August 27, 2016

D-Wade's cousin killed in Chicago shooting; plus Dolphins impress in dress-rehearsal and Fins talent vs. hope; also, Canes football dissed in royalty rank, Marlins host WBC, Rolling Stone joins us, Jeff Francoeur, Heat's summer grade, Zika & more


Zikabillboards1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 26. The Marlins' comeback from 6-2 down to win last night -- that's one of the games they'll look back on and credit should they make the playoffs. 2) Marlins hosting WBC: Marlins Park will host first-round World Baseball Classic games next March 9-12 involving USA, Canada, Colombia and reigning champ Dominican Republic. 3) A new double-billboard (pictured) in Miami-Dade near the Wynwood epicenter of the Zika virus has been put up to promote condom use against the spread of the virus. Click on image for larger view. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins preseason thus far with poll, Race Of Champions coming to Miami, what really sank Ryan Lochte, KFC sunscreen & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Miami only 14th among college football 'royalty': ESPN in this piece today examines which schools lead the list of college football royalty. They have a five-way tie for first place, which is lame. Also dubious: the Miami Hurricanes, tied for sixth with five national championships in the poll era, are ranked only 14th, below both Florida and FSU. Oy!

Imagine if Dolfans were optimists right now: Preposterous, I know. But that is the premise of today's new column by me. Pessimism is easy. Optimism takes effort. Click on All The Things That Could Go Right to read our latest column in full.

Column six-pack: Six other select recent columns, ICYMI: The Real Olympic Ideal (it isn't gold medals). Name Of Stadium Doesn't Matter (on new-name Hard Rock). Time for Baseball and Cooperstown to Reconcile With Banished Stars. The Weight Has Just Begun (inside the office and expectations of new Canes coach Mark Richt). A Chance for Football to Retake Miami (on Wade's departure from Heat). Ichiro!

The Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls will be back with the regular season. Look for the first one the night of Sept. 11.

NykeaaldridgeWADE'S COUSIN KILLED IN CHICAGO SHOOTING: Just a few weeks ago at the ESPY Awards Dwyane Wade was one of four NBA stars to somberly address the issue of gun violence in America. "Enough is enough," he said. Yesterday in Chicago, Wade's own cousin was fatally shot on Chicago's South Side. Police said Nykea Aldridge, 32 (pictured), died when two men fired shots at a third man walking with Aldrudge and that the bullet was not intended for her. Aldridge was pushing a baby stroller when killed. She was the daughter of Wade's mother's sister. So awful. Wade, the former Heat star now with the Bulls (still strange to say), Tweeted last night: "My cousin was killed today in Chicago. Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal. #EnoughIsEnough." Click here for the full story via the Chicago Tribune.

PS3: DOLPHINS 17, ATLANTA 6 (FINAL) IN ORLANDO: STRONG SHOWING IN DRESS REHEARSAL: Postgame thoughts: OK I wrote that "Try Optimism" column and a lot of you angst-ridden Dolfans chided me. Fine. But last night you saw signs. Miami was playing a team that won two more games than the Dolphins did last year and Miami controlled the night. Tannehill looked sharp. The offensive line protected well. The defense looked solid. Overall a very encouraging performance. Ndamukong Suh was excellent before leaving with a minor ankle injury. I wonder if Zak Dysert might unseat concussed Matt Moore as backup QB. Bottom line? A good night for the Dolphins and coach Adam Gase. ..... Halftime thoughts: Very solid half by Miami. One that is encouraging. Ryan Tannehill sharp, 20-for-29 for 155 yards, with at least three drops, and the one interception off a deflected ball at the line. Not much running game, but a fair dose of Arian Foster (5-10 rushing with a TD, 2-20 receiving). Offense held possession by almost a 2-to-1 margin. Dolphins defense solid, too, limiting ATL to 116 offensive yards on 27 snaps. Good to see Cam Wake in his season debut. Coach Adam Gase on first half: Said offense "did a a good job. A tipped ball for a pick is always a tough one to swallow but I thought I liked the tempo of the guys." Also liked his defense: "We got some hands on some balls. I feel like they did a great job as far as putting pressure on them. The four-man rush was good. Coverage was tight. I feel like we made some strides." ..... Original post: The third exhibition of four is a Dolphins "home" game tonight, though it's being played up in Mousetown, scheduled there originally as a hedge in case the facelift on the newly renamed Hard Rock Stadium was not yet ready for public view. Miami is 1-1 in fake games after winning at the Giants then losing in Dallas, but of course PS3 is always the big one, the one dress rehearsal in which starters play a lot and how you look sort of matters. The exhibition finale Miaatlwill be mostly rest-starters/don't-get-hurt mentality, so tonight is the night to see the closest facsimile yet of the actual 2016 Dolphins. But only to a point! Expect Miami to not show much or flex the playbook offensively. Why? Simple. The Falcons' second-year coach, Dan Quinn, got hired because he previously was Seattle's defensive chief, and now runs the same defense (albeit with much less talent) in Atlanta. Miami opens the regular season where? At Seattle. So the Fins obviously won't provide a lot tonight for the Seahawks to study and prepare for. That's standard NFL gamesmanship. Having said that, the starters will play more than in the first two fake games. Receiver Jarvis Landry said tonight is "not something to judge us by," but also acknowledged the added emphasis on PS3: "Of course. Usually the third preseason game for your starters is the game that you get the most burn. For us, it’s an opportunity to go out and make it feel like a game as much as possible." Hopefully we'll see a sizable dose of Arian Foster, who continues to be slotted higher than Jay Ajayi in (for what it's worth) fantasy rankings and drafts. Also interested to see if Cam Wake, back from an Achilles injury, makes his season debut defensively. Coach Adam Gase must cut 15 players from the roster by this coming Tuesday so the bottom-thirders will be playing for their professional lives tonight. Who says there's no drama in August! Since tonight's game counts, a little, sort of, I'll update scores live here as they happen and check in with halftime and postgame thoughts.

NsuhQUANTIFYING DOLPHINS' TOP-TALENT SHORTFALL: As Miami prepares for its third preseason game tonight in Orlando, the dress rehearsal vs. Atlanta, this week is out with its annual Top 100 ranking of NFL players, and your Dolphins fared poorly with but one player mentioned, the guy over there. Meanwhile elsewhere in the AFC East there are 16 guys mentioned among the Patriots' seven, the Jets' five and the Bills' four. The division's Top 100 talent, according to the Worldwide Leader's panel of 50-plus King Sport experts:

Patriots (7): 3rd overall--TE Rob Gronkowski; 6th--QB Tom Brady; 50th--S Devin McCourty; tie-56th--OLB Jamie Collins; 89th--CB Malcolm Butler; tie-93rd--WR Julian Edelman; and 99th--OLB Dont'a Hightower.

Jets (5): 30th--CB Darrelle Revis; 32nd--DE Muhammad Wilkerson; tie-56th--WR Brandon Marshall; 65th--DE Sheldon Richardson; and 72nd--C Nick Mangold.

Bills (4): 79th--DT Marcell Dareus; 85th--CB Stephon Gilmore; tie-93rd--WR Sammy Watkins; and 97th--RB LeSean McCoy.

Dolphins (1): 25th--DT Ndamukong Suh (pictured). That's it, folks. I thought Jarvis Landry deserved a spot somewhere in lower 100. Reshad Jones might have, too, and thought even Cam Wake still might have snuck in. Alas, no. Only Suh. And he plummeted from a No. 4 overall ranking a year ago.

Also of note on the list: Former Hurricane TE Greg Olsen (Panthers) ranked 45th, ex-Canes DE Calais Campbell (Cardinals) ranked 66th; former Dolphin and Cane DE Olivier Vernon (Giants) ranked 91st; and ex-Dolphin CB Vontae Davis (Colts) ranked 96th.

Poll result: Preseason thus far has made Dolfans less confident, not more: We asked how the Dolphins' first two preseason performances have left you feeling about the team and season, and by a more than 6-to-1 margin it was "worse" (62.8 percent), not "better" (9.6%). The other 27.6% answered "no different."

WELCOME ABOARD, ROLLING STONE: The Chicago White Sox have announced they will change the name of their stadium from U.S. Cellular to Guaranteed Rate Field. In other words, a bad name is getting worse. This led, in this article today, to write the headline, "Yes, Chicago White Sox Have the Worst Stadium Name in Sports," with this subhed: "It's time to
Rollingstonestart protesting corporate sponsorship by calling your team's stadium whatever you want."
Hallelujah! You all know I have been saying and writing that for years, and that I generally refrain from referring to corporate-named stadiums and arenas in columns. Just last week, in this column on the renaming of Hard Rock Stadium, I wrote: "I fundamentally dislike the idea of corporate names on stadiums and arenas, as many careful or longtime readers know. In most columns I avoid them where possible. I go with generic descriptions, such as the Heat playing in "the downtown bayside arena." Because why should I pimp for an airline? (Or a casino?) TV networks that have lucrative partnerships with leagues are contractually bound to mention "Hard Rock Stadium" early and often during telecasts. But newspapers and other independent media are not. Neither are fans. Consider: All that's left is for franchises to lease their very team's name to corporate sponsors. "The Heat Presented by McDonald's," with golden arches on the jerseys. Would you start calling them the McDonald's Heat because you were told to? So why can't you continue to call it Marlins Park even after naming rights are sold?" So, apparently our little cause is growing. Welcome aboard, Rolling Stone. Nice of you to join us!

