July 24, 2017

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Dolphins camp? El Clasico? Kyrie Irving? Marlins? Paradise Camp? Spieth? O.J.? See who's No. 1 and what falls where; plus our Sunday column, your Kyrie-to-Heat trade verdict, HB Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, JULY 24. Almost Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Kyrie Irving-to-Heat trade poll, O.J.'s parole, Brady jersey tops in Florida, your LeBron/Wade-back-to-Heat verdict, The List (Marlins HRs) & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

New Sunday column: The magnitude of El Clasico Miami: How big is it that Miami is hosting the first El Clasico --Barcelona vs. Real Madrid -- ever held in the United States? This big: It could be the biggest soccer game ever played in America, or at least the biggest since the Brazil-Italy final of the 1994 World Cup held in Pasadena, Calif. And it could be the biggest sporting event, from a global view, ever held in South Florida, exceeding even Super Bowls. Click on World-Sized Spectacle to read.

ICYMI: Our column on O.J. Simpson's parole: Simpson, now 70, was paroled and in October will be set free after serving nine years in prison for armed robbery, but he'll forever be guilty of the public's conviction he got away with murder in the '90s. Click on Paroled But Not Free to read.

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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. SOCCER: El Clasico Miami headlines huge week: The annual International Champions Cup rocks Hard Rock Stadium bigger than ever with Juventus vs. Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday and then headliner Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, El Clasico, on Saturday.  Added drama decorates the week, with Ronaldo very questionable to make the trip for Real Madrid and with Barcelona star Neymar reportedly about to sign with PSG. We just hosted the MLB All-Star Game, but guess what. Worldwide, El Clasico is bigger.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins set to open full training camp: After Dolphins rookies reported last week, the full squad reports for training camp in Davie on Wednesday, with the first practice scheduled for Thursday. Team has very high hopes of making playoffs again, but Vegas' low expectations (7.5 over/under on wins) beg to differ. Somebody's dead wrong, but who?

3. HEAT: Kyrie Irving, Wade speculation keep things interesting: Heat re-signed Udonis Haslem (of course); meanwhile, amid speculation Dwyane Wade could end up back in Miami this season at a bargain rate, Cleveland all-star Irving is asking for a trade with the Heat among places he'd like to land. Cancel that vacation, Pat Riley. No such thing as an offseason. Go to work!

4. MARLINS: Fish on road as trade deadline looms: Marlins following a lousy 1-5 homestand are in midst of a six-game road trip as talks to sell the team continue and the July 31 trade deadline nears. Fish already have dealt Adeiny Hechavarria and David Phelps for prospects. No fire sale ahead (we hope), but more deals coming.

5. O.J. SIMPSON: Notorious ex-NFL star wins parole: His parole means O.J. will be out of prison in October after serving nine years for armed robbery. Of course most people continue to think he got away with double murder in the '90s, a steadfast belief from which he remains permanently ineligible for parole.

6. GOLF: Spieth wraps up British Open triumph in England: Branden Grace set a majors-record-low 62 on Saturday but it was Jordan Spieth in the ultimate with a 3-shot victory. This is the oldest major in golf. The first British Open was in 1860. I was there. I recall it being windy that day.

7. HURRICANES: ACC vote, Paradise Camp make big week for UM: Canes football held its annual Paradise Camp, a brilliant Mark Richt invention in which ex-UM stars return to mingle with recruits and Richt falls backward off a 10-meter diving board. Meanwhile ACC media members anointed UM to win the Coastal Division. Even scarier than Richt's backward dive? Facing FSU. 

8. CYCLING: Froome win as Tour de France (finally) ends: Brit Chris Froome (rhymes with zoom) won his fourth Tour de France on Sunday as cycling 's crown jewel ended along the Champs-Elysees. No PEDs, either. That we know of.

9. SOCCER: U.S. men reach Gold Cup final: U.S. beat Costa Rica 2-0 last night to reach the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Yanks will face Jamaica, surprisingly, not Mexico, for the title Wednesday night in Santa Clara, Calif. "Let's gooooo States!"  

10. POKER: New Jersey man wins WSOP main event: Scott Blumstein, 25, of Brigantine, N.J., on Sunday won the World Series of Poker final table in Las Vegas and its $8.15 million grand prize. "I can do that, too!" dreamed a million millennials, 999,999 of whom are laughably wrong.

Missing the HB10 cut: Lavar Ball pulled his Big Ballers AAU team off the court Saturday and forfeited the game after he was called for technical foul, confirming to the few remaining doubters what an ego-driven moron he truly is ..... Did I dream it or did it actually happen? Was it Michael Vick who counseled unemployed Colin Kaepernick to cut his Afro? ..... Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns in scandal related to his calls to an escort service. He claimed a "misdial." America snorted laughter and said in unison, "Yeah, right!" ..... Did you watch the WNBA All-Star Game yesterday? Yeah, me neither ..... Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are annoying even when not speaking ..... Roger Federer hadn't won a major since 2012 and was nearing hasbeen-hood before Wimbledon last week gave him two this year. See, Tiger, there may be hope for you yet! ..... Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Pudge Rodriguez are set for baseball's Hall of Fame induction weekend in Cooperstown next week. No offense, but that's a bit low-watt on the starpower, no? ..... Feds are reviewing the endangered species status of the Florida panther, with only 230 or so thought left on earth. Even more rare: Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Finals ..... The state granted Miami's Magic City Casino permission to replace its dog races with jai-alai matches. "Damn!" said one of the greyhounds. "And just when I was finally gaining on that !@#$ing rabbit!"

POLL RESULT: VERY STRONG SUPPORT FOR PROPOSED KYRIE IRVING-TO-HEAT TRADE: We asked, "Would you want the Heat to trade Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving and Channing Frye?," a deal that would be workable based on ESPN's Trade Machine. You said: "Yes" 67.9 percent, "No" 21.5% and "Nit sure" 10.6%. (You may still vote in the previous blogpost).

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 7-24-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins at Texas, 8:05 p.m.: Fish begin second leg of 6-game road trip.

2. FINA World Championships, 11:30 a.m.: Major swimming event goes on in Hungary.

3. Int'l Champions Cup, underway: Lyonaisse vs. Nanjing soccer in China.

Select other recent columns -- Don't Hold Your Breath: On chances LeBron/Wade return to Miami. An Ageless Wonder, Even In Defeat: Venus Williams' Wimbledon run. Also: All-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsVerdict to Judge, But Marlins Come Up BigHome Run Derby Is KingMiami Loves Hosting, Just Has A Funny Way Of Showing ItThere Should Be A Place For IchiroThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceWhat's Next, Marlins? NFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 10, 2017

Judge wins Home Run Derby verdict but Marlins come up big; plus is HR Derby now bigger than All-Star Game? Poll. Vote now!; also, we grade the Big 4 All-Star events, latest Hot Button Top 10, your 'Body' verdict, HB Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, JULY 10. Classy. Chris Bosh with a full-page ad in Sunday's Miami Herald, a thank-you letter to Miami and Heat fans. 2) Know any Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): An homage to Bosh and Ichiro, ESPN Mag's 'Body' issue poll, Heat rebound with Olynyk, your Barcelona-Real Madrid vs. All-Star Game verdict, McCartney and Rod/Cyndi concert reviews & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Our All-Star Week columns:

Verdict to Judge, But Marlins Big in Home Run Derby: Column from Monday night's Derby. 

Home Run Derby Is King: Why the Monday power show has become bigger than even the All-Star Game.

Miami Loves Hosting, Just Has A Funny Way Of Showing It: We are definitely not a typical All-Star host.

There Should Be A Place For Ichiro: Honoring greats like Ichiro should be what All-Star games are about.

YOUR MIAMI ALL-STAR PRIMER: GRADING THE BIG FOUR EVENTS: It's been all build-up, fan fests and ancillary events. Until now. Sunday began the real stuff as the Miami All-Star Week festivities swung to Marlins Park and action on the field:

HomerunderbyTODAY: HOME RUN DERBY -- Yankee Aaron Judge beats Twins' Miguel Sano in final of 33rd annual HR Derby. Defending champ Giancarlo Stanton of Marlins bowed out in first round and so did teammate Justin Bour, but both with dramatic one-home losses. Judge beast Bour in a 23-22 epic. The HR Derby is more popular than ever and this year featured among its 10 participants the hometown hero Stanton, who wrecked the record book in winning last year, and the phenom Judge, the talk of 2017. It was a terrific show, and a living up to billing by Judge. Event grade: A. To many fans, this event is more anticipated than the ASG itself.

