May 23, 2018

Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill at crossroads: What's your confidence level in him? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus new Back In My Day video (Superheroes!), Canes win in ACCs, The List (richest U.S. zip codes; we're No. 1) & more

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

Doluni1) It's TUESDAY, MAY 22. A site called thesportsdrop.com has redesigned every NFL team's uniform. Its new Dolphins uni is pictured at right; click on image to see a larger version. Do you hate it almost as much as I do? 2) Flabbergast and thrill the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, The List (NBA Game 7s), 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

RtAND THE CROSSROADS SEASON OF RYAN TANNEHILL BEGINS: For the first time since a knee injury last August erased his entire season, Ryan Tannehill is expected back on a Dolphins practice field as the team begins its offseason work with practices today through Thursday. Thus begins a crossroads season in which no NFL starting quarterback has more pressure on him than Tannehill -- or more reason for being motivated. I discuss why in my latest column; click on Tannehill's Defining Season to read in full. I also write about the distinct disconnect between the faith Adam Gase has in Tannehill and the low regard for the QB elsewhere. I'm not even sure how much Dolfans back Tannehill; hence, this poll. We've taken several Tannehill-related blogpolls over the years, but none asking this exact question since October 2016, so we'll be interested to compare results. Vote in the new poll now.

Other most recent columns: On Derek Jeter, Jim Morris, NBA playoffs and more: A Solution To Jeter's ImpatienceHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim MorrisNBA Rolling A Pair of 7sAlso: Supremes Got It Right On Sports BettingConfessions of a Lifelong DolfanAdam Gase Places His Bets and Crossing the Line On American Sports' Pandering For Foreign Money.

JimmCAN CANES BASEBALL FORGE A HAPPY ENDING FOR JIM MORRIS?: Morris' 25th and last season as UM coach before retiring has not been a great one, now at 28-25. But that includes 11 wins in a row including a pair against Boston College in Morris' final home games to end the regular season, and then beating Notre Dame Tuesday night in UM's opener in the ACC Tournament in Durham N.C. The Canes next face No. 5-ranked Clemson Thursday night. It might take Miami beating Clemson to reach the ACC championship game in order to earn an invite to the NCAA Tournament. Might take an ACC championship to assure that. Last year UM narrowly missed an NCAA invite to end a record 44-year streak of making the national playoffs. Can they sneak in and write a proper ending for Morris (pictured)? The answer is emerging. Thursday night may tell.

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY' VIDEO: SUPERHEROES!: Longing for the days when Superman and Batman were enough, in our new BIMD video that debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews: 

FisherTHE LIST: AMERICA'S RICHEST ZIP CODES, AND LOOK WHO'S NO. 1!: Bloomberg just listed the richest U.S. zip codes by region, and we extrapolated from those lists to assemble the overall top-10 richest American zip codes. And look what's No. 1, and by a landslide. FYI, the 33109 zip in Miami Beach is Fisher Island (pictured). Just for laughs I looked up that zip on Zillow. The first property I saw listed was a condo selling for $14.9 million. List here is based on AGI, or average household adjusted gross income:

City, state, zip                                    Average AGI

1. Miami Beach, FL 33109                    $2,543,100

2. Atherton, CA 94027                           1,496,500

3. Harrison, NY 10577                              976,200

4. Gladwyne, PA 19035                             957.200

5. Kenilworth, IL 60043                            861,000

6. Weston, MA 02493                               860,400

7. Far Hills, NJ 07931                               747.200

8. Moose Wilson Road, WY 83014              699,200

9. Medina, WA 98039                               691,800

10. Greenwich, CT 06878                         661,500

Note: Other zip codes over $500,000, in order, are in Houston TX, Charlotte NC, Sea Island GA and Ladue MO.

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

For all of our more recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote.

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 16, 2018

Legalized sports betting in Florida: Yay or nay? Poll. Vote now!; plus latest Back in My Day video (Disappearing Jobs!), confessions of a lifelong Dolfan, bold(ish) predictions on LeBron/Tiger/Marlins & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, MAY 16. Astonish and thrill the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan, Hot Button Top 10, 4-Man Outfield, your verdict on exporting U.S. games abroad & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

PennantConfessions of a Lifelong Dolfan: I think anyone whose fandom dates to the expansion years, or at least predates Dan Marino, will especially relate to my latest column. In case you missed it, click Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan. I detail the fan I was and how it started. I also write about how that fandom informs the way I think about the team now, a fan's sensibility factoring into the frustration I feel over the prolonged, continuing downturn of the franchise's fortunes. Other most recent columns: Adam Gase Places His Bets / Crossing the Line On American Sports' Pandering For Foreign Money / Burden Is On Team, Not Player It Chose.

BettingSHOULD STATE OF FLORIDA EMBRACE LEGALIZED SPORTS BETTING? POLL. VOTE NOW: The Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling yesterday effectively allowed all states to join Nevada in having legalized sports gambling. I think this is a good thing. To read my full latest column, click Supremes Got It Right On Sports Betting. Billions of dollars in underground, illicit money will now be bet above board, out in the open, and closely regulated. New Jersey and a handful of other states are poised to quickly allowing legal bets on all sports. One estimate is that at least half of all states could have legalized gambling within five years. Florida thus far is not among the 20 states that have already initiated some form of gambling-related legislation in anticipation of Monday's ruling. A spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott said Florida would "review the court's ruling." I write in my column that Florida should join the gravy train, but not all agree. I wonder your thoughts. Hence, this poll. Votes welcome.

THREE BOLD(ISH) PREDICTIONS: ON LEBRON, TIGER, MARLINS: 1) LeBron James, after a 15-point whisper of a Game 1 on 5-of-16 shooting in a loss to Boston, will score at least 30 in a resilient Game 2 Cleveland win tonight. 2) Tiger Woods will win the U.S. Open next month, his first major victory in 10 years. And 3) the Miami Marlins will trade catcher J.T. Realmuto for prospects before the July 31 MLB trade deadline. Bold-O-Meter on each prediction: LeBron's big Game 2--Barely Bold; Tiger winning U.S. Open--Pretty Bold; and Fish dealing Realmuto--Barely Bold. Update: Half right on LeBron. Cavs lost last night, but 'Bron popped for 42.

