January 23, 2015

Is Dwyane Wade still "elite"? New poll. Vote now!; plus Dan Marino in wax, Riley says Heat underachieving, Marlins sign Ichiro, Bob Dylan & more

1aa1abanksernie1) It is SATURDAY, JANUARY 24. R.I.P. Ernie Banks, the seemingly always-smiling Chicago icon, "Mr. Cub," gone at 83. In his honor ... let's play two! 2) In The Previous Blogpost: Patriots' "Deflategate" with parody video, Drew Rosenhaus drama, LeBron's game show, Heat value, Marlins & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1apatsneedle
"Bill Belichick and Tom Brady say they know nothing? Guess that means the underinflated ball is now in the NFL's court." --Greg Cote

 

1aa1ajshieldsMarlins sign Ichiro; do they have more offseason surprise in them?: Given the team's past no one expeted the long-term deal with Giancarlo Stanton, and few expected the trades for Mat Latos, Dee Gordon and others. Now the Marlins have agreed to terms with Ichiro Suzuki, 41, on a 1-year, $2 million deal to be the fourth outfielder. The Marlins have gotten baseball's attention with an active winter. Now do they have one more big move in them? That would be signing free-agent starting pitcher James Shields (pictured). And that is the latest column by me. Click on Going All In to read.

IS DWYANE WADE STILL AN "ELITE" NBA PLAYER?: We pose the question as the Heat host Indiana last night (and barely escape) in a how-the-mighty-have-fallen matchup. It has not been a good week for Wade. He 1aa1adwadewas surpassed by Toronto's Kyle Lowry in the fan vote for a starting-guard spot in the upcoming NBA All-Star Game, another indication that Wade -- who just turned 33 -- may be past the pinnacle of his career arc. Also he was fined $15,000 by the league for aiming an obscene gesture at heckling fans in Charlotte Wednesday night, which is an uncharacteristic show of frustration by a typically very-composed player. Meantime the team is 18-24 at midseason and fighting for a playoff spot, and Wade has missed 10 of 42 games with injuries or rest. There is no doubt Wade (averaging 21.8 points) remains a very good player. But is he still "elite" by however you define that? I do not think the question is unfair. Take an honest dip in our poll and say why.

RILEY DESCENDS FROM MOUNT, AGREES TO SPEAK: Heat president and godfather Pat Riley parcels himself out to the media in rare and calculated dollops. He goes months with his public persona hidden, mum by design; then, when he chooses, he avails himself and, in the colloquialism, "can talk a fly off a 1aa1apatrileys--- wagon." It's as if the months of silence erupt. So it was Thursday when Riley decided to appear for an otherwise minor news conference about the Heat arena hosting a college basketball doubleheader next November, knowing it would turn into his invitation to sermonize a State of the Heat midseason address. He did, and we distill it to what's most interesting, including his use of the word "underachieved." On this struggling season: "It’s been very, very frustrating that we haven’t been able to overcome the adversities. In the face of all the adversity that we’ve had, there have been times we have underachieved. But we’re in the fight. We’re not in the fight like we were before for the top of the conference. We are in the fight with five or six other teams for probably the playoffs, spots six, seven and eight. So get real about it. Don’t feel sorry about it. Get after it!" On bright spot Hassan Whiteside: "I’m not really surprised. There’s a big difference in his body, his behavior, his maturity from what he was. Now he’s grown. The testosterone has kicked in. He’s more mature. He’s hungry. I’m not going to overplay it, but he does have Zo-like capabilities in shot blocking and being able to finish at the rim."  " On making trades to improve the roster: "There’s a lot of conversation but we’re not active. I’m not going to move chairs. I’ve been in the chair-moving business before and that’s all you do is move chairs around. We’re not about to give up assets that we don’t have, that we need, to make a lateral move out of desperation. If it’s a player to take us into the future, we’ll think about it." On what he looks for in season's second half: "The overall health is a game-changer. It just is. We’re at a point where when we lose one, it really sort of drops us to another level. The overall health and just getting mentally tough to the challenge that we’re playing for a playoff spot. Humble yourself to that and let’s roll and let’s go get it."

1aa1amarinowax 1aa1adanwax
DAN MARINO DIPPED IN WAX:
 Dolphins great Dan Marino is the latest celebrity added to the Madame Tussauds pantheon. The wax Dan will be unveiled today/Saturday and debut at the company's Orlando museum. Dan-O is shown being measured for his likeness (left) and inspecting his own wax likeness (right). Wax museums ... creepy!

1aa1aaarpdylanFURTHER INDICATIONS OF TIME FLYING: Bob Dylan is on the cover of the new (February/March) issue of AARP magazine, the mouthpiece of what used to call itself the American Association of Retired Persons. This I find sad ... but not quite as sad was when the aforementioned Dan Marino became an AARP spokesman. "Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves. We lose as much to life as we do to death." -- Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, American playwright. (Geez, that was depressing...)

Check back often because we're always updating and adding to out latest blogposts...