AllstargameTUESDAY: 88TH ALL-STAR GAME -- It's NL vs. AL (7:30 p.m., Fox) in the Midsummer Classic, just as it has been since the 1930s. Marlins have Marcell Ozuna as an NL starter and Stanton as a reserve. After 14 years with the winner determining home-field advantage in the World Series, the ASG is back to purely ceremonial this year. That's good and makes sense, although it does make the game less important -- all showcase. Mike Trout will miss the game injured and other guys of special interest to Miami (Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado ) didn't make the team, but the game won't lack for starpower. Event grade: B. Nobody really cares who wins. And the game MVP will be second-star of the week after the Derby champion.

AllstarsundaySUNDAY: FUTURES GAME / ALL-STAR LEGENDS & CELEBRITY SOFTBALL GAME --  Futures Game: The U.S. beat the World team 7-6 in the sparsely attended Futures Game featuring top minor-leaguers, some of whom might be playing in the Tuesday ASG in a few years. It was 19th annual event, with U.S. now leading the World 12-7. Marlins participants were 3B Brian Anderson and pitchers Tayron Guerrero and Jonathan Hernandez, all from Double-A. Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Christian Yelich and many future stars have passed through the Futures Game. The fun is trying to pick out the future stars from this one-game sample. Event grade: C-plus. You likely hadn't heard of any of the players, but still a fun  game with big meaning for the participants. All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game: This hit 'n giggle affair followed the Futures Game, and drew a much bigger, full crowd. Former players in it included Pudge Rodriguez, Andre Dawson and Rickey Henderson. "Celebrities" included Jamie Foxx and a bevy of not-really-stars such as Dascha Polanco, William Levy, Jencarlos Canela and others you've likely not heard of, either. Event grade: D. Old former players and mostly C-list celebs pretending to play softball. An adjunct of All-Star Week begging to be retired.

MIAMI ALL-STAR WEEK POLL: Just for fun, let's pretend the Television God (who can be mean) has decreed you can only watch Monday's Home Run Derby or Tuesday's All-Star Game -- but not both. You must choose. So go ahead. I dare you. Which interests you more? Vote 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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. MLB: Finally! Miami hosts All-Star Game: Seventeen years later -- Miami was awarded the 2000 game only to have it taken away -- Monday's Home Run Derby and Tuesday's 88th All-Star Game come to Marlins Park. It should be two nights of non-stop feelgood and cheering ... well, assuming they don't inadvertently introduce Jeffrey Loria.

2. HEAT: Team recovers admirably from Hayward loss: Miami suffered big free-agency loss with Gordon Hayward choosing Boston, but recovered nicely by getting the Celtics' Kelly Olynyk and also re-signing Dion Waiters, James Johnson and Wayne Ellington. Pat Riley was on the canvas, but not long, then the Godfather got up.

3. MARLINS: Hot Fish ride 10-game road trip into break: Marlins completed long road trip Sunday in San Francisco winning six of past eight games to close season's first half and head home to host All-Star festivities. After the break, with playoff contention still a longshot, we'll settle for a completion of the sale of the team, thank you.

4. CHRIS BOSH: Quietly, last of Big 3 officially departs Heat: It happened on Fourth of July in midst of Gordon Hayward's decision so got overshadowed, but the last of the Heat's Big 3 era officially ended this past Tuesday for the gentleman-athlete whose career was felled by blood clots. He said thanks to fans in a full-page Sunday letter in the Herald. Classy. Farewell, Chris.

5. MIAMI FC: Local club hosts big U.S. Open Cup match: OK, it isn't Barcelona-Real Madrid. But NASL club Miami FC hosts USL team Cincinnati this Wednesday night at FIU in the quarterfinal round of the U.S. Open Cup tournament. Event is in its 104th year. Um, it's kind of a big deal.

6. WIMBLEDON: Fortnight in London begins second week: Play resumes today. An American man last won Wimbledon in 2000 (Pete Sampras), and a U.S. woman not a Williams sister hasn't won since 1999 (Lindsay Davenport). With Serena out on maternity leave, anybody betting that's about to change?

7. NBA: Harden gets richest contract extension: Houston gave MVP runnerup James Harden a four-year extension (through 2022-23) worth $170, richest extension in league history. So his Mom was wrong, after all, when she said, "No company will ever hire you with that beard!"

8. PANTHERS: Forget 'Where's Waldo?' Where's Jaromir!: It has been a rocky Cats offseason marked by letting leading scorer Jonathan Marchessault go in the expansion draft and then parting ways with Jaromir Jagr. The ageless wonder remains unsigned, meaning he's a bargain. Bring back Jaromir! 

9. TOUR DE FRANCE: Signature cycling event nears midpoint: Monday is 10th of 23 daily Stage races. Not positive who's leading at the moment, but whomever it is, take a urine sample, please.

10. ESPY AWARDS: Manning to host event's 25th edition: ESPN's silver-anniversary ESPY Awards play out Wednesday night with Peyton Manning hosting. Betting over/under on variations on that seven-syllable "Nationwide is on your side" jingle: 1,065.

Missing the HB10 cut: Lonzo Ball had an awful summer-league debut for the Lakers. Cannot confirm rumors his signature sneakers have been marked down to $469.95 ..... Heat summer-league team won its first in Las Vegas Saturday after going 0-5 in Orlando. So apparently what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas ..... Amanda Nunes pulled out of UFC 213 because she was sick. Sick of getting kicked and punched, probably ..... Police first said Venus Williams was at fault in a deadly auto accident and then said she wasn't. Um, pretty bad mistake to make, cops! ..... Sentences I Never Imagined Writing, one in a series: "Todd Marinovich is making a comeback at age 48. Marinovich was most recently in the news when arrested on drugs while naked." ..... An old friend once observed that "99 percent of people look better with clothes on." That reminds me, ESPN The Magazine's ninth annual 'Body' issue just came out as the usual parade of ego-drenched athlete narcissism ..... Actual headline this week: "FBI investigated complaints that Bobby Knight groped women during visit to U.S. spy agency" ..... Countdown: 20 days 'til Barcelona-Real Madrid, a bigger event for Miami than even the All-Star Game, according to blog and Twitter polls by me ..... Answer: "He spent the Fourth of July in Ghana searching for his 'personal independence' and decrying the American holiday." Question: Why do NFL teams continue to not sign Colin Kaepernick? ..... Tom Brady is writing  a self-help book about conditioning and fitness. His main suggestion to others: Have incredible talent, become really rich, be exceptionally handsome and marry a supermodel ..... Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is accused of using a machine to stamp his autographs. That's terrible! Back in my day, star QBs had the decency to have the team trainer hand-forge their signature ..... On Thursday ESPN will debut a 30 for 30 documentary on the Mike and The Mad Dog radio show, perhaps the strongest indication yet they truly have run out of good ideas ..... The four-day X Games begin this Thursday in Minneapolis, answering the question, "The X Games are still around!?!"

POLL RESULT: THUMBS DOWN FOR RIDICULOUS 'BODY' ISSUE: We asked, "What do you think of ESPN The Magazine's annual 'Body' issue?" And "ridiculous" routed "great" by 53.4 percent to 28.8%. The other 17.8% were undecided.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 7-10-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Home Run Derby, 8 p.m.: Stanton defends title at Marlins Park in ASG co-headliner.

2. Heat vs. Washington, 4:30: Miami kiddies in another Vegas summer-league game.

3. Wimbledon, underway: Round of 16 matches as play resumed in London.

Select other recent columns: The Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our Thanks: A farewell to Bosh. Heat Lose Twice On Hayward: Top free agent picks Boston. Riley Must Beat Ainge to Get to LeBron: On Heat's fight for Hayward. Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt: Heat drafting Bam Adebayo No. 1. Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch: Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to championship. Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. Home Run For Miami: Loria selling Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 03, 2017

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), starring Heat and Hayward, Fish All-Star selections, farewell to Jagr. See who else makes it and what falls where; plus my Sunday column, HB Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, JULY 3. Ready for the Fourth. I'll have a butt in the Egg! 2) Happen to know any Dolfans? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat chase Hayward in free agency with poll, your Serena-McEnroe verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Sunday column: Riley-Ainge animus the back-story to Heat free agency: LeBron James and Danny Ainge are the two men Pat Riley most wants to beat. Now, Riles must top one (for Gordon Hayward) for a chance to topple the other. Click on Riley Must Beat Ainge to Get to LeBron for my latest Sunday column.

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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Free agency underway as Miami, Riley woo Hayward, now wait: Heat summer league play for rookies is underway in Orlando (Miami is 0-2) but nobody cares. It's free agency! Pat Riley season! No LeBron- or Durant-sized whales are changing teams this summer, so Heat has top-target Gordon Hayward as its priority. But Celtics want him, too, so Riley will have to out-duel his most disliked fellow executive, Danny Ainge, to get him. All await Gordo's big decision. Delicioso!

