August 03, 2018

What will Dwyane Wade do? Poll. 4 choices. Last chance to vote!; plus NFL's continuing clueless quagmire on anthem protests, Zach Thomas and Canton, ode to Frank Gore's return to Miami & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, AUGUST 3. Goodbye July. Didn't like you much. Be better, August! 2) Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. 3) Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your verdicts on Dolphins outlook and Tannehill, 4-Man Outfield & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

GoodellLatest column: NFL, Goodell still clueless on protests: We have now entered Year 3 of the NFL's public relations nightmare over (some) players taking a knee during the pregame national anthem to protest social injustice. In May the league enacted what I call a Go-Hide policy that ruled all players on the field must stand and those who wish not to stand must be off the field and out of view. But blowback from the NFLPA put that policy on hold. So there is no policy at the moment, just presidential tweets and NFL cluelessness. (Combatants Roger Goodell and Donald Trump are pictured). I explore in my latest column. To read, click NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest Quagmire.

GoreTHE PERFECT END RUN: AN ODE TO FRANK GORE COMING HOME: Frank Gore is the 39th former Miami Hurricane to play for the Dolphins, but his homecoming feels more full-circle, more right than any of the others. He'll be the first Cane-turned-Dolphin to reach Canton and the Hall of Fame. Born and raised in Miami, now back here at age 35, the NFL's oldest running back, and still trying to  prove himself. I spoke privately to Gore (pictured) after a Dolphins practice this week and write about his homecoming, how it happened and how it makes him feel, in this column. To read it, click on Gore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End Run. Gore is not here in a ceremonial/mentor role only. Coach Adam Gase envisions more emphasis on the ground game this season, with Kenyan Drake and Gore expected to carry the major load. Who'll start is to be determined, but I'd imagine their touches will be similar, though perhaps with an edge for Drake because of his youth.

Other recent columnsDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy One, on start of training camp. To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades, on the death of Tony Sparano. Also: Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

WadePOLL: ON DWYANE WADE'S PENDING DECISION: Within a few weeks the Heat expects free agent Dwyane Wade (pictured) to inform them of his intentions for the 2018-19 season. There is no indication he will join LeBron in L.A. or sign with any other NBA team. By all accounts he will A) play another season with Miami, B) retire, or C) follow the money to the Chinese Basketball League. This poll is not asking what you hope happens, but what you predict will happen -- what you'd bet on. Vote!

ZachSUPPORT FOR MY ZACH THOMAS-FOR-CANTON CAMPAIGN: Recently Kyle Brandt, a host of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network, spoke out about and also Tweeted why former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, emphasizing the similarity of his career accomplishments with those of newly minted first-ballot Canton inductee Brian Urlacher. Maybe Kyle read my column? I made the same case for Zach six months ago, this past Feb. 5. To read that column, click The Case for Zach Thomas And Canton.

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 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

July 28, 2018

Dolphins time! Training Camp Special: 2 new polls on season expectations and Ryan Tannehill (with my latest column). Last day to vote!; plus R.I.P. Tony Sparano, modest outlook for Heat, The List (Fins coaches by tenure) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 28. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for this week's best-of LeBatard Show podcast. Contained therein: the new Back In My Day (Eyesight!). Go to my Twitter feed for direct link. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your verdict on Dolphins' new anthem policy, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DoltannyTWO NEW DOLPHINS POLLS -- ON EXPECTATIONS, TANNEHILL -- AS TRAINING CAMP BEGINS: The NFL offseason segues into the preseason as teams start training camp, and Miami's first full practice was Thursday. So football's back! Sort of. And so it quarterback Ryan Tannehill, healthy again after missing the past Dolhelmet20 games in a row dating to late 2016 due to knee injuries. The Fins are pegging their improvement over last year's 6-10 record largely on Tannehill's return. But as I write in my latest column previewing training camp, Miami needs a new and improved Tannehill. Miami needs him to be what he has not been thus far in his pro career: A difference-maker able to lift a team and put it on his shoulders. To read that latest column, click Dolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy One. Our two polls below invite you to set the early expectations for this Dolphins season -- what you honestly expect or would bet on, not what you hope for -- and also to weigh in on your confidence level in Tannehill as he enters his seventh NFL season. Granted both answers could change over the next month-plus, but let's get a quick Dolfan pulse-read as training camp begins. Both polls await you. Vote now!

TonysREMEMBERING TONY SPARANO, 1961-2018: The Dolphins' head coach in 2008-11, Tony Sparano passed away unexpectedly on Sunday at age 56 at his Eden Prairie, Minn. home, days from beginning his third season as Vikings offensive line coach. To read my column on Tony, click To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades. The Dolphins have had 12 head coaches (including interim guys), and Sparano is only the second to pass away, following inaugural expansion-era coach George Wilson, who died at age 64 in 1978. Sparano coached 61 games with Miami. Only Don Shula (obviously), Dave Wannstedt (73) and Jimmy Johnson (64) had longer tenures. Sparano will be remembered for leading the turnaround from a 1-15 season to 11-5, for bringing the Wildcat formation back into NFL vogue and, ultimately, for being disrespected by owner Stephen Ross, who flew west to woo Jim Harbaugh with Sparano still on the job. He also will be remembered for constantly being mistakenly called Tony Soprano and for wearing sunglasses indoors at at night -- not to look cool, but due to an eye condition. I find it interesting to note Sparano's career winning percentage with the Dolphins was .4754 and that the coaches since him are a combined .4747. If Sparano didn't prove to be the answer, well, they're still looking. Sparano may have been a better assistant than a head coach when all was said and done, but he was a quality football man and a good guy. R.I.P.

Other recent columnsDolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursTannehill's Defining Season.

7ESPN SAYS HEAT IS BARELY A PLAYOFF TEAM NOW: The Worldwide Leader's new NBA Power Rankings are out, notably including the impact of LeBron-to-Lakers and Kawhi-to Raptors. The top five: Warriors, Celtics, Rockets, 76ers, Raptors. Miami is slotted 20th overall and seventh in the East, after the aforementioned three plus Pacers, Wizards and Bucks. Heat was a sixth seed last season but has idled through a whisper-quiet offseason borne of little cap space for free agents and even less interest by potential trade partners for, say, Hassan Whiteside.   

THE LIST: DOLPHINS HEAD COACHES BY TENURE: Miami has had nine full-time head coaches. Their rank by tenure based on total regular-season games:

Coach                    Games    Years        Win Pct.

Don Shula                392       1970-95     .659

Dave Wannstedt        73       2000-04     .575

Jimmy Johnson         64       1996-99     .563

Tony Sparano            61       2008-11     .475

George Wilson          56       1966-69     .278

Joe Philbin               52       2012-15     .462

Adam Gase               32       2016-        .500

Nick Saban               32       2005-06     .469

Cam Cameron           16       2007         .063

Note: The three interim head coaches have been Dan Campbell (12 games in 2015), Jim Bates (7 in '04) and Todd Bowles (3 in '11).

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 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

July 21, 2018

What do you think of Dolphins' controversial new anthem policy? Poll. Last day to vote!: plus our latest columns on Dolphins, MLS Miami soccer; also, Time's Trump/Putin cover, your ASG vs. HRD verdict & more

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

Cotefrench1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 21. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from this week's LeBatard Show. Got a kick out of the artwork pictured at right, courtesy loyal show fan @oigomusic. It was inspired by a World Cup conversation that included me mentioning that the Cote family has partly French ancestry. Chris wears that jaunty beret quite well! 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins at the break and Jeter's plan, All-Star Game vs. Home Run Derby poll & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Why Dolphins are poised to exceed expectations: Estimations by the national NFL media and resulting public opinion have been brutal to the Dolphins this offseason. But fans should expect better as training camp begins this coming week. I explore in my latest column. Click Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal Offseason to read.

DolkneelPOLL: FOR OR AGAINST DOLPHINS' NEW ANTHEM POLICY?: The NFL and its players association agreed Thursday to suspend implementation of its new national anthem policy -- requiring players who wish not to stand to stay off the field -- pending further negotiations. while the two sides work on a resolution. That was in reaction to broad criticism after an Associated Press report that the Dolphins' new team policy threatens players who protest on the field with  up to a four-game suspension and fine. The Dolphins later clarified that "all options are open," and that kneeling players wouldn't necessarily be suspended or fined. In other words, for the NFL and the Dolphins, this whole issue remains a holy, unwinnable  and unsettled mess entering its third season clouding the NFL. I'm a freedom-of-expression guy who also believes the cause of the kneeling -- social justice and prejudice against blacks -- is a righteous one. Now have your say on the Dolphins' new policy:

MIAMI MLS SOCCER STADIUM: IT STILL WON'T COME EASY: Wednesday was a big day along the road to fruition for Miami's Major League Soccer expansion team being shepherded by the Masgroup headed by David Beckham and Jorge Mas. Mas is pictured. He's the one with the relieved smile. The 3-2 Miami City Commission vote to put the proposed Miami Freedom Park at Melreese measure on the November ballot was significant. I'd be shocked if it didn't pass, with strong support from Miami mayor Francis Suarez and with all the advertising money one envisions coming from the Beckham group as the vote nears. But hurdles remain even presuming the voters say yay, as I write in my latest column. Click on Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work Left to read in full. As commissioner Ken Russell said, "There's so many places this could [still] die along the way." Negotiations on the lease will be complicated, and tough. The city will be very demanding. That's the Loria Lesson. The city and county were played for fools in the Marlins Park deal, and so the due diligence on getting the best deal from Beckham/Mas will be painstaking. That will make difficult the October 2019 deadline for breaking ground on the new stadium. Missing that deadline could jeopardize the entire project and future of MLS in Miami or, at best, mean the stadium wouldn't be ready by the 2021 season (after the inaugural 2020-season home games are played at Hard Rock Stadium or Marlins Park or a combination). Wednesday was a significant step, but there remains a long way to go.

Other recent columnsReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes Root (on Marlins at the break). And Beckham Group's New Theme Song: It Don't Come Easy and Let The Voters Decide (our two previous columns on Miami MLS soccer stadium debate vs. Melreese golf). Also: Why 'Melo To Miami Would Be Strange MarriageLeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth Applauding7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallTannehill's Defining Season. And Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

ComboTIME MAGAZINE'S FRIGHTENING NEW COVER: It depicts a combination of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as one person. Click here for the story behind the cover, including a video that shows one man morphing into the other, and back. Eerie, especially in light of the Helsinki summit.

POLL RESULT: HOME RUN DERBY RULES: In a poll on our Twitter site we asked, "Which of MLB's two main midseason events do you prefer?" and, with nearly 1,000 votes cast, the Home Run Derby clobbered the All-Star Game by 71 percent to 29%. We asked the same question in a blog poll with very different results -- ASG beating HRD by 57.14% to 42.86% -- but that attracted fewer votes than any blog poll we've ever done.

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 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

July 18, 2018

All-Star Game vs. Home Run Derby. Your preference? New poll. Vote now!; plus Marlins at the break and signs of budding progress on Jeter's plan. My latest column & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, JULY 17. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from today's LeBatard Show. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your Miami MLS vs. Melreese verdict, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Harper AsgPOLL: MLB ALL-STAR GAME VS. HOME RUN DERBY: Baseball is still out front with its All-Star Game, which Miami hosted a year ago, and whose 89th edition is tonight. Because of its tradition and because it matters a bit, it kicks the ass of the Pro Bowl, the NBA All-Star Game and whatever the NHL keeps tinkering with every year. But this is a reasonable poll question because the Home Run Derby is a "thing" again, revitalized by the addition of a time clock adding urgency and drama (and Monday night's edition was a good one). I personally prefer the ASG (also a good one last night; AL 8-6 in 10 innings). Don't really get everybody swooning over the Derby -- like it's so great that professional longball hitters can mash against grooved 50-mph slowballs. It's like watching a men's softball game. But I know many seem to prefer the Derby. So here's your turn. Which do you prefer? Put another way: Which would you watch of you could pick only one? Vote now:

JeterMARLINS AT THE BREAK: SMALL SIGNS OF PROGRESS ON JETER'S PLAN: I'm not overselling the progress we've seen in the past six weeks or so, when the Marlins have gone a credible 21-18 after once being 20-39. The road to where they want to be -- a playoff contender -- may take a few more years of hard travel. But we are seeing indications and signs of the right direction. As I write in my latest column: "Derek Jeter is not entitled to stand on any soapbox and crow, 'I told you so!' But he is entitled to believe he might gradually be winning some benefit of doubt on his ground-up rebuild." Critics including myself decried his offseason fire sale, the salary-dump trades of Giancarlo Stanton,Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. But the bounty of prospects in return has restored the health of Miami's minor-league system and solidified the franchise's foundation. We are seeing the signs. The budding proof. To read in full my latest column, click Reasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes Root.

