August 12, 2015

Heat schedule out, all 82 games here; plus new 'Back In My Day' video, Mayweather vs. Rousey poll, Canes hoops, Drone Racing League, Tannehill on SI cover, Dolphins in fantasy, Marlins manager search & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.


1aa1abradyct1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12. Here's why people make fun of courtroom sketch artists. Pictured right is supposed to be Tom Brady in federal court today. 2) 
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Your picks for 10 greatest Hurricanes, Hot Button Top 10, Weighing The Fish & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too. We have a new Periscope up from yesterday's radio show.

Honor for Canes men's basketball: In an indication of high expectation for UM's men's team, ESPN announced today Miami would host two of the network's "Big Monday" telecasts this season: Jan. 25 vs. Duke and Feb. 22 vs. Virginia, both at 7 p.m.on ESPN.

1aa1adroneDrone Racing League! A, because there aren't enough ridiculous sports and B, because Stephen Ross apparently has more money than he knows what to do with: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and his money are behind the new Drone Racing League. Yes I said Drone Racing League. Click here for the details. (Pictured, a young man racing his drone). A co-mingling of Ross' two sporting passions seems inevitable, so watch for it: Dolphin play-calls getting from sideline to huddle via drone. I apologize if I'm droning on. OY!

1aa1aheatHEAT SCHEDULE OUT, INCLUDES CHRISTMAS GAME HERE: Heat released its 2015-16 regular season NBA schedule today, and it opens Oct . 28 at home vs. Charlotte. Other highlights include a Christmas Day home game vs. New Orleans, and visits by LeBron James and Cleveland on Dec. 5 and Mar. 19. Here is the entire schedule:

DATE DAY OPPONENT TIME TV

OCTOBER

28 Wed. CHARLOTTE 7:30 PM SUN

30 Fri. @ Cleveland 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

NOVEMBER

1 Sun. HOUSTON 6:00 PM SUN

3 Tues. ATLANTA 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

5 Thurs. @ Minnesota 8:00 PM SUN

6 Fri. @ Indiana 8:00 PM SUN/ESPN

8 Sun. TORONTO 6:00 PM SUN

10 Tues. L.A. LAKERS 7:30 PM SUN

12 Thurs. UTAH 7:30 PM SUN

17 Tues. MINNESOTA 7:30 PM SUN

19 Thurs. SACRAMENTO 7:30 PM SUN

21 Sat. PHILADELPHIA 7:30 PM SUN

23 Mon. NEW YORK 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

25 Wed. @ Detroit 7:30 PM SUN

27 Fri. @ New York 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

30 Mon. BOSTON 7:30 PM SUN

DECEMBER

3 Thurs. OKLAHOMA CITY 7:00 PM TNT

5 Sat. CLEVELAND 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

7 Mon. WASHINGTON 7:30 PM SUN

9 Wed. @ Charlotte 7:00 PM SUN

11 Fri. @ Indiana 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

13 Sun. MEMPHIS 6:00 PM SUN

14 Mon. @ Atlanta 8:00 PM SUN

16 Wed. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM SUN

18 Fri. TORONTO 7:30 PM SUN

20 Sun. PORTLAND 1:00 PM SUN

22 Tues. DETROIT 7:30 PM SUN

25 Fri. NEW ORLEANS 12:00 PM SUN/ESPN

26 Sat. @ Orlando 7:00 PM SUN

28 Mon. BROOKLYN 7:30 PM SUN

29 Tues. @ Memphis 8:00 PM SUN

JANUARY

1 Fri. DALLAS 7:30 PM SUN

3 Sun. @ Washington 6:00 PM SUN

4 Mon. INDIANA 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

6 Wed. NEW YORK 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

8 Fri. @ Phoenix 9:30 PM SUN

9 Sat. @ Utah 9:00 PM SUN

11 Mon. @ Golden State 10:30 PM SUN

13 Wed. @ L.A. Clippers 10:30 PM SUN/ESPN

15 Fri. @ Denver 9:00 PM SUN

17 Sun. @ Oklahoma City 7:00 PM SUN

19 Tues. MILWAUKEE 7:30 PM SUN

20 Wed. @ Washington 7:00 PM SUN

22 Fri. @ Toronto 8:00 PM SUN/ESPN

25 Mon. @ Chicago 8:00 PM SUN

26 Tues. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM SUN

29 Fri. @ Milwaukee 8:30 PM SUN

31 Sun. ATLANTA 6:00 PM SUN

FEBRUARY

2 Tues. @ Houston 8:00 PM SUN/NBA TV

3 Wed. @ Dallas 8:30 PM SUN

5 Fri. @ Charlotte 7:00 PM SUN

7 Sun. L.A. CLIPPERS 2:00 PM ABC

9 Tues. SAN ANTONIO 7:30 PM SUN

19 Fri. @ Atlanta 8:00 PM SUN

20 Sat. WASHINGTON 7:30 PM SUN

22 Mon. INDIANA 7:30 PM SUN

24 Wed. GOLDEN STATE 7:30 PM SUN

27 Sat. @ Boston 3:00 PM SUN

28 Sun. @ New York 7:30 PM SUN

MARCH

1 Tues. CHICAGO 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

3 Thurs. PHOENIX 7:30 PM SUN

4 Fri. @ Philadelphia 7:00 PM SUN

6 Sun. PHILADELPHIA 6:00 PM SUN

9 Wed. @ Milwaukee 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

11 Fri. @ Chicago 8:00 PM SUN/NBA TV

12 Sat. @ Toronto 7:00 PM SUN

14 Mon DENVER 7:30 PM SUN

17 Thurs. CHARLOTTE 7:30 PM SUN

19 Sat. CLEVELAND 7:30 PM SUN

22 Tues. @ New Orleans 8:00 PM SUN

23 Wed. @ San Antonio 8:30 PM SUN

25 Fri. ORLANDO 7:30 PM SUN

28 Mon. BROOKLYN 7:30 PM SUN

30 Wed. @ L.A. Lakers 10:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

APRIL

1 Fri. @ Sacramento 10:00 PM SUN

2 Sat @ Portland 10:00 PM SUN

5 Tues. DETROIT 7:30 PM SUN

7 Thurs. CHICAGO 8:00 PM TNT

8 Fri. @ Orlando 7:00 PM SUN

10 Sun. ORLANDO 6:00 PM SUN

12 Tues. @ Detroit 7:30 PM SUN

13 Wed. @ Boston 8:00 PM SUN

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. VS. RONDA ROUSEY, NO HOLDS BARRED. HEY, IT'S FUN TO DREAM: I doubt we'll ever see this fight. I'd bet big on that. Yes, the boxing champion vs. the UFC champion would be a 1aa1afighthuge draw. And, yes, it could work weight-wise if Mayweather (151) dropped and Rousey (135) added. But too many male athletes including Mayweather himself have made too many ugly headlines for domestic violence to imagine that the possibility of a man pummeling a woman in a ring (or octagon) would ever be sanctioned for sport. Rousey keeps keeping the topic alive, though. Just Monday night, in an ask-me-anything chat on Reddit, Rousey was asked if she would beat Mayweather in a no-holds-barred, mixed martial arts-style bout, and she said: "Floyd is one of the best boxers of all time. He would definitely beat me in a boxing match. I unfortunately don't get into 'matches.' I fight for a living. In a no-rules fight, I believe I can beat anyone on this planet. Boxing is a sweet science with strict rules that I respect. But you said rule-less fight, and that's my honest answer." Is she right? Could she beat anyone no-holds-barred even including Mayweather? She is 10 years younger; I'd give her a real chance. What do you think? Remember, this is not asking who you'd want to win, but who you honestly think would win. Take a dip in our poll and say why.

