August 24, 2016

Dolfans, has preseason thus far left you feeling better or worse about team? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus Marlins Park lands Race Of Champions, the 2 reasons it went to hell for Ryan Lochte, KFC Extra-Crispy Sunscreen & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24. Todd Marinovich found naked with drugs. Or, did that go without saying? Click here. 2) I'm not fascinated by celebrity; closer to the opposite. But I must admit I'd love to know the real reason why Simon & Garfunkel grew to hate each other. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your verdict on Greg's Lobos roster, grandma rapping & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Marlins' wild-card playoff game: Mark it on your calendar if you are feeling optimistic. The Marlins' wild-card playoff game would be on Wednesday, Oct. 5 if (currently 1 1/2 games off pace) they make it.

The Olympics are about the world, not the gold: That is the theme of my latest column. In a world rending and seeming to come apart, the Olympic Games give it a stage to come together, at least symbolically. Click on The Real Olympic Ideal to read in full.

Column six-pack: Six other select recent columns, ICYMI: Name Of Stadium Doesn't Matter, on new-name Hard Rock Stadium. A-Rod to Fish Made Sense. Time for Baseball and Cooperstown to Reconcile With Banished Stars. The Weight Has Just Begun (inside the office and expectations of new Canes coach Mark Richt). A Chance for Football to Retake Miami (on Wade's departure from Heat). Ichiro!

MiadolHAVE FIRST TWO EXHIBITIONS LEFT DOLFANS FEELING BETTER OR WORSE?: Miami's preseason is half done after a win at the Giants and a loss at the Cowboys, with Thursday's dress rehearsal vs. Atlanta in Orlando up next, followed by a wind-down Sept. 1 vs. Tennessee at the new-ish Hard Rock Stadium. The question: Have the two games thus far, the totality of them -- good and bad all considered -- left Dolphins fans feeling better or worse about their team and season than they felt entering the preseason? I know, I know. Preseason doesn't matter yada yada. But it does offer hints and indications. It can move the needle on outlook. I know your opinion is subject to significant change. But I'm talking about right now. Take a dip in our poll and check back often to monitor evolving results.

Roc'RACE OF CHAMPIONS' COMING TO MARLINS PARK: It was announced yesterday the Race Of Champions, an annual event dating back more than 25 years, will be run inside Marlins Park this coming Jan. 21-22 -- its first time held in the U.S. The race pits drivers from various forms of racing competing in identical machines. See the trailer below. The first three drivers confirmed to compete are four-time Formula 1 world champion and reigning ROC champ Sebastian Vettel of Germany, NASCAR champion Kurt Busch and IndyCar champ and Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. Impressive field if that's just the start. And an interesting idea. Nice get for Marlins Park -- and for South Florida.

  THE TWO REAL REASONS IT GOT SO BAD FOR RYAN LOCHTE: Lochte always has come off a bit like the goofball/airhead who should always have a bit part waiting in a stoner movie. Now sponsors are dropping LochteAmerica's disgraced Olympic swimmer, including Speedo. It wasn't just that he wreaked vandalism in a gas-station bathroom in Rio. It wasn't even that he then panicked and made up a story about being robbed at gunpoint. Here are the two reasons it turned out so bad for Lochte: 1) The U.S. Olympic Committee initially tried to dismiss this as kids blowing off steam. No. Sorry. Lochte is 32. He is, literally, old enough to have known better. 2) His so-called apology was lame, made it worse. There was no real contrition, just a carefully worded mea culpa that never quite admitted regret for anything beyond the obvious lack of judgement. At 32 he was expected to be an elder statesmen for the U.S. team, not a buffoon with a middle-school mentality. And once his story unraveled, once he was caught, he needed a genuine,unequivocal apology, not the bulls--t he dished out. Played right, people would be feeling sorry for Lochte today over much ado about very little. Played the way it was, he's the jerk who is getting what he deserves. His swimming career has been spent in the shadow and wake of the legend, Michael Phelps. That has to have been tough. He might have played the role fate dealt him with grace. He fell short.

KfcKFC EXTRA-CRISPY SUNSCREEN. NO, SERIOUSLY: Not so rarely, there is something in the news that is real and actually happening, but feels instead like something you should be reading in the The Onion. Latest case in point: KFC Extra-Crispy Sunscreen. The fried-chicken giant yesterday introduced a 30SPF sunblocker that, yes, smells like fried chicken. Take that, scent of coconut! (Click here for the backgrounder). The chain gave away 3,000 free bottles yesterday in a guerrilla marketing campaign to promote its extra-crispy chicken. Don't worry, Coppertone. Colonel Sanders won't be elbowing your space on Walgreen's shelves. It's just a PR stunt. But a rather good one at that. I love the concept of someone on the beach tanning -- someone we imagine is lean and fit -- smelling like deep-fried thighs and wings. Come to think of it, this is somewhere in between real and The Onion. Good for the Colonel. I like where KFC is going with its advertising. Smart. Fresh. Fun.

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Twitter @gregcote

August 19, 2016

PS2: Dallas 41, Dolphins 14: Tannehill solid but defense blows; plus Greg's Lobos announce fantasy roster, with rate-the-team poll. Vote now!; also, Lochte's apology, Neil Diamond, your verdict on Hard Rock Stadium name & more

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

Iamisaid1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 20. Click here to read Ryan Lochte's apology for his behavior and falsehoods while at the Rio Olympics. 2) I have rediscovered a 1971 song, Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said." It's a shade melodramatic, as is Diamond's style, but really compelling and gorgeous in a way. Listen here. 3) Ohio man arrested for trying to have sex with parked van. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Newly named Hard Rock Stadium with poll, Hillary as Usain, fading Marlins, Joy Taylor, your verdict on MLB's Purgatory Four & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Column six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI: Name Of Stadium Doesn't Matter, the latest, on the Hard Rock rechristening of It's Still Joe Robbie Stadium to Me. A-Rod to Fish Made Sense, on what might've been. Time for Baseball and Cooperstown to Reconcile With Banished Stars, on the Purgatory Four. The Weight Has Just Begun, inside the office and expectations of new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt. A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating opening for Dolphins and Canes. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chased 3,000 hits.

It's baa-aaack! Dolfan Satisfaction Meter to return: The DSM postgame blog polls will be back for another season this year, but they begin with the regular season, not in the preseason. Look for the first one the night of Sept. 11 immediately following the opener at Seattle.