2. MLB: Ozuna, Stanton make it on Selection Sunday for Miami All-Star Game: Baseball on Sunday evening reveal its NL and AL starters and full rosters for next week's All-Star Game at Marlins Park, and two Fish made make it. Marcell Ozuna is in as a fan-vote starter, and Stanton made it as a reserve, or we'd have called the Snub Police to report a crime. Justin Bour is on the last-man-in ballot, so Miami could sneak in a third player.

3. PANTHERS: Cats busy to open NHL free agency, but lose Jagr: Doesn't get NBA attention, but hockey free agency also began Saturday. Florida Panthers targeted goal-scoring help in signing Russian winger Evgeni Dadonov among early moves, but also parted ways with Jaromir Jagr. At 45, Jagr is seeking a better deal elsewhere. Meaning, he could still be back.

4. MARLINS: Fish on 10-game road trip prior to break: Miami was on a four-game losing streak and 0-2 on this road swing before Sunday's win. This 10-game trip that will bring the season to the All-Star Break here. Meanwhile, looming ever closer: Jeffrey Loria's long-awaited and now imminent sale of the team to … somebody.

5. NBA: Winning the summer yet again: Steph Curry signs record deal with Golden State, which also gets Andre Iguodala back. Paul George to Oklahoma City. Chris Paul joins Houston. Blake Griffin stays with Clippers. Blockbuster summer already for the NBA. Might be for Miami, too, depending on what Gordon Hayward decides. 

6. WIMBLEDON: Williams sisters in news as fortnight begins: Bad week for Serena and Venus on doorstep of Wimbledon, which starts Monday. Serena, out on maternity leave, found herself enmeshed in that silly John McEnroe controversy over whether she could beat the 700th-ranked man. Worse: Venus, who's playing today, is being sued for allegedly causing an auto-accident death.

7. MIAMI FC: Local NASL team advances in U.S. Open Cup: Miami FC won again to reach quarterfinals of soccer's 104th annual U.S. Open Cup. Local lads will now take on Cincinnati of USL on July 12 at It's Still FIU Stadium To Me.

8. BOXING: Pacquiao loses in Australia: Manny lost his first fight in eight months in a controversial upset decision to Jeff Horn in Brisbane. Many thought Pacquiao actually won. Nonetheless, it may be time for PacMan to think about calling it quits.

9. SOCCER: Germany wins Confederations Cup final: Germany beat Chile 1-0 for the Confeds Cup title,a World Cup prep event. Speaking of international soccer, did you hear the great Lionel Messi just got married? I understand they were registered at Target.

10. COLLEGE BASEBALL: Gators win national title: Florida won College World Series to become only the fourth school to have won national titles in football, baseball and men's basketball. Wait. I work in Miami. Am I allowed to say that? 

Missing the HB10 cut: The Tour de France is underway. It was more interesting when it was wracked by scandal. Can we start a Lance Armstrong comeback rumor? ..... A die-hard Dolfan living in England got married in a Dolphins helmet, saying his vows through a facemask. So it is true. Being a Dolfan will drive you crazy ..... Team USA got clobbered 7-1 by New Zealand in America's Cup sailing. How great would it be if there arose a scandal in which the Kiwis were found to have illegally used outboard motors! ..... Upon re-signing Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers employees wore T-shirts that likened Griffin's influence to that of Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein. Which is ridiculous. What did those other guys ever to to earn Blake Griffin's company!? ..... ESPN The Magazine's ninth annual Body issue comes out this Wednesday. Dear Athletes: Modesty is a virtue, or hadn't you heard? ..... For the first time since 1988, ABC-TV this week revived the series, Battle Of the Network Stars, begging the question, "WHY!?!"

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 7-3-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m.: Fish move on in continuation of 10-game roadie.

2. Wimbledon, ongoing: First round matches on Day 1 from London.

3. Heat vs. Pacers, 5 p.m.: Miami rookies (0-2) play 3rd summer game in Orlando.

4. Tour de France, ongoing: Stage 3 of famed cycling event.

Select other recent columns: Riley Must Land Hayward Or Griffin to Keep Pace: Previewing Heat free agency. Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt: Heat surprisingly drafting Bam Adebayo No. 1. Random Evidence: The Shame of Margaret Court: Return of The Notes Column! Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch: Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to championship. A Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. Harris Vs. Fins' Draft Drought: High hopes for top pick Charles Harris. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports Hall, Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?, Thank You, Mae Riback, A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City, Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 25, 2017

The latest Hot Button Top 10: See what falls where among Heat, Marlins, Panthers and others; also, your (surprising?) verdict on Bam Adebayo, The List (Heat 13s), HB Daily (Sun/Mon) & more

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

1) SUNDAY/MONDAY, JUNE 25-26. 2) Miss our latest Back In My Day? Click on Privileged Pets for the LeBatard Show podcast and scroll to around 51:30 mark. 2) Know any Dolfans? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat draft Bam Adebayor with poll, your preferred pick going in & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My column on Heat drafting Adebayo: Click on Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt for my column on the Miami Heat drafting Kentucky power forward Bam Adebayo Thursday night. Most mock drafts and media experts see it as a "reach." John Calipari and Pat Riley disagree. I know where my benefit if doubt goes.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 25): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature (early this week) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. After a two-week vacation hiatus, we return with this week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Miami nabs Kentucky's Adebayo in NBA Draft: Most of the mock drafts and media experts are saying it was a “reach” for the Heat to take power-forward Bam Adebayo with the 14th pick. The combined resume' heft and expertise of John Calipari and Pat Riley politely disagree. Um, it seems pretty clear where the benefit of doubt should be going.

2. MARLINS: Fish continue big 10-game homestand: Miami in its 10-game homestand tries to avoid being 4-game-swept by the Cubs on Sunday and then moves on to three vs. Mets starting Tuesday, before 10 straight on the road brings us to All-Star Game Week at Marlins Park. Fish have been credible the past five weeks. Unfortunately those first six weeks of the season happened, too.

3. PANTHERS: Ouch. Cats let top scorer get away: Florida inexplicably let top scorer Jonathan Marchessault (30 goals last season) go to Las Vegas in NHL expansion draft, then traded Reilly Smith (40 goals past two years) in salary dump. This by a team that finished 23rd in scoring. Team wisely went offense in NHL Draft, at least. Dale Tallon better go get some more goals when free agency starts July 1.

4. NBA: Lonzo to Lakers in Draft, just like Dad wanted: UCLA's Lonzo Ball going second overall to the Lakers was the biggest national news in Thursday night's NBA Draft, much to the delight of his famous and obnoxious shoe salesman father, LaVar. Now -- and I mean this sincerely -- may LaVar please disappear and never be heard from again!

5. SAILING: America's Cup nears its crescendo: Reigning champion Oracle Team USA is on the ropes against Emirates Team New Zealand in the 35th America's Cup that ends Tuesday in Bermuda. Hot Button believes this event would be much quicker and more efficient if the boats would have outboard motors. But that's just us.

6. TIGER WOODS: “Professional help” latest chapter in saga: Following his recent DUI arrest the once-dominant Tiger, winner of 14 majors but none since 2008, announced he would seek “professional help,” which is broadly presumed to mean rehab for a pill addiction. I believe Woods officially now has more career controversies than major wins.

7. BIG3 BASKETBALL: Invented by the rapper Ice Cube, BIG 3 is 3-on-3, half-court pro summer basketball league that debuts Sunday in Brooklyn, featuring ex-NBA stars such as Allen Iverson, Mike Bibby, Chauncey Billups and Jermaine O'Neal, with coaches including Julius Erving and Ricky Barry. I'd call the venture “Has-Beens On Parade,” but that might be seen as mean.

8. SOCCER: Miami FC readies for U.S. Open round of 16: NASL club Miami FC has reached the final 16 in the U.S. Open Cup and will host MLS expansion team Atlanta United on Wednesday night at FIU Stadium. This event has been going on annually since 1914. Nice run by Miami.

9. COLLEGE BASEBALL: Gators make College World Series final two: Seminoles were eliminated but Florida Gators advanced to face LSU in best-of-three championship series. Final round starts Monday night in Omaha, where the UM Hurricanes are hell-bent to be next year in Jim Morris' final season.

10. TENNIS: Wimbledon next major on deck: Wimbledon begins next week (July 3), and the favorites tell you much about the state of tennis. Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are near-even on the men's side, while the women's field is wide open with Serena Williams on maternity leave. The she-fave? Karolina Pliskova, who has never won a major.