THE NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': Many know that my Tuesday appearances with the Dan LeBatard Show on radio/TV include a "Back In My Day" segment that has grown quite popular with listeners and viewers. They're on Fusion TV's YouTube channel now, and here is the latest one, from yesterday:

 

WHERE DOLPHINS FALL IN 2015 FANTASY DRAFTING: If you're like Greg's Lobos you are preparing for your fantasy draft. And you may be wondering 1aa1almiller 1aa1asitannhow Dolphins players will be slotted. A good indication comes this week in ESPN.com's annual fantasy draft, based on a 12-team standard league and 16-round draft. Dolphins taken, in order, with round and overall selection: RB Lamar Miller, pictured (3rd round-30th overall); WR Jarvis Landry (7-75th); WR DeVante Parker (7-84th); QB Ryan Tannehill (10-113th); TE Jordan Cameron (10-117th); WR Kenny Stills (12-139th); RB Jay Ajayi (13-154th); Dolphins defense/special teams (15-171st); and PK Caleb Sturgis (16-192nd). Tannehill is pictured (left) on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2016 fantasy issue.

NFL MVP odds: Newly out via Bovada, it's Packer Aaron Rodgers the favorite out the gate at 5-1, followed by Colt Andrew Luck at 7-1. Only others under 20-1 are Viking Adrian Peterson and Texan J.J. Watt both 12-1, and Bronco Peyton Manning at 16-1. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill is 40-1, tied for 20th.

My Uber driver is a Dolphin: Dolphins defensive tackle A.J. Francis earned extra money as an Uber driver during the recent offseason. No, seriously. Not everybody makes Ndamukong Suh money. Click here for a feature video as ESPN.com's James Walker goes along for the ride. Not sure how much extra money A.J. made. I only hope he gets as much attention for football as he got doing this.xx

JUMP-STARTING MARLINS' MANAGER SEARCH: Worst record in MLB hosts worst record in AL in a two-game 1aa1afish4series ending today at Marlins Park, after Fish won 5-4 in 10 last night. So it's Stinkin' Fish vs. Bostgon Red Sux. Sorry. Truth hurts. I suggest in my latest column that the Marlins' managerial search should be on now, not wait until after the season. If their guy is out there and available -- and many are, including Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire -- why not make the move soon and give the new guy a chunk of this season to learn his team? An experienced manager with a track record is a must after the failed experiment that is Dan Jennings. This season has turned hopeless. Everything now should be about 2016. Click on Look Ahead to read the column in full. Meantime, fans last night received the poster pictured of the Marlins' "Franchise Four," part of an MLB promotion in which fans selected each team's Mount Rushmore. The Fish are Jeff Conine, Gary Sheffield, Mike Lowell and Giancarlo Stanton.

1aa1agoodyGOODBYE, GOODY: Joe Goodman, a Herald sportswriter since 2005 and most recently our main Heat beat guy, is leaving us to write for AL.com in his homestate Alabama. His hunger for college football will be well sated; his love of soccer, not so much. Joe's talented and we wish him well. He and I shared some good times on the road, including a memorable drinking night at New York's wonderful little Tribeca bar, Ward III. Joe and I are pictured at right doing a Heat postgame video. He's the one who's young, handsome and well-dressed.

THE LIST: MNF LONGEVITY: Broadcasters who have had the most tenure in the Monday Night Football booth (on ABC in 1970-05, on ESPN 2006-current):

Broadcaster        Years     Duration

Frank Gifford       27        1971-97

Al Michaels          20        1986-05

Howard Cosell     14        1970-83

Don Meredith       12        1970-73, '77-84

Dan Dierdorf        12        1987-98

Mike Tirico          10        2006-current

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August 30, 2014

FIU vs. Miami Herald. Who's right in fight? New poll. Vote now!; plus Dolphins cut RB Thomas, D-Wade's wedding, SOPY, U-Bird & more

1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 30. Click on Hard Line for my latest column, on the NFL's new policy against domestic violence. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolfan-optimism poll, Upset Bird Countdown, I invented the 'It Factor', Miami facial hair & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1apierrepelicanUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 6 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th season 1aa1abird6of NFL Friday Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 6 days, on Sept. 5. To celebrate we have a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. Today (following Froot Loops' Toucan Sam), we welcome Pierre the Pelican, the new mascot of the NBA's newly re-nicknamed New Orleans Pierres Pelicans.

Today's only Dolphins cuts you should give a crap about: As Miami pared to reach 53-man roster today, the only truly notable cuts were RB Daniel Thomas (former 2nd-round pick certified officially as a draft bust) and utilityman Marcus Thigpen (who was team's main kickoff/punt returner last year). That means one of my favorite players based solely on his name -- RB Orleans Darkwa! -- made the squad.

Invasion of the Football Sections!: Herald's annual preview sections are now out. My three contributions: Dolphins column (Angel, devil duel for the soul of Dolfans); NFL Ranking (I rate teams 1-32, slot Miami as playoff-bound); and Hurricanes column (search continues for Next Great Quarterback).

BETHUNE-COOKMAN 14, FIU 12: PANTHERS LOSE TO OPPONENT, MEDIA: FIU and second-year coach Ron Turner had enough on their hands tonight in their season opener with Bethune-Cookman, a Division 1aa1afiu
1aa1amiamiherald1AA power. FIU lost, 14-12. Coming off a 1-11 season, the Golden Panthers don't have the luxury of any automatic wins on their schedule. But unfortunately FIU is taking on more than its opponents this football season. It is taking on the Miami Herald in a self-defeating feud that is doing nothing but costing the football program coverage and attention and casting it in a terrible, dictatorial light. Click here for a news story to background you. Long-story short: FIU refused a credential tonight for David J. Neal, who covers FIU for the Herald. The school did approve a credential for a columnist (myself) and a photographer, but the newspaper decided it would send no one to cover FIU football as long as FIU continued to try to dictate that coverage. I strongly support the Herald's decision -- and I hope other media, local and beyond, will stand with us. Who is assigned to cover the team or what stories are written is not FIU's decision to make. Athletic director Pete Garcia evidently is upset with Neal over a couple of stories the school would rather have not seen not written, so he chose a strong-arm tactic from a point of weakness. He entered a battle he could not win. FIU, dying for coverage and attention in the long shadow of UM, has just alienated the only media outlet that regularly covers it. Welcome to the real world, Pete Garcia. Time to put on your big-boy pants here. You think UM appreciated the Herald's 1A story about those two football players kicked off the team over a sexual assault on campus? We cover the good and the bad, the whole program, and Neal does so professionally. What's stunning here isn't that Garcia would make an edict that his underlings -- his football coaches and players -- would be forced to suffer. Garcia's reign has been full of power grabs and strange decisions. The real stunning thing is that none of Garcia's superiors -- no FIU administrator -- has shown the spine (or belief in the First Amendment, or common sense) to stand up to him. Until somebody does, FIU football will wear the shame of this. OK that's my opinion. Time for your's. Take a dip in our poll and say why.