PS2: DALLAS 41, DOLPHINS 14: TANNEHILL SHINES; DEFENSE, NOT SO MUCH: Postgame thoughts: NFL history made last night. Believed to be first game in league's 97 seasons that included quarterbacks named "Zac" and "Dak." Ryan Tannehill strong overall in an active evening, 12-for-20 for 162 yards and two TDs, a fat 119.2 passer rating. That'll work. And good they let him and the offense breathe a bit. Also, coach Adam Gase upgraded from last week's sideline T-shirt to an actual collared shirt. Progress! The rest? Not so good. Debut of Arian Foster an anticlimactic nothing: 2 carries, minus-5 yards. Ten Dolphins penalties. Defense? Awful. All over. Front to back. Especially against the pass. Awful. I saw in one fantasy draft ranking Miami's defense was ranked 28th. Thought that was low. Now I get it. I don't care if it's August or not. You don't give up 41 points. Work to do at 1-1 as the preseason pivots. Fake-game No. 3 -- fast, this Thursday vs. Atlanta in Orlando -- will be the full-ish dress rehearsal where the starters play a lot. Then will come the exhibition finale and only preseason home game at the newly refurbished and rebranded Hard Rock Stadium. Real season opener at Seattle chugging in hard. Uh oh. Original post: Last week Miami won its exhibition opener 27-10 at the Giants after trailing 10-0. In the real season that Doldalwould have been impressive with no yeah-buts. In fake-game context it was boring and proved little, mainly because Ryan Tannehill barely played (seven snaps, four Afosterpasses) and we saw little of Adam Gase's new offense. That should change tonight in Dallas as Tanny plays significantly more and we more substantively see what the quick-release/short-pass attack might actually be like. The preseason debut of RB Arian Foster (pictured) will also be a factor in tonight having more of a "this is the real offense" feel than last week. Foster, the former Pro Bowl star coming back from injuries at age 29 and obtained dirt-cheap, is a real wild card this season. He and young Jay Ajayi are fighting for the starting job and primary workload. Expectations for Foster may be modest, but there also is a big upside. Foster outranks Ajayi on most fantasy draft boards. Dolfans allowing themselves to dream big and imagine what has to go right for this to be a playoff season are surely including a bona fide return to form by Foster. If he can be who he was for most of 2010-14, or even close, the Dolphins will have a bargain, and a godsend. His skills catching passes out of the backfield, in addition to the ball carrying, dovetails with elements of the Gase offense. A first look at Foster, more Tannehill, and Tony Romo starting on the other side will give tonight a real-game feel -- however briefly.

GREG'S LOBOS REVEAL 2016 DRAFT RESULTS AND ROSTER: We had our fantasy draft Thursday night in the league that had the winning bid to have Greg's Lobos join this season. I was amazed how many leagues across the country bid for a good cause: ESPN's annual V Foundation fundraiser. I believe the winning  bid topped Lobos$2,000. There will be three Greg's Lobos this season: this team, the one in the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz league, and the original Lobos from our friends 'n family league. Last night we drew the overall No. 3 pick in a standard-league, 10-team snake draft. The Lobos draft, in order by round: 1st round--RB Todd Gurley; 2nd--RB Mark Ingram; 3rd--WR Jordy Nelson; 4th--RB Carlos Hyde; 5th--WR Jarvis Landry; 6th--QB Ben Roethlisberger; 7th; WE Donte Moncrief; 8th--RB DeAngelo Williams; 9th--TE Martellus Bennett; 10th--WR Kevin White; 11th--TE Julius Thomas; 12th--QB Jameis Winston; 13th--WR Travis Benjamin; 14th--RB Benjamin Cunningham; 15th--Vikings D/ST; 16th--PK Matt Prater. I am pinning my hopes on huge productivity from Big Ben, superstar breakout numbers from Gurley, and big stat seasons from Ingram/Nelson/Landry. (Click here for a video on Landry's training regimen). But the Lobos' secret weapon could be Hyde, who I see as poised to bust out as a top-tier back this season, especially in that Niners offense. I like my team. Do you? Let us know in the poll below. Here's the team based on projected starting lineup:

QB: Ben Roethlisberger

RB: Todd Gurley

RB: Carlos Hyde

WR: Jordy Nelson

WR: Jarvis Landry

TE: Martellus Bennett

FLEX: RB Mark Ingram

D/S: Vikings

PK: Matt Prater

Reserves: WRs Donte Moncrief, Kevin White and Travis Benjamin; RBs DeAngelo Williams and Benjamin Cunningham; TE Julius Thomas and QB Jameis Winston.

Poll result: A strong thumbs-up for the new Hard Rock Stadium name: We asked what best represents how you feel about "Hard Rock Stadium" as the new name for where the Dolphins and Hurricanes play. A plurality of 31.0 percent voted, "Whatever. It'll always be Joe Robbie Stadium to me." However, otherwise, the new name met with huge approval, with love/like swamping dislike/hate by a landslide 9-to-1 margin of 53.9% to 5.9%. The breakdown: Love 28.2%, Like 25.7%, Dislike 3.0% and Hate 2.8%. The remaining 9.3% chose the poll option, "

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August 18, 2016

Hard Rock Stadium: Do Dolphins, Canes fans like the new name? Poll. Last day to vote and see results here; plus Marlins' slide, Hillary as Usain, Joy Taylor, your verdict on MLB's 'Purgatory Mount Rushmore' & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 18. If coaches took their cue from Donald Trump: "The only way we lose this game is if the other side cheats and the system is rigged." 2) We're No. 8! Florida is the eighth-freest state in the U.S., based on this new study factoring various data. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): 'Purgatory Mount Rushmore' poll, Hot Button Top 10, Dolphins-Giants PS1, Olympic tears, Heat schedule dissected, six days in November & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

On newly christened Hard Rock Stadium: The name on the stadium doesn't matter, only the team in it does. Pro Player, Land Shark, Sun Life, now Hard Rock -- it's Dolphins stadium on Sundays, Hurricanes stadium on Saturdays, and up to us whether we choose to use the leased corporate name at all. Heck, it's still Joe Robbie Stadium to me! Call it what you will. What matters is that the Dolphins and Hurricanes win inside that place, whatever it's called. That's the theme of my latest column. Click on Name Of Stadium Doesn't Matter to read in full.

Column six-pack: Six other select recent columns, ICYMI: A-Rod to Fish Made Sense, on what might've been. Time for Baseball and Cooperstown to Reconcile With Banished Stars, on the Purgatory Four.  Result Won't Matter, But How Tannehill Looks In New Offense Will, as Dolphins opened preseason. The Weight Has Just Begun, inside the office and expectations of new Canes coach Mark Richt. A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating opening for Fins and Canes. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chased 3,000 hits.

WHAT DO WE THINK OF HARD ROCK STADIUM AS THE LATEST NAME FOR THE HOUSE THAT JOE BUILT?: It's still Joe Robbie Stadium to me, at least in my heart, but, putting a positive spin Hrson it, I'd say Hard Rock Stadium at least is a better name (certainly more football-macho) than the previous three. I hate all corporate names, as careful readers know. In columns I avoid them when possible. I go with the generic, such as the Heat playing in "the downtown bayside arena." Why should I pimp for an airline? I hate the idea that companies spend big to fix their name onto where our teams play. Even worse is that we fans (and most sheep-like media) immediately fall in line and obediently start using the new paid-for-advertising. We don't have to, you know. They can't make us. Call it Joe's Place. Steve's Canopy. Dolphins Stadium. Canes Park. Whatever. You wanna hear Pavlov's bell and go with Hard Rock? Great. That's fine, too. Unless you're against gambling and therefore casinos, chances are there isn't a moral issue. Plus Hard Rock Stadium beats the pants off A) Pro Player, an ill-fated subsidiary of underwear giant Fruit of the Loom; B) Land Shark, a third-tier beer; or C) Sun Life, a Canadian financial company. So the progression has gone from underwear to beer to a foreign company peddling life insurance to casinos. Here's a thought. Make the Dolphins, who haven't won a playoff game since 2000, earn that Hard Rock designation. Given the tough situation the Fins are in and have put their fans in, until the team wins another playoff game, call if Rock & A Hard Place Stadium. I'm just having a little fun. What do you think of the new name? Vote and check back often to monitor evolving results.