Missing the HB10 cut: ESPN The Magazine's ninth annual 'Body' issue is out next week, July 5. Official name of the Body issue: Narcissists On Parade ..... The NBA Awards Show on Monday finds Erik Spoelstra the only Heat finalist, but not a coach of the year favorite. I believe it may be a law that Gregg Popovich has to always win that award ..... The PGA Tour will start blood-testing players next season. "The Tiger Rule"? xx ..... West Palm's Brooks Koepka winning golf's U.S. Open last week was not nearly as interesting as the fact his actress-girlfriend Jena Sims appeared in Attack of the 50-Foot Cheerleader ..... Phil Mickelson split from his longtime caddie and the only people on Earth who cared were Phil, his caddie and golf writers ..... I'll hitchhike from Miami to Vegas if the pay-per-view nut for Mayweather-McGregor is less than $100. (Or, $99.99 to make you think you're getting a deal!)

POLL RESULT: CLOSE, BUT MOST HEAT FANS DON'T LIKE ADEBAYO PICK: We asked for your gut reaction to the Heat selecting Kentucky power forward Bam Adebayo 14th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, and it was 56.4 percent overall disapproval vs. 43.6% approval. The favorable votes broke down as 28.3% "like it" and 15.2% "love it."

THE LIST: HEAT 13'S: New top draft pick Bam Adebayo will wear jersey No. 13 for the Heat. He'll be only the seventh player to do so, and only of those (Mike Miller) has played more than one season in Miami. Heats 13s, listed in order of regular-season points scored for Miami:

Player                        Years        Points    G/Avg.

Mike Miller                  2010-13    746      139/5.4

Kendall Gill                 2001-02    372       65/5.7

Shabazz Napier            2014-15    261       51/5.1

Alexander Johnson      2007-08     179       43/4.2

Luther Head                2008-09      43       10/4.3 

Jamal Robinson           2000-01       6        6/1.0

Bam Adebayo              2017-

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SUN-MON 6-25/26-17: Upcoming sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins homestand: Four-game Cubs series ends Sunday, then Mets visit.

2. BIG3 basketball: Allen Iverson, other NBA ex's in 3-on-3 league starting Sunday.

4. College World Series: Gators-LSU best-of-3 championship series starts Monday.

Select other recent columns: A 1-Man Mock Draft: My prediction for Heat's top pick. Random Evidence: The Shame of Margaret Court: Return of The Notes Column! Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch: On Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to a championship. A Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. Harris Vs. Fins' Draft Drought: High hopes for top pick Charles Harris. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. Big Risk For Big Upside: On chance Heat could land Harry Giles in NBA Draft. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports Hall, Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?, Thank You, Mae Riback, A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City, Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 31, 2017

Do you feel bad for Tiger Woods? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus Jeb out as Marlins' buyer but Jeter bid lives on; also, 'World Fame 100,' UM baseball 44-year streak ends nobly, kneejerk reaction on Terry Frei, Hott Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, May 31. R.I.P., Frank Deford, famed sportswriter, gone at 78. Never met him, but much respect for who he was in this business. 2) Know any Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century, Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, UM baseball streak ends, Tiger Woods' arrested, 50,000 Names tribute video, The List (Dolphins draft), your most-wins verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

ICYMI, our latest Sunday column: Golden State, LeBron on history's doorstep: For the Warriors as a team or LeBron James as a player, this NBA Finals is going to leave one of them looking a lot like the best there ever was. Click on History Calling Warriors, LeBron for my new Sunday column.

Tigerhappy TigersadSTRANGE LATEST CHAPTER IN THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL OF AN ALL-TIME GREAT: DO YOU FEEL BAD FOR TIGER WOODS?: Tiger is pictured in better days and in this week's booking mugshot. You know the weird story by now. Found asleep in his running car. Taken into custody at 2:49 a.m. Monday, booked at 7:18, released on his own recognizance at 10:50, to be will be arraigned in Palm Beach County Court July 5. But the DUI charge turned out not  to involve alcohol. He blew a perfect 0.00 breath test for that. Turned out to be a mix of prescription drugs, including painkillers, blamed on recent back surgeries. Said Woods in a statement: "I understand the severity of what I did, and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn't realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly." Woods recently announced he'd miss the remainder of the 2017 PGA Tour season. Since his initial back surgery in MArch 2014 Woods has played only 19 Tour events with zero top-10s, his career majors number long stuck on 14. I feel bad for Tiger. Do you?

REPORT: JEB BUSH OUT OF RUNNING TO BUY MARLINS: The Associated Press, citing unidentified sources, first reports today that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has withdrawn from a bid to buy the Miami Marlins. Bush fronted the group led by ex-Yankees great Derek Jeter, who may continue to explore a bid with other money men. No reason for Bush's withdrawal was reported. "Gov. Bush has great respect for Derek Jeter, and Derek remains a great friend," the AP quoted a source. "And he's looking forward to a great rest of the season for the Marlins." The apparent frontrunner to buy the club now would appear to be the group fronted by businessman Tagg Romney (Mitt's son) that includes ex-Braves star pitcher Tom Glavine -- but not so fast on that. Bush had very little capital in the investment group, so that group very much would remain in the running with Jeter -- still involved -- out front. Today's no-Bush news, in effect, might end up meaning very little. Both groups had been considered nearly even in the running to make the deal. Existing owner Jeffrey Loria has lowered his asking price from $1.8 billion to (as of now) about $1.3B. There are reports the deal will be completed in the next couple of month so change of ownership might be ratified at the next MLB owners meeting in August.

JmorrisUM'S BASEBALL STREAK ENDS, BUT CANES WIN ANYWAY: The longest NCAA postseason streak in any sport -- Miami Hurricanes baseball's 44-year run -- ended Monday when UM was passed over for an at-large regional bid. It was a mild surprise but not a shock. After a 31-27 record, it's hard to argue the Canes got screwed. The nature of the tournament is that, as in basketball, automatic bids got to small-conference winners to fill much of the 64-team field. UM did get unlucky, though,as the first team out. UM coach Jim Morris was admirably gracious, saying, "It's an honor and a privilege to be part of the 44. It's a streak that's unmatched in any sport in NCAA history, so to be part of that and be part of that with coach [Ron] Fraser is an honor." Morris could have complained, claimed to have been cheated, claimed the selection committee didn't show proper reverence for his program's pedigree, or blamed the team's many injuries. Instead, no excuses. He took the high road. Good for him.

TerryfreiOVERREACTION IN FIRING OF TERRY FREI: I don't know Frei, until this week a Denver Post sportswriter, so this opinion is uninfluenced by friendship. He Tweeted something ill-advised. But I'm not sure it was a firing offense, given his immediate explanation and contrition. Frei Tweeted he was "uncomfortable" with a Japanese driver winning the Indy 500 on Memorial Day, harking to Pearl Harbor. For me, that was outrageous. The equivalent would have been me writing on Twitter that the Marlins should have sat Ichiro on Sunday for the same reasoning. That's pretty crazy. But, again, given the extenuating circumstances (Frei' s father fought in the war), and his fast apology, I feel bad that one lapse in judgement cost the man his job and reputation. Frei is pictured. A regrettably uttered or written sentiment can happen to any of us in this fast-paced business. I wish him well.

ESPN'S SECOND ANNUAL 'WORLD FAME 100': Click here for the full list, or stay here to save time. The top 10, in order: Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Lionel Messi, Roger Federer, Phil Mickelson, Neymar, Usain Bolt, Kevin Durant, Rafael Nadal and Tiger Woods. Also notable: Serena Williams 19th, Tom Brady 21st and Dwyane Wade 24th. No current South Florida athlete made it. Thought maybe Jaromir Jagr and Ichiro had a chance to sneak in low.

HOT BUTTON DAILY / WED 5-31-17: Up to five events on today's sports calendar that interest SoFla most:

1. Philadelphia at Marlins, 1:10 p.m: Fish have won 3 straight, are 4-1 in 10-game homestand.

2. NHL playoffs, 8 p.m.: Pittsburgh leads Nashville 1-0 and home for Game two of Stanley Cup Finals.

3. French Open, 11 a.m: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic among notable on today's schedule.

4. Dolphins OTA day: Second of this week's three closed-to-public offseason practices.

[Note: NBA Finals start Thursday June 1].