Other Collball Week 1 state FBS games: Penn State def. UCF, 26-24; No. 22 Nebraska def. FAU, 55-7; Idaho @ Florida, postponed by lightning/weather; USF def. Western Carolina, 36-31; No. 1 Florida State def. Oklahoma State, 37-31; and (Monday) Miami @ Louisville 8.

1aa1adwadewedDWYANE WADE'S NOT-SO-SECRET WEDDING: The Heat star and longtime girl Gabrielle Union, the actress, are to be married tonight at a secret location that didn't stay secret, thanks to TMZ. The wedding will be at Chateau Artisan (pictured), a castle surrounded by water in Redland in southern Miami-Dade. Guests have been prohibited from bringing cell phones or cameras and have been made to sign a confidentiality agreement promising no media leaks. (I love that the confidentiality agreement was itself leaked to the media). Unfortunately my invitation to the wedding evidently was lost in the mail. It's a shame because I'd planned to present Dwyane and Gabby with a lovely re-gifted fondue pot.

IT'S THE BLOG RETURN OF THE WEEKLY SOPY RANKINGS!: This is the third season of our blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, a cumulative weekly updated list of the most productive 1aa1asopyquarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. We like to think of this as the "state Heisman." Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Standings are for 12-game regular seasons and exclude conference championship games or bowls, so that all seven teams are on even footing. Here are the final Top 10s from the past two seasons:

2013 SOPY WINNER JAMEIS WINSTON FSU-qb 2,107 points; 2. Blakes Bortles UCF-qb; 3. Jacquez Johnson FAU-qb; 4. Stephen Morris Miami-qb; 5. Storm Johnson UCF-rb; 6. Allen Hurns Miami-rec; 7. Devonta Freeman FSU-rb; 8. Duke Johnson Miami-rb; 9. Rashad Greene FSU-rec; 10. Rannell Hall UCF-rec.

2012 SOPY WINNER STEPHEN MORRIS MIAMI-QB 1,900.5 points; 2. E.J. Manuel FSU-qb; 3. Blake Bortles UCF-qb; 4. B.J. Daniels SoFla-qb; 5. Graham Wilbert FAU-qb; 6. Jake Medlock FIU-qb; 7. Mike Gillislee Florida-rb; 8. Duke Johnson Miami-rb; 9. Latavius Murray UCF-rb; 10. Jeff Driskel Florida-qb.

Look for our SOPY rankings every Monday in the blog. However, our first rankings for 2014 will appear this Tuesday instead because Miami opens its season Monday night at Louisville.

Poll result: Preseason failed to increase Dolfans' optimism: In the wake of a 3-1 Miami preseason we asked in previous blogpost (you may still vote) if you thought the Dolphins would make the playoffs or not, and 61.9 percent said no. We asked the same question prior to the preseason and it was 61.0% no.

THE MYSTERIOUS LURE OF IKEA: The first Ikea furniture and home store in Miami-Dade opened the 1aa1aikeaother day in Sweetwater to absurd fanfare and manufactured media coverage. Here is a conversation I imagine between shoppers as they waited for the doors to open: First shopper--"I'm a huge fan of Ikea. I feel good that the nuisance of assembling my own furniture out of a box allows me the illusion I'm saving money." Second shopper--"I appreciate Ikea because what they sell is a perfect fit for my home's 'Dorm Room' motif." Third shopper--"Yeah, and so what if Ikea's founder was pro-Nazi!?"

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July 02, 2014

On Garo's biggest fight. The back story; plus was World Cup a success for U.S? Poll. Vote!; also, Dolphins' Jordan suspended, Tannehill ranked & more

1) It is THURSDAY, JULY 3. For those who are asking, my radio appearances on the Dan LeBatard Show are scheduled to resume on Tuesday July 15. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): U.S. ousted as World Cup reaches quarterfinals, Heat free agency and Big 3 poll result & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

Futblog! World Cup quarterfinals preview coming Friday: Apparently FIFA has decided to continue the World Cup in Brazil to its conclusion despite the elimination of the U.S. The nerve! Watch for our blog's round of 8/quarterfinals preview here Friday morning.

ON THE GARO YEPREMIAN COLUMN: I have a 1A column today on former Dolphin Garo Yepremian's fight with adrenal cancer and a brain tumor. You'd click Garo's Biggest Fight if you haven't yet read it. 1aa1agaroyMy email and Twitter response suggests the story has touched a lot of people. I won't reprint it here (you have the link), except to summarize by saying Garo, the lovable kicker from the '70s, has had a tough life but hasn't lost his spirit. The Garo Yepremian Foundation since 2001 has raised money for brain tumor research and now its founder was himself afflicted with a brain tumor. Can you imagine? The photo is from Garo's 70th birthday on June 2. The wide scar above his left eye is from his brain surgery to remove the tumor. I'd invite you to visit the Garo Yepremian Foundation at yepremian.org. From there you can find its Facebook page, where best wishes may be expressed, and where you'd 'like' the page to get updates on his medical situation and health. I thank the Yepremian family, especially Garo, his wife Maritza and son Garo Jr., for reaching out to me with the honor of sharing their story. I was a novice reporter yoo young to have covered Garo in the '70s but met and spoke with Maritza last August in a Washington, D.C. hotel lobby, the day the '72 Perfect Season Dolphins were being honored at the White House. That casual, chance conversation led to my being trusted to share this story, which is filled with pain and loss but ultimately offers the steady beam of light that is Garo's spirit and will. If my column helps increase traffic or donations to Garo's foundation even a little bit, it will have mattered.

WAS THIS WORLD CUP RUN A SUCCESS FOR UNITED STATES?: The question isn't simple. How do you define "success"? We seem to do so differently in international soccer, where we accept the U.S. is 1aa1aussoccernot top-echelon (yet) and so judge more leniently. The American sports mindset most other places is "winning is everything," but on world-stage soccer we seem to be more OK with stuff like progress and effort. Consider: The Dolphins go 8-8, the epitome of right-in-between, of average, and no fan is happy about that. But the U.S. men reach the round of 16 and advance no further in a 32-team tournament -- also sort of in-the-middle-average -- yet the gut reaction to the eliminating 2-1 loss to Belgium seemed to be praise. We applauded heart and grit as we nominated goalkeeper Tim Howard for sainthood. Are our standards too low? Should we be more demanding? The World Cup was filled with images like the one pictured, but peel away the surrounding patriotism and simply judge the team for its performance, by however you define success, and in whatever context you think is fair. Now that the ouster has settled in ... was this World Cup run a success for the United States? Vote and say why.