HillraceSUMMER OLYMPICS MEET PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS: Two of my favorite things to follow closely, both current, are presidential politics and the Summer Olympics, and so I loved and couldn't resist passing along this mashup "photo" somebody sent to me, with Hillary Clinton as Usain Bolt. Relax, Republicans and Trump-ets. The photoshop is merely reflecting the trend in public opinion polls, which of course are always subject to change. If the Donald takes over the lead in the national polls lead we'll certainly rejigger this to have The Donald's coif atop Bolt's winning body. Deal? The Olympics end Sunday. The ultimate race, the one for the White House, ends Nov. 8.

MARLINS: SLIP-SLIDIN' AWAY...: Perhaps it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy that when slugger Giancarlo Stanton was lost for the season with his latest injury, most wrote off the Marlins' chances of winning a wild-card playoff ticket. The Fish have now lost two in a row and five of their past seven to fall two games off wild-card pace. One team they are chasing, Pittsburgh, hosts Miami Friday through Sunday. Marlins need to take at least two of three to keep a grip on this thing.

Poll result: Strong Hall of Fame support for MLB's 'Purgatory Mount Rushmore': We asked if Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, and by nearly a 3-to-1 margin it was 51.5 percent saying yes to all four vs. 17.4 voting no to all four. Another 19.2% said yes to Rose but not the steroids guys, while 8.2% said yes to the 'roids guys but not Rose. The remaining 3.7% were undecided.

JoytaylorWELCOME TO THE BIG-TIME, JOY TAYLOR: Former Dolphin Jason Taylor's kid sister (pictured left, and I cannot explain that beam of orange light rising out of her head)) made a nice mark in South Florida as a 790 The Ticket radio morning co-host and since has landed nationally at Fox, where she'll soon be joining Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe on a still-unnamed FS1 morning show. With the big time comes increased attention, scrutiny and criticsim, of course, so it's no surprise awfulannouncing.com dug up some old Joy Tweets to produce this story under the headline, SKIP BAYLESS' NEW MODERATOR JOY TAYLOR ONCE CALLED HIM A 'STRAIGHT UP CARTOON' AND 'TROLL'. On the bright side, without question, Skip Bayless has been called much, much, much worse.

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Twitter @gregcote

August 16, 2016

Should MLB's 'Purgatory Mount Rushmore' be in Hall of Fame? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 starring Stanton out for year, US gold rush, Heat, Canes; also, Radio Tuesday, Fins PS1, 6 days in November & more

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

Jackandi1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 16. Are you a big Jack White fan as I am? Excited to hear he'll be releasing a career-spanning acoustic double album in September. Details here. Pictured right: Jack and I backstage at a concert several years ago. I know him (very casually) through occasional meetings related to our mutual friendship with Brendan Benson, Jack's buddy and Raconteurs bandmate. Not sure which is more astounding about this photo: Jack's creepy, pasty-white makeup, or my luxuriant head of hair. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): John Oliver on the American newspaper, Ricky Williams stir-fries cannabis in butter, complete 2016-17 Heat schedule, betting odds for Dolphins/NFL, your verdict on Summer Olympics & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz (minus the 'Gotz), 8:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. locally on 790 The Ticket, 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio and simulcasting on ESPNU.  

A-Rod and Hall of Fame: Time for MLB to reconcile with its stars in purgatory: This is my latest Sunday column topic, and reaction to it -- good and bad, for an against -- is filling up my email inbox. I write that it is time for MLB to reconcile with what I call its Purgatory Mount Rushmore: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Pete Rose and Alex Rodriguez. Click on Time for Baseball and Cooperstown to Reconcile With Banished Stars to read in full.

Column six-pack: Six other select recent columns, ICYMI: A-Rod to Fish Made Sense, today's latest, on what might have been. Result Won't Matter, But How Tannehill Looks In New Offense Will, as Dolphins opened preseason. The Weight Has Just Begun, inside the office and expectations of new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt. A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating opening for Fins and Canes. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chased 3,000 hits. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, farewell-Wade column.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature (updated) 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:

1. MARLINS: Stanton out for season; playoff hopes imperiled: Fish are in intense fight for second NL wild-card spot as team set out Monday on seven-game road trip with a second straight win. But big news is that slugger Giancarlo Stanton's groin injury will shelve him the remainder of the regular season -- a huge blow to postseason hopes. This marks fourth time in past six years Stanton has missed a big chunk of season injured. Then again, Miami is now 12-3 without Stanton this season, so hope breathes.

Hotbutton2. DOLPHINS: Miami wins at Giants in preseason opener: The franchise's 51st season launched with a fake-game win Friday, 27-10, in East Rutherford, and fake-game two is this Friday in Dallas. Be happy, Dolfans, sure. But moderation, too, please. I’d remind you the 2007 Cam-powered Dolphins who went 1-15 won their preseason opener, too.

2. OLYMPICS: Swimming, gymnastics lead way for U.S.: Usain Bolt glided to the 100-meters gold, but the story of the Summer Olympics at its midpoint in Rio has been Team USA kicking ass looking good in the medal count, led by gymnast Simone Biles and that really tall swimmer who won his record 23rd career gold medal. Mike Phillips? No, wait. Oh yeah: Michael Phelps!

4. ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Miami’s A-Rod plays last game for Yanks, won't join Marlins: Rodriguez’s last game in pinstripes came Friday. So he is now retired ... unless of course the Marlins signed him because they decided that what their playoff run is lacking was a little circus-y distraction. But that won't happen, by mutual agreement. Too bad. Click on on A-Rod to Fish Made Sense for today's latest column on what might have been. 

5. HEAT: Four marquee visits highlight 2016-17 schedule: Miami's newly released season schedule features a Nov. 10 return by Dwyane Wade in Bulls uniform, one visit by Kevin Durant’s Warriors, and two late-season visits by the champion Cavaliers and their top player, Whatshisname.

6. HURRICANES: UM holds Canesfest as season draws nearer: With school's Sept. 3 football opener vs. Florida A&M now only 18 days away, Canesfest fan event was held Saturday in the basketball arena. Good news: Hurricanes under new coach Mark Richt should be good. Bad news: ACC mates/roadblocks Florida State and Clemson are, like, great

7. TIM TEBOW: Former quarterback plots future in baseball: Tim Tebow, major league outfielder? The former Florida Gators star and NFL QB has informed MLB teams he'll avail himself for a tryout? Alrighty then!

8. LEBRON JAMES: King signs three-year, $100 million extension: Cleveland is smiling, and that supposed possible eventual return to Miami has gotten less likely. James eschewed free agency next summer to sign an extension whose $31 million salary next season will make him NBA's highest-paid player for first time in his career.