Other recent columns: Our two last week on the Miami MLS soccer stadium debate vs. Melreese golf: Beckham Group's New Theme Song: It Don't Come Easy and Let The Voters Decide. Also: Why 'Melo To Miami Would Be Strange MarriageLeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth Applauding7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallTannehill's Defining Season. And Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 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

July 14, 2018

Delay means fight continues for Beckham's Miami MLS dream. My latest column; plus soccer vs. Melreese poll (last day to vote!), Heat's curious courtship of Carmelo, refreshing World Cup final, newest Back In My Day video (Lawnmowers!) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 14. Thanks to Ari Odzer and NBC6 for featuring us in their David Beckham/soccer report. Enjoyed it. 2) Hope all of you friggatriskaidekaphobes had a wonderful Friday the 13th! 3) Surprise the Dolfans in your life. Give them our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10. your World Cup rooting-interest verdict, 4-Man Outfield & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Miami Freedom ParkBIG BLOW (OR MAYBE NOT) TO BECKHAM GROUP'S MIAMI MLS DREAM: The Miami City Commission last night tabled until a special meeting Wednesday the vote whether to allow Miami MLS soccer on the November ballot. It may prove to  have been a crushing defeat. May also prove to have been a mere six-day delay; we'll see. For my latest column, click Beckham Group's New Theme Song: It Don't Come Easy. In my prior column on this issue I urged the Miami City Commission to vote to allow the Miami Freedom Park/soccer stadium initiative on the November ballot. That is where the Beckham group's Major League Soccer expansion team hopes to build its new stadium. The rendering of what is conceived as a "world-class soccer village" is pictured at right. Controversially, it would be built where the Melreese golf course now stands, displacing the First Tee youth campus and angering many golfers. I delve into the issue and explain my support for the stadium issue getting onto the ballot. For that column, click Let The Voters Decide. Have your say in the poll below:

Other most recent columnsLeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth ApplaudingLeBron's 1 Choice to Meet His Legacy Head-OnMLS Miami Says All Are Welcome7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. And Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town.

MeloON HEAT'S CURIOUS COURTSHIP OF CARMELO ANTHONY: ESPN's fabulously all-knowing Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that Oklahoma City had granted permission for Carmelo Anthony (pictured) to shop himself around, and that the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets were among the first suitors. 'Melo is 34, a defensive liability and coming off the worst shooting season of his career, yet Erik Spoelstra reportedly is enamored of him. In my recent column I explore the Heat's interest, the motivation behind it and what it says about the state of the franchise in the summer of '18. To read the column in full, click Why 'Melo To Miami Would Be Strange Marriage

WcupWORLD CUP: TWO TEAMS LEFT. IMMORTALITY AWAITS ONE: France beat neighbor Belgium 1-0 Tuesday in the first World Cup semifinal from Russia, and yesterday Croatia ousted England 2-1 in extra time. To many experts both results were upsets, especially the latter. Three thoughts: 1) This has been an interesting, refreshing World Cup despite (from an American vantage) the absence of a U.S. team. 2) Refreshing? This was the first World Cup final-four ever that did not include traditional giants Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Italy or Spain. Bad for them. Good for the sport. It conveys a narrowing of the talent gap, giving hope to the nations (like the U.S.) still trying to make their international mark. 3) No matter what happens from here the champion will feel new. France last won in 1998 and Croatia has never won. (England last won in distant 1966, and Belgium had never won). I hoped for a France-England final. Why bother with the pretense of impartiality? I'm sure Fox TV did, too, for its ratings. Then again, undeterred that the U.S. didn't qualify, I still say, "Let's gooooo States!"

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY' VIDEO: LAWNMOWERS!: I stumbled a bit on the dismount, but otherwise a well-received BIMD that debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 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 select more recent columnsCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinTannehill's Defining SeasonHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 07, 2018

World Cup rooting interest: Which of final 8 teams (now 6, soon 4) do you hope wins it all? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus your verdict on LeBron-to-Lakers, the president and the press & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 7. Hope y'all had a happy (and safe) Fourth of July! For me it's a day of reflection as well as fun. I have not always loved who is president. I have not always loved my country's policies. But I have always loved my country, and been grateful to be among its citizens. 2) Want to surprise the Dolfans in your life? Check out our 'Fins At 50' book on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron to Lakers, Hot Button Top 10, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Cote on vacation: Missed new columns from me lately? It's because I'm on vacation this week. In town, still tending the blog, OD'ing on World Cup, but on vacation. I'll be back with a new column on Monday.