'BACK IN MY DAY': DISAPPEARING JOBS!: Here is the latest BIMD that debuted yesterday on ESPN Radio and ESPNews on the LeBatard Show:

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

For all of our recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote.

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 11, 2018

The Gambler: Adam Gase all in and betting big. My new column; plus Yankees-Red Sox in London poll, latest BIMD (Receipts!), Twitter reach of state's pro teams, Dolphins rookie minicamp, your verdict on our Big Four team inspiring most optimism & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, MAY 11. Mother's Day reminder, fellas. It's Sunday. Remember the one person who gave you that certain lil' gift called life. 2) Astonish and thrill the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our return from Montreal, Big Four optimism poll, your Dolphins QB-position verdict, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

GaseTHE GAMBLER: DOLPHINS' ADAM GASE IS ALL IN AND BETTING BIG: Miami's third-year coach is betting big that lockerroom culture is worth more than Pro Bowl talent. He is all in on Ryan Tannehill (again). He is betting on himself, on his gut feeling and instinct. It could get the Dolphins back in the playoffs. It could cost him his job. I explore all of this in my new column. to read it, click Adam Gase Places His Bets. (My previous column was pegged to Dolphins rookie minicamp happening today and Saturday. All eyes will be on top pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, but all the pressure is on the Dolphins to have made the right choice with him. We explore the franchise's spotty record with picks this high, and why Miami must hit big this time. To read that one, click Burden Is On Team, Not Player It Chose.

LondonAMERICAN LEAGUES EXPORTING GAMES OUTSIDE U.S.: ENOUGH, ALREADY!: The idiom, "the straw that broke the camel's back," arises from a proverb about how a seemingly minor action can cause a large, sudden reaction because of the cumulative effect of the small actions. So: the poor camel can bear the weight of a million straws, but its knees buckle as the million and first straw is added. In the case of my latest column, in an increasing trend in U.S. sports, over the years we have seen 34 regular-season NFL games, 27 in the NBA and 23 in MLB played outside the U.S. -- removed from their home cities and home fans. The straw, for me? This week's announcement that the Yankees and Red Sox -- the single best rivalry in American sports -- will play a two-game series next year in London among eight MLB games in all newly scheduled beyond our borders. Enough! That's my attitude, and to read the column please click Crossing the Line On American Sports' Pandering For Foreign Money. But I have little idea if I'm in the majority or minority on this topic. Hence, this poll! I'm curious, so you tell me. Vote now!

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': RECEIPTS!: Here's the new one that debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio:

Heat TwitterTHE LIST: STATE SPORTS' TWITTER REACH: HEAT IS KING: Twitter followers of the state's 10 biggest pro teams -- NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL plus Major League Soccer. Quick general conclusion? Basketball owns social media. South Florida conclusion: Gulf of Heat/Dolphins popularity over Marlins/Panthers comes clear, in case there were any doubt. And the Heat's lead nearly tripling the second place team is beyond impressive.

Team                            League        Reach

Miami Heat                   NBA             4.73M

Orlando Magic               NBA             1.60M

Miami Dolphins              NFL              983K

Tampa Bay Buccaneers  NFL              758K

Tampa Bay Lightning     NHL              674K

Jacksonville Jaguars     NFL               635K

Tampa Bay Rays            MLB              542K

Orlando City SC            MLS              484K

Florida Panthers           NHL              359K

Miami Marlins               MLB              328K

CatsPOLL RESULT: PANTHERS INSPIRING MOST OPTIMISM AMONG BIG FOUR: We asked, "Which of South Florida's Big Four pro teams is inspiring the most optimism and closest to being really good?" Three had sizable support. The results: Florida Panthers 36.64 percent, Miami Heat 32.82%, Miami Dolphins 24.43% and Miami Marlins 6.11%.

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Other recent columns: Taking The Optimism ChallengeThe Dolphins' Misplaced Inattention. Dolphins Needed Boldness But Played It SafeA Hope-Crushing Defeat. And In Dolphins vs. Heat, Only One Has Earned Our Trust.

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 07, 2018

Bonjour. Je suis revenu! What South Florida Big 4 pro team is inspiring the most optimism? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus return of 'The 4-Man Outfield,' your verdict on where Dolphins QB situation ranks in AFC East & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MAY 7. Astonish and thrill the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ranking Dolphins QB situation in AFC East with poll, your verdict on Dolphins draft, The Godfather (Riley) Speaketh, latest Back In My Day video, 4-Man Outfield & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Memont CohenBonjour. Je suis revenu!: Hello. I'm back. My wife and I spent this past Thursday though Sunday in the Mont Royal area of Montreal, Quebec with friends. Toured Notre-Dame Basilica, immersed in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, devoured a famous Moishes steak, had a couple or three Rickard's Reds (pictured) and enjoyed meeting up again with our good friends from Maryland near D.C. Also pictured: A 12-story mural of the late, beloved Canadian writer/singer Leonard Cohen. We and our friends rendezvous a couple of times a year in a random city for a long weekend, a tradition we began a handful of years ago and a great way to stay close with close friends far-flung. Next and 10th stop on our odyssey will be Chicago (I think). Blog note: Hot Button Top 10 had Sunday off but will return May 13.

Big4WHICH OF SO-FLA'S BIG 4 PRO TEAMS IS INSPIRING THE MOST OPTIMISM? NEW POLL. VOTE NOW!: I love to run this kind of poll every year or so to get a pulse read on how my community and readers are feeling about their teams. The springboard for the poll is my latest column, which explores how there isn't a ton of outward optimism about any of our teams but that if look a little harder there are reasons for hope with each. Click Taking The Optimism Challenge to read that column. The premise off the poll also is underpinned by my belief that if you call yourself a local sports fan, you likely are at least casually aware of all four teams even if one is your favorite. I also trust you to understand this is NOT a favorite-team poll that wants wishful votes. Please pull the invisible lever for the team whose fans you think honestly should feel the most optimistic right now for being really good and soon. Poll is alphabetical and purposely omits David Beckham's approved Major League Soccer expansion team. This is for teams in play mode, not still in the womb. OK, ready? Vote!

