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9 posts from July 2013

July 29, 2013

Dolphins or UM for most wins this year? Poll. Vote!; plus LeBron wins style honor, Marlins, Golden, Tannehill, dumb tats & more


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1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 31. Farewell, July. You were a good month. 2) The new Sports Illustrated features 'The Last Days Of A-Rod' on its cover (pictured), written by our friend S.L. Price. 3)
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Judging Ryan Tannehill, LeBron wins Mr. Popularity, Canes football odds, Greg Oden, Duncan's divorce, Anthony Weiner, King George & more. 4) You are invited to follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

1aa1jamesdressedLeBron makes Best-Dressed list: Heat be-all LeBron James adds yet another honor. Pictured left in all his sartorial eloquence, James is one of three athletes on the 74th annual International Best-Dressed List out today, and appearing in the September Vanity Fair, along with Patriots prettyboy Tom Brady and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Remember when Dwyane Wade was considereed the Heat's bon vivant on clothing and style. Apparently LeBron has now even passed him for that.

DOLPHINS VS. CANES: FIRST TO 9 WINS WINS?: I leave it to others to magnify and dissect this week's Dolphins stadium scrimmage as if it were particularly significant or illuminating. It was neither, of course. It was a dressed-up practice and little more despite the packaging. We can't know for sure 1aa1dolcaneat this point how good (or great, or bad) the Dolphins will be this season, and the same goes for the Hurricanes across town. But we do know this: It's a close call which team should win more games. Bovada sets the Canes' victory over/under at 8.5 wins (in a 12-game regular season) and the Dolphins' over/under at 8 wins (up from 7.5, in a 16-game season). Our two biggest football teams have finished tied with the same number of wins -- excluding postseason games -- 14 times in 47 years, including each of the past three seasons. Will we have a fourth straight tie? If not who'll break it with the most victories, Canes or Dolphins? I know many of you are fans of both teams, but your dispassionate outlook says what? Vote now, say why, and check back to monitor evolving results.

1aa1dollsheatDolphins add 2 wide receivers: Dolphins today signed rookie WR Keenan Davis from Iowa after earlier re-signing free agent Julius Pruitt. To make room Miami waived/injured WRs Armon Binns and Jasper Collins. Pruitt played sparingly for Miami in 2011. Davis caught 97 passes for 1,284 yards and five TDs the past two seasons for the Hawkeyes.

RUSSIAN HEAT DOLLS: Russian nesting dolls of the Heat's Big 3 feature a very large LeBron James, a medium Dwyane Wade and a tiny Chris Bosh. Which, come to think of it, mostly sounds about right. But the Mario Chalmare and Ray Allen dolls also are bigger than Bosh. Now that's cold. 

Golden Touch: Canes land 4-star recruit: The U got a big football committment from four-star defensive end Trent Harris out of Winter Park, whose suitors included Florida, FSU, Alabama and Ohio State. Click on Golden Touch for my related column on how UM coach Al Golden's steady hand has impressively guided the program through the long NCAA mess he inherited.

UPDATED COLLBALL CONFERENCE ODDS: From our friends at Bovada, updated betting favorites (and some others) to win select college football conferences: ACC--Clemson at 19-10 (FSU 5-2, Miami 7-2). SEC--Alabama at 1-1 (Florida 9-1). C-USA: Tulsa at 2-1 (FAU 28-1, FIU 33-1). American--Louisville at 5-7 (UCF 15-2, South Florida 33-1). Big 12--Oklahoma State and Texas both 5-2. Big Ten--Ohio State at 5-6. Mountain West--Boise State at 7-5. Pac-12--Oregon at 7-4. Mid-American--Northern Illinoise at 13-10.

ARE MARLINS SLOWLY WINNING BACK FANS?: So many Marlins fans are estranged because of owner Jeffrey Loria, but games like Sunday's will chip away at that cold war by degrees. A towering, game-winning home run by Giancarlo Stanton putting a 'W' on rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez's 13-strikeout performance -- now that's how to stake 1aa1giajoseyour claim to brighter days ahead. It's a shame that the club dumping unpopular hitting coach Tino Martinez stole the day's biggest headlines, because the story of the day and increasingly of the season is the way Fernandez is grand-marshaling an impressive parade of rising Marlins talent. Fernandez is pictured with Stanton (inset). I don't know of any team that has a younger, better, brighter-future bat/arm combo than Stanton (23) and Fernandez (20). Certainly no other South Florida pro team has a more dynamic duo of rising stars. The team that began the season an abysmal 13-41 is since a credible 27-24 even with two straight losses. The upturn only somewhat justifies Loria reverting to a much lower player-payroll, though. The good-faith obligation he has to spend more remains, and estranged fans are paying attention. The offensive lineup still is a huge issue that must be remedied by spending for a veteran bat or two before next season. Miami is last in MLB in runs per game (3.18), home runs (62) and batting average (.232). The best chance to keep Stanton long-term, against long odds, isn't just money. It's protecting him in the batting order with surrounding talent. Signs are evident, though. The Marlins have a lot of young, emerging talent. With an owner willing to augment that with spending for complementary veterans, this could be a very interesting team very soon.