9. SOCCER: English Premier Leagues gets underway: The English Premier League season is underway, a soccer league followed more and more in America. Out of the blue Saturday, somewhere in your neighborhood, somebody was arguing about the talent level of Everton's back line.

10. TEAM USA BASKETBALL: No given for an American gold?: U.S. men have had two close calls in Rio, leading some analysts to speculate that the Kevin Durant-led, NBA star-driven Americans might not win gold, after all. "Yeah, right!" laughed all of America in unison.

Missing the HB10 cut: Gloves worn by Muhammad Ali in his 'Fight of the Century' vs. Joe Frazier in 1971 sold at auction for $606,375. If I'm paying that much for two used gloves, each one better be holding a blank check for about $300,000 ..... Heat owner Micky Arison wrote an open letter thanking fans, acknowledging the club's rough summer and pledging renewed dedication to winning. How about an open letter assuring Chris Bosh will be back? How 'bout that!? ..... The NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers are six days from their debut at new home at Lauderhill's Central Broward Stadium. The Lauderhill Strikers? 

PS1: DOLPHINS 27, @ N.Y. GIANTS 10: CURTAIN LIFTS ON DRESS REHEARSAL WITH TANNEHILL (BARELY) IN SPOTLIGHT: OK, say this. Winning your fake-game debut on the road 27-10 after trailing 10-0 is pretty impressive/encouraging. Miami has not opened a season with a more impressive exhibition-opening win, based on point differential, since 1984. So there's that. But what jumps out about this meaningless result is new coach Adam Gase's weird quarterback rotation. Starter Ryan Tannehill played only the first series (2-for-4 for 8 yards) and did not return. That's brief, especially when Gase was on record saying the first-team offense may need a bit more work. Crazy-early for either a second guess on that or for a "great start!" enthusiasm, but let's say the lack of Tannehill is the  most notable takeaway from fake-game No. 1. By the way, Gase and staff wore gray T-shirts. Must be saving the sideline look for the real season. More dissecting of tonight's weather-delayed fake-game No. 1 is not needed because, well, because it was fake-game No. 1 ..... Original post: Preemptive strike: Yeah, yeah. I know. Preseason games don't matter, especially the first one. So whether the Dolphins beat the Giants in PS1 tonight in East Rutherford or don't, who carese? OK. But! The next month very much does matter for DolnygMiami even if it doesn't count. And how the team looks Friday night very much does matter, too, even if the result does not. For the rut-stuck Dolphins, more than for most teams, August is going to set a tone. It is going to indicate whether naysaying oddsmakers are right and Miami is still around a Fortune .500 team unlikely for the playoffs -- or whether Dolfans can muster the bravery to believe things are (finally) different. League powers have nothing to prove in August, and awful teams can't change perceptions in one preseason. It is teams in that fragile in-between, like Miami, that have the chance to reshape themselves in August, changing the confidence level that comes out of the lockerroom and that is reflected in the way fans feel. This is especially true of franchises whose head-coaching change has broadcast a new direction. And doubly so if that coach, Adam Gase, got hired because his skill set was particularly suited to extract the dormant potential from fifth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. No matter who wins or loses tonight or the final score, how Tannehill and Gase's new offense look and perform will be the most obvious takeaway from this preseason opener. Click on Result Won't Matter, But How Tannehill Looks In New Offense Will for my latest, full column previewing the Dolphins' season launch.

OLYMPIC MOMENTS THAT BRING GREG COTE TO TEARS, AND WHY: I sat and watched hours of the Rio Oympics last night for the first time in these Summer Games, enjoying the continuation of Simone manuelAmerica's big run in swimming and women's gymnastics. I'm a patriot, if not an outright jingoist, and I get emotional cheering for Team USA. I teared up (I'll admit) watching Simone Biles win women's all-around gymnastics gold, watching Aly Raisman's triumphant silver in the same event, watching Simone Manuel (pictured) become the first African-American woman to win individual gold in swimming (100 freestyle) and of course watching G.O.A.T. Michael Phelps win his 22nd gold. And hearing the national anthem at those medal ceremonies! Good stuff. Also enjoy seeing the parents in the stands. As a father who coached and cheered two sons in youth sports, I can almost imagine how it must feel to see your child at their sport's pinnacle, on this stage, and cast the memory back to when they were 6 and just getting started. Such emotion the Olympics can draw forth -- all of it compounded by the fact these athletes work their entire lives and have trained the past four years for these moments, for a minute or even seconds that will determine whether their dream comes true or is shattered. Thank you, Olympians.

HEAT SCHEDULE POINTLESSLY DISSECTED: ESPN, with too much time on its hands, uses a complicated formula (excruciating details here) to rank which NBA teams have the hardest to easiest Heat047schedules, and what that projects to mean. It estimated Brooklyn's most-difficult schedule will translate to 5.32 extra losses, and at the other end Boston's easiest schedule will equate to 3.34 extra losses. The Miami Heat schedule is ranked 12th-most difficult of 30 teams, yet translates to 0.47 extra wins. Awriiight! ESPN's synopsis on the Heat: "Considering the Heat are stuck way down in South Florida, their travel looks pretty favorable. However, Miami has a league-high 33 games against teams that will be more rested." My synopsis on this ESPN ranking: "Sounds like filling space in the dead of the offseason."

SIX DAYS IN NOVEMBER: Circle Nov. 5-10, a Saturday through Thursday, on your calendar. It's almost three months away, but worth anticipating, because here's what we get within that six-days span: Nov. 5 is Pitt at Hurricanes, the appetizer. Nov. 6 is Jets at Dolphins. Nov. 8? Oh, yeah. Presidential election day. Then Nov. 10: Dwyane Wade's return to Miami in a Chicago Bulls uniform. It could be one of the most memorable, enjoyable one-week spans we've seen. But only if my candidate wins, of course.

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Twitter @gregcote

August 10, 2016

Other than canoe slalom and badminton, what's your favorite Olympic sport? New poll. Vote now!; plus new betting odds on Canes/Kaaya, Suey Awards/Back In My Day, Tinder's favorite jobs, your verdict on A-Rod and Marlins & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10. The Chicago Cubs lead in MLB in run differential with plus-186. The record, plus-411, was set by Joe Dimaggio and Red Ruffing's 1939 Yankees. 2) The pie chart on Ichiro's 3,000 MLB hits: 84.43 percent Mariners, 10.37% Yankees and 5.20% Marlins. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Should Marlins sign Alex Rodriguez with poll, Hot Button Top 10, your verdict on Dolphins/Canes win totals & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Suey Awards/Back In My Day: The LeBatard Show's annual Suey Awards voting is underway, and there is a category to name the best of our Back In My Day segments. There are 12 finalists. Click here for a 9-minute audio highlighting each, or here to go directly to the poll. Surprisingly, to me, there is one clear leader. My personal pick (Research) isn't even in the top five.

Column six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: The Weight Has Just Begun, the latest, inside the office and the expectations of new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt. A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Dwyane Wade's departure from Heat creating chance for Dolphins and Canes. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, state of team as camp nears. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that says it all.