JfrancoeurHERE'S WHY MARLINS GETTING JEFF FRANCOEUR WAS SMART: Marlins last night acquired right fielder Jeff Francoeur (pictured) from the Braves, giving up a pair of minor leaguers. I like the now mentality; there is a wild-card playoff spot to be won. Francoeur, 32, is past his prime but not a has-been. Here's why I like the move: 1) There was a need, with Giancarlo Stanton out, and Ichiro better when used less. 2) Very good right fielder with big range and a strong arm. Has led NL in outfield assists five times and leads all active RF'ers in defensive double plays. 3) Can still hit. Last season and this one (a combined 619 at-bats), Francoeur has 20 homers, 29 doubles and 78 RBIs with a .258 average. Not great production, but not bad, either. And 4) Really positive veteran clubhouse presence for a young team in a stretch run. Good move, Fish. 

HeathiphopRILEY SAID HEAT HAD A BAD SUMMER. CONFIRMED!: Pat Riley called it a "bad, bad summer for us." this week agreed, giving Miami a "D-plus" in its NBA offseason grades. The Heat held onto center Hassan Whiteside but not a lot else went right, from losing beloved icon Dwyane Wade to the continuing uncertainty over Chris Bosh to being forced to overspend to keep Tyler Johnson to failing to land the "whale" Kevin Durant. Franchise's summer might have been a "F," but at least none of Micky Arison's cruiseships sank. Pictured right, apropos of nothing, the Heat logo reimagined, via an redesign of NBA logos as hip-hop artists. Trick Daddy: Liberty City's own!

PEYTON'S STILL AN NFL STAR: Love the new DirecTV ads starring retired Peyton Manning, to the tune of Lionel Richie singing, "It's Peyton on Sunday morning," as our man walks around in his bathrobe doing menial chores. That HGH/Al-Jazeera controversy rolled off Peyton's back like water off a seal. Now, even in retirement, he's still a likable, lovable star in the buildup to this NFL season.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day...

Twitter @gregcote

August 22, 2016

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) starring Olympics, Hard Rock, Fins, Fish, Canes, Heat, Lakatriona, UFC; plus hear grandma rapping, your verdict on Greg's Lobos roster & more


Yaz1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 22. A happy birthday today to my wife, the greatest person I know or have ever known! 2) Also, happy 77th birthday today to one of my boyhood heroes, Carl Yastrzemski (pictured). Congratulations, Yaz,and here's to many more! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins clobbered in Dallas, Greg's Lobos 2016 roster with poll, your verdict on Hard Rock Stadium name & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Column six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI: Name Of Stadium Doesn't Matter, the latest, on the Hard Rock rechristening of It's Still Joe Robbie Stadium to Me. A-Rod to Fish Made Sense, on what might've been. Time for Baseball and Cooperstown to Reconcile With Banished Stars, on the Purgatory Four. The Weight Has Just Begun, inside the office and expectations of new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt.A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating opening for Dolphins and Canes. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chased 3,000 hits.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. OLYMPICS: Sublime to ridiculous, Rio Games are over: The sublime? The Summer Olympics wrapped up last night in Rio de Janeiro with the U.S. easily winning the most overall and gold medals, led by swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, by Simone Biles-led women's gymnastics and with men's basketball taking the crown on Sunday. The ridiculous? Plenty of competition, but vandalizing, lying Ryan Lochte takes the Fool's Gold.

2. FACILITIES: Hard Rock Stadium new name for home of Dolphins, Canes: The music-themed conglomerate of casinos, hotels and restaurants is paying Dolphins owner Stephen Ross $14 million a year to have its Hard Rock name on his stadium. Given how the Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes have fallen off the national stage the past 10-plus years, I wonder if "Rock And & Hard Place Stadium" or "Hard Luck Stadium" would be names more apt.

3. DOLPHINS: Fins' defense blows in Dallas, third exhibition is Thursday: Miami is 1-1 in the preseason after Friday' 41-14 loss in Dallas. Ryan Tannehill looked good, but the defense looked like it was nowhere close to ready for September. Dolphins face Atlanta in fake-game three this Thursday in Orlando. That Sept. 11 opener in Seattle is coming fast. Uh oh.

4. MARLINS: Fish stop the bleeding as return home nears: Marlins stopped their slump with a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh completed Sunday, but still are 1 1/2 games back in wild-card standings beginning a six-game homestand on Tuesday. The one upside to the recent slump? Opportunity to start blaming Jeffrey Loria for something again.

5. HURRICANES: UM turns sights on FAMU and season: Fall training camp wrapped up Saturday for the Canes, who will have a scrimmage game Wednesday geared specifically for Sept. 3 season-opening opponent Florida A&M. Miami led the "others receiving votes" category in AP's preseason Top 25, meaning Canes are as close to ranked as you can get without being ranked.

6. LAKATRIONA BRUNSON: Miami Jackson coach makes history: Congratulations to Brunson, 39, who became the first woman to coach a football game in Florida high-school history. Added bonus: Jackson won its opener, 36-0, over Coral Reef. 

7. HEAT: Coach's message to fans leaves somebody out: Erik Spoelstra's video message to fans on team's website mentioned excitement over the young "core four" of Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson. We pictured a forgotten Chris Bosh thinking, "Hey. Remember me!?"

8. UFC: McGregor edges Diaz in thriller: UFC 202 saw Conor McGregor decision Nate Diaz in a fight that had pay-per-view buyers getting their money's worth. After taking some hits recently, including the anticlimactic letdown of ballyhooed UFC 200, UFC needed this.

9. SOCCER: Strikers debut with win in new home: The NASL's Fort Laudderdale Strikers debuted in their new home of Central Broward Stadium last night with a 3-1 win over Ottawa led by a spectacular bicycle-kick goal from Italian forward Amauri. Sorry, though, but I miss Lockhart already.

10. LITTLE LEAGUE: Youth baseball World Series underway: The Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., pits 16 U.S. and international teams of kids ages 11 and 12 vying to reach next Sunday's championship. Past controversies have included overage players. The latest: Nine players suspended for performance-enhancing Happy Meals.

Missing the HB10 cut: Marlins Park will announce this week it is hosting a 2017 auto race involving NASCAR and IndyCar drivers. Racing at Marlins Park? Warning track becomes race track? Sounds interesting ..... Marlins' Jose Fernandez became second-fastest ever to 200 strikeouts in a season, doing it in 139 2/3 innings. If only the science of cloning had been perfected ..... A game-worn Stephen Curry mouthguard sold for $3,190 at an auction. Proving true the old P.T. Barnum adage, "There's a sucker with $3,190 born every minute ..... James Harrison called Roger Goodell crooked. Is Donald trump suing for copyright infringement? ..... Bad news: Florida Gators suspend two from season opener. Good news, they hope: Luke Del Rio, son of Raiders coach Jack, named starting QB ..... Countdown five days 'til Arena Bowl 29. I won't watch, but thank you at least for not using Roman numerals ..... Darren Sharper: Sports' Bill Cosby. Sad. No, pathetic!

Poll result: Most give a thumbs-up, "solid" rating to Greg's Lobos fantasy team: We invited you to rate Greg's Lobos fantasy draft and 2016 roster led by Todd Gurley and Ben Roethlisberger and a plurality of 34.7 percent voted "solid/pretty good." After that it was 27.7% "decent/not bad," 14.7% "strong/really good," 13.7% "mediocre/meh" and 9.1% "weak/really bad." Had the options been letter grades, the As/Bs would have beaten Ds/Fs by better than a 2-to-1 margin, 49.5% to 22.8%.

GRANDMA RAPS, AND IT ISN'T AWFUL: When we call ourselves a sports blog that likes to surprise you with other stuff, we ain't lyin'. Here, a 74-year-old woman raps about Jesus, and it isn't nearly as terrible as it could be. Kicks in strong around the 30-second mark. Listen: 

 Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day...

Twitter @gregcote

August 16, 2016

Should MLB's 'Purgatory Mount Rushmore' be in Hall of Fame? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 starring Stanton out for year, US gold rush, Heat, Canes; also, Radio Tuesday, Fins PS1, 6 days in November & more


Jackandi1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 16. Are you a big Jack White fan as I am? Excited to hear he'll be releasing a career-spanning acoustic double album in September. Details here. Pictured right: Jack and I backstage at a concert several years ago. I know him (very casually) through occasional meetings related to our mutual friendship with Brendan Benson, Jack's buddy and Raconteurs bandmate. Not sure which is more astounding about this photo: Jack's creepy, pasty-white makeup, or my luxuriant head of hair. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): John Oliver on the American newspaper, Ricky Williams stir-fries cannabis in butter, complete 2016-17 Heat schedule, betting odds for Dolphins/NFL, your verdict on Summer Olympics & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz (minus the 'Gotz), 8:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. locally on 790 The Ticket, 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio and simulcasting on ESPNU.  

A-Rod and Hall of Fame: Time for MLB to reconcile with its stars in purgatory: This is my latest Sunday column topic, and reaction to it -- good and bad, for an against -- is filling up my email inbox. I write that it is time for MLB to reconcile with what I call its Purgatory Mount Rushmore: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Pete Rose and Alex Rodriguez. Click on Time for Baseball and Cooperstown to Reconcile With Banished Stars to read in full.