Tino explains the unraveling: Defrocked Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez told FoxSports (click here) that an escalating argument with three players over picking up baseballs in the batting cage led to his resignation. Players were Justin Ruggiano, Derek Dietrich and Chris Valaika. They balked at one of the sport's unwritten rules and their coach overreacted, handled it poorly. Four grown men. So silly it came to this.

Poll result: Expectations for Tannehill optimistic but reserved: We asked what you expected QB Ryan Tannehill to become in his Dolphins career and most, 42.8 percent, voted "very good." However more said only "pretty good" (27.0%) than "great " (16.1%). Another 11.1% voted "fair/OK" and the remaining 3.0% voted "a disappointment." Our conclusion? Confidence in Tannehill is fairly strong, but only 1 in 6 voting "great" indicates he has much still to prove.

U.S. SOCCER GETTING CLOSER TO ITS GOOOAAALLL!: We don't do enough with soccer in the blog, but happily the U.S. men's national team is forcing our hand. The team's first CONCACAF Gold Cup crown since 2007 marked the first international title under coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and the Americans have now won a U.S.-record 11 straight int'l matches. That's a big tailwind entering the September resumption of World Cup qualifying. The Gold Cup verified that veteran star Landon Donovan remains in his prime, and a lot of rising young talent now surrounds him. Time for America at large to start paying attention.

1aa1rondatatDECISIONS ONE MIGHT LIVE TO REGRET: "OK it seemed like a good idea at the time, right? Had I been drinking? Um, well, sure. But only for three or four hours. Anyway, we lurch past this tattoo parlor and there's nobody there but the ink guy, probably 'cause it's, like, 4 a.m. So we go in, and I tell him what I want, and I though he did a great job. Only the next day, as I'm stepping out the shower, do I discover my wife is not a big Ronda Rousey fan at all."   

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July 25, 2013

How good will Tannehill be? Poll. Vote!; plus LeBron now Mr. Popularity, bet-picks for UM football, Rick Norton, Weiner, Oden, Duncan & more

1) It is SUNDAY, JULY 28. Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes column. 2) Played golf yesterday at Sunrise but rained out on 17th hole. Was headed to the usual low-90s purgatory. 3) Rick Norton, expansion-era Dolphins quarterback, died in Louisville at age 69. Our condolences. 4) Heat announced its season opener/banner-raising will be Oct. 29 here vs. Bulls. Miami will play at Lakers on Christmas Day, with full 2013-14 NBA schedule yet to come. 5) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ryan Braun's naivete, D-Wade's ex, Marlins fast-forward, While I Was Away, Favorite-team poll result, My vacation & more. 5b) You are invited to follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

1aa1mollitodayR.I.P., Molli Serrano: I mentioned my neighbor Molli in the blog months ago when she was to compete in Hawaii's Ironman Triathlon despite battling pancreatic cancer. (She did, and finished 49th in her age group). Well, I'm sorry to say Molli has passed away; her funeral was this week. She leaves a husband and 9-year-old twins. She was 40.

1aa1ryantPREDICT HOW GOOD RYAN TANNEHILL WILL BE: Thirty years ago Dan Marino found great, enduring motivation in being the sixth quarterback chosen in the 1983 NFL draft. I suggest in today's latest column that Ryan Tannehill should have the same good-anger and drive at being so quickly judged as only the fourth-best QB (at best) from his draft class. Click on Concede Nothing to read the full column (and thanks for making it the most-read of anything on MiamiHerald.com today). Nobody seems to put Tannehill in the same conversation with Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson, but that doesn't mean he won't still get there. What do you see as Tannehill's long-term Dolphins future in terms of how good he'll be? Marino-esque? A bust? There are miles of middle ground between those extremes. Try to be dispassionate and go with honest gut feeling over wishful thinking. Vote now, say why and check back often to monitor evolving results.

ONCE VILIFIED, LEBRON NOW MR. POPULARITY: ESPN says it, so it must be so: LeBron James is now the most popular player in the NBA, a perch he last held in the 2008-09 season, dethroning Kobe Bryant. It's further anecdotal evidence that his PR recovery from The Decision is complete. The ESPN poll found LeBron the favorite of 12.9 percent, edging Kobe's 12.5. The top five was completed by Kevin Durant (3.6), Derrick Rose (2.8) and Dwyane Wade (2.5).  

CANES FOOTBALL OVER/UNDER SET AT 8 1/2 WINS: Updated betting over/under for season victories 1aa1algfor the seven state FBS college teams, courtesy Bovada, are Florida State 10, Florida 9, Miami 8.5, UCF 8, South Florida 5.5, FIU 3 and FAU 2.5. Of course 8.5 does not mean they're predicting a tie; it means you must bet on UM either finishing 8-4 or worse in the regular season, or a 9-3 or better. For coach Al Golden (pictured) and the Canes, the most lose-able games, in order of peril, look to be Nov. 2 at FSU, Oct. 17 at North Carolina, Sept. 7 vs. Florida, Nov. 9 vs. Virginia Tech and Oct. 5 vs. Georgia Tech. Each of those opponents has an over/under of at least 8 wins. Miami is a favorite to reach the Dec. 7 ACC Championship Game, pending any additional sanctions by the NCAA. Season soft-opens Aug. 30 vs. FAU.

1aa1gregodenTHE HEAT AND GREG ODEN: Oden last played in an NBA game in December 2009 in a career made chaotic by three knee surgeries, but the Heat want to sign him and should. So do a bunch of other teams. He'll make his decision next week, and the possibility far outweighs the risk. I fully explore in this column: Click on The Oden Factor to read.

And in other Heat news...: LeBron wore an AKRON cap on his current Nike business trip to China, the latest indication he'll dump Miami and return to Cleveland after next season, according to baseless speculation. Did I mention LeBron also has his own personal 24/7 DJ with him in China?

SUDDENLY, TIM DUNCAN DOESN'T SEEM QUITE AS BORING AS HE USED TO: Dwyane Wade thought his 1aa1duncant divorce was messy? It was. But not like this. Spurs star Tim Duncan and wife Amy (pictured in laughier times) are divorcing, and various media reports suggest the main reason is their mutual infidelity -- including Tim's alleged past affair with a male friend. You know how Duncan used to be the most boring man in the NBA? Maybe he wasn't quite as boring as we thought.

MEET THE DUMBEST MAN IN AMERICA: New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has admitted 1aa1aweinerto more lewd online sexting with women - the same offense that got him shame-nounced from Congress two years ago. Weiner, pictured, has declined thus far to drop out of the race despite plummeting approval ratings in polls across the Big Apple. The good news? His poll numbers have risen sharply in the boroughs of Sodom and Gomorrah.

IN SEARCH OF OUR OWN KING GEORGE: In honor of the Royal Baby (pictured left) being named George Alexander Louis -- henceforth His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge -- I set out to find the 1aa1babyroyalGreatest George in 1aa1georgewSouth Florida pro sports history. It was intended to be a List, but there weren't enough qualified Georges after our anointed king: Original Dolphins coach George Wilson (pictured right). Only nine Dolphins players have been named George, and none of reknown. The longest-tenured were punter Roberts (1978-80) and defensive end Little (1985-87), although I'd toss a shoutout to single-season QBs Wilson Jr. (1966) and Mira (1971). The Panthers' lone George was Parros, who played here last season but was traded earlier this month. The Heat and Marlins have never had a George. (Sorry, but the Spanish version isn't included here, until which time the Royal Baby starts going by Prince Jorge).

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July 22, 2013

Ryan Braun's astounding naivete; plus D-Wade's ex, Marlins fast-forward, my vacation details (just for the halibut) & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 24. The Royal Baby has been named Greg. OK, well that's what I heard. Alright, no I didn't. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our Ultimate FavoriteTeam Poll; results below. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

RYAN BRAUN'S ASTOUNDING NAIVETE: Brewers star and former Miami Hurricane Ryan Braun is suspended for the remaining 65 games of the MLB season without pay for steroids/PEDs, and I have a 1aa1braunfull column that you'd see by clicking on Permanent Stain. It is Braun's gall and naivete that get me as much as the cheating. The gall: "I realize now that I have made some mistakes." So, so easy to say after you are caught and find no wiggle room, no escape route-via-technicality available this time. The naivete: "I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all." Is he kidding? Braun's sentence won't end. His purgatory has just begun. His Hall of Fame shot is over and his name is shamed permanently. The fraud is pictured.

1aa1crazyexD-WADE PAYS BIG FOR HIS FREEDOM: Heat star Dwyane Wade paid ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches a $5 million settlement to complete their long, acrimonious divorce -- to essentially disappear from his life -- the Chicago Sun-Times reported. She protested as pictured outside a Chicago courthouse last week. The settlement includes a mutal "non-disparage" agreement. That means Wade cannot pubicly call his ex-wife crazy like I can.

MARLINS ANNOUNCE IT IS NOW 2014: The Marlins called up outfield phenom-designates Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick, who started in left and center last night in Colorado - Yelich with three hits in his big-league debut. To make room the club sent down slumping OF Marcell Ozuna (who continues a promising prospect) and 2B Derek Dietrich. I like the moves. Season is going nowhere, so fast-track the future.