November 25, 2014

Ouch. Computers put Dolphins playoff shot at mere 19.7%; plus Canes' Duke nears "state Heisman," NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, (barely) remembering JFK, naughty names & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio on South Beach today with the Dan Le Batard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. A new "Back In My Day" is prepped and ready. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolfan and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter polls. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

DOLPHINS PICK A BAD YEAR TO BE PRETTY GOOD; PLAYOFF HOPES SLIM: Miami at 6-5 has a slightly less than 1 in 5 chance (19.7 percent) to reach the postseason, according to the computer analytics at a site I 1aa1adol19.7have come to respect: makenflplayoffs.com. Following last night's end of NFL Week 12 the three clear AFC frontrunners, all but in, are the Patriots (94.3%), Colts (92.0%) and Broncos (83.1%). Then it's a mad five-team scrum for the last three spots among the Bengals (61.9%), Chiefs (50.2%), Steelers (47.6%), Chargers (47.4%), Ravens (39.9%) and Browns (38.8%). Then comes Miami, 10th overall in the hunt for six AFC tickets. The Fins' path to the playoffs from here seems pretty clear: Beat the three teams you should (Jets, twice, and Vikings) and find a way to beat either the Ravens or Patriots. Doable. But daunting.

SOPY: UM'S DUKE WITH SAFE BUT NOT INSURMOUNTABLE LEAD ENTERING FINAL GAME: Miami's Duke Johnson leads Florida State's Jameis Winston by 103.5 points entering each player's final game in our 1aa1asopyblog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." That's a nice but not insurmountable lead. The SOPY rankings end with the 12-game regular season and do not include conference title games or bowls, so every school is on even footing. This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been Winston (in 2013 with 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (in 2012 with 1,900.5 points). 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. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 14:

SOPY WEEK 13 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk13    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         132     1,857

2 (2)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb         142.5   1,753.5

3 (3)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      223     1,622.5

4 (5)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           143     1,383.5

5 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb           104.5    1,352

6 (8)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb           165      1,220

7 (6)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       106      1,176

8 (7)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb              8       1,063.5

9 (10)     Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb       131       911

10 (9)       Matt Jones, Florida-rb            27        895

Bubble: Karlos Williams, FSU-rb, 839. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Florida and UCF have played 10 games; Miami, FSU, FAU and USF have played 11; and FIU has played 11.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 10: 1. FSU (11-0); 2. UCF (7-3); 3. Miami (6-5); 4. Florida (6-4); 5. SoFla (4-7); 6. FIU (4-8); 7. FAU (3-8).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: PICKS, LOBOS BOTH SLIP IN WEEK 12: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team, 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixand this week's report ain't pretty. Pix: We went a mediocre 9-6 overall but only 6-9 against the spread -- breaking a season-long string of 11 straight weeks at no worse than .500 ATS. Had four 'dogs-with-points including Dolphins, but misfired badly on our Cards-over-Seahawks upset call, a bad pick. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos' three-game win streak ended with a mighty thud, 144-54. Never a good sign when your high scorer (Philip Rivers) has 13 points. The bigger issue was six guys in single-figures. Oy! The good news? At 5-7 I'm only one game off playoff pace (not counting tiebreakers) with two weeks left, so I'll have a shot if I can win out. Rally, Lobos!

REMEMBERING JFK (IF BARELY): This is what insidious time does. It fades even the most memorable of us. A year ago the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination was big news. The 51st 1aa1ajfkanniversary, this past Saturday, passed quietly. Do any of us even know when Abe Lincoln was assassinated? It was on an April 15, 149 years ago. So we may expect a proper media remembrance on the big-One-Five-Oh next spring, at least. JFK's murder is one of my faintest childhood memories. I vaguely recall us being sent home from school early and finding my mother weeping at the black-and-white TV set. On Saturday I was on a weekend cruise in the Bahamas and didn't give the date a fleeting thought. But I do now.

NAUGHTY 'N NICE NAMES: The Daily Mail of London reports a recent study of 63,000 (presumably British) school 1aa1anameschildren determined which kids tend to be naughty misbehavers and nice angels, based on first names. Ten nicest girls: Amy, Georgia, Emma, Charlotte, Grace, Sophie, Abigail, Hannah, Emily and Alice. Ten naughtiest girls: Ella, Bethany, Eleanor, Olivia, Laura, Holly, Courtney, Amber, Caitline and Jade. Ten nicest boys: Jacob, Daniel, Thomas, James, Adam, Harry, Samuel, Jack, Oliver and Ryan. Ten naughtiest boys: Joseph, Cameron, William, Jake, Joshua, Jamie, Lewis, Benjamin, Ethan and Luke. All I can say is, if Ella and Joe get together, watch out!

Check back often because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

 

 

September 26, 2014

Heat move on from What's-His-Name. The new column; plus Philbin/Tannehill poll (vote), NFL Week 4 pix, 3-breasted woman & more

1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26. Lifelong Red Sox fan (me) admits he cheered for Yankees and Derek Jeter last night. 2) I'm holed up at Random Evidence Laboratories today drawing forth the Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tannehill QB controversy, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Heat moves on with Life After What's-His-Name: Click on Moving On for my latest column -- newly online and shipping to Saturday's inky pulp editions -- from today's Heat media day session. I try to accentuate the positive as the Heat move on without That Unnamed Guy Who Left.