Column six-pack: Six other select recent columns, ICYMI: A-Rod to Fish Made Sense, today's latest, on what might have been. Result Won't Matter, But How Tannehill Looks In New Offense Will, as Dolphins opened preseason. The Weight Has Just Begun, inside the office and expectations of new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt. A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating opening for Fins and Canes. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chased 3,000 hits. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, farewell-Wade column.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature (updated) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

1. MARLINS: Stanton out for season; playoff hopes imperiled: Fish are in intense fight for second NL wild-card spot as team set out Monday on seven-game road trip with a second straight win. But big news is that slugger Giancarlo Stanton's groin injury will shelve him the remainder of the regular season -- a huge blow to postseason hopes. This marks fourth time in past six years Stanton has missed a big chunk of season injured. Then again, Miami is now 12-3 without Stanton this season, so hope breathes.

Hotbutton2. DOLPHINS: Miami wins at Giants in preseason opener: The franchise's 51st season launched with a fake-game win Friday, 27-10, in East Rutherford, and fake-game two is this Friday in Dallas. Be happy, Dolfans, sure. But moderation, too, please. I’d remind you the 2007 Cam-powered Dolphins who went 1-15 won their preseason opener, too.

2. OLYMPICS: Swimming, gymnastics lead way for U.S.: Usain Bolt glided to the 100-meters gold, but the story of the Summer Olympics at its midpoint in Rio has been Team USA kicking ass looking good in the medal count, led by gymnast Simone Biles and that really tall swimmer who won his record 23rd career gold medal. Mike Phillips? No, wait. Oh yeah: Michael Phelps!

4. ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Miami’s A-Rod plays last game for Yanks, won't join Marlins: Rodriguez’s last game in pinstripes came Friday. So he is now retired ... unless of course the Marlins signed him because they decided that what their playoff run is lacking was a little circus-y distraction. But that won't happen, by mutual agreement. Too bad. Click on on A-Rod to Fish Made Sense for today's latest column on what might have been. 

5. HEAT: Four marquee visits highlight 2016-17 schedule: Miami's newly released season schedule features a Nov. 10 return by Dwyane Wade in Bulls uniform, one visit by Kevin Durant’s Warriors, and two late-season visits by the champion Cavaliers and their top player, Whatshisname.

6. HURRICANES: UM holds Canesfest as season draws nearer: With school's Sept. 3 football opener vs. Florida A&M now only 18 days away, Canesfest fan event was held Saturday in the basketball arena. Good news: Hurricanes under new coach Mark Richt should be good. Bad news: ACC mates/roadblocks Florida State and Clemson are, like, great

7. TIM TEBOW: Former quarterback plots future in baseball: Tim Tebow, major league outfielder? The former Florida Gators star and NFL QB has informed MLB teams he'll avail himself for a tryout? Alrighty then!

8. LEBRON JAMES: King signs three-year, $100 million extension: Cleveland is smiling, and that supposed possible eventual return to Miami has gotten less likely. James eschewed free agency next summer to sign an extension whose $31 million salary next season will make him NBA's highest-paid player for first time in his career.

9. SOCCER: English Premier Leagues gets underway: The English Premier League season is underway, a soccer league followed more and more in America. Out of the blue Saturday, somewhere in your neighborhood, somebody was arguing about the talent level of Everton's back line.

10. TEAM USA BASKETBALL: No given for an American gold?: U.S. men have had two close calls in Rio, leading some analysts to speculate that the Kevin Durant-led, NBA star-driven Americans might not win gold, after all. "Yeah, right!" laughed all of America in unison.

Missing the HB10 cut: Gloves worn by Muhammad Ali in his 'Fight of the Century' vs. Joe Frazier in 1971 sold at auction for $606,375. If I'm paying that much for two used gloves, each one better be holding a blank check for about $300,000 ..... Heat owner Micky Arison wrote an open letter thanking fans, acknowledging the club's rough summer and pledging renewed dedication to winning. How about an open letter assuring Chris Bosh will be back? How 'bout that!? ..... The NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers are six days from their debut at new home at Lauderhill's Central Broward Stadium. The Lauderhill Strikers? 

PS1: DOLPHINS 27, @ N.Y. GIANTS 10: CURTAIN LIFTS ON DRESS REHEARSAL WITH TANNEHILL (BARELY) IN SPOTLIGHT: OK, say this. Winning your fake-game debut on the road 27-10 after trailing 10-0 is pretty impressive/encouraging. Miami has not opened a season with a more impressive exhibition-opening win, based on point differential, since 1984. So there's that. But what jumps out about this meaningless result is new coach Adam Gase's weird quarterback rotation. Starter Ryan Tannehill played only the first series (2-for-4 for 8 yards) and did not return. That's brief, especially when Gase was on record saying the first-team offense may need a bit more work. Crazy-early for either a second guess on that or for a "great start!" enthusiasm, but let's say the lack of Tannehill is the  most notable takeaway from fake-game No. 1. By the way, Gase and staff wore gray T-shirts. Must be saving the sideline look for the real season. More dissecting of tonight's weather-delayed fake-game No. 1 is not needed because, well, because it was fake-game No. 1 ..... Original post: Preemptive strike: Yeah, yeah. I know. Preseason games don't matter, especially the first one. So whether the Dolphins beat the Giants in PS1 tonight in East Rutherford or don't, who carese? OK. But! The next month very much does matter for DolnygMiami even if it doesn't count. And how the team looks Friday night very much does matter, too, even if the result does not. For the rut-stuck Dolphins, more than for most teams, August is going to set a tone. It is going to indicate whether naysaying oddsmakers are right and Miami is still around a Fortune .500 team unlikely for the playoffs -- or whether Dolfans can muster the bravery to believe things are (finally) different. League powers have nothing to prove in August, and awful teams can't change perceptions in one preseason. It is teams in that fragile in-between, like Miami, that have the chance to reshape themselves in August, changing the confidence level that comes out of the lockerroom and that is reflected in the way fans feel. This is especially true of franchises whose head-coaching change has broadcast a new direction. And doubly so if that coach, Adam Gase, got hired because his skill set was particularly suited to extract the dormant potential from fifth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. No matter who wins or loses tonight or the final score, how Tannehill and Gase's new offense look and perform will be the most obvious takeaway from this preseason opener. Click on Result Won't Matter, But How Tannehill Looks In New Offense Will for my latest, full column previewing the Dolphins' season launch.

OLYMPIC MOMENTS THAT BRING GREG COTE TO TEARS, AND WHY: I sat and watched hours of the Rio Oympics last night for the first time in these Summer Games, enjoying the continuation of Simone manuelAmerica's big run in swimming and women's gymnastics. I'm a patriot, if not an outright jingoist, and I get emotional cheering for Team USA. I teared up (I'll admit) watching Simone Biles win women's all-around gymnastics gold, watching Aly Raisman's triumphant silver in the same event, watching Simone Manuel (pictured) become the first African-American woman to win individual gold in swimming (100 freestyle) and of course watching G.O.A.T. Michael Phelps win his 22nd gold. And hearing the national anthem at those medal ceremonies! Good stuff. Also enjoy seeing the parents in the stands. As a father who coached and cheered two sons in youth sports, I can almost imagine how it must feel to see your child at their sport's pinnacle, on this stage, and cast the memory back to when they were 6 and just getting started. Such emotion the Olympics can draw forth -- all of it compounded by the fact these athletes work their entire lives and have trained the past four years for these moments, for a minute or even seconds that will determine whether their dream comes true or is shattered. Thank you, Olympians.

HEAT SCHEDULE POINTLESSLY DISSECTED: ESPN, with too much time on its hands, uses a complicated formula (excruciating details here) to rank which NBA teams have the hardest to easiest Heat047schedules, and what that projects to mean. It estimated Brooklyn's most-difficult schedule will translate to 5.32 extra losses, and at the other end Boston's easiest schedule will equate to 3.34 extra losses. The Miami Heat schedule is ranked 12th-most difficult of 30 teams, yet translates to 0.47 extra wins. Awriiight! ESPN's synopsis on the Heat: "Considering the Heat are stuck way down in South Florida, their travel looks pretty favorable. However, Miami has a league-high 33 games against teams that will be more rested." My synopsis on this ESPN ranking: "Sounds like filling space in the dead of the offseason."

SIX DAYS IN NOVEMBER: Circle Nov. 5-10, a Saturday through Thursday, on your calendar. It's almost three months away, but worth anticipating, because here's what we get within that six-days span: Nov. 5 is Pitt at Hurricanes, the appetizer. Nov. 6 is Jets at Dolphins. Nov. 8? Oh, yeah. Presidential election day. Then Nov. 10: Dwyane Wade's return to Miami in a Chicago Bulls uniform. It could be one of the most memorable, enjoyable one-week spans we've seen. But only if my candidate wins, of course.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day...

Twitter @gregcote

August 12, 2016

Ricky Williams stir-frying cannabis in butter and John Oliver's delicious take on American newspapers; plus complete 2016-17 Heat schedule with highlights, NFL/Dolphins betting odds, your verdict on the Summer Olympics & more


Meltdown1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 11. Pictured is Time magazine's latest cover, about the Donald Trump campaign, entitled 'Meltdown.' This is the most volatile, fascinating presidential election season of my lifetime, and I'm not sure there is a close second. 2) Single-game tickets to the Oct. 10 FSU at Hurricanes game have sold out. To go, you now must buy a UM season-ticket package. 3) R.I.P., ESPN broadcaster John Saunders, 61. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Favorite Summer Olympics sport poll, Tinder's favorite jobs, college football/Canes/Kaaya betting odds, your Marlins/A-Rod verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Emboldened Tannehill, new offense on stage as Dolphins open preseason: Click on Result Won't Matter, But How Tannehill Looks In New Offense Will for my new column in advance of Miami's Friday night exhibition opener at the Giants. 