Chunk of World Cup coming to Miami: Seventy-six players from 22 World Cup teams (though none from U.S.) will participate in upcoming annual Guinness International Champions Cup, featuring eight top club teams competing across the U.S.: Inter Milan, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, AC Milan, Olympiacos, Real Madrid and AS Roma. Dolphins stadium wil host the champion match Aug. 4.

DOLPHINS' DION JORDAN SUSPENDED: Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan today was suspended without pay for the first four regular-season games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances. "We were disappointed," said coach Joe Philbin. Said Jordan: "I tested positive for stimulants that are banned. I take full responsibility for the test results. I’m very sorry for the impact of this situation on my teammates, coaches, Stephen Ross, the entire Dolphins organization, fans and my family."

OY. TANNEHILL RANKED 23RD-BEST STARTING QB: The proving is hardly finished for Ryan Tannehill. 1aa1artannyTwenty-third of 32 starting NFL quarterbacks is hardly brag-worthy, but that's where 26 anonymous "league insiders" rank the Dolphins' QB in a new survey for ESPN. Click here for the full story and list. The usual Big 4 of Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers tie for first with a rating of 1.04 each. (So much for Brady's supposed accelerated demise). Tannehill is 23rd overall with a 3.32 rating, and included in the third of four "tiers."

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March 05, 2014

Thu pm 3-6: Two reasons LeBron should avoid Cleveland event; plus WGC/Doral update, Luongo trade, Herald, SI's pimping & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): xxxxx. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

Darkness ends incomplete first round at WGC/Doral: Severe weather this afternoon including a tornado warning suspended play at 2:22 p.m. in the World Golf Championship event at Doral, but it play resumed at 4:46 p.m. before darkness ended the round just before 6. Only six of 69 golfers completed the first round. Five golfers will be tied for the lead at 3-under when play resumes Friday morning. Tiger Woods was 2-over, five strokes off the pace.

WHY LEBRON SHOULD AVOID SATURDAY'S EVENT IN CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers are retiring Zydrunas Ilkgauskas' No. 11 jersey Saturday night in Cleveland, and his longtime teammate and good friend 

1aa1alebronbigzLeBron James is pondering whether to attend. He'd like to be there. (The Heat, on the road, are off Friday and Saturday but play in nearby Chicago Sunday). There is zero doubt in mind that LeBron wants to be there for all the right reasons: simply to honor and respect his friend. They're pictured in their one shared season in Miami after seven as teammates in Cleveland. Now here are two reasons LeBron should avoid that event: 1) It would make the night about LeBron and totally take attention away from Ilkgauskas. That's reality. The fan reaction and media coverage would be all about LeBron. 2) It would send the message, whether intended or not, of another olive branch from LeBron to Cavs fans. It would become the latest circumstantial evidence in what will be the increasing debate over whether James might leave Miami in free agency after this season, and where he might go. My solution: Take the day off Friday to quietly visit your friend in Cleveland, LeBron. Have lunch. See a movie. Go through old scrapbooks. Then, on Saturday night, let Ilkgauskas have his spotlight while you're with your team getting rest and preparing for the Bulls.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: PANTHERS' SMART TRADE FOR LUONGO: [Update: Panthers yesterday traded goalie Tim Thomas, 39, to Dallas, a day after Luongo's acquisition made Thomas imminently expendable]. Reacquiring goaltender Roberto Luongo, a Panthers fixture in 2002-06, no doubt is popular with fans, and it's smart -- even though it 1aa1aluongomight not appear to be at a casual glance. At a glance you might wonder why a team out of the playoff race and supposedly forward-thinking would make a trade for a 34-year-old goalie and in turn trade away a goalie, Jacob Markstrom, who just turned 24 and supposedly was your netminder of the future? Here's the answer: Luongo wanted to return here (his wife is local), is playing very well and has several years left. And it had become obvious Markstrom would not be the long-term solution they'd hoped. The Cats stil need to develop that long-term answer, but in the short term they'll have much better goaltending to augment a nuclues of young, rising stars including Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Dmitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson.

SHAMELESS SHILLING I: MIAMI HERALD SPORTS SCORES IN APSE AWARDS: The annual Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) 1aa1aheraldsportsnational awards announced this week are like the Oscars for sports journalism, and l'm pleased to say the Miami Herald for 2013 was named Top 10 in Daily and Special sections and honorable mention in Sunday sections. No other South Florida paper scored in any of those big-three categories. The Orlando Sentinel (Special sections) was the only other state paper to go Top-10 in any of the three. I'm honored to work on a staff of (mostly) great people led by our executive sports editor, Jorge Rojas.

1aa1aproseSHAMELESS SHILLING II: SI DEVOTES COVER TO PIMPING ITS OWN BOOK: Sports Illustrated's latest cover is on Pete Rose, on the 25th anniversay of his banishment from baseball. OK, fine. Slow news week. (Aside to SI: LeBron had a 61-point game). Not so fine? That the cover is a shameless pimp-job for a new book, "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma," coming out March 11. The author: SI assistant managing editor Kostya Kennedy. Tthe publisher: SI Books.

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February 25, 2014

Wednesday p.m.: The night Ali was born, 50 years ago later; plus the N-word, Marlins' projected win total, Team USA verdict, Hiassen/Pitts & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Team USA Olympic poll, Dale Jr., LeBron's nose & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO: CLAY BEATS LISTON IN MIAMI BEACH, AND MUHAMMAD ALI IS BORN: I spoke with Ferdie Pacheco, "The Fight Doctor," for yesterday's column on the golden anniversary 1aa1aclayliston1of a watershed event in American sports history, and arguably the biggest one we have hosted in greater Miami. Click on Ali Is Born for that column. Ferdie and I did not speak at length. He was tired. He 's 86 now, and he'd just done four hours with CBS Sports cameras in his Miami home for a 1aa1aclaylistonspecial. Being the last, best living link to those Clay-turning-Ali days makes Pacheco a treasure, living history. Ali himself, of course, is a shell in the terrible embrace of Parkinson's. It's as if Pacheco is his voice now, too. I was too young to know of that Feb. 25, 1964 fight, let alone to have attended, but the buzz about it helped kindle in me a fascination with boxing; more accurately, with Ali, the Greatest Of All Time. He was the first athlete of my generation, at the least the first on my radar, who transcended sports, and who brought politics, religion and outlandish (wonderful) braggadocio to our games. He was like nothing before, and there has been none like him since. It is fitting that the History Miami museum has an art and photo exhibit marking that event 50 years ago, and hosted a panel discussion last night. And it is fitting that The Fight Doctor was on that panel, the painter's brush strokes giving color to memories in black and white.

MARLINS' PROJECTED WIN TOTAL: It's 69.5 on the betting over/under, says Bovada. Good news: That's better than last season's 62 wins. Bad news: That's still tied for next to last in all of MLB, and last in the NL East, after Nationals 88.5, Braves 87.5, Phillies 76.5 and mets 73.5. Overall leader is Dodgers at 92.5.

Poll result: Mixed verdict on Team USA performance in Sochi: We asked in the previous blogpost and you all gave Team USA what amounts to silver or bronze at best. Most, 32.5 percent, rated the overall performance "good," 29.2% "fair" and 26.6% "disappointing." It was "a failure" to 6.5% and "excellent" to only 5.2%.