PHILBIN'S BOTCHERY ON TANNEHILL'S STATUS A BLACK EYE FOR COACH: There is never a good reason for an NFL head coach to create a Quarterback Controversy on his team unless the starter's job truly is in 1aa1ajphilbindoubt and the debate is unavoidable. You don't decline to to publicly name your starter unless it's an open competition or you aren't sure. If you refuse to name your starter even though you know who it is -- Philbin's method of operation this week -- you are simply mishandling the most important position on your team and causing a pointless distraction. Even Tannehill admitted it was a distraction and spoke out against the way his coach has handled this. If Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck's coaches do the non-committal thing it isn't a big deal. But when the coach of an a less-established, embattled QB does the non-committal thing after consecutive bad losses, he erodes support for and the confidence of his quarterback. But that's just me. You may feel differently. This could be a tough poll question for many Dolfans because neither Philbin nor Tannehill is particularly popular right now. You might not like Philbin but still think he handled this properly. You might not like Tannehill but still think he was treatly unfairly in this. Weigh in. Vote and say why.



1aa1afripixNFL WEEK 4 PICKS: Good start last night; had Giants winning at Washington in an outright upset. Click on Week 4 Gems for all our latest prediction capsules (have Dolphins beating Raiders in London), and on Philbin's Folly for our Friday Page NFL column. I write how Joe Philbin's mishandling of the Ryan Tannehill situation this week has put his shaky job status in further peril.

LEBRON SAYS MIGHT STILL BE WITH HEAT IF...: To the surprise perhaps only of the easily surprised, LeBron James said he might still be playing in Miami for the Heat if the team had beaten San Antonio in the NBA Finals last season. "I mean, it's a greater chance for sure," he told CNN's Rachel Nichols in an interview excerpt released yesterday. "It would be hard to leave back-to-back-to-back championships, you know, and try to go for four." Post-LeBron, the Heat usher in the 2014-15 season with Media Day today (I'll be there) and then the start of training camp on Saturday.

1aa1atampa3ON THE (ALLEGED) TRIPLE-BREASTED TAMPAN: A "triple-breasted tampan" is not a breed of bird. Rather, it is a 21-year-old Tampa woman who goes by the pseudonym Jasmine Tridevil, and whose claim to fleeting, idiotic fame is that she says she has three breasts, the third not by a freak of nature, but by implant. Jasmine is pictured. Or, did that go without saying? She is presently plying the Internet, working it, looking for dubious stardom in a reality TV show. Alas, there are now indications her triple-header is in fact a bizarre prosthetic apparatus. Which, really, barely makes the story any weirder, if at all.

Check back a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

September 17, 2014

What's your faith in Ryan Tannehill? Poll. Vote!; plus LeBron's new hair, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY Top 10, Kevin Olsen, 3D-printed car & more

MESSAGE TO OUR BLOG FAMILY: (Note, this decision is corporate, not my own): "Starting Tuesday (yesterday), to comment on this blog you’ll need to log in with a Facebook account. We encourage lively discussion, but also believe respect and civility must be part of good debate. Your blog posts will carry the name on your Facebook account; you will have the choice whether your post also appears on your own Facebook page." Find a broader explanation here. Change affects all blogs, not just this one. I apologize for any inconvenience and thank our blog community -- the strongest on all of MiamiHerald.com -- for standing together through the change.

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17. A belated happy birthday to Dan Marino, who turned 53 this week. Time flies like his passes once did. Fast. 2) The latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, showing a sizable dip, may be found in blogpost directly below. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fizzle in Buffalo, DSM poll, Heat signing, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

CONUNDRUM: TANNEHILL HASN'T FULLY EARNED TRUST, BUT DOLPHINS MUST TRUST HIM: I explore the curious state of Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins in my latest column; click on Pass Or Fail to 1aa1adolqbread. Two mediocre games into this third season, some fans and media already are concluding he isn't the team's long-term answer at quarterback. I say it looks like the Dolphins are afraid to find out. They are not letting him throw deep as often as they should. Sunday in the loss at Buffalo they ran out the clock with 2:21 left in the half and three timeouts (plus the two-minute warning) left. That was negative coaching betraying a lack of confidence in the man running the offense. Unshackle Tannehill, I say. It is the only way to know for sure what you have, and what the future holds. But enough of my opinion. Time for yours. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

LEBRON UNVEILS NEW SHOE, NEW HAIR: LeBron James has unveiled 1aa1alebronnewshoe
1aa1alebronhair2 1aa1alebronoldhairhis latest sneaker, the $200 LeBron 12 pictured left, a shoe whose color scheme seems to pay subconscious homage to the NFL in the city he left behind. Of more interest, it seems LeBron also has quietly also unveiled a new hairline that has reduced his growing expanse of forehead. Check out the before and current pics at right.