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED)Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). Beginning today The 4-Man Outfield will appear every Monday in the blog. The latest:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers       .806   23  89   16  25   11   4-1-3      .281

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees    .768   34 132  24  30   19   7-1-7      .227

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .627   30 128   9  33   19   5-0-2      .258

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .518   32  110  8  18   11    2-0-4     .164

POLL RESULT: DOLPHINS 3RD OF 4 IN AFC EAST FOR QB SITUATION: In a blog poll and also in a poll on our Twitter feed we asked which AFC East team has the best or most enviable quarterback situation moving forward?" And the order was the same in each: 1. Patriots with Tom Brady, 2. Jets with Sam Darnold, 3. Dolphins with Ryan Tannehill and 4. Bills with Josh Allen. The percentages, with blog poll first, then Twitter: Brady (51.63 and 53 percent; Darnold (20.26 and 25%); Tannehill (17.65 and 13%) and Allen 10.46 and 9%).

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Recent Dolphins draft-related columns: The Dolphins' Misplaced Inattention. Dolphins Needed Boldness But Played It SafeSolid Contact, No Home Run. And Next Gronk (They Hope) And A Mini-Linebacker.

Recent Heat playoff-run columns: A Hope-Crushing DefeatEmbiid Shows Up, Whiteside Not So MuchNot Good If Heat Need Wade to Carry ThemWhiteside Must Rise Up NowIn Dolphins vs. Heat, Only One Has Earned Our Trust. And The Rise Of The Underdog Heat.

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 02, 2018

Where does Dolphins' QB situation now rank in the AFC East? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus latest 'Back In My Day' video (Mattresses!), your verdict on Fins draft grade, Godfather Riley's Heat message, 4-Man Outfield & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, MAY 2. Good to see you again, May. What's it been, a year? 2) Thrill and surprise the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Grade Dolphins draft poll, Hot Button Top 10, The List (Fins' top drafted TD producers), 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

"The red-hot Marlins... That's it. I just never thought I'd have the chance to say 'the red-hot Marlins' this season, so I'm doing it while can." --Greg Cote

TannyWHERE DOES DOLPHINS' QB SITUATION RANK IN AFC EAST? NEW POLL. VOTE NOW!: The Dolphins' stubborn, dubious devotion to quarterback Ryan Tannehill (pictured) and the hesitance to try to draft his successor is the topic of my latest column. You'd click on The Dolphins' Misplaced Inattention to read it. The premise: In the micro view, Miami had a solid draft; Minkah Fitzpatrick will be really good. But in the macro view, still no future plan at QB, which is sort of important. Another theme of the column: Miami has slid to fourth (last) in the AFC East in terms of its quarterback situation moving forward. The Pats' Tom Brady isn't going anywhere, and now the Jets (Sam Darnold) and Bills (Josh Allen) have new first-round QBs on which to pin their hopes. No guarantee either or both will turn out great, but you have to take shots to score. Meanwhile Miami has a turning 30 QB who in six seasons has not proved to be a difference maker and who now is coming off major knee surgery. I'm not sure if most agree with me, though. Hence, this poll! If you neutral, say, a fan of a team outside the AFC East, which f these four QB situations would you prefer for your team moving forward? The poll is alphabetical by team name. Vote!

BPOLL RESULT: MOST LIKED DOLPHINS DRAFT, BUT MUCH DISSENT, TOO: We asked, "What overall grade would you give the Miami Dolphins' 2018 NFL Draft?" Your verdict: 40.26 percent said "B/Above average"; 30.25% said "C/Average"; 15.31% said "A/Excellent"; and 14.18% said "D/Below average." Broken down, that's 55.57% giving it an A or B versus 44.43% giving it a C or D. Bottom line? Call it overall approval, but somewhat muted and not without dissent.

RileyTHE GODFATHER SPEAKETH!: Pat Riley's annual postseason State of the Heat address is seldom boring, and Monday's did not disappoint. The biggest takeaway for me? "We're stuck with Hassan Whiteside, so we're going to make the best of it." OK, those are not Riley's words, they're mine. But that's what I heard. Whiteside's remaining contract and the role he plays in the changing NBA will make it very difficult for Miami to move him in a trade.So this becomes Riley's new 7-foot project. He admitted Whiteside was not mentally or physically prepared for the playoffs. He also spoke of a rift between Whiteside and coach Erik Spoelstra that Riley himself will get involved in mending. Bottom line? Riley hates the side of Whiteside who is moody and selfish -- everything Heat "culture" is not about. But Riley also thinks Whiteside needs to be a 30-minute man, not the disappearing giant he's become. Stay tuned.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': MATTRESSES!: This debuted during yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. It is one of my personal favorites. I think I've done around 115 or so BIMDs since the bit debuted in 2014. For me, this might be all-time top 10:

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED)Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and constantly updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The latest, entering Wednesday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers       .768   19  73   14  20    9    2-1-2      .274

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees    .713   29 117  20  26   15   5-1-5      .222

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .607   26 112   9  28   17   4-0-2      .250

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .502   28  98    7  16    9    2-0-3      .163

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Our other recent Dolphins-draft columns: Dolphins Needed Boldness But Played It SafeSolid Contact, No Home Run. And Next Gronk (They Hope) And A Mini-Linebacker.

Our recent Heat playoff-run columns: A Hope-Crushing DefeatEmbiid Shows Up, Whiteside Not So Much. Not Good If Heat Need Wade to Carry ThemWhiteside Must Rise Up NowIn Dolphins vs. Heat, Only One Has Earned Our Trust. And The Rise Of The Underdog Heat.

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 30, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See what's No. 1 (well, no duh) and what else slots where; plus Grade-the-Dolphins-draft poll (last day to vote!), The List (Fins all-time drafted TD producers), 4-Man Outfield & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 30. Fairwell, April. 2) The accuser isn't always right. I believe Tom Brokaw. 3) Astonish the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins pick-by-pick draft analysis and poll, 4-Man Outfield & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our Dolphins draft columns: Main column on first round: Dolphins Needed Boldness But Played It Safe. Quick-take short columns: Solid Contact, No Home Run and Next Gronk (They Hope) And A Mini-Linebacker.