RioOTHER THAN CANOE SLALOM AND BADMINTON, WHAT SUMMER OLYMPICS SPORT INTERESTS YOU MOST?: Are you like me with the Summer Olympics? There are 39 sports, officially, and I don't pay attention to about 35 of them. Somewhere in Rio de Janeiro right now the U.S. could be going for the gold in canoe slalom. Whatever. Words never spoken: "You catch that South Korea-Australia badminton match last night?" I have identified and put to a poll vote what I'd call the five bell-cow sports that carry the Summer Games. I may be wrong. That's why God invented the "other" category. Take a dip in our poll, say which Rio Games sport most interests you, and check back often to monitor evolving results:

TinderTINDER SHOWS SOME LOVE FOR JOURNALISTS: Dating site Tinder just released its list of the most "right-swiped" jobs in Florida for men and women, the Tinder equivalent of approval or liking someone, and "Journalist" is No. 4 for men -- meaning that if my wife would allow me to date, I might have a shot. The esteem for my profession comes as a pleasant surprise, and in the wake of Donald Trump calling journalists "the most dishonest people in the world," which, as Ma used to say, is like the pot calling the kettle black. Notice that "CEO/Entrepreneur" also ranks high quite high on both lists. Hmm. If I ask someone what they do and they answer, "I'm an entrepreneur," the bulls--t bell goes off and I assume what they really mean is, "I'm currently unemployed, but I have a plan in place to become a billionaire."

KaayaUPDATED COLLEGE FOOTBALL ODDS FOR CANES, KAAYA: From Bovada today, not much love for the Miami Hurricanes, who now are 100-1 lonmgshots to win the national championship (tied for 28th), after being 66-1 immediately following last season. A huge reason is the high regard for ACC rivals and UM roadblocks Clemson and Florida State. Favorites nationally are Alabama at 6-1, LSU 7-1, Clemson 17-2, Michigan and Ohio State both 9-1, and Florida State 10-1. Heisman Trophy favorites are LSU RB Leonard Fournette at 4-1 and Clemson QB DeShaun Watson at 9-2. Canes QB Brad Kaaya (pictured) is tied for 16th at 33-1.

Poll result: Close call, but most think Marlins should sign A-Rod: We asked what best reflects your thoughts on whether the Marlins should sign a soon-to-be-available Alex Rodriguez, and it was 48.6 percent "Yes, yes. Do it!" and 44.9% "No. Please. No!" The other 6.5% were undecided.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 09, 2016

Should Marlins sign a soon-available Alex Rodriguez? Poll. Laast day to vote!; plus Mark Richt column, Radio Tuesday, latest Hot Button Top 10 starring Ichiro 3K, Rio, Canton, Fins, D-Wade; also, your verdict on win totals for Canes/Dolphins & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 9. We're back from a near two-week hiatus from the blog while we were away vacationing along California's Central Coast. Might have more on that later. The Hot Button Top 10 returns after taking last Sunday off. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

It's Radio Tuesday!: After a week's vacation we're back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, 8:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. locally on 790 The Ticket, 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio, with the national show also visible on ESPNU. We have a new Back In My Day ready to go.  

Step into the office, and expectations, of Mark Richt: We visited privately with Miami Hurricanes football coach Mark Richt yesterday, stepping into his office and his world. Click on The Weight Has Just Begun for the column that resulted.

Column six-pack: Six other select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Dwyane Wade's departure from Heat creating a chance for Dolphins and Canes. Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham, an ode to the 1977 Strikers and Lockhart Stadium. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, state of team as camp nears. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that says it all.

SHOULD MARLINS SIGN A-ROD FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON?: What happened on Sunday with the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez was weird. It was announced his final game for the team would be this Friday, and that he would then segue into a role as team consultant and spring instructor. Hmm. It seemed less like a sudden retirement than it did New York pretty much telling A-Rod Arodto get lost but showing him the respect to make it seem like his decision. Rodriguez, even at 41, didn't seem like a guy ready to call it quits -- certainly not with one third of a season left. "Of course, I think I can play baseball," Rodriguez said. "You always think you have one more hit in you." It is important to note that A-Rod, after Friday, will be free to sign with any other team if that chance arose, and that he did not rule out that possibility. Miami Marlins, perhaps? It makes enough sense to at least consider. From A-Rod's view, he is from Miami. He lives here. The Marlins would be the perfect situation for him to have a proper farewell to the game, not the awkward, sudden goodbye from New York. From the Marlins' view, signing A-Rod for the remaining 47 games (after Friday) would boost attendance at least somewhat as it gave him a chance to get the four more home runs needed to reach 700. Ichiro got to 3,000 MLB hits in a Marlins uniform. Might A-Rod's milestone also come in a Fish uni? There is little question Rodriguez-to-Marlins make sense from his perspective and from that of the club's marketing side. Though his career has been tainted by steroids, I think he would be embraced by most Marlins fans. (Maybe not; the poll below will shed light on that). The one determining factor, the only one that matters: Would A-Rod, in a reserve/pinchhitter role, help the Marlins as they chase an NL wild-card spot? Is there room for him on the roster? That is all that matters. Miami should not sign A-Rod to be nice or as a publicity stunt in pursuit of slightly bigger crowds. No room for that in a playoff race. But if Don Mattingly thinks adding A-Rod's bat and experience would be a plus, then yes. I doubt this will happen, of course, but it's plausible enough to make it fun to consider. Take a dip in our poll, share your thoughts and check back often to monitor evolving results.

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

Hotbutton1. MARLINS: Ichiro (finally) reaches 3,000 hits!: Marlins are in a pitched battle for that second NL wild-card spot as six-game homestand begins tonight vs. Giants, but the overriding news is Ichiro reaching 3,000 MLB hits with a triple last night in San Diego. He is only the 30th ever to do it. The Marlins should have sat Ichiro yesterday and let him reach the milestone at home. That's according to me and, I'd imagine, Jeffrey Loria. Nevertheless, congrats on a remarkable achievement -- one of the biggest ever by an athlete in a Miami uniform. 

2. OLYMPICS: Summer Games underway in Rio: Rio de Janiero is hosting the Summer Olympics through Aug. 21 and, other than crime, terrorist concerns, polluted water and other issues, all is going well. Back home, Hillary Clinton wished the U.S. athletes well. Donald Trump quickly Tweeted that crooked Hillary could not be more wrong.

3. ALEX RODRIGUEZ: A-Rod retiring, will become Yankees adviser: The Yankees and slumping veteran Alex Rodriguez of Miami announced Sunday that A-Rod would play his final game for the Yanks on Friday, then become a team adviser and instructor. So begins the five-year wait until Cooperstown first says no to steroids-tainted A-Rod.

4. NFL: First football game of season canceled in Canton: Saturday in Canton saw the induction of the six newest Pro Football Hall of Fame members led by Brett Favre. Sunday was to bring Colts-Packers in the season's first exhibition game, but the game was canceled because the paint used on the field was too hard, dried like cement and was a hazard to players. No, seriously. You can't make this s--- up, folks. Are you ready for some football? Apparently the field crew in Canton wasn't.

