leads the NBA East with a 23-10 record and yet seems wrapped in gloom. Yesterday LeBron James said the team must look inward to solve the rebounding woes he called Miami's "kryptonite." Earlier, Chris Bosh second-guessed Spoelstra's position-less idea and said the Heat should play a system that creates more rebound opportunities. What's next? D-Wade staring into Oprah's doe eyes? Miami doesn't need more self-analysis or outward over-analysis. Miami needs to toughen up and flex it muscle -- the physical and mental kind. There may come a time when sage Pat Riley needs to pull Spoelstra aside and tell him ask him what's best for this team and this season. For now, the problem isn't who's on the team or isn't, or who's on the floor or isn't. The problem is epitomized by the following: Bosh is playing center. He is almost 7-feet tall. Why is he averaging only 5.8 rebounds a game? Get off the analyst's coach and hit the glass, Heat. Quick whining and thinking and hand-wringing and start acting like champions, dammit.
BASEBALL, COOPERSTOWN SHOULD RE-THINK HALL VOTING: I tackle this more fully in my latest column; click on The Easy Call, Not The Right One for my take on yesterday's exclusion of (notably) Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Two points: 1) Hall of Fame voters should stop banning anyone who ever used steroids and instead start making a distinction: Did the PED use appreciably cause those Hall-worthy numbers? Or not? In Bonds and Clemens' cases, they were having Cooperstown-ready careers long before any steroids taint. 2) But I also believe players of the Steroid Era who do get into the Hall eventually should see their bronze plaque tell the whole truth, and mention steroids. Baseball and the Hall must adapt to reality. When you start excluding players the caliber of Bonds, Clemens and, soon, Alex Rodriguez because steroids played a relatively minor role in their careers, there is a punitive vindictiveness in play that does not serve the sport well. Voters, it's simple: If you think a guy's career was substantially boosted by steroids or you have serious doubts, vote no. But if you think a guy had the credentials pre-steroids, then please step down from the moral soapbox and vote him in. Postscript: I know many of you don't agree and find my latest column every bit as popular as the so-called "Trade Marino" column or my recent praise of Nick Saban. I am not including a poll here on yesterday's Hall vote because I had a similar poll in the blog a few months ago, and sure enough few of you thought Bonds (16.8 percent support) or Clemens (16.3) deserved to be elected.
FASCINATING DIVERGENCE ON ARISON, LORIA, ROSS: I am thoroughly intrigued by results from our latest poll, in the previous blogpost, on grades for our Big 3 team owners: Heat's Micky Arison, Marlins' Jeffrey Loria and Dolphins' Stephen Ross. More than 4,000 have voted (you still may), and results do not surprise but are nonetheless telling. A synopsis:
Arison's grade: Excellent -- He got an 'A' from 90.2 percent and an 'A' or 'B' from 97.7%. That is extraordinary number for any poll, anywhere, on any subject, under any circumstances. I could ask if you approve of love, peace and happiness and I doubt it would get that close to unanimity.
Loria's grade: Awful -- The polar opposite of Arison in many ways. Loria received an 'F' grade from 84.4 percent and an 'F' or 'D' from 94.4%. And this is a guy who just got a new stadium built! Loria needs to acknowledge this animus, deal with it and start repairing his image. Desperately.
Ross' grade: Mixed -- A plurality of 44.3 percent graded Ross a middle-ground 'C.' But it is interesting to note that combined D's and F's far outnumbered combined A's or B's. That tells us that opinions on Ross are not set hard like those of Arison or Loria, but are shading toward negative.
POLLS I SHOULD RUN BUT WON'T (one in a series): "In three years, Psy, the Gangnam Style singer, will be..." A) Still a popular performer. B) Dating Miss Alabama. C) Dating Brent Musberger. Or D) Washing my windshield with a wet newspaper at an intersection.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...