February 15, 2015

The new Hot Button Top 10, with Marlins, Heat, NBA, Canes, Cats, NFL, cricket, Tiger, LLWS, racing; also, verdict on Loria, thanks Dr. J & more

1) It is SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15. Hope the ladies had a wonderful Valentine's Day! 2) Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Reconsidering Jeffery Loria poll, D-Wade on '50 Shades,' Ndamukong Suh verdict & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

HOT BUTTON FEB. 15: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is an expanded, updated version of what appears in the Sunday pulp editions. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. MARLINS: Miami awarded All-Star Game as spring training nears: As an improved Marlins team opens spring training in five days in Jupiter, MLB held a news conference here Friday to make official that Miami would host the 2017 All-Star Game. "We couldn’t be happier,” Marlins fans said. “Well ... unless of course Jeffrey Loria changed his mind about not selling the team."

2. HEAT: Wade sits as Bosh represents Heat in Sunday’s All-Star Game: Dwayne Wade rests his injured hamstring but Chris Bosh will play in tonight's NBA showcase of stars. Miserable New York and Brooklyn, a combined 31-74, are cohosts. Am surprised teams aren’t boycotting the game at Madison Square Garden for fear their players might catch whatever the Knicks have.

3. NBA: LaVine, Curry, Bosh top Saturday's All-Star Game undercard: Miami's Bosh (along with WNBA'er Swin Cash and legend Dominique Wilkins won the Shooting Stars event, Golden State's Stephen Curry won the 3-point contest and Minnesota's 19-year-old Zach LaVine won the Dunk contest. The latter answered the question, "Who the hell is Zach LaVine?"

4. HURRICANES: It’s the nexus of basketball, baseball and football: UM men’s basketball team tries to shake off an ill-timed slump and still make the NCAA Tournament. UM opened baseball season this weekend seeking to end a six-year College World Series drought. Football prepares for spring practice with heat on Al Golden. For all three, cue Queen and David Bowie’s "Under Pressure."

5. PANTHERS: Crunch time as Cats chase rare NHL playoff spot: Florida enters today's game only four points off playoff pace, chasing what would be only the fifth postseason berth in 21 franchise seasons, after 1996, ’97, 2000 and ’12. Not much margin of error from here, though, as each loss puts the Panthers closer to a phrase particularly apt in hockey: Thin ice.

6. NFL: Scouting Combine, major pre-draft event, begins: The weeklong talent show begins Tuesday in Indianapolis. And if you can't get enough of watching fat college linemen timed in the 40-yard dash, the NFL Network will have your all-excess pass.

7. CRICKET: World Cup under way in Australia, New Zealand: Yes, we DO have cricket in this week’s Top 10 as 14 nations are in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. The sport is very popular in parts of South Florida among residents from the West Indies. For others inclined to scoff, here’s your challenge: You can make fun of cricket, but wisecracks may not include the word “Jiminy.”

8. GOLF: Tiger Woods taking indefinite "break" from PGA Tour: This is bad news for the tour and for the upcoming Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. There go the TV ratings. Golf fans would rather watch Tiger take a break (or a nap) than watch other guys play golf.

9. YOUTH SPORTS: Chicago team stripped of Little League title: Chicago's Jackie Robinson West team was stripped of the U.S. championship it won at the Little League World Series for its coach using players not from its district. It's another reminder the only problem with youth sports is adults.

10. AUTO RACING: Daytona 500 begins the NASCAR schedule next Sunday: The swansong season for Jeff Gordon, with all its testiminials and ceremonial rocking chair gifts, is about to begin. The Gordon tributes haven’t even started yet and I’m already tired of them.

Poll result: Estimation of Loria improving, but still skews negative: We gave your four choices on how you feel about Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and results were: Very positive 25.6 percent, mildly positive 18.4%, mildly negative 25.9% and very negative 30.1. That made it negative over positive overall by 56-44%. [Note: There was a sudden surge in "very positive" votes yesterday, suggesting an organized effort by the Marlins, perhaps. Not enough, alas]. 

THANK YOU, DR. J: Julius Erving said something (click here) that I have thought but never said aloud. In 1aa1adunkmascotfact I've not heard it said or seen it written. "Dr. J" says the NBA All-Star Weekend's Slam-Dunk Contest, once an exciting, huge draw, has lost much of its appeal due to mascots. Yes, mascots. He means mascots (and non-mascot gymnasts) bouncing off mini-trampolines and acrobatically slam-dunking from above the rim as in-game entertainment (as pictured). Mere earth-bound mortals cannot duplicate that. No, not even Michael Jordan. Blake Griffin can sort of jump over the hood of a small car, but he still is not rising as high or majestically as a trampoline allows. The absence of top stars in the Slam-Dunk Contest also hurts (talking to you, LeBron), but Dr. J. is right. No more trampolines in NBA arenas!

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May 18, 2014

G1: Indiana 107, Heat 96: Pacers with a wire-to-wire win; plus what is Heat's most disliked opponent? Poll. Vote now!; also NBA Game of Thrones & more

NOTE TO READERS: You all know our blog has been largely disabled the past day-plus because of an attack on our host site, Typepad. That is why the number of comments is down. Anyway, we're back up, finally. Check back Tuesday morning for a new blogpost. We have much to say.

1) It is MONDAY, MAY 19. Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Heat-Pacers. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Pacers preview and prediction poll, Michael Jackson sings about Indiana & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Instagram and Vine.

Click on No Panic for my column from Indianapolis off the Heat's Game 1 loss.

G1: INDIANA 107, HEAT 96: PACERS WIN WIRE-TO-WIRE: Heat fans should not be real discouraged by this Game 1 loss. Miami in the big 3 era is 7-0 in the next game following a playoff loss of 11 or more points, and 4-0 in Game 2 following a series-opening loss. A win Tuesday night may be expected. The Heat can not play much worse than tonight. Miami went to the free-throw line 22 fewer times, shot 6-for-23 from 3-point range, played horrible defense and got next to nothing from Chris Bosh. Actually, Dwyane Wade (27 points), LeBron James (25) and Chris "Birdman" Andersen and Ray Allen off the bench were the only players who did anything for Miami. Expected a bounce-back in Game 2. Ajust-and-respond is what the Heat do. (Watch for my column off Game 1 posting online soon, and my Heat 3 Stars of the game here later tonight). Original post: Miami sets out today 1aa1aheatpacerstrying to be the first NBA team to win consecutive Eastern finals over the same opponent since Detroit 1aa1aheatg1(over Chicago) in 1989-90. Indiana made a point of the No. 1 seed and home court edge all season with Miami in mind. Now let's see if we get the team that had a 35-6 home record during the season or the Pacers who have gone only 3-4 in Indy in the postseason. It also will be interesting to see if Miami goes small at times, because Atlanta and Washington both had some success on 3-balls vs. Indiana inthe first two rounds. My series pick: Heat in six.