DolsGRADE THE DOLPHINS DRAFT! ANNUAL POLL. VOTE NOW: I know, we all hate instant analysis, right? And yet we all have instant opinions. An instant gut feeling on how much we like (or don't like, or somewhere in between) our team's draft. So this isn't science. We all might feel differently in a year or so. This is just a pulse read now on how Dolfans are feeling about Miami's '18 draft. I'd base my vote on the quality of players drafted and on how they addressed needs. But your criteria is your own. Does the Dolphins' haul leave you happy? Disappointed? What? Poll purposely does not include an 'F' grade because, well, come on. Vote now!

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Alabama safety Fitzpatrick lead Fins draft haul: Miami imported eight new players over three days, led by versatile 'Bama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, whom Fins will use as free safety. Oddity: Two tight ends among first four picks. Surprise: Didn't draft either of two need positions: Quarterback or defensive tackle. Could have moved up in first round for their future QB, but stood pat. Fitzpatrick's really good, but this draft was a step, not a leap.

2. NFL: Quarterback drama, Griffin win the weekend: Baker Mayfield going No. 1 overall and Josh Allen slipping after some Dumb Teen Tweets led the Day 1 drama in the NFL Draft. But by Day 3 the draft's heart was stolen by one-handed UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin being signed by the Seahawks. UCF claiming to be national champion? Not real. Griffin as an inspiration to anybody who's been told no-you-can't? Real.

3. HEAT: Early-ousted Miami plots path forward: The Godfather Pat Riley takes the throne today for his annual postseason State of the Heat address to gathered local media. Riles will be as eloquent as always, spewing perfect soundbites and filling up notebooks. But will he have an answer for the one overarching question: How does a team that just got bounced 4-1 in the first round bridge the enormous gulf between low playoff seed and championship contender?

4. NBA: LeBron's monster show carries Cavs in Game 7: It was LeBron James with 45 on the home wood for Cleveland in a 105-101 Game 7 ousting of Indiana on Sunday to close the first round, after Philadelphia, Toronto and Boston previously advanced in the East. Out West, second round already underway with Golden State-New Orleans and Houston-Utah. Conference finals? Nothing stops Golden State vs. Houston, but the final two in East is anybody's guess.

5. MARLINS: Signs of life for the flopping Fish: The Fire-Sale Fish still are only 9-18 but have won four of their past five games as the Phillies come to town for three starting tonight. Marlins can't hit, but the pitching actually has been mostly solid lately. Miami prevailed the other day when Wei-Yin "Disabled List" Chen won in his first start in nearly a full year. OK, so his work is done! 

6. NHL: Conference semifinals underway: Boston leads Tampa Bay 1-0 and PIttsburgh and Washington are 1-1 in the East. In the West Winnipeg-Nashville and Vegas-San Jose both are knotted 1-1. For me the best storylines are out West, where Vegas is trying to win a Stanley Cup as a first-year expansion team and Winnipeg is aiming to bring the Cup back to Canada for the first time since 1993, eh!

7. PANTHERS: Cats don't get lucky in draft lottery: The order for the June 22-23 NHL Draft was determined Saturday and the Florida Panthers, who narrowly missed the playoffs despite a pretty solid 96-point season, shook out at No. 15 overall, a mid-pack, meh result. This draft is seen as eight dynamic talents and then a dropoff, so barring a major tradeup by Cats, don't expect another Sasha Barkov in this summer's haul.

8. HORSE RACING: Countdown 5 days 'til Kentucky Derby: Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown season leaves the gate this coming Saturday at Churchill Downs, where Justify was a 2-1 betting favorite when last we checked. Unfortunately, the horse Gronkowski -- yes, named after the Patriots star, who has a small ownership stake -- will miss the Derby after spiking a fever. Two legs or four, health always an issue with those darn Gronkowskis!

9. SOCCER: Liverpool, Real Madrid in charge in Champs League: The UEFA Champions League is nearing its championship matchup. In the second leg of semifinals, Real Madrid is up one goal on Bayern Munich heading into their Tuesday match, while Liverpool is a big plus-three on Roma in the other semi on Wednesday. It was a miracle Roma got this far. Do they have another astonishment in them?

10. UM BASEBALL: Sad-season Canes avoid sweep at FSU: The stunningly woeful UM baseball team improved to 18-25 with a Sunday win at No. 14 Florida State to avoid being swept. It will take a miracle for Jim Morris to put a smile at the end of his final season as coach. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Missing the HB10 cut is taking this Sunday off to go sailing on Biscayne Bay.

THE LIST: BIGGEST TD-PRODUCERS EVER DRAFTED BY DOLPHINS: By passing, rushing and receiving, here are the players drafted by the Miami Dolphins who have produced at least 50 career touchdowns in the NFL:

RK  Player, Pos.                             Rd-Yr Drafted   TDs  As Dolphin

1    Dan Marino, QB                        1st - 1983        429      429

2    Bob Griese, QB                         1st - 1967        199      199

3    Joe Theismann, QB                   4th - 1971       177          0

4    Ryan Tannehill, QB                    1st - 2012       112+     112+

5    Bill Kenney, QB                         12th - 1978      110         0

6    Scott Mitchell, QB                      4th - 1990       106       12

7    Mark Clayton, WR                      8th - 1983        85        82

8    Nat Moore, WR                          3rd - 1974        75        75

9    Larry Csonka, RB                       1st - 1968         68       57

10  Chad Henne, QB                        2nd - 2008        61+     33

The five other 50-plus guys: David Woodley (60), Mark Duper (59), Chris Chambers (58), Anthony Carter (57) and Freddie Solomon (52). Former Dolphin Jarvis Landry, with 23 TDs at age 25, has chance to join list.

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD': STANTON OVERTAKES LEADThroughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and constantly updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The latest, entering Monday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees    .763   27 109  20  26   15   5-1-5      .239

2. Christian Yelich, Brewers       .762   17  65   11  17    9    2-1-2      .262

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .601   25 108   8  27   17   3-0-2      .250

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .513   26  92    7  15    8    2-0-3      .163

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Our six-pack of recent Heat playoff-run columns: A Hope-Crushing Defeat (off Game 4). Embiid Shows Up, Whiteside Not So Much (Game 3). Also: Not Good If Heat Need Wade to Carry ThemWhiteside Must Rise Up NowIn Dolphins vs. Heat, Only One Has Earned Our Trust and The Rise Of The Underdog Heat.

