February 24, 2016

Unexpectedly stuck aboard Gronk's Party Ship. Good thing or bad? New poll. Vote now!; plus Marlins poised for surprising 2016 as spring training unfurls; also, the legend of Snowflake Nelson, Joey Bats' demand, thank you Jeb Bush & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25. New blogpost coming soon! 2) Thanks to our latest wave of Twitter followers. I must say LeBatard Show Tuesdays are good for business. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, concern-level on Bosh verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"Kimbo Slice is 42. Dada 5000 is 38. It was a Bellator production. And you were expecting a good fight why exactly!?" --Greg Cote

GronkshipQUESTION: IS INADVERTENTLY FINDING ONESELF ON GRONK'S PARTY SHIP A GOOD THING?: So overgrown frat-boy (and, time permitting, Patriots tight end) Rob Gronkowski, his family, friends and paying guests take a three-day Caribbean cruise out of Miami, aboard the Norwegian Pearl. Much drinking and debauchery ensues, as you'd expect. Anyway, there were about 700 on board for the Gronk party ship (see representative photo), among a total cruise-ship population of around 2,300. In other words, roughly two-thirds of those on board were tourists who had no idea what they were getting in for. Maybe some liked it. But we already have heard others have complained to Norwegian about being blindsided into being an unwitting party to all the Gronkness and ensuing silliness -- somewhat the antithesis of the relaxation many expect from a cruise. So I'm curious. Say you and the family were aboard the Pearl for your Caribbean cruise only to unexpectedly learn the ship's predominant client was a massive Gronk party. Good thing? Or bad thing? Feeling lucky? Or a bit annoyed. Take a dip in our poll.

FAITH IN MARLINS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE, BUT 2016 LOOKS PROMISING: Spent Monday up in Jupiter as the Marlins prepared for today's first full-squad work of spring. Click on Looking Up for the column in full. Here is a condensed version with my list of Ifs that must align if the Marlins are to surprise the analysts and bettors to become a playoff challenger: JosefernandezIf Don Mattingly turns out to be an inspired hire, the anti-Ozzie Guillen, who used to leave the practice field to watch bull fights in his office, failed spectacularly and, as the perfect Miami parting shot, praised Fidel Castro... If a healthy Giancarlo Stanton is bearing in on 50 home runs as the pennant races heat, his at-bats perhaps the most exciting minute in sports... If a healthy Jose Fernandez (pictured) is in the heart of the Cy Young conversation, his starts turned into events that fill Marlins Park... If Dee Gordon prove his spectacular 2015 was no fluke, and if Christian Yelich begins to make the move from potential star to budding superstar... If Barry Bonds seizes this chance to rebuild his steroids-dented image and enjoys great impact as the hitting coach. (Quick memo to the Marlins: Do you think giving Bonds a late-season at-bat or two as a pinch-hitter would get any attention? You’re welcome!)... If Miami is cheering Ichiro’s 3,000th major-league hit as it cheers a playoff chase... If Marcell Ozuna re-establishes himself with a comeback year, and if big farmboy Justin Bour blossoms into the team’s biggest slugger not named Stanton... And here’s a personal if, if I may: If Jeffrey Loria and David Samson would force themselves to keep a much lower profile, Marlins fans would be a happier bunch... All of that would leave one more if, maybe the biggest of all along with the health of Stanton and Fernandez: If Miami sees the emergence of two more starting pitchers to join the ace Fernandez, newly acquired Wei-Yin Chen and reliable innings-eater Tom Koehler. From among a half-dozen candidates the Marlins need a couple of volunteers to raise their hands — their arms — and capably join the rotation. Do you believe enough of the "ifs" might come true? February turning to March is the time for such leaps of faith, for hearts to control minds and for hope to win out. That is the beauty of baseball in springtime.

SnowflakeTHE LEGEND OF SNOWFLAKE NELSON: Heat fan and model Alyssa Nelson, a.k.a. Snowflake, got pretty excited watching the Heat beat Indiana last night, as pictured from a screengrab. Perhaps some of the fans watching Snowflake got pretty excited, too. Me? I got in a bit of trouble on the LeBatard Show today by suggesting Snowflake had invited the catcalls she was getting on social media by her choice of attire. This to me was not a mysogenist comment, but rather a practical one. If you want to jump up and down with that neckline showing that much cleavage, please do not feign surprise or disgust when you are, show we say, noticed. That's pretty much the point, is it not?

