April 21, 2015

NFL schedule day: What is Dolphins' sexiest non-division home game? New poll. Vote now; plus Heat 1st-round pick, Tebow, Riley/LeBron, Mike Redmond, Fins draft verdict, favorite Tweets & more

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

No radio today: Not doing my regular Tuesday in-studio gig with the Dan LeBatard Show today because I'll be attending the Bob Dylan concert in Fort Lauderdale. I'll be on-air Thursday this week instead.  

1aa1aloveteeth1) It is TUESDAY, APRIL 21. Saw this window decal today. Somebody loves their dentist, their teeth or their devotion to dental hygiene to a rather bizarre degree. 2) Happy 89th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II. Let's do lunch soon. 3) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Pat Riley column, Dolphins draft poll, 4/20, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Latest Mayweather/Pacquiao odds: Via Bovada today, it's now Floyd Mayweather Jr. the favorite at 10-21 odds for their May 2 fight, with Manny Pacquiao at 17-10.

"If Tim Tebow makes the Eagles opening-day roster I'll walk from Miami to Gainesville pulling a 19th Century-style Conestoga covered wagon." --Greg Cote

Trust Riley ... except when he says he's made peace with LeBron: I trust Pat Riley to have the Heat winning big again. I trust him, period, except when he told me directly that he has "absolutely, yes" made peace with the way LeBron James left Miami. Click on In Riley We Trust for my latest column, off yesterday's Riley state-of-the-Heat postseason press conference.

NFL HAS 3-HOUR SCHEDULE SHOW TO TELL US WHAT IS ALREADY SUBSTANTIALLY KNOWN: If corporations can be a genius, the NFL is a genius. No sports league markets itself better. It used to be that the Super Bowl and the draft were the NFL's only national holidays. The draft grew to three days. 1aa1adolhelThen they began to televise the annual scouting combine. Now they televise the announcement of the regular-season schedule. Seriously. That's tonight at 8 p.m. on NFL Network. It's a three-hour show. Three hours! To announce something that is mostly already known! Every team and its fan already know who every 2015 opponent will be. Tonight simply sets the order, filling in exact dates and kickoff times. Big deal. Minor details. Dolphins fans, for example, already know that the five non-division home games will be vs. Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis and the New York Giants, and that the five non-division road games will be at Jacksonville, Philadelphia, San Diego, Tennessee and Washington. Dolfans also know that the six home-and-away series games vs. AFC East foes Buffalo, New England and New York Jets will include an Oct. 4 date vs. the Jets in London. That was supposed to be Miami's home game, meaning the the Fins will have only seven actual home games this year, and travel nine times. Anyway, I'm curious what to you is the sexiest non-division home game on this year's schedule -- the one you're most looking forward to. Vote and say why.

Poll result: Wide receiver should be Dolphins' No. 1 pick: We asked what position Miami should target in upcoming NFL Draft and you had it 44.7 percent for wide receiver, 22.0% cornerback and 13.8% linebacker. The other 19.5% voted "something else."

ARIZONA SWINGMAN PROJECTED AS HEAT FIRST-ROUND PICK: Arizona Wildcats' Stanley Johnson (pictured), a 6-7 small forward who also has played shooting guard, is projected as the Heat's first round 1aa1astanleyjohnsondraft pick (10th overall) by ESPN's Chad Ford in his latest mock draft. Ford's synopsis: "The Heat's future is very much up in the air this summer. Dwayne Wade, Goran Dragic and Luol Deng can opt out and Chris Bosh's health is still a major question mark. Drafting for need probably isn't the smartest move. Johnson would be a nice fit regardless of what the others do. He's one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft, can play the 2 and the 3 and he's a fierce competitor. He can back up both Wade and Deng if they come back, or take a starting role if one of them (likely Deng) decides to leave." My addendum: Wade isn't going anywhere, Heat is highly confident of re-signing Dragic and equally confident in Bosh's full recovery, although Deng departing is a possibility. Not as sure Johnson is NBA-ready. He turns 19 May 29.

1aa1amikeredMARLINS: RED'S LAST STAND?: Marlins manager Mike Redmond, "Red" to his friends, red-faced by a 3-10 start to the season, may be fighting for his job in the three-game series in Philadelphia starting tonight. After suffering a four-game sweep at the Mets, a three-game sweep by the lowly Phillies could doom Redmond. For me it's too soon to have any manager on a firing line, but owner Jeffrey Loria never has led the league in patience. The turnaround needs to start soon. Tonight, por favor? (By the way, Jack McKeon is 84 now. Don't go there!).

MY BIGGEST TWEETS OF PAST 12 MONTHS: I had a curiosity and a few minutes' free time so I researched my most popular Twitter entries of the past year, based on number of combined re-Tweets and times favorited listed as "total" below. Here are the Top 10 Tweets:

Total  Date         Subject synopsis

449    6-14-14    Why is great pass in soccer always a "lovely ball"?

362    2-19-15    No confirmation yet, but blood clot feared on Bosh lung

340    5-10-14    Michael Sam kisses boyfriend after drafted (photo)

269*  4-20-15    Pot smokers get baked on 4/20 ... and every other day (*-as of this a.m.)

211    7-1-14      Prideful World Cup run ends for U.S.

154     8-7-14     ESPN suspends LeBatard, his reaction 

154    2-19-15    Heat gets Dragic, Riley wins again

150    4-14-15    LeBatard vs. Cain Velasquez (video)

131    3-3-15      LeBatard wears horse's head (video)

127    4-7-15      Mocking backpack wearers (video)

Others topping 100: 122 on 6-20-14 for "Let's Goooo States!" (video); 111 on 2-24-15 for prosthetic nose day at LeBatard show (video); and 107 on 1-13-15 for Canes snap Duke's 41-game home win streak.

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March 10, 2015

Dirty Town: Suh, Whiteside make Miami new bad boy of sports, but situations are opposite. Is Hassan jeopardizing his Heat future? Poll. Vote!; plus Canes/FIU hoops, Heat/Panthers playoff chase (updated), analyzing Marlins future, Twitter & more

1aa1aangusyoung1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11. Thanks to the Tony Kornheiser Show for having us on the radio this morning to talk Ndamukong Suh, Hassan Whiteside and more. Always great being on with Tony! 2) Click on Rock The Blues Away to see and hear AC/DC's latest video. Love it when guys even older than me still rock hard! 3) Click on Bosh Back Home for my column earlier this week on Chris Bosh. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins land Suh with poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Signed, sealed, delivered: Dolphins announce 4 p.m. news conference today to make official the Ndamukong Suh signing.

1aa1agatorgolfUm, I think I'll just take a double bogey and move on...: This is not a doctored or fake photo. That is an actual, giant alligator on a green at Myakka Pines Golf Club this week in Englewood, Fla., just north of Palm Beach on the state's west coast. Fore!

PLAYOFF CHASE UPDATE: Heat/Panthers status entering Wednesday: A new daily blog feature as two teams fight to finish in top eight in Eastern Conference. HEAT--Trending even at 9th, 28-35 (L1), 1/2 game from 8th with 19 games left (next tonight vs. Brooklyn). Heat playoff likelihood: 28.5% (down 1.4) per Hollinger/ESPN. PANTHERS--Trending down at 9th, 29-37 (W1), 6 points from 8th with 16 games left (next Thursday vs. Winnipeg). Cats playoff likelihood: 4.4% (down 0.3) per sportsclubstats.com.

DIRTY TOWN: SUH, WHITESIDE PUT THE 'BAD BOY' IN MIAMI SPORTS: Dirty Town. A spanking new Dolphin, Ndamukong Suh, and a Heat player we'd never heard of before this season, Hassan Whiteside, combine to suddenly position Miami, for better or ill, as sports' new face of dirty play. It is interesting to me how the two teams (and perhaps their fan bases) view each player so differently, and how the two situations are so different. Some thoughts...

On Suh: He bothers quarterbacks and stops the run better than any defensive tackle in the NFL, but he


1aa1andamalso is unquestionably the most controversial player in the league for his on-field actions. His league fines for "player safety violations" approach $500,000 in five seasons. Last year alone he had 10 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. He might  "accidentally" step on your ankle. But is anybody worried? Nah. Not at all. The Fins know what they are getting in Suh, 28, and will happily take the tradeoff: The occasional dumb, needless penalty in exchange for overall excellence. The same Dolfans who once saw Suh as a villain now happily welcome him to town as the guy bringing their team needed bravado and "toughness."

On Whiteside: It's the opposite. Heat management is very concerned that Whiteside's immaturity and temper -- the reasons an athletic 7-footer was unwanted around the NBA and 1aa1ahassanavailable in the first place

-- may prove unmanageable and jeopardize his future here. (The poll below indicates how concerned Heat fans are, or aren't). Monday night the 25-year-old was ejected for the second time in five games and is suspended by the NBA from tonight's game. Whiteside has the potential to be a 15-point, 15-rebound guy, a dunking, shot-blocking savant who defends the rim like a lion defending her cubs. He could be a huge and hugely popular part of this team moving forward. But Miami needs to get his head straight. Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Alonzo Mourning, Juwan Howard, Udonis Haslem, Dwyane Wade -- if this excellent leadership and support system can't do it, then Hassan may be hopeless. The dumb fouls and ejections, the unreliability, shouldn't and won't be tolerated indefinitely.

Bottom line: We have here two guys clearly share anger management issues. But one, Suh, is so exceptional at what he does that the dark side is accepted as simply a part of his football DNA. The other, Whiteside, full of potential but still short on proof, is not so established that his behavior is accepted as a part of his game. The Dolphins' message to Suh: "Keep doin' what you do, big fella." The Heat's message to Whiteside: "Grow up. Fast."

Poll result: Most love Suh signing, but reservations, too: We asked how you felt about the Dolphins landing Ndamukong Suh and 54.3 percent said "great." Another 26.4% were pleased but think Miami is overspending. The other 19.3% were not pleased because the cost might short-change roster elsewhere.

CANES BASKETBALL BEGINS POSTSEASON: Miami's men's team faces Virginia Tech tonight at 9 in the first round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Should be a low-stress waltz. UM was 2-0 vs. Hokies this 1aa1ajimlseason by a combined 45-point margin. Canes if they win tonight would then face tough Notre Dame in second round Thursday. This week will determine whether the men of Jim Larranaga (pictured) will earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Upset loss tonight and there's no shot. Win tonight and then upset Notre Dame and an invite is all but assured. The anxious in-between will come if Miami wins tonight but then loses a close one to the Irish. That's what would turn Selection Sunday into a nail-biter for Canes fans.

FIU wins tourney opener: FIU's men opened play in the Conference USA Tournament today and beat Texas-San Antonio, 57-54, in Birmingham, Ala., led by Dennis Mavin's 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Not expected, considering G-Panthers had lost to UTSA by 11 in only regular season meeting. 

MARLINS' FUTURE: ESPN's periodic "futures rankings" are newly out for baseball, and the Marlins (surprisingly and disappointingly) are ranked only 23rd of 30 teams and fourth of five in the NL East in terms of how each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years based on five categories. (Story and 1aa1ajustinnicrankings here). Despite the unimpressive ranking, the accompanying synopsis is fairly upbeat: The overview (by Buster Olney) -- "Think about the ages of the players who form the core of this team: Giancarlo Stanton is 25, Marcell Ozuna is 24, Christian Yelich 23, Jose Fernandez 22 and Jarred Cosart is 24. This might be just the beginning of something that lasts." The dilemma (by Jim Bowden) -- "The Marlins need to find long-term answers at both first and third base. Perhaps at least one of those players could be a left-handed power hitter to better balance out their lineup." Impact prospect (by Keith Law) -- Lefty Justin Nicolino [pictured] doesn't miss bats, but he's one of the most efficient pitchers in all of baseball, throwing strikes and generating ground balls. He'll probably be a midseason call-up when the Marlins need a starter." 

THE SMALL DELIGHTS OF TWITTER: I like Twitter (@gregcote) and make a point of trying to click on as many new followers as possible because I'm curious about the backstory, the location, et cetera. I appreciate you all and am ceaselessly flattered. I also enjoy it when, 1aa1atwitter

1aa1ahaggardevery once in a while, a new follower will randomly jump out at me as I scan the daily list -- a notable name or perhaps the symbol for a verified account will catch my eye. Very recent examples of that, willy nilly: @SeriouslySusan is Susan Bennett, a voiceover artist who is the voice of Siri; and @kidfromkidnplay is Christopher Reid, half of the 1980s/early '90s hip-hop duo. And this new follower popped in Monday night, while I was at the Heat game: @merlehaggard. As a fan of old-school and outlaw country, I must tell you what a cheap thrill it was to see that Merle, a musical hero, follows little ol' me. Thank you, Mr. Haggard, and thanks to you all!