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 28, 2018

GRADE THE DOLPHINS DRAFT: New poll. Vote now!: plus analysis on all 8 Miami picks; also, your verdict on Fitzpatrick at No. 1, today's Day 3 action, 4-Man Outfield update & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 28. Astonish the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins draft Minkah Fitzpatrick with poll, my Mock Draft with results, your verdict on Fins' position-preference and Wade's return, 4-Man Outfield & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DolsGRADE THE DOLPHINS DRAFT! NEW POLL. VOTE NOW: [Note: Poll has moved to our newest blogpost. Chcek it out there]. I know, we all hate instant analysis, right? And yet we all have instant opinions. An instant gut feeling on how much we like (or don't like, or somewhere in between) our team's draft. So this isn't science. We all might feel differently in a year or so. This is just a pulse read now on how Dolfans are feeling about Miami's '18 draft. I'd base my vote on the quality of players drafted and on how they addressed needs. But your criteria is your own. Does the Dolphins' haul leave you happy? Disappointed? What? Poll purposely does not include an 'F' grade because, well, come on. Vote now!

DOLPHINS 2018 DRAFT: A RUNNING ANALYSIS: TOP THREE PICKS AND INTO DAY 3: Below is a pick-by-pick synopsis and analysis of Miami's ongoing 2018 NFL Draft -- three selections made, five more today as the draft wraps up. We'll be updating throughout the afternoon on all the Day 3 picks, after which we'll have a grade-the-draft poll right here.

Minkah1st (11th): MINKAH FITZPATRICK, S, ALABAMA -- Draft's 2nd-ranked safety. Grade 6.19 (should become instant starter). NFL.com overview: "Fitzpatrick turns up the intensity level as high as it will go and and rips off the knob until game is over. Has experience as slot cornerback but will likely be targeted as "do-everything" safety who can be deployed as sub-package linebacker, blitzer or in slot against big receivers and tight ends. Has consistently shined since his freshman season. Versatility, football character and desire should make him early starter." Caution: Smallish at 6-0, 204 vs. huge TEs like Gronk. Position need: Moderate. Dolphins had chance to move up or otherwise land their future quarterback but instead picked a player whose position was not among the most urgent needs. That is why my initial mini-column reaction was Solid Contact, No Home Run.

My full column on top pick: Dolphins Needed Boldness But Played It Safe

Your poll verdict on Fitzpatrick pick: Two-thirds favorable: More than 3,500 voted online and in our blog (you may still vote in previous post), and it was 67.17 percent favorable (36.50% like, 30.67% love) versus 32.83% less than favorable (19.80% so-so, 7.59% dislike, 5.44% hate).

Gesicki2nd (42nd): MIKE GESICKI, TE, PENN STATE -- Draft's 3rd-ranked tight end. Grade 5.92 (chance to become NFL starter). NFL.com overview: "If you are looking for a tight end who can line up and help in the running game, he's not your guy. However, if you want a pass-catcher who can get open and has the ball skills to win against linebackers and safeties, he might be your guy. Gesicki needs to improve his strength and issues as a blocker but has chance to become one of better pass catching tight ends in league." Position need: High. Plus, at 6-6, 247, he's in the Gronk mold physically.

Jbaker3rd (73rd): JEROME BAKER, OLB, OHIO STATE -- Draft's 7th-ranked outside linebacker. Grade 5.65 (chance to become NFL starter). NFL.com overview: "Likely 4-3 weakside LB with range and speed to chase and tackle around the field and coverage talent to squeeze routes from man or zone. What Baker has in athletic ability and speed, he lacks in strength and toughness against run. Teams will have to decide if he's sub-package LB or three-down talent. May never be more than an average backup to below average starter." Position need: High. OLB fits a need, and he has desirable speed, but Baker is very small for the role at 6-1, 229.

My mini-column on 2nd and 3rd picks: Next Gronk (They Hope) And A Mini-Linebacker.

Smythe4th (123rd): DURHAM SMYTHE, TE, NOTRE DAME -- Draft's 12th-ranked tight end. Grade 5.60 (chance to become NFL starter). NFL.com overview: "Smythe is a classic 'Y' tight end who carries himself like an offensive lineman. He has the frame, toughness and ability to help do the dirty work as a run blocker for teams in need of toughness at the position. While he can catch what is thrown to him, he's unlikely to be a targeted pass catcher on the next level. Smythe's particular talent as a run blocker should create an opportunity to become a solid starter." Position need: Was high, until they went TE with second pick. Taking another one seems weird, although Gesecki is a pure offense-minded pass-catcher, while Smythe is a blocker-first. So they're complementary.

Ballage4th (131st): KALEN BALLAGE, RB, ARIZONA STATE -- Draft ranking outside top 20 running backs. Grade 5.46 (NFL backup or special teams potential). NFL.com overview: "Ballage looks great on the hoof, but his lack of decisiveness and vision make it hard to envision him as a full-time RB1. Ballage can do a little of this and a little of that, but a team will need to have a clear-cut plan for how to use him. Ballage's size and athletic ability will appeal to teams as will his ability to play on third downs and return kicks." Position need: Fairly high. Glad they got a RB, with Frank Gore so old, but will Ballage, though fast, be a guy who's going to challenge Kenyan Drake or Gore for touches?

Armstrong6th (209th): CORNELL ARMSTRONG, CB, SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI -- Draft ranking outside top 20 cornerbacks. Did not qualify for grade or overview with NFL.com. Fins take a chance on their first small-school pick. The top-ranked CB still available, Holton Hill of Texas, was there. Position need: Medium. Late pick on a corner not a bad idea, but Armsrtong is a real long shot.

Poling7th (227th): QUENTIN POLING, ILB, OHIO -- Draft ranking outside top 15 inside linebackers. Grade 5.15 (better than average chance to make NFL roster). NFL.com overview: "Poling's production, athletic testing and ability to potentially handle some coverage duties could make him a late Day 3 selection. He unleashes his true speed when he's chasing down tackles from behind, but needs to play to that same speed when he's attacking near the line of scrimmage. Poling has some holes in his game, but he has the ability to become a special teams player with backup linebacker potential." Position need: Medum. Raekwon McMillan the solid MLB starter. 