ON JOEY BATS: Blue Jay slugger Jose Bautista is demanding a $150 million, five-year deal from Toronto (or someone else in free agency), and suggesting his demand is non-negotiable. Dear Joey Bats: The market will determine that. As someone who'd be 36 as a free agent, you won't sit out a year, so your bargaining power is diminished. You have been underpaid, yes. But a demand of $30 million-per seems rich for the age bracket -- even for someone who hit 40 homers last year.

JebbushTHANKS, JEB BUSH: Been meaning to say, since he dropped out of the presidential derby, that I thought Jeb Bush ran a decent race, relative to the negativity and divisiveness surrounding him. He simply was too moderate, maybe too decent and unwilling to get down in the mud, to survive in 2016. I can tell you, as a registered Democrat, that I found Bush and John Kasich the two Republicans for whom I might have most considered voting. Bush spoke to issues and answers while Marco Rubio begins every answer to every question with a hyperbolic, rote attack on Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Alas, the polls told us which tactic worked best and who was Florida's favorite son. Jeb leaves in defeat, but with his honor intact.

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October 07, 2008

OK, please go away now Kimbo

Aaa1kimbo      The YouTube- and media-created mystique surrounding Miami's Kimbo Slice continued to get stripped away when he got pummeled in a 14-second beating in a mixed martial arts bout at the Sunrise arena.

      I have marveled for a long while how Kimbo has managed to exceed his 15 minutes of fame. Thinking the clock has now run out on him. All the man had was his aura of badass invincibility. What's left?

     As I wrote several weeks ago, mixed martials arts in general and EliteXC in particular are brutal and barbaric and should go away.

     One thing, though, about the speculation making the Internet rounds the past several days regarding this fight being fixed. Do I think EliteXC is above fixing a fight or that CBS wouldn't look the other way? No. But if this fight was fixed, it was fixed very badly, because Kimbo losing probably the worst thing that could have happened to this "sport."

     Which alone made the evening a success.

June 01, 2008

Bulletin: Kimbo has to work for a win (with The Daily Poll)

Aaa1kslice    [Sunday morning update: Well, I watched the big show last night. For a change, Kimbo Slice had to work for a victory, showing more "ground skills" than anyone knew he had. I guess I can see why so many people like mixed martial arts, although, for me, it's still ridiculously violent and just a weird, cartoon offshoot of boxing. I'll be OK if I never see another bleeding cauliflower ear, by the way. To each his own, right? Or maybe not!]

     [Friday Update: My Thursday column has thus far generated well over 100 e-mails, the vast majority predictably critical of what I wrote -- predictable because the column has been posted on several MMA sites. My finger hurts from using the Delete button so much. Just kidding! Wouldn't want to imply I don't read my e-mails! I am constantly amused when sports fans become enraged when others do not share their view. I might like football, snowboarding or bocci. Doesn't mean you have to].

     Original post:

    You'd know by my new column online now and shipping to Thursday's newspaper -- click here -- that I don't much like the mixed martial arts/ultimate fighting thing, nor do I follow lemming-like to join the mania over the "sport's" hottest current practitioner, Miami's own Kimbo Slice.

     As the sport and Kimbo (pictured) prepare to get their biggest shot of publicity yet with a first prime-time airing by CBS on Saturday night, it's time to weigh in.

     I think the sport is barbaric beyond reasonable discourse, and that those who practice it or cheer it shame themselves. I also think that Kevin Ferguson (Kimbo's real name) should be nobody's hero just because, instead of crime, his answer to poverty was the legalized criminality of beating other people with his fists.

     The question is: What do you think? About this extreme type of "freestyle fighting," but particularly about the would-be urban legend Mr. Slice. Vote in our poll and elaborate with a comment.

     Tell why you voted the way you did. Because keeping your feelings bottled up inside could lead to "issues" resulting in years of expensive therapy, whereas venting here could lead to you winning next week's Florida Lottery.