Select other recent columns: Harris Vs. Fins' Draft Drought: High hopes for top pick Charles Harris. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. Awful Team Continues Marlins Curse: Fish fans deserve a medal. Big Risk For Big Upside: On chance Heat could land Harry Giles in NBA Draft. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. LeBron And Steph To the Rescue: How a third straight Warriors-Cavs Finals will save a lopsided postseason. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for a Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. Not In Our Stadium: N-word at Fenway and fans' responsibility. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Right Pick For Right Reasons: Fins' first-round choice Charles Harris. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. History Breathes at UM Sports Hall: Tour of a little-known campus gem. Spo's Greatest Challenge -- And Triumph: strangest of Heat seasons. Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?: A curiously unemployed QB. Also: Thank You, Mae Riback, A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City, Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 29, 2017

Respect and gratitude: Memorial Day 2017 (with video); plus updated Hot Button Top 10: See what falls where among UM baseball denied, NBA, Tiger arrest, Marlins, Fins, NHL; also, my Sunday column, Gregg Allman, most-wins verdict, HB Daily (Mon) & more

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

Gallman1) It is MONDAY, May 29. R.I.P., Gregg Allman, pictured right, gone at 69. 2) Click BIMD: Senior Discounts to watch my latest Back In My Day video from this past week's LeBatard Show. 3) Know any Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century, Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins vs. Canes most-wins poll, UM baseball reaches ACC semifinals, Fish vs. Trout, World OutGames Miami scandal & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Latest Sunday column: Golden State, LeBron on history's doorstep: For the Warriors as a team or LeBron James as a player, this NBA Finals is going to leave one of them looking a lot like the best there ever was. Click on History Calling Warriors, LeBron for my new Sunday column.

MemdayMEMORIAL DAY 2017: RESPECT AND GRATITUDE: Ultimate respect and thanks on this Memorial Day 2017 for the thousands of Americans who have lost their lives fighting in our armed forces --fighting for us -- over our centuries of freedom. If someone should wish you a "happy Memorial Day" today, or mistake Memorial Day for Veterans Day, please politely correct them. This holiday is one of reflection, and gratitude, for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Every Memorial Day in my blog I present George Jones' 2002 video of his song, "50,000 Names." The song is about the Vietnam Memorial, but, more broadly, it is about the ultimate cost of freedom that we honor on this day. If you lost a loved one in military combat, this is for you:

Hot Button Top 10 going on holiday: Because of vacation, this will be the last Hot Button Top 10 for a little while. We'll be off the next two Sundays and return June 18.

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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. NBA: Finally, it's on! The inevitable Warriors-Cavs Finals begins: It's the Golden State-Cleveland trilogy, LeBron-Steph III, and the rubber-match series begins Thursday night. Now all it has to be is the greatest Finals ever ending in a triple-overtime Game 7 to live up to expectations.

2. MARLINS: Can long homestand help fading Fish save season?: Miami hopes its current 10-game homestand, longest of the year (off to a 2-1 start), will help the Marlins start to turn around a sinking season. Fish thought that last time, too, just before the previous homestand in which they went 1-8. Now, tonight Marlins go for first two-game win streak since April 22-23.

3. UM BASEBALL: Canes denied NCAA bid, record streak ends!: UM went 2-1 in ACC Tournament with Saturdays' 12-4 semifinal loss in Louisville to North Carolina. That should have been enough, I thought, to earn an NCAA bid for record 45th consecutive year in Monday's selection show. Instead, UM was ddenied so the streak ends. Perspective: Canes' last time not in an NCAA Regional predated Dolphins' Perfect Season.

4. DOLPHINS: Another round of OTAs on deck: The next of the Fins' offseason “organized team activity” days are this Tuesday through Thursday. You know you're a football fan if you care about your team's no-pads, limited-hitting practices 3 ½ months before the season starts. otas wrap up june 5-8.

5. NHL: It's Nashville and Pittsburgh for the Stanley Cup: Puck drops on Game 1 Monday. Pittsburgh has won four Stanley Cups including last season. Nashville is going for its first ever. Unless you live in western Pennsylvania, if you aren't rooting for the Predators, something's wrong with you.

6. MOTORSPORTS: Japan's Sato stuns in Indianapolis 500 goes: IndyCar racing owned the motorsport stage Sunday and delivered a surprise as journeyman driver Takuma Sato won the 101st "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Tokyo-born Sato, 40, was four years past his only previous IndyCar win. Bac home, he's Ichiro for a day!

7. TIGER WOODS: Woods arrested for DUI: The downward spiral of Tiger Woods sees a new chapter today following his overnight arrest for DUI in his hometown of Jupiter. The once-dominant golfer, recovering from back surgery, was booked at 7:18 a.m. and released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m. Pictured right from his booking photo: The new face of drunk.

8. TENNIS: French Open gets underway in Paris: A tennis tradition since 1891, French Open finds Rafael Nadal the clear men's favorite (he won today), but the women's side wide open, especially with No. 1 seed Angelique Kerber's shocking loss in first round Sunday. With neither Serena Williams nor Maria Sharapova playing, no Roger Federer, either, and now Kerber out, this major has taken a major hit in starpower.

9. SOCCER: Arsenal wins FA Cup final: Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 Saturday to win England's FA Cup. Call it an international soccer appetizer for the June 3 UEFA Champions League final in Wales as Real Madrid defends its European crown vs. Juventus.

10. WORLD OUTGAMES: Miami LGBTQ sporting event mired in scandal: The World OutGames Miami, set to have begun with an Opening Ceremony on Saturday, collapsed under a fraud investigation that canceled almost all athletic events. Was this thing being run by Fyre Festival promoters and Ja Rule or what!?

Missing the HB10 cut: Sailing's 35th America's Cup is underway in Bermuda. Quick tip for helmsmen: Avoid the Triangle ..... FAU reached C-USA baseball semifinals before losing Saturday. That and an 18-12 season could sneak Owls into NCAA Tournament. Give a hoot! ..... NASL's Miami FC faces Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday in next round of U.S. Open Cup. Am starting a GoFundMe campaign to buy Miami FC a nickname ..... Congrats, Canada! This makes it 23 straight seasons without a Stanley Cup ..... Sunrise arena will host WWE Summer Slam on June 9. Wonder who's scheduled to win? ..... Belmont Stakes coming up June 10, but, with no Triple Crown in play, not even Belmont cares ..... MLB Draft is set for June 12. Note to MLB: I know you're jealous that the NFL and NBA drafts get much more attention. Quick thought, baseball: Try having fewer than 4,687 rounds ..... R.I.P., Jim Bunning, workhorse pitcher from a day when starting pitchers actually completed games ..... Michael Vick wants a one-day contract to retire as a Falcon. And he should, doggone it!

POLL RESULT: UM FOOTBALL WILL OUT-WIN DOLPHINS IN 2017: We asked who is more likely to win the most games this coming season, and by not quote a 2-to-1 margin you had it 58.8 percent Hurricanes and 30.5% Dolphins. The other 10.7% answered, "Dead even. Got a coin?"

HOT BUTTON DAILY / MON 5-29-17: Up to five events on today's sports calendar that interest SoFla most:

1. NCAA baseball selection show, noon: Hurricanes learn if streak stays alive with at-large bid.

2. Stanley Cup Finals, 8 pm.: Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of NHL Finals. 

3. Philadelphia at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: Fish 10-game homestand continues vs. NL East rivals.

4. French Open, 11 a.m.: Men's favorite Rafael Nadal among those debuting in 1st-round matches.

[Note: NBA Finals start Thursday June 1].

THE LIST: DOLPHINS NO. 1 PICKS ON DEFENSE: When I wrote recently that the Dolphins hope Charles Harris is their best No. 1 draft choice on defense in more than 20 years, here is what I meant. Miami's 10 most recent first-round picks on D prior to Harris:

Year    Player                        Results

(Results numbers are seasons, starts and Pro Bowls with Dolphins)

2013   Dion Jordan, DE          2-1-0

2010   Jared Odrick, DE         5-41-0

2009   Vontae Davis, DB         3-36-0*

2006   Jason Allen, DB           4-19-0

2001   Jamar Fletcher, DB      3-6-0

1996   Daryl Gardener, DT     6-77-0

1994   Tim Bowens, DT         11-155-2

1992   Troy Vincent, DB         4-55-0* 

1988   Eric Kumerow, DE       3-0-0

1987   John Bosa, DE            3-21-0

*-Davis and Vincent both made Pro Bowls, but not until after leaving Dolphins.