ON CANES QB KEVIN OLSEN: [Update: UM released the following statement in its entirety: "Kevin Olsen is no longer a student at the University of Miami. We wish him the very best in the future."] My original post: I have a personal policy to not criticize 1aa1akolsencollege athletes as I would pro athletes. Kevin Olsen (pictured in this week's police mug shot) makes that a challege. UM's oft-suspended quarterback is suspended again after his latest off-field issue, a DUI arrest with a fake ID -- dropping an unneeded distraction onto Al Golden's lap as the team prepares to play Nebraska. I temper this with a degree of sympathy, because it has become obvious the kid has an alcohol problem. He needs help and the school should try to give it as a last step before cutting ties altogether.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 2 DIPS: We update you briefly every week on how we 1aa1afripixdid the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: We went 9-7 overall in Week 2 and 8-8 against the spread, nailing our Upset of the Week call ("Aawwk!") with Cowboys winning at Tennessee. Fantasy: Thud! Greg's Lobos fell to Earth like the Dolphins, losing 136-90 with nobody topping 15 lousy points.

SOPY: CANES' KAAYA VAULTS TO THIRD PLACE: A 177-point Week 3 vaults Canes QB Brad Kaaya to third place in our latest blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- 1aa1asopy"the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Jameis Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). 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. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 4:

SOPY WEEK 3 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk2    Season

1 (1)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            49       433

2 (--)       DeMarcus Robinson, Fla-rec   228      357

3 (7)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            177      353.5

4 (2)        Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        DNP     348

5 (9)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb           182.5    319.5

6 (5)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb        116       314

7 (--)       Phillip Dorsett, Miami-rec       206       302

8 (3)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       80       289

9 (--)        Matt Jones, Florida-rb           176      262

10 (--)     Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb     201     256.5

Bubble: Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 252. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman-qb, 250.5. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF, Florida and FSU have played one fewer game (2) than the other four state FBS teams.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 4: 1. FSU (2-0); 2. Florida (2-0); 3. Miami (2-1); 4. UCF (0-2); 5. SoFla (1-2); 6. FAU (1-2); 7. FIU (1-2). 

1aa1astratiWORLD'S FIRST 3-D PRINTED CAR: This technology is beyond my comprehension -- I still listen to CDs -- but I find this fascinating. The Strati (pictured), a two-seat electric car with a range of 120 miles and a max speed of 40 mph, has been unveiled at a Chicago auto show. It was manufactured with a 3-D printer by Local Motors of Phoenix. The Strati will cost between $18,000 and $30,000 when it goes on sale later this year. Click here for the backstory.

Check back a lot daily because we update and add to our latest blogposts a lot...

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!?"

Check back often because we update and add to our latest blogposts a lot...

August 13, 2014

LeBron's return to Miami set: Cheer or boo? Poll. Vote!; plus top 10 Heat home games, Miss BumBum, football in China, Tony Stewart verdict & more

1aa1abeef1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 15. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association tells me yesterday was Filet Mignon Day. Is that a national holiday? Could I have taken the day off? 2) Honestly it does not get much better than one of my favorites artists performing, live, one of my favorite songs: Beck and "Loser". 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tony Stewart tragedy blame-poll, Robin Williams and suicide, Dolphins and Brady Quinn, projections for Heat and Fins, Stanton MVP bid, my 50-yard FG update & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

"Marlin Giancarlo Stanton's NL MVP chances improve with the season-ending injury to Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki. If Dodger Clayton Kershaw doesn't poach and sweep, the trophy should be Stanton's." --Greg Cote  

DATE FOR LEBRON'S FIRST RETURN IS SET. NOW, TO CHEER OR TO BOO -- THAT IS THE QUESTION: NBA's release of its 2014-15 season schedule this evening confirmed what had been rumored: LeBron James' highly anticipated first return to Miami will be Christmas Day as Heat host 1aa1aclevlebCleveland at 5 p.m. (See the complete schedule here). How Heat fans feel about LeBron and will respond to his introduction that day has been highly debated. Miami fans initially seemed understanding of his leaving. In a July 11 poll here 63.1 percent said they wished him well versus only 17.9% who said they were upset with him (the other 19.0% weren't sure or had mixed feelings). But has the pro-LeBron sentiment dissipated since? This new poll will help answer that. Some of the reaction Dec. 25 may depend on how the Heat frame his return. Will there be an appreciative, fond-memories, welcome-back video shown to encourage applause? Or will the conspicuous lack of one encourage the opposite? We'll see. For now, put yourself in the arena that day as LeBron is introduced. What should the reaction be? Today/Friday is final day to vote, so vote and say why.

Cote's Top 10 most interesting Heat home games: 1. Cavaliers December 25--Well, duh / 2. Cavaliers March 16--LeBron II / 3. Wizards October 29--season opener / 4. Spurs March 31--Finals rematch / 5. Bulls December 14--Rose 'n Noah / 6. Thunder January 20--Concert by Durant Durant / 7. Clippers November 20--L.A.'s best / 8. Lakers March 4--Ghost of Kobe, but still Kobe / 9. Nets January 4--Men in black / 10. Knicks February 9--Hey, it's still the Knicks.