CATCHING UP: THE 10 BIGGEST STORIES TO HAPPEN IN SPORTS WHILE I WAS AWAY: It was oddly liberating for me to be out at sea and largely disconnected from Internet service for much of 10 days. Here apparently is what I missed, from a Miami perspective, of course, as always: 1. Dolphins open camp: But, noticably, still-injured top draft pick Dion Jordan does not. 2. Canes open camp via ACC Media Days: QB Stephen Morris, UM could be very good if NCAA allows. 3. Heat waive Mike Miller: Champs used amnesty rule to waive popular gunner in money move. 4. Mickelson wins British Open: Lefty Phil bags his fifth major, keeping Tiger in major idle. 5. Marlins turn into Marlins again: A hot spurt, but now 37 straight scoreless innings (prior to two straight wins). 6. Mike Pouncey's hat: Dolphins center's lid reads FREE HERNANDEZ in support of ex-Pat turned accused murderer. (Seriously, Mike!?) 7. Mike Dee leaves Dolphins: Club prez bolts for similar post with San Diego Padres, with failed stadium-renovation deal a kick out the door. 8. FIU dumps top running back: Kedrick Rhodes kicked off team after arrest for discharging gun on campus. Dumb Athletes, Part 1,453,112. 9. Baseball's All-Star Break: Forget who won and don't care, but Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez pitched great. 10. Brit wins Tour de France: That would be Chris Froome. Or was he the only guy who didn't fail the drug test?

Poll result: 'Favorite Team' poll produces surprises, insanity: The timing of it skewed heavily in football's favor, and results reflected that. We asked you to name your favorite team, just one, and Hurricanes football beat the Dolphins by 35.6 percent to 25.8. That surprised me. This shocked me: FIU football (17.2%) beating the Heat (14.4%) for third place. That makes no sense. I tell you, I go away from the blog for one lousy week and y'all trash the place!   :)

1aa1fishmeWHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION: We and another couple did an Alaskan cruise (our second) out of Seattle aboard the Norwegian Pearl, which I believe was named in honor of Minnie Pearl. Anyone who tracks me on Twitter, Instagram and/or Vine likely already knows more than they'd care to about the vacation, so I'll limit this recap to the visual highlight, for me, which was the awesome sight of Glacier Bay, and and the personal highlight, which was halibut fishing, something I'd never done. Pictured: Me with some of the bounty. Very out-of-my-zone to be reeling in a stubborn 25-pound fish from depths of around 300 feet. Not enough to turn me into a devoted fisherman. But enough to make me ponder the thought. Anyway, I'm happy to be back.

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July 13, 2013

The Ultimate South Florida What's-Your-Favorite-Team Poll: Dolphins vs. Heat vs. Canes vs. [your choice]. Vote now!

Special note to the Blog Family: I will be away on vacation all week and thus not tending the blog much for a few days. We'll be in Alaska with friends while our two young-adult sons turn our home into a party-wracked frathouse take care of things in our stead. Follow me on Twitter (gregcote), Vine (Greg Cote) and Instagram (Upsetbird) because I'll be posting mini-videos and photos daily from the Great Northwest. Meantime, I hope the following is plenty to chew on while I'm away. Ciao for now!

SOUTH FLORIDA'S ULTIMATE AND DEFINITIVE FAVORITE-TEAM POLL: Most of us follow more than one sport or one team closely, I'm sure, but I also believe most of us are able to choose only one team as our favorite if we must. I didn't say it would be easy, but that is your challenge here. Pick one. By any criteria you choose, name your one favorite team. Because this is the Miami Herald, our poll emphasizes what I consider to be the seven most popular South Florida pro or college teams as a starting point. Don't fret, though. If you are mostly a fan of a team not specifically listed (Gators fans? Yankees fans?), there are three other categories in the poll with you in mind. The composite will be a picture of who our blog readers support the most. And because our polls indicate roughly half of all votes usually come from outside the state of Florida, we expect plenty of support in the "other" categories, too. Our big expectation is Heat vs. Dolphins vs. UM football for the heavyweight title, but I have been surprised before. Consider your favorite team if you could pick only one, then cast your vote and say why. Enjoy!

Check back often to monitor evolving results...

July 10, 2013

Draw line on 'roids & Cooperstown. Poll. Vote!; plus Sedano leaving WQAM, Wade's ex-wife, LeBron raps, Birdman the movie, Farewell to "The" & more

Cote radio doubleheader: Am back in-studio with Le Batard again today starting at 3 p.m. on 790 the Ticket and FM 104.3. Ears welcome.

1) It is FRIDAY, JULY 12. Jorge Sedano is leaving WQAM for ESPN, according to my colleague Barry Jackson. The Worldwide Leader is making a big reach to Hispanic listeners. That doesn't mean it's why he is being hired. But it fits and is unsurprising. 2) Dwyane Wade's ex-wife won't quit. She's back after Wade in a new lawsuit. Click here for the details. 3) Happy birthday to one of my musical heroes, @Mavis_Staples, who turned 74. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Giancarlo Stanton cavorts nude, Dolphin calls out Pats, Bosh to India, 2 Canes honored, Shh to Silva and Shaq, Heat poll results, no-class Seahawks & more.

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Farewell to "The": The Miami Herald without ceremony has dropped the "The" from its name and is now officially simply Miami Herald. Farewell, The. I miss you already!