Kicker7th (229th): JASON SANDERS, PK, NEW MEXICO -- Draft outside top placekickers. Did not qualify for grade or overview on NFL.com. Position need: High. Dolphins do need a kicker, although free agency rather than late-draft would be the typical course.

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED)Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and constantly updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The latest, entering Saturday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers       .829   15  57   11  16    9    2-1-2      .281

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees    .767   25 101  18  24   15   4-1-5      .238

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .623   23 101   8  26   16   3-0-2      .257

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .482   24  86    6  13    7    1-0-3      .151

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Our six-pack of recent Heat playoff-run columns: A Hope-Crushing Defeat (off Game 4). Embiid Shows Up, Whiteside Not So Much (Game 3). Also: Not Good If Heat Need Wade to Carry ThemWhiteside Must Rise Up NowIn Dolphins vs. Heat, Only One Has Earned Our Trust and The Rise Of The Underdog Heat.

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 27, 2018

Alabama S Minkah Fitzpatrick at No. 11: Like the Dolphins' pick? Poll. Vote now!; plus our mock draft #ExactosWatch results, your verdict on what Fins should have targeted, Dwyane Wade's future, 4-Man Outfield update & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, APRIL 27. Astonish the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a book!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins pre-draft poll, Dwyane Wade retire-or-return poll, latest Back In My Day video, 4-Man Outfield & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

ALABAMA S MINKAH FITZPATRICK at NO. 11: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF DOLPHINS' PICK? NEW POLL. VOTE NOW!: Click on Solid Contact, No Home Run for my thoughts on last night's Dolphins' first round. Now it's your turn. Vote now:

DdraftGREG COTE'S 27TH ANNUAL OFFICIAL MIAMI HERALD MOCK DRAFT: LIVE REPORT CARD: What's below is pared down to just the picks, except for the expanded Dolphins' selection. For the full online package, click Cote '18 Mock. It includes preliminary remarks, an explanation capsule on every pick, Super Bonus Draft Facts and a video by me. My picks were completed Wednesday afternoon, before news broke about Josh Allen's unfortunate teenage tweets. Oh well. No do-overs ... for Josh or myself. Let's mock! Many of you followed along here last night and on Twitter as I live-graded my own first round during the draft. A red bull's-eye icon next to the pick means an "exacto" -- right player to right team. A green check mark means I had that player in my first round, but not to the correct team. A black 'X' means I blew it; that player wasn't anywhere in my round. Here it is:

Check1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: The pick: Baker Mayfield, whom I had going 5th. #TweetGate didn't help Allen. Worst start since Marlins gave up home run on first pitch of season. #ExactosWatch: Kiper 1.

Bullseye2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: The pick: Barkley! The comeback  begins! #ExactosWatch: Kiper 2; Cote, Mayock & McShay 1 each.

Bullseye3. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, Southern Cal: The pick: Darnold! Got it! #RollinLikeABigWheel #ExactosWatch: Kiper 3; Cote 2; Mayock & McShay 1 each.

Check4. Cleveland Browns: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB: The pick: Denzel Ward. Yeah, maybe I overestimated The Mink. But nobody got this right. #ExactosWatch: Kiper 3; Cote 2; Mayock & McShay 1 each.

Check5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: The pick: Bradley Chubb. Good selection, though surprised they didn't go QB. I had Chubb going next. Mock stalemate. #ExactosWatch: Kiper 3; Cote 2; Mayock & McShay 1 each.

Check6. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State: The pick: Quenton Nelson. Had him 8th, but pick makes sense for Indy. #ExactosWatch: Kiper 3; Cote & McShay 2 each; Mayock 1.

Check7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State: The pick: Buffalo trades up from No. 12, takes Josh Allen. Still alive with Rosen-to-Dolphins! #ExactosWatch: Kiper & McShay 3 each; Cote & Mayock 2 each.

Check8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame: The pick Roquan Smith. Had him two picks later. I don't like the way this thing is trending for me. #ExactosWatch: McShay 4; Kiper & Mayock 3 each; Cote 2.

Check9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, DE/OLB, Virginia Teach: The pick: Mike McGlinchey. A bit high for him. Nobody got it: #ExactosWatch: McShay 4; Kiper & Mayock 3 each; Cote 2.

Check10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia: The pick: Arizona moves up from No. 15, takes Josh Rosen. DAMN! There goes my Dolphins pick -- one away! #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 4 each; Kiper 3; Cote 2. (Mayock had Rosen to Cardinals, though at No.15 before trade-up).

Check11. MIAMI DOLPHINS: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA -- Minkah Fitzpatrick. I'll have more on this pick online soon. #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 4 each; Kiper 3; Cote 2.  /  Original post: Fins get (hopefully) their quarterback of the future when Rosen – one of the draft’s Big Four QBs – unexpectedly falls to them. He’s seen as NFL- Rosenready but the suspicion is he’ll groom behind Ryan Tannehill in 2018. Is he a perfect prospect? No. There are reasons he tumbled to Miami. Durability (shoulder, concussions) have been a concern. So have turnovers, with 26 INTs and seven lost fumbles in 30 college starts. But his upside is too great to bypass the surprise gift of his availability. If Rosen is gone by here (a real possibility), Miami would consider the FSU safety Derwin James or perhaps Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson, but likelier might select the big run-stopper Vita Vea, who’d plug in so perfectly for the departed Ndamukong Suh. Vea is the safer Dolphins pick here, yes, but I can’t ignore that my mock has Rosen landing in their laps. Also think there is a possibility that Miami would reach and select Louisville QB Lamar Jackson 11th. Jackson isn’t as fully formed and ready as Rosen, but is more of a dual threat, a bigger gamble with perhaps a higher ceiling.

Check12. Buffalo Bills: Derwin James, S, Florida State: The pick: Tampa Bay trades down, takes Vita Vea. I was one spot off on him. #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 4 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2.

Check13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington: The pick: Da'Ron Payne. We all had him going a bit lower. Exactos are getting tougher. #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 4 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2.

Check14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio: The pick: New Orleans trades up, takes Davenport. Damn! Had him going in this exact spot but don't get credit. #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 4 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2.