Poll result: More blame victim than Stewart in racetrack tragedy: We asked where blame should go in the tragedy in which NASCAR star Tony Stewart struck and killed young driver Kevin Ward Jr. after he'd wandered onto the track trying to confront Stewart. "Mostly blame Ward" had 45.6 percent of the vote, while "mostly blame Stewart" had 18.9%. Nearly a quarter, 24.2%, said they should share blame. Another 7.9% were not sure, and 3.4% said neither should be blamed.

1aa1acaflAMERICAN (INDOOR) FOOTBALL GOES TO CHINA: It is being announced today that the China American Football League (CAFL) will launch in 2015.  Principles in the indoor league's startup include U.S. businessman Marty Judge, ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski and former NFL coach Dick Vermeil. Each  team will have a combination of American and Chinese players.  The long-term vision is to have 30 teams throughout China,  and eventually throughout Asia and Australia. What does it mean? It means failed American football players -- marginal collegians who can't make the NFL, have flamed out of Canada or been rejected by the Arena league -- have a whole new vista opening up to possibly delay having to give up the dream and get a real job.

1aa1abumbumWHO'LL BE THE NEXT MISS BUMBUM?: In Brazil, where dare I say the female derriere is exalted, the hunt is on to determine who'll be the 2014 Miss BumBum, an annual contest/pageant to find what baby got back the best. Some of this year's contestants are shown turning the other cheek. Click here for the backstory. My favorite part is when the reigning champion describes how maintaining a perfect a-- is "a lot of work, a lot devotion." No doubt.

Click back often because we update and add to our latest blogposts often...

May 04, 2014

Yo. Brooklyn! Predict Heat-Nets 2nd-round series. Poll. Vote now!; plus Seantrel, LeBron, Dolphins, LeBapod, nut art, Crocodile Chop & more

1aa1cinco1) It is MONDAY, MAY 5. Happy Cinco de Mayo! Bulletin. Drinkers need an annual holiday like Miley Cyrus needs a reason to disrobe. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Heat/NBA playoffs/Donald Sterling. 3) Indications your career is falling like Teddy Bridgewater's draft stock: You are Joey Fatone, former member of 'N Sync, and you are the new host of the Food Network show, "Rewrapped." 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins draft poll and Hickey's take, Heat held hostage, Birdzilla, Stanton/Fernandez, Golden's call, Jameis-mocking, Rihanna's nipples, Keef reggae & more. 5) Join us Twitter @gregcote.

Seantrel's latest folly: Comes a report today that former Hurricanes tackle and draft prospect Seantrel Henderson tested positive for marijuana during the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Answer: Limitless, apparently. Question: How many ways can Seantrel screw up?

NBA final-eight title odds: Today, betting odds via Bovada: Heat favorites at 7-5, then Spurs 3-1, Thunder 9-2, Clippers 15-2, Pacers 12-1, Nets 16-1, and Trailblazers and Wizards both 25-1. However, ESPN sees it way differently in Miami and puts title chances thusly: Spurs 26.4 percent, Thunder 24.0, Clippers 16.1, Heat 13.7, Pacers 11.2, Trailblazers 4.8, Wizards 3.2 and Nets 0.6.

"How 'bout those Marlins! (C'mon. How often do we get to say that?)" --Greg Cote

NETS ESCAPE TO MEET HEAT IN SECOND ROUND; YOUR SERIES PREDICTION GOES HERE: Wow. Brookyn almost blows it but escapes Toronto 104-103 yesterday and it's Nets-Heat in NBA round-two playoffs starting Tuesday night in Miami. This by consensus and quantifiably has been the greatest first-round in the history of the NBA playoffs -- particularly notable 




1aa1aheatnetsbecause the Donald Sterling mess was plopped into the middle of it. Five of the eight 1R series have gone the full seven games. There were never more than two Game 7s in any one of the 11 previous years since the first round went from best-of-five to seven. Today Brooklyn escapeed at Toronto for the right to face the Heat next, and San Antonio swamped visiting Dallas to face Portland next. The other matchups already set were L.A. Clippers vs. Oklahoma City and Washington vs. Indiana. Brooklyn-Miami is the series you expected, and probably wanted. Nets were 4-0 vs. Heat in regular season, but with three one-point games and the other in double-overtime. Miami neverthless will be favored to advance despite that -- partly because of that. Here's a poll inviting your prediction in the series. Not what you want to happen, but what you honestly think will. Vote and say why.

1aa1alebappLEBRON OVERLOAD -- THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT!: Samsung has introduced a "LeBron App" (logo shown) exclusive to Samsung Galaxy products. With it you can access his social updates, videos and photos; info on his shoes, breakfast choices and off-court clothing; and details on his charity work and family life. Sounds like one-stop shopping for stuff you can either find elsewhere (Instagram, et al) or don't really care about, although one can hardly blame Samsung for milking the cow while the udder is fattest.

COTE CREDITED AS LE BATARD SHOW TOPS 1 MILLION PODCASTS: The Dan Le Batard Show (weekdays 3-7 p.m. on 790 & 104.3 The Ticket and 4-7 on ESPN Radio) had 1,024,775 downloaded podcasts in April -- the first time topping the 1M mark. The show's upward podcast trend shows a particularly notable spike from December to January, which coincidentally is right around when Greg Cote joined the show as a weekly in-studio (usually Tuesdays) co-host. "There is no question that Cote, the 'Show Killa,' has been a huge boost to the show," an anonymous made-up industry source totally did not say.