WcupTHE WORLD CUP FINAL EIGHT SIX (SOON FOUR): WHAT'S YOUR ROOTING INTEREST?: Thirty-two nations have been pared to eight -- now six, and soon four -- as the World Cup's quarterfinals stage ran yesterday and again today in Russia. The one good thing about no U.S. team in it is that many of us have had to adopt a team to root for, for whatever reason. I'm curious what your rooting interest is. In this poll I list the final eight national teams still standing in alphabetical order. Brazil and Uruguay were eliminated yesterday. Remember: this is not a poll to predict who will win. This is a rooting-interest poll -- who you WANT to win. And if you don't have a preference, it probably means you haven't been watching, and won't from here, which would be your loss. Past champions in the final eight, ranked in order of most recent title: Brazil (1958-62-70-94-02), France (1998), England (1966) and Uruguay (1930-50). The other four are seeking their first crown. Ready? Vote!

LebronlaWHY LEBRON WAS RIGHT, BEYOND MONEY, TO PICK LAKERS: Well, that was quick. LeBron James decided to take his talents to Hollywood (or thereabouts) on the first day of free agency this past Sunday, agreeing to a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now if LeBron can coax a Spurs trade of Kawhi Leonard to L.A., he'll be set. In my latest column I write how LeBron should be applauded for his latest decision, because it is good for him and for the NBA. There's a poll below to gauge whether y'all agree with me or not. To read that latest column, click LeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth Applauding. Our four other columns from the past week: LeBron's 1 Choice to Meet His Legacy Head-OnMLS Miami Says All Are Welcome7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. And Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town).

POLL RESULT: SUPPORT FOR LEBRON'S MOVE, BUT...: I asked in a poll on my Twitter feed if LeBron James made the right choice by going to the Lakers, more than 2,200 voted, and it was 53 percent yes, 32% no and 15% undecided. I ask the same question in the blog poll above (you may still vote) and it was also yes, but closer, when last I checked. The trend? Pretty strong "yes" sentiment initially, but then an increasing number of "no" votes. 

THE PRESIDENT AND ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS: To preview his latest column, the Herald's Leonard Pitts wrote on Twitter: "I will not blame the murders on the toxic environment fostered by the president and his followers. I will say that in routinely denigrating reporters, they set the stage for what happened. They are not guilty, but they are not innocent, either." We agree. In writing in my blog about the Annapolis murders of five Capital Gazette employees, here is what I wrote last week: "The fear moving forward: That the next assault on journalists might be politically motivated as blatant attacks on the First Amendment and unjustified disparaging of journalists continues to spew from the White House. The president of the United States cannot continue to relentlessly, egregiously and unfairly portray journalists as "fake news" purveyors, as the enemy of the people, and not expect that might eventually result in violence." 

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 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 select more recent columnsCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinTannehill's Defining SeasonHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 16, 2018

LeBron picks his landing spot. (Maybe). Our latest column; plus how does no U.S. team affect your interest in 2018 World Cup? Last day to vote in poll; also, ranking WC teams by talent, Will Ferrell's Harry Caray on '97 Marlins World Series & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 16. Had a great time at this week's 790 The Ticket event, Dan LeBatard's Father's Day Fiesta at Fogo de Chao on South Beach. Enjoyed meeting so many of  the show's fans. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the perfect anytime-gift: 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): Miami in play as U.S. to co-host 2026 World Cup, me on LeBatard Show psychiatrist couch, our quixotic campaign to get Schnellenberger in Hall of Fame, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

LeBron starring in NBA summer blockbuster: The NBA is winning the offseason. Again. The superstar shuffle is one reason basketball is soaring while baseball and football struggle. I explore in my latest column, and also read tea leaves to say which team has emerged as the frontrunner to land James. To read, click this link: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/greg-cote/article213247139.html

WORLD CUP 2018 POLL: THE NO-USA EFFECT: VOTE NOW!: What best describes the impact on your interest level of the United States not being among the 32 competing nations?:

