The new Hot Button Top 10: In a week when tragedy overshadowed everything in sports; plus a blistering column on Derek Jeter's betrayal of public trust as spring training begins & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It's SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18. The Dolfans in your life don't know it yet, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out our book, Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Stoneman Douglas tragedy with column and GoFund Me page & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.
Latest column: On Derek Jeter's Marlins as spring training begins: He can spin it and try to justify it any way he wishes, but Derek Jeter's massive Marlins salary dump is a betrayal of public trust. The Marlins are tanking because the new owners have put their personal finances above the product on the field and above the paying customers. To read my latest column, click: Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season.
My column on Stoneman Douglas shooting tragedy, ICYMI: Seventeen were killed this week in a shooting spree at Parkland's Stoneman Douglas High carried out by a coward with a semi-automatic weapon, a deranged former student who'd been expelled. Something like this, by the way, is why I, unlike most sports writers, never use words like 'tragedy' or 'disaster' to describe a knee injury or an awful season. This is a tragedy. For my column, click: Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing.
HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEBRUARY 18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature 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:
1. STONEMAN DOUGLAS: Mass shooting at local high school kills 17: Seventeen innocents were murdered at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in a mass shooting that stunned the sports world as much as it did the rest of us. The perpetrator: A 19-year-old former student with a semiautomatic rifle who is now in custody. Another tragedy wrought by a deranged mind with a military-grade killing machine. The United States shames itself by continuing to allow these weapons to be sold.
2. HEAT: Slumping Miami hanging on at All-Star break: Heat has lost seven of past eight, is 1-2 since Dwyane Wade's return and has fallen to 8th place in the East. All-Star Weekend in L.A. comes as a welcome diversion, with Goran Dragic in the main game Sunday after Wayne Ellington did Saturday's 3-point contest. Tickets for Sunday are fetching close to $2,000 each even though the game is famously a no-defense farce.
3. MARLINS: Fire-sale Fish begin spring training for real Monday: What's left of the Miami Marlins opens spring training for real with Monday's first full-squad work up in Jupiter, with the first spring game only four days later. And -- other than new owner Derek Jeter being a colossal disappointment by trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon in a massive salary dump -- it's been a great offseason!
4. OLYMPICS: Winter Games reach midpoint in South Korea: Entering the weekend Team USA was tied for third in gold medals won and tied for fifth in total medals won. Are we OK with that, or are we jingoists crestfallen because America should be No. 1 in everything and at all times?
5. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men's program cleared in FBI probe: Canes men had lost two straight and were back out of the Top 25 entering Saturday's game vs. Syracuse. The good news? The UM program -- linked before season to FBI national probe of recruiting corruption -- went a long way to being cleared when charges were dropped against the AAU director accused of funneling money from Adidas to persuade one player to sign with Miami. Wonder if FBI sent Jim Larranaga an "Oops. Sorry, our bad" Hallmark card?
6. PANTHERS: Hot Cats inching up in playoff chase: The good news? Panthers had won six of past seven entering Saturday's game at Calgary and moved within seven points of playoff pace. The bad news? Seven down is still a lot, and 12th in the East means a lots of teams to still climb over with only 27 games left.
7. UM BASEBALL: Jim Morris' final season underway: It was Play ball! Friday in a season-opening weekend home series for 24th-ranked Canes baseball vs. Rutgers. UM is trying to return to NCAA playoffs after missing last year for the first time in four decades. This is the 25th and last season for Morris, who'll then retire. His Canes teams have reached 13 College World Series and won two. Three would be a charm for the coach in the No. 3 jersey.
8. NASCAR: Vroom! Daytona 500 opens season Sunday: Brad Keselowski is the betting favorite to win Sunday's NASCAR opener, but the emotional tug comes from the season starting without retired Dale Earnhardt Jr., and from Danica Patrick running in her final Daytona 500.
9. HURRICANES: UM football sets spring dates: Hot off a national top-10 recruiting class, Canes announced spring practice would commence March 20 -- highlighted by Malik Rosier trying to fend off challengers in an open competition for the starting quarterback job. Meanwhile, coach Mark Richt will host an "All Pro Dad Father & Kids Experience" at Hard Rock Stadium on February 24. Visit AllProDad.com for more.
10. SOCCER: Champions League matches continue: The 32-team UEFA Champions League continues toward its May conclusion with matches Tuesday and Wednesday including club giants Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United. You are following this avidly or not at all. No in-between, sorry.
Missing the HB10 cut: The weekend "Monster Truck Jam" wraps up Sunday at Marlins Park. Turns out it looks even more ridiculous in person than it does on TV ..... Headline: 'Arizona male cheerleader booted from arena for heckling Arizona State during basketball game.' Ah, sportsmanship! ..... Fox News host Laura Ingraham blasted LeBron James for his criticism of Donald Trump, essentially tell LeBron to "shut up and dribble" just like the president's aides told her to.
DEAR GREG...: "Dear Greg, Your blog's OK but would be much better if occasionally you would show a picture of a street musician playing the accordion while dressed like a giant creepy rodent-type thing and staring menacingly at the camera. Thank you." Dear Reader, I would but where on Earth am I going to find something like that!? Please be a little more reasonable with your requests in the future.
Select other recent columns: UM Morally Right, But Will the Force (Majeure) Be With Them? LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami. Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Also: Richt Building Something Big & Something To Last. Dear Canton: Call Zach. Exploring Dolphins' QB Quandary. Farewell, Rubin. Beckham's Dream Becomes A Team. Appreciating Wayne Huizenga. When Victims Seize The Power. No Way to Escape Her Shame. Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It. Do We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, America. The Godfather Speaks. Jeter Betting On Jeter. Hope That Wasn't Goodbye. Wade Will End Where He Belongs. Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae Riback. Thank You, Edwin Pope.
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.