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May 20, 2014

G2: Heat 87, Indiana 83: Miami ties series as LeBron, Wade surge in 4Q; plus Hoosiers hate me, Heat Postseason MVP standings (updated) & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, MAY 21. It's (not) Radio Wednesday, after all. Not in-studio with the Dan Le Batard Show today because of flight delays returning from Indy. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Pacers Game 1, Heat most-disliked-opponent poll, NBA Game of Thrones, Canes baseball & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Instagram and Vine.

Click on LeBron And Wade To The Rescue for my column from Indy off last night's Heat's game 2 win. And see our postgame video just below.

G2: HEAT 87, PACERS 83: JAMES, WADE COMBINE FOR 22 IN 4TH TO LEAD RALLY: LeBron James and Dwyane combined for 22 of their 44 points in the fourth quarter to rally Miami to a series tying 87-83 win last night in Indy. They shot 9-for-12 in the fourth and scored the team's final 20 points in the last 7:51 of the game. Wade was 5-for-5 in the fourth. It was an amazing statement by the Heat's two best players, and just when absolutely needed. Honorable mention as well to Norris Cole, who scored 11 off the bench and served up some great late defense to cool off Lance Stephenson. And to Birdman Andersen, who had a team-best 12 rebounds. Original post: The Heat have not lost consecutive games in the playoffs since the 2012 conference finals, a span of 39 postseason games. Tonight in Indianapolis, Miami must keep that streak alive to avoid going down 2-0 1aa1aheatg2 1aa1aheatpacers2in these Eastern finals. The home team in this rivalry has won eight straight games and 13 of the past 15 -- another hurdle the Heat must overcome. "We understand the urgency of a response," as coach Erik Spoelstra put it. Said LeBron James: "You go in with the mindset that's it's must-win." Indiana's 107-96 victory in Game 1 Sunday was thorough, wire to wire. Tonight the Heat must be better across the board, but especially on the defensive end. Udonis Haslem starting place of Shane Battier will help there, and that in turn will allow LeBron to be a perimeter defender again and not expend energy battling David West. Another help. It'll take more than more intense urgency on defense, though. Miami must shoot much better on 3's than Sunday's abysmal 6-for-23. Must get more than Game 1's paltry four offensive rebounds. And must get to the free-throw line a lot more (that starts with LeBron and Dwyane Wade) to not repeat Indiana's absurd 37-15 FT advantage in Game 1. Expect LeBron to be in take-charge mode and lead an inspired Heat effort.

Heat Postseason MVP Standings (updated): We name 'Heat 3 Stars' after every playoff game and award points on 3-2-1 basis. From Heat-Pacers Game 2 tonight: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Norris Cole are 1-2-3. Updated standings through 11 playoff games, after tonight: LeBron James 26 points, Dwyane Wade 18, Chris Bosh 9, Ray Allen 7, Chris Andersen 2, Norris Cole 2, James Jones 2.

POSTGAME VIDEO: Heat beat writer Joseph "Goodie" Goodman and myself, the untelegenic guy on the right, discuss last night's Heat win: 

 

INDIANA HATES ME, LORD I CAN'T GO BACK THERE: My email in-box and Twitter feed has been engorged 1aa1alebronfatheadwith hundreds of angry messages in response to this column by me off Game 1. Actually it was in response to one paragraph low in the column, in which I refer to Pacers fans holding up large photos depicting LeBron James (pictured) and Dwyane Wade wearing pink bras. In addition Wade has a pacifier in his mouth and LeBron has a bow on his headband. I thought the bow lent the visual effect of an Aunt Jemima-style kerchief that seemed a bit racist to me. Not saying that was the intent, but for me it crossed a line. That was part of a column detour in which I discussed how rude Pacers fans can be when it comes to the Heat. (And I didn't even mention the 'F--- LeBron' T-shirts). Anyway, sensitive Indianapolisites have reacted as if I called their entire city racist, when my remark was limited to one particular questionable image. (I especially enjoyed a comically outraged, 1aa1amebowhuffing-and-puffing response in something called the 'Indy Sports Report'). Postscript: I have seen on Twitter that the Pacers folks in charge of the "G2 Zone," a dedicated section of rowdy fans where the image shown appeared, have ordered it not to be repeated at Game 2 tonight. And sure enough, I see the image nowhere in the crowd. Update: One of my haters in Indy posted the photo of me at left on Twitter. It's funny. Unlike many Pacers fans, I have a sense of humor. The photo is doctored, of course. The bow was added. However, that's actually my body. Further update: A Twitterer told me folks from this area don't like to be called Indianapolisites. They prefer to be called Hoosiers Whosiers.

Poll result: Pacers most disliked opponent: I think this is an in-the-moment result, at least the lopsidedness of it, but I asked, you answered and 57.4 percent called Indiana the Heat's most disliked opponent. New York Knicks came in second at 17.4% and then Chicago Bulls at 11.7%, with four other options splitting what was left.


1aa1aumpA GOOD DEED. BUT STILL WEIRD:
Major League Baseball umpires, in town for tonight's Marlins game, visited patients today at Miami Children's Hospital. I am trying to picture the look on a young patient's face when into his hospital room strides an umpire in full regalia. I'm guessing the look would be a cross between fright and bewilderment.

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September 26, 2013

LeBron's wristwatch costs more than a house-*; plus Dolphins/NFL W4 predix, Wade-Durant feud poll, Beinfest firing, Le Batard update & more

1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27. Today I'm at Random Evidence Laboratories conjuring Sunday's notes column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins, Marlins slammed in ESPN franchise rankings, Canes' 1,000 days of hell, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).

"Scientists estimate the sun will obliterate the Earth in 2.25 billion years. Appreciate the heads-up!" -- Greg Cote

1aa1lebwatchTHE SPLENDOR OF LEBRON JAMES' WRISTWATCH: I said in the main headline it costs more than a house. (*-OK, more than some houses). It costs $51,500. Not a lot for a house, granted. But a lot for a watch. Yet there was LeBron today in Miami at a lavish event to introduce his new limited line of wristwatches for Audemars Piguet, which I take it is better than Timex and Bulova combined. His line is called the "Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph" and it comes with an 18-karat pink-gold case, oversize Arabic numerals, a gray patterned dial and a crocodile strap. Sure you can spend less than 52K for a watch, but why would you!? Hurry, they only made 600 of these. Click HERE for the full story. The photo of the Heat's bon vivant is by Juan Fernando. The best part about LeBron's expensive, designer wristwatch? He can take one look at it and know instantly it's almost time to win another championship.