Select other recent columns: Harris Vs. Fins' Draft Drought: High hopes for top pick Charles Harris. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. Awful Team Continues Marlins Curse: Fish fans deserve a medal. Big Risk For Big Upside: On chance Heat could land Harry Giles in NBA Draft. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. LeBron And Steph To the Rescue: How a third straight Warriors-Cavs Finals will save a lopsided postseason. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for a Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. Not In Our Stadium: N-word at Fenway and fans' responsibility. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Right Pick For Right Reasons: Fins' first-round choice Charles Harris. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. History Breathes at UM Sports Hall: Tour of a little-known campus gem. Spo's Greatest Challenge -- And Triumph: strangest of Heat seasons. Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?: A curiously unemployed QB. Also: Thank You, Mae Riback, A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City, Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 08, 2017

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See what falls where; plus Chris Bosh sued by porn website; also, LaVar Ball/$495 sneakers poll, R.I.P. Art Hertz, Colonel Sander's romantic side, your eSports verdict, HB Daily (Mon) & more

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

Arthertz1) It is MONDAY, May 8. Belated condolences and an R.I.P. to Art Hertz, 83 (pictured), the Miami civic giant and former Orange Bowl Committee president. Got to know Art pretty well from my years covering Hurricanes football in the '80s. Good man. 2) Know any Dolfans? Thrill them with our new book on club's first half-century, Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): First 2018 mock draft has bad news for Dolphins and Canes, Heat's foray into eSports/gaming with poll, updated Fins/Marlins title odds, your who-runs-this-town verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Porn, rat poop a part of lawsuit against Chris Bosh: I ain't lyin'. Click here for the story.

Latest column: Wade must check ego for any shot at Heat reunion: In my latest Sunday column I explore what could happen this summer if Wade opts out of his Bulls contract -- but might only happen if he came at a bargain price with no demands on his role. Click On The Team's Term's, Not His to read.

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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HORSE RACING: Always Dreaming takes a muddy Kentucky Derby: Always Dreaming -- Todd Pletcher-trained, with John Velazquez aboard and co-owned by Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola -- beat the mud and a big field Saturday to usher in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown at Churchill Downs. They call it the "Run For the Roses." Which also is what I do when I suddenly realize I’ve forgotten my wife’s birthday.

2. NBA: Prelims to get to Cavaliers-Warriors continue: Cleveland swept Toronto on Sunday and tonight Golden State looks to do the same in Utah. It is looking more and more like an inevitable third consecutive Cavs-Warriors Finals, which is exactly what American wants. Or doesn't. I can't decide.

3. MARLINS: Fish back to open long homestand Monday: Flailing Fish had lost nine of 11 before winning at Mets Sunday, and now face St. Louis tonight to open a nine-game homestand. Meanwhile three groups are now bidding to buy the club from Jeffrey Loria. How perfectly fitting would it be for Loria to end his unpopular reign by not selling to the fan-preferred Derek Jeter group?

4. DOLPHINS: Harris, other draftees in Fins’ rookie minicamp: Top pick Charles Harris and other draftees wrap up Miami’s weekend rookie minicamp Sunday — as much a meet-’n-greet as actual football work. Circle June 13-15, the first mandatory full minicamp, when things start to get serious.

5. LAVAR BALL: Would you buy a $495 pair of sneakers?: Super-dad LaVar Ball and his Big Baller Brand introduced a $495 signature sneaker for his NBA rookie-to-be son Lonzo Ball, thereby exponentially increasing the pressure on Lonzo to be an instant superstar. If I'm spending $495 on sneakers they'd better be stuffed with about $400 in cash.

6. NHL: Nashville first through to conference finals: Nashville became the first team to win its conference semifinal series, and now Pittsburgh can advance with a win tonight. We could see Game 7s in three of the four second-round series. That's the way you do a postseason, NBA!

7. N-WORD: Racist fan in Boston ignites outcry: A dumbass Red Sox fan shouted the N-word at Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and was banned for life from Fenway Park. Official apologies and national conversation ensued. I wonder if the fan who yelled received an I-know-what-you're-going-through note from Steve Bartman? 

8. BOXING: Alvarez pounds Chavez in Vegas fight: Canelo Alvarez won an easy decision over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a battle of Mexican favorites last night in Las Vegas. The weight class was super middleweight. Alas, nothing super about the fight.  

9. HURRICANES: UM breaks ground on new football facility: It was news when UM announced plans for a new $34 million indoor football practice facility. It will be news when it opens its doors in 2018. Not sure it was news this week when people in dress shoes and hardhats stood around with gold shovels for a groudbreaking, but we sure covered it like it was. Slow news week?

10. UM BASEBALL: Canes playoff hopes on deathbed: Jim Morris' guys are an uncommonly common 24-23 and in grave jeopardy of seeing their record NCAA playoff streak come to an end. Doctors are standing by ready to call a time of death. Might take the miracle of an ACC title to save the season.

Missing the HB10 cut: Canes men's basketball is ranked No. 7 in the nation in an NBC Sports (very early) preseason Top 25 ranking newly out. And the bar is set. High ..... NASCAR did Talladega Sunday, with Ricky Stenhouse under the checkered flag ..... Ping pong balls ready? The NBA Draft Lottery is May 16 ..... Answer: UM tennis player Piotr Lomacki rose two spots, to No. 62, in the latest ITA singles rankings. Question: Whaddya mean they might wanna think about ranking fewer players? ..... Champion Olympic bobsledder Steven Holcomb found dead at 37. I'd never heard of him. R.I.P., anyway ..... At auction yet again: That rare 1909 T-206, the original Honus Wagner baseball card. I don't wanna say it might be a fake, but if you look closely you can see an ESPN banner on the outfield wall.

BallLAVAR BALL AND HIS $495 SNEAKERS: I have a new mini-column out on LaVar Ball's new line of $495 sneakers started for his son, Lonzo, 19, the UCLA guard about to enter the NBA. Click on The Gall Of Ball to read. It used to be you became an NBA star and from that grew the merchandise. But Dad (pictured) and his Big Baller Brand have flipped the switch. It is audacious. It might even be smart. But it also is off-putting to a lot of people as its heaps a ton of pressure on Lonzo Ball to be an instant star in order to sell sneakers and save the family brand. What are you rooting for to happen? Take a dip in our poll:

ColonelCOLONEL HARLAND SANDERS: SUPER-STUD: How KFC has brought its iconic Colonel Sanders back to life in advertising is smart, and fun. Companies that have brand ambassadors that famous are dumb to move away from them. (Who remembers his first name is Harland, by the way?) The latest dab of genius is a "romance novella" (pictured) that casts the Colonel as a stud. (Background story here). They're giving it away with the purchase of a $20 bucket of chicken, and it sounds wonderfully awful. The book. Not the chicken. Spoiler alert: In the book, Tender Wings Of Desire, the Colonel carries the gorgeous redhead to his castle (shown in the background), where together they enjoy a lavish banquet of fried chicken, after which the unhinged Colonel carries the woman into a fully appointed sex dungeon below and dons a rubber mask for hours of bondage games. OK, I made up that last part. The Colonel would never do that!

POLL RESULT: SORRY, GAMERS, BUT THAT AIN'T A SPORT: We asked if you consider eSports/competitive video gaming to be an actual sport, and it was 77.9 percent "no" to only 22.1% "yes."

HOT BUTTON DAILY / MON 5-8-17: Up to five events on today's sports calendar that interest SoFla most:

1. St. Louis at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: Fish 13-17, needing spark, as they open 9-game homestand.

2. NBA playoffs, 9 p.m.: Warriors up 3-0, can close out 2nd-round playoff series with sweep at Jazz.

3. NHL playoffs, 7:30 p.m.: Penguins 3-2 and home, looking to close out series with Capitals.

Select other recent columns: Not In Our Stadium, on the N-word at Fenway and fans' responsibility. The Kid From Pampa, on why the Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Right Pick For Right Reasons, on Fins' first-round choice Charles Harris. Home Run For Miami, on Bush/Jeter group reaching agreement to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose, on controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy , on suicide of Aaron Hernandez. History Breathes at UM Sports Hall, a tour of a little-known campus gem. Spo's Greatest Challenge -- And Triumph, on this strangest of Heat seasons. Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?, on a curiously unemployed QB. Thank You, Mae Riback, as I meet my oldest fan. Also: A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City and Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 06, 2017

Heat still playoff-unlikely even with big win; plus Jeter, Jeb join list of interested Marlins buyers; also, Romo/Canton poll (last day to vote!), '18 NCAA title odds, lamb-flavored potato chips, Hot Button Daily, expectations bar you set for Fish & more

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

Lambchips1) It is THURSDAY, April 6. Comic great Don Rickles has died at 90. R.I.P. 2) Back In My Day: Potato Chips. Click here for our latest BIMD from yesterday's LeBatard Show. 3) Know any Dolfans? Buy them all our new book on club's first half-century, Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Opening Day poll and list, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

2018 men's NCAA Tournament title odds: Out today via Bovada, Kentucky opens as favorite at 9-1, with North Carolina second at 12-1 to repeat. Florida Gators are 25-1 (tied for 12th), FSU Seminoles are 33-1 (tie 17th) and Hurricanes ar 40-1 (tie 21st).

