July 22, 2017

A proposed 5-player trade that brings Kyrie Irving to Miami Heat. Would you do it? New poll. Vote now; plus Tom Brady wins Florida, O.J.'s parole, your LeBron/Wade-back-to-Heat verdict, The List (Marlins HRs), Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

Dolcover1) It is SATURDAY, JULY 22. The Dolphins chose a group celebration for the cover of their newly minted 2017 Media Guide (pictured), rather than singling out any one player. Could be to underline the 'no-I-in-team' concept. Might also be that team has no one obvious face of the franchise at the moment. 2) For this week's "Greg Cote Tuesday" podcast from the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, click here. 3) Almost Dolphins time. Know any die-hard Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Likelihood LeBron/Wade play again in Miami with polls, ex-Dolphins and Hurricanes in All-Time NFL Draft, good and bad news in Canes ACC vote & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Latest column: O.J. Simpson paroled, but he'll never be totally free: Simpson, now 70, was paroled Thursday and in October will be set free after serving nine years in a Nevada prison on an armed robbery conviction. But he'll forever be guilty of the public's conviction that he got away with double murder in the '90s, and for that he is ineligible for parole. Click on Paroled But Not Free for my latest column.

Good and good by Marlins on trade, Heat on re-signing U.D.: Two of our big teams done good with personnel moves Thursday. The Marlins trading reliever David Phelps to Seattle for four prospects was smart. The Fish farm system is  bare, under-talented, and needs the infusion. And the Heat re-signing veteran Udonis Haslem for a 15th season was right. A captain and leader, U.D.'s role and value on the team is far, far beyond minutes played or points scored.

KirvingPROPOSED KYRIE IRVING-TO-HEAT TRADE: LIKE IT? VOTE NOW!: You know that Cavaliers all-star point guard Kyrie Irving (pictured right) is seeking a trade and has listed Miami among four preferred destinations, along with San Antonio, Minnesota and New York. There are many reasons why Irving landing on the Heat likely would not happen. 1) Cleveland might not oblige to trade him. 2) Cavs are free to trade him to a team not on his wish list. 3) Irving reportedly prefers the Spurs, and Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns are pushing hard on behalf of the Timberwolves. Also, because Irving wants out in order to become the focal point and get out from under LeBron James' shadow, acquiring Irving would seem to lessen any chance LeBron might end up back in Miami as early as next summer. BUT! If Irving-to-Heat did have any shot at happening, here is the deal that would work in terms of the salary cap and contract exchanges, according to ESPN's Trade Machine:

HEAT GET: PG Kyrie Irving, PF Channing Frye.

CAVALIERS GET: PG Goran Dragic, SF Justise Winslow, PG Tyler Johnson.

I would make that trade. Frye at 34 is a role player and a throw-in on this deal, but in Irving you are getting a four-time all-star in his early prime at age 25, a guy coming off career-high 25.2-point scoring and a 40-percent 3-point shooter. He's a shoot-first, pass-second point guard, but maybe that famous Heat "culture" can balance that a bit. As for what you're giving up, Dragic is very good, but Irving is better. Winslow still could have a promising future but in two seasons has shown mixed results. Johnson is about to get pricey for a guy coming off the bench. So, would you make the above trade if you were the Heat? Take a dip in our poll and vote now.

SAY IT AIN'T SO, FLORIDA! TOM BRADY'S IS STATE'S TOP-SELLING NFL JERSEY: As Dolphins rookies reported for training camp this week, we bring you shocking news. OK, maybe not that shocking. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- the man most responsible for keeping a thumb on the Miami Dolphins and Dolfans' dreams -- has the No. 1 selling-NFL jersey in the state of Florida, according to most recent sales at nflshop.com (see map; click on image to enlarge). Brady is tops in Jerseystate17 states, but who'd-a believed F-L-A would be one. Nationwide, the top five-selling jerseys are Marshawn Lynch, Brady, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Deshaun Watson.The latest top five at Dick's Sporting Goods are Brady, James Conner, Elliott, Prescott and Carson Wentz. (Conner is the Steelers rookie running back and cancer survivor; he ranks 11th on the NFL's sales list). How to explain Brady winning the state of Florida? 1) He is such a national star, at a glamour position, for a great team, that he surely moves jerseys in every state. 2) There isn't a ton of competing starpower from state players, Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars or Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In Dick's national top 50 in sales, Dolphin Jarvis Landry ranks 25th and QB Ryan Tannehill is 33rd, while the Jags' Leonard Fournette is 45th and the Bucs' Jameis Winston is 50th. That suggests Landry likely is making a run at Brady within the state. I think we'll start to see Fins RB Jay Ajayi turning up on some of these lists. 

POLL RESULTS: FAIR OPTIMISM ON WADE RETURNING TO HEAT, MUCH LESS ON LEBRON: We asked, in separate polls each offering four choices, "Will LeBron James or Dwyane Wade every play for the Miami Heat again?" On LeBron: Yes 6.7 percent, Decent chance 7.2%, Small chance 26.8% and No 59.3%. On Wade: Yes 31.2%, Decent chance 23.3%, Small chance 23.3% and No 22.3%. Combining the Yes and Decent-chance votes, LeBron returning had only a 13.9% optimism factor compared to 54.5% for Wade.

THE LIST: MARLINS BEST HOME RUN TRIOS: Entering Saturday play, the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton (30), Marcell Ozuna (23) and Justin Bour (21) had combined for 74 home runs -- projecting statistically to a combined season total of 128. We wondered how that would compare with the best power trios for one season in franchise history. Answer: It would be on top. Easily. Most combined homers by three Marlins in one season:

Year    HRs    Players

2017   128    Stanton/Ozuna/Bour projected total

2008    97     Ramirez 33, Jacobs 32, Uggla 32

2007    94     Cabrera 34, Uggla 31, Ramirez 29

1996    85     Sheffield 42, Conine 26, White 17

2004    83     Cabrera 33, Lowell 27, Gonzalez 23

2003    82     Lowell 32, Lee 31, Encarnacion 19

2005    82     Cabrera 33, Delgado 33, Encarnacion 16

Note: Marlins team record for most homers in a season is 208, set in 2008. The 2017 projected total is 189.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 7-22-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. U.S. vs. Costa Rica, 10 p.m.: Gold Cup soccer semifinal in Arlington, Tex.

2. Marlins at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.: Fish continue 6-game road trip.

3. Int'l Champions Cup, 6 p.m.: Juventus-Barcelona, then PSG-Tottenham at 8.

4. British Open, underway: Third round of golf's oldest major.

5. WNBA All-Star Game, 3:30 p.m.: Rare national spotlight, on ABC from Seattle.

Select recent columns -- Don't Hold Your Breath: On chances LeBron/Wade return to Miami. An Ageless Wonder, Even In Defeat: Venus Williams' Wimbledon run. Also: All-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsVerdict to Judge, But Marlins Come Up BigHome Run Derby Is KingMiami Loves Hosting, Just Has A Funny Way Of Showing ItThere Should Be A Place For IchiroThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceWhat's Next, Marlins? NFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 19, 2017

Will LeBron James or Dwyane Wade ever play for Miami Heat again? Two polls. Last day to vote!; plus here are ex-Dolphins 'n Canes selected in NFL all-time draft, good news/bad news for UM in ACC vote, Hot Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 19. For the latest "Greg Cote Tuesday" podcast from the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, click here. 2) Almost Dolphins time. Know any die-hard Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Sunday Venus Williams column & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

LebrondwyaneON THE LIKELIHOOD LEBRON AND D-WADE COULD END UP BACK WITH THE HEAT: LeBron James waxes nostalgic for his Miami days in two Instagram posts. Dion Waiters takes to Twitter to push for a Dwyane Wade/Heat reunion. Certain stuff on social media fans the flames that keep alive the notion James and Wade both could end up back in Miami after playing one more season in Cleveland and Chicago, respectively. But the reasons why that likely won't happen continue to outnumber the reasons why it could. I explore in my latest column; click on Don't Hold Your Breath to read. Im curious what you think the likelihood is that either will be back playing in Miami the season after next, or next summer. Take a dip in our two polls.