5. DOLPHINS: Fins three days from exhibition opener: Lots of extraneous stuff. Hard Rock looms as frontrunner for stadium naming rights. Training camp visitors include Peyton Manning and WWE star The Big Show. Ryan Tannehill's wife has a baby boy named Steel. NFL reinstates Dion Jordan, who immediately goes on injury list. But cutting through all that? Monday dawns the first game week of season, with exhibition opener this Friday at Giants. So here come your Dolphins. Ready or not...

6. HEAT: Wade's return to Miami set for Nov. 10: Dwyane Wade, in a Chicago Bulls uniform, makes his first return to Miami on Nov. 10, a Thursday night. That's in 94 days. Not that I'm counting.

7. HURRICANES: Media, fan events on deck as season draws nearer: UM's football media day was Monday, (click on The Weight Has Just Begun for my new column on Mark Richt), and then Canesfest fan events are this coming Saturday as Richt's debut season draws ever nearer. 

8. GOLF: Walker wins PGA Championship: Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship, the year's final major. It was the first time Walker had been in the news since starring as J.J. in Good Times in the '70s.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Playoff ends its New Year's Eve games: The College Football Playoff is ending its New Year's Eve semifinals after only one year. Explained a CFP official: "We really had our head up our a-- on that one!"

10. MICHAEL JORDAN: NBA icon breaks silence: Michael Jordan, always hesitant to share personal views, spoke out on the subject of gun violence. Turns out he's against it. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Giancarlo Stanton's 496-foot home run just landed ..... The Marlins unveiled their 2017 All-Star Game logo. Nothing went wrong and people thought it was pretty good ..... Dolphins owner Stephen Ross held a business seminar for five Fins players interested in post-football careers. His advice to them: Become a billionaire. Makes everything so much easier! ..... Michael Vick, 36, is working out in Broward hoping for one last NFL shot. Those who have watched him train tell us Vick is not doggin' it. (Sorry) ..... Steve Spurrier is back with the Florida Gators as ambassador and consultant. Also, as an ad-Visor ..... Jim Turner, fired as a Dolphins assistant coach for his role in Bulygate, has been suspended by Texas A&M for showing a sexually suggestive video during a women's football clinic. Turner is 51 but evidently still in middle school ..... FIU baseball player Nick Day saved the life of a man who'd been in an auto accident in Arizona. Player of the week? ..... Fort Lauderdale Strikers played heir final game at Lockhart Stadium. Hardly anybody cared, but the ghosts of 1977 wept ..... St. Thomas Aquinas' John Bosa is holding out as a Chargers rookie. How Not to Begin Your NFL Career 101 ..... It's a challenging year to be a Kyle Busch hater ..... A veteran scout who wished to remain anonymous has criticized as "uninformed" a veteran unnamed front-office official ..... Finally, a man died during Florida's annual lobster miniseason. I keep telling you cheapstakes to order a lobster at a restaurant or buy one at Publix. Much safer that way.

Poll results: Higher hopes for Hurricanes than for Dolphins: We invited you to set the bar on expectations for the coming Hurricanes and Dolphins seasons and you set it higher for UM than for the Fins. For the Canes overall it was 8.95 wins and for the Dolphins 8.29, even though UM plays at least four fewer games. The breakdown: Hurricanes--44.6% 9 wins; 31.6% 10-plus wins; 15.4% 8 wins; 4.5% 7 wins; and 3.9% 6-fewer wins. Dolphins--31.4 percent 9 wins; 29.6% 8 wins; 15.3% 10-plus wins; 14.2% 7 wins; and 9.5% 6-fewer wins.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 06, 2016

Football! Set the bar on expectations: How many games will Dolphins and Hurricanes win this season? 2 new polls. Last day to vote!

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

Asglogo1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 6. Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat. 2) Pictured right, the new Marlins' 2017 All-Star Game logo.

Column six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating a chance for Dolphins and Canes. Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham, an ode to the 1977 Strikers and Lockhart Stadium. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, state of team as camp nears. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all.

"Dear Bernie Sanders supporters: Welcome to adult politics. Grow up, please. Get over yourselves. Could you try to accept defeat with a modicum of grace? Thanks!" --Greg Cote

I'm back!: Back this morning on a redeye flight from a week's-plus vacation along California's Central Coast. We'll be back in action here with a new blogpost Sunday -- the new Hot Button Top 10 after a week's absence for the HB10. Also will be back writing columns starting Monday and back on the LeBatard Show as a cohost on Tuesday.

SETTING THE BAR ON DOLPHINS AND HURRICANES EXPECTATIONS...: On the upcoming calendar for our major local teams and beyond: Dolphins are upon us. Team opened training camp on July 29. First exhibition game is Aug. 12. Season starts Sept. 11 at Seattle. Canes football is here. ACC Football Kickoff is in the books. UM's first practice was Aug. 4. Season opens Sept. 3 vs. Florida Dolphins HurricanesA&M. Marlins continue chasing NL playoff spot as Ichiro (still!) chases 3,000 hits, still at 2,998. Olympics' Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro are now underway, ready or not. (And it sure seems not). Tennis' U.S. Open draws near. It starts Aug. 29. Panthers are quiet. Cats open preseason Sept. 26 and regular hockey schedule Oct. 13. Heat are quiet. Dead of offseason. Training camp will begin in late September. It is the gradual onset of football that tops the local plate as I set out on holiday, with the Dolphins and then the Canes hitting the practice field under promising new coaches in Adam Gase and Mark Richt. So it is time to set the bar on expectations for each team with separate polls. This is not asking what you wish or hope, but what your honest/realistic expectations are. In other words, pick the projected victory total for each team that you'd bet on if given $100 to place on any one number. For the Dolphins pick a number based on a 16-game regular season. For UM pick the final total based on a 12-game season with the additional possibility of an ACC Championship Game and a bowl game (or two bowls games if you make the College Football Playoff). Ten seems to be the magic number for each team. For the Dolphins that would all but assure an elusive playoff spot. For the Canes that would be a standard the program last achieved in 2003. So how realistically optimistic are you for each team? We'll leave these polls up the entire time we're away. Vote and check back often to monitor evolving results.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 26, 2016

History must wait: Ichiro 1-for-5 tonight in win, now at 2,997 hits; plus the new Back In My Day, Christopher Scissorhands and throwback unis (with poll; vote now!), Kaaya stat projections, Heat get "Kobe Wade," Jordan speaks, American cars & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, JULY 26. Ichiro now at 2,997 hits, after a single to left in eighth inning for Marlins tonight was his only hit in a 1-for-5 night as Marlins beat Phillies 5-0. This was first game when him reaching 3,000 was plausible, if mathematically unlikely. Now, his milestone must wait. Five games are left in this homestand. 2) Big weekend for two of Miami's biggest sports figures, with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra getting married on Saturday and Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill becoming a first-time father on Sunday. Congrats to both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, can Miami be a football town again, SABR nerds, Dolphins in fantasy rankings, your verdict on NBA/Charlotte move & more. 43) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

The new Back In My Day: Click here for today's latest LeBatard Show podcast, with me in-studio as cohost. Our new BIMD kicks in around the 50:45 mark.

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating a chance for Dolphins and Canes. Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham, an ode to the 1977 Strikers and Lockhart Stadium. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, state of team as camp nears. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all.

