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July 31, 2014

Miami Big 5 next-champion poll too close to call, voting extended to midnight; plus Marlins, Riley, Dolphins, Sharknado & more

1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 2. Happy new month all! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miracle Marlins, Micky Arison's open letter, Canes odds, Tannehill-support results, naked TV & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

LeBron saga gets stranger: Three weeks later, LeBron James' departure from the Heat occupies a murky space in the gray between amicable parting and bitter divorce. I explore in my latest column. Click on Bad Blood Wrapped In Civility to read.

New NFL, Dolphins odds: New pre-preseason odds from Bovada show Broncos the Super Bowl fave at 13-2, followed by Seahawks 7-1, 49ers 15-2, Patriots 8-1 and Packers 10-1. Dolphins tied for 23rd at 66-1.

THE MIAMI TEAM BEST-POSITIONED TO NEXT BE CHAMPION IS...: This poll question -- and voting is extended through midnight tonight/Saturday because it's too close to call -- wouldn't be here if
LeBron James hadn't left Miami. What would have been the point? The answer would have been 1aa1abig5foregone. Heat, obviously. Now, not so much. 1aa1anextchampNow the playing field for this question has leveled. I could make an honest argument that any one of our Big 5 South Florida teams -- Dolphins, Heat, Hurricanes football, Marlins or Panthers -- is best-positioned and most likely to win our next championship. That is what makes picking just one tough, but that's your challenge here. Your other challenge is to not make it a favorite-team vote. It isn't. Not asking who you most hope has a parade next, but who you honestly think is most likely to. Who your money would be on in an even-odds wager. Vote and say why.

MARLINS SCREWED BY REPLAY REVERSAL: I'm not a kill-the-ump/blame-the-ref guy. Pinning your 1aa1amredteam's loss on the officiating almost always comes off as lame, an excuse. But not Thursday night. The Marlins got screwed when a blown decision by an MLB replay crew in New York turned a 1-0 Marlins lead into a 3-1 loss to the Reds. An inning-ending throw to the plate by Giancarlo Stanton that nailed the runner easily was wrongly overturned based on the new 7.13 rule preventing catchers from blocking the plate -- even though the rule should not have applied in this case based on when and where the catcher possessed the ball. The Marlins including manager Mike Redmond (shown protesting) were livid, and justifiably. MLB responded yesterday with a statement backing up the role reversal, but admitted the application of the new rule will be reviewed, and that last night's 6-minute review was far too long. Will the screw-job lead to a tailspin? Marlins lost again last night.

Marlins trade for starting pitcher: Fish beat this week's MLB trade deadline with a six-player swap 1aa1acosartwith Houston, acquiring righty starter Jarred Cosart, 24, who is 9-7 with a 4.41 ERA; utilityman Kike' Hernandez, 22; and outfielder Austin Wates, 25. Cosart (pictured) will join the rotation and should help right away. Traded away in the deal: OF Jake Marisnick, IF Colin Moran, RHP Francis Martes and a draft pick. Cosart must become a productive fixture in the rotation beyond this season for this deal to feel good, because chances are either Moran or Marisnick will turn into a very good player.

ON PAT RILEY'S RESTRAINT: We media adore Heat prez Pat Riley because he is effusive, eloquent, candid -- everything you want in a good quote interview. So there was great potential this week when Riles agreed 1aa1aprileyto a conference call with reporters. Then there was a letdown. We thought Riley wouldn't be able to resist veering off the high-road just a bit for a few pointed jabs at LeBron James, but he didn't. "We were shocked, but we recovered," he said. "We are going to build another championship team and that’s it." Riley said he plans to still be around in 2016 when the Heat will have much salary-cap flexibility for a bounty of free agents that will include Kevin Durant. "It has fired me up," he said. "We are going to try to make it another generational team. That’s my objective." On this coming season: "We feel very good. I feel we are going to be as competitive as anybody in the Eastern Conference." Riley never gives a bad interview, but this one was mild. It was like a deposition with the good stuff redacted. He could have made national news with the the hint of a LeBron rift the sound bite and headline. To the media's disappointment but his credit, Riley did not.

SHARKNADO NATION: If I have to explain the Sharknado phenomenon, you fail Pop Culture 101. 1aa1asharknadoSharknado 2, sequel to the made-for-TV disaster B-film, premiered on the SyFy channel this week. Proudly, I did not see it. Sharks eminating from tornadoes! Need I say more? In the sequel, the flying sharks attack New York City. (As if living in NYC wasn't dangerous enough, right?) The Sharknado vehicle is preposterous high camp owing to ancestors like Mothra, the giant moth that terrorized Tokyo in 1961. I am officially predicting a Sharknado vs. Mothra sequel, with a cameo by Godzilla as a Jimmy Carter-esque mediator who fails to ameliorate the mayhem.     

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