ON THE USE OF THE "N-WORD": First, yeah, I'm about as white as can be and yet here I am opining on the n-word. So what? No apologies. If I can speak up for gay rights even though I'm not gay, why can't I have an opinion on others using the n-word? I have not been hurt to have been called it in anger, 1aa1anwordderision or hatred like many older African-Americans (and some younger) may have, but I still am jarred by the sound of the word, no matter it's present-day connotation. I address its use not from a vantage of Civil Rights, but of civility, and Black History Month provides a natural vessel for discussion. I hear black friends and black athletes (though not all) defend using the word among themselves, but with an "-a" not an "-er" on the end. Rappers feel the same justification. Even some whites do, as if using the word includes them in some private club. That was an element of the Incognito/Martin dynamic in the Dolphins' Bullygate saga. I'm not audacious enough to tell anybody how they should speak among themselves, or in their art form, but I can suggest the continued use of the n-word, even ending in "a," feels self-defeating to me. It is clearly generational, as we saw in the recent ESPN Outside The Lines special on the word. It is significant to note most older blacks who actually were victims of segregation and racism abhor the word in all its forms. This, to me, is reason enough to erase the word in all its forms from our lexicon. That includes rap lyrics and collegial locker-room banter. It is a matter of respect, not so much respect for one's self as respect for generations past that suffered greatly, sometimes paying with their lives, when the n-word represented discrimination in its most violent, hateful form. I don't agree with the NFL considering making a penalty of the word, but only because not saying it should not require rules or legislation. Not saying it should spring from the conscience.

IN APPRECIATION OF HIASSEN, PITTS: Columnists Carl Hiaasen and Leonard Pitts Jr. make me proud of the Miami Herald, and honored to be a colleague over here on the sporting wing. The thought occured Sunday as I read the latest from each: Hiassen on the latitude and lunacy of Florida's Stand Your Ground gun law, and Pitts on gay rights and stubborn wrongs. Excellence. From them it almost always is.

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August 29, 2013

PS5: Dolphins 24, New Orleans 21 (Final); plus more on Shapiro letter and reaction, LeBron's oops, Morris/Manziel, U-Bird Countdown (8 days) & more

1aa1mjackson1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 30. Michael Jackson would have turned 55 yesterday. 2) Will the last Miami-Dade County mayor to not be arrested please turn out the light? 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): UM accuser Shapiro's letter from federal prison and my response, Schnellenberger poll result, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

Coming Sept. 8: Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: Our sixth season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter polls appear in the blog right after every Dolphins game, beginning with the Sept. 8 season opener at Cleveland.

Coming tonight!/Friday: Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: The fifth year of Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls starts tonight right after the UM-FAU opener ends. Watch for it!

"NCAA, Texas A&M decide half-game penalty is too harsh, instead rule that Johnny Manziel may not sit by window on team bus ride to stadium."  --Greg Cote

PS5: DOLPHINS 24, NEW ORLEANS 21 (FINAL): MIAMI ENDS PRESEASON 2-3: Final: Miami wins it on a 56-yard Pat Devlin-to-Marvin McNutt TD pass with 3 minutes left and then a late win-preserving INT by DeAndre Presley. (Don't know why but I love the name Marvin McNutt! Sounds like the alter-ego of a Marvel Comics superhero). Mostly scrubs last night; RG John Jerry was the only Dolphins starter to start. So no weight in the result. The question is what to make of this 2-3 preseason overall and what kind of shape the team is in entering the season. Despite the issues and questions, I think that shape is pretty solid. Nine-win/wild-card type of solid. But solid. Can't wait to find out. ..... Halftime: Our scrubs lead their scrubs. Whooo! Most interesting to me is an uneven dossiere on QB Pat Devlin, who is 13-for-23 for 142 yards withg a TD and a pick. Good enough to secure a No. 3 roster spot? My guess is yes. I'll be back with some postgame thoughts. ..... Original post: NFL preseasons are interminably 1aa1dolnawltedious even when four games. When five games, like Miami this year, the preseason seems to 1aa1ps5drag on longer than a continuous loop of Barry Manilow singing "Mandy." Tonight the Dolphins host New Orleans, with both teams expected to field junior-varsity squads and play the starters little if at all. If you are actually attending tonight's game, chances are you lost a bet, or your TV is broken. Tonight matters vitally only to Miami's bottom-feeders, because by Saturday the roster must slash from 75 players to a final 53, meaning that the players you have barely heard of are playing for their professional lives tonight. There is real human drama in that; it just isn't a drama that interests me much. Right guard and nickel corner are two positions that still need settling as exhibition play wraps up. Coach Joe Philbin -- who provides basic information as if it was a state secret with national security at stake -- has not formally named a starting running back, either, but if it isn't Lamar Miller I'll hitchhike to Cleveland waving a Terrible Towel. The real season can't get here fast enough.

WHY I PUBLISHED NEVIN SHAPIRO'S LETTER, AND THE REACTION: I know many of you dislike that I gave a forum to Shapiro (in the previous blogpost), but like it or not he is the central figure/accuser in the NCAA's long investigation of Miami. I also found some of what he wrote illuminating, such as his obvious bitterness toward former Canes players and others he felt abandoned him. This, as I state in my reply, calls into question his credibility as a witness. The reaction to the letter and to my publishing it has been fierce, and not just in the Comments section of that blogpost. Reaction also has poured in on Twitter and in emails to me, a slight majority of it negative. Here I share snippets of a very small, representative sampling of the Twitter and email reaction:

Negative: "It is reprehensible you would publish that letter." --Scott Ramsden / "You should have replied: STFU you human excrement." -- Francis Colls / "Scum shouldn't even be allowed computer or mail." --Jorge Morales / "He is delusional. Why print such crap?" -- George Kitchens / "Giving the felon attention. Way to go Cote you turd." --Cane Fan / "Giving that liar a public forum is morally wrong." --Tony Foley

Positive: "Great rebuttal letter to Shapiro." --Deval Patel / "Thanks for posting. More evidence of his lunacy." --Chris Avros / "Great read and response on your part." --Jeff LaBelle / "Through Shapiro's noise you nailed it. Well done!" --Jason Mizrachi / "Thanks for letting us who follow you see inside his mind." --Steve Petrie

It always amazes me how two people can read the same thing with such opposite reactions. (It also amazes me that some people still use the word "turd.") Thanks to the above readers and to the dozens of others on either side who cared enough to respond.

HERALD FOOTBALL SPECIAL SECTIONS: NFL, College and High-School special preview sections appear today/Friday in the old-school, inky pulp newspaper version of the Miami Herald, but they have been available the past two days online -- yet another of myriad ways the newspaper industry astonishingly defeats itself by unnecessarily giving readers another reason to not buy the paper. But enough of that. Here are links to my three contributions to the special sections:

  • Dolphins column: No more excuses, Dolphins. This is it. Been too long. Don't preach patience. 'Almost' won't cut it. Playoffs, now!
  • NFL team rankings: I list the teams 1 through 32 and have Miami surprisingly high at No. 12, and in the playoffs. No, seriously.
  • Hurricanes column: "It's a Canes thing. You wouldn't understand." Al Golden understands. After the NCAA cloud, Golden sunshine lay ahead.

1aa1carmenoLEBRON IN RUMOR MINI-MESS: Heat star LeBron James, who is engaged to be married next month, is rumored to be involved in some sort of friendship/relationship with "bikini model" Carmen Ortega, who is pictured here, well, bikini-modeling I guess. The report is courtesy popular rumor-monger Jose Lambiet; read it here. I take it for what it's worth, which may be nothing. My guess? The future Mrs. James' wedding ring just got bigger.

CANES' MORRIS TOPS MANZIEL ON PROSPECTS LIST: Sports Illustrated trots out a Top 40 prospects list 1aa1morrissfor the 2014 NFL draft, and what jumped out at me is that Miami quarterback Stephen Morris (pictured) -- at No. 31 the only Cane listed -- slots ahead of Texas A&M Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, who is 37th. Morris is the fifth QB listed, after Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater (from Miami) at 2nd overall, Clemson's Taj Boyd 9th, UCLA's Brett Hundley 18th and Oregon's Marcus Mariota 22nd.

1aa1byrdsUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 8 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction 1aa1birdupages on Sept. 6, and we began a 10-day countdown honoring outstanding notable birds. Today, at 8 days, we spotlight The Byrds, seminal 1960s American folk-rock band out of L.A. The Byrds' 1965 version of Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," with its mesmerizing opening by Roger McGuinn on a 12-string Rickenbacker, was one of the first sounds to lure a then-very-young Greg Cote into the lifelong caress of music. This in turn would lead to the portal of serendipity in which, decades later, the Upset Bird was born.

UM-FAU / Collball Week 1 advisory: Note, our weekly in-season college football posts will debut here later today in the blog. Each week, I'll predict every game involving the seven state FBS teams and every national matchup of Top 25 teams. There was one state-school FBS game last night so I got on the record beforehand with my pick for that one: UCF 37, Akron 16. [UCF won, 38-7].

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July 10, 2013

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

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

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

Join us on TWITTER @gregcote and INSTAGRAM @ upsetbird and VINE @ Greg Cote. Cost: Free. Return on investment: Commensurate with outlay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 30, 2013

G5: Heat 90, Pacers 79: LeBron to the rescue as Miami seizes 3-2 lead; plus Heat poll, LeBron fined, hands-free Whopper, Salguero & more

1aa1cote1) It is THURSDAY, MAY 30. Have Dolphins' May practices ever seemed less important? A Heat title run will do that. 2) Thanks to ESPN SportsCenter for having us on to discuss Heat last evening. Dined at a local sports bar soon after and was jarred to see my interview replayed on a big screen. Cheap thrill, yet I found myself hiding behind a menu. Weird. My son took this pic. 3) Watched 'Behind the Candelabra' last night, the Liberace biopic with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and found it creepily interesting. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 4 loss, St. Elmo's shrimp cocktail, LeBron as QB, Marlins Sad-O-Meter. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote and now on Instagram at upsetbird.

UM's Morris out for regional baseball opener: Miami coach Jim Morris, still not cleared after a bout with pneumonia, will miss UM's Friday opener vs. Oklahoma State in the NCAA Regional in Louisville. Gino DiMare will take over. Morris hopers to be there for Miami's second game and we wish him well. 

Want to work for LeBron James?: LeBron's people are seeking college interns for jobs related to online content development and digital sports marketing. Click here for more.

G5: HEAT 90, PACERS 79: LEBRON'S 30 POINTS LIFT MIAMI: LeBron James led the way with 30 points but it was a magical third quarter of his -- 16 points and a hand in 25 of Miami's 30 overall -- that proved the difference. Udonis Haslem also came up big with 16 on 8-for-9 shooting. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for only 17 points but LeBron made sure that didn't matter on this night. Miami now with a 3-2 series lead entering Saturday's game in Indianapolis. Look for my game column online. ..... Original post: [Bulletin: Retiring soccer heartthrob David Beckham wil attend tonight's Heat game. No. No, he will not sign your underwear, sir! Now on to our G5 preview...] There really is no in-between here tonight, is there? If Miami wins for a 3-2 Eastern Conference finals lead, 1aa1heatpacersorder is restored and the Earth is back on its axis -- the Heat returns to likely repeat-champion-favorite status. But if Miami loses at home to put itself on the brink of elimination? If the Heat lose consecutive 1aa1g5games for the first time since early January? Oh my. Sky falling! Game 5 winners historically go on to win a 7-game series about 85 percent of the time, although Miami experienced it both ways in last year's playoff. The Pacers series also was 2-2 last ear, Miami won G5 and the series. But Miami then trailed 3-2 vs. Boston but still advanced. Suffice to say tonight is major-important, and that the keys for the Heat are pretty broad and simple: shoot better than that awful 39 percent in Game 4, get the rebounding differential a lot closer than 39-20, and get a lot more efficiency from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh than their combined 6-21 shooting in the last game. For the first time in this postseason I feel like there  may be more pressure on Miami than the opponent to perform tonight. This is a Heat team with great resolve and the ability to bounce back. Let's see them prove it.

FLASH POLL: 3-POI NT SHOOTING IS WHAT MOST NEEDS TO IMPROVE FOR HEAT VS. PACERS SERIES: A Flash Poll is a temporary poll meant to take a quick pulse. The question was what individual or facet of the Heat has most disappointed and/or most needs to get better in this Eastern Conference finals that continues tied 2-2 with Game 5 tonight in Miami. You may still vote, but the results are 3-point shooting 33.3 percent, rebounding 21.0%, Dwyane Wade 20.9%, Chris Bosh 18.7% and "other" 6.9%.

LEBRON, TWO PACERS FINED FOR FLOPPING: NBA today announced $5,000 fines to Heat's LeBron James and Pacers' David West and Lance Stephenson for flops during Game 4 in Indy. You flopping. It's when a player is lightly touched and theatrically falls as if gut-punched. A $5,000 fine! Isn't that cute!? You know how much 5K is to LeBron? It's about like you or I being pulled over for speeding and the ticket costs us 25 cents. Why bother.  

1aa1hfree2 1aa1hfree"SURE I LOVE TO EAT. I JUST CAN'T BE BOTHERED HOLDING MY FOOD!": Miami-born Burger King has developed a Hands-Free Whopper Holder that it is currently test-marketing in Puerto Rico. This is a blog. I couldn't say if if it weren't true. Step aside, Electric Toothbrush, this may be the new epitome in unnecessary products. I mean, how obsessed are you with multi-tasking if you can't be bothered using your hands to take a bite? The invention is pictured left, and seen right in action.

ME, ME, ME (DID I MENTION ME?): You obviously found my blog and you may know by now I'm on Twitter 1aa1insta 1aa1vine@gregcote. So I wanted to tell you about three new projects. 1) I'm now on Instagram as upsetbird sharing photos (many but not all work-related). 2) I'll very soon be on Vine as Greg Cote sharing 6-second videos. There already is a waiting list of followers; thank you! 3) Any fans out there of the old Staple Singers or of the R&B/gospel/funk of their enduring voice? If so follow on Twitter @Mavis_Staples. You are invited to follow any or all of these three new ventures.