BASEBALL'S DIRTY DILEMMA: STEROIDS AND THE HALL OF FAME: The Home Run Derby and 84th All-Star Game are almost upon us, and what should be a wonderful time for baseball is decidedly not. The 1aa1bbhallroidsMiami-born Biogenesis scandal sees Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and four current All-Stars among 20 implicated players who could be suspended right after the break. Click on Baseball's Midsummer Nightmare for my latest column. Hall of fame voters so far have shown little inclination to forgive PED-tainted players and let them into Cooperstown's hallowed halls, rejecting otherwise-first-ballot guys such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, along with Mark McGwire and Samy Sosa -- all rebuffed earlier this year -- and many more. What if you had a Hall vote? You sort of do in the form of this poll. One option I have raised in the past (not found in the poll) is to induct the tainted guys whose numbers are too overwhelming to ignore, but with a scarlet S for steroids, with permanent mention of their scandal on their Hall plauque. OK, now you draw your own line. Vote and say why you feel as you do.

LEBRON JAMES TRIES RAPPING: On his Instagram account last night Heat star LeBron James posted 1aa1kingjtwo brief audio clips of him rapping, intro-ing himself as "the kid King James." It totals roughly a half-minute of sound that includes maybe half of that of him in acceptable mid-flow. Click HERE to listen. I am told it was recorded when he and some close friends were in Las Vegas on a recent bro-holiday. The idea of LeBron immersing himself in hip-hop and loving an open mic is nothing new, or any surprise. Click here to watch a 2010 video of LBJ on stage with Drake. Whether this latest little foray is the precursor of a James rap album is unknown, but LeBron's close friendhsip with Jay-Z, Drake and others in the genre suggests something could blossom. Meantime, X@#! you, Lil Wayne!

HOLLYWOOD CONTINUES SHAMELESS USURPING OF HEAT NICKNAMES!: Like it wasn't bad enough there is a new movie called The Heat, the popular Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy buddy flick. Now, in 1aa1theheatmovieproduction, is a new movie called Birdman, a comedy that began filming this spring in New York City. The movie stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and the ubiquitous Zach Galifianakis -- but conspicuously not the Heat's newly re-signed Chris (Birdman) Andersen. Andersen and his nickname had just begun making inroads on the long headstart of Birdman 1aa1birdmancaof Alcatraz; now, this new challenger. Pictured left: Birdman Andersen, saying, "C'mon, man!" at the idea of a new movie called Birdman. The mind casts back a year to Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse, the local short film that did not have Bosh's blessing. Where will the cinematic plundering of the NBA champions end!? Will actor Dwayne Johnson start spelling it "Dwyane"? How about a remake of the 1953 Western Shane, but not starring Battier? Enough, Hollywood. Enough.

1aa1heidiklumWHAT HEIDI KLUM DID ON HER VACATION: The former supermodel and Project Runway host recently vacationed in the Bahamas and Instagram'd this photo of her, um, tanline, with the caption, "Ouch!" We pass it along purely for educational purposes, as a reminder to always use sunscreen while tanning. As for a (mostly) sports blog showing this, well, ah, clearly this involved an outdoors activity, possibly beach volleyball. Yeah that's it!

JUSTIN BIEBER ENRAGES CHICAGO: An executive of the NHL champ Chicago Blackhawks made the 1aa1biebcuperror in judgement of Tweeting out this photo of pop star Justin Bieber posing with the hallowed Stanley Cup in the team's lockerroom. (Note the customized Bieber jersey in the background). Blackhawks' fans response has been swift, voluminous and full of rage. Three possible reasons: One, hockey is a very manly sport and Bieber, physically, looks as if he'd lose a slapfight to a female jockey. Two, Justin is a sports whore, by which I mean he poses as a fan of whatever city he's in, as when he wore a Heat cap during that playoff game here, that night he adopted the bling-n-whiteboy-thug persona and was booed when shown on the video screen. Three, if you don't love Bieber (an adoration confined mostly to adolescent girls who haven't defected to One Direction yet), then chances are you hate him.

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July 08, 2013

At long last, Giancarlo Stanton cavorts naked in spray of water (w/ pics, vid); plus Dolphin calls out Pats, Bosh to India, Canes' football honor, Heat & more

1) It is TUESDAY, JULY 9. Tuesday is Friday this week in terms of me and the radio. Not in my usual spot with Le Batard today on 790, but will be in-studio Friday instead. 2) Heat scrubs beat Brooklyn scrubs Monday to go to 1-1 in NBA summer-league, where results mean less than MLB spring-training games and NFL preseason openers, if that's possible. 3) Kevin Durant is marrying a WNBA player. I just placed a bet that their first child will lead somebody's league in scoring in 2035. 4) Saddest music headline of the week nominee: 'Surviving Doors to Reunite.' 5) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat's-biggest-challenge polls post-Dwight Howard decision, shame of Urban Meyer, Jose Fernandez an All-Star, Andy Murray reigns & more.

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Click on Good vs. Evil for today's latest column by me. It's on how sports has become a morality play, and how Jose Fernandez and Andy Murray spent the weekend striking a blow for the good guys.