Poll result: Dolfans holding out hope for Martin in first round: We asked who you most hope Miami will land in Thursday's first round of the NFL draft and from among seven listed candidates Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin led by with 39.97 percent. There also was strong support for Alabama LB C.J. Mosley (25.11%) and North Carolina TE Eric Ebron (22.68%). The four other players split the crumbs.

1aa1apeanutshell
PEANUT SHELL ART:
Ever heard what initially sounded like a ridiculous idea but then you give it a chance and you decide it's fantastic? That was me upon first hearing the phrase "peanut shell art." A talented guy from Cincinnati named Steve Casino, 48, makes tiny artwork of peanuts, meticulously painting them. Tiger Woods is pictured. Google this guy and check him out. I mean Casino, not Tiger. Perhaps this is inspiration borrowed from Planters' Mr. Peanut; no matter. It's a great idea masterfully executed.

CROCODILE CHOP: I love musical mashups. Sometimes they are absolute garbage. Sometimes they are inspired. Sometimes they are, like this one, confounding, incongruous and yet somehow interesting. Masher Neil Cicierega combines two acts that would not be caught on the same stage together, with Elton John's poppy "Crocodile Rock" and hard rocking System of a Down's "Chop Suey" becoming "Crocodile Chop." Enjoy (or, don't):

 

Click back often. We're always updating and adding to these latest blogposts. They must be tended and watched, like bad children...

March 27, 2014

Mon am 3-31: Gators in Final Four; plus Dolphins' big upgrade, NLRB's bad ruling, Heat's shot at No. 1, Greatest Ralph & more

1) It is SUNDAY, MARCH 30. Check out my latest Random Evidence Sunday notes-column package, leading with the Marlins. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Greatest Ralph poll, Heat fall to Pacers, the art of child-spoiling, topless protestors & more. 3) Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

An optimistic take on Marlins. No, seriously: In today's special Marlins preview section I write an upbeat column on the Marlins. I list 10 reasons to like this team and feel good about this season. Check it out.

DOLPHINS AN APPRECIABLY BETTER OFFENSE BY ADDING MORENO: Signing free-agent running back Knowshon Moreno yesterday makes Miami's offense better -- period. You don't need a bunch of nerdy metrics 1aa1amorenorbor useless stat breakdowns to know that. In Denver last year he rushed for 1,038 yards and 10 TDs and -- this is important -- caught 60 passes for 548 yards and three more TDs. Yes, much of that was thanks to Peyton Manning. Still, Moreno, used right, can be the dual-threat back the Dolphins had but underutilized in Reggie Bush. Moreno also is healthy, young, a very good pass-blocker and fumbled only one time in 241 carries last year. Lots of upside. He should complement Lamar Miller well, no matter who starts. The onus now is on Daniel Thomas to earn his roster spot and carries. The fact Moreno only signed a 1-year, $3 million contract could be smart for both sides. He isn't a financial burden for the Dolphins. At that price, he's low risk, high ceiling. Smart, smart. Moreno is pictured gesturing where he hopes to be on Miami's RB depth chart this season.

BRACKETS BACK! CINDERELL-O-METER (PATENT PENDING) AT 33.3% ENTERING ELITE 8 GAMES: Excluding the four even-seeded play-in games, there have now been 20 upsets (by seeding) in the 60 men's NCAA Tournament games through the Elite Eight round, or a Cinderell-O-Meter reading of 33.3 percent. We update the Cindy Meter throughout March Madness. Here are all 20 upsets thus far, ranked based on seed differential:

1. No 14-Mercer over 3-Duke (+11)

2. 10-Stanford over 2-Kansas (+8)

2. 11-Dayton over 3-Syracuse (+8)

4. 8-Kentucky over 1-Wichita State (+7)

4. 12-North Dakota State over 5-Oklahoma (+7)

4. 12-Harvard over 5-Cincinnati (+7)

4. 12-Stephen F. Austin over 5-VCU (+7)

8. 8-Kentucky over 2-Michigan (+6)

9. 7-UConn over 2-Villanova (+5)

9. 11-Dayton over 6-Ohio State (+5)

9. 11-Tennessee over 6-UMass (+5)

12. 7-UConn ovcer 3-Iowa State (+4)

12.8-Kentucky over 4-Louisvile (+4) 

14. 4-Michigan State over 1-Virginia (+3)

14. 6-Baylor over 3-Creighton (+3)

14. 7-UConn over 4-Michigan State (+3)

14. 10-Stanford over 7-New Mexico (+3)

18. 2-Wisconsin over 1-Arizona (+1)

18. 9-Pitt over 8-Colorado (+1)

18, 11-Dayton over 10-Stanford (+1)

The Cindy Meter composite standings among teams still alive in the tournament are: Kentucky +17 and UConn +12.

