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10 posts from July 2011

July 27, 2011

Dolphins land Reggie Bush, still in play for Kyle Orton?: Grade the acquisition and the what-if (with polls); plus FIU hires Rick Sanchez, Butch Davis, Misery Index, MagicJack, cellos & more

[Back tonight/Sunday from a few days' holiday. Look for a new blogpost on Monday. Channing Crowder's Dolphins career epitaph: 'He was a better quote than a player'. Join us at Twitter.com/gregcote].

DOLPHINS ACQUIRE BUSH, QB MATT MOORE: Training camp opened Friday with the Dolphins acquiring free agent quarterback Matt Moore, erstwhile of Carolina. This is not an excitring hire. He has spot-1aa1bush2 started 13 ganmes across four season anbd last year had a poor 5-10 TDs/INTs ratio. The question now is how much this damages Miami's shot at getting Kyle Orton, a true QB challenger for Chad Henne. Meanwhile Dolfans are still (mostly) celebrating the acquisition of New Orleans free agent running back/returner Reggie Bush. He's a major or at least big signing. Orton would be, too. Moore is not. Orton, 28, would arrive with a chance to unseat Henne and be "the guy" for the next several years. Bush, though not a durable, featured-back type, figures to add value and pop as a third-down guy and returner, seemingly a nice complement to rookie Donald Thomas. Miami was being smart in its quarterback shopping to not think of an older, one-season stopgap. To not try replicate the lightning it lucked to catch in a bottle with Chad Pennington in 2008. To me, Orton or Vince Young were the best available answers. Ther signing of Moore makes you wonder. At RB, would have preferred DeAngelo Williams or Ahmad Bradshaw, but Bush can be a playmaker. Getting Bush also provides ample media fodder, between his USC controversies tainting his Heisman and his Kardashian-esque proclivities vis a vis proximity to South Beach. The player is pictured here during The Kardashian Era. Bush brings the drama, a national celebrity/notoriety that exceeds what he has accomplished on the field. An ESPN SportsNation poll Thursday finds 49 percent of fans calling Bush a bust, and a plurality of 47% saying they most associate him weith the USC scandal. Yet Bush immediately joins Brandon Marshall as the Dolphins' biggest star in terms of Q rating. Miami might have overspent for Bush (two years, almost $10 million), but if healthy he makes this team harder to defend. We invite you to grade the Bush signing and the Orton deal that might happen. (Sorry, Moore does not rate a poll spot). Assuming Orton joins Bush, how much will each help the Dolphins? How excited does each make you? Vote now on both players.


FIU HIRES RICK SANCHEZ. NO, SERIOUSLY: FIU is bringing sh--canned former CNN host Rick Sanchez back to Miami to call its football games on radio this fall. Though it is ludicrous enough to be making up, it is true. Sanchez -- known for squatting on world maps, for over-the-top melodrama and for one notorious DUI mishap (Google it) -- was fired from his CNN dream job after a tirade in which he suggested Jews run the media and are not an oppressed minority. CNN to FIU football. Oh my. What a truly, truly bizarre hire. One is first inclined to wonder why Sanchez would want this job, only to realize the far better question is why FIU would want Rick Sanchez.

BUTCH DAVIS FIRED: Ex-Hurricanes coach is out at North Carolina amid NCAA investigation. Story here. I wish Butch well. He'll turn up again in college coaching, but -- like Randy Shannon -- it may be as a defensive coordinator at the major level.

1aa1misery THE MISERY INDEX: Today, online and in the pulp editions, I attempt to put the Dolphins' franchise woes in perspective with a formula I created called The Misery Index. It analyzes the 122 franchises in the big-four sports and ranks which team's fans have the most right to feel miserable. No 1: Chicago Cubs. Dolphins: A surprisingly low 22nd overall. Click on The Misery Index for the column, which includes the top-25 in my Misery Index and top-10s in the five categories. (Included is a full explanation of our formula). Also see the bottom of this blogpost for lists of the top-10 most miserable teams/fans in each sport.

ABBY WAMBACH AND HOPE SOLO'S HARD LANDING: A couple of weeks ago Abby Wambach and Hope Solo were the scoring and goalkeeping stars of the U.S. team in the Women's World Cup -- briefly two of the most prominent athletes in the world. Today they have returned to their team in the Women's 1aa1borislow Professional Soccer (WPS) league, which happens to be the Boca Raton-based (and ridiculously named) MagicJack, which also happens to be maybe the most dysfunctional club in sports. The team was the Washington Freedom until owner Dan Borislow (pictured) abruptly relocated it to South Florida and named it after his telecommunications gadget. Wambach is the newly appointed player-coach because Borislow had taken it upon himself to coach the team himself, though unqualified to do so, until the league stepped in on July 14 and barred the owner from his own sideline. Meantime, the MagicJack does not have a media relations person and makes little apparent effort to capitalize on the fact six U.S. World Cup players including the two biggest stars are on the team. Tonight, scantly publicized, the MagicJack returns to WPS play at its humble little stadium at FAU. With planning and promotion, they could have played this game at, say, 20,000-seat Lockhart Stadium and filled the place, creating an event. The U.S. World Cup women deserve better than the MagicJack (dis)organization and its oddball owner. So does WPS, and women's sports in general.

JUSTIN BIEBER DOES GOOD: I poke fun a bit at Justin Bieber (and celebrity in general), but must give him credit after reading this story. This is a great use of celebrity.

1aa1cellos CELLOS! YES I SAID CELLOS!: Always eager for new sounds, I have happened upon a musical duo called 2Cellos (pictured), who make fierce pop music with instruments normally associated with a symphony, chamber music or the Baroque style. The integration of orchestral instruments into pop is not new (think "Eleanor Rigby") but has become a bit of a trend; it's one reason I enjoy Florence & the Machine. Click here for a YouTube vid of 2Cellos performing Guns n' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle." You're welcome.

THE LIST: THE MISERY INDEX TOP 10 BY SPORT: Number indicates Misery Index, a combination of the number of seasons since a team's most recent championship, championship game/series, playoff appearance, playoff win and winning season:

NFL: 1. Detroit Lions 146; 2. Cleveland Browns 118; 3. Kansas City Chiefs 99; 4. Buffalo Bills 94; 5. Minnesota Vikings 87; 6. Cincinnati Bengals 87; 7. New York Jets 84; 8. MIAMI DOLPHINS 77; 9. San Diego Chargers 66; 10. Atlanta Falcons 64.

NBA: 1. Milwaukee Bucks 89; 2. Atlanta Hawks 86; 3. Golden State Warriors 83; 4. Denver Nuggets 81; 5. Washington Wizards 77; 6. Los Angeles Clippers 69; 7. Sacramento Kings 69; 8. Phoenix Suns 64; 9. Portland Trailblazers 64; 10. Minnesota Timberwolves 64.

NHL: 1. Toronto Maple Leafs 104; 2. St. Louis Blues 99; 3. New York Islanders 80; 4. Los Angeles Kings 69; 5. FLORIDA PANTHERS 65; 6. Buffalo Sabres 55; 7. Washington Capitals 48; 8. Phoenix Coyotes 42; 9. Columbus Blue Jackets 42; 10. Edmonton Oilers 41.

MLB: 1. Chicago Cubs 177; 2. Pittsburgh Pirates 116; 3. Kansas City Royals 107; 4. Milwaukee Brewers 101; 5. Baltimore Orioles 93; 6. Seattle Mariners 87; 7. Cleveland Indians 84; 8. San Diego Padres 70; 9. Toronto Blue Jays 68; 10. Houston Astros 65.

Note: Overall, of the 122 pro franchises, Dolphins rank 22nd on Misery Index, Panthers 31st, Marlins 78th and Heat 108th.

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...

July 25, 2011

Can Jeff Ireland do it? Help him set Dolphins' free-agent priority (with poll); plus DeAngelo Williams to Miami and Ronnie Brown to Pats?, bizarre death of Harry Potter's brother & more

[Join our live chat tomorrow/Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click on Chatty to tap in live then or to post questions, bon mots and pithyisms any time. Also join the modest parade at Twitter.com/gregcote]. 

Click on TIME FOR JEFF IRELAND TO STEP UP, PROVE HIMSELF for my latest column, online now and shipping to Tuesday's pulp editions. It's on the end of the NFL lockout segueing into a truncated, madcap trades-and-free agency window that finds the Dolphins, and especially GM Jeff Ireland, under the gun to move both boldly and quickly. For Miami, this is an opportunity. Also, it is an obligation. Because Dolfans deserve better.



1aa1lock LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE ENDS! NFL MAKES PEACE!: This new 'Back to Football' logo (above) is bugled across the MiamiDolphins.com website. The two sides have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, the 132-day lockout is over, and free-agent and trade negotiations may begin today/Tuesday. Let the madness begin! Click here for a detailed pdf-document summary of the new CBA sent to agents. I'm being a bit facetious on the "long national nightmare," by the way. The NFL lockout of four-plus months affected my life not a bit and, by all indications, affected the NFL hardly at all. No games missed. Preseason scarcely impacted. Best I can tell, teams missed a few "mini-camps" and OTA (organized team activity) days. Big whoop. Plenty of players were secretly thrilled to not have those high-heat mini-camps. Now, on deck: the truncated piranha tank otherwise known as free agency. Click here for a recent column of mine on where the Dolphins should be looking. I would target QBs Kyle Orton or Vince Young, running backs Ahmad Bradshaw, DeAngelo Williams or Reggie Bush (in that order), and also consider WR Plaxico Burress and bringing back OLB Jason Taylor. What would your advice be to Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland? Let's pretend he asked. Help Ireland with his to-do list in terms of Miami's FA priority. Vote now.

1aa1devlin DOLPHINS SIGN A QUARTERBACK! (SORT OF): Dolphins today/Tuesday signed undrafted Delaware QB Pat Devlin (pictured). This is good news if he's being brought in as a longshot training-camp body. This is bad news if this is the extent of Miami's run on guys to compete with Chad Henne. Let's assume and hope it's the former, and that Dolphins still are setting sights on bigger targets like Kyle Orton or Vince Young.

DEANGELO TO MIAMI, RONNIE TO PATS?: Sports Illustrated's wise Peter King projects Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams ending up with Dolphins in his outlook for top 50 free agents in the latest SI. King also guesses projects Miami will land Atlanta guard Harvey Dahl. Also notable, he has Ronnie Brown ending up with Patriots. Oy! In the same issue, SI's Jim Trotter calls QB Vince Young a "good fit" for Miami. Here's hoping it's yes for MIA on both Williams and Young. Meantime, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Miami is interested in newly released Cowboys RB Marion Barber.

BIZARRE CIRCUMSTANCES CLAIM TORTURED LIFE OF HARRY POTTER'S BROTHER: The little-known older 1aa1alpotter brother of Harry Potter has been identified as the victim in what London police are calling the world's first known planking-related death. An apparently drunk Al Potter, 36, died while planking in a West End intersection and being run over by a Fiat driven by the grandson of original Kinks drummer Mick Avory. Planking is a fad in which participants lay face-down in an incongruous setting. Relatives of Al Potter, an orphan, are calling the death a suicide. "He couldn't take it any more," said an aunt who declined to give her name. "Everything was about Harry and it drove him mad. Al was denied admission to Hogwarts, began drinking 12, 15 Stellas a day, had 'Voldemort' tattooed across the broad of his back -- just rebelled in jealousy and went off the deep end. Sad." Al Potter, single, attempted to enter trade school but failed as a blacksmith. He later failed as a Harry Potter impersonator (pictured). Relatives say his depression had worsened recently with failed efforts to self-publish a biographical novel, "The Smithying World Of Al Potter." Funeral arrangements are pending.

1aa1backstreets GIANT-HEADED DON SHULA LEADS "BACK TO FOOTBALL" RALLY: Love the big cardboard cutouts of Brandon Marshall and Jake Long, but not nearly as much as I love the gigantic Don Shula head. This is a local Dolphins-organized Back to Football rally that appears to be populated entirely by Dolphins employees, but, maybe it was just early. At any rate, GIANT SHULA HEAD RULES!

1aa1lebronleg INKY LOVE FOR LEBRON: See, Cleveland, LeBron James is not universally hated, after all. A fan has had a likeness of LeBron's face (and a damned good one at that) tattooed on his leg. The fan posted this photo on Twitter, and LeBron Tweeted back: Oh damn! That's how u feel. I appreciate the love.

BELIEVE, OR BURN?: Some may know I'm a fan of puns and wordplay, so I rather enjoyed a church sign I saw today: "Follow the Son, And You Won't End Up Burning." However, upon further reflection, I thought it a tad harsh to consign cremation in hell to those of perhaps divergent beliefs. When did 'religious tolerance' become an oxymoron? I'm just saying.

1aa1giantshw BEARDED GIANT GETS PAST WHITE HOUSE SECURITY: Here is a photo of Barack Obama honoring the World Series champ Giants at the White House today. I am thinking it is no coincidence that closer Brian Wilson and his astoundingly creepy beard were not allowed anywhere close to the president. Also, cannot confirm that Republicans demanded equal time to profess that they love the Giants even more.

1aa1joepa GOTTA LOVE JOE PA: Pictured is a photo of Penn State octogenarian football coach Joe Paterno in his office staring through lenses thick enough to be hurricane-grade glass at a computer screen the size of a braggart's television. You go, Joe! 

Click back. Likely to be adding yet more stuff to this latest blogpost later...

July 23, 2011

How likeable is Hanley Ramirez? (with poll); plus RIP Amy Winehouse, Twittering fools, Tiger 'n the caddy, the Ramonator & more

[Twitter.com/gregcote: Help reduce the national debt and lose weight without exercise, all with one click of a button].

HOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT HANLEY RAMIREZ?: "Mr. Marlin" Jeff Conine said on Le Batard's 790 The 1aa1hanley Ticket radio show yesterday that he would "probably" trade Hanley Ramirez if it were up to him. He also said flatly that Hanley doesn't always try as hard as he should, something that has been an occasional prickly issue. Two thoughts: No. 1, Conine is a "special assistant" to club president David Samson, therefore a de facto part of the front office. With the trade deadline fast approaching on July 31, I have to wonder if Samson or maybe personnel boss Larry Beinfest used Conine to float the idea that Ramirez might available, not untouchable as other teams might assume. I wonder if the club is inviting trade offers. No. 2, Ramirez is hitting very well after a slow start, he is 27 and he is a prime asset who should not be traded barring a fantastical too-good-to-refuse offer. Ramirez's defense isn't what it should be, his effort/attitude won't lead the league and he'd lag in favorite-teammate votes, but his is a bat this team needs, now and beyond. I hear from a lot of anti-Hanley folks, though. He should be immensely liked -- he's a fantasy-draft darling who won the NL batting title in 2009 -- but instead he's a bit of a lightning rod. You might admire his talent. You might or might not think he should be untouchable in terms of a trade. The question is: But do you like him? Let's get a popularity read. How do you feel about Hanley and why? Tell him. Vote.

1aa1amy AMY WINEHOUSE DEAD: Sad, breaking news just past noon Saturday. It is being reported singer Amy Winehouse has died of a drug overdose at age 27. The manner of her demise will not shock any who have followed her troubled career closely, but a tragedy nonetheless. What a talent, literally and figuratively wasted. Her 2006 CD, Back to Black, was a classic. The single, "Rehab," was great. I think I'm going to go listen to a song from the CD I like even more, called "You Know I'm No Good." (Click here to watch and hear the video of that song). A lyric from it could be her epitaph: "I cheated myself, like I knew I would..."

STEP TO THE PLATE, MARLINS: The Phillies announced they will become the seventh MLB team to produce an "It Gets Better" video against gay-bullying. Teams that already have: Cubs, Giants, Mariners, Nationals, Red Sox and Twins. Get on board, Marlins. It's a righteous cause. Click on ItGetsBetter.org to visit the website and learn more about the project.

TWITTERING FOOLS: ATHLETES WHOSE POSITION IS IDIOT: Magic Johnson Tweeted the other day: "To all the high school, college and pro athletes: please think and reread before you tweet." Smart advice, much too late 1aa1dumbass for so many. Maybe Magic had in mind the matter of Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, who is suing Champion for dropping him after his now-infamous Tweets in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death -- Tweets perceived as sympathetic to bin Laden. Rashard et al: Yes, you have your freedom of speech, but you have its consequences, too. Champion is justified in dumping you. It is that company's right. Sometimes an athlete can't blame Twitter, of course, as when Southern Cal running back Marc Tyler, drunk outside a club, gave an interview to TMZ in which he implied the school pays athletes and yukked that USC stands for "University of Sexual Ballers." Um, Marc, do you follow current events at all? Know about some of USC's NCAA and image issues? He is suspended for one game. He's lucky. In Mendenhall's case, the stupidity wasn't his opinion, but his lack of awareness for how it would be received. Tyler? That was just pure, uncut, moronic inebriation. Dear athletes: The rest of us understand that athletic skill in no way suggests that, in the intellect department, you all are posing for the sequel to Rodin's The Thinker. Just try to not remind us so often, OK?

TWEET DU JOUR, COURTESY DWYANE WADE (verbatim): I got a facial 2day & it was PAIN..facials & losing the finals R similar..the pain is indescribable but n the end ur better becuz of it

1aa1ramonator ONLY IN MIAMI, PART 1,643: Miami porn star Raul Armenteros, staple of Bang Brothers sinema cinema, is arrested for animal cruelty because inside his van police found eight roosters, four guinea hens, four pigeons, four goats and a duck. But at least Armenteros had a good explanation: He planned to use the animals in a sacrificial Santeria ritual. Click here for the 1aa1goat news story if you don't believe me. And once again real life in South Florida reads like a character in a Carl Hiaasen novel. Armenteros is pictured (right) in character as Ramon from the epic Ramonator 2. I'll leave it to porn aficionados and film scholars to judge where the Ramonator series ranks with, say, the Diesel Dongs franchise in the actor's body of work to date. Meanwhile, cannot confirm rumors one of Armenteros' freed goats (left) has contacted an attorney and is mulling offers to write a tell-all baa-ak.

DAVE CHAPPELLE, BOMBING: Here is a YouTube video of the comedian bombing at last night's Zo's Summer Groove comedy fest. Chappelle had no material, it appeared. Tough year for the Groove. NBA lockout cancels celebrity basketball game, charitable host Alonzo Mourning sued over a car accident, now this.

1aa1stevecaddyTIGER'S LONG, DOWNWARD SPIRAL ENGULFS CADDY: Tiger Woods fires his caddy of 12 years, Steve Williams, and the latter fires back, hurt. Nobody but those two knows the machinations inside that long marriage or therefore what really caused this. Part of me wants to remind Williams that no one has it easier or better in the sports world than the caddy for a successful golfer. So count your blessings and your money, Steve, and cease with the backlash. Bottom line, though? This feels like more of the unraveling of Tiger Woods. (Williams and Woods are pictured in happier times, in the midst of what appears to be the world's most awkward high-five).

1aa1horsepool "DEAR GREG...": "Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a picture of a horse in a family swimming pool. Thank you."




Click back often. Will be adding much stuff to this latest blogpost throughout the weekend...

July 20, 2011

Do Dolphins or Canes inspire most confidence? (with poll); plus Barry Gibb Talk Show, Shaq disses Bosh, stinkin' Jets, KOD & more

1aa1larrydavid [Fellow "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fanatics, alert! Larry David is on the cover of the new Rolling Stone (left). Click here for an LD treasure trove. Also, join us at Twitter.com/gregcote. Will it help defray the $1.2 trillion U.S. debt to China? Well, it couldn't hurt!].

Dolphins must attack free agency: This is a franchise in despair (see poll results below), stuck in a bog. The pending free agency period is a way out. Click on Plan Of Attack for my latest column, newly online and shipping to Friday's pulp editions. I discuss the state of the Dolphins and propose the two quarterbacks and two running backs Miami should be targeting.

1aa1dolph2 1aa1dolph1 ARE DOLPHINS OR HURRICANES INSPIRING THE MOST ANTICIPATION AND OPTIMISM?: I answer Hank Jr.'s question with a hell-yeah today in this column welcoming the onset of football. The ebbing NFL lockout makes it appear the Dolphins will open camp on time July 30, and the Canes hit the practice field a week later, so football appetites whet. The poll question here is not "which is your favorite team?" so try to get past that. Could have easily phrased the poll question in other ways all getting to the same point. Whose fans are more likely to leave the season satisfied? Which team is more likely to win 10 games? You get the idea. The caveat is that the Dolphins' outlook is a bit more in flux, with free agency yet to start. Let's get a pulse-reading anyway. Vote and say why.

1aa1barrygibb THE BARRY GIBB TALK SHOW: Add the recurring Saturday Night Live bit, "The Barry Gibb Talk Show," to the ever-growing list of Things I Love. Jimmy Fallon is brilliant as Miami's own Barry Gibb, with a spot-on caricature of Gibb's voice. Justin Timberlake is great as quiet brother Robin. Click here for a vid of the most recent segment of the show, from May.

RETIREE CALLS HEAT "BIG 2": Shaquille O'Neal in his debut as a Turner Sports analyst casts a volley across Chris Bosh's broadside by referring to the Heat as "the Big 2." Oh Shaq you so outspoken! Wonder if Barkley will sue for trademark infringement? Click here for the YouTube vid of Shaq speaking. [Update: Bosh evidently not real worried about criticism. Just Tweeted, "I love summer days."]

1aa1willm 1aa1rodb 1aa1alg SEPARATED AT BIRTH?: A live-chat participant today noted the resemblance between UM coach Al Golden and Gators coach Will Muschamp. I would add disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. The likeness among the three is especially uncanny if you catch each on a day when that wave of dark hair sweeps across the forehead. Los hermanos are pictured above for your consideration.

DOLPHINS AIDING AND ABETTING THE ENEMY!: Dolphins fans have alerted us to this small bit of 1aa1jetshere bizarre: Jets T-shirts being sold at the Dolphins souvenir store at Sun Life Stadium. See the evidence here. It's funny the T-shirts read, "Home of the Jets," because NYJ games in Miami sound a little like that, thanks in part, we now see, to the Dolphins themselves. Dear Dolphins: Money is good, yeah, and we all know many Jets fans live down here, but c'mon! While I am not as outraged as fans who have ignited an Internet campaign to expose this, I do see it as just the latest of the Dolphins' needless PR toe-stubs. [Update: Dolphins say they'll stop that].

J-LO SEEKS MIAMI DOLPHINS IN DIVORCE SETTLEMENT: OK not really. Just wanted to see what that looked like in a headline. Although Marc Anthony is one of the club's celebrity micro-owners, and they are divorcing, so anything is possible.

YAO MING? NO. SORRY: Some chatter this week whether newly retired NBA center Yao Ming should be seen as a Hall of Famer. McEnroe, would you come in here for a second? "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!?! Thanks, John. No way Ming is Hall-worthy. Perennial all-star but played a mere seven full seasons. Averaged 19 points but never made the all-NBA first team. Stood 7-6 but finished top-10 in rebounds only once and never top-5 in blocks. Sorry, Yao. Hall of Pretty Damned Good for you.

1aa1swimwedding MIAMI'S FASHION WEEK: The swimwear portion of Miami's Fashion Week included the outfit pictured at left, a sort of half-swimsuit, half-wedding dress. Oh God but I wish I were kidding! I always wonder when looking at something like this who has the tougher job to not look embarrassed: the designer, or the model?

1aa1santana SANTANA WANNA PLAY BEFORE HE STARTS PLAYING: Ex-Canes receiver Santana Moss of the Redskins is planning a big par-tay Sunday at Miami's famed King Of Diamonds strip club to bid adieu to the waning summer vacation lockout prior to returning to work. Thank goodness the labor strife is ending. Players having a tough time making ends meet. In fact I heard Santana had to downgrade from Cristal to Dom on his pre-ordered cases of champagne. Tough times, they hit us all, friends.  

1aa1stilleto "DEAR GREG...": "Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a woman swimming while wearing stiletto heels. Thank you."

THE LIST: SWING, BATTER!: Most strikeouts by a Marlins batter in a single season, 150 or more:

K's   Player   Year

187   Preston Wilson   2000

171   Dan Uggla   2008

167   Dan Uggla   2007

164   Derrek Lee   2002

156   Preston Wilson   1999

150   Dan Uggla   2009

Note: Mike Stanton is on pace for club-record-tying 187 K's, with 105 (second-most in NL) through 91 games.

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

July 18, 2011

Should college athletes be paid? (with poll); plus Bosh's $300K wedding (with photos), singing coaches, sleeping Marlin, T.Y. Hilton, zaftig Serena & more

1aa1hopecover 1aa1twohalfmen [It's LIVE CHAT WEDNESDAY! Doing it 1-2 p.m. today. Click HERE to join us then or to post questions early. Happy to report U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo adorns the cover (left) of the new Sports Illustrated on newsstands today/ Wednesday. At right, the new ad campaign for Two And a Half Men as it moves from Charlie Sheen to Ashton Kutcher. Also, join us at Twitter.com/gregcote. Or, you could just follow Justin Bieber like everybody else].

1aa1pay COLLEGE ATHLETES GETTING ALL THEY DESERVE: Whether to pay college athletes in the revenue sports of football and men's basketball resurfaces as a hot topic, splashed across ESPN.com and debated nationally. I weigh in with this column, online now and in Tuesday's pulp editions. Proponents of pay-for-play see college sports making millions in TV revenue alone and athletes deserving their piece of the pie. I make the two-pronged argument that athletes are being well paid as is, with scholarships and other benefits, and that they don't deserve more because college sports isn't about the individual athlete. When CBS/Turner Sports pay billions in NCAA men's basketball tournament rights, they are paying for the franchise called "March Madness," for conferences and marquee teams, for Cinderella. In the big picture, the college athletes who happen to be wearing the uniforms are incidental. Interchangeable. Then again, I am occasionally wrong. How do you feel? Do big-time college athletes deserve money beyond the value of their scholarships? Why or why not? Vote now.

1aa1boshkiss HEAT CELEBRATE BOSH-TASTIC $300K WEDDING: Heat forward Chris Bosh celebrated his marriage to Adrienne Williams (they'd been legally knotted in April) with a lavish ceremony/party at Miami's Fontainebleau hotel over the weekend. Cost: Almost $300,000, including 100 rooms reserved for guests. My invitation evidently got lost in the mail but that doesn't stop me from passing along these photos of the happy couple kissing near the cake and dancing. Guests included LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra also attended -- but only after getting special 1aa1boshdance clearance from the NBA 1aa1big3wedding because execs and coaches are not supposed to meet or fraternize with players during the lockout. Bosh had spent a recent week-long bachelor party in Las Vegas. Adrienne's bachelorette party was a week-long blowout in the Bahamas that included Kelly Rowland among guests. Meantime, LeBron is back playing in Cleveland. Oy! But relax, it's only in a City League summer tournament to keep in shape during the lockout. LeBron's website posted this video of LBJ just outside Cleveland.

DWYANE WADE: "WHY YOU HACKIN' ME!?": Wade has filed suit in federal court in Texas against someone he says has hacked into his personal email and Twitter accounts. Click here for a 3-minute YouTube video Wade posted. Starts off as nonsense before he addresses the hacking, and the hacker, about midway through. Quic aside: The shirt he's wearing bears his new Nike logo.

TREND? SINGING COACHES!: U.S. women's soccer coach Pia Sundhage, worth celebrating even with 1aa1tonysinging 1aa1pia Sunday's World Cup finals loss to Japan, is a singer. Click here to see and hear her channeling Simon & Garfunkel during a World Cup press conference last week. Click here for a YouTube video of her performing an entire song in Swedish before a live audience. They're rockin' in Goteborg! That's Pia pictured at left (unless it's actually Seahawks coach Pete Carroll). Imagining how fun it would be if Pia instigated a trend that reached America, and suddenly Jack McKeon broke into Sinatra to lament a Marlins loss; if UM's Al Golden announced his quarterback decision in song; or if Dolphins coach Tony Sparano on occasion busted out the unexpected falsetto as his alter ego: Tony, Soprano. I can dream, can't I? (Pictured at right, Sparano croons a play selection).

1aa1mujica EDWARD MUJICA, SLEEPING MARLIN: Marlins are one of the hottest teams in baseball but it wasn't enough to keep reliever Edward Mujica awake over the weekend in Chicago. Cubs broadcasters were letting him have it ("That is embarrassing") on the telecast. Click here for the video of Mujica (as my Dad used to say) checking his eyelids for holes. My message to Marlins players: If your 80-year-old manager is staying awake, you'd damn well better, too!

HILTON4HEISMAN: FIU has launched a Twitter site pumping receiver/returner T.Y. Hilton for the Heisman Trophy. It is Hilton4Heisman, which I am happy to relay in parochial support. Smart publicity avenue for the school and football program. Of course the odds are beyond long for a Sun Belt player. It would take truly spectacular individual stats chased by another bowl season to even get on the national radar, but, in the social-media era, this is the natural start.

1aa1jenny GREG COTE'S WEEKEND: Spent Friday and Saturday on brief family holiday in Tampa/St. Pete, back in time to catch the U.S.-Japan Women's World Cup final on Sunday. Top 5 favorite things about my weekend: 1. Dinner at the fabulously garish Bern's with my wife. Delmonico for two and a delicioso Frias cabernet; 2. Golf with my son and brother at The Vinoy (although my 96 was best forgotten); 3. Red Sox-Rays game; 4. Jenny McCarthy (pictured) in Spandex, checking in Sunday as we were checking out; 5. Breakfast at Munch's.

1aa1eddycurry HEAT WILLING TO WEIGHT WAIT ON CURRY: If the NBA lockout ever ends, the Heat is interested in signing center Eddy Curry (pictured) and defense-oriented forward Shane Battier. Pat Riley has been enamored of Curry for years. I'm not sure why. But supposedly Miami will try to sign the frequently rotund Curry if he sheds about 40 pounds during the lockout. He's 7 feet tall. The bad news? He's 4 feet wide.

ADULT CONTEMPORARY MUSIC: I like to refer to Adult Contemporary Music as "Songs My Wife Likes," 1aa1eltonac 1aa1savagegarden but I'd be disingenuous to say some of the genre isn't appealing. Billboard marks the 50th anniversary of its AC charts this week. Click here for BB's top 100 AC songs and top 50 AC artists of all-time.To save you time, the top-10 artists: 10. Anne Murray, 9. Lionel Richie, 8. Carpenters, 7. Billy Joel, 6. Chicago, 5. Kenny Rogers, 4. Barry Manilow, 3. Barbra Streisand, 2. Neil Diamond, 1. Elton John. (In my iPod: #7-6-5-2-1). Top-10 AC songs: 10. "Lonely No More," Rob Thomas; 9. "Hero," Enrique Iglesias; 8. "Change The World," Eric Clapton; 7. "You Needed Me," Ann Murray; 6. "Hello Dolly!," Louis Armstrong; 5. "Born Free," Roger Williams; 4. "Heaven," Los Lonely Boys; 3. "Drift Away," Uncle Kracker with Dobie Gray; 2. "Lead Me On," Maxine Nightingale; 1. "Truly Madly Deeply," Savage Garden. (In my iPod: #3).

1aa1swms SERENA WILLIAMS UPDATE: Here is the tennis star spotted over the weekend on Miami Beach. Baby got back, as well as front. May I say that? I celebrate the splendor of Serena's zaftig pulchritude. (Yes, I said zaftig pulchritude!) The weird thing is, this bikini is not quite as revealing as what she wore 1aa1rubens to the ESPYs last week. Serena surely would have been the favorite athlete of Rubens (left), the Belgian Baroque artist who famously favored painting women of full figure. 

THE LIST: MOST POPULAR ATHLETES: Results of new Harris Poll on 2011 top-10 most popular male and female athletes:

Rank   Male/Female

1   Derek Jeter / Serena Williams

2   Peyton Manning / Venus Williams

3   Kobe Bryant / Danica Patrick

4   Michael Jordan / Maria Sharapova

5   Tiger Woods / Mia Hamm

6   Tom Brady / Anna Kournikova

7   Albert Pujols / Martina Navratilova

8   Hines Ward / Sue Bird

9   Derrick Rose / Kerri Walsh

10   Aaron Rodgers / Michelle Wie

Notable: Woods fell from 1st to 5th. LeBron James fell from 6th to out of top 10.

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...

July 14, 2011

Japan stuns U.S. in Women's World Cup final; plus LeBron leads parade of 6 Miamians on new most-annoying-in-sports list (with poll); plus Brian Wilson, the lure of U.S. women in World Cup & more

[Twitter.com/gregcote: The Twitter site that U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo would most want to you to follow if she'd ever heard of you, or me].

U.S. WOMEN'S WORLD CUP RUN ENDS IN FINAL DEFEAT: Japan wins 3-1 on penalty kicks after 2-2 tie through overtime. Cannot say Americans deserved to win after missing three consecutive PKs. Also tough to not feel happy for Japan, with this to cheer at least after the disasters of enduring an earthquake and tsunami. ..... Oh my again. Japan ties it 2-2 off a corner kick in OT, in 117th minute. Looks like penalty kicks will decide this World Cup. .....Abby Wambach header for 2-1 U.S. lead in OT! Textbook. ..... Overtime. Still liking U.S. chances, but my jingoism lends very little nuetrality. ..... Oh my. Japan ties it 1-1 in 80th minute. ..... Alex Morgan goal gives USA 1-0 lead in 69th minute! ..... U.S. and Japan were 0-0 at halftime of today's Women's World Cup final in Gemany. Americans had the best handful of goal chances, especially early, before play leveled. I explore the phenomenon of this USA women's team in a recent column; click here to read. I think that in a nation so divisive, so splintered, we are drawn to rare common ground. To what unites us. 

LEBRON NAMED 4TH-MOST ANNOYING SPORTS FIGURE: I am not sure whether to be annoyed on LeBron James' behalf that he made the list at all, or to be annoyed on behalf of Clevelanders that he didn't rank 1aaa1josec 1aaa1chado 1aaa1alexr 1aaa1mercm 1aaa1drewr 1aaa1lebronj even higher. The list is "The 50 Most Annoying People in Sports Today," from Complex.com, and you'd click here for the complete slideshow. To save you time, the top 10: 1. Dick Vitale, exclamatory basketball announcer; 2. Miami's own Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 3B; 3. Brett Favre, retired (maybe) QB; 4. Heat's LeBron; 5. Joe Buck, sportscaster; 6. Albert Haynesworth, Redskins DT; 7. Jim Rome, shout-radio and TV host; 8. Miami's own Chad (Johnson) Ochocinco, Bengals WR; 9. Skip Bayless, ESPN clown; and 10. Gene Auriemma, UConn women's basketball coach. Joining A-Rod, LeBron and Ochocinco in the top-50 with direct Miami ties: 11. Mercury Morris, Perfect Season-obsessed former Dolphins RB; 13. Drew Rosenhaus, pub-glomming sports agent; and 45. Jose Canseco, former juiced-up baseball player. Also of note: Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, 17th; Patriots quiniela of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, 22nd and 29th; Jets coach and foot fetishist Rex Ryan, 37th; and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, 49th. Of Miami's "Annoying 6" (pictured randomly above), Ochocinco, Rosenhaus and Canseco are to me the three musts, the Hall of Annoying no-brainers. The most surprising/quirky choice among the locals is Mercury, who only is exhumed into public consciousness every few years when an NFL team gets to around 11-0 and he rhapsodizes (or in some cases raps) loudest of all the '72 Perfectos invited to remind us how great they were and, really, continue to be. Presented here in poll form are Miami's Annoying 6. Who most deserves to be on the list? Vote now. And if you voted "somebody else," please do share.

ON BRIAN WILSON: It might or might not be totally coincidental that our earlier item on Most Annoying

1aa1brianwilson Athletes leads us into a piece on Giants pitcher Brian Wilson, whose initial quirkiness seems to have transmogrified into a calculated attempt at bizarreness, a la Charlie Sheen. Pictured: Wilson's outfit at the ESPYs the other night. Fair to call it a skin-tight Spandex tuxedo with an orange bowtie? Wilson also sports the world's most fake-looking real beard. I keep thinking the shelf-life for orchestrated eccentricity is limited -- ask Joaquin Phoenix -- and that within a year Brian will be clean-shaven and wishing this photo was a bad dream. Meantime, I feel for Brian Wilson The Original, the Beach Boys founder and creative force whose name has been hijacked by ... well ... by this.

1aa1spandez SPANDEX MORE AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE: Brian Wilson in Spandex segues to the somewhat more pleasing photo at left and the actuality that there is a website (there really is) devoted to volleyball players wearing Spandex. How I happened upon this website, I would rather not say at this time. Let's just assume I was Googling "Spandau Ballet" and my computer somehow auto-corrected to "Spandex volleyball."

Click back. More stuff coming to this latest blogpost...

July 12, 2011

Name the least lame of sports' all-star games (with poll); plus USA beats France, Michael Irvin on cover of gay mag, ESPN screws Shulas, violent statues, pipe smoking & more

[Thanks to all who tapped into Live Chat Wednesday today from 1-2. Click here to join us live each week, or to post questions any time. Also join us at Twitter.com/gregcote, the official Twitter site of men who are obsessed with Hope Solo to an almost disturbing degree fans of the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team].

THE LAMENESS OF ALL-STAR GAMES: All of the major all-star games are lame. The NFL's Pro Bowl is a 1aa1allstar joke. The NBA's and NHL's all-star games aren't much better. The MLB game -- the 82nd "Midsummer Classic" was played tonight in Phoenix (NL, 5-1), after the Hispanic players detained under Arizona's immigration law made bail -- is the most tradition-rich and is supposed to be better, if only because the winning league getting home-field advantage in the World Series theoretically adds legitimacy. But that's a dumb idea and baseball's game is lame, too. For instance, if Derek Jeter didn't care enough about the game or its result to bother playing, why should I? Jeter could have been in Phoenix being exalted for his 3,000th hit. Instead he was in Miami resting over a steak at Prime 112. All-star games don't matter. Three of the four sports at least admit it. Baseball needs to scrap the World Series tie-in and admit it, too. Click here for my latest column on this, online now and in Wednesday's pulp editions.  Am I being too negative? Did tonight's game excite you? Which of the Big Four all-star games do you like the most? Or, perhaps, dislike the least? (Or would your answer be 'None of the above'?) Vote now and say why.

1aa1hopes I (HEART) HOPE SOLO: [Wednesday update: USA crushes France, 3-1, reaches Women's World Cup final!] I must say my ordinarily tolerant wife has lately shown indications of dissatisfaction over the lifesized poster of U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo (right) now adorning our bedroom wall. It probably didn't help that when we went out to our favorite romantic restaurant to celebrate our anniversary the other night, I asked her to wear the gift I'd given her. In a rather sharp-edged tone my wife said, "I am not walking into a nice restaurant wearing those damned goalie gloves!" The Hope-led U.S. women today reached Sunday's World Cup final for the first time since 1999. Let's go USA! (Click here for 33 delicioso YouTube seconds of Hope, solo).

1aa1irvinout MICHAEL IRVIN TAKES A STAND: Former UM and NFL football star-turned-WQAM voice Michael Irvin, 45, appears in football gear and shirtless on the cover (pictured) of the latest Out magazine, a gay publication. He does so to express tolerance for gays and for same-sex marriage. Irvin is heterosexual but had an older brother, Vaughn, who was gay. Good for Michael for having the bravery to let his true beliefs shine through even though many in his macho world might be taken aback. Click here for the article.

UPDATED BASEBALL ODDS: Courtesy Bodog, Phillies are favorites from here to win World Series at 11-4, followed by Red Sox 7-2 and Yankees 6-1. Marlins tied for 23rd at 200-1. Individual betting picks: AL MVP Adrian Gonzalez 4-5, NL MVP Jose Reyes and Prince Fielder 7-2, AL Cy Young Justin Verlander 5-4, NL Cy Young Roy Halladay 3-2, and overall home runs Jose Bautista 2-5.    

1aa1statuebat EPIDEMIC OF VENGEFUL STATUES SPREADS!: Police in several major American cities report that sports statues -- tired of being urinated on by hobos and posing unrenumerated for tourist photos -- have taken to exacting vengeance in a wave of violence. Locally, the parents of a small boy have filed suit claiming the child recently was hip-checked by the bronze likeness of Don Shula. Pictured right, a statue pretending to stand frozen prepares to blindside an unsuspecting woman pedestrian upside the head with a bat.

ESPN SCREWS SHULAS!:  Pegged to the Robinson Cano father-son pitch-hit combo in the Home Run Derby, ESPN just trotted out a "10 Greatest Father-Son Moments in Sports" bit. Noticeably absent, at least for me: The historic NFL head-coaching faceoff in 1994 between Dolphins coach Don Shula and his son, Bengals coach David Shula.

ESPN NEEDS TO SELF-PROMOTE MORE, SO THE ESPYS ARE WEDNESDAY: Quiet, unassuming ESPN continues its pattern of avoiding publicity whenever possible by staging its annual ESPY Awards this Wednesday. The "word" is that Seth Myers' opening monologue will hit the LeBron James jokes pretty heavily. Do they get TV in Cleveland? This is one of approximately 643 awards shows but is distinguished by being the only one to give out a Bowler of the Year award. I am picturing the finalist bowlers being given really bad seats and being openly mocked by a phalanx of howling rappers and wide receivers.   

1aa1sickof TOKEN HEAT 'BIG 3' UPDATE: There is no offseason for the Heat's Big 3, who continue to be both Big and 3 even when you aren't watching. Let's see. Kentucky Fried Chicken is trying to get Dwyane Wade to work a drive-through window for charity. Um, Chris Bosh is fixin' to get married. And the other guy is spending a quiet July still being loathed by seething Clevelanders. Further updates as warranted.

1aa1pipe IS PIPE SMOKING OK?: Confession. I am a cigar smoker. It isn't good, kids. Don't recommend it. But I do it. Now, mostly for the change of pace -- really, as a lark -- I am considering giving pipe smoking a try. When I told my wife that, she looked at me as if I had suggested experimenting with bestiality. She said (imagining me at left) something to the effect the only people who smoke pipes are 93 years old or a--holes trying to appear erudite. Can it be true? Where my pipe smokers at. WHERE MY PIPE SMOKERS AT!? 

1aa1legup GREG COTE'S FREE TIPS FOR PROPER LIVING (GCFTFPL): (One in a series) Gentlemen, when on a cruise ship or in other social settings, it is impossible to strike a casual pose when lifting one's foot to rest on a rail that is at or above waist level. While imagining the desired appearance of relaxed nonchalance, one instead takes on the look of a man who is either attempting a martial-arts kick or about to discreetly break wind.

Click back. Will be adding lots more stuff to this latest blogpost...

July 08, 2011

"U-S-A! U-S-A!": Americans beat Brazil on PKs in Women's World Cup; plus D-Wade plays Europe card, LeBron's decision 1 year later (with poll), O.J. 'n Casey, ranking 3,000-hit men & more

[Twitter.com/gregcote Because it's free, and the process of clicking this link and then the 'follow' button will help you lead a healthier lifestyle by burning nearly half a calorie].

USA BEATS BRAZIL IN WORLD CUP QUARTERFINALS: Do you believe in miracles? USA beats Brazil 5-3 in penalty kicks after tying match in final minute of overtime -- the latest goal scored in men's or women's World Cup history. ..... USA ties it miraculously 2-2 in final minute of overtime on Abby Wambach header. Justice is served. ..... Brazil ties it 1-1 controversially, on penalty kick call on foul in the box against Marta. Hope Solo stops penalty kick but it is rule she moved, so kick is retaken and made. Awful call in that situation. So now USA is tied and a player down. ..... Americans lead 1-0 at the half after an own-goal against Brazil in the 2nd minute. Anxious lead, though. Very. Brazil has dominated possession of the ball and has the better chances on goal. U.S. will have to be better in the second half. It is with unabashed jingoism and patriotism that I hope the Americans kick some Brazilian a-- in Germany. Looks to be an even game. The winner will face France in the semis and should be considered the favorite to win it all, after the upset elimination of two-time defending champion and host nation Germany. 

DWYANE WADE PLAYS THE EUROPE CARD: This NBA lockout is going to get ugly and will be protracted, and the players association is using Europe as leverage. Already, the Nets' Deron Williams has an agreement with a Turkish team to play there if the lockout eats into next season. Now, today, the Heat's Dwyane Wade told The Associated Press in Chicago, "If there's an opportunity there, I'd consider it." Oy! At this point, I'd consider Wade's mildest-of-threats to be a bunch of Instan-bull, just early NBAPA-sanctioned posturing. But this is smart strategy by the players. We'll see where it leads.

LEBRON: ONE YEAR LATER: It was one year ago tonight, in that infamous "The Decision" show on ESPN, 1aa1lebronjames when Jim Gray ran out of stall questions about the weather, finally asked the only question worth asking, and heard LeBron James say he was taking his talents to South Beach. What followed was an eruption of cartoonish outrage in Cleveland, negative backlash across much of the rest of the basketball nation, and ultimately a successful season for both James and the Heat. But successful enough? The Heat lost in the NBA Finals to Dallas, and James' statistical dropoff in the Finals -- especially in the fourth quarters -- ended his year on a sour note. To his critics it was an indication James lacks the heart or fortitude of a champion. To me it was nothing of the sort, but was a performance that increased the onus on him to get that elusive first ring. The question: One year later, how thrilled should Miami be to have LeBron James?       

1aa1happycouple WEDDING OF THE CENTURY!: You can imagine how thrilled I am to bring you this blog exclusive and announce the planned wedding of accused/acquitted double-murderer O.J. Simpson and accused/acquitted child-murderer Casey Anthony. I hear they plan to marry in Dismember I mean December. God bless Photoshop, and God bless the United States of America.

RANKING THE 3,000-HIT CLUB MEMBERS: With Derek Jeter the newest member of the 28-man 3,000-hit club, we rank them first to last based on overall careers: 1. Hank Aaron, 2. Willie Mays, 3. Stan Musial, 4. Ty Cobb, 5. Honus Wagner, 6. Carl Yastrzemski, 7. Pete Rose, 8. Tris Speaker, 9. Roberto Clemente, 10. Al Kaline, 11. Wade Boggs, 12. Tony Gwynn, 13. Rod Carew, 14. George Brett, 15. Cal Ripken Jr., 16. Paul Waner, 17. Lou Brock, 18. Derek Jeter, 19. Nap Lajoie, 20. Eddie Collins, 21. Eddie Murray, 22. Robin Yount, 23. Dave Winfield, 24. Cap Anson, 25. Craig Biggio, 26. Rafael Palmeiro, 27. Paul Molitor, 28. Rickey Henderson.      

LEAN CROP FOR MARLINS FARM SYSTEM: The Marlins' once acclaimed farm system isn't what it used to be, a troubling sign. The latest indication: Baseball America today published its Midseason Top 50 Prospects list -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is No. 1 -- and zero Marlins prospects made the list. None. Nada. Not a No. 48. Nobody. Not good.

FOUL BALLS HAVE GOTTEN OUT OF HAND: Last night a 39-year-old Rangers fan died after he reached 1aa1foul for a ball tossed to him by outfielder Josh Hamilton and tumbled 20 feet onto concrete. (Story here). I have only sympathy for this man and his family and of course no blame should be placed on Hamilton. But the tragedy invites me to rant about the increasing devaluation of foul balls and the insanity over fans' fascination with them. I can see the excitement over special, milestone balls such as maybe catching somebody's 500th home run. Ka-ching and all that. What I can't understand is some fan hauling his beer gut over three aisles of seats, lunging past a Cub Scout and elbowing a pregnant woman to retrieve a ball off the bat of Mort Utilityman. The ball is worth about eight bucks. If you forge Mort's signature, maybe $8.25. What I also can't understand is why teams' players and stadium attendants now give away balls as souvenirs, further devaluing the aura of the foul ball. At least catching a foul is a cheap thrill. Being handed a ball by a ponyailed ballgirl along the third-base line would qualify as charity, an embarrassment unless perhaps you are 8 years old or younger. The giveaways have turned the foul ball into a piece of crap not worth fighting for, let alone dying for.

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost today and throughout the weekend...

July 05, 2011

Casey Anthony not-guilty verdict: Agree? (with poll); plus Jose Baez, U.S. falls to Sweden, Clemens trial & more

[Twitter.com/gregcote Thanks to all who tapped into our live chat today. Do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join live, read transcripts or post questions any time. Random question of the day: "Rick Scott voters, what the hell were you people thinking exactly?"].

O.J. JURY REASSEMBLES, FINDS CASEY ANTHONY NOT GUILTY: That isn't to make light, but to express 1aa1caseya the view that not since O.J. Simpson was stunningly acquitted of double murder in 1995 has there been a major trial verdict as flabbergasting as Tuesday's Orlando-area decision finding Casey Anthony not guilty in the death of her toddler Caylee. All evidence, to me, pointed to a guilty verdict. Not saying I am right. But everyone who spent hours following this trial and weighing its testimony is entitled to have a reaction to today's verdict. Do you? Vote now and say why. [Click here for the MiamiHerald.com news story and related poll].

THE INCREDIBLE JOSE BAEZ: I can't hear the name Jose Baez (Casey Anthony's winning defense lawyer) 1aa1baezjose 1aa1baezjoan without thinking of '60s folkie Joan Baez, but that's on me, and a trifle offpoint. I l-o-v-e all that has come out about Jose's colorful past, from dropping out of Homestead High to non-child support to unpaid loans to bankruptcy to starting two businesses called Bon Bon Bikinis and Brazilian-Bikinis.com. This, ladies and gentlemen, is today America's most famous attorney! To some, Jose Baez might sound like an Horatio Alger tale come to life. To me, Jose Baez sounds like the quintessential character Carl Hiaasen wishes he'd imagined for one of his madcap only-in-Florida novels.

[Funnyordie.com takes on Casey Anthony. Click here. It's funny. But probably only if you think she's guilty...].

"U-S-A! U-S-A!" THAT'S RIGHT. I'M CHEERING FOR WOMEN'S SOCCER. DAMMIT: I believe if Casey 1aa1hopeblond 1aa1hopebrunette Anthony had played soccer as a youth none of this would have happened. Seriously, though, I am following quite ardently the U.S. squad in the Women's World Cup ongoing in Germany. TV ratings suggest you are not; nevertheless! The Americans are in the quarterfinal round despite today's 2-1 loss to Sweden, and will next face Brazil on Sunday. A win or tie today would have given the Americans an easier quarters draw vs. Australia. I am particularly a big fan of U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, of the improbable name and excellent game. A friend and I got into a debate over whether Hope is attractive. Actually my friend said "hot." Whenever I use that word unrelated to weather, I feel like a white guy rapping, or trying to fake a gang sign. Anyway I came down enthusiastically on the side of yes, and present photographic evidence here of Hope both as a blonde and in her current incarnation as a brunette. Has my honest support of the U.S. women's team been compromised and plundered by sexism? Hey, life is one big risk, friends.

MICHAEL BEASLEY SMOKES POT? WHA-A-AAT!?!?: In arguably the least surprising news of the week, Minnesota media reports ex-Heater Michael Beasley was busted with 16.2 grams of marijuana (click here for the tale). I'm not sure this is what scouts had in mind when referring to Beasley as a 16/10 guy. Probably never good when your career scoring average (15.9) is exceeded by your career grams per bust average.

MORE OF THE ROCKET'S RED GLARE: Sorry about all the juris prudence in this post, but jury selection 1aa1clemens begins today in the Roger Clemens perjury trial. That means we're just a couple of days from more of Clemens' angry, righteous indignation and vehement denials of all wrongdoing. Attacking his accuser, trainer Brian McNamee, won't be as easy if testimony from the likes of Andy Pettitte corroborates McNamee. Mike Stanton might also testify to McNamee's truthfulness. Don't worry, Marlins fans. It's the pitcher Mike Stanton who used to be Clemens' Yankees teammate. Click on Roger, Over And Out for today's latest column by me. The Casey Anthony verdict proves anything is possible, but I don't like Clemens' chances.

THE TOUR DE FRANCE STINKS: Am I wishing for a massive pileup in which dozens of bikes wreck into each other and cascade down a mountainside? Not really. Although if assured no serious injuries, well. No I'm just saying the Tour de France, for me, has been ruined by its years of performance-enhancing drugs scandal that make baseball look saintly by comparison. Six of the past seven winners are tainted by PED accusations or strong suspicions. I don't care about a competition I can't trust. I don't care who is wearing the yellow jersey because all that matters is the yellow urine sample.

1aa1gaymarriage GAY MARRIAGE: I appreciate a good political cartoonist and I think the syndicated Drew Sheneman qualifies. I particularly love his work pictured, in which a gay-marriage protester complains, "The gays are making a mockery of marriage. Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman performed by a priest, judge, Elvis impersonator, sea captain or mail-order reverend of the Universal Life Church." To that point I might add that a 50 percent divorce rate does a pretty good job making a mockery of marriage as well. The question isn't whether gays should be allowed to marry. It's why on Earth they'd want to! 

THE LIST: 3,000-HIT CLUB: Yankee Derek Jeter, with 2,996 hits, soon will become the 28th member of one of baseball's most exclusive clubs. The five most recent members:

Player, Team   Date of 3K hit

Craig Biggio, Astros   June 28, 2007

Rafael Palmeiro, Orioles   July 15, 2005

Rickey Henderson, Padres   October 7, 2001

Cal Ripken Jr., Orioles   April 15, 2000

Tony Gwynn, Padres   August 6, 1999 

Click back. Adding more stuff to this latest post throughout the day...

July 03, 2011

Fourth of July special: What is the most American sport? (with poll); plus my holiday video-greeting to you & more

[Twitter.com/gregcote Is there a better way to show you love America?]

FOURTH OF JULY SPECIAL: WHAT IS AMERICA'S SPORT?: In one way it is a strange time to be asking, 1aa1american because all of our Big Three leagues are experiencing turbulence. The NFL has been in lockout mode for months due to contractual discord between owners and players. The NBA has just entered a lockout of its own hinting of even greater acrimony. Baseball, battered by its steroids era, has now seen its Dodgers file for bankruptcy. Yet it is the perfect time to ask, too, as we celebrate the Fourth of July and our national independence: What is America's game? What is our national sport? The question is not what is your favorite sport. Parochially, the question is not about about Marlins or Dolphins or Heat. It is different. This question asks a broader view, perhaps asks you to interpret what the rest of the world would or should say is the most American sport. I'm not sure there is a correct answer. I would think baseball's traditional role as "America's Pastime" and football's reign in popularity would make for a close vote. Does basketball have its argument, too? Vote and tell us why. (Then enjoy a personal holiday greeting from me to you, below the poll...)

1aa1jibjab4th MY HOLIDAY GREETING TO YOU: To celebrate America's 235th birthday, recently I got together with old friends George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas (T-Jeff) Jefferson and Jack McKeon to make a brief Fourth of July video, hip-hop style. Enjoy or cringe as the case may be. Click HERE to watch and listen.

THE LIST: Our Greatest 4s: In honor of the 4th, our four major pro teams' greatest No. 4s:

Dolphins   P Reggie Roby   1983-92

Heat   C Rony Seikaly   1988-94

Panthers   D Jay Bouwmeester   2002-09

Marlins   Util Alfredo Amezega   2006-09

Note: Three legit, important players but slim pickin' for the Marlins.

OK, have a safe and happy Fourth, everyone. Gotta run. Am going low 'n slow with some pork spareribs and mustn't leave them untended.