ESPN BODY ISSUE: GIANCARLO REVEALED!: ESPN The Magazine's annual 'Body' issue, in which 1aa1gs1various athletes are photographed nude but artfully covered, is on newstands this Friday, and pictured right are two scenes from the mag in which Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton cavorts and flexes au naturel while being sprayed by a well-aimed hose. Click HERE for a 90-second video of Stanton's photo shoot. Below right is UFC fighter Meisha Tate. As a public service we are not showing 77-year-old golfer Gary Player in the buff. Niners QB 1aa1kapcap 1aa1meishatateColin Kaepernick and Mets pitcher Matt Harvey are among the most prominent athletes to be featured. (Kaepernick is pictured left holding a Dolphins cap he got in trouble for wearing to a Fourth of July party. Slow News Day redefined: This, as an issue). I doubt very much if Kaepernick, Stanton or Harvey would look as good as Meisha Tate wearing nothing but pink gloves and leaping on a beach, although Stanton gives it a shot.

A DOLPHIN CALLS OUT THE PATRIOTS! (WELL, SORT OF...): I doubt what 1aa1dannellenew linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said qualifies as Fightin' Words with the start of training camps looming, but these are summer's dog days in sports, so we do what we can. CBS Sports asked Ellerbe (pictured) if the AFC East-dominant Patriots at last are vulnerable: "I think they are," he replied. "I was brought here to hep knock them off. That doesn't mean we will, but we feel like we can." Take that, Tom Brady! Cower and quake!

BOSH TO INDIA: Heater Chris Bosh will be in Mumbai, India July 16-19 on an NBA goodwill and grow-the-game tour, the club and league announced today.

TWO CANES GET PRESEASON FOOTBALL HONOR: Hurricanes QB Stephen Morris and RB Duke Johnson are on the newly announced 75-man watch list for the 2013 Maxwell Award, given to the college football player of the year. The only other state players to make it are QBs Jeff Driskel of Florida and Blake Bortles of UCF.

TO SILVA AND SHAQ: QUIET, PLEASE: Previously unbeaten Anderson Silva lost UFC 162 to Chris 1aa1clarkkentWeidman, and, after watching Silva showboating and clowning, the result did not bother me in the least. I also would say "shhh" to Shaquille O'Neal for slamming Dwight Howard going to Houston by saying, "Not everyone can handle being under the bright lights." Shaq is still sore that Howard usurped his Superman nickname. Bulletin: You both stole it from the man pictured: Clark Kent.

Poll result: Pacers, Thunder are Miami's top obstacles: Sorry, Brooklyn. Adding Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett wasn't enough. Too bad, Houston. Signing Dwight Howard didn't do it. We asked who in new NBA landscape is biggest challenge to Heat Three-Peat. From the East you said Pacers at 59.3 percent, Bulls 25.6%, Nets 12.0% and someone else 3.1%. In The Finals you said Thunder 50.3 percent, Clippers 17.7%, Rockets 15.2% and someone else (Spurs again?) 16.9%.

SEAHAWKS' CLASSLESS MOVE: Seattle Seahawks' annual charity softball game Sunday featured guest umpire Lance Easley. Name ring a bell? He's the infamous replacement referee whose end-zone mistake handed an undeserved win to Seattle at the expense of Green Bay in Week 3 last season. Now Easley was yukking it up and posing for pictures with Golden Tate. I doubt the Packers, or the NFL, were amused.

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July 06, 2013

In new NBA, who is Heat's biggest threat? New polls. Vote!; plus the king of England, the shame of Urban Meyer, Marlins' wild day & more

1) It is SUNDAY, JULY 7. Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes column. 2) Played golf yesterday for first time in ages and shot a bad-for-even-me 97 at Inverrary-East. The greens mocked me all day. Must have missed a half dozen 4-to-5 foot par putts. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron on Forbes power list, Happy 4th, Miami top-10 athletes under 25 & more.

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1aa1kingjDWIGHT HOWARD HAS LANDED. NOW WHO IS HEAT'S BIGGEST THREAT?: We have seen the draft. Mostly, we have now seen the major moves in free agency, culminating with the biggest 2013 prize, Dwight Howard, ditching the Lakers for the Houston Rockets. So, Heat fan, as you survive the altered NBA landscape, who look like Miami's biggest threats to a Three-Peat? First in the Eastern Conference, then from the West in The Finals? The two polls below list the top three challengers in each category based on new Bovada betting odds, post-Howard trade. But the teams are alphabetically listed in the poll, not based on odds. I figure you all are going to set the real order, right here. Vote, say why and check back often to track the evolving results.

Note: Participating in these polls does not indicate particular concern that any team will dethrone the Heat, only which is most likely.

THE SHAME OF URBAN MEYER: Urban Meyer, now at Ohio State, tries to distance himself from the 1aa1meyeruAaron Hernandez murder-charge scandal, which is understandable, though Hernandez was a Gator under Meyer and reportedly a punk in Gainesville, too. But it's awfully hard for Gator fans to deny the program ran amok off the field during his years there. And if you know any UF alum or fans still in denial, have them read this piece from The New York Times.