Column six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI: The Weight Has Just Begun, the latest, inside the office and expectations of new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt. A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating opening for Dolphins and Canes. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chased 3,000 hits. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, state of team as camp neared. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that says it all.

Thank you, HBO: I am blatantly double-dipping into your product to float this latest blogpost. First comes my take on John Oliver's recent rant on journalism and newspapers, followed by Bill Simmons' interview last night with actor Seth Rogen and former Dolphin Ricky Williams discussing weed:

BULL'S-EYE: THANK YOU, JOHN OLIVER, FOR YOUR SPOTLIGHT ON THE VALUE OF, AND SAD STATE OF, THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER: A bit belatedly (this first aired Sunday on HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver), I wanted to thank Oliver for his typically astute take, in this case on journalism in general and finacially struggling American newspapers in general. As Donald Trump wars with the media, calls reporters the most dishonest people in the world and creates a climate in which his supporters chant "lock them up!" at journalists, Oliver properly places in context the continuing value of local newspapers while also skedwering the direction in which they are headed in the digital age. Most fellow journalists like myself -- infantry at the ground level who haven't been laid off, yet -- found the piece brilliant. Most management-level newspaper bosses likely did not. The Newspaper Association of America did, not, either. Click here for the story why. I thought it was spot on in every, on both its overarching points: 1) Why local newspapers continue to be indispensable even as they struggle economically. And 2) how newspapers have been forced to make unfortunate decisions and go in dubious directions in an attempt to survive in the digital age. A thoughtful and thought-provoking piece here. [Note to self: You should have led this blogpost with something about the Dolphins or Canes. Would have gotten a lot more online clicks!]

 WEED CHAT: SETH 'N RICKY TALK POT WITH BILL SIMMONS: This was from last night's Any Given Wednesday With Bill Simmons on HBO. "High"light: Williams revealing he sautes marijuana in butter in order to stir-fry food in a cannabis flavoring. (I wonder if Malia Obama would enjoy that? OY!) Marijuana has officially been de-stigmatized when a popular actor, a prominent former NFL star and a major sports broadcaster sit around all talking about smoking pot, and doing it as casually as if they were discussing the Olympics. And, perhaps even more remarkably, when the reaction and attitude of an old sports columnist is far, far closer to nonchalant amusement than it is to outrage.

 DOLPHINS, NFL STAT-LEADER BETTING ODDS: Via Bovada today: Passing yards--Drew Brees is favorite at 5-1 odds, then Ben Roethlisberger 6-1 and Philip Rivers 15-2, with Dolphin Ryan Tannehill tied for 16th at 40-1. Receiving yards--Antonio Brown is fave at 2-1, then Julio Jones 3-1 and Odell Beckham 15-2, with Fins' Jarvis Landry tied for 20th at 66-1. Rushing yards--Adrian Peterson is the pick at 3-1, then Todd Gurley 5-1 and Doug Martin 10-1, with Miami's Jay Ajayi tied for 22nd at 50-1.  

COMPLETE 2016-17 HEAT REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE: Highlights include one visit by Dwyane Wade in a Bulls uniform, one visit by Kevin Durant and Golden State, two trips here for LeBron James' Cavaliers and (hallelujah!) no Christmas Day game: 



26 Wed. @ Orlando 7:00 PM FSS





4 Fri. @ Toronto 7:30 PM FSS

7 Mon. @ Oklahoma City 8:00 PM FSS


12 Sat. UTAH 8:00 PM FSS

14 Mon. @ San Antonio 8:30 PM FSS

15 Tues. ATLANTA 7:30 PM FSS

17 Thurs. MILWAUKEE 7:30 PM FSS

19 Sat. @ Washington 7:00 PM FSS

21 Mon. @ Philadelphia 7:00 PM FSS

23 Wed. @ Detroit 7:30 PM FSS

25 Fri. @ Memphis 8:00 PM FSS

26 Sat. MEMPHIS 8:00 PM FSS


30 Wed. @ Denver 9:00 PM FSS


1 Thurs. @ Utah 9:00 PM FSS

3 Sat. @ Portland 10:00 PM FSS

6 Tues. NEW YORK 7:30 PM FSS

7 Wed. @ Atlanta 7:30 PM FSS

9 Fri. @ Cleveland 7:30 PM FSS

10 Sat. @ Chicago 8:00 PM FSS/NBA TV



16 Fri. L.A. CLIPPERS 8:00 PM FSS

18 Sun. BOSTON 6:00 PM FSS

20 Tues. ORLANDO 7:30 PM FSS

22 Thurs. L.A. LAKERS 7:30 PM FSS

23 Fri. @ New Orleans 8:00 PM FSS


29 Thurs. @ Charlotte 7:00 PM FSS

30 Fri. @ Boston 7:30 PM FSS


1 Sun. DETROIT 6:00 PM FSS

3 Tues. @ Phoenix 9:00 PM FSS

4 Wed. @ Sacramento 10:30 PM FSS

6 Fri. @ L.A. Lakers 10:30 PM FSS

8 Sun. @ L.A. Clippers 3:30 PM FSS

10 Tues. @ Golden State 10:30 PM FSS/NBA TV

13 Fri. @ Milwaukee 8:00 PM FSS


19 Thurs. DALLAS 7:30 PM FSS



25 Wed. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM FSS

27 Fri. @ Chicago 8:00 PM FSS/ESPN

28 Sat. DETROIT 7:30 PM FSS

30 Mon. BROOKLYN 7:30 PM FSS


1 Wed. ATLANTA 7:30 PM FSS


6 Mon. @ Minnesota 8:00 PM FSS

8 Wed. @ Milwaukee 8:00 PM FSS

10 Fri. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM FSS

11 Sat. @ Philadelphia 7:30 PM FSS

13 Mon. ORLANDO 7:30 PM FSS

15 Wed. @ Houston 8:00 PM FSS

24 Fri. @ Atlanta 8:00 PM FSS

25 Sat. INDIANA 8:00 PM FSS

27 Mon. @ Dallas 9:30 PM TNT



3 Fri. @ Orlando 7:00 PM FSS/ESPN


6 Mon. @ Cleveland 7:00 PM FSS


11 Sat. TORONTO 8:00 PM FSS

12 Sun. @ Indiana 6:00 PM FSS/NBA TV



19 Sun. PORTLAND 6:00 PM FSS

21 Tues. PHOENIX 7:30 PM FSS

23 Thurs. TORONTO 7:30 PM FSS

26 Sun. @ Boston 6:00 PM FSS

28 Tues. @ Detroit 7:30 PM FSS

29 Wed. @ New York 7:30 PM FSS

31 Fri. NEW YORK 8:00 PM FSS



5 Wed @ Charlotte 7:00 PM FSS

7 Fri. @ Toronto 7:30 PM FSS

8 Sat. @ Washington 7:00 PM FSS



Poll result: Pool wins poll as swimming reigns in Summer Olympics: In an incredibly unpopular poll we asked what is your favorite sport to watch in the Summer Olympics and among five choices swimming led with 31.4 percent, followed by track & field 22.0%, gymnastics 18.7%, basketball 5.1% and soccer 4.2%. Another 18.6% voted "something else."

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day...

Twitter @gregcote

August 09, 2016

Should Marlins sign a soon-available Alex Rodriguez? Poll. Laast day to vote!; plus Mark Richt column, Radio Tuesday, latest Hot Button Top 10 starring Ichiro 3K, Rio, Canton, Fins, D-Wade; also, your verdict on win totals for Canes/Dolphins & more


1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 9. We're back from a near two-week hiatus from the blog while we were away vacationing along California's Central Coast. Might have more on that later. The Hot Button Top 10 returns after taking last Sunday off. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

It's Radio Tuesday!: After a week's vacation we're back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, 8:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. locally on 790 The Ticket, 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio, with the national show also visible on ESPNU. We have a new Back In My Day ready to go.  

Step into the office, and expectations, of Mark Richt: We visited privately with Miami Hurricanes football coach Mark Richt yesterday, stepping into his office and his world. Click on The Weight Has Just Begun for the column that resulted.

Column six-pack: Six other select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Dwyane Wade's departure from Heat creating a chance for Dolphins and Canes. Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham, an ode to the 1977 Strikers and Lockhart Stadium. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, state of team as camp nears. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that says it all.