WHAT IS HEAT'S MOST DISLIKED OPPONENT?: What opponent should the Heat and Miami fans dislike most? Oh the candidates are many! Indiana must be considered not only because it is right upon us. I'd have have said that even before the Pacers' Lance Stephenson implied on Saturday he'd be trying to run Dwyane Wade into the ground in this series to exploit his knee issues. The Pacers were irritants even before that. But let us not forget how we felt just a week earlier about Paul Pierce and Brooklyn. Let's remember how much we love to boo Joakim Noah and Chicago. And, of course, Boston, New York and even Detroit are great rivals of long-standing in the love-to-hate-'em category. Heck, maybe Mark Cuban's Dallas even qualifies? Is there even a difference between "biggest rival" and "most disliked"? I'm not even sure. You decide. Don't be just in the moment. Factoring everything, history to present, what is the one Heat opponent you most dislike? Vote and say why.

Poll result: You like Heat over Pacers in six games: Overall, 84.5 percent of you picked Miami to win. The breakdown--Heat in 6 at 56.5%, in 5 at 16.6%, in 7 at 8.5% and in 4 at 2.7%. Indiana backers had it Pacers in 7 at 9.1%, in 6 at 4.8%, in 4 at 1.4% and in 5 at 0.2%.

GAME OF THRONES/NBA EDITION (WITH BOSH THE MAGIC DRAGON): I sort of think these parodies have run their course, but they still have a bit of entertainment value. In this latest one, LeBron says (ominously) to Pat Riley, "Dynasties must fall, Lord Riley." Chris Bosh plays a dragon. And Gregg Popovich plays a vampire. The usual.

 

REALLY, CANES BASEBALL?: Don't take this wrong, Miami Hurricanes baseball. Lova ya, Jim Morris. A 1aa1umregssnnice regular season is not nothing, and you all finished strong and deserve to feel good. But throwing CHAMPIONS around? Do that after you win the ACC Tournament, or better yet, after you win the College World Series. (I feel the same way when I see teams hanging CHAMPIONSHIP banners from the rafters or flagpoles based on division titles. C'mon, man!)

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February 20, 2013

War! UM vs. NCAA. Shalala vs. Emmert. Poll. Vote!; plus Heat make trade, FAU and prisons, Dolphins, Marlins, Lena Dunham, Ron Fraser & more

1aa1dunhamlena[1) It is THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21. My latest guilty pleasure is the HBO series 'Girls' and its star, Lena Dunham (pictured). The show is what we used to call a chick-flick and Lena is few guys' idea of classic-sexy, but I find both very appealing. 2) Giancarlo Stanton got beaned on the helmet by a fastball yesterday at spring training and walked away as if a marshmallow had hit him. That kid might be our biggest, strongest, most imposing pro athlete after LeBron James. 3) Thanks to ESPN for having us on Outside The Lines this week to discuss the UM/NCAA developments. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): "Hurricane Donna" Shalala blasts NCAA, Canes win again, Lil Wayne's war on Heat, Fixing NBA All-Star Weekend, Dolphins, yelling goats. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

My new column: NCAA buffoonery casts UM as sympathetic victim: Click on headline to access. Column is online and in Thursday's inky pulp editions.  

"HURRICANE DONNA" TAKES GLOVES OFF VS. NCAA, BUT WHO'S RIGHT?: U-Miami president Donna Shalala said, "We have suffered enough," after a 2-year NCAA investigation in the Nevin Shapiro case that led to significant self-imposed penalties such as a two-year football postseason ban. She calls for no 1aa1donna 1aa1donna2additional penalties and I agree, factoring in not only the self-imposed sanctions but the shady reputation of the accuser and the NCAA's own well-documented and major internal wrongdoing that tainted the investigation. These are extraordinary circumstances for which there is no template. But NCAA president Mark Emmert disagreed with Shalala and pushed forward with a Notice of Allegations that likely will result in yet-unknown additional sanctions. Who's right? I hestitated with this poll because I try not to post questions for which I think I know the answer. Then again, around 50 percent of our poll votes typically come from outside Florida; it isn't as if only Canes fans will be voting. There also is a fair argument on either side and some gray area. For example, though I agree with Shalala, I could see UM getting very minor added sanctions, perhaps. Anyway, cast your vote and say why you did.

HOT HEAT MAKE MINOR DEADLINE-DAY TRADE: Heat today traded reserve/D-League center Dexter Pittman and a 2013 second-round draft pick to Memphis for rights to center Ricky Sanchez, currently playing in Argentina. It's unlike Sanchez ever will play for Miami. Deal was done to open a roster spot for Heat to add a veteran big man, possibly Kenyon Martin. Meantime, the Heat played a home game in Atlanta last night based on what it sounded like, and Miami made it a season-best eight wins in a row, staying hot as play resumed after the break. LeBron James was held to only 24 points. The bum!

OWLCATRAZ: FAU ALIGNS WITH CONTROVERSIAL PRISON COMPANY: This might have been a feel- 1aa1geogood story: FAU selling naming rights to its Owls football stadium to GEO Group, a locally based company that privately runs prisons. It begged humor. Call the stadium Owlcatraz. Call coach-emeritus Howard Schnellenberger "The Warden." Put the cheerleaders in vertical stripes and the mascot in a county-issue orange jumpsuit. Stuff like that. The problem is GEO Group is controversial for abuses and treatment at its prisons, spawning outrage such as is reflected in the cartoon pictured. I have doubts whether this deal will stand because of the objection to it. I have doubts whether a public university should align itself with a notorious company that has the attention of human-rights and immigration-rights groups.