Kaaya projections on stats: Individual college football statistical betting over/unxders out today via Bovada show Canes QB Brad Kaaya at 3,050.5 yards and 20.5 TDs.

Uniform destruction was silly but served a larger point: White Sox ace Chris Sale destroys team's 1976 "throwback" uniforms, is suspended and gets savaged in the media. But as a statement against the silly trend of throwback and alternate uniforms, Sale became the face of what should be a movement. That's my latest column. Click on His Scissors Had a Point to read. I'm curious of you like the idea ogf throwback and alternate uniforms or if, like me, you find them a tiresome money-grab by teams. Take a dip in our poll and check back often to monitor evolving results:

DwaitersON NEWEST HEAT PLAYER, "KOBE WADE": It takes balls to answer to the nickname "Kobe Wade," as newly signed Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters has. Now Waiters (pictured) arrives in Miami trying to literally replace departed Dwyane Wade in the starting lineup (while also wearing uniform No. 3) after signing a one-year, $2.9 million deal Monday. Should we nickname him "D-Wait"? The NBA free agent market wasn't much for Waiters, verifying he has work left to do to earn his audacious nickname and justify having been the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft. He hasn't lived up. Yet. But I like Miami giving him another shot. He is only 24. If you're going to err, err young. That finally seems to be Pat Riley's mindset. Waiters shot a tick under 40 percent overall last season (not good), but was a credible 35.8% from 3-land. I like Miami's guard rotation of Goran Dragic and Waiters, and Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson and probably Wayne Ellington. Waiters isn't Wade (or Kobe), but he isn't worth giving up on, either.

MjMICHAEL JORDAN SPEAKS. AND NAILS IT: Jordan has spent his professional life saying very little of consequence outside the basketball rectangle, declining to get involves in social issues or politics. As the face of Nike once infamously said, "Republicans buy sneakers, too." That changed this week when Jordan spoke, to The Undefeated website (click here) against recent police-related violence both by and agsinst cops. With that he alsi is donating $1 million to each cause. Good for you, Michael. We've been waiting to hear your voice for a long time. Somewhere, Muhammad Ali would be smiling.

THE LIST: THE MOST-AMERICAN AMERICAN VEHICLES: The "Kogod Made In America Auto Index" for 2016 lists the Top 10 most-American cars, trucks and SUVs based on percentage of domestic parts used. The list:

1. Buick Enclave            90.0%

1. Chevy Traverse          90.0

1. GMC Acadia               90.0

4. Ford F-150                85.0

5. Chevy Corvette          83.0

6. Cadillac Escalade       82.5

6. Chevy Equinox           82.5

6. Chevy Impala             82.5

6. Chevy Malibu             82.5

6. GMC Yukon                82.5

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 23, 2016

Is NBA right to pull '17 All-Star Game from Charlotte over anti-LGBT law? New poll. Vote now!; plus new NFL MVP odds, Canes' Richt at ACC Kickoff, ode to Original Strikers and Lockhart, your verdict on Ajayi vs. Foster & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, JULY 23. Ichiro is at 2,996 hits after going 0-for-1 in last night's homestand-opening Marlins loss, and is not in starting lineup tonight. Now likely his milestone hit wouldn't come before Monday at earliest. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins sign Arian Foster with poll, Canes football on "surprise" list, LeBron James parties & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham, the latest, an ode to the 1977 Strikers and Lockhart Stadium. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Riley Endures Tough Summer, Fights On, as Heat prez admits regrets over losing Wade. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, on impact of Brady suspension being upheld. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all.

New NFL MVP odds: Via Bovada, Packers' Aaron Rodgers opens as betting favorite to win NFL MVP award at 4-1 odds, followed by Ben Roethlisberger 7-1, Cam Newton 15-2, Russell Wilson 8-1 and Tom Brady 9-1, the latter devalued because of four-game suspension. Top Dolphin Ryan Tannehill is 150-1, tied for 34th.

NBA LEADS WAY IN LEAGUES/ATHLETES DELVING INTO POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES: The NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver made good on a threat Thursday and removed the league's 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, N.C., because that state's refusal to repeal a law that critics say is anti-LGBTQ and encourages discrimination based on sex and gender. But, that same day, Nbaasg17in that same Charlotte, the ACC Football Kickoff (including the Miami Hurricanes) was held. Clearly, sports is still feeling its way in terms of whether to act or not in decisions that are political or involve social issues. Also, clearly, the NBA is leading the way on action. Just last week, it was four NBA star who opened the ESPY Awards with powerful statements agsint gun violence and shooting by and of police. There still is uncertainty, though, as seen in the WNBA, which fined players from three teams for wearing T-shirts during warmups Thursday in protest of recent police-related violence, yet in a statement said, "We are proud of WNBA players' engagement and passionate advocacy for non-violent solutions to difficult social issues." Hmm. What to do? Should leagues and athletes "stick to sports" and not blur the line on social activism? Or is it right that leagues and players, as role models, lead the way in weighing in on such stuff? I align with the latter view. We offer this poll as a microcosm or indication of how our readers feel on this broad question. I'll vote "yes," but it is your consensus that will paint the picture. Vote now, and check back often to monitor evolving results.

FAREWELL, LOCKHART STADIUM: AN ODE TO THE ORIGINAL STRIKERS: [Click on Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham for our latest column. An alternate blog-exclusive version follows here] This was circa 1977-83, pre-Major League Soccer, when the original North American Soccer League had earned a foothold in this country, and when the original Fort FtlstrikersLauderdale Strikers had done the same locally, winning a loyal and considerable following. Lockhart Stadium, off I-95 and Commercial, filled to near its 20,000- Rayhudsonseat capacity for most home games. It was intimate, conveying a Fenway or Wrigley vibe for the lads in the bumblebee uniforms. Tailgating was huge. Fans showed up hours early. Strikers flags waved in the parking lots amid the rising smoke from cookout grills. This was pre-Heat, Marlins or Panthers. Other than Dolphins and Canes the Strikers  were the biggest thing in town. Lockhart Stadium is where showman-coach Ron Newman once rose from a coffin at midfield to demonstrate his team's resilience. Where a young blond Brit named Ray Hudson (pictured) made the women swoon. Where European legends like Gerd Muller and Georgie Best played their career's winters. Where a Rotten to the Cor banner flew against Dutch coach Cor Van der Hart. I covered those early Strikers teams as a fulltime beat, my first big break and major assignment for the Miami Herald. Interest (and travel budgets) were high, so all of a sudden I'm a kid being sent to Vancouver to cover a team. It seemed like a big deal. And it was, for a time. Now fast forward almost 40 years, if you can believe that. MLS is futbol king in America now. The NASL is still Ronnewmanaround, but as a diminished, second-tier league. The Strikers are still around in their latest iteration, but a shell of their former selves. This week those Strikers, currently averaging a meager 1,310 fans per game, worst in the NASL, announced they are leaving Lockhart for Central Broward Stadium in Lauderhill (starting Aug. 20), which is one-fourth the capacity. It may be because Lockhart is now old and decrepit. Or because developers want to turn that area into a water theme park. Or because the Strikers are waving a white towel and admitting a team playing to 85 percent empty seats presents a depressing tableau. It may be some of all of that. What it also is: A chapter ending for a small but not insignificant piece of South Florida sports history. The Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Lockhart Stadium -- the original version. There was a time when that marriage was strong and supported buoyantly, back in the day, before Greater Miami boomed into a major sports town, and it should remain the template as David Beckham continues trying to realize his dream for an MLS team in Miami. Strikers home games were an event, Lockhart was home, and in the teeming crowd it felt like you were surrounded by friends and neighbors. Farewell, Original Strikers at Lockhart. It didn't end right, but those halcyon days as the late '70s turned to early '80s contributed some special snapshots to the album of our sports history.