SHOULD MARLINS SIGN A-ROD FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON?: What happened on Sunday with the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez was weird. It was announced his final game for the team would be this Friday, and that he would then segue into a role as team consultant and spring instructor. Hmm. It seemed less like a sudden retirement than it did New York pretty much telling A-Rod Arodto get lost but showing him the respect to make it seem like his decision. Rodriguez, even at 41, didn't seem like a guy ready to call it quits -- certainly not with one third of a season left. "Of course, I think I can play baseball," Rodriguez said. "You always think you have one more hit in you." It is important to note that A-Rod, after Friday, will be free to sign with any other team if that chance arose, and that he did not rule out that possibility. Miami Marlins, perhaps? It makes enough sense to at least consider. From A-Rod's view, he is from Miami. He lives here. The Marlins would be the perfect situation for him to have a proper farewell to the game, not the awkward, sudden goodbye from New York. From the Marlins' view, signing A-Rod for the remaining 47 games (after Friday) would boost attendance at least somewhat as it gave him a chance to get the four more home runs needed to reach 700. Ichiro got to 3,000 MLB hits in a Marlins uniform. Might A-Rod's milestone also come in a Fish uni? There is little question Rodriguez-to-Marlins make sense from his perspective and from that of the club's marketing side. Though his career has been tainted by steroids, I think he would be embraced by most Marlins fans. (Maybe not; the poll below will shed light on that). The one determining factor, the only one that matters: Would A-Rod, in a reserve/pinchhitter role, help the Marlins as they chase an NL wild-card spot? Is there room for him on the roster? That is all that matters. Miami should not sign A-Rod to be nice or as a publicity stunt in pursuit of slightly bigger crowds. No room for that in a playoff race. But if Don Mattingly thinks adding A-Rod's bat and experience would be a plus, then yes. I doubt this will happen, of course, but it's plausible enough to make it fun to consider. Take a dip in our poll, share your thoughts and check back often to monitor evolving results.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. MARLINS: Ichiro (finally) reaches 3,000 hits!: Marlins are in a pitched battle for that second NL wild-card spot as six-game homestand begins tonight vs. Giants, but the overriding news is Ichiro reaching 3,000 MLB hits with a triple last night in San Diego. He is only the 30th ever to do it. The Marlins should have sat Ichiro yesterday and let him reach the milestone at home. That's according to me and, I'd imagine, Jeffrey Loria. Nevertheless, congrats on a remarkable achievement -- one of the biggest ever by an athlete in a Miami uniform. 

2. OLYMPICS: Summer Games underway in Rio: Rio de Janiero is hosting the Summer Olympics through Aug. 21 and, other than crime, terrorist concerns, polluted water and other issues, all is going well. Back home, Hillary Clinton wished the U.S. athletes well. Donald Trump quickly Tweeted that crooked Hillary could not be more wrong.

3. ALEX RODRIGUEZ: A-Rod retiring, will become Yankees adviser: The Yankees and slumping veteran Alex Rodriguez of Miami announced Sunday that A-Rod would play his final game for the Yanks on Friday, then become a team adviser and instructor. So begins the five-year wait until Cooperstown first says no to steroids-tainted A-Rod.

4. NFL: First football game of season canceled in Canton: Saturday in Canton saw the induction of the six newest Pro Football Hall of Fame members led by Brett Favre. Sunday was to bring Colts-Packers in the season's first exhibition game, but the game was canceled because the paint used on the field was too hard, dried like cement and was a hazard to players. No, seriously. You can't make this s--- up, folks. Are you ready for some football? Apparently the field crew in Canton wasn't.

5. DOLPHINS: Fins three days from exhibition opener: Lots of extraneous stuff. Hard Rock looms as frontrunner for stadium naming rights. Training camp visitors include Peyton Manning and WWE star The Big Show. Ryan Tannehill's wife has a baby boy named Steel. NFL reinstates Dion Jordan, who immediately goes on injury list. But cutting through all that? Monday dawns the first game week of season, with exhibition opener this Friday at Giants. So here come your Dolphins. Ready or not...

6. HEAT: Wade's return to Miami set for Nov. 10: Dwyane Wade, in a Chicago Bulls uniform, makes his first return to Miami on Nov. 10, a Thursday night. That's in 94 days. Not that I'm counting.

7. HURRICANES: Media, fan events on deck as season draws nearer: UM's football media day was Monday, (click on The Weight Has Just Begun for my new column on Mark Richt), and then Canesfest fan events are this coming Saturday as Richt's debut season draws ever nearer. 

8. GOLF: Walker wins PGA Championship: Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship, the year's final major. It was the first time Walker had been in the news since starring as J.J. in Good Times in the '70s.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Playoff ends its New Year's Eve games: The College Football Playoff is ending its New Year's Eve semifinals after only one year. Explained a CFP official: "We really had our head up our a-- on that one!"

10. MICHAEL JORDAN: NBA icon breaks silence: Michael Jordan, always hesitant to share personal views, spoke out on the subject of gun violence. Turns out he's against it. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Giancarlo Stanton's 496-foot home run just landed ..... The Marlins unveiled their 2017 All-Star Game logo. Nothing went wrong and people thought it was pretty good ..... Dolphins owner Stephen Ross held a business seminar for five Fins players interested in post-football careers. His advice to them: Become a billionaire. Makes everything so much easier! ..... Michael Vick, 36, is working out in Broward hoping for one last NFL shot. Those who have watched him train tell us Vick is not doggin' it. (Sorry) ..... Steve Spurrier is back with the Florida Gators as ambassador and consultant. Also, as an ad-Visor ..... Jim Turner, fired as a Dolphins assistant coach for his role in Bulygate, has been suspended by Texas A&M for showing a sexually suggestive video during a women's football clinic. Turner is 51 but evidently still in middle school ..... FIU baseball player Nick Day saved the life of a man who'd been in an auto accident in Arizona. Player of the week? ..... Fort Lauderdale Strikers played heir final game at Lockhart Stadium. Hardly anybody cared, but the ghosts of 1977 wept ..... St. Thomas Aquinas' John Bosa is holding out as a Chargers rookie. How Not to Begin Your NFL Career 101 ..... It's a challenging year to be a Kyle Busch hater ..... A veteran scout who wished to remain anonymous has criticized as "uninformed" a veteran unnamed front-office official ..... Finally, a man died during Florida's annual lobster miniseason. I keep telling you cheapstakes to order a lobster at a restaurant or buy one at Publix. Much safer that way.

Poll results: Higher hopes for Hurricanes than for Dolphins: We invited you to set the bar on expectations for the coming Hurricanes and Dolphins seasons and you set it higher for UM than for the Fins. For the Canes overall it was 8.95 wins and for the Dolphins 8.29, even though UM plays at least four fewer games. The breakdown: Hurricanes--44.6% 9 wins; 31.6% 10-plus wins; 15.4% 8 wins; 4.5% 7 wins; and 3.9% 6-fewer wins. Dolphins--31.4 percent 9 wins; 29.6% 8 wins; 15.3% 10-plus wins; 14.2% 7 wins; and 9.5% 6-fewer wins.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day...

Twitter @gregcote

July 18, 2016

Dolphins exhume career of Arian Foster; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) starring Riley, Fish, Canes, Phil, Fins, France, ESPYs, UFC; also my Pat Riley column, your verdict on Stephen Ross & more


1) It is MONDAY, JULY 18. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Why Stephen Ross is smart and rich with rate-him-as-Dolphins-owner poll, D-Wade's ex-wife causing more trouble, HistoryMiami Museum's 'Beyond the Game,' updated World Series odds, the shame of Dani Mathers, your verdict on Brady/Fins & more. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

On the Dolphins and Arian Foster: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported via Tweet this afternoon, "RB Arian Foster is signing with the Dolphins, source said." Other reports are that it is a 1-year deal. Foster is coming off major knee surgery. Miami's interest in possibly recycling the used running back first surfaced in late March, when I wrote this column. Not much has changed in 14 weeks in term of my opinion.

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or think they deserve another look: Riley Endures Tough Summer, Fights On, the latest, as Riley admits regrets over Wade. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, on impact of Brady suspension being upheld. The Strange Dissolution of Heat's Big 3, on rocky departures of LeBron and D-Wade followed by medical uncertainty with Bosh. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all. Ali Legacy Should Include Other Athletes' Thanks, on Ali setting template for sports.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature (updated Mondays) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

1. HEAT: Riley "floored" by Wade exit, admits regrets: Summer for the Heat ended with the team missing out on Kevin Durant and then losing Dwyane Wade, followed by an NBA Summer League that saw Miami's developmental players finish 6-5 and fail to reach today/Monday's title game in Las Vegas. Pat Riley on Saturday called it a "tough, summer, period," and admitted he regrets not doing more and being more personally involved in trying to keep Wade. No do-overs, Pat.

Hotbutton2. MARLINS: Stanton, Ichiro in spotlight as second half begins: Playoff-chasing Fish are hoping Giancarlo Stanton's record-setting Home Run Derby triumph during the All-Star break continues to carry over as season's second half is underway in midst of a seven-game road trip. Team's next big hope: That Ichiro's upcoming 3,000th hit milestone (he's within six) happens at home.

3. HURRICANES: ACC Football Kickoff ceremonially launches season: Canes reinstated RB Mark Walton after a DUI charge was dropped, lost WR Lawrence Cager for the year to an injury, and now prepare to open fall practice Aug. 4. But first the program heads to Charlotte for ACC Kickoff media events this coming Thursday. UM's three representatives will be new coach Mark Richt, star quarterback Brad Kaaya and, somehow, for reasons unclear, punter Justin Vogel.

4. GOLF: Phil falls in finale of British Open: Phil Mickelson, nearly as old as golf itself, opened with a majors-record-tying 63 but lost by three shots to Henrik Stenson on Sunday as the British Open wrapped up in in Scotland. Most outside of Sweden surely were rooting for Phil, but you felt good for Stenson raising the Claret Jug for his first major victory.

5. DOLPHINS: Brady ruling, Forbes list both pluses for Fins: As team auditions free agent running back Arian Foster and prepares to open training camp July 29, Dolphins caught break as appeals court upheld four-game Deflategate suspension of Patriots QB Tom Brady. Meanwhile Fins were ranked 33rd among Top 50 most valuable sports franchises in world by Forbes, at $1.85 billion, an increase of 42 percent in one year. Which means Stephen Ross already got his money back on those $400 million in stadium renovations.

6. CYCLING: Tour de France continues with heavy hearts: Cycling's premier annual race continues through this coming Sunday despite last week's terrorist attack that killed 84 in Nice, France on the country's southern coast. Don't care who wins the race, as long as civilization is winning over terror.

7. ESPY AWARDS: NBA stars' opening message steals show: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul began the broadcast with a poignant message against gun violence in wake of recent police-involved shootings. The handing out of awards that followed hardly mattered.

8. TIM DUNCAN: Spurs' all-time great retires: Duncan retired at age 40 as a five-time NBA champion and 15-time all-star. He is 17th in career points and No. 1 all-time in bland.

9. UFC: Mixed-martial arts franchise sells for $4 billion: Remember when you thought UFC was too brutally violent to catch on with the mainstream? When we thought it was a fad that wouldn't last? WME-IMG just bet $4 billion that we were wrong.

10. SOCCER: Strikers in U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal this week: The NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers will play at the MLS Chicago Fire this Wednesday in a the quarterfinal match of the all-comers U.S. Open Cup. If you reach the final, can we get Ray Hudson to call the game?

Missing the HB10 cut: Republican National Convention begins today in Cleveland. OK, y'all had the Cavs this year. That's enough winning ..... In tennis, Croatia stunned the U.S, in quarterfinals of the Davis Cup. "Even I'm surprised," said Davis ..... Max Kellerman will replace Skip Bayless on ESPN's 'First Take.' Stephen A. Smith took 15  minutes and used 4,688 syllables to say, "Welcome." ..... Bulletin: Miko Grimes is still an idiot ..... Miami gymnast Danell Leyva made the U.S. Olympic team replacing an injured teammate ..... Back for its season premiere on Sunday is HBO's "Ballers," starring Dwayne Johnson as a guy who isn't really that good an actor but became rich and famous anyway ..... The WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks are 20-1. Dare you to name a single player ..... HistoryMiami Museum premiered 'Beyond The Game," on the history of sports in the evolution of South Florida ..... Broncos signed Von Miller to a 6-year, $114.5 million deal, more than half of it guaranteed. "See, we're not the only ones with silly-big contracts," said the NBA ..... MLB All-Star Game drew a record-low 5.4 TV rating. I think that means Stanton hit more home runs Monday night than there were viewers on Tuesday ..... Red Sox-Yankees. It's still the best rivalry in sports and I'll hear no arguments ..... We're 19 days from start of Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio. "Holy s---! Really?" said Brazil. "We better get started on those facilities!" ..... Cooperstown prepares for next week's Hall of Fame Weekend events. As always, prohibited items include fireworks, glass containers and Pete Rose ..... Ricky Williams is entering the cannabis business. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Marlins signed top draft pick Braxton Garrett, surprising the zero people who worried they wouldn't ..... Manny Pacquiao is coming out of retirement. Or, did that also go without saying? ..... Dwyane Wade's ex-wife is trying to hit him up for more money. Or, did that also go without saying? ..... Cows fly. Hell is frozen. An American golfer, Brittany Lang, not a South Korean, won the U.S. Women's Open ..... That reminds me. Why is golf a new Olympic sport if none of the men golfers seem to want to compete? ..... Sepp Blatter is appealing his six-year ban from soccer, even though no one on the face of the Earth likes him including Mrs. Blatter ..... Bartolo Colon looks like the first runnerup in a Fred Flintstone lookalike contest ..... The Panthers wrapped up their five-day developmental camp and held a news conference to introduce new players, with GM Tom Rowe again all but promising a Stanley Cup. Give him credit. Lots of balls for a guy in a sport with no ball ..... A Playboy bunny named Dani Mathers body-shamed another woman on social media. So let me get this straight. A woman who wears a cottontail and rabbit ears made fun of somebody else? ..... The Miami Gun Show is back at Dade County Fairgrounds ending today. Because, once again, there just aren't nearly enough guns in America!!

Poll result: Mixed views on Stephen Ross as Dolphins owner. But a warming trend?: This is a change. Ross is not quite as unpopular as he once was. We asked what best describes your opinion of the job he is doing as Dolphins owner and a plurality of 37.5 percent voted "so-so but getting better." However, the negative votes (24.1% "not very successful," 16.7% "unmitigated failure") outnumbered the positive votes (14.5% "somewhat successful," 7.2% "very successful"). Positive spin? If you include "so-so but getting better" on the plus side, then the pro-Ross votes outweigh the anti-Ross votes by 59.2% to 40.8%.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day...

Twitter @gregcote

July 12, 2016

The Strange Dissolution of Heat's Big 3: Burned bridges, hurt feelings, now medical drama; plus Miko Grimes' "jew buddies" Tweet on Dolphins, new 'Back In My Day,' UFC sale, Stanton's HR Derby history, Ricky Williams' marijuana video & more


1) It is TUESDAY, JULY 12. Condolences, again, to the family of Jim Mandich, the longtime former Dolphin and team broadcaster who passed away five years ago. The family is grieving anew this week over the death of Jim's widow, Bonnie. 2) Congratulations and farewell, Tim Duncan. What a big, successful, classy NBA career. Unsung because his personality never shouted -- a nice way to say he was boring! -- but an all-time great. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your verdicts on Wade statue and new face of Miami sports & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Today's new 'Back In My Day': Click on Retail Desperation for today's latest Back In My Day segment from the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz. Link gets you to the ESPN Radio podcast, and the new BIMD kicks in around the 1 hour 15 minute mark.

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or thought 'em so great they deserved another look: Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, the latest, our Sunday farewell-Dwyane Wade column. The Ending Was Ugly But the Run Was Sublime, on stunning departure of Wade. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all. Ali Legacy Should Include Other Athletes' Thanks, on Ali setting template for sports. A Baseball Odyssey Finds Its Mountaintop, on local kid Richard Bleier's long climb to Yankees. Nobody Wins When a 55-Year Marriage Ends In Divorce, on PGA Tour leaving Doral.

Burned Bridges, Hurt Feelings and Medical Drama: The Strange Fate of the Heat's Big 3: Click on The Strange Dissolution of Heat's Big 3 to read my latest column, in today's/Tuesday's inky pulp editions and also available online.

MIKO GRIMES INSERTS FOOT IN MOUTH. AGAIN: She cannot and will not shut up. She continues to embarrass herself and husband Brent Grimes on social media. The wife of the former Dolphins and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback took another shot at the Dolphins on Monday, using anti-Semitic language this time. On Twitter, she referred to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Mikoexecutive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum in writing, verbatim, "Gotta respect ross for keeping his jew buddies employed but did he not see how tannenbaum put the jets in the dumpster w/that sanchez deal?" It might be noted here that the late Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer and his family are descendants of Jewish immigrants who lost family members in the Holocaust. Miko later attempted to clarify -- badly -- that she didn't mean to offend Jewish people. "Think I'm gonna tweet racist remarks in an attempt to offend TWO PEOPLE? Lmao!! Why would I? Why would I want to offend 'Jewish' ppl?" she later Tweeted. Later still, in a statement to ESPN, she said, "When I wrote 'jew buddies' I was speaking about how a lot of communities (Jewish, Christian, gay, sometimes fraternities and sororities) will hire their 'own people' for jobs before others. That's a fact! Why people find facts offensive is strange to me. And now im a racist? Lmao! How?" She continued: "If what I said is racist or anti-Semitic, why isn't it also racist to only hire their own? America is just an easily offended, fake reacting, bunch of cry baby [expletive]s! Anyone that thinks I'm a racist needs to build a [expletive] bridge and get over it. I'm not a racist, I'm a realist." Dear Miko: You might be an idiot, too. And the hedge on might is becoming less and less likely.

SPORTS WORLD GONE MAD: UFC SELLS FOR $4 BILLION: The mega-talent agency WME-IMG is buying mixed martial arts mega-league UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) for $4 billion in a deal announced Monday. vestment firm of Michael Dell, to take over the mixed martial arts company. Said WME-IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell in a statement: "It's been UFCexciting to watch the organization's incredible growth over the last decade. We're now committed to pursuing new opportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport's continued growth and success on a global scale." Four billion makes this the most expensive sports transaction for an organization or team in history. And what the new owners say suggests they expect a growth that make UFC an entity that competes with the NFL, NBA and MLB as a mainstream entity. Said outgoing UFC leader Dana White: "Sport is going to the next level." It'll be interesting to see how the growth plan plays out and how successful it will be. I'll admit I totally mis-read mixed martial arts and UFC when it rose to prominence. I thought it was too violent -- repugnantly so. And I thought the general decline of boxing mirrored a loss of appetite for hand-combat sports like this. I was way wrong. I still don't like UFC. I think it's cartoon violence somewhere between boxing and pro wrestling. But I'm not the desired demographic. UFC has proved enormously popular with young men, especially, and the growing appeal of women fighting has further grown the UFC brand. Four billion still sounds like crazy overspending, but let's see where this change of hands leads.