Check15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
. The pick: After a trade, Oakland takes Kolton Miller. Ouch. My first 'X.' And our scoreboard stays frozen. #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 4 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2.

Check16. Baltimore Ravens: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State. The pick: After a trade, Buffalo takes Tremaine Edmunds. This was a guy many draftniks (not me) thought Miami would grab. #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 4 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2.

Check17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama. The pick: Derwin James. Big fall for the FSU kid some had top-10. Mock scoreboard still frozen. #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 4 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2.

Check18. Seattle Seahawks: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. The pick: After a trade, Green Bay takes Jaire Alexander. Finally, movement on the scoreboard! #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 5 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2. (McShay and Mayock had Alexander to Packers, though with the 14th pick).

Check19. Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. The pick: Leighton Vander Esch. No points, but I was the only one of the four mockers here who had Vander Esch going in first round. #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 5 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2.

X20. Detroit Lions: Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College. The pick: Frank Ragnow. Just plumb missed this cat. My chances for a valiant rally are waning. #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 5 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2.

X21. Cincinnati Bengals: James Daniels, C, Iowa. The pick: Billy Price. None of we four mockers had this dude in our first round.  #ExactosWatch: Mayock & McShay 5 each; Kiper 3, Cote 2.

Bullseye22. Buffalo Bills: Will Hernandez, OG, Texas-El Paso. The pick: After a trade, Tennessee picks Rashaan Evans. I finally score! #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 3 each. (Mayock and I both had Evans to Titans, but with 25th pick).

Check23. New England Patriots: Connor Williams, OG/OT, Texas. The pick: Isaiah Wynn. Right position, right idea, wrong guy. #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 3 each.

Bullseye24. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland. The pick: Moore. Yeeeah! Me and Kiper nailed it. RallyinIt! #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 4 each.

Check25. Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama. The pick: After a trade, Baltimore takes Hayden Hurst. And score remains the same as we approach the home stretch. #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 4 each. 

Check26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. The pick: Calvin Ridley. All of us had him going a bit higher. Mayock crafting his victory speech?  #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 4 each. 

X27. New Orleans Saints: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina. The pick: After a trade, Seattle takes Rashaad Penny. Huh? Wha? None of we four had this guy in our first round. #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 4 each. 

X28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State. The pick: Terrell Edmunds. Another dude who eluded us all. Making the turn now. One furlong to go! #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 4 each.

Check29. Jacksonville Jaguars: D.J. Chark, WR, Louisiana State. The pick: Taven Bryan. All of us had the Gator going just a bit higher. #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 4 each.

X30. Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia. The pick: Mike Hughes. Of national-champion UCF! Same scoreboard entering the top of the ninth. #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 4 each.

X31. New England Patriots: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville. The pick: Sony Michel. Another late misfire by me. One more chance. #ExactosWatch: Mayock 6; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 4 each.

Check32. Philadelphia Eagles: Ronald Jones, RB, Southern Cal. The pick: After a trade, Baltimore takes Lamar Jackson to end round.  Final #ExactosWatch (pending an audit by Price Waterhouse): Mayock 7; McShay 5; Cote & Kiper 4 each.

POLL RESULT: DOLFANS' POSITION PREFERENCE A TWO-WAY RACE: We asked in a blog poll, "What position would you be most pleased to see the Miami Dolphins address in the NFL Draft's first round?" Two dominated -- linebacker with 41.01 percent, and quarterback with 36.69%. A distant third was defensive line with 8.63%, with five other position options sharing the remaining votes.

POLL RESULT: WADE WILL BE BACK (BUT BARELY): I wonder if Dwyane Wade's career and life-changing decision -- retire or return -- is as close in his mind as this vote was. I asked that question in a 24-hour poll on my Twitter site and, after 3,647 votes, it was 53 percent he'll be back with the Heat to 47% he'll retire. Close. I tend to agree with what the voting suggests: That it could go either way, but that it's likelier he'll be back for a final, farewell season in 2018-19.

Our six-pack of Heat playoff-run columns: A Hope-Crushing Defeat (off Game 4). Embiid Shows Up, Whiteside Not So Much (Game 3). Also: Not Good If Heat Need Wade to Carry ThemWhiteside Must Rise Up NowIn Dolphins vs. Heat, Only One Has Earned Our Trust and The Rise Of The Underdog Heat.

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED)Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We'll base our continually updated rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The latest, entering Friday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers       .878   14  54   11  16    8    2-1-2      .296

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees    .772   24  97   18  23   15   4-1-5      .237

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .583   22  96    8  23   14   2-0-2      .240

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .482   23  82    6  12    7    1-0-3      .146

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 25, 2018

The annual Dolphins Draft Poll: What position do you hope Miami targets in first round? Vote now!; plus Heat's done. Wade, too? Your verdict and my thoughts; also, new Back In My Day video, 4-Man Outfield & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25. Final score from last night's Marlins game: Bryant Gumbel 1, Derek Jeter 0. 2) Astonish the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a book!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat eliminated in Game 5, NFL Draft's top 10 state-college prospects, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

WadeDID HEAT ELIMINATION MEAN WADE'S DONE, TOO? YOUR THOUGHTS, AND MINE: Miami bounced in first round of playoffs 4-1 by Philly, meaning a lots-to-think-about, lots-to-do offseason for Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra as they try to elevate a pretty good team into one that can compete beyond the current low-seed/quick-exit status. The more emotional question arising from Tuesday night's loss: Have we seen the last of Dwyane Wade? Will he retire or return for another season? Do not expect a decision to be made public for a few months, until well into summer. In a poll on my Twitter site well over 3,000 have voted and it was running 55 percent he'll be back to 45% he'll retire. Close. You may still voice your opinion; poll is open until around 10 tonight. Go HERE to vote. I tend to agree with what the voting thus far suggests. I don't think his return is foregone, but I think it is likely. A farewell season in 2018-19, then the sunset. We'll see. Either way, D.Wade's legacy is secure. First-ballot Hall of Famer, three-time champion and on a two-man Mount Rushmore with Dan Marino -- and in my mind just above him -- as the most important athlete in South Florida pro sports history. 