WcWORLD CUP 2018: SPAIN TOPS IN TALENT: The 2018 World Cup begins today in Russia with the host nation facing Saudi Arabia in the lone match. Betting favorites in the 32-team field are, in order, Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Argentina and Belgium, with a pretty sharp dropoff after that. Here are the top 10 nations based on ESPN's ranking of the World Cup Top 50 players. We assigned 50 points for the No. 1-ranked player, 49 for No. 2 and so forth:

Team (T50 players)                 Points

Spain (8)                                 206

France (6)                               140

Argentina (5)                          138

Brazil (5)                                135

Belgium (5)                             122

Germany (5)                            113

Uruguay (3)                             79

England (3)                              65

Croatia (2)                              57

Portugal (1)                             49

Others: Egypt 1-44, Poland 1-41, Denmark 1-32, Senegal 1-20, Colombia 2-20 and South Korea 1-14.                 

MIAMI WILL HOST 2026 WORLD CUP MATCHES, AND HERE'S WHY: FIFA yesterday awarded the 2026 soccer World Cup to a joint bid by the United States, Mexico and Canada, and Miami and Hard Rock Stadium are strongly favored to be among host venues selected. That is because of the vision and determination of two men who happen to be the first and current owners of the Miami Dolphins, as I write in my recent column. To read, click 1 Dreamed It, 1 Made It Happen

Other most recent columns: End the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinIn Search of the Dolphins' Elusive Grand PlanUninvited Eagles Latest Pawns In Trump's Subterfuge. Also: When Sports Stopped Being All Fun & GamesThe King, Indeed: LeBron Tops MichaelNFL Hiding Problem And Hoping It Goes AwayTannehill's Defining Season,  Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris and Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan.

VINTAGE VIDEO: 'HARRY CARAY' ON '97 WORLD SERIES: Happened upon this and thought I'd share: Will Ferrell as Harry Caray on Saturday Night Live, analyzing the 1997 Marlins-Indians World Series. Caray, the legendary Cubs broadcaster, was still alive then but would pass away, at age 83, only four months later, in February of '98:

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 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 most recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 02, 2018

LeBron James has surpassed Michael Jordan. Agree? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus moral reckoning in sports (my new column), your NBA Finals verdict on who WILL win and who you WANT, The List (NBA title droughts), where 2 Canes are slotted in Draft & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 2. Welcome, June. So good  to see you again. What's it been, a year? 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the perfect anytime-gift: 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): Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals polls, latest in The Dolphins Disconnect, newest Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

KaepLatest column: Sports were simple, once. No more: Kneeling protests during the national anthem continue a polarizing NFL controversy. A soccer star refuses to join the U.S. Women's National Team rather than wear an LGBT Pride Month patch. An NBA coach in the heart of Texas is outspokenly anti-Trump. Dick's Sporting Goods stops selling assault rifles. Publix donates to a candidate who is pro-NRA. More and more, who we cheer for in sports, where we shop -- everything -- now requires a moral reckoning. This is my latest column. To read, click When Sports Stopped Being All Fun & Games.

ThetwoI SAY LEBRON OVER MICHEAL. AGREE? YOUR TURN. VOTE NOW: [Update: Golden State takes Game 1 in overtime because LeBron was held to only 51 points] In my recent column I propose that, win or lose in the NBA Finals now underway, LeBron James has now surpassed Michael Jordan as the greatest player ever. Click The King, Indeed: LeBron Tops Michael to read the column and see the reasons why I think what I do. Of course many may disagree. Old habits die hard, and Jordan-as-unassailable is a stubborn one. The ring-count as the argument-ending bottom line also is an idea that dies hard. The response to the column certainly has been both polarizing and voluminous, based on my Twitter feed and emails, so I figured I'd offer one more outlet for your thoughts: this blogpoll. The premise is that one of these guys is the best ever, although those holding out for somebody else (Kobe fans are loyal; I give them that) can have their say, too. Ready? Vote:

Other most recent columns: Hell Week For Goodell / NFL Hiding Problem And Hoping It Goes Away / Tannehill's Defining Season / A Solution To Jeter's Impatience / Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris / NBA Rolling A Pair of 7s / Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan / Crossing the Line On American Sports' Pandering For Foreign Money.