MARLINS' WILD DAY: HELLO JOSE, GOODBYE RICKY: Marlins rookie pitching phenom Jose Fernandez (pictured) ceremonially arrived as a future star Saturday with his not-unexpected selection to the NL All-Star team 1aa1fernj-- one of 17 rooks on the National's 35-man rster. (The AL roster has 13 rookies). Outbound was Ricky Nolasco, the club's all-time leader in wins with 81, in a long-anticipated trade to the Dodgers. This isn't one of those salary-dump, here-they-go-again type of moves. Nolasco is 30, was 27-34 the past three-plus seasons, and Miami has four starters (at least) who are younger and better. Need one of those three prospects in return to make it, but even if not, Nolasco is not a big loss. Meantime, Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison both should be embarrassed by their combined error that ended yesterday's game. Lazy throw, muffed catch. Sloppy, sloppy.

ANDY MURRAY: THE KING OF ENGLAND: You lead the league in stoicism if you didn't get emotional 1aa1amurraywatching Andy Murray (pictured) win Wimbledon today over Novak Djokovic, the first Brit to do so since 1936. The storybook endings that seem too good to be true -- nobody does 'em like sports. Great day for Great Britain. on Saturday, Marion Bartoli beat Sabine Lisicki for the women's title. It was a star-less final and dull match, spiced only by Lisicki's tears during play as she tried to rally to respectability. A competitive match (not that this was) isn't enough. I can see good, competitive tennis at my local club. In a major final I want starpower; so do TV viewers. The men came through on that today. Andy Murray came through.

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

July 04, 2013

LeBron 16th on new wealth/fame list; plus Cats lose Weiss, Miami's Top 10 under-25 sports stars, the Fourth & more

1) It is FRIDAY, JULY 5. 2) Panthers free-agent center and longest-serving cat Stephen Weiss signs with Detroit Red Wings. 2) I'm holed up in the dank Random Evidence Laboratories today attempting to draw forth Sunday's notes column. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Future of Giancarlo Stanton, Heat and Greg Oden, Ray Hudson, Serena loses, Panthers draft, South Koreans.

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LEBRON 16th ON MOST-POWERFUL-CELEBS LIST: Forbes loves lists, and its latest is a "Celebrity 100" of world's most perful celsb based on money and fame. Heat star LeBron James is 16th overall and third among the 17 athletes listed. From sports are: 8th--tennis' Roger Federer; 15th--golf's Tiger Woods; 16th--LeBron; 19th--soccer's David Beckham; 24th--Laker Kobe Bryant; 31st--soccer's Cristiano Ronaldo; 39th--soccer's Lionel Messi; 48th--sprinter Usain Bolt; 50th--Saints' Drew Brees; 51st--tennis' Rafael Nadal; 52nd--golf's Phil Mickelson; 56th--tennis' Serena Williams; 62nd--tennis' Maria Sharapova; 65th--Patriot Tom Brady; 78th--boxing's Manny Pacquiao; 88th--boxing's Floyd Mayweather Jr.; and 91st--racing's Danica Patrick. One-two-three-overall? Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg.

1aa1fourthr 1aa1fourthlHAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!: Sure the government might spy on us every once in a while, but I'm not about to let a little subterfuge stand between me and my country. God Bless America! It's 237 years later and the United States still is the shining example for the world. Yesterday I marked the holiday by hosting a small party at which ribs, chicken, sausage and London broil -- whoa, an American broil! -- were served. Along with enough beer to float a battleship, of course. What did y'all do for the holiday? Whatever it was, hope you made it a safe and happy Fourth!

THE MIAMI UNDER-25 TOP 10: In my latest column -- click HERE for the full version -- I list the Top 10 South Florida pro team-sport athletes under age 25. It is the only category imaginable in which the Marlins, Dolphins and Panthers all dominate the Heat. Norris Cole is the Heat's only U-25 player of any prominence, and he doesn't even make my Top 10. The list:

1aa1gstanton• 1. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins right fielder, 23.

• 2. Jose Fernandez, Marlins pitcher, 20.

• 3. Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers center, 20.

• 4. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins quarterback, 24.

1aa1jhuberdeau• 5. Mike Pouncey, Dolphins center, 23.

• 6. Christian Yelich, Marlins outfielder, 21.

• 7. Jacob Markstrom, Panthers goaltender, 23.

• 8. Erik Gudbranson, Panthers defenseman, 21.

1aa1rtannehill• 9. Marcell Ozuna, Marlins centerfielder, 22.

• 10. Lamar Miller, Dolphins running back, 22.

Click on the column link above for the description of each explaining why they made the list, and to see who just missed. Stanton, Huberdeau and Tannehill, top to bottom, are pictured.

Poll result: Not much long-term optimism to keep Stanton: We asked what you think will become of Marlins sluggers Giancarlo Stanton, and 77.9 percent said he'd be traded before becoming a free agent. The other 22.1% said he'd re-sign long-term with Miami.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost as the rigors and obligations of Random Day allow...

July 01, 2013

Will Marlins keep Stanton? Poll. Vote!; plus Fernandezmania, Greg Oden, Ray Hudson, Serena, Cats draft, Trayvon poll verdict & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 3. Welcome old friend Dan Sileo back on the air at 640 AM, the Home For Wayward Sons. 2) Back in his Lakers days in 1989, Pat Riley secured legal rights to the phrase "Three-Peat," so it may not be used without his permission. Damn! I think I owe Pat money. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Trayvon Martin trial, Heat up for ESPY awards, NBA Draft, Marlins not stinking.