Our six-pack of Heat playoff-run columns: A Hope-Crushing Defeat (off Game 4). Embiid Shows Up, Whiteside Not So Much (off Game 3). Also: Not Good If Heat Need Wade to Carry Them / Whiteside Must Rise Up Now / In Dolphins vs. Heat, Only One Has Earned Our Trust / And The Rise Of The Underdog Heat.

WarroomTHE MIAMI DOLPHINS PRE-DRAFT POLL: VOTE NOW!: I will have my annual Official Miami Herald Mock Draft and a related video online later today, so Dolhelyou'll know soon where I think the Dolphins are headed with their first round pick, scheduled 11th overall. Pictured: Fins VP of football ops Mike Tannenbaum and owner Stephen Ross will be two of the men in the "War Room" Thursday night shaping that selection. But first it's your turn in our annual Dolphins pre-draft poll. There are no names below (too many possibilities and variables), but positions instead. This allows you to name what you think is Miami's most pressing need meriting first-round attention. For me its quarterback or just about anywhere on defense. But this is your poll. Vote, obviously, as if there will be a qualified candidate available at No. 11 at the position you choose. Ready? Vote!

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY' VIDEO: OLD MOVIE THEATERS!: From yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews, an ode to the old-timey theater experience of marquees, Milk Duds and red velvet curtain. Starts about 40 seconds in, after a Stephen A. Smith rant about birthdays:

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We'll base our continually updated rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The latest, entering Tuesday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers       .939   12  47   10  15    8    2-1-2      .319

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees    .745   22  89   15  19   14   3-1-5      .213

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .581   20  86    8  20   11   2-0-2      .233

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .484   22  80    6  12    7    1-0-3      .150

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional columns: Schedule Not Daunting, So No More ExcusesBuy Me Some Tetley's And Crumpets, Jack / Tiger & Phil & the Emotional Power Of Sports / Dave Shula Goes Home Again / Marlins' Ballpark Experience Only Missing One Thing / Gore Continues Dolphins' Strange Offseason / Wayne Huizenga: A Legacy Indelible Canes QB Battle One Of Strength, Not Desperation / Don't Shut Up, Get Louder / Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018 / Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season / Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing / Welcome Home, D.Wade / Dear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamWhen Victims Seize The PowerThe Godfather SpeaksRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 18, 2018

What's the deal with Hassan Whiteside? New poll. Vote now!; plus Dwyane Wade saves the day, Marlins ranked 29th of 30 teams in 'legendary,' 4-Man Outfield update (Stanton sub-.200) & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the podcast of yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. 2) R.I.P. former First Lady Barbara Bush, gone at 92. 3) Surprise and delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Click on Amazon to check it out. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Sixers Game 2, Hot Button Top 10, 4-Man Outfield update & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

HassanWHAT'S THE DEAL WITH HASSAN WHITESIDE?: I explored this question in a recent column; see link just below. It is troubling the Heat are paying $24 million a year to someone who has become an easy-to-bench, situational player. I wonder about his future with the team; i.e., whether he has one. Now it's your say. This poll offers four choice. Pick the one that comes closest to representing how you feel about Miami's 7-foot center. Vote now!

DwyaneWADE TO THE RESCUE! VINTAGE SHOW SAVES HEAT: Dwyane Wade erased a good 10 years off the calendar Monday night to rescue the Miami Heat's playoff hopes with a vintage performance: 28 points in 26 minutes on 11-for-17 shooting. It was the most points off the bench in Heat postseason history. Hassan Whiteside had another quiet night -- four points in 15 minutes on only two shot attempts -- but Wade's heroics made up for a lot of too little elsewhere. Miami will need more from Whiteside when Joel Embiid returns for the 76ers, which could be in Game 3 Thursday night at the bayside arena. The series is 1-1 with Monday's 113-103 win, offsetting an embarrassing 130-103 loss in the best-of-seven opener. Our three Heat playoff-run columns thus far:

(*) His Heat future is wavering, and two quiet games haven't helped: Whiteside Must Rise Up Now.

(*) With Wade the hub of it, Heat keep giving us reasons to care: In Dolphins vs. Heat, Only One Has Earned Our Trust.

(*) And my series prediction, which Wade pulled from the gutter: The Rise Of The Underdog Heat.

Jconine"WE'RE NO. 29!" MARLINS' 'MOST LEGENDARY' LINEUP RANKED 29TH OF 30: The Topps trading card company is unveiling the "all-time legendary trading card line-up" for all 30 MLB teams in a season-long gimmick, and Miami's checks in 29th, ahead of only Tampa Bay. Marlins in the lineup range chronologically from LF Jeff Conine in 1993 (pictured) to RF Giancarlo Stanton in 2010. In between are RP Robb Nen '94, 2BLuis Castillo '96, C Charles Johnson '98, 1B Derrek Lee '99, 3B Miguel Cabrera '00, UTIL Mike Lowell '00, SP Dontrelle Willis '02, CF Juan Pierre '03 and SS Hanley Ramirez '06. Should Topps ever produce a series of least-legendary lineups, the Marlins outfit you're watching this season might be No. 1.

4manofUPDATED: 'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD': Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We'll base our continually updated rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). Early days, but Brinson is really struggling, while Yelich has been sidelined by an oblique (abdominal) issue but is due back this week. The latest, entering Wednesday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers        .984   6   26    6  10    5    2-0-1      .385

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees     .702  16  66    9  13   10   3-1-3      .197

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .673   16  70    6  19   11   2-0-2      .271

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .316   16  61    3   8    1    0-0-0      .131

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNS: The Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional columns: Recent: Buy Me Some Tetley's And Crumpets, Jack / Tiger & Phil & the Emotional Power Of Sports / The Case For Gronk to Dolphins / Dave Shula Goes Home Again / Others: Marlins' Ballpark Experience Only Missing One Thing / Gore Continues Dolphins' Strange Offseason / Wayne Huizenga: A Legacy Indelible Serena Fighting Her Career Sunset. And She Has Company / Canes QB Battle One Of Strength, Not Desperation / Don't Shut Up, Get Louder / Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018 / Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season / Our two on the Parkland tragedy: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing / Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The NightHeat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 and Welcome Home, D.Wade / Also: Dear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamWhen Victims Seize The PowerThe Godfather SpeaksRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote