HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!: Hope you all had a happy Fourth of July, and happy 236th to the U.S.A. Celebrate freedom by voting in our Obama-Romney presidential poll below. Today is election day and it's too close to call. Also, click on PATRIOT RAP (see right) for our latest holiday video, starring myself and champion Heat architect Pat Riley along with George Washington, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. (The homies called him T-Jeff...).
[1) It is Thursday, July 5. R.I.P., Andy Griffith, gone at 86. He made 'The Andy Griffith Show' and 'Mayberry RFD' a warmly remembered icons of my early youth. Click here for a 1950s stand-up comedy bit by Griffith. 2) Marlin Giancarlo Stanton is second betting fave at 4-1 in Home Run Derby, after Jose Bautista at 7-2. 3) My latest television love: HBO's 'The Newsroom.' 4) Dontrelle Willis announced his retirement. Marlins should sign him to 1-day contract and send him out with the team that saw his best days. A good guy, D-Train. May he find happiness in his next chapter. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
POLL: BARACK OBAMA VS. MITT ROMNEY: "WHAT THE...? WHAT THE HELL!? I THOUGHT THIS WAS S'POSED TO BE A SPORTS BLOG!! STICK TO [BLEEP]IN' SPORTS YOU MORON!!! CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION!!! (Wait. The Internet doesn't have subscriptions). CANCEL MY INTERNET!!!" There. I figured I'd represent what will surely be the outraged reaction of some to this poll just to sort of get it out of the way. This blog constantly bets on the side of sports fans/readers having interests much broader than just games, and here is the latest example. It's the Fourth of July, four months 'til presidential election day, and that sounds like a good time to me to take a straw poll on Obama vs. Romney. Vote for the man you currently most support, either strongly or leaning. Or don't vote at all. Ain't freedom great! I included only the two major candidates (sorry, Ralph Nader), because I'm trying to live in the real world here. All I ask is that we keep it civil in the Comments section. Both guys mean to do the best for America, so wouldn't it be neat if we could just be positive and support one without demonizing or disrespecting the other? I have a dream...
CAN HEAT TALK RAY ALLEN INTO THE DISCOUNT BIN?: Heat want top free-agent target Ray Allen for all they can afford to pay him: $3.1 million per season for three years. Others are offering much more, but Miami is offering the (very) good chance of another championship and the open looks that come with being on the same floor with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Some free agents (like Steve Nash) are overtly money-minded. Is Allen? We'll see. He visits here Thursday, and Pat Riley leads a pretty impressive, convincing sales team. In case they don't land Allen, Heat also are casting lines for size with Rashard Lewis and Marcus Camby.
Magic living a Dwightmare: Now that LeBron is enjoying an image makeover and making such a lousy bad guy, America needs a new villain. I nominate Orlando's Dwight Howard in my latest column; click on Dwightmare to read.
LeBron merch moving: Upper Deck marketing manager Chris Carlin says sales of LeBron James merchandise "saw the floodgates really, really open" after he won his first NBA championship.
MARLINS: WLY ... WORST LOSS OF YEAR!: Anybody figure out the Marlins yet? A wonderful May. An abysmal June. Now four wins in a row ... but then two losses in a row including the worst of the year yesterday. Trailing 9-2, rally to lead 12-11 in extra innings -- then lose when Heath Bell gives up a walkoff two-run homer. Heath Hell! Topsy turvy season. I need a Dramamine. This could have been such an uplifting win. Wow. Still think Miami has a decent shot at the playoffs. If they miss, though, we'll all look back at a loss like last night's.
CANES MUST CAPITALIZE ON OB/ACC MARRIAGE: Orange Bowl and ACC announce major extension, a 12-year football alliance for Jan. 1 games at 1 p.m. starting with 2014 season. That's a lot of opportunity for the Miami Hurricanes to earn a distinct home-field bowl advantage.
LIVE MUSIC VS. BIG SOCCER: People who know me well would tell you I'm not as big an overall sports fan as most readers might assume from my job (one of the reasons this blog often delves elsewhere), and
so I had a tough decision to make Sunday. Spain-Italy was playing the Euro '12 final at 2:30, but Cory Chisel was playing a live set at Fort Lauderdale's Radioactive Records at 2. Cory and I are acquaintances (through Brendan Benson), so of course I had to go see him. Think I made a good call. Got back to watch the latter part of the game, but a 4-0 soccer match is nobody's idea of a great final ... well, except Spain's. I'd like to introduce you to Chisel's music. Click on Born Again for a video taste. He has a new CD out called "Old Believers" that I look forward to diving into. (Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Chisel are pictured. I'll let you figure out who's who).
DOLPHIN AND BIG SOCCER: Dolphins RB Reggie Bush Tweeted a photo of himself, far left, hanging out yesterday with a few soccer stars including England's Wayne Rooney (the white guy). I'm not sure why. But I know this: HBO's Hard Knocks will enjoy that Bush has enough juice to hang with Rooney. Dolphins! Star-power!!
PHILLIPINES LOVES SPOELSTRA: Pictured is a banner currently flying in downtown San Pablo City in the Phillipines, where champion Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is popular -- not Manny Pacquiao national hero-popular, but popular. ("Mabuhay" is a Filipino/Tagalog exclamatory that means "Long live!") Though raised in Portland, Ore., Spoelstra is the first head coach of Asian/Filipino-American heritage in any of the four major American pro sports. MABUHAY!
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...