1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13. Happy 65th birthday to one of the greatest guitarists and a personal favorite, Mark Knopfler. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins computerized win percentages, Fins sign Brady Quinn, Wade needles LeBron, boxing promoter becomes woman, Facekini, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.
Christmas present: LeBron at Heat: NBA will release its regular season schedule this evening to reveal officially that Cleveland and LeBron James will visit Miami on Christmas Day. So you now have 134 more days to decide: Cheer or boo?
Dolphins sign Brady Quinn: "When Quinn the Eskimo Quarterback gets here, everybody's gonna jump for joy." --"Mighty Quinn," Manfred Mann, 1968. (Click here to listen. It's trippy, baby!).
ASSESSING BLAME IN TONY STEWART'S ROLE IN ANOTHER DRIVER'S DEATH: I write in my latest column about the weekend tragedy in a sprint-car race on a dirt track in upstate New York, where NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart struck and killed 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr. (Ward, near left, and Stewart are pictured) You may click here to watch a video of the tragedy, although I caution that you may wish you had not. Click on The Culture of Racing to read my column in full. Many blame Ward for dangerously wandering onto a hot track during a race and attempting to confront Stewart. Others blame Stewart, even suggesting he could have avoided striking Ward. I see the gray in between, and fault the culture of auto racing that infects NASCAR and trickles down. The culture is one of confrontation and retaliation. It was just a matter of time before a tragedy like this occured. That's my opinion. Time for your's. Vote for the poll option that best represents how you feel, and say why.
PROJECTIONS FOR DOLPHINS, TANNEHILL, PHILBIN, NFL: Miami has the NFL's 19th-best offense overall and No. 8 defense, according to new rankings by Pro Football Focus. The breakdown on O: QBs 9th, line 18th, receivers 19th and RBs 27th. On D: Edge rushers 5th, interior line 9th, secondary 13th and LBs 26th. Meanwhile here are Bovada's new betting odds in individual categories. Most passing yards--Drew Brees and Peyton Manning co-favorites to lead league at 11-4, with Ryan Tannehill tied for 16th at 100-1. Most rushing yards--Adrian Peterson the pick at 4-1, with no Dolphin at 100-1 or better. Receiving yards--Calvin Johnson favored at 13-5, with Mike Wallace tied for 26th at 66-1. Also of note,it's 33-1 against any team going 16-0. And Joe Philbin (pictured) is third at 7-1 in first-coach-to-be-fired odds, trailing only DAL's Jason Garrett (2-1) and OAK's Dennis Allen (4-1).
HEAT PICKED FOR 6TH IN CONFERENCE: ESPN's 219-person panel of NBA experts -- I think they have more experts than the NBA has players -- has put forth its Eastern Conference projected standings for the coming season. Their top eight (meaning playoff teams): 1. Cavaliers (56 wins), 2. Bulls (54), 3. Raptors (47), 4. Wizards (47), 5. Bobcats (45), 6. Heat (44), 7. Hawks (42), 8. Nets (39).
ON ROBIN WILLIAMS AND SUICIDE: Robin Williams' death shocked me and saddened me to the edge of tears. I heard my voice struggle as I reacted to the news. (I think the last celebrity death to affect me in what felt like a personal way was that of Amy Winehouse). When the soon-after second wave of news said "reported suicide," the shock doubled. So did the sadness. I have since heard, and read on Twitter, a few unkind comments, as if the tragedy in such a loss is less because it came by the deceased's own hand. Somebody called Williams "selfish." For me, the tragedy in some ways is magnified by suicide because it speaks to such despair and hopelessness. Depression is a powerful, frightening thing. In Williams' case, none of his celebrity or wealth mattered; in the end, no one could help him. Millions adored and cheered for him; in the end, he was alone. So, so sad. I found Robin Williams to be a comic genius, a phrase overused that I use sparingly. It feels like America, not just the "entertainment industry," has lost someone truly special. Pictured is me in Williams' company a few years ago before a performance of his my wife and I saw at the Hard Rock in Hollywood. We were longtime big fans. We bought premium tickets for a pre-show meet-and-greet if I recall. The red lanyard holds my dorky VIP pass. I'd lost track of this photo before searching for it this morning. I think I'll keep track of it now. I recall being thrilled in a way I rarely am in the company of even the biggest sports stars. I can see it in my face here. Williams was kind in the short time we had with him.
GIANCARLO STANTON: "MVP! MVP!": The Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton has a big chance to become only the sixth player to win a league MVP award playing for a losing team (Miami is presently one game under .500). MondaY night was a wonderful advertisement: two home runs and a spectacular diving catch in right field. Stanton now leads the NL in homers (31) and RBIs (82) and is second in OPS (.960). His seven homers of 450-plus feet are more than everybody else's combined team total. At this point only Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw could beat Stanton, but most voters lean to the position player in a close call since the pitchers have their own award in the Cy Young. Even as the playoff chase slowly ebbs, Stanton is the reason to keep watching the Marlins.
50 YARDS TO GLORY: LATEST UPDATE: Here's what's new in our radio-bet quest to kick a 50-yard field goal. In a Saturday training session at St. Thomas Aquinas we did no better than 30 yards before straining a quad muscle. The injury -- depicted by a reader in the illustration shown -- will delay our planned on-air attempt today. In other news we have fired St. Thomas as our host over a controversial Tweet in which @STA_Football demeaned our dream of 50. I love that people are not quite sure if I'm serious about all this or not. I am! Sort of.
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