UPSET BIRD DAY: WEEK 4 PREDIX FOR DOLPHINS, NFL: A confession, Dolfans. I, aparently, am not a 1aa1fripixbeliever. (I think that might make me a heathen). I believe the Dolphins are much improved and pretty good, likely playoffs-good. I just don't believe they can outscore Drew Brees in the Superdome Monday night. Click on Week 4 Gems for my full predix capsules on Dolphins-Saints and every other game. And click on State Of the NFL for my Friday Page column, a by-the-numbers look at how many players every state college has in the league and who the best are. (My week got off to a good start last night. Had the 49ers winning and covering in St. Louis, and they did. Thank you, Frank Gore).

WADE/DURANT FEUD: REAL OR RUSE?: [Update: Wade said last night at a charity function that the feud is not a contrivance. Wait ... isn't that what you'd say even if it was? Hmm]. Most of you know by now that Kevin Durant said in an interview this week that James Harden should replace the Heat's Dwyane Wade in a Sports Illustrated top-10 list of 1aa1dwkdbest NBA players entering this coming season. Wade shot back on Twitter and Instagram saying he'll have to teach Durant some respect ... "again." Durant then replied, "Show me don't tweet me." It's interesting on the face of it because it's rare for one NBA star to call another one out, and Durant was all but saying Wade is overrated. But this little back and forth is even more interesting, to me, if it's fake as some suggest -- a social-media ruse, a setup for a new Gatorade commercial perhaps. I explore all of this in today's latest column, acknowledging the possibility it's fake but also the possibility it's real. Click on WADE VS. DURANT to read. (This is the updated version of the column, replacing the earlier version that unfortunately appears in print). I suggest the larger point that, either way, real or fake, this invites us to consider whether Wade, turning 32 in January, remains an elite/top-10 player, and to also consider his sensitivity to any doubts about that. Meantime, do you believe this feud is real or fake? Vote and say why.

ON LORIA'S FIRING OF BEINFEST: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria dropped the guillotine on president of 1aa1beinbaseball ops Larry Beinfest this afternoon, not the least bit surprising. Suspicious as I am of just about anything Loria does, I cannot say Beinfest (pictured) built a record over his 12 seasons to suggest the change is unwarranted. He deserves some credit for the 2003 championship and for drafting Jose Fernandez in 2011. Those are nice bookends. But there was an awful lot of failure and bad draft picks elsewhere. The problem now? Convincing ourselves Loria will A) make a smart hire to replace Beinfest, then B) stay the hell out of his way.

ESPN PRESS RELEASE INDICATES I'M GOING NATIONAL WITH LE BATARD: The Dan Le Batard Show goes national on ESPN Radio this Monday at 4 p.m. The show will air Monday-through-Friday from 3-4 p.m. 1aa1eradioonly on 790 and 104.3 The Ticket, and then 4-7 nationally (and still locally, of course). ESPN has removed 'with Stugotz' from the show's title, but he's still the intrepid co-host. An ESPN press release says, "Rotating guest co-hosts, including Bomani Jones and Greg Cote, will often join Le Batard and Stugotz to provide listeners with a slightly different experience every day." This is the first time my name has appeared in an official report not associated with the police. Being a "rotating guest co-host" sounds dizzying. ESPN Radio has 24 million listeners on 450 stations, numbers expected to decline immediately following every appearance by me. The Le Batard Show will have an after-party at Whiskey Tango on Monday following the national debut.

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September 05, 2013

It's Upset Bird Day in America! Dolphins, NFL Week 1 predix; plus Stephen Ross poll & more

1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6. I read that Le Batard from now on will hardly be writing for the Herald except when he wants to. Sort of like now. 2) Holed up today in the Random Evidence Dungeon concocting the Sunday notes column. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron's new TV show, debut of SOPY rankings, your grade on my fantasy team, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

Pick for FIU home opener: It's tonight. Not convinced Orlando's UCF is all that special, but looks like it doesn't take special to beat the '13 FIU Panthers. My pick: UCF, 37-17. 

UPSET BIRD DAY: WEEK 1 PICKS FOR DOLPHINS, NFL: The mayors of several prominent Miami-Dade cities have officially declared today Upset Bird Day. OK, no they haven't. But only because they're all in 1aa1birdujail. Today of course marks the start of my 23rd season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald. Click on Week 1 Gems for the complete game-by-game capsules, and on Sorry, Houston for my accompanying NFL column outlining my division-by-division forecast and Super Bowl pick. The Friday Page unfurls with good news and bad news for the Dolphins. Strange as it sounds, I have Miami losing its opener Sunday at Cleveland, yet making the playoffs as a wild-card. I split last night's Kickoff Weekend opener in Denver. I had the Broncos beating the Ravens, but not covering the 7.5-point line. Nobody likes a showoff, Peyton. Geez.

ON STEPHEN ROSS, HIS STADIUM AND MICHIGAN: I admire billionaires who are generous and philanthropic. Bill Gates shares his wealth; Donald Trump, not so much. Maybe that is why they are held in such different regard. In that spirit I applaud Dolphins owner Stephen Ross for his $200 million 1aa1rosssdonation this week to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, a record donation for the school. Cynics always go straight to "tax write-off." Fine. It's true that when the legalities are worked out this will end up costing him considerbaly less than 200M. But he's still donating a ton of money that he didn't have to. What interests me the most in this is that his donation comes just weeks after Ross fought so hard in a losing battle to gain public funding for about that same amount of money for renovations to Dolphins stadium. Hmm. Half of me still applauds Ross, but the other half wonders why he doesn't just pay for his own stadium improvements. He'd get the money back, after all, because a franchise with a modernized, Super Bowl-attracting stadium is more valuable than what he has right now. Anyway, the poll is food for thought. Vote and say why.

1aa1nevermoreUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 1 DAY: [From Thursday] The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages 1aa1birduthis week -- Sept. 6, tomorrow -- and we began a 10-day countdown honoring outstanding notable birds. Today, at 1 day, we save the best for last and shine a reverent light on the mystical Nevermore, the mysterious namesake from Edgar Allan Poe's classic 1845 narrative poem, The Raven. This was inevitable, of course. The Upset Bird finds his heroic inspiration, his very muse, in Poe's talking blackbird. One said, "Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore'." The other said, "Aawwk!" Different times, same idea.

Ravens-Broncos Thursday night pick: Make it Denver, 31-27 tonight, with Baltimore beating the 7 1/2-point line but not the opponent. Click HERE for our introductory and full predix capsule, a morsel of an appetizer for our Friday Page debut. [Broncos won, 49-27]

Thursday state FBS-school pick: FAU at East Carolina. My pick: East Carolina, 34-17. [EC won 31-13]

I'M NOW 'VERIFIED' ON TWITTER: There is no way to mention this as an oh-by-the-way aside or 1aa1verifiedmention it at all without it seeming like bragging, so I'll admit it was a surprise and mini-cheap thrill yesterday to see that little blue Verified Account checkmark magically appear beside my Twitter name @gregcote. Didn't seek it. Can't explain it. Not sure what it does. The one drawback: Much harder now to say something stupid and claim it wasn't me.

THE LIST: HURRICANES VS. GATORS: The Miami-Florida rivalry by decades:

Decade    UM record / Coaches

1930s    1-1 / Harding

1940s    4-5 / Harding, Dunn, Gustafson 

1950s    6-4 / Gustafson

1960s    5-5 / Gustafson, Tate

1970s    3-7 / Kichefski, Curci, Elliott, Selmer, Saban, Schnellenberger

1980s    5-3 / Schnellenberger, Johnson, Erickson

1990s    0-0 / Erickson, Davis

2000s    4-1 / Davis, Coker, Shannon

Totals    28-26

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May 03, 2013

Dion Jordan: Building a beast and brand; plus Bulls-Nets. Who'd give Heat tougher time? Poll. Vote!; also Susannah Collins, Tebow prank & more

1) It is SATURDAY, MAY 4. Happy quatro de Mayo! New blogpost coming later today. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat's preference for next round, Dolphins' biggest-need poll, NBA gay player backlash, Sad-O-Meter, glowing sheep. 3Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

LeBron to collect fourth MVP award on Sunday: ESPN citing "sources" in saying it'll be official on Sunday. ESPN sources also indicate the sun'll come up tomorrow.

Click on Waiting For A Game And A Challenge for my most recent column, on the Heat's long wait for a second-round oppoent that, either way, doesn't look too scary.

THE BUILDING (AND BRANDING) OF DION JORDAN: The Dolphins' No. 1 draft pick is missing this weekend's rookie camp as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but I use the occasion to share two things about Jordan I find interesting. 1. Building a Beast On the Field -- Jordan has trained with MMA legend Chuck Liddell and Fox 1aa1djordanSports' Jay Glazer (also a former fighter) on his aggressiveness and hand-work. Glazer has taught him to attack blockers with "hammer-fist" techniques. "Why would you not want to make it a bad day on that [blocker's] forearms," says Glazer. 2. Building a Brand Off the Field: Jordan enlisted Tallahassee-based public relations firm 180 Communications for "media training" to better tell his story and grow his profile in Miami. His training specialist, Elton Gumble, says Jordan's is "a story that could rival Michael Oher's Blindside for popularity." Jordan's mother lost custody due to drug addiction when he was 12, and at 17 he suffered burns on 40 percent of his body in an explosion when he and friends tried to siphon gas from one car to another in a buddy's garage by using a vaccum cleaner. ("Dumb idea," Jordan admits). Gumble sees his story as one of perseverence and overcoming odds, and thinks he'll be active locally working with burn victims and inner-city kids. Of course, it will take his becoming a star commensurate with the third overall pick to fully provide that forum. It'll be interesting to watch his potential -- on and off the field -- play out.

1aa1waitingBULLS OR NETS? WHO'D GIVE HEAT A BETTER SERIES?: I know, I know. Heat fans are supremely confident, and should be, and so the natural reaction is to harrumph and say what difference does it make because neither Brooklyn nor Chicago -- who play a Game 7 Saturday for the right to meet Miami -- will seriously challenge the Heat. Neverthless, one of them would give Miami a tougher time for whatever reasons. Which one? Vote and say why. (I know "Neither one" would win here; that's why it isn't a choice...)

THE STRANGE TALE OF SUSANNAH COLLINS: She's a Chicago hockey reporter fired this week by 1aa1collinssComcast for saying during  a live report in front of the Blackhawks dressing room that the Blackhawks had enjoyed "such a tremendous amount of sex during the regular season." Now, while that may be true, Collins (pictured) meant to say "success" and quickly corrected herself. The blooper (click here) went viral. But that isn't what got her fired, exactly. The misspeak going viral led to a probe of Collins' past that included some mildly risque sports videos done in 2009-10 as part of the Sports Nutz for Middlebrow Media. Click here for those. She'll be out of work for about a minute and a half.

TIM TEBOW TO THE DOLPHINS! WHY IS THIS GUY TAKING CREDIT FOR AN ABSURD RUMOR?: Miami New Times online has a story by a Ryan Yousefi headlined, "Tim Tebow to the Dolphins! How I 1aa1doltimTrolled Twitter Into Believing An Absurd Rumor." Two thoughts here. 1) It wasn't that asburd. What this guy Tweeted on Thursday found whatever traction it did largely because Tebow's own agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had said on WQAM the day before that he "wouldn't be shocked" if Miami showed interest. So the speculation already was out there. I'd been deflecting Tebow-to-the-Dolphins rumors and email inquiries from the moment the Jets cut him. 2) Sounding a false alarm on Twitter is so easy that any giggling adolescent with too much free time can do it. You Tweet, "OMG. [Famous Celebrity] just died!!" and chances are the celeb's name will soon be trending. This Tebow stunt, despite the bow for applause, hardly invented or perfected the art of Twitter pranking.

Poll result: Left tackle Dolphins' biggest need by far: We asked what Miami's biggest remaining need was, post-draft, and 68.0 percent voted left tackle, followed by 10.9% cornerback, 7.9% running back, 5.9% tight end and 1.0% linebacker. Another 6.3% voted "something else."

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

September 11, 2012

Dolphins home playoff game? Could be a circus!; plus Notre Dame joining ACC*, Romney, LeBron dials it up, G-Stanton, new SOPY rank & more

1aa1never[1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13. Honoring the almost 3,000 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the loved ones left behind. 'Never forget' doesn't mean just one day a year. 2) Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Oh no a political note!: In 2008 I thought the presidential election turned when John McCain named Sarah Palin his running mate. In 2012 I think the (much closer) election was decided when Mitt Romney stunningly mishandled his reaction to this tragedy in Libya. I am not saying I'm right, and reasonable people might disagree. It's just what I believe.

Click on Patience Is A Virtue, Remember? for the latest column by me. I explore the Dolphins' and Hurricanes' similar situations, both teams asking patience of fan bases grown tired of waiting for a resurgence.