DOLPHINS ON FREE AGENCY, DRAFT: On free-agency: GM Jeff Ireland from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis today said re-signing DT Randy Starks was a priority, leaving the impression the franchise tag might be considered for him. He said team wants RB Reggie Bush back but at the right price. Said they want OT Jake Long back too but implied that injury concerns limit the price they'll pay. On the draft: Our fly-on-the-wall Dolphins front-office source (who will not appreciate being referred to as a fly) tells us Miami likely will not draft a receiver at No. 12 because the plan is to re-sign Brian Hartline and hard-pursue Mike Wallace in free agency. Mel Kiper and others keep pushing Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson but Dolphins consider him a project and want right-now impact. Offensive line is likelier with the top pick because the draft is very deep there and because chances of retaining Long are very iffy. Pass-rush help or a trade-down also are options being mulled.

ODDSMAKERS HAVE MARLINS SKIRTING 100-LOSS SEASON: Latest World Series odds via Bovada have Blue Jays the pick at 7-1, then Tigers 8-1, Dodgers and Nationals both 17-2 and Angels 9-1. Miami is 100-1, tied for next-to-last ahead of only the 200-1 Astros. Victory over/unders have Marlins at 63.5, a nice way of saying 98.5 losses. (Odds for upcoming World Baseball Classic have USA a 5-2 favorite, followed by Dominican Republic at 13-4 and Japan 7-2).

1aa1frasertribRON FRASER CELEBRATION OF LIFE: It'll be Saturday at the Knight Sports Complex on campus marking the great life of the former UM baseball coach who died last month at 79. The event is from 4-6 p.m. and free; doors open at 3. That night's 7 p.m. home baseball game vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee also will be in Ron's honor.

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January 21, 2013

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sing, sort of (with video); plus Jeff Ireland's big plans, Bro Bowl v. Ray Lewis SB poll, the private Ron Fraser & more

1aa1fraserronRon Fraser: Great Coach, Better Man: Longtime former Hurricanes baseball coach, who passed away Sunday at 79, was known for 30 years of winning and for a promotional sense that changed his sport. But his family would like to give you a glimpse of the husband, father and grandfather. Click on Great Coach, Better Man for my latest column, a final tribute to Fraser. Funeral arrangements, events: Visitation will be Sunday Jan. 27 from 10 to 6 at Stanfill Funeral Home, 10545 S. Dixie Hwy., Miami. Funeral Mass will be Monday Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, 5601 S. Flamingo Rd., Southwest Ranches. Private burial will be in Fraser's hometown of Nutley, NJ. Celebration of the Life is scheduled Feb. 23 on campus; details to come. That night's baseball game will be in his honor, with proceeds to a fund to build a bronze statue of Fraser outside stadium. Click HERE to donate to fund. Email UM's Rick Remmert (r.remmert@mia.edu) for more info.

[1) It is WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23. New blogpost coming by midday today. Oh boy! 2) Marlins Park bypassed for 2015 All-Star Game. Gee, can't imagine why baseball wouldn't want to reward a sweet guy like Jeffrey Loria! 3) Fourth Dolphin, DT Randy Starks, added to Pro Bowl, following DT Cameron Wake, G Richie Incognito and long-snapper John Denney. Only Wake originally chosen. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1karaokeHEY! IT'S KARAOKE WITH LEBRON AND D-WADE!: This happened at Shane Battier's second annual "Battioke" fundraiser at the Eden Roc Monday night. Click RIGHT HERE for a video of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on-stage performing. A very rhythmic LeBron does a faithful and surprisingly passable version of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You," then LBJ and Wade duet on a massacred rendition of Shai's "If I Ever Fall In Love," sung to a woman yanked from the crowd. Pictured: A headless LeBron in foreground, Wade with mic and woman who appears to be covering her ears but isn't -- though we wouldn't blame her. The video is 6 minutes. Seems longer. Enjoy!

DOLPHINS' IRELAND: WE WANT PLAYMAKERS, DISRUPTERS: Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland spoke with media yesterday from Senior Bowl in Alabama and made clear what the club's emphasis will be in the draft and free agency. "There's a gap between one and two in our division," he said. "We've got to find guys that are scoring touchdowns, and disrupt the passer on defense." Ireland did not rule out trading out of the No. 12 draft slot, admitted he was "polarizing" to many fans, and said of himself and coach Joe Philbin, "This is a big offseason for us. We understand that. We look forward to making some exciting new before too long."

49ERS-RAVENS SUPER BOWL: RAY LEWIS! BRO BOWL!: Every Super Bowl presents its obvious storylines that the national media will beat to death explore fully, but few SBs offer up two as distinct -- 1aa1lewisrayand legit -- 1aa1harbaughsas 49ers vs. Ravens. One is the historic "Bro Bowl" -- Har-Bowl? Super Baugh? -- between coaching brothers Jim and John Harbaugh. The other is the sure to be over-the-top emotion of a retiring Ray Lewis in the final game of his Hall of Fame career. These two stories probably are why most of you voted for Niners-Ravens as your preferred matchup from four choices in a recent poll of ours, with 47.3 percent. (That, or a simple dislike of the Patriots). But which is the bigger story? Bro Bowl? Or Lewis? That's for you to decide, right here. It's a close call nationally, I'd say. In Greater Miami I'd give the edge to Lewis because he's a former Hurricane and arguably The U's greatest alum ever to play in the NFL. But try to step back and make your pick from a national vantage. Which story interest you most? Or, put another way: Which story will America be most sick of after two weeks of incessant repetitive over-saturation? OK let's go. Vote and say why.

Super Bowl odds: Our friends at Bovada have set 49ers as 4-point favorites over Ravens but say about 60 percent of early action is falling to Baltimore, meaning the line likely will shrink a bit. MVP favorites are Colin Kaepernick 7-4, Joe Flacco 5-2, Ray Lewis 6-1 and Frank Gore 17-2.

PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION / MLK DAY: A thought-provoking juxtaposition this week as the second 1aa1mlkdayinauguration of President Barack Obama occured on the day the nation annually honored its greatest civil-rights icon. Martin Luther King Jr. marched and spoke and fought for basic equality, or at least some humane semblance of it. The election of our first black president always will stand as a symbol of America's progress toward that equality, and by extension as a victory for the cause to which King devoted his life. By the way, visit Memphis not for the barbecue or music or Graceland, but for the National Civil Rights Museum beside the Lorraine Motel where King was assassinated in 1968. I toured the NCRM a few months ago was profoundly moved. It is worth the trip.

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October 17, 2012

A-Rod to Marlins talk: Exciting? Ridiculous? Poll. Vote!; plus NFL predix, LeBron is Marvel-ous, Yanks are out, our shaky Super Bowl shot & more

[1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19. Dammit! I've misplaced my binder full of women! 2) You may still vote in our who's-next-on-Dolphins-Honor-Roll poll in blogpost directly below this new one. 3) Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Dorsey leads UM Hall inductees: Hurricanes announced seven 2013 inductees to UM Sports Hall of Fame, led by 1999-'02 champion QB Ken Dorsey. Others alphabetically: Ed Contreras (baseball, 1957-59); Bryan Gillooly (diving, 1994-98); Norm Parsons (golf coach, 1972-'12); Brett Romberg (football, 1999-'02); Don Soldinger (football assistant, 1984-88 & '95-'05); and Jay Tessmer (baseball, 1994-95).

A-ROD TO MARLINS? HEY, STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED. WELL, OK, MAYBE NOT: This first floated as an unnamed-source report on MLB.com this week, and ESPNNewYork.com seemed to lend it 1aa1arodsome credence. It grew from a supposed jocular chat between club presidents Jeffrey Loria and Randy Levine in which Loria said, "Alex is Mr. Miami. It would be great if he played here for us." And the Yanks prez supposedly cracked, "You can have him." Well, now there are reports of possible "serious trade talks in the offseason," and that A-Rod supposedly would welcome ending his career here. Predictably both teams have tried to quash the rumor. We'll see. But it's out there. Two overriding starting points: 1) A-Rod, at 37, is fast seeming like a has-been. His numbers have declined sharply for two years now, not just in the current postseason that finds him 3-for-28 and sporadically benched. He is 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts against righthanders, which is problematic only in that most pitchers are righthanders. 2) He has five years and $114 million left on his contract. If you're the Marlins you don't 1aa1arod1even entertain the possibility of a trade unless the talks start with NYY's willingness to eat all or most of that remaining deal and make it fiscally reasonable for Miami. The good side of this is that A-Rod plays third, a position of need, and that as a Miami guy -- Westminster Christian High, big donor to UM -- who happens to have 647 career homers, he would put fans in seats even in his career winter. The other good side is that if the Yanks are eager sellers, they'd likely accomodate the Marlins' strong desire to dump Heath Bell. So here is the question. Assuming the money stuff could be made to work, should Miami pursue getting Rodriguez? I know there are myriad variables, but the bottom line is: Would you like to see A-Rod as Marlin next year? Vote and say why.

Tigers oust Yanks, Cardinals in command: After rain last night, Tigers closed out Yankees today in a four-game SUH-WEEEP! in the ALCS. Cards up 3-1 on Giants in NLCS, with Game 5 tonight at 8 in St. Lou. Rooting interests: Tigers strong, ambivalence in the NL.

NFL PREDIX: LOCK OF WEEK: DOLPHINS WON'T LOSE!: Click on Week 7 Gems for all our latest NFL predictions. And on Early Playoff Glimpse for our Friday page column.

IT'S OFFICIAL: LEBRON IS MARVEL-OUS: 1aa1bronAfter a game in Atlanta and two in China the NBA champion Heat -- betting favorites to repeat -- made their preseason home debut last night (and won) just as Marvel Comics and ESPN The Magazine have teamed to bring you a one-time insert comic called, "LeBron James: King of the Rings." (The cover of the comic is pictured). Meanwhile new odds out from Bovada show LeBron a 9-5 favorite to win MVP honors again, followed by OKC's Kevin Durant at 15-4, then a sharp drop to LAL's Kobe Bryant at 12-1. Other betting favorites: Scoring--Durant an even 1-1; rookie--New Orleans' Anthony Davis at 19-10; rebounding--Minnesota's Kevin Love (before his injury) at 5-4; and assists--Boston's Rajon Rondo at 5-2.

Poll result: Offerdahl, Mercury favorites for next Honor Roll: In the previous blogpost we exclusively revealed the 10 names on the Dolphins' watch-list for the next Honor Roll induction and let you vote for up to three (you still may), and your frontunners were John Offerdahl (18.7 percent) and Mercury Morris (17.3%). O.J. McDuffie and Manny Fernandez tied for third at 13.1% with Sam Madison (10.9%) the only other man in double figures.

1aa1mulchDOLPHINS' BYE-WEEK FUN!: NFL teams spend their bye weeks doing good. But it isn't just a sham photo-op like Paul Ryan in an Ohio soup kitchen. They actually do do good. Like the Dolphins did this week refurbishing a local elementary school. Pictured: Coach Joe Philbin getting ready to lay a bag of mulch while tackle Jake Long appears to loom over him like a giant about to gape its maw and eat Philbin's head whole.

SOUTH FLORIDA GOES SUPER BOWLING: Finalists are in for the next two available Super Bowl host jobs (2016 and '17). It'll be Miami vs. San Francisco for the first one, and the loser vs. Houston for the second one. I don't like our chances. Unless Miami can arrange a spate of earthquakes I'd say San Fran must be seen as a big favorite for '16 because they'll be flaunting a new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara. And logic might have Houoston a fronturnner for '17 because they have a retractable-roof stadium and because we have hosted two SBs since Houston's most recent. Dolphin stadium will only have a realistic shot if Stephen Ross can squeeze $225 million from taxpayers for major renovations, and the ground for that doesn't seem real fertile.

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April 08, 2012

Marlins suspend Ozzie Guillen 5 games; enough to mollify or is damage done? (with poll); plus Sedano leaving 790, Panthers' Cup hopes & more

[1) It is Tuesday, April 10. WQAM suspends Sid Rosenberg one week following DUI arrest. Smart, right move. 2) NFL commish Roger Goodell surprises nobody by denying Saints appeal, upholding his own penalties in bounty case. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Sedano leaving 790: 790 The Ticket has just announced to its staff that morning-show fixture Jorge Sedano is leaving the station immediately to pursue TV opportuntities.