THE LIST: MARLINS IN HOME RUN DERBY: Last night marked the sixth time the Marlins have had a player in the Home Run Derby, and Giancarlo Stanton was the franchise's first two-time participant and maiden champion with a record 61 homers in three rounds. What a show! Miami was one of 13 clubs that had not had a Derby winner, but that changed fast -- and decisively, as Stanton hit 20 of the night's 21 longest homers. The history of Marlins in the HRD:

Player                    Year    Finish                Winner

Gary Sheffield        1996    T9th of 10         Barry Bonds, Giants

Miguel Cabrera       2006    3rd of 8             Ryan Howard, Phillies

Dan Uggla              2008    T3rd of 8           Justin Morneau, Twins

Hanley Ramirez      2010    2nd of 8            David Ortiz, Red Sox

Giancarlo Stanton   2014    T5th of 10         Yoenis Cespedes, A's

Giancarlo Stanton   2016    1st of 10            Stanton with record 61 homers

RICKY WILLIAMS STILL CHAMPIONING MARIJUANA AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: ESPN's 30 For 30 documentary series has done Ricky Williams ("Run Ricky Run"). Now Sports Illustrated Films weighs in with, "Ricky Williams Takes the High Road," premiering this Wednesday on Williams, former Dolphins great continues one of the most enigmatic and interesting characters in South Florida sports history. I'll watch this. Trailer here:


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Twitter @gregcote

July 11, 2016

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), starring Wade's goodbye, Fish at All-Star break, Wimbledon, Vive la Portugal?, Fins stadium, UFC 200, British Open, ESPYs; plus your verdicts on Wade statue, new face of Miami sports & more


1) It is MONDAY, JULY 11. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Wade-leaving aftershocks including build-a-statue and who's-now-face-of-Miami-sports polls, your verdict of booing Wade, LeBatard Show podcast dominance & more. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

MY DWYANE WADE COMMEMORATIVE SPECIAL-SECTION COLUMN: Click on Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure for Sunday''s farewell-Dwyane column.

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or thought them so wonderful they deserved another look: The Ending Was Ugly But the Run Was Sublime, on the stunning departure of Dwyane Wade. Heat Must Kiss-and-Make Up With Wade Now, warning of the imperative to sign Wade once the Durant dream was over. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all. Ali Legacy Should Include Other Athletes' Thanks, on Ali setting template for sports. A Baseball Odyssey Finds Its Mountaintop, on local kid Richard Bleier's long climb to Yankees. Nobody Wins When a 55-Year Marriage Ends In Divorce, on PGA Tour leaving Doral.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Stunner! Wade leaves Heat for Chicago Bulls: After 13 seasons and three championships, Dwyane Wade is gone. Just like that. Gone in free agency to his hometown Chicago Bulls while his adopted city reels over the loss. He was D-Wade. This was Wade County. It still doesn't seem real. This would be numbers one through eight in our Hot Button, or maybe the whole Top 10, based on the proportional impact in our market. Across the NBA, only Kevin Durant choosing Golden State was a bigger free-agency story than Wade leaving Miami. Farewell, Dwyane. The ending may have been ugly, but the run was sublime. Thank you.

2. MARLINS: Four Fish to All-Star Game, Stanton to Derby at midsummer break: Marlins wrapped up first half of season Sunday strong in playoff contention after a third straight win, and send four players (Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna, A.J. Ramos, Fernando Rodney) to Tuesday's All-Star Game in San Diego. And Giancarlo Stanton will be in tonight's/Monday's Home Run Derby. Nice.

3. TENNIS: Wimbledon fortnight ends with perfect championship weekend: Wimbledon wrapped up Sunday with Brit Andy Murray winning the men's title after Serena Williams reigned with a record-tying 22nd major win. The perfect weekend for Wimbledon. 

4SOCCER: Host France falls to Portugal in Euro '16 finale: It was Portugal upsetting host 'France 1-0 in overtime Sunday afternoon in the Euro '16 championship match. After all the host nation had been through, including the Paris terrorist attacks, unless you were living in downtown Lisbon, you were probably hoping, "Vive la France!"

5. DOLPHINS: Club refutes speculation on construction delays: Crazy reports and rumors pinballing around suggested that Dolphin stadium renovation delays might force the Fins to play early-season home games Orlando. Wrong! Or so said the team, claiming all construction including the new canopy would be done by Sept. 1. Hmm. We'll see.

6. MMA: Depleted UFC 200 marks milestone for sport: UFC 200 went on as scheduled in Las Vegas Saturday despite the doping-related absence of Jon "Bones" Jones after the earlier withdrawal of Conor McGregor. Disappointed pay-per-viewers buyers, there's probably a class-action suit near you.

7. GOLF: Season's third major, British Open, begins this week: Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are bunched as favorites to win the 145th British Open commencing Thursday at Scotland's Royal Troon. Bonus fact: A "troon," according, is "a girl that looks like she used to be a man." Hey, don't blame me. I'm just the messenger.

8. ESPN: Network's ESPY Awards air this week: The ESPYs air on Wednesday night. Because ESPN doesn't get enough attention. And because there are not nearly enough awards shows.

9. OLYMPICS: Embattled Rio Games now less than month away: With the Aug. 5 Opening ceremony fast approaching, the Rio Olympics look to be in great shape other than the minor matters of the Zika virus, unfinished facilities, bacteria-riddled water, athlete withdrawals, doping suspensions, body parts washing ashore and local police saying they cannot protect visitors from rampant crime.

10. NBA: Summer league pivots from Orlando to Vegas: The Heat bounced to a 3-0 start in NBA summer league play, which features mostly rookies and undrafted free agents. So Miami missed out on Kevin Durant and lost Dwyane Wade, but otherwise -- a good week!

Missing the HB10 cut: Chris Bosh "broke his silence" on Bill Simmons' new show but was not asked -- not once -- about his health. It'd be like having Trump as a guest and the presidential race is never discussed. You can't make this s--- up, folks ..... Panthers GM Tom Rowe and star defenseman Aaron Ekblad were touting Cats' Stanley Cup chances at a press conference. Love the confidence but, for now, less talking, more doing, please ..... Miami super-agent Drew Rosenhaus helped saved the life of an accident victim by offering roadside assistance. No word yet whether Rosenhaus waived his 5 percent fee ..... Seven MLS teams and only the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of second-tier NASL are alive in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals. Strikers play at Chicago Fire July 20 ..... We ride FIU and AD Pete Garcia pretty hard, so, in fairness, today we note that FIU's athletic department is having its best academic year on record including a highest-ever overall grade point average of 3.1. So there! ..... You know the Dolphins are in deep offseason hibernation when I get a press-release from the club touting an upcoming third annual "Mom's Clinic," evidently geared to females who are football fans but requiring a tutorial ..... Break the ice at a party with this one: "Did you know it is 133 days until the NASCAR season finale at Homestead?!" You're welcome ..... The Tour de France continues, despite a spate of bicycle tires being punctured by strewn steroid needles ..... Somebody check to make sure Johnny Manziel is OK. It's been almost a week since he last was embroiled in an embarrassing calamity.

Poll result: It's "yes" on a Dwyane Wade statue: We asked if the Miami Heat should erect a statue of departed star Wade in front of the arena, and it was 64.1 percent yes, 29.8% no and 6.1% undecided.

GsPoll result: Post-Wade, Marlins' Stanton is face of South Florida pro sports: We asked what current athlete is now the face of South Florida pro sports, and Giancarlo Stanton (pictured) led with 28.2 percent, followed by his Marlins teammate Jose Fernandez with 23.3% and Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill with 16.3%. Chris Bosh (6.7%) will have to earn back his status, while Hassan Whiteside (5.9%) must prove himself worthy. Interestingly, 14.1% voted "someone else" not listed in the poll. If you were thinking Justise Winslow or Jarvis Landry, sorry, they're not there yet.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day...

Twitter @gregcote

July 08, 2016

Wade-leaving aftershocks: The statue, the rafters and who is now the new face of South Florida sports? 2 new polls. Vote now!; plus LeBatard Show kicking podcast ass & more


1) It is FRIDAY, JULY 8. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Wade leaving Heat for Bulls, would-you-boo-Wade poll, NBA/ACC title odds, Marlins on all-stars, UM football Mount Rushmore, Canes on Maxwell list, ouch Hialeah & more. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

MY WADE-LEAVES COLUMN: The Ending Was Ugly But the Run Was Sublime. Thank you, Dwyane Wade.

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or thought them so wonderful they deserved another look: Panthers Embrace Future as Heat Say Goodbye to Past, the latest, on the stark directions of two teams. The Ending Was Ugly But the Run Was Sublime, on the stunning departure of Dwyane Wade. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all. Ali Legacy Should Include Other Athletes' Thanks, on Ali setting template for sports. A Baseball Odyssey Finds Its Mountaintop, on local kid Richard Bleier's long climb to Yankees. Nobody Wins When a 55-Year Marriage Ends In Divorce, on PGA Tour leaving Doral.

WadechiWADE AFTERSHOCKS: THE STATUE, THE RAFTERS, AND WHO IS NOW THE FACE OF SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS?: See my farewell-Wade column (link highlighted above) for my say on Dwyane Wade leaving the Heat. It was ugly at the end, and this hurts, but the overwhelming emotion, after initial shock, is Wadetrophythanks, and gratitude. Looking ahead, I'm curious how the Heat as an organization will deal with his departure. Will the team itself turn to Josh Richardson or now match a competing offer-sheet and keep Tyler Johnson? The imperative for Chris Bosh to return from blood clots and play is now greater than ever, from a leadership standpoint as much as a basketball one. But, beyond the team impact, I'm curious how Miami as a franchise will deal with Wade leaving. There is no need for the acrimony toward the end -- especially the frayed relationship between Wade and Pat Riley -- to unduly color the 13 seasons of a wonderful career here. The club should retire Wade's No. 3 jersey immediately and raise it to the rafters in a ceremony the first time the Chicago Bulls visit Miami next season. They should do more than that. They should build a statue of Wade out front of the arena ... slightly larger than life, of course. He meant that much to this city and club, as the single biggest hand behind three championship parades. I'm curious if you're with me on the statue thing. Hence, the first poll below. The second poll (it's alphabetical) wonders what athlete is the face of South Florida pro sports now that Wade has abdicated the throne that clearly was his. Take a dip in both polls and check back often to monitor evolving results.