DOLPHINS BOOK STADIUM DURING PLAYOFF TIME BUT SAY NO CONFLICT: Remember owner Stephen Ross recently saying he is "planning" on the Dolphins making the playoffs this season? He is also 1aa1cirqueplanning for the stadium to be making revenue whether they do or not. Word leaked to us that Cirque de Soleil has booked shows for its newest production, Totem, in the "Grand Chapiteau" at Sun Life Stadium from Jan. 10 through Feb. 3. The NFL playoffs begin the weekend of Jan. 5-6 and run into early February. Club spokesman Harvey Greene told us the "Grand Chapiteau" will be set up in a stadium parking lot. He acknowledged the possibility a Dolphins home playoff game and a Circque de Soleil show could be occuring at the same time but said, "The potential disruption would be very, very minimal." Of course the whole issue is likely moot because the Dolphins' playoff chances seem remote, but I find this interesting in the category of actions speaking louder than words. If this were the Patriots or Packers or any team whose owner honestly anticipated hosting home playoff game(s), I doubt very seriously a major three-week circus run would be booked concurrently. 

Dolphins' dismal opening game local-TV ratings: The latest evidence the Dolphins have work to do to regrow their fan base: Miami ranked last, 30th of 30, of all teams where an NFL game ranked No. 1 in local ratings during Kickoff Weekend. Miami's 13.5 rating was well below the next worst, Tampa's 17.5 Twenty-six of 30 markets topped a 20 rating. Pittsburgh led all with 50.3.  

NOTRE DAME PLANS TO JOIN ACC (WITH AN ASTERISK): The asterisk is that Notre Dame plans to join Miami's conference in every sport except football, beginning with the 2013-14 school year if all works out. But the plan is for ND to play five football games each year vs. ACC teams. UM plays Notre Dame this fall at Soldier Field in Chicago. The rivalry rekindling itself in some way is welcome news.

AWFUL AND UNLUCKY IS NO WAY TO START A SEASON: No, I am not talking about the Dolphins' or Hurricanes' weekend. Could be, but am not. Am talking about my own season-opening performances on my NFL picks (that's the awful part) and my fantasy team (that's the unlucky part). NFL predix: I'll own up here each week, good or bad. That's called transparency. I'll gloat when I can, so I won't hide when the weeks go sour. I went 7-9 overall and 5-11 vs. the spread in Week 1, and that's abysmal both ways. Only Brandon Weeden had a worse week than me. Oddly enough I hit a rare exact score on the Dolphins' 30-10 loss in Houston but too many other games crashed in on me. KC over Atlanta proved to be an awful Upset of the Week call, and I don't know what I was thinking with Buffs over Jets. I'll bounce back. Greg's Lobos: My fantasy team led into Monday night, got tied 133-133 on Sebastian Janikowski's kicking, and then lost our league tiebreaker, which is most quarterback points, by 27-26. Canes, Dolphins, then me. The lost weekend.

1aa1lebronkdLEBRON DIALS IT UP: Training camp begins in just a little over two weeks for the NBA defending champion Heat, but league MVP LeBron James isn't waiting. ESPN reports James and Thunder star Kevin Durant are currently working out in tandem near James' home in Akron, Ohio, just as they did last season. Among the myriad things to love about James is the idea he could be idling on auto-pilot right now but isn't. The best basketball player on Earth has a thirst to get better. That's scary. Good-scary.

STANTON. AGAIN: Giancarlo Stanton hit his 34th home run last night and saw his slugging percetage rise to a majors-leading .600. Imagine if he hadn't missed a month-plus injured? Stanton is The Reason To Still Be Watching. Only one Marlin has ever slugged .600-plus for a full season: Gary Sheffield (.624) in 1996.

Marlins' 2013 schedule: It's out today. Team wil open on the road then play an April 8-17 homestand vs. Braves, Phillies and Nationals. So the NL East pecking order will set itself right out the gate. 

Ozzie Guillen back on Twitter: Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is back on Twitter. He must be almost as bored with this season as most fans. What will Ozzie say? Will he fracture grammar in two langauages? If I have absolutely nothing to do I might actually visit his Twittering @OzzieGuillen.

SOPY RANKINGS (WEEK 2): MEDLOCK TO THE TOP: This college football season the blog debuts our weekly cumulative State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, encompassing the best seasons 1aa1jakemof any quarterback, running back or receiver from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida and FSU, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Some people already are calling our rankings the "Sunshine State Heisman." OK nobody is calling it that but me. Anyway, our formula awards one point per offensive yard gained running or receiving and a half-point per yard passing, plus six bonus points for touchdowns thrown or scored. After Week 2 it's one FIU star (Jake Medlock, pictured) replacing another atop our list. The SOPY Top 10 after Week 2:

Rank (LW)     Player, Team-pos.     SOPY Pts. Week=Year

1 (2)     Jake Medlock, FIU-qb     257.5 = 462.5

2 (4)     B.J. Daniels, South Florida-qb     232.5 = 392

3 (1)     Kedrick Rhodes, FIU-rb     57 = 314

4 (3)     Mike Gillislee, Florida-rb     98 = 258

5 (--)     Graham Wilbert, FAU-qb     161 = 253

6 (--)     Blake Bortles, UCF-qb     126.5 = 238.5

7 (6)     E.J. Manuel, FSU-qb     98.5 = 236.5 

8 (7)     Stephen Morris, Miami-qb     99 = 229

9 (--)     Andre Davis, South Florida-rec   203 = 216

10 (5)     Duke Johnson, Miami-rb     37 = 194

Bubble: Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb, 176.

State of the State rankings: 1. FSU (2-0); 2. Florida (2-0); 3. UCF (1-1); 4. South Florida (2-0); 5. Miami (1-1); 6. FIU (1-1); 7. FAU (1-1).

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

July 11, 2012

U.S. Olympians will lead world in funny hats; plus vote Heat's biggest free-agent addition (with poll); also Marlins, Dolphins & more

[It is THURSDAY, JULY 12. Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

U.S. OLYMPIC COMMITTEE LOSES MIND, OUTFITS AMERICAN ATHLETES WITH DORKY BERETS: At 1aa1beretssome point the USOC met to go over uniforms for the upcoming London Games, someone stood and said, "Let's have our athletes wear French berets that will be widely mocked," and the joking suggestion apparently was taken seriously and voted in, perhaps because everyone in the room was drunk. So this week the U.S. revealed Ralph Lauren-designed berets that 1aa1berets2American athletes will don (see right) during the opening and closing ceremonies and throughout the Games. A rule of thumb here is that nobody looks good in a beret. Not even the Green Berets 1aa1beretobamalook good in berets. Anyone wearing a beret looks like he should be driving a tiny Fiat while wearing a paisley ascot and smoking an elaborate pipe. I tried to think of headwear that might be even more embarrassing for U.S. athletes to wear and the only thing I could come up with was either those pointy green Robin Hood caps with the feather or the red plant pots the band Devo wore. Do I continue as a proud American hoping the U.S. kicks some serious Olympic a-- over there? Of course. Also I am very proud to not be wearing a beret.

1aa1allenrayPOLL: HEAT'S TOP FREE-AGENT ADDITION IS...: It's official. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis both signed with Miami today. Allen, 37 next week, is the 6-5 guard who is the NBA's all-time three-point shooter (pictured at today's introductory press conference conspicuously not wearing a beret). Lewis, 33 next month, is the 6-10 forward and two-time all-star who also can hit from the perimeter. Both will be major rotation players off the bench next season. The inclination is to think Allen is the more significant signing, but Lewis could play a very interesting role as well. Whose signing excites you more? Put another way, whose signing do you imagine will impact the Heat more favorably? Vote and say why.

A conversation with Dwyane Wade: Had a nice talk with the Heat's D-Wade yesterday about a variety of stuff. Click on Wade Reflects, Looks Forward for the resulting column. 

1aa1committeeMARLINS' CLOSER-BY-COMMITTEE: Manager Ozzie Guillen unsurprisingly revealed he would start the season's second half with a "closer by committee," a de facto demotion of Heath Bell. Expect Steve Cishek in the role initially (as I'd suggested in a Tuesday column), with maybe a dose of Juan Carlos Oviedo (when he returns from suspension) or Bell again if Cishek falters. Meantime Guillen's son Ozney Tweeted 'This [bleep]ing guy' after Bell's latest blown save on Sunday, prompting his father to say, "That's not his business." (It seems that the occasional placement of foot in mouth runs in the Guillen family...). Pictured: The Marlins' new Closer Committee holds its first meeting.

Showtime debuts 'The Franchise' starring Marlins: The one-hour premiere episode is tonight at 10. It will include some of the stuff already seen in a sneak preview, such as the Ozzie Guillen/Fidel Castro stuff. of more current interest: a testy office meeting between Guillen and embattled closer Heath Bell.

WORST ALL-STAR GAME EVER?: Almost, if you go just by the numbers. Last night's 8-0 win by the NL in Kansas City was the 83rd All-Star Game, and only two others have been bigger routs based on margin of runs. Those were the AL's 12-0 win in 1946 at Fenway Park, and the AL's 13-3 win in 1983 at Comiskey Park. Between the absence of any Marlins players and the uncompetitive game off a 5-0 first inning, I say no ASG has interested South Florida less.

Poll result: MMA edges boxing: In a result closer than I expected from our poll in the previous blogpost, mixed martial arts was the favorite over boxing by 39.2 percent to 36.4. Another 17.6 percent said they liked liked neither sport, and 6.8% said they liked both equally.

1aa1camwakeCAMERON WAKE, TOUR GUIDE: All-access and behind-the-scenes is all the rage, with Marlins on Showtime's The Franchise and Dolphins about to unfurl on HBO's Hard Knocks. Want more? Cameron Wake provides a tour of the Dolphins' locker room and facilities tonight at 7 on NFL Network. Click here for a one-minute preview.

WORLD'S WORST DAD: OK I'm going to go ahead and nominate this guy until somebody worse comes along.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

July 07, 2012

Marlins' Stanton sidelined til mid-August; plus how Miami won Ray Allen from Celtics, 'The Heat Effect,' Ochocinco live-Tweets wedding & more

[1) It is Monday, July 9. Hear Bruce Springsteen perform his heart-aching Independence Day on July 4 in Paris. 2) PR Disasters I Have Known: City of Hallandale Beach fires lifeguard who left his area to save drowning swimmer. 3) Photos of Tallulah Willis topless and smoking dope are evidently being shopped around. She's the 18-year-old offspring of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. Oh you rebel daughter you! 4) Twenty-Six Words You Didn't Know Existed. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1gstantonGIANCARLO STANTON OUT OF HOME RUN DERBY, ALL-STAR GAME: Stanton (pictured) left yesterday's Marlins game with continued soreness in his knee, underwent minor surgery today and will miss Monday's Home Run Derby and Tuesday's All-Star Game. More important, he will be lost to the Marlins for an estimated month to six weeks. The surgery was called successful. (Ever notice that teams never announce unsuccessful surgeries?) Stanton's absence will be a major blow to the team's effort to make up ground in the NL playoff chase.

HEAT LANDS FREE-AGENT RAY ALLEN: Ray Allen chose Miami yesterday over re-signing with Boston for nearly double the money, and the Heat is convinced the deciding factor was Miami's successful hard sell 1aa1allenheaton the concept of "family" with this club. That's why he accepted $6.3 million over two years here, when the Celtics were dangling $12 million. The family factor latter is not to be underestimated, as Allen's fractured relationship with Rajon Rondo is one reason he left Beantown. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra headed the local wooing party, and the three were later met by other Heat officials over dinner at downtown's pricey Il Gabbiano, where you cannot go wrong with the Costoletta alla Valdostana (chop stuffed with pate' foie gras, prosciutto and sauteed wild mushrooms) for $45.75. Stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade already had reached out to Allen, more of the welcoming family strategy that Miami thought gave it an edge. Wade on Wednesday Tweeted, 2Morrow is a big day for #HeatNation. James reTweeted that, adding, Absolutely!! #HeatNation Stand Up. James had earlier Tweeted, I hope so, in response to his son asking him if Allen would join the Heat, and also previously Tweeted a photo of Allen in a Heat uniform. Allen was Miami's main free-agent target. He'll be the top guard off the bench and a perimeter shooter from 3'sville. Riley is one of the NBA's great closers and proved it again. Appropriately, club owner Micky Arison announced Allen's decision by Tweeting, 'Welcome to the family, No. 20.' (He Tweeted from London, where he is attending Wimbledon's finals. It's good to be a billionaire!) Meanwhile Rashard Lewis and Marcus Camby are visiting the Heat this weekend and one (more likely Lewis) could still be signed.

'The Heat Effect': The success and popularity of the Heat has spurred the Dolphins and Marlins to a greater sense of urgency and to be bolder to grow their place in a sports market now dominated by the NBA team. I cite examples and explore in my latest column. Click on The Heat Effect.