GUILLEN AND CASTRO: TEMPORARY MESS OR DAMAGE DONE?: It may or may not be a crisis to you. Trust me, it is to the Marlins. Unfiltered manager Ozzie Guillen told Time magazine's website he "loves" and 1aa1castroozzie"respects" the way Cuban oppressor Fidel Castro has remained in power so long -- and the club was so aghast it immediately released a statement calling Castro a "brutal dictator" and saying there was nothing there to respect. The club had Guillen on damage-control Saturday, offering an apology "if I hurt somebody's feelings" and clarifying that he is "against everything 100 percent the way this man treat his people for the last 60 years." You can't put smoke back in the cigar, though. The day-after mea culpa was not enough for some Marlins fans. The unrelentingly honest Guillen saying he loved and respected Castro may be a permament tattoo. The comments came just two days after Guillen said he gets drunk in his hotel room after every road game. Your manager officially qualifies as controversial when, among his week's comments, going on a local radio show and talking about participating in the bloody animal sacrifice of his Santeria religion only ranks No. 3. The poor Marlins. At a time when fans should be reveling in the new stadium and talking baseball, Guillen's embrace of Castro has dominated talk, at least among many Cuban fans. Today/Tuesday, Guillen will hold a stadium press conference to (try to) explain himself. I'll be there. I'm curious how you feel. The club is privately concerned about a demonstration outside the new ballpark before the next home game, and about lasting effects. How big a deal do you think the Guillen/Castro issue is? Vote and say why. And check back often to monitor the results. Very divergent opinions.

1aa1dwadeFace of the Heat: Dwyane Wade: In the second installment of our Face of the Franchise trilogy, Dwyane Wade dominates as your Heat choice, as expected, with 47.4 of the vote among nine poll choices. President Pat Riley edges LeBron James for runnerup, 24.9% to 21.2. Those Big 3 accounted for 93 percent of the total vote. The first part of our trilogy found manager Ozzie Guillen beating Hanley Ramirez for Face of the Marlins. Our trilogy will finish with the Face of the Dolphins. Watch for that poll soon.

BAD AND GOOD IN PANTHERS' PLAYOFFS ODDS: Panthers' odds of winning the Stanley Cup are set at 35-1, tied for last with Ottawa. But I see a silver lining that suggests to me Florida has as good a shot as anybody at a first-round upset. As a division champ the Cats have home-ice (4 of 7 games here) over New Jersey despite being the betting underdog, the teams split four season games, and the Devils, at 18-1, are tied for the longest title odds of any first-round favorite. (Our friends at Bovada also have Cats 35-1, but Devils only slightly less a longshot at 25-1).

WATSON JOINS PANTHEON OF FAMOUS BUBBAS: The jacket given The Masters champion still always reminds me of what Dad puts on every St. Patrick's Day for laughs; nevertheless, Bubba Watson stepped up onto a mighty echelon with Sunday's playoff triumph. Watson now slots second on my all-time list of Sporting Bubbas, after longtime NFL star Bubba Smith, the defensive end/bad actor. Watson should fire his agent if doesn't have an endorsement deal with the Bubba Gump restaurant chain within three months.

ON MARLINS, CANES BASEBALL: Quick thoughts. 1) Heath Bell's blown save Sunday was disappointing and a 1-3 start is a mini-downer, but Marlins fans should be encouraged by the starting pitching so far. 2) Congrats to Jim Morris for his Canes' home sweep of No. 3 North Carolina this weekend. UM will have a shot at the ACC title if it can figure a way to decipher nemesis Florida State.

1aa1eggsEASTER VIDEO FROM ME TO YOU: Spoiler alert. The talking eggs survive the boiling water so it's OK to watch, kids. Click here and enjoy.

THE LIST: HOME PLAYOFF GAMES FOR OUR  BIG FOUR PRO TEAMS: The Panthers on Friday will host their first playoff game in 12 years. All-time postseason home games for our Big Four pro teams:

Games     Team     Home record     Most recent

72     Heat     49-23     June 12, 2011

22     Dolphins     15-7     Jan. 4, 2009

17     Marlins     11-6     Oct. 23, 2003

16     Panthers     8-8     April 20, 2000

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March 01, 2012

It's the Marlinizing of America; plus Heat, UM women, Canes baseball, Saints' bounty, Al Golden, Tazer Ball & more

1aa1wiltc1) It is Sunday, March 4, two days after the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's historic 100-point game in 1962. 2) Click on March Marvelousness for my latest column, on South Florida's busiest, most varied sports month. 3) You may still vote in our Dolphins-RG3-QB poll in post directly below this new one. 4) Read about a 21-year-old woman who eats sponges and bars of soap here. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

1aa1peteylomoMARLINS TAKING OVER AMERICA! More than 40,000 at FanFest in the new ballpark Saturday. That's impressive. The Miami Marlins could only be bigger, hotter and more in the news now if they signed LeBron James to play first base. The latest evidence: The Petey & Lomo Show, a web-based reality show hosted by sbnation.com starring Marlins outfielders Logan Morrison and Bryan Peterson. The premiere epsiode is titled "The Dirty V's," in which our fun lovin', crazy bachelor heroes form a two-man biker gang on Vespa motorscooters. Click The Dirty V's to watch the episode. I did. It's harmless, fun stuff crammed into a fast four minutes, although I was left to hope the guys don't quit their day jobs just yet in hellbent pursuit of a future in cinema. The Petey & LoMo Show debuts the same week manager Ozzie Guillen and new shortstop Jose Reyes adorn the cover of Sports Illustrated under the banner, "Marlinsanity." New colors, new name, new logo, new ballpark. Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Carlos Zambrano, Mark Buerhle, Heath Bell, Mike Stanton and ... wait. Sorry. Almost forgot. Mike is going by Giancarlo Stanton now. And of course all of the characters under the big top will be featured as the Marlins star this summer in Showtime's reality series, The Franchise. Is this going to be a fun ride or what? Now all they have to do is live up to the rampaging hype and win. A lot.

BLACK FRIDAY FOR HEAT, UM WOMEN, CANES BASEBALL: Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Heat see nine-game winning streak end in Utah. Hurricanes women stunned by Wake Forest in opener of ACC basketball tournament. And UM baseball loses to top-ranked Florida for ninth time in a row. Get here, Sunday. Special note on the Heat loss: LeBron James had a great game but passed on taking the final shot, instead dishing to Udonis Haslem, who missed. Get off LeBron's back, critics. If U sinks that shot, James is a selfless hero. Because U missed it, what, he's a choker? No. Dwyane Wade's two late fouls and missed free throw cost Miami this game in the final minute, not James not taking the last shot.