Elite Eight round: And my bracket wants...: I had five of eight teams still alive on my bracket. Saturday: I needed Florida to beat Dayton (thanks, Gators), and Arizona to beat Wisconsin. Got one of two. Sunday: I needed Michigan State to beat UConn and Michigan to beat Kentucky -- and got neither.

Sweet 16 round. And my bracket wants...: I had nine of 16 teams still alive in my bracket entering the Sweet 16 games. Thursday night: I needed Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona to win, and all did. (I didn't have a dog in the Dayton-Stanford hunt). Friday night: I needed Michigan and Michigan State to win -- and both did. I did not get the wins I needed from Iowa State and Louisville.

WHY THE NLRB'S NORTHWESTERN DECISION IS WRONG-HEADED AND SHOULDN'T STAND: So a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago rules that Northwestern football players may vote to unionize, and all hell breaks loose in college sports. The ruling affects only private universities (for 1aa1anlrbnow), so the potential reaches to Coral Gables and UM. The Northwestern players bid for compensation benefits for injuries well into their post-school futures, plus bargaining rights for working conditions such as number of practices. The NLRB in effect has ruled that football players are primarily workers and employees, not students. Pay-for-play is not a part of this whole thing, although the ruling surely opens the door for that, too. There are problems with the ruling. Where do I begin? Players already have medical benefits; your ankle injury is well-treated. And is it really good for college sports to have players negotiating how much they'd like to practice? Mostly this ruling is wrong because it assumes players contribute substantially to a school's football revenue. (In Northwestern's case that was $235 million from 2003-12). That's a faulty premise. The ruling alludes to the "enormous commercial value" of players' work. That's wrong. Players come and go, and very few actually impact a university's success or brand. For every superstar exception like Johnny Manziel or Jameis Winston, there are a hundred relatively anonymous low- or no-impact players along for the ride. About 99 percent of all players have zero relevance on attendance and revenue at Any Given University. They are incidental. They are passengers. The backup guard who seldom plays and should be grateful for his scholarship is lumped in this ruling with the star quarterback -- either that or somebody has to decide relative value. The whole idea of most athletes' entitlement beyond their scholarship is faulty. The brand is Ohio State or Southern Cal or Florida, and fans will be there no matter who temporarily fills the uniform. This NLRB ruling is an unnecessary mess for college sports. I'd call it a landmark ruling if I weren't pretty sure it'll be overturned on appeal and disappear. (At least for now...).

1aa1aheatindHEAT NOT CONCEDING NO. 1 SEED: Last night's 84-83 Miami loss at Indiana gave the Pacers a 3-game lead for the Eastern Conference's top playoff seed, and 2 in the loss column. But the tiebreaker (conference record) goes to IND so Heat must finish with a better record, not tied. Still, it ain't over! Miami has 12 games left, and seven are at home including an April 11 rematch with the Pacers. Only five of 12 Heat games left are against teams with a winning record. Indiana has only four games left, of 10, and five against teams with a winning record. In sum, Miami if it wins the rematch here in two weeks will have a shot at wresting No. 1 and home-court advantage in what should be a deliciously brutal playoff series.

1aa1akramdenBUS DRIVER BEATS POET FOR GREATEST-RALPH HONORS: We asked you in the previous blogpost to name the Greatest Ralph of All-Time (you may still vote), and I'm thrilled to report a delightfully diverse two-way battle emerged from among 11 finalists, and that Ralph Kramden of The Honeymooners (32.7 percent) beat Ralph Waldo Emerson (20.3%). Ralph Lauren and Happy Days' Ralph Malph were dueling for a distant third. A fictional sitcom bus driver winning my poll over a legendary essayist/poet says much about my blog readership -- all of it good!

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

March 26, 2014

Wed pm 3-26: Who is greatest Ralph of all-time? Urgent new poll. Vote now!; plus Heat lose at Pacers, Diddy's parenting, topless protest & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat panic poll, Bosh's birthday bash, Marlins' Samson acting, Madness takes a breather, Sweet 16 odds & more. 2) Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

WHO IS THE GREATEST RALPH? VOTE NOW IN THIS IMPORTANT NEW POLL: Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson died yesterday, and that got us thinking. Who is the greatest Ralph of all-time? I love the name Ralph. To me it sounds funny (ralf) and is a comedic name, yet its origin is nobly masculine ("wolf counsel") and it has identified some very accomplished people. I have winnowed the great Ralphs to 11 for this poll. Did I miss anybody? This is purely Ralphs, no Rafaels, but a special hometown shoutout to the late Rafael "Ralph" Sanchez, founder of Homestead-Miami Speedway. This is a Boutique Poll. By that I mean it may be unpopular and of interest mostly to me, because I'm weird. OK. Onto the poll: Who's the greatest Ralph and why? Let's get Ralphing!

HEAT FALL AT PACERS: Eastern Conference rivals split two games in December, now Grudge Tres on Wednesday night went  to host Indiana, 84-83, despite LeBron James' 38 points. It was must-watch TV, deliciously physical and acrimonious. (Click on Playoff Feel for today's Heat-Pacers preview column by me). This has turned into the best rivalry in the NBA, and tonight only furthered that. Heat was up 80-76 before faltering. Didn't help that with 2 minutes left Dwyane Wade went out with an apparent hamstring tweak, underlining the question, "Can the Heat count on Wade physically?"