ON THE SALGUERO CONTROVERSY: I was going to leave this alone until one too many emails or comments to me suggested my colleague Armando Salguero is un-American, should be fired or both. I'd vote neither. The controversy (click here) is that Armando and a reader got into an email back-and-forth that grew emotional and childish, and ended with him accusing the Vietnam veteran reader of "sucking as a soldier" and losing the war. The Herald's executive editor, no less, has apologized publicly, and so has Armando. None of us is perfect, and life is less about mistakes than about lessons learned. We move on.

SAD-O-METER: EIGHT LOSSES IN ROW DISMAL EVEN FOR MARLINS!: We have this new blog feature we 1aa1bbsadupdate as long as Marlins' winning percentage is under .300 -- as long as the New York Mets' infamous 1962 record of 40-120 (.250) is within dubious reach. Well, eight straight losses now have the S-O-M exploding on record pace. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-40 (.245). Season projection, 39.74 wins, 122.26 losses.

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March 26, 2013

End of Miami Herald as we know it (weird stuff found in my long-abandoned desk); plus reason for Heat to worry, Reggie Johnson, Dolphins, Marlins & more

[1) It is TUESDAY, MARCH 26. Reggie Johnson out. Canes big center will be sidelined by a knee ailment at least until the Final Four, if UM's run goes that far. That would have seemed a big loss, once. Now it doesn't. 2) Congrats to Tiger Woods for reclaiming the No. 1 ranking in golf. Now win The Masters, or it won't matter. 3) Didn't do my regular Tuesday in-studio radio spot today on 790/104.3 because LeBatard and Stugotz are on vacation the rest of this week. 4) In the Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes, Heat keep the roll on, Madness, face of Cinderella, Marlins. 5) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

Click on Hoopla: State of Basketball for today's latest column by me, on the Canes and Heat leading the bouncing ball's encroachment on what once was an uncontested football state.

THEY CALLED IT A TOAST. IT FELT LIKE A EULOGY: The other day hundreds of current and former Herald employees (me included) gathered at the doomed building at 1 Herald Plaza (pictured) for a 1aa1heraldproper farewell. The block-long, five-story landmark will soon be razed by the land's new owner, Genting, a Malaysian development corporation that plans to build a resort and (it hopes) a casino. Toasts were made as champagne glasses clinked, but the whole thing was sad. To me, The Herald selling its iconic bayside home and heading to smaller digs in Doral is a metaphor for the state of the newspaper industry. I cleaned out my desk while there, filling cardboards boxes with pieces of my past. It was not as emotional for me as I'd imagined because that was a building and a desk I'd visited less and less over the years. I was surprised by some of the stuff in those desk drawers that I boxed and brought home. Thought you might be interested in a random list...

1aa1desk2 1aa1deskStuff Found In a Sports Writer's Long-Abandoned Desk: This was the cubicle they had Le Batard and I share, so seldom were either of us actually there, let alone together. Here is a random list of a small portion of the stuff I unearthed from the clutter of my desk drawers...

* Tabloid-sized special section for Barcelona Olympics I covered, dated July 23, 1992.

1aa1brownj* Program from Jerome Brown's funeral in Brooksville, Fla., July 2, 1992.

* A 1967 issue of Miami Football, "The First Magazine to Cover Exclusively the University of Miami, Dolphins and Dade County High Schools."

* A Soccer Bowl/'80 special section, dated Sept. 20, 1980; Strikers vs. Cosmos.

* Program from Florida Panthers inaugural game, Miami Arena, Oct. 12, 1993.

1aa1exit* Dust-covered plastic 'Exit' sign. (Symbolism!)

1aa1plaque* Small third-place plaque for sports columns in 2006 from Florida Sports Writers Association. (Never knew about this. Probably just as well...)

1aa1jj* Personalized hand-written (undated) note from Jimmy Johnson thanking me for attending a UM roast. Including, "Thanks for being so nice to my parents."

* Hand-written letter from Ferdie Pacheco (8/29/97) praising me for something I'd written about Jake Scott.

* Golf ball bearing Oregon Ducks logo.

1aa1bowl2* Six-pack of 8-ounce Coca-Cola bottles with Super Bowl II logos, Orange Bowl, Jan. 14, 1968.

* Self-help book (Get a Grip On Your Dream) written by long-lost friend and former colleague, Peter Jeff.

* A baseball signed, "To Greg, All my best, Bruce Sutter HOF06." (Whom I've never met).

* Press pass No. 0523 from 1994 World Cup Opening Ceremony, July 17, Rose Bowl.

* Working Media clubhouse pass No. 00052 for Games 1-2-6-7 of 1997 World Series.

* And dozens of old media guides including, of note, the inaugural-season guides for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (1977), Florida Marlins (1993), Florida Panthers (1993-94) and Major League Soccer (1996).  

A REASON FOR HEAT FANS TO WORRY (YOU KNOW YOU WANT ONE...): A Heat-fan friend texted me last night that this was unnatural and felt weird. "I feel like I need something to 1aa1heatcardcomplain or worry about," he wrote. I get his point. This 27-game winning streak (next test: Wednesday at Chicago) finds Miami playing at such a high level that everything seems perfect. Too perfect? That's where I come in! Worry Point I: The Heat is Peaking Too Soon! Miami is so hell-bent on breaking the Lakers' 33-game streak and putting so much into it that they are spending mental and physical energy now that they could then be missing in the playoffs. Worry Point II: LeBron James Is Wearing Himself Out. He has been NBA player of the month in November, December, January and February (likely March, too). Better he should save that level of play for May and June. OK there's your starter kit. Now, ready, set ... worry!

THE DOLPHINS REALLY, REALLY WANT YOUR VOTE: The Dolphins are doing everything they can to win that upcoming referendum vote on almost $200 million in public funds for stadium improvements. They 1aa1dolphnewhave offered to pay the cost of the county-wide vote. Now they are offering to eventually repay what the county would put up, and also to pay penalties if they fail to deliver promised major events including at least four future Super Bowls. All of this is designed to position the Dolphins as square-shooters who are not out to urinate in the public trough. They might as well cut to the chase and just buy billboards that shout, WE'RE NOT JEFFREY LORIA! I expect that, next, the club will offer to have Dolphins players personally drive voters to the polls and have team cheerleaders on your lawn thanking you with Rockettes-style scissor kicks upon your return.

MARCH MADNESS UPDATE: FGCU COACH'S WIFE STILL A HOTTIE: Men's NCAA Tournament doesn't resume 1aa1amandamuntil Thursday and Friday with Sweet 16 games -- UM faces Georgetown Thursday night in Washington, D.C., all but a road game for the slightly favored Canes -- but on this break we'd like to report that Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield continues to have a wife who looks even better than his team plays. And FGCU is about to be eliminated by Florida, so I need to picture and praise Amanda Marcum while I can. It just occured to me that I have become Brent Musberger. This is sad. But not so sad that I would not find this photo to be a distinct blog enhancement.