1aa1lbjdwWELCOME BACK, LEBRON AND DWYANE: Stayed up 'til 1:30 this morning watching the Heat win at Portland, 107-93, in first game back after all-star break. Glad I did. What a show by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combing for 71 points as team cruised to ninth straight even without Chris Bosh, who was away because his grandmother had died. LeBron scored 38 with 11 rebounds, six assists and five steals, and D-Wade added 33 points and 10 assists. Pretty awesome combo platter. Afterward (see right) LeBron happily photobombed Wade's postgame TV interview.

GOTCHA! NFL NABS SAINTS FOR BOUNTY: The past three years the New Orleans Saints have had an illegal bounty program in which defensive players were paid for hits that injured opponents. I cannot overemphasize how serious I think the NFL will take this. I believe the forthcoming penalties and sanctions will be severe, including major fines and significant forfeited draft picks. Watch and see.

GOLDEN, CANES DISCUSS SPRING PRACTICE: Canes open spring practice Saturday. The big news is the surgery that will shelve QB Stephen Morris this spring. Click here to hear coach Al Golden and some of his players discuss the coming weeks of offseason prepartion.

STUDY PROJECTS MARLINS DEFENSE WORST IN MLB: The annual Fielding Bible meticulously studies and ranks every team based on a formula for Defensive Runs Saved, and has the Marlins a dead-last 30th place for 2012 with minus-30 runs. (Tampa Bay is first with plus-42). The Marlins also were last in 2011 with five starters -- C John Buck, SS Hanley Ramirez, 3B Greg Dobbs, LF Logan Morrison and CF Chris Coghlan -- all ranked among the worst at their position.

FORK TIME FOR CANES MEN'S BASKETBALL: No more pretending, OK? UM's loss to North Carolina State knocked the Hurricanes' chances of an NCAA Tournament invitation from slim to rice-paper thin. The Canes in Jim Larranaga's first season have been what teams that end up in the NIT tend to be: Capable of flashes of brilliance, but not with any consistency.

1aa1utb2ULTIMATE TAZER BALL: Friends Leif Kellenberger, Erik Wunsch and Eric Prumm have invented a sport called 1aa1utbUltimate Tazer Ball. It has elements of rugby and soccer and involves a large medicine ball. Oh, and players all carry stun guns and are allowed to taze the person carrying the ball. I only wish I were making this up. Click here to be dumbfounded by the tale, or visit their website to see an utterly ridiculous idea given the imprimatur of legitimacy by slick packaging. As for the three friends who dreamed this up, you might call them entrepreneurs or you might call them daring. I think I might call them idiots.

1aa1hardhatHARDHAT DORK FACTOR: Nobody looks dorkier wearing a construction hardhat than someone wearing one for the first time, like a millionaire or 1aa1barackhardhatCEO at a groundbreaking ceremony, a president of the United States, or a sports columnist. Come to think of it everybody looks dorky in a hardhat, and that certainly includes me, with the proof submitted at right. Recently went on a guided tour of the new Marlins Park (for a future column) and had to wear it. The hat I could at least understand. The fluorescent yellow vest, not so much.

TIGER TERSE AND TESTY: Click here to watch and hear Tiger Woods being annoyed by a line of questioning Wednesday at the Honda Classic up in Palm Beach.

1aa1queenTHE MAGIC OF ROYALTY: Have you ever noticed that the Queen of England performing the simplest of tasks such as exiting a car takes on the gravitus of a great endeavor and momentous occasion? Yeah me too!

1aa1jlovmagDEAR GREG...: "Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show Jennifer Lopez posing for a magazine cover wearing a rather obscenely bulging protective cup like boxers wear under their trunks. Thank you." Dear Reader: C'mon. J-Lo would never pose in such attire. (Click on image to enlarge for full effect).

THE LIST: MONKEES GREATEST HITS: In honor of Davy Jones on his recent passing, The Monkees' top 10 biggest songs based on Billboard Hot 100 chart peak:

Peak   Song (Year)

1   Last Train To Clarksville (1966)

1   I'm A Believer (1966)

1   Daydream Believer (1967)

2   A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You (1967)

3   Valleri (1967)

3   Pleasant Valley Sunday (1967)

11   Words (1967)

19   D.W. Washburn (1967)

20   Stepping Stone (1966)

20   That Was Then, This Is Now (1984)

Note: I'm A Believer and A Little Bit Me, A little Bit You were written by Neil Diamond. 

Click back. Likely will be updating and adding to this latest blogpost...

February 17, 2012

LeBron James talks too much; plus Ron Fraser, Dolphins, naked sock thief & more

[1) R.I.P. Gary Carter, Hall of Fame catcher, taken by brain cancer at age 57. 2) You may still vote in our Jeremy Lin poll in blogpost directly below this one. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

RETURN TO CLEVELAND? LEBRON TALKS TOO MUCH: And don't get me wrong. Usually I love that absence of an internal editor in the Heat's LeBron James. He has a carefree, almost innocent honesty about him that usually is refreshing. Like when he was so genuinely excited about the Big 3 era that he bodaciously counted championships as, "Not one, 1aa1jameslnot two..." Or like when he sees Blake Griffin monstah-dunk over Kendricks Perkins and Tweets about it with a fan's delight. But there are other times -- like now -- when you wish not every bit of candor inside LeBron was allowed to get out and run free. 'LEBRON DOES NOT RULE OUT RETURN TO CLEVELAND' is the national headline now, and I would make two points: 1) Would Cleveland want him back? A year ago Cleveland would have scoffed indignantly (if cities could scoff). We'll be able to gauge Cavs fans' current level of animus toward LeBron when Miami plays in Cleveland tonight, but I suspect he is still seen as a traitor by most there, and that his bridge with owner Dan Gilbert has burned -- making what James said not only ill-advised, but almost stunningly presumptuous and perhaps moot. 2) Publicly mulling over your next move leaves the impression Miami is just a temporary stop to you. LeBron, Heat fans want to believe you will end your career here and help win multiple championships, not that you might opt out and leave in two years. Your comments underline every Heat fan's concern that the Big 3 is something temporary, something fragile. Your comments also seem to imply you are less than thrilled with Miami, even if that is not the case. [Update: Today, in Cleveland, LeBron backtracked. But not really. "I answered truthfully," he said. "But it's all about this season for me and playing for the Miami Heat and trying to win a championship. The fans in Miami shouldn't be woried about anything at this point." At this point!]. More dunk-ee, LeBron, less talk-ee.