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PFT's Dolphins Mount Rushmore gets 3 outta 4 right: Pro Football Talk, of NBC Sports, selected Don Shula, Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Larry Csonka to its Dolphins' Mount Rushmore. Our blog's own Dolphins/Rushmore poll, months earlier (your welcome), had Shula-Marino-Csonka 1-2-3 but the fourth was founding owner Joe Robbie. Then it was Bob Griese, then Taylor. Ours was better.

1aa1fernandezmaniaFernandezmania!: Marlins 20-year-old starter Jose Fernandez was dominant Monday night and leads the next wave of young Marlins who would make the future hopeful and bright if fans could trust they'll be kept long-term. I explore in Keep The Keepers, my latest column off last night's game.  

THE FUTURE OF GIANCARLO STANTON: The resurgent Marlins -- they are on a 17-11 run even with last night's loss in Atlanta -- seem very unlikely to deal 1aa1gstantonslugger Giancarlo Stanton before the July 31 trade deadline, but most experts continue to think it likely he'll be traded sometime before his contract expires at end of 2016 season. The reason isn't just the club's natural tendency to think low-payroll; the reason in this case is also a belief that Stanton would prefer to play on the West Coast. This poll seeks to gauge what fans think will happen. Now what they want to happen but what they honestly think will. Vote for the likeliest of the two possibilities and say why you think as you do.

HEAT'S FASCINATION WITH GREG ODEN: It sometimes seems like free agent Greg Oden has had more knee 1aa1godensurgeries than NBA games, but I get the ongoing interest in a man who last played on Christmas Day 2009. Oden is a 7-footer and still only 25. If healthy -- one of the biggest ifs in sports -- he'd be a low-cost, high-upside dice roll. The Spurs and Cavaliers are thought to be fronturnners for him, but Miami, the Celtics and Grizzlies also are hunting him. Heat offers him LeBron James and the best title shot. What the rest of y'all got? [Pictured: Oden, who looked 35 years old at 18 and now looks 48].

CALLING RAY HUDSON!: The NASL's Fort Lauderdale Strikers, the local pro team we don't talk about, fired longtime coach Daryl Shore and seek a replacement. Natural choice: Ray Hudson, the original 1aa1hudsonrStriker from way back in the day, later coach of the former MLS Miami Fusion and DC United, and currently a soccer analyst for the network beIN Sports. Hudson, pictured, has coaching experience but, as important, is an ambassador and salesman. If anyone could build excitement to better fill Lockhart Stadium and make this team relevant in a way it isn't, it's Hudson. I have my doubts he'd accept the job, but if it isn't offered they're nuts. [Update: Spoke today to Strikers president Tom Mulroy, who said, "I don't disagree! Ray was someone I thought about when I first took over the Strikers. However to the best of my knowledge he's in a great place with his current job."

SERENA BOUNCED FROM WIMBLEDON: No. 1-ranked five-time Wimbledon champ Serena Williams loses to somebody named Sabine Lisicki. Craziest fortnight I can recall. Now if we can get Novak Djokovic outta there it'll be complete mayhem.

NHL DRAFT: CATS SELECT EXPERIENCED VETERAN, 17: Only in the hockey draft might someone who 1aa1alekcan't legally sip a lager and who may not even shave yet be called a veteran, but that's the pitch on Aleksander (Sasha) Barkov, whom the Florida Panthers made the No. 2 overall pick Sunday. He is pictured 1aa1alek2right, at at left standing next to some other guy in front of a comically small car. Barkov is the coveted "big center" and at 17 -- I have socks older -- has already played two pro seasons in Finland and is said to be NHL-ready. That's good because Cats must sate their starving fans soon, not later. I also like that Florida eschewed defense for a more offense-minded pick. This kid alongside rookie-of-the-year left wing Jonathan Huberdeau is itself an exciting vision.

SOUTH KOREANS CONTINUE RUINATION OF AMERICAN WOMEN'S GOLF: Back in the day you didn't 1aa1inbeepfollow the LPGA just because it was boring. Now you don't follow the LPGA because you're sick of the South Korean takeover. Of course, by "you," I mean "me." South Korean Inbee Park won the U.S. Women's Open Sunday, her third straight major. In second and third place: I.K. Kim and So Yeon Ryu. I don't mind a healthy influx of foreign-born talent in any U.S. sport, but the LPGA is under seige. OK, I admit to being a jingoist; sue me. As for Inbee Park (pictured), I see more victories in her future, along with a possible NutriSysytem endorsement. WHOA! OUCH! Is that mean?

Poll results: Your call a Trayvon Martin a hung jury: I asked if, based on what you know of the case, you would find George Zimmerman guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin, and "no" led with 47.9 percent, while 40.3% voted "yes" and 11.8% were undecided/not sure. It was very even at first, then sentiment for acquittal gradually gained traction.

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