POLL RESULT: WARRIORS WIN IN LANDSLIDE, BUT YOU WANT UNDERDOG CAVALIERS: We asked before the series began, "Which team do you believe WILL win the 2018 NBA Finals?" and it was 85.9 percent Golden State to only 14.1% Cleveland. But we also asked, "Which team do you WANT to win the 2018 NBA Finals?" and it flipped to 55.2% for the underdog Cavaliers vs. 44.8% for the heavily favored Warriors. (Golden State took Game 1 in overtime 124-114 despite LeBron James' 51 points).

TWO CANES PEGGED FOR NBA DRAFT: Former Miami Hurricanes Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown both make it in ESPN's latest two-round mock selections for the June 21 NBA Draft. Walker is projected to go in the first round, 13th overall, to Phoenix. Brown is pegged to go in the second round, 36th overall, to New York. Both are shooting guards. One reason beyond potential that Walker is more highly regarded? At 19 he is two years and three months younger than Brown. (The Heat don't have a pick in this year's draft, so at least Miami fans have some reason to watch).

THE LIST: LONGEST NBA CHAMPIONSHIP WAITS: Defending champion Golden State and 2016 champ Cleveland make this the shortest possible title-wait of any possible NBA Finals matchup. Here are the five NBA fandoms that have waited the longest to cheer another champion, from among those cities that have previously won:

Fans                              Drought        Last won

Milwaukee Bucks             47                1971

New York Knicks              45                1973

Portland Trail Blazers      41                1977

Washington Bullets          40                1978

Philadelphia 76ers          35                 1983

Note: The five fan bases waiting the longest for their first championship parade are Atlanta Hawks (50 seasons), Phoenix Suns (50), Indiana Pacers (48), Denver Nuggets (42) and Utah Jazz (39).

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards 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 30, 2018

Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals: Who WILL win, who you WANT to win. Two polls. Last day to vote!; plus latest example of 'The Dolphins Disconnect,' new Back In My Day video (Delivery!), links to latest columns & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, MAY 30. Stun and delight 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): Hot Button Top 10, Memorial Day tribute video, 4-Man Outfield & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: Why NFL's new national-anthem policy is blowing up in commissioner's face is my latest column. To read, click Hell Week For Goodell. Also: NFL Hiding Problem And Hoping It Goes Away / Tannehill's Defining Season / A Solution To Jeter's Impatience / Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris / NBA Rolling A Pair of 7s / Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan / Crossing the Line On American Sports' Pandering For Foreign Money.

ClegsCLEVELAND-GOLDEN STATE: WANT VS. WILL. TWO NEW POLLS. VOTE NOW!: Again. For the fourth straight year since LeBron James left Miami, his Cleveland Cavaliers will face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals beginning Thursday night out west. That was with Golden State beating Houston last night after Cleveland beat Boston Sunday -- both wins on the road. Steph Curry's Warriors bested LeBron in 2015 and '17, while LeBron raised the trophy in 2016. Golden State is the betting favorite this time, as expected. But who you want to win and who you believe will win are often two different things. Are they this time for you? Take a dip in both polls and let us know.

'THE DOLPHINS DISCONNECT': LATEST DICHOTOMY IN LOCAL, NATIONAL PERCEPTION: This must be going on in other NFL cities, although I doubt to this degree. RtThe local view of the Dolphins is rosy. Adam Gase is a pretty good salesman for what seems a genuine optimism, and many in the local media seem to be gobbling it up with Bobblehead-esque nodding, including early dispatches about how great ("Awesome!) Ryan Tannehill is looking in these earliest practices of his comeback season. Yet the more dispassionate national view of the Dolphins continues to be one of great skepticism and low expectations. The latest: This week's new ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) rankings. They have Miami ranked No. 30 with a minus-4.5 rating. (Elsewhere in the AFC East New England is No. 1 at plus 5.0, Buffalo is No. 27 at minus-3.2 and New York is No. 32 at minus-5.3. In other words, on a neutral field, the Pats would be a 9.5-point favorite over the Fins). The FPI places Miami's projected win total at 6.3 and playoff likelihood at 13 percent. Unless the truth is somewhere in between, somebody is going to be very wrong in terms of local enthusiasm vs. national skepticism. My late-May view is the in-between. I think these FPI numbers are brutally low, just as I think the local optimism seems high. I'd take the "over" on 6.3 wins with little hesitation. If Tannehill stays healthy, this is feeling like an around-.500, wild-card-hunt-with-a-little-luck kind of year.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': DELIVERY!: Here's the latest Back In My Day video that debuted during Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

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 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 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