1aa1fraserrREMEMBERING RON FRASER 20 YEARS LATER: Led by coach Jim Morris and the compelling comeback of ace pitcher Eric Erickson, UM tonight begins its 20th season since the retirement of iconic coach Ron Fraser. That anniversary was all the excuse I needed to make my latest column a fond remembrance of Fraser (pictured), who is now 78 and battling health issues. Click on An Ode to The Wizard for that column. A statue of Fraser in front of the stadium is in the works. I'd say the stadium itself should be named for the one man without whom there would be no stadium. (Minor correction: I wrote in the column that Fraser's championships were in 1982 and '84. The second was in 1985, of course. I know better. I was there).

DOLPHINS COACHES OPTIMISTIC: New Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and defensive chief Kevin Coyle are optimistic and like what they see of the team's direction. That's fantastic. I will pay, from my own pocket, the first newly hired coach in any sport who publicly expresses pessimism. I want to see the headline, 'Sherman, Coyle doubt team's direction.' Or, 'Dolphins' new coordinators not hopeful.' By the way, new coach Joe Philbin has 21 assistant coaches on his staff. Lot of specialists there. I think the backup long snapper has his own coach. Speaking of the Dolphins, here is today's Extraneous Peyton Manning Update: Colts and Manning have begun negotiations for him to possibly remain in Indy. Superfluous updates as warranted. 

1aa1nakedwalmartLARGE AND NAKED IN WAL-MART: A 6-4, 300-pound man (pictured right) stripped naked, sauntered into an Exton, Pa., Wal-Mart, donned a pair of stolen socks and continued to wander the store until being Tasered by police. Click here for the surveillance video. Seriously, though. Haven't we all done that?

Click back. Will be adding a slew more to this latest blogpost...

March 03, 2011

Panic! Heat blow another one, lose 4th straight; plus odds on Dolphins/UM title hopes, Serena, BYU, Ronald McDonald, sad ashtrays & more

[Twitter.com/gregcote]

1aa1eriksHEAT'S WORST STRETCH OF SEASON CONTINUES: Miami lost its fourth straight game today/Sunday, at home, to Chicago, squandering a 12-point lead and losing by one. That was on the heel of the blown 24-point lead vs. Orlando and then the 30-point road loss to San Antonio. Miami had two go-ahead shots in the final 10 seconds, by the shooters they wanted, but LeBron James missed a layup in traffic and then Dwyane Wade missed a buzzer-beating endline jumper. This is bad. The Heat's inability both to hold leads and to close games has become an issue, especially when one fathoms that Miami has two of the best closers in the league in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. You know how James and Wade are supposed to be able to "take over a game" when needed? Not lately. No answers instead. Now Miami has lost four of its past five (three straight at home), and is 12-18 vs. teams with winning records. Oy. This stretch brings out all the big questions, such as who should have the ball at the end of games. This kind of stretch also feeds those who dream that Pat Riley might still swoop in and snatch the whistle from Erik Spoelstra. If the Heat is a championship team, the proving needs to start. Because the doubts certainly have, and they're growing.

U-PICK-A-POLL: What's the next good poll for the blog? You decide. Email your suggestions to gcote@miamiherald.com and whichever one I receive today/Saturday and like the best will appear here this weekend.

1aa1longshot ODDS ON DOLPHINS AND UM TITLE SHOTS: Sit down, Dolfans and Canes fans. Brace yourselves. Our buddy Danny Sheridan, the great handicapper whose work appears in USA Today, tells us the Dolphins are right now 100-1 longshots to win the coming Super Bowl (presuming there is a season) -- and that Miami's Hurricanes are the same 100-1 to win the BCS title. Danny also says it is "better than 50-50" right now that the NFL regular season will be shorter than 16 games stemming from the ongoing labor strife and pending lockout.   

SERENA WILLIAMS, JIM MORRIS AND REAL LIFE: I poke fun at tennis star Serena Williams plenty, but was concerned to hear she had suffered a pulmonary embolism in her lung that required emergency surgery, and I wish her well. She'll miss the upcoming Key Biscayne tournament, a major blow to the event. Best wishes likewise go to UM baseball coach Jim Morris as he recovers from complications following gall-bladder surgery. He already has missed several games and will miss this weekend's big series at Florida. We don't associate our sports figures with everyday health scares. It isn't a bad thing to be reminded they bleed like the rest of us.

1aa1brandond CHASTE BYU PARTIES LIKE IT'S 1899: No. 3-ranked Brigham Young's March Madness Final Four hopes endure a huge blow with the sudden dismissal from the team of 6-9 leading rebounder Brandon Davies (pictured). Was he arrested? Involved in a cheating scandal? Caught with drugs? Nah. He had sex with his girlfriend ... premarital sex! Oh my. That's against the Mormon honor code at BYU, so goodbye, Brandon. Gee, what century is this? And organized religion wonders why church attendance dwindles. I'm not arguing the dismissal; rules are rules and Davies knew them. I'm arguing the puritanical code. Can you imagine if it applied to every college? The only teams left with enough players to field a team would be BYU and a pickup squad from the Vatican.

1aa1boshgiraffe 1aa1crown HEAT KING-O-METER UPDATE: Latest update on our unpopular King-o-Meter, tracking which of Heat's would-be Kings is having the better overall season. This is after 61 games through last night's meltdown vs. Orlando: LeBron James leading Dwyane Wade by 3,558.34 King points to 3,212.66 in our cumulative ranking factoring 10 statistical categories. However Wade leads in games led, 31-30. (Regular updates here in the blog whenever you see the crown symbol pictured). Heat Bonus: A photo of Chris Bosh posing with a baby giraffe named Mainard in a new Got Milk? ad.

TOMMY BOOHAMA: Tommy Bahama, the overpriced "tropical lifestyle" clothing line, has announced limited-edition shirts featuring seven MLB teams -- Astros, Giants, Mets, Padres, Rays, Twins and White Sox -- plus a Brooklyn Dodgers throwback. Geez, did they draw those teams out of a hat? Twins? Dear Tommy: The most tropically located team in baseball plays in South Florida, where Jimmy Buffett grew a natural brand of the lifestyle and look you ripped off. You could look it up. [Speaking of Marlins, just saw some over/unders on wins for NL East. It's Phillies 97.5, Braves 87.5, Marlins 82.5, Mets 77.5 and Nats 72.5].