DOWN-CELLAR WITH THE MARLINS: Sports Illustrated's new baseball preview issue is the latest to consign the Marlins to a predicted last-place finish in the NL East. SI has the Nationals over the Rays in the World Series. One bright spot: The mag projects Giancarlo Stanton as the NL home run leader with 43. (Those might be the only 43 times all season Stanton is not purposely walked).

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December 11, 2012

Spoof of Serena Williams: Racist or fun? (w/ poll, vid); plus Dolphins' No. 1 draft pick revealed (quack!), 12-12-12 concert, Heat critics, Golden angry, Herald building & more

[1) It is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13. Hope y'all had a happy 12-12-12! 2) A high-school girls' basketball team, Bloomington South of Indiana, won a game, 107-2. Yes, one-hundred and seven to two. If coach Larry Winters also teaches at the school, I'm guessing what he teaches isn't sportsmanship. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Dolphins-Jags on local TV: Club just announced, early evening today, that Sunday's Dolphins game here would be televised locally.

WOZNIACKI LAMPOONS SERENA'S FULL FIGURE: RACIST OR FUN?: I find this interesting. I find anything interesting when two people can view the same thing and see it so differently. Caroline 1aa1carolineWozniacki, former world No. 1 tennis player, this week had some fun at the expense of reigning WTA player of the year Serena Williams during an exhibition match in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Wozniacki stuffed her shirt and skirt with towels (pictured) to impersonate the buxom figure of Williams. Click here for the video. Some in the Twitterverse are outraged; others see it as harmless fun. I lean toward the latter (hard to offend me), but also see the sensitivity. Does it matter that Wozniacki and Williams are friends? Does it matter how Serena reacts? (She has not commented). Should it be a factor that Williams herself makes frequent reference to her buxom top and full bottom? What if another black woman had done the spoof instead of Wozniacki? Part of my thought here is that Wozniacki was not making fun of a physical deformity but rather offering a caricature of a figure that many and perhaps most find quite appealing. Certainly debatable, though. Your thoughts welcome. Vote in our new poll and say why.

A FIERCE-DEFENDING LEBRON TELLS WADE'S DOUBTERS TO BE QUIET: [Heat lose last night at home to Golden State. Looks like it's going to be one of those seasons. Dramamine, please] Original post: Just two games ago Miami had embarrasingly lost at awful Washington then been routed at home by New York and the critics were out. 1aa1big2They were personified by professional blowhard Charles Barkley broadcasting that Dwyane Wade is "starting to lose his talent." Well, two games later Miami has beaten New Orleans and then impressively whipped a strong Atlanta team, 101-92. Wade in those past two games has scored 52 points on lights-out 20-for-25 shooting. Asked what that says, James said last night, "It means Charles Barkley needs to shut up." Wade had pretty much said the same thing, but with his actions, not words. LeBron -- as good a teammate as he is a player -- may have meant that "shut up" to encompass the Heat's critics in general, all of the ones who cower as if the sky were falling with any defeat. Yes, Miami has defensive issues (being addressed) and, no, Wade, turning 31 next month, isn't as consistently explosive as he was a few years ago -- especially because he is not yet fully recovered from offseason knee surgery. But the past couple of redeeming games have reminded us anew that doubters shall dismiss the champion Heat -- and D-Wade -- at their own peril. It happened that Jay-Z and Beyonce and Floyd Mayweather Jr. were prominently among the Miami crowd the last game, a sign that this Heat team is built for the occasion and can rise up and put on a show when it needs to. For me, Miami continues the NBA favorite to repeat. And Wade, despite the occasional mortal night, continues an essential piston in the engine.

ON THE 12-12-12 BENEFIT CONCERT: A wonderful benefit, Sandy relief, and a starry lineup of acts. Thought it was mostly all good but the negative that stood out, for me, was that The Who and Kanye West were on stage for way, way too long. Get the hook!

GOLDEN FUMING OVER LATEST PLAYER ARREST: Cornerback Thomas Finnie's arrest in a campus laptop theft has left UM football coach Al Golden "very angry," we've been told by an associate who has spoken 1aa1finnieto Golden since the arrest. "Al understands that you lose some kids early [to the NFL], but he doesn't get that you lose other guys because of dumba-- stuff like this," said the source. "It's just ridiculous. Anytime. But especially now." The Hurricanes, of course, await an NCAA Notice of Allegations at any moment in the Nevin Shapiro case. UM's institutional control over its athletes (or lack thereof) is part of the case, which is probably why Finnie (pictured) was immediately and indefinitely suspended. His UM career may be over. (Ever notice that "Finnie" and "finished" are almost the same word?) Dear UM Athletes: This is a particularly bad time to act like a dumba--. Yours is not a coach in the mood. Behave, please. Go to class and do not get arrested. Too much to ask?

GOODELL'S EMBARRASSMENT: This week's overturn of those Saints players suspensions in the Bountygate matter socks NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with a major embarrassment. It also would clearly seem to strengthen Jonathan Vilma's defamation suit against Goodell. This whole issue is a permanent stain on the commissioner's reputation and resume.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: Sort of positive news both ways... NFL predix: We went 11-5 overall and 8-6-2 against the spread last week, including an Upset of the Week bull's-eye with Vikings over Bears ("Aawwk!") and and other outright upset hit with Cowboys over Bengals. The two ties were a Packers push and Chargers-Steelers off the board when I played it. Greg's Lobos: My fantasy team ended a sad, 4-10 non-playoff season on the upbeat with a 98-88 win, though I had nobody top the critical 17 points I got from Andre Johnson Monday night. We'll get 'em next year. Well, probably not. But we'll say we will!

1aa1dionjDOLPHINS' 2013 NO. 1 DRAFT PICK IS...: ... a Duck! Quack. Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan (pictured) will be the guy, according to ESPN's Todd McShay in his new Mock Draft 1.0, for what it's worth. McShay predicts Jordan goes to Miami 12th overall. I think Miami would prefer a receiver or cornerback but would look for a pass-rusher as the third option if no WR or CB of sufficient value is available.

Poll result: Starks, Hartline top Dolphins free agents fans most want back: We asked in a previous blogpost which of seven top Dolphins free agents-to-be you most want back, and the leaders were DT Randy Starks (26.6%), WR Brian Hartline (25.4) and CB Sean Smith (19.6). I was somewhat surprised RB Reggie Bush (13.5) and OT Jake Long (10.3) did not fare better. S Chris Clemons (2.7) and TE Anthony Fasano (2.0) trailed badly.

ON 1 HERALD PLAZA: Miami's historic preservation board voted 5-3 Monday to not designate the iconic Miami Herald building (pictured) as a protected landmark. That's too bad, but I say that mostly from a 1aa1heraldsentimental perspective, I suppose. I spent many a year on the fifth floor of that place, back before laptops made "going to the office" largely counter-productive. I don't know whether the preservation-board's decision is right or wrong. But I know this: It isn't the vote of those five people that doomed this building and will see it demolished. That implosion was set in motion the moment the Herald's parent company, McClatchy, sold the building and property to Malaysian casino operator Genting as the newspaper prepared to downsize to a smaller building elsewhere. If there is any decrying going on, it must start with McClatchy's sale to Genting, the major domino that tipped and led to Monday's vote.

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