MY WORLD: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEWSPAPER AND BLOG: I write a Sunday notes column called Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind, from which the name of this blog derives. Both that column and this blog aim to occasionally push envelopes with stuff a bit risque by mainstream-media standards. But I am reminded every week that certain stuff that's OK for this blog can't get in the newspaper. Here are two examples of punchlines I have tried and failed to get into my Sunday notes column: 1) Dennis Rodman says he wants to coach a topless women's basketball team at a New York City gentleman's club. Players need not be adept at dribbling, but bouncing is a plus. And 2) The University of North Dakota finally has agreed to drop its politically incorrect Fighting Sioux nickname deemed an offensive stereotype by Native Americans. The new nickname: Hard-Drinking Navajos.

1aa1chadwedOCHOCINCO LIVE-TWEETS WEDDING: (Or did that go without saying?) Dolphins receiver Chad Ochocinco -- four words that still seem strange together -- live-Tweeted from his July 4 wedding to reality-TV quasi-celeb Evelyn Lozada. They were wed in St. Martin in the Caribbean. Click here for the People account. Cameras were rolling (naturally) to document the nuptials for their upcoming VH1 reality serioes, Ev & Ocho. "I don't recall sending the butterflies in my stomach an invite," he Tweeted moments before the exchange of vows. (Wouldn't it have been great if Evelyn had then Tweeted, "Get off the damned cellphone!") Postscript: Also Wednesday, Ochocinco, displaying uncommon sanity, officially reverted to Chad Johnson again. Pictured: The happy and excessively publicized couple.

MARLINS MAKE STATEMENT WITH CARLOS LEE: [Update: Nice debut yesterday. Lee plays first, bats third, has double, single and run scored in 4-0 win] I like this. Feel badly for Gaby Sanchez, but feel good 1aa1cleethat the Marlins are buyers, not sellers as the trade deadline approaches. Means they haven't given up on this season, on now. Carlos Lee is past his prime, on the heavy side and relatively mediocre defensively at first base but remains a solid run producer and a clear upgrade over Sanchez and his season-long struggles. Lee's 975 RBIs since 2003 are the sixth-most among active players in that span, including 94 for Houston last season. That saddle-him-up-and-ride production is partly why he is nicknamed El Caballo, or "The Horse." Trading two prospects for Lee is another now-not-someday statement, and that's good, too.

Poll result: Romney edges Obama: Our blog poll was as close as I'd imagined. You can still vote (in the post just below this new one), but I finished counting chads and must declare Mitt Romney a narrow victor over Barack Obama, 51.2 percent to 48.8. Votes came in from 38 countries and 25 states. Just under half of all votes came from Florida, where Romney won with 52.8%. We'll have another, final presidential poll here just before Election Day. Poll analysis: Obama consistently led by a few percent until fairly late in the voting. Hmm. Makes me suspect organized Republican involvement to spread the word and swing the result. It's all good, though. Let freedom reign!

WHAT DOES THE FOURTH OF JULY MEAN?: I think to too many of us it's just a bonus day off, an 1aa1fireworks 1aa1amerexcuse to overeat, consume mass quantities of alcohol -- like Americans need an excuse for that -- and blow up fireworks. A party, in other words. But patriotism lives somewhere in there. Wife and I spent a few midday hours on Fort Lauderdale Beach yesterday and I was inspired by all the red, white and blue attire. (My favorite T-shirt bore the rather aggressive sentiment: America: Back to Back World War Champions!) Also sat and listened to a quaint band of mostly older folks in the shade of a tent playing patriotic tunes, and was impressed by the number of revelers who stopped to listen, even sing along, then warmly applaud. The moral of the story: One can be drunk and a patriot at the same time. After all, what's more American than multi-tasking!?

WORLD'S WORST MOTHER: Here is my candidate until a worse one comes along.

1aa1appleDEAR GREG...: "Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a photo of an apple that had been transmogrified into a world map. Thank you." Dear Reader: Don't be ridiculous!

Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this latest blogpost...

 

June 01, 2012

G3: Celtics 101, Heat 91: This was the one Boston was "supposed" to win

[1) It is Sunday, June 3. Nobody tell the Marlins. After a record-setting month for wins, maybe they'll think it's still May. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Note to readers: I find myself in Las Vegas, much to my boss' chagrin (ill-timed but long-planned), so timely updates on Game 3 would be sketchy. Up to y'all to carry the Comments section without me. Full Vegas report upon my prompt return. 

G3: CELTICS 101, HEAT 91: BOSTON RESPONDS AFTER CRUSHING DEFEAT? Expected. Still don't see Miami in much peril. Original post: It's a psychological study for Boston now as the Celtics tonight play the first of two straight at home in this NBA Eastern Conference 1aa1heatcelticsfinals, with Miami leading the best-of-seven series 2-0. Maybe Wednesday's 115-111 OT loss in Miami inspired the Celtics to believe they can play with and even beat the Heat. But maybe losing despite being in control for much of the game and despite 44 points from Rajon Rondo will tell the aging, deflated Celtics that even their best isn't good enough. This is the game Boston is "supposed" to win if it is to avoid a sweep -- just like Oklahoma City did at home vs. San Antonio in the West last night. But can the Celtics do the same? I'm not so sure. There could be some tired legs on the floor tonight after so many 40-minutes-plus performances in Game 2, and the Heat surely have the edge over the old Leprechauns in anything related to fatigue/endurance. This hasn't been as chippy as the Pacers series (yet, at least), but the underlying bad blood is evident. Paul Pierce and LeBron James have had some interesting, testy exchanges, and of course Kevin Garnett leads the NBA in annoying. No matter tonight's result, the climb for Boston is steep. Historically teams that are 2-0 in a best-of-seven have won the series 94.3 percent of the time (232-14), and that includes a perfect 7-0 record in playoff advances when the Heat are 2-0.

DUELING STRANGE LOCAL TWEETERS: Two of the people I follow on Twitter are local hip-hop legend Luther Campbell (@unclelukereal1) and ex-Dolphin Ricky Williams (@rickywilliams), and the reason is that 1aa1luke 1aa1rickyLuke (pictured left) tends to offer little doses of splendid paranoia and outrage, while Ricky (right) leans to nuggets of ethereal New Age philosophy. At times you're not sure what the hell either is talking about, which is half the fun. Here are perfectly representative, verbatim Tweets from each within minutes of each other yesterday: From Luke: 'Welcome to Miami Home of Bad politics Homes getting shot up Sobe don't want blacks Ppl eating faces off Dolphins Striptease weather girl'  And from Ricky: 'How many conclusions (about whats right, wrong, good or bad) r u coming 2 2 try n control everything n everybody so you never get 2 b free?'  Love these guys!

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...