1aa1ronald5 1aa1ronald4 RONALD McDONALD DEAD AT 48: Well, no he isn't but he might as well be. After nearly a half-century as McDonald's advertising mascot, the creepy clown's descent continues as the company's remaking of its image leaves Ronald behind. McDonald's re-branding moves from an emphasis on Big Macs and high-fat foods to an upscale emphasis on salads and designer coffees ... and guess who's the odd man out? Has it been difficult? Judge for yourself. Photos don't lie. The downward spiral has been tough for Ronald, now drinking, womanizing and drug-addled -- the Charlie Sheen of fast-food icons.

1aa1carsmoke SAD STATE OF THE CAR ASHTRAY: Is there a more pointless accoutrement in the motor vehicle? They sit pristinely unused, lonely and privately mocked by other members of the molded-plastic kingdom. This is because cigarette smokers, modern lepers, are a diminishing breed, and not nearly enough cigars and joints are being puffed in transit to make up the slack. (While the rarest breed, pipe smokers, imperially haul ashes in their own compact bowl). And I have noticed that most people who do smoke in their cars seem likely to simply extend arm out open window and rudely litter the roadway with their spent ashes. You know who you are, asses. Use your asstray!

1aa1hello Click back. Might be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...

August 16, 2010

Udonis Haslem's pot bust (with poll); plus LeBron on eventual return to Cavs, Gator Capgate, OB Classic's new sponsor, designer chainsaws & more

[It's LIVE CHAT WEDNESDAY! Click HERE to join us today from noon to 1 p.m. or to post questions early. Also, join the following at Twitter.com/gregcote. Note: See the "PS1: Tampa Bay at Dolphins" post directly below this to comment specifically about Saturday night's preseason opener].

1aahaslem UDONIS' EVENTFUL SUNDAY DRIVE: Florida Highway Patrol stopped Heat veteran Udonis Haslem for speeding on Sunday. Also, for weeding. The apparent distinctive aroma of marijuana emanating from the vehicle led cops to arrest Haslem and a friend and charge both with possession of pot -- although Haslem was cited for having more than 20 grams, a third-degree felony. I'm curious what you all think. Hence, the poll below. Me? Because marijuana use is common throughout the NBA (the commissioner should be Cheech & Chong), the idea that Udonis might smoke doesn't surprise me. Disappointing? Yeah. Especially that he (apparently/allegedly) would drive under the influence. Also, he's a respected veteran and team leader, not some flaky kid-rookie like Michael Beasley. But I think Udonis has built a good enough name to withstand this. I also think there's more to this yet to come out. Already, Haslem's friend has said the pot was his, leading the player's attorney to claim his client will be vindicated. [Monday night update: Haslem released a statement saying, "I am confident that once the judicial process runs its course, I will be cleared.”] Your thoughts welcome.

"I'M-A TAKE MY TALENTS TO SOUTH BEACH" -- THE VIDEO: Click here for a worthwhile new vid by DJ Steve Porter for ESPN's SportsNation show, a montage of sports clips to a hip-hoppy vibe. Good dose of LeBron James and his famous line from "The Decision." D-Wade with some facetime, too. [Tuesday afternoon update: Piece on LeBron in the September GQ (click here) in which King does not rule out ending his career back in Cleveland, post-Heat. Meantime he says Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's infamous decision-night open letter gives him fuel. High octane].

UM BASEBALL DOESN'T PLAY, LOSES: I was down at UM Tuesday to interview Randy Shannon and bumped into Jim Morris, the baseball coach. He was lamenting losing five top recruits to MLB contracts on deadline-day for them to sign. Thought he had a shot at all five, but they followed the money. "We could have been the Miami Heat," he told me, half-kiddingly, "Instead we're the Cleveland Cavaliers." : .

1aaflacap GATOR CAPGATE: Reporter fired for wearing Gators ballcap (she's an alum) to an opposing school's football press conference. She's Renee Gork, fired by Hog Sports Radio two days after wearing her UF chapeau to an Arkansas media session at which coach Bobby Petrino glared and said he'd not answer any more questions from someone in an enemy hat. My scorecard: Reporter was mildly unprofessional for wearing the hat. Coach was OK to say what he did kiddingly, but not mean it. Radio station was was out of bounds for thinking this a firing offense. (Pictured left: A scene from the press conference, minus Gork and the press conference).

1aadiscover OB CLASSIC ALIGNING WITH DISCOVER CARD: After two decades as the FedEx Orange Bowl Classic, the annual college football bowl game's new title sponsor will be Discover Card, according to a CNBC report today. You know I hate corporate sponsors in stadium, arena and event names and don't use them in columns. Discover Card strikes me as a B-list alignment. It's fourth-banana in its field behind American Express, Visa and MasterCard, and its previous most prominent sponsorships have been with the second-tier Arena Football League and WNBA.

DUSTIN JOHNSON'S BRAIN FART: Dustin Johnson gave away the PGA Championship yesterday because of a two-stroke penalty for touching the blade of his club on a sand trap prior to striking the ball. Now golf is full of sometimes maddening persnickety rules, and this might be one, but Johnson blew it here. Wasn't the PGA Tour's fault. Wasn't the fault of officials on the course. It was the player's fault. Period.

1aachainsaw FOR THE HIGH-FASHION LUMBERJACK?: It has come to my attention that companies once associated only with pricey high fashion are now delving into blue-collar products (see photo). You'd buy this product, for example, if your shopping list included a pampered celebrity who eschews a gardening staff and chooses to prune the trees on his estate himself.

[Click back. Will be adding much more stuff to this post shortly and throughout the day...]

THE LIST: DOLPHIN PRESEASON OPENERS: Did some research to discern whether there is any correlation at all between winning or losing the exhibition opener and the season that follows. Conclusion: No correlation. Closer to the opposite. Of note, Miami lost its exhibition opener the year of the 1972 Perfect Season, and won in 2007 before going 1-15. The overall results from 1966-2009:

When Miami wins exhibition opener (20 times):

12 winning seasons

6 losing seasons

2 .500 seasons

9 playoff appearances

When Miami loses exhibition opener  (23 times):

17 winning seasons

3 losing seasons

3 .500 seasons

13 playoff appearances

Note: Miami tied its exhibition opener once and a losing sesaon followed.