Poll result: Foster edges Ajayi for Dolphins RB in closest vote ever: We asked which running back you expect will have the bigger role in Dolphins' offense this season, and it was newly acquired Arian Foster edging young Jay Ajayi by 50.9 percent to 49.1% as we called it final. I cannot think of a closer either/or vote in all the years of our blog polls. The lead went back and forth. You truly were torn.

WHAT MARK RICHT SAID TO ACC MEDIA THAT REALLY MATTERED: University of Miami's time slot was this week at the ACC Football Kickoff and media days in Charlotte. We cull though the boring stuff and bring you what we found most notable from coach Mark Richt: On the season and immediate outlook: "If we do things right and don't do things to hurt ourselves, there's a great chance to have Theusuccess. And then, once we get the ball rolling, I think people will say, 'Miami is back.' I don’t think people will say, 'Miami’s having a good year.' They'll say, 'Miami’s back.' You can say you’re back when you have the tradition of five national championships in the last 30 years." On his attitude with assistant coaches: "I got to cherry-pick guys that would really buy into how I like to do things. I told the coaches that I am coaching QBs again, I'm calling plays, I'm getting in the middle of this offense. I don't have time to baby-sit anybody. I tell them if I have to motivate you, we've got a problem. If I’ve got to motivate a staff member to do his job, I’m probably going to get another staff member." On his deep religious beliefs: "I happen to be a Christian. That's just what I am. I'm not using it. I think we need to be true to who we are, what we believe. I'm not trying to make anybody believe anything I believe. I just want to do things in a way that I think God would be pleased with me. That's my goal on a daily basis. I'm not trying to use anything. I'm just trying to be who I am." On recruiting and relationships: "The big thing is to make sure that the high school coaches know that they're welcome in our place, that we want to recruit their guys, we want the local guys to stay home, and we want to be honest with everybody and do our recruiting in a way that everybody appreciates." On his goal for UM in 2016: "Win the Coastal division. Get back to the ACC championship game." Pictured, apropos of nothing: Snoop (The U) Dogg.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 20, 2016

Jay Ajayi vs. Arian Foster: Who'll have bigger role in Dolphins offense? Our closest poll ever! Last day to vote; plus LeBron arrives discreetly at a club, Canes football predicted among 2016 "surprise" teams, wonder of Ichiro, new 'Back In My Day' & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 20. Florida Panthers and 560-WQAM have extended their partnership. Good for 'QAM. Cats poised to be good for years and a growing presence in our market. 2) R.I.P., Garry Marshall, 81, who produced a lot of the '70s TV that amused America, including, of course, 'Happy Days.' 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Dolphins sign Arian Foster, your verdict on Ross as Fins owner & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

The new 'Back In My Day': Click here for yesterday's LeBatard Show podcast from ESPN Radio. The latest 'Back In My Day' segment, on Hour 2, kicks in around the 16-minute mark.

IchiroIchiro! Ichiro!: He's a national icon and treasure in Japan. He'll probably enter Cooperstown as a Seattle Mariner. But it is Miami and the Marlins who luck to write the final career chapter for the great Ichiro and see his run to 3,000 MLB hits. Click on Ichiro! for today's latest column, an unabashed appreciation.

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or think they deserve another look: Ichiro! , the latest, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Riley Endures Tough Summer, Fights On, as Heat prez admits regrets over Wade. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, on impact of Brady suspension being upheld. The Strange Dissolution of Heat's Big 3, on rocky departures of LeBron and D-Wade followed by medical uncertainty with Bosh. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all.

ArianfosterWHAT TO MAKE OF DOLPHINS' ARIAN FOSTER SIGNING?:  Miami's interest in possibly recycling used running back Arian Foster first surfaced in March, when I wrote this column. Fourteen weeks later, the signing looks better to me because Foster, coming off major knee surgery, is completely healthy now (he says; he wasn't then) and passed a physical. It also looks better because the Fins got him on a very low-risk deal: an incentive-laden one-year contract of which a mere $400,000 is guaranteed. By NFL standards, he's a fry cook at McDonald's in terms of compensation. If he proves unhealthy or washed up, the team hasn't lost much on the gamble. But if he can resurrect himself, turning 30 in August, for a last hurrah? He could be the veteran presence who balances young second-year guy Jay Ajayi if he doesn't win the starting job altogether. For what it's worth, "I still feel like I'm a Pro Bowl caliber player, and I intend to show that," Foster said upon signing.

CANES FOOTBALL PREDICTED TO BE AMONG 2016 "SURPRISE TEAMS": Phil Steele writing for ESPN. com names "the 13 biggest CFB surprise teams for 2016" and the Miami Hurricanes check in RichtNo. 6 on his list. (Full story here). I think most experts think the Canes will be pretty good, so I'm a bit surprised they're on a "surprising teams" list. Nevertheless! Excerpts from Phil's reasoning: "Mark Richt will get the most out of the talent on hand. [Brad] Kaaya will be one of the top QBs taken in next year's draft. Miami has my No. 13 running back group, No. 21 receivers, No. 16 offensive line, No. 20 defensive line, No. 36 linebackers, No. 30 defensive backs and No. 15 special-teams unit. The Hurricanes are one of only 11 teams to rank in my top units in all eight position categories. They face only three teams that will be in the preseason top 25, and if they win the Coastal, beat the powerful Atlantic champ and have either zero or one losses, they will be headed to the playoffs." Whoa, big fella, whooaa! You had me at the nice stuff about Richt (pictured) and Kaaya. But those are skyscraper-sized ifs leading to the top four and College Football Playoff.

LebronLEBRON CELEBRATES TITLE: LeBron James is pictured celebrating his Cleveland Cavaliers' NBA championship on Monday night at Marquee nightclub inside the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas. (Photo is courtesy Tony Tran Photography). LeBron began his night in the private dining room of the restaurant Beauty & Essex. After dinner the former Heat star and his entourage hit the nightclub as countless smart-phones recorded his arrival. The UNLV Marching Band played "We Are the Champions" as the entourage strode a red carpet along the pool deck as fireworks boomed overhead. Upon arrival the Marquee staff inundated the James group with a parade of bottles of Ace of Spades champagne - gratis, of course. Seven Cavaliers teammates including Kyrie Irving were in James' party, which also included Chris Paul. Well, it's good to see LeBron didn't get special treatment or anything. Nope, just a regular guy arriving at a club.

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Twitter @gregcote