Heat three-peat confidence eroding, but still there: We have asked three times now at spaced intervals: Will the Heat win a third straight NBA title -- yes or no? On Oct. 29 (preseason), it was 83.0 percent yes. On Dec. 12 (with a 16-6 record after a loss to Indiana), it was 70.4% yes. Now, in our latest blogpoll, it's down to 62.8% yes. Interesting trend.

ART OF SPOILING CHILDREN TAKEN TO NEW LEVEL: Sean "Diddy" Combs is planning a lavish Sweet 16 1aa1amaybachbirthday party for his son Christian and has hired a brand placement company to elicit swag to fill goodie bags in exchange for Facebook and Instagram mentions from Diddy. In 2010, dad gave son Justin a $360,000 Maybach for his 16th birthday. By my reckonming there is no way either Combs child will be able to avoid spiraling into a Bieberesque life of entitlement, drugs and arrests or, even worse, involvement with a Kardashian.

1aa1aspaintopTOPLESS PROTESTORS CRASH PRO-LIFE RALLY: I so seldom get to write a headline like that. To me it has a "headless body found in topless bar" vibe. Anyway, in Spain on Sunday, topless female protestors painted like skeletons crashed an anti-abortion rally. Presented is an arresting image. Literally.

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

March 11, 2014

Wed pm 3-12: The Dolphins Strike Back! Team makes gains in rebuilding roster, image; plus ACC hoops/Masters odds, Ron Jeremy, Heat & more


1aa1aferns1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12. Zach Galifianakis has a funny interview with President Obama on his sublimely ridiculous "Between Two Ferns" show on funnyordie.com. Click HERE to watch. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins 'Bright Side' poll, Heat drop 3rd straight, WGC/Doral & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.


ACC hoops, Masters odds:
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are co-favorites to win The Masters at 6-1, says Bovada, followed by Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott at 14-1. In the ACC men's basketball tournament beginning today, money is on Virginia and Duke (both 2-1), Syracuse (3-1) and North Carolina (7-1). Florida (40-1) and Miami (66-1) are longshots.

THE DOLPHINS STRIKE BACK: FREE AGENCY, ROSS HELP TEAM RESHAPE ROSTER, IMAGE: This is a big week for your beleaguered Miami Dolphins, who have been irrelevant nationally for a decade- 1aa1ahickrossplus and a Bullygate laughingstock more recently. As I write in my latest column -- click on The Dolphins Fight Back to read -- this franchise has unique challenges. Other NFL teams must fill holes in free agency. Miami must fill a giant crater (the offensive line), other smaller holes and also erase the lingering stink of Bullygate, repair the club's public image and earn back the trust of fans. This week has seen positives strides on two major fronts: 1) FREE AGENCY: New GM Dennis Hickey (pictured with owner Stephen Ross) is off to a strong start. Re-signing Brent Grimes and signing tackle Branden Albert, safety Louis Delmas and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell are significant moves. Albert especially will anchor the revamped O-line with a Pro bowl-caliber guy on the key left side. Re-signing DT Randy Starks today also would be big.  2) STEPHEN ROSS: The club owner's offer to spend $350 million of his own money on stadium renovations is huge and would put Miami back in the hunt to host Super Bowls. Being a savvy businessman he wants something in return, an exemption from paying property taxes that would save him about $3.8 million a year, but that's reasonable. (The Marlins and Heat don't pay property taxes). The combination of a strong start in free agency and Ross' gesture make it a buoyant time for a franchise, and fan base, that dearly need some of that.

Poll result: Passing game tops Dolfans' optimism: We chose the Bright Side in the last blogpost and asked what facet of the Dolphins inspires the most confidence in you, and the top vote-getters were quarterback (26.3 percent) and receivers (24.6%), with notable support as well for the secoindary (20.3%) and defensive line (16.7%). Lagging were front office (5.5%), coaching (3.2%), linebackers (2.1%) and running game (1.3%).

1aa1aronjeremyNATURALLY, PORN STAR RON JEREMY HAS A RUM: When you think of overweight and astonishingly repulsive has-been porn star Ron Jeremy, you naturally think of spiced rum, assuming your willingness to make a leap of faith and hope it isn't spiced with what you fear it could be. Anyway, Ron was signing bottles of his rum yesterday at Crown Wines & Spirits in Fort Lauderdale. What other blog gonna bring you such essential information? Boom chick-a boom!

BIG 3, BIG WADE LIFT HEAT: The Washington Wizards aren't pushovers anymore but the Heat pushed 'em anyway, 99-90, here Monday to end a three-game losing streak. Always a good sign when the BIg 3 all top 20 points, but it was Dwyane Wade's big fourth quarter that seized the win. I'll say it again: Miami three-peats if Wade is Euro-step-healthy throughout the playoffs or at least when it starts really mattering, in the Eastern finals. Big home test tonight vs. visiting Brooklyn.

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