DEREK JETER, JEB BUSH REPORTEDLY NOW AMONG INTERESTED MARLINS BUYERS: Confirming long-percolating rumors, Fox Business Network and FoxBusiness.com reported this Jeterafternoon (story here) that former Yankees superstar Derek Jeter (pictured) is fronting a group interested in buying the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria. The report sources "people with direct knowledge" and says Jeter is being represented in talks with Marlins president David Samson by Wall Street executive and former Morgan Stanley brokerage chief Gregory Fleming. Jeter has long been open about his interest in owning a sports team, especially in baseball. Fox Business reports another bidding group is led by former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Citigroup. A third bidding group is said to have the financial backing of Goldman Sachs. Loria made plain at the start of recent spring training that he plans to sell and as soon as this season. The asking price has been reporte as high at $1.6 billion but many believe the actual sale price could be half of that. Earlier this spring, yet another potential bidder was the Kushner real estate, but that possibility seemed to have cooled for now related to a Kushner son being married to Donald Trump's daughter and Loria's possible nomination as ambassador to France.

UPDATED: ODDS STILL AGAINST HEAT MAKING PLAYOFFS: Really big win in Charlotte last night lifted Miami to the 8th seed (with tiebreakers), but Heat still are deemed unlikely to make the playoffs. Can't really blame the 11-30 record at midseason because Miami clawed successfully back from that to get on playoff Miamiheatpace, climbing as high as the 7th seed. No, it was the two bad home losses in a row and four L's in six games overall (The Missing Dion Waiters Effect) before last night. Chicago, Indiana and Miami now all have identical records, but each of those three teams' remaining schedules hugely favors the Bulls and is toughest by far for the Heat. That is why ESPN's Basketball Power Index now gives Chicago a 93.4 percent playoff likelihood, Indiana 75.8% and Miami only 31.8%. Comparing the remaining schedules:

Chicago Bulls 38-40: @ Philadelphia .359; @ Brooklyn .244; vs. Orlando .346 and vs. Brooklyn .244.

Indiana Pacers 38-40: vs. Milwaukee .513; @ Orlando .346; @ Philadelphia .359 and vs. Atlanta .506.

Miami Heat 38-40: @ Toronto .608; @ Washington .603; vs. Cleveland .654 and vs. Washington .603.

ON TONY ROMO TO CBS: Tony Romo abruptly retires from the Cowboys and NFL and immediately becomes CBS Sports' main NFL game analyst as the network dumps Phil Simms and Romosimmsinstalls Romo alongside play-by-play ace Jim Nantz on featured games. Controversial? Yes, I guess, because former CBS mainstay Bonnie Bernstein Tweeted angrily that the decision was "total crap" and unfair to Simms because Romo has zero broadcast experience. Hey, here's a bulletin. No former NFL star is hired for his on-air background, his dulcet tones or even for the likelihood he might actually excel in his new role. Former stars are hired because they are former stars. Well-known. Apt to attract viewers. It's how Phil Simms got hired. And Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Rich Gannon, Troy Aikman, Steve Young and every other ex-QB handed a mic. Some turn out to be pretty good. Most don't. Simms wasn't. That he got replaced should surprise nobody who follows sports broadcasting. That he got replaced by other ex-QBs even less a shock. Whether Romo "deserves" his new job isn't the most interesting question about him. The one I pose in this poll is, because I think it's debatable, with a pretty strong argument on either side. Vote now.

HOT BUTTON DAILY / THU 4-6-17: Events on today's sports calendar that should interest SoFla most:

1. The Masters, 3 p.m. (TV): First round of year's first golf major from Augusta.

2. Marlins at Washington, 4 p.m.: Fish try to avoid sweep in season-opening road series.

3. Heat rivals, 7 p.m.: MIA fans will be rooting against Bulls (at PHI) and Pacers (vs. MIL).

4. St. Louis at Panthers, 7:30 p.m.: Cats' next-to-last home game of season.

5. Men's Frozen Four, 6 p.m.: From Chicago, for all of you college hockey fans.

Poll result: Confidence in Marlins slips: That's based on identical polls we took at the start of spring training in mid-February and at the start of the season this week. The combination of "playoffs or contending" has fallen from 53.2 percent to 41.5%, while the combination of "mediocre or worse" has risen from 46.9% to 58.5%. The breakdown:

Poll answer                                              Feb.        Now

The playoffs, finally!                              16.8%      10.0%

Contending team that just misses    36.4%      31.5%

Mediocre team never really in hunt  37.1%      46.2%

Post-Jose, a bad season                          9.8%       12.3% 

Select recent columns: Federer and Nadal Deliver, the latest, on Miami Open men's final. Always Dreaming, from Florida Derby. Mourning And Celebration, Marlins season preview. The Long Chase, on Dolphins' struggle to catch Patriots. Missing Waiters, on his value to Heat. Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?, on a curiously unemployed QB. A Complicated Legacy, on latest in Jose Fernandez saga. Thank You, Mae Riback, as I meet my oldest fan. Also: A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty CityIs Whiteside the Whale Heat Needs?Loria: The End Of An Error, Thank You, Edwin Pope.
 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

February 13, 2017

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat back at it, Loria's decision, Cats in hunt and UM hoops lead way; plus The Luddite's Heat MVP Standings (55 games), "Spobama," disrespect for Whiteside in your Heat MVP verdict & more

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

Spobama1) It is MONDAY, February 13. Spobama, pictured right, a photo mashup of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and ex-prez Barack Obama. Saw this on Twitter @brassjazz, loved it and thought you might too. 2)Shameless Plug Alert! Our new Miami Dolphins book on the club's first half-century (pictured) makes the perfect gift for every Dolfan you know. Click on Fins At 50 to learn me or to order. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Rollicking Heat with polls, your greatest-2016-champion verdict & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Thank you, Jeffrey Loria: Looks like immensely unpopular Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has finally figured out how to do something that will be unanimously cheered and make Marlins fans overjoyed. Sell the team. Reports are, he plans to do just that, and soon. Click on Loria: The End Of An Error for my latest column.

Heat win streak ends at 13 games in loss at Philly: Click on Spoelstra Leads the Parade for my Heat column on season's second-half surge.

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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Hot Miami sees 13-game win streak end; back at it tonight: Scorchin' Heat had won 13 consecutive games before Saturday night's 117-109 loss in Philadelphia, and now returns home Monday night vs. Orlando. A Heat team once 11-30 is now only two games off playoff pace. But will Miami now lapse back into losing? Let's find out starting tonight.

2. MARLINS: Fish set for spring training as sale rumors fly: Team's weekend Fan Fest concluded Sunday, now players begin to report Tuesday for spring training in Jupiter. Meanwhile owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly has a "handshake agreement" to sell team. That sound you hear? Marlins fans cheering.

3. PANTHERS: Cats need solid road trip to stay in hunt: Florida won in Nashville 7-4 Saturday night to begin a five-game roadie and make it four wins in past five games. Team is only three points off playoff pace despite being in league's bottom five in goals scored. Saturday was a good sign, though. Remember Cats: Support Your Local Goaltender.

4. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men fall at No. 4 Louisville: Hurricanes might have cracked Top 25 with big upset at Louisville Saturday but fell short, losing 71-66 after leading at halftime. A spectator entered the UM huddle in first half before being apprehended by security. I apologized. An NCAA Tournament bid is still very much still in play for Team Larranaga. Meanwhile No. 16 UM women routed visiting Clemson 81-57 on Sunday.

5. BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Brazilians dominate Fort Lauderdale tour stop: The Fort Lauderdale Major, an FIVB World Tour pro event, wrapped up Sunday with Brazil winning the women's gold medal match, after Brazil's men also had won. Which answers the question, "What? You mean beach volleyball is played more than once every four years at the Olympics?"

6. DOLPHINS: Annual charity bike ride draws thousands: Saturday's seventh annual Dolphins Cancer Challenge drew the largest crowd of participants in its history as thousands of riders raised funds to fight cancer. If only the Dolphins consistently did as well on the field as they do in the community.  

7. GOLF: McCarron wins Allianz Championship in Boca: Don't call it the Senior Tour anymore, but the PGA Tour's older division completed its event in Boca Raton on Sunday with Scott McCarron carding a one-shot victory. Must be nice: Still getting paid to not be as good as you used to be.

8. UM BASEBALL: Canes  season open in five days: Jim Morris' guys held their First Pitch Banquet on Friday and Fan Fest on Saturday. Now the season opens in four days with a Friday-through-Sunday home series vs. Rutgers at The Light. As always three words define this program's standard: Omaha Or Bust.

9. KEVIN DURANT: K.D. big winner in first return to Oklahoma City: Durant's response to the booing that OKC fans had saved up for him? Thirty-four points in a 130-114 rout by Golden State on Saturday.

