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August 22, 2013

Marlins attendance: Signs of life; plus Dolphin roster moves, T.O. sues Rosenhaus, my White House visit, NFL award odds, Mr. Incognito & more

1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 23. Dolphins cut five players today including LB Alonzo Highsmith. Others out the door: G Jeff Braun, G Chandler Burden, DT Chris Burnette and WR Kenny Stafford. 2) I'm back in the Random Evidence Dungeon midwifing the birth of this Sunday's notes-clumn package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Blog Exclusive: With the Dolphins at The White House. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), on Instagram (Upsetbird) and on Vine (Greg Cote).

MARLINS ATTENDANCE: SIGNS OF LIFE, AND HOPE: A while back in the blog I mentioned I sensed fan resentment against the Marlins on account of owner Jeffrey Loria might be easing, and it was as if I'd outlined plans to vacation in Egypt or Syria. I had to be crazy! But now look: Eight of the 10 biggest 1aa1josemarlinshome crowds of the season have come in August. That includes 103,422 for the just-ended four-game series with the Dodgers. Some of that is the opponent, but not all of it. Some of it is that, since an abysmal 13-41 start, the team has been competetive/respectable at 35-36. As much, I think there is a growing sense that maybe that controversial "fire sale" trade with Toronto wasn't so bad for Miami after all and that, in turn, maybe 1aa1lbjmarlinsLoria knew what he was doing. Don't get me wrong: Loria still needs to spend more, especially for veteran bats, for offense, as we look forward. That remains a public-trust obligation of the new ballpark. But the framework of a promising young team is here, and we are starting to see it in the fan response. Rookie phenom Jose Fernandez (pictured above right) has been the hub of growing interest, and should now be in the lead for NL Rookie of the Year after his domination of the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig. And when LeBron James attends a Marlins game (as he did Wednesday, pictured above left), you officially have earned a bit of buzz. The sharp uptick in August attendance is good news no matter what you think of Loria, because it proves the fans are here. Combine the promise of this team with an owner who spends -- and owner who simply manages to not make fans irate -- and fans will respond.

T.O. SUING ROSENHAUS: Former NFL receiver Terrell Owens is suing agent Drew Rosenhaus over the hiring of a financial adviser, faulting Rosenhaus for "steering Owens to hire an incompetent and unethical financial adviser with whom the defendant had a ... business relationship." The suit was filed last night in Miami-Dade Circuit Court by the Miami law firm Carlson & Lewittes.

MY WHITE HOUSE VISIT: I have what people tell me is an interesting job. I have covered Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Finals, a Stanley Cup Finals, a World Cup, a Masters, an Olympics. I've been in the 1aa1housewhitecompany of sports figures from Muhammad Ali to Tiger Woods to LeBron James. I was there the night UM won the '83 national championship. But nothing I've covered connected with my work has struck me quite likely being in the White House for the ceremony honoring the 1972 Dolphins. It was an honor, a genuine thrill. I'm not a bucket-list guy, but if I were, I feel like I just crossed off a big one. When I wrote in criticism of the three former players who did not attend for political reasons, in objection to Obama's policies, I meant to convey that, to me, the White House is bigger than whomever the current occupant might be. Those three men have every right to stand on principle however they define it for themselves. For me, the White House is the most iconic symbol of the country I love, and it was an honor to walk those grounds, to attend an official press briefing, and to watch the president enter the East Room. I'll never forget it.     

DOLPHINS, NFL AWARDS ODDS: From Bovada, Peyton Manning at 5-1 odds is preseason pick for NFL MVP, followed by Aaron Rodgers 13-2, Colin Kaepernick and Drew Brees both 10-1, and Adrian Peterson and Tom Brady at 12-1. No Dolphin is among 39 men mentioned through 150-1 odds. Other categories: Passing yards--Brees the pick at 4-1; Ryan Tannehill tied for 21st at 50-1. Rushing yards--Peterson pick at 11-4; Lamar Miller tie-19th at 40-1. Receiving yards--Calvin Johnson pick at 11-4; Mike Wallace tie-19th at 40-1. Offensive rookie--Tavon Austin pick at 5-1; Mike Gillislee tie-16th at 33-1. And defensive rookie--Ezekiel Ansah pick at 6-1; Dion Jordan tie-11th at 18-1.

1aa1incognitoON RICHIE INCOGNITO: Couple of quick thoughts on reports this week that Dolphins guard Richie Incognito recently clocked a security guard outside LIV nightclub at the Fountainbleau. (This was just after that altercation involving him in the last preseason game). First, when a man reputed to be one of the NFL's dirtiest players -- or badass, if he's on your team -- gets in a fight, is that even news? Second, could there be a man less-suited to the surname "Incognito" than a 320-punt football player with a temper?

1aa1ddWHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?: I read this lead paragraph of a local story today and it made me sad. Here it is, verbatim: A Lauderhill couple assaulted and pistol-whipped an employee at a Dunkin’ Donuts on Tuesday for getting their coffee order wrong, police said. My comment: There is only one possible exception to this being an overreaction by the couple. That would be if they asked for vanilla or caramel in their coffee but instead got urine or arsenic.

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

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