Poll result: Only Wade rejoining LeBron would have bothered Heat fans to point of booing: We asked, "Is there any circumstance under which Dwyane Wade might leave the Heat and be booed upon his return?" The results: 37.1 percent "no, D-Wade is welcomed back for life"; 36.3% "yes, if he rejoined LeBron in Cleveland': 18.3% "yes, if he signed elsewhere for money comparable to Heat offer"; and 8.3% undecided or mixed feelings.

LEBATARD SHOW KICKING PODCAST ASS: ESPN Audio reports the network set a June record for most number of podcast impressions, and leading the way nationally was the South Beach-based Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz. Dan and Stu have been on vacation this week and away from their eponymous radio show, so that's not good. I mean, all they've missed is the Heat not getting Kevin Durant and then losing Dwyane Wade. But oh those podcast numbers! The ESPN top five for June: LeBatard Show 5.9 million impressions; Mike & Mike 4.1 million; PTI 3.6 million; First Take 3.3 million; and FiveThirtyEight's Elections 3 million. Many of you may know I'm a  big part of the LeBatard Show once a week as an in-studio Tuesdays co-host. I'd estimate that, of those record 5.9 million podcast listens, I am directly responsible for bringing in at least 45 of them. Maybe even 50. You're welcome.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day...

Twitter @gregcote

July 07, 2016

DWYANE WADE LEAVING HEAT FOR BULLS!: Is there circumstance in which he might leave and be booed upon return? Poll. Vote!; plus updated NBA/ACC football odds, UM's Mount Rushmore, 2 Canes on Maxwell list, Marlins' problem, woe is Hialeah & more


Lobostshirt1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 6. We like that readers/listeners love the Greg's Lobos T-shirts we give away on LeBatard Show, and that you send us pics. (Click on image for enlarged view). But we give mixed reviews to those who de-sleeve the shirts for the look shown. Individuality spars with sacrilege! 2) To the person who shot a gun into the air at Bayside last night, causing a panic: How big an idiot are you? Seriously. Beyond the regular danger, knowing how people are on edge these days because of terror threats and you still do that? Moron. 3) Hope y'all had a wonderful and safe long Fourth of July weekend. Back to the grind. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Durant chooses Golden State, Hot Button Top 10, Supercon, your verdict on Wade leaving & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

MY WADE-LEAVING COLUMN: The Ending Was Ugly But the Run Was Sublime. Thank you, Dwyane Wade.

BREAKING: WADE LEAVING HEAT FOR CHICAGO BULLS!: Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA expert for The Vertical/Yahoo Sports, was first to report tonight, quoting sources, "Dwyane Wade has informed the Bulls he plans to sign a deal with them. Bulls sending out contracts now." Click on The Ending Was Ugly But the Run Was Sublime for my new column reacting to the stunning news. (And click HERE for my column from earlier in the day as Miami awaited Wade's decision). Wade, tonight, via The AP: "From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Miami community and especially #HEATNATION for all of their love and support." A sad, stunning day for Miami sports. We had a day or two to  brace ourselves for the possibility of Wade leaving, and it still is stunning.  

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or thought them so wonderful they deserved another look: Heat Must Kiss-and-Make Up With Wade Now, the latest, on Miami's imperative now that the Durant dream is over. Somebody's Gotta Give In Wade v. Heat, on Wade's tenuous status as Miami nears NBA free agency. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all. Ali Legacy Should Include Other Athletes' Thanks, on Ali setting template for sports. A Baseball Odyssey Finds Its Mountaintop, on local kid Richard Bleier's long climb to Yankees. Nobody Wins When a 55-Year Marriage Ends In Divorce, on PGA Tour leaving Doral.

"Thank God the Fourth is over. What's with you people and fireworks!?"  --My dog, Riley

New ACC football odds: Out today via Bovada, Miami Hurricanes are favored at 3-2 odds to win the ACC Coastal Division. UM is third favorite to win the overall conference championship at 9-1, after Clemson 3-2 and Florida State 9-4.

Updated NBA championship odds: Via Bovada today and reflecting Kevin Durant to Golden State, NBA title odds for 2016-17 season: Warriors 5-7, Cavaliers 7-2 and Spurs 8-1. Nobody else is better than 22-1. Miami is eighth at 40-1, down from 33-1 pre-free agency.

WADE MIGHT REALLY LEAVE THIS TIME. IS THERE ANY CIRCUMSTANCE IN WHICH HE MIGHT LEAVE MIAMI AND BE BOOED UPON HIS RETURN?: For the record, I still think Dwyane Wade will end up re-signing with Miami for that two-year offer at $20  million per, although I'm less sure than I was 24 or 48 hours ago. I discuss the Wade saga in my latest column; click on Heat Must Kiss-and-Make Up With Wade Now to read. I cannot envision Wade going to a Dwadelosing team like Denver or Milwaukee even if the dollars were a bit better. [Update: TNT's David Aldridge reports Wade has canceled a scheduled Wednesday meeting with Milwaukee]. I can imagine Wade going to his hometown Chicago but still wouldn't see it as likely. I can better picture Wade rejoining LeBron James in Cleveland but that's mere speculation at this point, a social-media contrivance that mainstream media could choose to ignore except that social and mainstream media have become a line so blurred the line may not even exist anymore. Besides, Cavs don't have the cap space for Wade. This drama may take a few days to shake out. Wade returns this week from a vacation in Europe partly spent with close friends LeBron and Chris Paul. Surely Wade's future and pending decision came up in conversation among the super-buddies in between tourist selfies. Wade is scheduled to be a guest-host on Live With Kelly on Thursday morning in New York, the same day the NBA offseason moratorium on player movement ends and new contracts may be signed. By then, by late week, we should know if Wade will return for a 14th Heat season or if the unthinkable -- him in a different uniform -- actually will happen. The gist of this blogpost: Is Wade's South Florida status as a beloved figure permanent and bullet-proof? Or is there a circumstance in which he might leave that would rub us so wrong that he'd be booed or get no better than a mixed response upon his first return to Miami? Take a dip in our poll and check back often to monitor evolving results.

RushmoreCANES FOOTBALL 'MOUNT RUSHMORE' NAMED: recently proposed an all-time Mount Rushmore for major-college programs, and it has Miami's fantastic four as (alphabetically) receiver Michael Irvin, quarterback Jim Kelly, safety Ed Reed and coach Howard Schnellenberger. Click here for the accompanying story. I wouldn't strongly dispute the four they arrived at, although, as the story notes, "Trying to whittle down the Hurricanes' football history to four people was a nearly impossible task."

Two Canes on Maxwell list: Hurricanes QB Brad Kaaya and RB Joe Yearby are on preseason watch list announced today for 80th annual Maxwell Award, given to college football player of year. UM is one of 21 schools with two listed. Give Kaaya a chance in darkhorse category. You'll also see him showing up on some Heisman watch lists for same reason: He'll have big stats in this offense. But it'll take a big season by team -- a presence in top 25 and shot at 10-plus wins -- to elevate Kaaya from candidate to contender.

OUCH, MARLINS: A 6-0 blown-lead loss at the Mets yesterday checks in as perhaps the worst defeat of the year for the Marlins. A bullpen fortified by recent addition of Fernando Rodney Collapsesimply collapsed. Miami has lost five of past seven and now has slipped to 2 1/2 games back in the wild-card standings, which is why losses like Monday's can't be tolerated. Add the fact Miami is 5-10 vs. the two worst teams in the league (4-8 vs. Braves, 1-2 vs. Twins), and it won't be tough to finger blame should the Fish end up narrowly missing a playoff spot. Miami's last games before the All-Star break are home Friday through Sunday against the third-worst team, Cincinnati. Marlins need to star taking care of business against teams like this or watch a promising season slip away. [Update: Last night's win was big fueled by two homers and five RBIs from Stanton]

Four Marlins* make all-star team: Jose Fernandez, A.J. Ramos and Marcell Ozuna were selected, Fernandez a no-brainer and the other two also deserved. *-Fernando Rodney, a Marlin-for-a-minute acquired last week, also made it. That ties club record with four selections.  

HialeahSORRY, HIALEAH: The personal-finance website, WalletHub, marks July as National Park and Recreation Month (who knew?) with a newly published analysis and ranking of the 100 largest U.S. cities based on 35 metrics related to recreation such park acreage and cost of movie tickets. Click here for the full list. Orlando and Tampa rank 1-2 as America's best large cities overall for recreation. Elsewhere in the state: St. Petersburg is 16th, Miami 25th, Jacksonville 76th and Hialeah 96th -- fifth from the bottom. Ouch, Hialeah. Miami scores high in recreation and entertainment facilities per capita, ranking fourth overall, but is only 47th in quality of parks and 94th in parkland per capita. Hialeah bottom-dwells at 97th in music venues per capita and 98th in parkland.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day...

Twitter @gregcote