10. UCONN WOMEN: Team seeks 100th straight win on Monday: And you thought the Heat's 13-game streak was impressive? Geno Auriemma's top-ranked UConn win seek their 100th win in a row tonight vs. No. 6 South Carolina. Streak is great for UConn. But for women's college basketball? Hmm.

Missing the HB10 cut: German tennis players were aghast prior to women's Fed Cup opening ceremony in Hawaii when an outdated version of German national anthem was performed -- one harking to Nazi/Hitler era. Supposedly it was an accident, but I blame Steve Bannon ..... Charles Oakley was booted from a Knicks game at the Garden. If the Knicks were any more dysfunctional, they'd be the Browns ..... Under Armour's president called Donald Trump an "asset" to the U.S. Under Armour spokesman Stephen Curry said that was accurate if you dropped the letters "et" from the end ..... Patriots Super Bowl parade was Tuesday. As further proof it wasn't a dream, Tom Brady woke up Sunday morning wearing five Super Bowls rings being spooned by Giselle Bundchen. Damn him! ..... At least six Patriots won't attend the White House honor in protest of Trump. Get the feeling that sports tradition may slowly wither over next four years? ..... No. 17 Gators men beat visiting Texas A&M 71-62 Saturday but No. 14 Seminoles fell at Notre Dame 84-72. One out of two ain't bad. For the Gators ..... Golfer Jordan Spieth got into ugly verbal altercation with what he called adult "professional autograph seekers." Good for Spieth! Anybody over the age of 12 asking for an autograph is probably a memorabilia cretin ..... Germaine de Randamie decisioned Holly Holm atop last night's UFC 208 card in Brooklyn. Germaine de Randamie sounds like a bottle of riesling ..... R.I.P., Fab Melo, who died unexpectedly in Brazil at 26. Never did much in NBA, but had an epic name.

UPDATED: THE LUDDITE'S ANTI-ANALYTICS HEAT MVP STANDINGS (55 GAMES)Points. Rebounds. Assists. That's it. With tongue only partly in cheek, we go old-school, strip it down, combine the Original Big Three statistical categories, and offer a running, cumulative race for 2016-17 Heat team MVP. We bring you updated standings at five-game intervals. With Miami now 24-31 after Saturday's end to the 13-game winning streak, here's The Luddite's 11th installment, with 50-game rank in parentheses. Dragic, by the way, has narrowed his deficit to Whiteside from 216 points to 129 in past five games. 

LudditeThe Luddite's Anti-Analytics Heat MVP Standings (50 games):

1. Hassan Whiteside (1)      1,573

2. Goran Dragic (2)              1,439

3. James Johnson (4)          1,027

4. Tyler Johnson (3)            1,001

5. Dion Waiters (5)               740

6. Rodney McGruder (6)      566

7. Wayne Ellington (9)        518

8. Josh Richardson (7)        483

9. Willie Reed (8)                  482

10. Justise Winslow (10)      355

Others: Luke Babbitt 320, Derrick Williams 234, Josh McRoberts 232, Okaro White 99, Udonis Haslem 72.

Poll results: Dragic is MVP in landslide, and winning trumps lottery: We had two Heat polls, and you had two clear verdicts. We asked who has been team's Most Valuable Player so far this season, and it was Goran Dragic with a commanding 72.7 percent. Then it was Hassan Whiteside a distant second at 12.5% followed by Dion Waiters 7.2%, James Johnson also 7.2% and Tyler Johnson 0.3%. We asked if it's better for Heat to keep winning and make playoffs as likely low-seed expected to lose in first round or to get back to losing for increased lottery shot at top-three draft pick, and "winning" won easily with 83.6 percent.

HOT BUTTON DAILY / MON 2-13-17: What events on today's sports calendar should interest SoFla most:

1. Orlando at Heat, 7:30 p.m.: Its' 13-game win streak done, Miami tries to start another one tonight.

2. South Carolina at UConn, 9 p.m.: No. 1 UConn women go for 100th straight win, but SC is No. 6.

3. Texas at Florida State, 7 p.m.: FSU women are No. 5 and Texas is No. 11.

4. No, that'll about do it.

Select recent columns: Loria: The End Of An Error, my latest, on team's reported likely sale. Spoelstra Leads the Parade, on the man at the wheel of recent long win streak. Give the Devils Their Due, on Belichick and Brady. Greatness Times Four, on Lebron, Brady, Serena and Tiger. Home Run For Montoya, Miami, from the Race of Champions here. Thank You, Edwin Pope, on the death of a friend, mentor and Miami Herald icon.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 07, 2017

NFL Wild-Card Weekend playoffs: Predictions for Dolphins-Steelers and other games, ranking the 12 teams and King Sport season awards; plus death of Jose Fernandez voted biggest Miami sports story of 2016 with complete Top 15 results & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, JANUARY 7. Shameless Plug Alert! Our new Miami Dolphins book on the club's first half-century makes the perfect celebrate-they're-back-in-the-playoffs gift for every Dolfan you know. Click on Fins At 50 to order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or elsewhere. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami's biggest sports story of 2016 poll, The Luddite's Anti-Analytics Heat MVP Standings, local guys who made cut for Canton & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

FripixPLAYOFFS: WILD-CARD WEEKEND: OUR PICKS FOR DOLPHINS-STEELERS, OTHER 3 GAMES: Twelve teams alive, four luxuriating with byes, and eight in action
WildcardSaturday or Sunday -- including, for the first time since 2008, the Dolphins, of course. Our 26th season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald saw us a robust 56.0 percent against the spread in the regular season. Click on Wild-Card Gems for our latest opening-round playoff picks for Dolphins-at-Steelers and others. I see an outright upset in one of the four games. I wish I could tell you it was the game at the field named after a ketchup bottle. We also offer our accompanying NFL notes column that today leads with our ranking of the 12 playoff teams, based on the likelihood of winning the Super Bowl. We also dole out our King Sport season awards for the league and Dolphins. Click on Playoffs And Hardware to read.

Dolphins playoffs, other select recent columns: It Isn't About Tannehill, how Fins have a chance in Pittsburgh with Moore if everything else goes right. There's A Longer Drought to End Now, off Sunday's loss as Dolphins prepare for first playoff game in eight years. A Year Of Heartache, But Then A Smile, in review of South Florida's 2016 sports year. Also: An Orange Bowl Classic. Road Back Starts With Bowl Win. Missing Dwyane Wade, Football Town Strikes Back.

POLL RESULT: DEATH OF FERNANDEZ VOTED BIGGEST MIAMI SPORTS STORY OF 2016: This was a major annual poll so we're giving the results the full treatment. I believe our blog has the smartest readers at MiamiHerald.com, and that y'all proved it again with these results. We asked what was the biggest Miami/South Florida sports story of 2016, offered our 15 choices and gave you five votes. That's because I thought the top three choices were obvious (I was right) and wanted to dig deeper. Your results:

Jose161. DEATH OF JOSE FERNANDEZ -- 20.76%

2. Dolphins make playoffs to end 8-year drought -- 17.32%

3. Dwyane Wade leaves Heat -- 16.96%

4. Hurricanes football wins first bowl game in 10 years -- 8.83%

5. Chris Bosh blood clots end season, likely Heat career -- 7.34%

6. Adam Gase hired as Dolphins coach 6.77%; 7. Laremy Tunsil falls to Dolphins after draft-night bong video 4.70%; 8. Hurricanes men's basketball reaches Sweet 16 4.47%; 9. Ichiro gets 3,000th MLB hit 4.13%; 10. Renamed, refurbished Hard Rock Stadium gets 2020 Super Bowl 2.64%; 11. FAU hires Lane Kiffin 1.83%; 12. FIU hires Butch davis 1.49%; 13. Death of Kimbo Slice 1.15%; 14. Panthers fire coach one year after best regular season ever 0.92%; 15. Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PEDs 0.69%.

Putting in perspective the percentage results from a five-choice poll: Quintuple (x5) each percentage for an indication of the frequency that choice was included in everyone's consensus top five. The maximum percentage would be 20.00 if everyone used all five vote available. The fact Fernandez's winning percentage was greater than 20 indicates many voted only for that story as biggest. In other words, that story maxed out this poll and was a clear winner. Dolphins-in-playoffs and Wade-leaving both exceeded 80 percent in overall top-five mentions, after which there was a sizable dropoff. It was a big year for Miami sports, and to the hundreds of you who voted in this poll, I thank you! In case you missed it, click A Year Of Heartache, But Then A Smile for my column in review of South Florida's 2016 sports year.

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

Twitter @gregcote