SLEW OF EX-DOLPHINS & CANES TAKEN IN MMQB'S ALL-TIME NFL DRAFT: Neat idea, this. Get 12 accomplished NFL experts and personnel guys involved in a 12-players-per-round, 25-round, 300-player all-time draft. Then have a 26th round to draft head coaches. Peter King's Sports Illustrated-affiliated MMQB (Monday Morning Quarterback) did that, with interesting results. Click here for the complete draft. There was at least one bizarre, ridiculous, indefensible pick: Punter Ray Guy was the fourth overall selection (!) by GM Dan Fouts. But otherwise the things seemed legit. LB Lawrence Taylor was first overall, and Pats QB Tom Brady was ninth. Now, let's localize:

DwightsFormer Dolphins drafted, including short-time Fins, in order -- LB Junior Seau (4th round, 43rd overall); WR Paul Warfield (5-49); C Dwight Stephenson (5-53, pictured left as the first full-career-Dolphin taken); G Larry Little (7-76); QB Dan Marino (10-115); C Jim Langer (15-172); RB Cookie Gilchrist (18-211); RB Larry Csonka (21-241); P Reggie Roby (21-250); WR Cris Carter (22-262); G Bob Kuechenberg (23-273); and DE Jason Taylor (25-294). My take: Surprised Marino was only the 11th QB taken. Also not a lot of love for Csonka or Taylor, who barely snuck in. And even less for the Fins' two Hall of Famers undrafted here: Nick Buoniconti and Bob Griese.Also thought Ndamukong Suh might have snuck in. Oh, and Don Shula was only the sixth coach selected.

EdreedFormer Hurricanes drafted. in order: S Ed Reed (3rd round, 29th overall, pictured); LB Ray Lewis (3-36); LB Ted Hendricks (5-50); DT Cortez Kennedy (6-70); C Jim Otto (7-80); DT Warren Sapp (14-157); DT Jerome Brown (14-167); Returner Devin Hester (15-173); WR Michael Irvin (23-267); TE Greg Olsen (24-282). My take: What jumps out is that six of the top seven Canes taken are on the defensive side, all but Otto. No surprise Reed/Lewis were 1-2, and good to see the love for pre-glory days Canes Hendricks and Otto.

Note: Not ex-Dolphins or Canes but South Florida guys drafted included Miami-born LB Derrick Thomas (4-42) and Fort Lauderdale-born WR Isaac Bruce (25-299).

WELL, AH, GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS ON THAT HURRICANES ACC MEDIA VOTE: ACC Kickoff & Media Days included the annual media predictions. The good news? Miami is predicted to win the QuartermanCoastal Division. The bad news? The Coastal is to the ACC what the Eastern Conference is to  the NBA. Weeeaaak! That perception is verified in the overall vote for predicted ACC champion. There were 167 votes, and 160 (or 95.8 percent) say the champ will come from the loaded Atlantic Division, where Florida State and Clemson rule, and where Louisville also is seen as better than UM. The Canes got only three votes (1.8%) to be conference champs. Bottom line? Miami should be good enough to get past Virginia Tech in the Coastal, but a tsunami awaits in the Atlantic. The disparity also is reflected in preseason voting for ACC player of the year. Of 167 votes, 164 (or 98.2%) went to players from the Atlantic. The three lonely votes for Coastal players included one each for Canes LB Shaquille Quarterman (pictured) and WR Ahmmon Richards.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: WED 7-19-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Philadelphia at Marlins, 12:10 p.m.: Fish finish, try to salvage homestand at 1-4.

2. U.S. vs. El Salvador, 9 p.m.: Gold Cup knockout-stage game in men's soccer.

3. Champions Cup games, underway: Bayern Munich-Arsenal ongoing, Roma-PSG 8 pm.

4. Tour de France, underway: Cycling's main event continues with Stage 17.

5. Diving world championships, 12:30 p.m.: Women's 10-meter.

Select other recent columns -- An Ageless Wonder, Even In Defeat: Venus Williams' Wimbledon run. All-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsVerdict to Judge, But Marlins Come Up BigHome Run Derby Is KingMiami Loves Hosting, Just Has A Funny Way Of Showing ItThere Should Be A Place For IchiroThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceWhat's Next, Marlins? NFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American Tragedy. History Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 12, 2017

Miami steps up big in All-Star Game/Home Run Derby doubleheader, with my latest column from ballpark; plus was Heat offseason a success? Poll. Last day to vote!; also, ESPY Awards, Hot Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 12. I'll be in-studio twice this week with the LeBatard Show, Thursday and Friday. 2) Know any Dolphins fans? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Aaron Judge wins Home Run Derby, Miami All-Star Primer and grading the Big Four events, Derby vs. ASG poll, Hot Button Top 10, your ESPN Body issue result & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Our Miami All-Star Week columns:

NEW: All-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era Ebbs: Column from Tuesday's ASG.

Verdict to Judge, But Marlins Come Up Big: Column from Monday night's Home Run Derby. 

Home Run Derby Is King: Why the Monday power show has become bigger than even the All-Star Game.

Miami Loves Hosting, Just Has A Funny Way Of Showing It: We are definitely not a typical All-Star host.

There Should Be A Place For IchiroHonoring greats like Ichiro should be what All-Star games are about.

AFTER SIZZLING HOME RUN DERBY, AL BEATS NL 2-1 in MIAMI ALL-STAR GAME: It was AL 2, NL 1 Tuesday night in the 88th All-Star Game culminating the first Midsummer Classic Allstargame Ajudgeheld in Miami, the game won on a solo homer by Robinson Cano of Seattle in the 10th inning. Marlins had Giancarlo Stanton starting as designated hitter (manager choice) and batting second, and Marcell Ozuna starting in left field (fan vote) and batting eighth. But Stantonn was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and Ozuna 0-2 with one K. After 14 years with the ASG winner determining home-field advantage in the World Series, the ASG was back to purely ceremonial this year. That's good and makes sense, although it did make the game less important -- all showcase, no real stakes. Mike Trout missed the game injured and other guys of special interest to Miami (Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado) didn't make the team, but the game didn't lack for starpower. Tough act to follow, though, after the show Yankees phenom Aaron Judge (pictured) put on the previous night in taking the Home Run Derby crown from Stanton. There is a broad perception (see poll result below) that the Derby has usurped the ASG as the All-Star break's biggest event. The game did not exactly fight back and reassert itself Tuesday. Cano's late homer won it, but it's tough to think what he did topped Judge.

POLL RESULT: HR DERBY IS BIGGER THAN ALL-STAR GAME: We asked which Miami All-Star Week event you most look forward to watching, and Monday's Home Run Derby swamped Tuesday's All-Star Game by 69.5 percent to 30.5%.

KolynykHAS THIS BEEN A SUCCESSFUL HEAT OFFSEASON? NEW POLL. VOTE NOW!: How'd Pat Riley do? Has the team improved? Is Miami in a better spot relative to the competition? The case for YES: The Heat re-signed key components it could have lost in free agency (led by Dion Waiters and James Johnson) from a team that went 30-11 in last season's second half, and added young big man Kelly Olynyk (pictured) from Boston. The case for NO: Miami went hard after top free-agent prize Gordon Hayward and not only lost him, but lost him to the rival Celtics. The Heat essentially stood pat with a 41-41 team other than adding Olynyk, a consolation prize after losing Hayward. We assume no major deals and maybe only minor tinkering are yet to come. Your Heat-offseason verdict goes here:

EspysSLIM PICKINGS FOR LOCALS ON ESPY AWARDS TONIGHT: The annual ESPY Awards tonight will include 32 categories, but South Florida team athletes were shut out of the nominees, and local individuals are few. They are: Serena Williams (from Palm Beach Gardens), nominated for Best Female Athlete and Best Female Tennis Player; Brad Koepka (born West Palm Beach), nominated for Best Male Golfer; and Lexi Thompson (from Coral Springs), nominated for Best Female Golfer. In a related award, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), founded by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, won an ESPN Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: WED 7-12-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Cincinnati at Miami FC, 7:30 p.m.: It's U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal at FIU Stadium.

2. Heat vs. Washington, 6 p.m.: Miami kiddies in summer-league playoff in Vegas.

3. Wimbledon, underway: Men's quarterfinal matches from London.

4. ESPY Awards, 8 p.m.: ESPN's annual grandiose self-promotion from L.A. 

5. Tour de France, underway: Stage 11 of famed cycling race.

Select other recent columns: The Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our Thanks: A farewell to Bosh. Heat Lose Twice On Hayward: Top free agent picks Boston. Riley Must Beat Ainge to Get to LeBron: On Heat's fight for Hayward. Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt: Heat drafting Bam Adebayo No. 1. Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch: Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to championship. Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. Home Run For Miami: Loria selling Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 10, 2017

Judge wins Home Run Derby verdict but Marlins come up big; plus is HR Derby now bigger than All-Star Game? Poll. Vote now!; also, we grade the Big 4 All-Star events, latest Hot Button Top 10, your 'Body' verdict, HB Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, JULY 10. Classy. Chris Bosh with a full-page ad in Sunday's Miami Herald, a thank-you letter to Miami and Heat fans. 2) Know any Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): An homage to Bosh and Ichiro, ESPN Mag's 'Body' issue poll, Heat rebound with Olynyk, your Barcelona-Real Madrid vs. All-Star Game verdict, McCartney and Rod/Cyndi concert reviews & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Our All-Star Week columns:

Verdict to Judge, But Marlins Big in Home Run Derby: Column from Monday night's Derby. 

Home Run Derby Is King: Why the Monday power show has become bigger than even the All-Star Game.

Miami Loves Hosting, Just Has A Funny Way Of Showing It: We are definitely not a typical All-Star host.

There Should Be A Place For Ichiro: Honoring greats like Ichiro should be what All-Star games are about.

YOUR MIAMI ALL-STAR PRIMER: GRADING THE BIG FOUR EVENTS: It's been all build-up, fan fests and ancillary events. Until now. Sunday began the real stuff as the Miami All-Star Week festivities swung to Marlins Park and action on the field:

HomerunderbyTODAY: HOME RUN DERBY -- Yankee Aaron Judge beats Twins' Miguel Sano in final of 33rd annual HR Derby. Defending champ Giancarlo Stanton of Marlins bowed out in first round and so did teammate Justin Bour, but both with dramatic one-home losses. Judge beast Bour in a 23-22 epic. The HR Derby is more popular than ever and this year featured among its 10 participants the hometown hero Stanton, who wrecked the record book in winning last year, and the phenom Judge, the talk of 2017. It was a terrific show, and a living up to billing by Judge. Event grade: A. To many fans, this event is more anticipated than the ASG itself.

AllstargameTUESDAY: 88TH ALL-STAR GAME -- It's NL vs. AL (7:30 p.m., Fox) in the Midsummer Classic, just as it has been since the 1930s. Marlins have Marcell Ozuna as an NL starter and Stanton as a reserve. After 14 years with the winner determining home-field advantage in the World Series, the ASG is back to purely ceremonial this year. That's good and makes sense, although it does make the game less important -- all showcase. Mike Trout will miss the game injured and other guys of special interest to Miami (Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado ) didn't make the team, but the game won't lack for starpower. Event grade: B. Nobody really cares who wins. And the game MVP will be second-star of the week after the Derby champion.

AllstarsundaySUNDAY: FUTURES GAME / ALL-STAR LEGENDS & CELEBRITY SOFTBALL GAME --  Futures Game: The U.S. beat the World team 7-6 in the sparsely attended Futures Game featuring top minor-leaguers, some of whom might be playing in the Tuesday ASG in a few years. It was 19th annual event, with U.S. now leading the World 12-7. Marlins participants were 3B Brian Anderson and pitchers Tayron Guerrero and Jonathan Hernandez, all from Double-A. Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Christian Yelich and many future stars have passed through the Futures Game. The fun is trying to pick out the future stars from this one-game sample. Event grade: C-plus. You likely hadn't heard of any of the players, but still a fun  game with big meaning for the participants. All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game: This hit 'n giggle affair followed the Futures Game, and drew a much bigger, full crowd. Former players in it included Pudge Rodriguez, Andre Dawson and Rickey Henderson. "Celebrities" included Jamie Foxx and a bevy of not-really-stars such as Dascha Polanco, William Levy, Jencarlos Canela and others you've likely not heard of, either. Event grade: D. Old former players and mostly C-list celebs pretending to play softball. An adjunct of All-Star Week begging to be retired.

MIAMI ALL-STAR WEEK POLL: Just for fun, let's pretend the Television God (who can be mean) has decreed you can only watch Monday's Home Run Derby or Tuesday's All-Star Game -- but not both. You must choose. So go ahead. I dare you. Which interests you more? Vote 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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. MLB: Finally! Miami hosts All-Star Game: Seventeen years later -- Miami was awarded the 2000 game only to have it taken away -- Monday's Home Run Derby and Tuesday's 88th All-Star Game come to Marlins Park. It should be two nights of non-stop feelgood and cheering ... well, assuming they don't inadvertently introduce Jeffrey Loria.

2. HEAT: Team recovers admirably from Hayward loss: Miami suffered big free-agency loss with Gordon Hayward choosing Boston, but recovered nicely by getting the Celtics' Kelly Olynyk and also re-signing Dion Waiters, James Johnson and Wayne Ellington. Pat Riley was on the canvas, but not long, then the Godfather got up.

3. MARLINS: Hot Fish ride 10-game road trip into break: Marlins completed long road trip Sunday in San Francisco winning six of past eight games to close season's first half and head home to host All-Star festivities. After the break, with playoff contention still a longshot, we'll settle for a completion of the sale of the team, thank you.

4. CHRIS BOSH: Quietly, last of Big 3 officially departs Heat: It happened on Fourth of July in midst of Gordon Hayward's decision so got overshadowed, but the last of the Heat's Big 3 era officially ended this past Tuesday for the gentleman-athlete whose career was felled by blood clots. He said thanks to fans in a full-page Sunday letter in the Herald. Classy. Farewell, Chris.

5. MIAMI FC: Local club hosts big U.S. Open Cup match: OK, it isn't Barcelona-Real Madrid. But NASL club Miami FC hosts USL team Cincinnati this Wednesday night at FIU in the quarterfinal round of the U.S. Open Cup tournament. Event is in its 104th year. Um, it's kind of a big deal.

6. WIMBLEDON: Fortnight in London begins second week: Play resumes today. An American man last won Wimbledon in 2000 (Pete Sampras), and a U.S. woman not a Williams sister hasn't won since 1999 (Lindsay Davenport). With Serena out on maternity leave, anybody betting that's about to change?

7. NBA: Harden gets richest contract extension: Houston gave MVP runnerup James Harden a four-year extension (through 2022-23) worth $170, richest extension in league history. So his Mom was wrong, after all, when she said, "No company will ever hire you with that beard!"

8. PANTHERS: Forget 'Where's Waldo?' Where's Jaromir!: It has been a rocky Cats offseason marked by letting leading scorer Jonathan Marchessault go in the expansion draft and then parting ways with Jaromir Jagr. The ageless wonder remains unsigned, meaning he's a bargain. Bring back Jaromir! 

9. TOUR DE FRANCE: Signature cycling event nears midpoint: Monday is 10th of 23 daily Stage races. Not positive who's leading at the moment, but whomever it is, take a urine sample, please.

10. ESPY AWARDS: Manning to host event's 25th edition: ESPN's silver-anniversary ESPY Awards play out Wednesday night with Peyton Manning hosting. Betting over/under on variations on that seven-syllable "Nationwide is on your side" jingle: 1,065.

Missing the HB10 cut: Lonzo Ball had an awful summer-league debut for the Lakers. Cannot confirm rumors his signature sneakers have been marked down to $469.95 ..... Heat summer-league team won its first in Las Vegas Saturday after going 0-5 in Orlando. So apparently what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas ..... Amanda Nunes pulled out of UFC 213 because she was sick. Sick of getting kicked and punched, probably ..... Police first said Venus Williams was at fault in a deadly auto accident and then said she wasn't. Um, pretty bad mistake to make, cops! ..... Sentences I Never Imagined Writing, one in a series: "Todd Marinovich is making a comeback at age 48. Marinovich was most recently in the news when arrested on drugs while naked." ..... An old friend once observed that "99 percent of people look better with clothes on." That reminds me, ESPN The Magazine's ninth annual 'Body' issue just came out as the usual parade of ego-drenched athlete narcissism ..... Actual headline this week: "FBI investigated complaints that Bobby Knight groped women during visit to U.S. spy agency" ..... Countdown: 20 days 'til Barcelona-Real Madrid, a bigger event for Miami than even the All-Star Game, according to blog and Twitter polls by me ..... Answer: "He spent the Fourth of July in Ghana searching for his 'personal independence' and decrying the American holiday." Question: Why do NFL teams continue to not sign Colin Kaepernick? ..... Tom Brady is writing  a self-help book about conditioning and fitness. His main suggestion to others: Have incredible talent, become really rich, be exceptionally handsome and marry a supermodel ..... Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is accused of using a machine to stamp his autographs. That's terrible! Back in my day, star QBs had the decency to have the team trainer hand-forge their signature ..... On Thursday ESPN will debut a 30 for 30 documentary on the Mike and The Mad Dog radio show, perhaps the strongest indication yet they truly have run out of good ideas ..... The four-day X Games begin this Thursday in Minneapolis, answering the question, "The X Games are still around!?!"

POLL RESULT: THUMBS DOWN FOR RIDICULOUS 'BODY' ISSUE: We asked, "What do you think of ESPN The Magazine's annual 'Body' issue?" And "ridiculous" routed "great" by 53.4 percent to 28.8%. The other 17.8% were undecided.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 7-10-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Home Run Derby, 8 p.m.: Stanton defends title at Marlins Park in ASG co-headliner.

2. Heat vs. Washington, 4:30: Miami kiddies in another Vegas summer-league game.

3. Wimbledon, underway: Round of 16 matches as play resumed in London.

Select other recent columns: The Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our Thanks: A farewell to Bosh. Heat Lose Twice On Hayward: Top free agent picks Boston. Riley Must Beat Ainge to Get to LeBron: On Heat's fight for Hayward. Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt: Heat drafting Bam Adebayo No. 1. Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch: Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to championship. Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. Home Run For Miami: Loria selling Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 08, 2017

ESPN's 'Body' issue: Great or ridiculous? Poll. Final day to vote!; plus Kelly Olynyk, an homage to Bosh and Ichiro, your Barca-Real vs. All-Star Game verdict, Paul McCartney concert review, Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, JULY 8. Interesting, in-depth piece in Rolling Stone here on the fatal auto accident for which tennis star Venus Williams has been implicated and sued -- but won't be criminally charged. 2) Know any Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat lose Hayward, All-Star Game vs. Barcelona-Real Madrid with poll, 'Body' issue narcissism parade & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

AN HOMAGE TO BOSH, ICHIRO: Our two newest columns both are about farewells, in a way. Chris Bosh: The Heat officially parted ways with Bosh on Tuesday -- on the Fourth of July, in the midst of Gordon Hayward's free-agent decision. Bosh's was a gradual goodbye to begin with, and the timing of it becoming actual was overshadowing. As the third of the Big 3 Bosh was never Bosh Ichirofully appreciated even before the blood clot issues truncated his career. Off the court he was in many ways the most interesting of the Big 3, erudite, with interests beyond the bouncing ball. Click on The Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our Thanks to read that column, from today's paper, in full. Ichiro: After 14 years of determining home-field advantage in the World Series, a ridiculous idea, the All-Star Game (Tuesday at Marlins Park) is back to what it should be: Ceremonial, a showcase, a celebration of history and heritage. Who wins doesn't matter, but moments and memories do. In that context I write that MLB should include the Marlins' Ichiro in Tuesday's game. In what likely is the final months of a Hall of Fame career, give him a curtain call in his adopted hometown. Stuff like that is what All-Star Games should be about. Click on There Should Be A Place For Ichiro to read that column, from today's All-Star Game special section, in full.

EspnboddyissueESPN'S 'BODY' ISSUE: GREAT ... OR RIDICULOUS?: ESPN The Magazine's ninth annual 'Body' issue hit newsstands this week. (Are there still newsstands?) It celebrates the athletic form with artfully nude (non-explicit) photography. There is argument on either side whether this concept is wonderful or awful. It's wonderful because it is empowering; not only perfect bodies are shown. And athletes should be proud of their bodies. It is awful because it is exploitative (much like Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit issue) and it is the ultimate in athlete ego-stroking -- narcissism on parade. I tend to think the latter, that it's a pretty ridiculous thing. I mean, look at the photo we've shown from the current issue, of the U.S. national women's hockey team. Is that empowering? Is it sexy? Or does it just make you laugh and think, "Seriously!?" I mean, it's so dumb it's hilarious, really. But that's me. Now, your turn. Take a dip in our poll and check back often to monitor evolving results:

KellyoADDING OLYNYK A BIG PLUS FOR HEAT: It doesn't make up for the free agency sting of losing top prize Gordon Hayward to the Celtics, no.  But Miami has recovered admirably, first re-signing its own top FA Dion Waiters, and now signing ex-Celtic Kelly Olynyk, 26, the floor-spacing 7-foot center who will complement the Heat frontcourt nicely. Miami also has managed to its own two top free agents, James Johnson and Dion Waiters, along with Wayne Ellington. Bonus: Josh McRoberts finally gone to free cap space. Miami fans hated Olynyk in Boston green, but he'll prove popular here. Also is reportedly a strong lockerroom guy who should fit that much-ballyhooed "Heat culture" that the team loves to talk about and that fans dutifully have adopted to recite as if it were some tangible god. Pat Riley took a big hit with Hayward, but the Godfather wasn't on the canvas long.  

POLL RESULT: UPSET? YOU SAY BARCELONA-REAL MADRID IS BIGGER THAN ALL-STAR GAME: We asked which major July event you consider to be the bigger, more prestigious for Miami to host, and you said El Clasico Miami: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid soccer with 46.1 percent over Major League Baseball All-Star Game with 40.4%. The other 13.5% voted even/too close to call. Maybe that isn't an upset. We asked same question on Twitter, with no "undecided" option, and Barca-Real defeated the ASG by 57-43%.

Rodcyndi MaccaREVIEWS: THE ENDURING MAGIC OF PAUL McCARTNEY; ROD 'N CYNDI AN ODD MIX THAT WORKS: A pair of concert reviews from this week... Paul McCartney: Saw the great Sir Paul at the Heat's arena last night and he did not disappoint with a career-spanning flexing of one of the great canons in music history: the Beatles, Wings and his solo stuff. He was very chatty with banter and song backgrounds. The video augmentation was terrific. Metallica also played Miami last night, at Dolphins stadium, and they are metal legends. But if you have the chance to see McCartney, still rocking and relevant at 75, do not pass it up. Rod Stewart/Cyndi Lauper: We saw the twinbill Thursday night at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, and with some trepidation. Stewart/Lauper was an impulse buy to attend and seemed an odd pairing, but they clicked in the opening of their joint tour. Lauper opened and rocked harder than anticipated in her set, even delivering an edge to her saccharine "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," performed to a political video backdrop exhorting women's rights and funding for Planned Parenthood. She's a strong live performer, quirky in her Brooklyn banter. The sold-out house wanted Rod, though, of course. He delivered. His signature rasp of a voice, live, is not his strongsuit, but Stewart makes up for its with a sexy charm still percolating at age 72. The largely female audience ate it up. Thankfully Stewart stayed away from his latter-career standards remakes and rocked with mostly older stuff, his stage setting and large backing band conveying a Motown flavor. His audience-pleasing 90-minute set hit all the right notes.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 7-8-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins at San Francisco, 10:05: Next-to-last roadie before All-Star break.

2. Heat vs. San Antonio, 8 p.m.: Vegas summer debut for Miami after 0-5 in Orlando.

3. Wimbledon, 8 a.m.: Third-round matches continue in London.

4. U.S. vs. Panama, 3:30: In Gold Cup soccer tournament.

5. San Francisco at Miami FC, 7:30 a.m.: NASL matchup at FIU Stadium.

Select other recent columns: Heat Lose Twice On Hayward: Top free agent picks Boston. Riley Must Beat Ainge to Get to LeBron: On Heat's fight for Hayward. Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt: Heat drafting Bam Adebayo No. 1. Random Evidence: The Shame of Margaret Court: Return of The Notes Column! Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch: Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to championship. Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. Home Run For Miami: Loria selling Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 05, 2017

Recovery mode: Heat scramble to move past Hayward loss; plus what's bigger for Miami: MLB All-Star Game or Barcelona vs. Real Madrid? Poll. Vote now!; also, ESPN 'Body' nudies, my July fireworks column, Hot Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

Happy4th1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 5. Happy 241st birthday, America! Hope y'all had a safe, wonderful Fourth of July. Our Boston butt was scrumptious! "Let's gooooo States!" 2) Happen to know any Dolfans? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, my Sunday Heat column & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My Heat-lose-Hayward column: "He wasn't worth the money." "Better to sign James Johnson and Dion Waiters." Heat fans may parse it any way they wish to see the glass half full on this, but it won't work. This was a huge loss for the Heat and Pat Riley. It's a double-defeat: Miami not only losing Hayward, but losing him to Boston, not Utah. Click on Heat Lose Twice On Hayward for my new column.   

RECOVERY MODE: HEAT STAGGERED BY HAYWARD LOSS, NOW LOOK AHEAD: There were media reports out of Salt Lake City, Boston and Miami all saying how optimistic the Jazz, Celtics and Heat were of signing Gordon Hayward after encouraging meetings. Two-thirds of them proved wrong. The only nedws that mattered came with Hayward saying Tuesday he'd chosen Boston. This is a big defeat for Miami and a very personal one for Pat Riley. You can try to the any way you wish, but it is an

Haywardbos
And so it is for Heat.

unequivocal loss for Miami. Period. It means an ultimately disappointing summer of free agency in South Florida. Hayward chose the Fourth of July to declare his independence from Utah, his longtime NBA employer, but in doing so essentially told the world he thought Boston was closer to competing for a championship than Miami, his very decision making that a reality. The Celtics had a built-in edge: Brad Stevens, their coach, coached Hayward in college. Riley tried to overcome that but could not, losing what amounted to a 1-on-1 duel with Celtics counterpart Danny Ainge to convince Hayward where his future would be best spent. Ainge and Riley have had a professional animus since the 1980s, one that in 2013 led Riley to publicly tell Ainge to "shut the f--- up." It was a needed victory for Boston, which hoped to both trade for Paul George and then sign Hayward but missed out on the first half of that dream. It was a sizable loss, too, of course, for the for the Jazz, who lose their rising star and franchise face — despite the fact they could offer him the most money. The Heat and Celtics both offered Hayward what Utah could not: An easier Eastern Conference. A more reasonable path to the NBA Finals that did not include the gargantuan roadblock of reigning champion/dynasty Golden State. Now the defeated Heat are left to prioritize retaining and re-signing their own two top free agents, James Johnson and Dion Waiters, keeping the core of the team that went 30-11 in the past season's second half, and tinkering from there. By signing Hayward, Miami might have been unable financially to keep both Johnson and Waiters and might even have lost both. Heat fans of the glass-half-full variety will go there now, seeing the bright side, convincing themselves that keeping Johnson/Waiters (if they can) will outweigh losing Hayward. Hmm. That's dubious. Hayward was not a tinker. Miami was aiming big with him. He was the top available free agent out there. He was not a "whale," no, but he's an in-his-prime 26-year-old versatile forward coming off a 22-point-average season. He made the 2017 All-Star team. He can shoot the 3. He'd have been a great add for Miami, a budding star, not to mention a big personal triumph for Riley. Now, the Heat is left to parse the disappointment and hope to salvage the summer. The news of Hayward's decision broke mid-afternoon on the Fourth. The fireworks would start booming overhead later Tuesday night. They would not find most Heat fans in the mood to celebrate.

MLB ALL-STAR GAME VS. BARCELONA-REAL MADRID EL CLASICO: WHICH IS THE BIGGER JULY EVENT FOR MIAMI? POLL. VOTE NOW!: Talk about a heavyweight battle! Next week, July 11, Elclasicomiami
MiamiasgMarlins Park will host Miami's first-ever MLB All-Star Game (and the Home Run Derby the night before). Soon after, on July 29, Hard Rock Stadium will be filled for Barcelona-Real Madrid -- Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo -- in El Clasico Miami (three nights after a Juventus vs. Paris-St. Germain match). In my latest column -- click on Fireworks Fill July in Miami Sports to read -- I suggest the two Super Bowl-scale mega-events make this the biggest July ever in South Florida sports. I'm curious which event you think merits the top of the marquee. This is not a baseball vs. soccer/favorite sport poll. I'm simply curious which you think is the bigger, more prestigious event for Miami to host. Take a dip in our poll and check back often to monitor evolving results.

NARCISSISTS ON PARADE!: ESPN The Magazine's 'Body' issue is out today. It's the ninth annual, because, evidently, there is a continuing and endless parade of athletes who are proud of their physiques to a point of narcissism. There are 16 athletes featured, many of whom I have never heard of. The biggest name probably is former No. 1-ranked tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. Also prominent: Boston stars Julian Edelman of the Patriots and Isiah Thomas of the Celtics. Was the photo shoot of Thomas used to lure Gordon Hayward in free agency? Hey I'm just asking! Wozniacki and Thomas, in all their vain glory, are pictured below. I'll leave to figure out which is which:

Body2017

Ithomas

 

 

 

 

 

HOT BUTTON DAILY: WED 7-5-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins at St.Louis, 8:15 p.m.: Continuing road trip leading to All-Star Break.

2. NBA free agency, ongoing: Heat must rebound from Hayward loss.

3. Wimbledon, 7 a.m.: Second-round matches begin in London.

4. Tour de France, 7:30 a.m.: Stage 5 of famed cycling event.

5. ESPN's 'Body' issue, out today: Annual font of athlete narcissism.

Select other recent columns: Riley Must Beat Ainge to Get to LeBron : On Heat's fight for Gordon Hayward. Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt: Heat drafting Bam Adebayo No. 1. Random Evidence: The Shame of Margaret Court: Return of The Notes Column! Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch: Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to championship. Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. Home Run For Miami: Loria selling Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 01, 2017

Heat free-agency: It's Gordon Hayward or bust now; plus my new column on Riley's pursuit, your Serena vs. McEnroe verdict, Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 1. Happy new month, all! 2) Allstate's annual survey of America's Best Drivers hails Kansas City, Kansas as No. 1, with Miami coming in 123rd. Woooo! Chant: "We're No. 123!" Click here for full list. 3) Know any Dolfans? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Serena vs. McEnroe with poll, latest disrespect of Dolphins, ultimate Dolfan wears helmet in wedding & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My new Heat free agency column: Click on Riley Must Beat Ainge to Get to LeBron for my latest Heat column. Click on Riley Must Land Hayward Or Griffin to Keep Pace for an earlier column previewing free agency.

FREE AGENCY PREVIEW: HEAT NEED HAYWARD TO KEEP PACE IN NEW-ERA NBA: Gordon Hayward. That's it now. With Blake Griffin agreeing on Friday to re-sign and stay with the L.A. Clippers, Hayward clearly is the all-or-nothing target for Miami as free agency begins today. Those were the two most prominent FA's on Miami's radar, now it's down to one. Now Pat Riley and Haywardthe Heat, who coveted both, must land Hayward to call this summer a success and have Miami keep pace in the new-era NBA, where stars align. Worthy of note: Miami's biggest rival for Hayward is Boston, making this the latest personal duel in the long and bitter rivalry between Riley and his Celtics counterpart, Danny Ainge. These men plainly don't like each other. They were warring rivals as players, as coaches and now as executives. And only one can gloatingly triumph for Hayward's services. How easily we recall the most recent public exchange, in 2013, when Ainge blasted LeBron James complaining about officiating and Riley famously shot back: "Danny Ainge needs to shut the f--- up and manage his own team. He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing, and I know that because I coached against him." Ainge stood his ground, firing back, "I don't care about Pat Riley. He can say whatever he wants. I don't want to mess up his Armani suits and all that hair goop." I think Hayward is the bigger prize than Griffin was, although I'd call them closer to even if I were assured Griffin's health issues (including a lingering toe problem) were in the past. But my point is that Riley had better get one of them -- now Hayward. Miami cannot stand pat, even with a team that went 30-11 in the season's second half. You agreed Hayward is the better catch, by the poll results below.

POLL RESULT: IT WAS HAYWARD OVER GRIFFIN IN A LANDSLIDE: We asked, "Which of the two main free agents of most interest to the Heat would you rather see Miami sign?" When we closed the voting after Griff re-signed with the Clippers, it was 83.1 percent for Gordon Hayward and only 16.9% for Blake Griffin.

POLL RESULT: MORE SUPPORT FOR SERENA THAN FOR MCENROE: We asked, "Is it fair to diminish Serena Williams' accomplishments (or any woman's in sports) by placing it in the context of how she might not beat a man?" And your vote was 52.9 percent "no" (not fair), 38.6% "yes" (fair), and 8.5% "not sure."

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 7-1-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. NBA free agency, ongoing: Began this past midnight for Heat, others.

2. Marlins at Milwaukee, 4:10 p.m.: Second game of 10-game road trip.

3. Heat summer league, 11 a.m.: Miami vs Hornets in Orlando summer debut.

4. U.S. Swimming, 1 p.m.: National championships wrap up in Indy.

5. Pacquiao fight, 10 p.m.: Manny vs. Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia.

Select other recent columns: Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt: Heat surprisingly drafting Bam Adebayo No. 1. Random Evidence: The Shame of Margaret Court: Return of The Notes Column! Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch: Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to championship. A Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. Harris Vs. Fins' Draft Drought: High hopes for top pick Charles Harris. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports Hall, Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?, Thank You, Mae Riback, A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City, Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 29, 2017

Serena vs. McEnroe. What's fair? Poll. Last chance to vote!; plus Dolphins roster ranked only 22nd in NFL. Here's why, with grades for all starters; also, Dolfan gets married wearing helmet, Clinton Portis' near-murder, latest BIMD, HB Daily (Thu) & more

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

1) THURSDAY, JUNE 29. Congrats to Miami FC for beating MLS Atlanta last night to reach the round of eight in the U.S. Open Cup. 2) Know any Dolfans? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your verdict on Heat's Adebayo pick, The List (Heat) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Clinton Portis's near-murder: The former NFL and Miami Hurricanes star running back nearly committed murder four years ago over a financial swindle, says Sports Illustrated in new story. Click here to read.

The latest Back In My Day: I was back in-studio yesterday with Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz. Click here for the best-of podcast, then scroll to about 48:30 mark for latest Back In My Day (Tuxedos).

My column on Heat, Adebayo: Click on Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt for my column on the Miami Heat drafting Kentucky power forward Bam Adebayo in first round. Most mock drafts and media experts see it as a "reach." John Calipari and Pat Riley disagree. I know where my benefit if doubt goes.

SERENA WILLIAMS VS. JOHN MCENROE: WHAT'S FAIR?: LeBatard and I had a genuine disagreement and high-pitched radio debate about this yesterday. John McEnroe noted in an interview Serenamcenroethat, while Serena is the greatest women's tennis player, she'd lose to the 700th-ranked man. LeBatard and many others agree and think Serena cannot be called the "best" without that qualifier. I think that's absurd and an insult to women's athletes and accomplishments to be constantly compared to men when the debate is pointless -- apples and oranges. Serena has won 23 singles majors (and counting, post-pregnancy). No man has won more than 17. Maybe this is a semantics argument (best vs. greatest), but I think it's unfair to Serena to always get the "yeah, but" qualifier on how she might lose to a good men's college player. Should the greatest women's weightlifter of all-time be diminished because men can outlift her? Crazy. Serena is the most accomplished player to ever lift a tennis racket. Period. OK, that's me. Your turn. Take a dip in our poll:

THE LATEST DISRESPECT OF MIAMI DOLPHINS: The Dolphins -- the 10-6 playoff team from 2016 but with a 7 1/2-win betting over/under for '17 -- continue saddled by low regard nationally. BushrodThe latest example: ESPN today ranks all 32 NFL rosters in order, based on Pro Football Focus grades for every projected starter, and the Dolphins' roster ranks 22nd. New England's is rated second, trailing only Atlanta. ESPN calls Ndamukong Suh the Fins' biggest strength, and the offensive line the biggest weakness. Why that's significant: Ryan Tannehill had a 116.6 rating throwing from a clean pocket, but only 49.1 when hurried -- a drop almost double the league average. Here are PFF's rankings for every Miami starter, with 90-plus considered elite, 80-89 good/high quality, 70-79 average, 60-69 below average, and 60 or lower poor. Totals add up to more than 22 starters because of starting battles at a few positions:

Elite (0) -- None. Good/high quality (9) --  S Reshad Jones 88.5; DT Suh 88.4; DE Cam Wake 87.4; RB Jay Ajayi 86.8; WR Jarvis Landry 85.1; CB Byron Maxwell 85.0; DE William Hayes 83.4; QB Tannehill 80.8 and WR DeVante Parker 80.2. Average (8) -- RT Ja'Wuan James 78.0; TE Anthony Fasano 76.5; WR Kenny Stills 73.8; LG Ted Larsen 72.3; LB Kiko Alonso 71.9; CB Bobby McCain 71.2; C Mike Pouncey 71.7 and LT Laremy Tunsil 70.4. Below average (2) -- S Nate Allen 68.0 and TE Julius Thomas 66.6. Poor (5) -- DT Jordan Phillips 56.8; RG LB Koa Misi 50.0; CB Xavien Howard 49.1; LB Lawrence Timmons 46.8 and (pictured) RG Jermon Bushrod 41.7.

My take: Grade for Maxwell seems high. But grades for Pouncey (when healthy), Tunsil and Timmons seem low.

DolweddingNEW DEFINITION FOR GREATEST DOLPHINS FANS EVER. OR WEIRDEST, PERHAPS?: You think you're a huge Dolphins fans? OK, would you wear a Dolphins helmet during your wedding ceremony? Put another way: Would your bride let you? Lee's wife-to-be did. Lee (@LeeToplanding on Twitter) is a huge Miami fan from England, got married on Sunday, and posted the attached photo from his wedding ceremony. Dolphins, get this guy free tickets or something. Seriously. I admire his level of fandom. More than that. I admire his bride's sense of humor.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: THU 6-29-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. N.Y. Mets at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: Fish in 2nd of 3 vs. NL East rivals.

2. Confederations Cup, 2 p.m.: Germany vs. Mexico in soccer semifinal.

3. U.S. Swimming, 7 p.m.: National championships continue in Indianapolis.

4. Arm wrestling, 10 p.m.: It's the World League championships!

Select other recent columns: A 1-Man Mock Draft: My prediction for Heat's top pick. Random Evidence: The Shame of Margaret Court: Return of The Notes Column! Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch: On Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to a championship. A Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. Harris Vs. Fins' Draft Drought: High hopes for top pick Charles Harris. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. Big Risk For Big Upside: On chance Heat could land Harry Giles in NBA Draft. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports Hall, Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?, Thank You, Mae Riback, A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City, Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 23, 2017

Heat make Kentucky forward Bam Adebayo the 14th pick in 1st round of NBA Draft! What do you think? New poll. Vote now!; plus my column on pick, your choice going into draft, Hot Button Daily (Fri/Sat) & more

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

1) FRIDAY/SATURDAY, JUNE 23-24. Miss our latest Back In My Day? Click on Privileged Pets for the LeBatard Show podcast and scroll to around 51:30 mark. 2) Know any Dolfans? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat draft preview with my pick and poll, Panthers lose big gamble, Grenfell Tower charity video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My column on Heat drafting Adebayo: Click on Bam Is Due Benefit Of Doubt for my column on the Miami Heat drafting Kentucky power forward Bam Adebayo Thursday night. Most mock drafts and media experts see it as a "reach." John Calipari and Pat Riley disagree. I know where my benefit if doubt goes.

IT'S BAM ADEBAYO! HEAT SELECT KENTUCKY FORWARD WITH 14TH PICK IN NBA DRAFT. YOUR THOUGHTS?: Call Adebayo a "reach" if you wish, based on most mock-draft projections that had him going lower in the first round. But you know what I call him? A 6-10, 245-pound kid promising enough to be recruited by John Calipari, and then promising enough again to be drafted by Pat Riley. Bam1That earns a little benefit of doubt. Make that a lot. I like that Miami targeted a replacement for Chris Bosh in the first round, a front-court guy to pair with Hassan Whiteside. That was the big need. Once Gonzaga's Zach Collins went 10th overall, I thought the Heat might look to Wake Forest's John Collins or UCLA's T.J. Leaf or even Harry Giles. But it was Adebayo. (And it will be interesting to track his career vs. Giles in particular). But no matter who it was, at whatever position, this was an especially important Heat draft. Why? Two reasons: 1) This was Miami's third-highest pick since it struck gold with Dwyane Wade in 2003. Since then the only selections higher than 14th have been Michael Beasley (2nd in 2008, and largely a flop) and Justise Winslow (10th in 2015, with the jury on him still out). Miami seldom picking this high owes to the team's success and also to Riley traditionally not caring that much about the draft as a roster-building tool. But players drafted 14th in the NBA Draft have included Clyde Drexler and Tim Hardaway, and this was a fairly deep draft. 2) Golden State. Every other team including Miami that hopes to make up ground on the dominant, champion Warriors will need kisses of good fortune from all directions. One is the draft. Riley needs to hit big with this pick. Adebayo must be an immediate rotation player who develops into a starter and (dare Heat fans dream) a star. That isn't a level you'd expect from a No. 14, but it happens. So let's see if Riley has saved all of his magic for free agency, or if he spared a sprinkle for this draft. Much luck is involved, of course, beyond the top-tier picks. The crazy youth of modern NBA Drafts has become an added uncertainty. Freshman (like Adebayo) reign. Teenagers. As a parent, I didn't entirely trust my 18- or 19-year-old to remember to feed the cat; now they're being trusted with the futures of franchises. If you're a sophomore or a junior, you're a graybeard. Seniors who get drafted -- they're more rare than aberrant spasms of humility from LaVar Ball. As for Adebayo, he averaged 13 points and eight rebounds for a pedigreed program. He shot 60 percent.  He is extremely athletic. He is not a big who will be a 3-point threat, but he'll join Whiteside in giving Miami what could be an awesome defensive presence. Riley's summer has just begun, the draft just the appetizer. In trades or via free agency, he must find a way to make Miami a force in the Eastern Conference again. Was Bam Adebayo a good start? Calipari and Riley say so. That's enough for me ... for now. Your initial thoughts on this pick follow in this poll:

POLL RESULT: ZACH COLLINS WAS YOUR PREFERRED PICK GOING IN: We asked who you would be most pleased to see the Heat draft Thursday night from among top candidates in the range of the 14th overall pick, and, closing off the voting as the draft began at 7 p.m., your choice from among nine options was Gonzaga center Zach Collins with 28.9 percent. Others with sizable support were Kentucky guard Malik Monk with 14.4%, Duke guard Luke Kennard with 13.5%, and Wake Forest forward John Collins and Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell both with 12.5%. Then came Duke forward Harry Giles with 7.7%.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: FRI/SAT 6-23/24-17: Today's sports events of most interest to SoFla fans:

1. Chicago Cubs at Marlins: Second & 3rd of 4 vs. reigning champions.

2. NHL Draft: Panthers with 10th overall pick Friday night in Chicago.

3. College World Series: Gators still alive to reach best-of-3 finals.

Select other recent columns: Random Evidence: The Shame of Margaret Court , return of The Notes Column! Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch, on Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to a championship. A Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. Harris Vs. Fins' Draft Drought: High hopes for top pick Charles Harris. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. Big Risk For Big Upside: On chance Heat could land Harry Giles in NBA Draft. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports Hall, Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?, Thank You, Mae Riback, A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City, Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 22, 2017

NBA Draft night: Here's my Heat pick at 14th ... now your turn. Poll. Vote now!; plus Dolphins camp/Panthers schedule notes, Cats lose big on gamble, Grenfell Tower charity video, Hot Button Daily (Thu) & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, JUNE 22. Miss our latest Back In My Day? Click on Privileged Pets for the LeBatard Show podcast and scroll to around 51:30 mark. 2) Know any Dolfans? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Return of 'Random Evidence Of a Cluttered Mind' notes column, your Mayweather-McGregor verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Heat draft how'd-you-like-the-pick poll coming later tonight: In a separate, new blogpost,we'll give you the chance to weigh in on the Heat's No. 1 draft pick tonight just moments after the selection is made. Watch for it and vote!

Dolphins camp, Panthers schedules notes: Newly announced today: Miami Dolphins will open training camp on July 20 for rookies and July 26 for veterans and the full squad. Florida Panthers will open their regular season Oct. 6 at Tampa Bay and Oct. 7 at home, also vs. Tampa. Click on 2017-18 Cats for the full season schedule.

MY PICK FOR HEAT AT 14TH OVERALL TONIGHT: WAKE FOREST'S JOHN COLLINS. NOW IT'S YOUR TURN...: Click on A 1-Man Mock Draft for my latest column, on my prediction for the Heat's first-round pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft. Here is a condensed version of the column: I'm thinking big for the Heat. Literally. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra know the biggest hole on their roster and Jcollinsin their lineup remains the one left by power forward Chris Bosh’s erasure due to blood clots. The Heat’s greatest position need is a frontcourt complement to center Hassan Whiteside, and Miami should have a chance to get a good one the way this draft looks to shake out. As a hedge I must note that a marksman such as Duke guard Luke Kennard will tempt and is a possibility for the Heat, but our premonition stays strong with a big. Miami I believe would grab Gonzaga center Zach Collins quicker than you can say "the Heat is on the clock" if he falls to 14, but I don’t see Zach from ‘Zaga escaping the top 10. UCLA power forward T.J. Leaf would get a long look from Miami but he might be a bit of a reach at 14th. Miami also could have an intriguing decision with Duke power forward Harry Giles likely to be available to them, but his history of knee injuries makes him an awfully big risk to absorb. (I’d take him if the medical charts are unequivocally positive, a huge if, but -- after dealing for two-plus seasons with the Bosh medical drama -- I doubt the Heat will chance a first-round pick who requires a note from his doctor). So. Drumroll, por favor? With the 14th pick in the NBA Draft the Miami Heat select ... Wake Forest power forward John Collins. Call him the BAC, the Best Available Collins after ‘Zaga’s Zach. Unlike most top prospects, the 6-10 John Collins (pictured) played beyond his freshman season and it helped him hugely. Few players in college basketball improved more as a sophomore. Collins averaged 19.2 points on 62 percent shooting and also averaged 9.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks this past season. From Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach, Collins also led the entire NCAA in player efficiency rating at 35.93, and excelled in his pro workouts. Nation-leading efficiency at a need position? That sounds logical to me. But now it's your turn. This poll lists (alphabetically) the nine players in the Heat's range -- players who were seen as being drafted between 11th and 17th in either ESPN or Sports Illustrated's most recent mock drafts. From among them, you consider their talents and the Heat's needs and vote for the one you'd most like to see drafted tomorrow night. Ready, set ... vote!

PANTHERS LOSE BIG GAMBLE: In Wednesday night's NHL expansion-draft reveal the Florida Panthers lost big, as I feared they might. The new Las Vegas Golden Knights raided other teams' Marchessaultunprotected lists for one player each, and Florida has itself to blame for exposing and losing Jonathan Marchessault (pictured). He should have been protected after leading the Cats in scoring last season with 30 goals at age 26 -- Florida's first 30G man since 2008-09. So dumb for a team that ranked 23rd in scoring to risk losing a top gun like that. Also Wednesday, the Cats traded Reilly Smith (15 goals) for a 2018 fourth-round draft pick. Both issues had tinges of contractual factors; still, from an on-ice standpoint, that's 45 goals gone in an instant from a team without a surplus of offense. Two results of that moving forward: 1) Florida surely will go with a goal-getter with the 10th overall pick in Friday night's NHL Draft in Chicago. And 2) More reasons to try to pry disgruntled star Alex Ovechkin from Washington in a trade. Ovechkin loves Miami, and ESPN.com this month named Florida one of five viable possible suitors. Make it happen and the Panthers would have 1,323 combined career goals in Jaromir Jagr and Ovechkin, who'd be the Panthers' most bona fide goal threat since Pavel Bure circa 1999-01.

THE GRENFELL TOWER CHARITY SINGLE: The recent Grenfell Tower fire tragedy ravaged a 24-story apartment building of public housing in North Kensington in west London. The number of presumed fatalities has been placed at around 80, the deadliest fire in mainland Great Britain in more than a century. This is a charity single by dozens of music artists. Warning: It is emotional. If it does not draw a tear, check your pulse.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: THU 6-22-17: Today's sports events of most interest to SoFla fans:

1. NBA Draft, 7 p.m.: Heat on clock with 14th overall pick in 1st round.

2. Chicago Cubs at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: First of four vs. reigning champions.

3. College World Series, 8 p.m.: TCU-Louisville in another elimination game.

4. Confederations Cup soccer, 2 p.m.: It's Germany vs. Chile.

Select other recent columns: Random Evidence: The Shame of Margaret Court , return of The Notes Column! Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch, on Mayweather vs. McGregor. No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to a championship. A Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. Harris Vs. Fins' Draft Drought: High hopes for top pick Charles Harris. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. Big Risk For Big Upside: On chance Heat could land Harry Giles in NBA Draft. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Also: History Breathes at UM Sports Hall, Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?, Thank You, Mae Riback, A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City, Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote