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15 posts from December 2017

December 29, 2017

NFL Week 17 picks for Dolphins-Bills and the rest; plus thank you Orange Bowl Committee, our Canes/OB column, year-in-review polls coming & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29. Need a late gift for the Dolfans in your life? Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and check out my historical book, Fins At 50. 2) Sorry we haven't had as many general sports columns lately. Been burning a slew of leftover vacation time this month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games involving state FBS teams. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): My baseball Hall of Fame ballot, my first grandchild, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald NFL QB rankings & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Hurricanes back in OB game, where UM first got America's attention 34 years ago: Click Where The Swagger Was Born for my latest column, on Miami's first Orange Bowl game appearance in 14 years.

Thank you, Orange Bowl Committee: At today's OB coaches luncheon at the Hilton Downtown Miami I was honored to receive the 2017 Edwin Pope Orange Bowl Media Award. Honored because I respect the Orange Bowl Committee's good works, and especially because the award is named for my friend, longtime colleague and mentor who passed away last January. Thanks to all. Click HERE for the story the Herald was king enough to write.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 17 PICKS: DOLPHINS END ROTTEN SEASON IN SPOILER ROLE. ON MIAMI-BUFFALO AND THE REST: Nine of NFL's 12 playoff teams have been claimed, with six teams alive for the final three spots entering Sunday's regular season finales. Alas, the Dolphins are not among them, relegated to a spoiler role, trying to deny visiting Buffalo its first playoff berth since 1999. Will Miami do it to end a disappointing season on the upbeat? Click Week 17 Gems for my full Dolphins-Bills predix capsule, my Game of the Week (Panthers-Falcons), Upset of the Week (49ers-Rams: "Aawwk!") and the rest.

ANNUAL YEAR-IN-REVIEW POLLS COMING: Soon, in the blog and also online, we'll invite you to vote for what was the biggest national sports story of 2017, and then separately for the biggest Miami/South Florida sports story of the year. Watch for the National poll starting Tuesday Jan. 2 and the Miami poll starting Friday Jan. 5.

 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 28, 2017

Babies 'n Baseball: My official Hall of Fame ballot for Cooperstown revealed here, and so is newest addition to Cote family; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, updated Herald NFL QB rankings & more

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

Xmas171) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28. ICYMI, click HOHOHERE to watch our annual Christmas video, starring me, Derek Jeter, Smokin' Jay Cutler and two others. Oh, and if you need a late gift for the Dolfans in your life, click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and buy my historical book, Fins At 50. 2) Sorry we haven't had as many general sports columns lately. Burning a slew of leftover vacation time this month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games involving state FBS teams. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins eliminated in loss at Chiefs with our takeaways and postgame poll, Merry Christmas video, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Yours truly wins Orange Bowl/Pope award: Pleased to say I am the the 2017 winner of the Edwin Pope Orange Bowl Vanguard Media Award. Honored because I respect the Orange Bowl Committee's good works. Especially honored because the honor is named for my great friend and mentor who passed away last January. Thanks to all. Click HERE for the story the Herald was king enough to write.

BbballotIN THE NAME OF TRANSPARENCY: MY OFFICIAL 2018 BASEBALL HALL OF FAME BALLOT: As a voting member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, I cast my Hall of Fame ballot the other day to meet the Dec. 31 deadline. Mailed it in an envelope. They do it old-school up in Cooperstown! There were 33 men on the ballot including 19 in their first year of eligibility. I could Bbhallvote for as many as 10. I ended up voting for nine, including two ballot "rookies." The seven holdovers who got my votes were (alphabetically) Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Edgar Martinez, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield. The two first-time-eligibles I voted for were Chipper Jones and Jim Thome. If I had to bet I'd say Jones, Thomas, Guerrero and maybe Hoffman will get in. Support for Bonds and Clemens is steadily growing but they may be a year or two away. My own thought on voting for perhaps the two biggest faces of the so-called Steroids Era: I no longer believe any association with PEDs should be an automatic life sentence in terms of reaching Cooperstown -- not if the career resume' is so outstanding, as with Bonds and Clemens, that there is reasonable cause to think they'd have been Hall-good even without the help. I do continue to think, as I always say and have written, that their bronze Hall of Fame plaques should mention the controversy that kept Bonds and Clemens out for so long. Same with Pete Rose and gambling, should he ever be allowed back on the ballot and be voted in as he should.

GrandpapI'M A GRANDPA! (THAT MEANS I'M OFFICIALLY OLD. ALSO HAPPY AND BLESSED): I normally don't get real personal here in the blog but I posted this photo on Twitter yesterday and it has gotten well over 4,000 likes so I thought I'd share it here as well. This is me, on Christmas Day, holding my first grandchild for the first time. I could not be happier that my son Christopher and his wife Christie have invited this joy into their lives and given this miracle for both of their families to share. Sorry, Tonka Tank, but this bumps you as the greatest Christmas gift I have ever received.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 16 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 16: Herald picks: Went a solid 12-4 overall but a just marginally OK 7-8-1 against the spread, with the Eagles win pushing for the tie. Had Titans with the points (but not outright) in my  Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!"), and also had 'dog Seahawks with points. Greg's Lobos: Alas, the 'Bos had been eliminated in the league semifinals the previous week, losing to eventual champion Allyson. #GurleyMen #WeAreTheLobos

BB GUNS: IT'S BRADY VS. BREES FOR SEASON CROWN: HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS: WEEK 16: The Ravens’ Joe Flacco wins Week 16 with a 42.85-point game, lowest winning total of the season, in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. But the Bradybreesbiggest story is that it’s down to Patriot Tom Brady vs. Saint Drew Brees for the season crown with one week to go. Brady’s margin over Brees is only 10.65 points. And it looks like we’ll get full games from both in their finales, with the Patriots needing a win to assure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the Saints needing a win to assure the NFC South title. Third-place Alex Smith of the Chiefs is realistically out of contention. For any chance he’d need a gargantuan game coupled with awful games by both Brady and Brees. Lower in the chart, the Dolphins’ Jay Cutler holds steady in 24th place. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL’s and ESPN’s are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching.

The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 17:

RK LW  Player, Team                       Wk16       Season

1    1   Tom Brady, NE                     33.20       535.30

2    2   Drew Brees, NO                   30.95       524.65

3    3   Alex Smith, KC                    34.20       487.10

4    5   Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        33.30       473.55

5    4   Matthew Stafford, DET        13.15       460.15

6    6   Kirk Cousins, WAS                26.95       433.75

7  11  Jared Goff, LAR                    38.05      424.45

8   7   Case Keenum, MIN                17.95      419.90

9   9   Philip Rivers, LAC                 26.50      417.40

10 8   Russell Wilson, SEA               22.65      414.10

11 12 Matt Ryan, ATL                     22.40      398.90

12 10 Carson Wentz, PHI                 DNP       386.80

13 13 Blake Bortles, JAC                30.10      367.45

14 19 Joe Flacco, BAL                    42.85      353.90

15 16 Dak Prescott, DAL                 11.10      342.90

16 15 Derek Carr, OAK                     5.00      340.65

17 14 Josh McCown, NYJ                 DNP       336.30

18 17 Eli Manning, NYG                 16.15       335.80

19 18 Cam Newton, CAR                17.00       331.10

20 21 Jameis Winston, TB              36.35       314.05

24 24 Jay Cutler, MIA                     17.30       278.00

Bubble: Andy Dalton, CIN, 310.90. Week 16 Best: Flacco, BAL, 42.85 (29-38, 237, 2-0 in win). Week 16 Worst: Brett Hundley, GB, minus-5.50 (17-40, 130, 0-2 in loss).

 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 26, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.7%; plus our annual Christmas video starring me, Jeter, Smokin' Jay and 2 others; also, Miami out of playoff hunt with 29-13 loss at KC, latest Hot Button Top 10 & more

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

Merryc1) It's TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26. Hope you all had a wonderful and Merry Christmas! Need a late gift for the Dolfans in your life? Not too late. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and buy my historical book, Fins At 50. 2) Sorry we haven't had as many general sports columns lately. Burning a slew of leftover vacation time this month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games involving state FBS teams. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 16 picks, FIU loses bowl game, your Saddest Fans verdict & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Xmas17OUR ANNUAL MERRY CHRISTMAS VIDEO: This year I got together with four of my closest friends -- Derek Jeter, Mark Richt, Hassan Whiteside and Smokin' Jay Cutler -- to make my annual holiday video. Click HOHOHERE to watch. Enjoy!

FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM DOLPHINS' PLAYOFF-ELIMINATING LOSS AT KANSAS CITY: 1) Miami mathematically, scientifically, sociologically and philosophically was eliminated from NFL playoff contention, and it felt like a humane bullet ending the suffering of a writhing racehorse. The funny thing is, the Dolphins still would have been in contention entering the final week of the Gaseaseason had they won, because the Bills and Titans both lost Sunday. But you'd have to be a pie-eyed Dolfan wearing aqua and orange face paint to not see this was not a playoff-caliber Fins team or a season that deserved a postseason reward. 2) The Dolphins were their own worst enemy Sunday -- a persisting symptom of mediocre and bad teams. Miami had two turnovers to KC's none -- balls stripped from Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills after catches -- and had 11 penalties for 75 yards in addition to shoddy tackling. 3) Jay Cutler began very strong but petered out badly, starting out 11-for-15 on accuracy but going 8-for-23 after that. And Miami was a miserable 0-for-8 on third-down conversions, which is on either Cutler or the play-calling. There were sparks on offense, such as Jakeem Grant's four catches for 107 yards and a TD, but 13 points is 13 points. Not good enough. 4) The defense, despite having Ndamukong Suh, Came Wake and Reshad Jones, continues to be not consistent enough or good enough. Sunday Alex Smith threw for 304 yards, and Miami was overmatched by KC's weapons Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce. All over the field, the Dolphins do good things sporadically, but not with any reliability or regularity. 5) Always next year, right? OK, the Dolphins have given you a lump of coal for Christmas, now we are giving you a chance to vent, in the latest Dolphins postgame poll. Ready? Go!

1aa1adsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G15: 5.7%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 5.7 percent overall  approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 29-13 Dolphins loss at the Kansas City Chiefs putting Miami's season record at 6-9 and eliminating the team from playoff contention. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Tuesday.
 
Click on DSM to read our postgame thoughts and vote in the DSM poll online. 
 
2017 game-by-game DSM results
G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)
G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)
G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)
G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)
G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)
G6: 86.1% (following 31-28 victory vs. N.Y. Jets)
G7: 6.1% (following 40-0 loss at Baltimore)
G8: 13.1% (following 27-24 loss vs. Oakland)
G9: 3.5% (following 45-21 loss at Carolina)
G10: 3.6% (following 30-20 loss vs. Tampa Bay)
G11: 7.7% (following 35-17 loss at New England)
G12: 56.4% (following 35-9 victory vs. Denver)
G13: 79.4% (following 27-20 victory vs. New England)
G14: 6.9% (following 24-16 loss at Buffalo)
G15: 5.7% (following 29-13 loss at Kansas City)
Next/season-final poll: Dec. 31 (following game vs. Buffalo)

G15: DOLPHINS AT KANSAS CITY: PLAYOFF HOPES HANGING ON BY A (FRAYING) THREAD ... AND SNAP: Final: Kansas City 29, Miami 13. See our postgame thoughts above ..... 4Q: KC 29-13: Butker 49-yard FG ..... KC 26-13: Butker 29-yard FG ..... 3Q: KC 23-13: Butker 21-yard FG ..... Halftime thoughts: Credible performance thus far for Miami, down 20-13 at half, especially offensively. Jay Cutler has been pretty sharp (169 yards) and getting ball into Jakeem Grant's hands (3 catches, 101 yards) has provided a spark. Defensively, though, Miami having trouble containing KC's big weapons Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce. Bills and Titans each are tied at the half. Both must lose today, and Miami must win, or Fins will be eliminated from playoff hunt ..... 2Q: KC 20-17: Butker 32-yard FG ..... MIA 13-17: Grant 65-yard pass from Cutler ..... KC 17-6: Hunt 1-yard run ..... MIA 6-10: Parkey 28-yard FG ..... KC 10-3: Kelce 9-yard pass from Smith ..... 1Q: MIA 3-3: Parkey 44-yard FG ..... KC 3-0: Butker 31-yard FG ..... Landry loses fumble after catch on opening drive. That's why losing teams are losing teams ..... Original post: ’Tis the season for the head to explode with NFL playoff scenarios, but it ain’t that difficult, folks. MiakcThree things must happen Sunday for Miami to remain alive in wild-card contention: The Dolphins (6-8) must win Sunday's 1 p.m. game, and the Titans and Bills both must lose. That’s it. (Yes, it would also benefit Miami if the Raiders and Chargers both lost, but that isn’t absolutely essential in Week 16). A problem for Fins’ chances and hope is that Kansas City (8-6) also needs this game. The Chiefs clinch a playoff spot with a win here (or an unlikely loss by Chargers), but a KC loss could create a very precarious spot, so the home team has much to play for here. A computer model I saw gave Miami a 3.1 percent likelihood of reaching the postseason so keep those hopes reigned in, Dolfans! Unfamiliarity is at play in this game. This is only these teams’ seventh meeting in the past 20 years, lending a shade of unpredictability to what might happen. But Miami has not been great traveling this season (2-5 away) and Chiefs have been stout at Arrowhead (5-2), and there are other reasons why K-City is a big 10 1/2-point favorite. One is that there is very little about the Dolphins to trust and rely on starting with erratic Jay Cutler. Another is that Alex Smith has a ton of dangerous weapons led by RB Kareem Hunt, WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce, and it would not surprise me to see the Dolphins defense overwhelmed. I hate to play Grinch. I really do. Wish I could leave an upset win under the tree with a bow on it. But I’m afraid a victory by Miami here feels decidedly less likely than a blowout loss. My pick: Chiefs, 34-16. [Click Week 16 Gems for all our latest NFL picks].

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 25): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Richt, UM hit jackpot in early signing period: Canes' Orange Bowl date with Wisconsin isn't for another week (Dec. 30), but UM was making news again welcoming a bounty of talent during NCAA's first-ever early recruiting period. Five-star commitments in RB Lorenzo Lingard and WR Mark Pope lead an offense-rich class that won the state and was ranked No. 7 nationally by  ESPN.com. In the continuing search for signs and proof that The U is "back," this was the latest.
 
2. MARLINS: The circus and folly of Jeter's "town hall" meeting: It was perfect and necessary and it meant little. New Fish boss Derek Jeter came out of hiding to hear season-ticket holders vent about his trading away everybody they care about. It gave the appearance of openness and transparency without actually being either. Ridiculous highlight: "Marlins Man" (attention-seeking missile Laurence Leavy) asking Jeter, "Do you know who I am?" Then Jeter saying "nah" to an invite to ride in Leavy's "Marlinsmobile."  
 
3. DOLPHINS: Playoff hopes expire in loss at Kansas City: The Dolphins were a dreary 6-8 but still faintly alive, needing several results to fall just right to sneak into the playoffs -- the first prerequisite a road win over the heavily favored favored Chiefs on Sunday. Did they have a chance? I'll answer that rhetorical with this one: Might you cash the winning Lotto ticket? Safety Reshad Jones was Miami's only Pro Bowl selection, and I suspected his defense would be overmatched against KC's varied offensive arsenal. I was right: 29-13.       
 
4. HEAT: Unlikely victory at Boston triggers renewed hope: Heat has nudged up over .500 (at 17-16) and climbed to the edge of playoff pace, including an unlikely, hope-renewing 90-89 win against the mighty Celtics in Boston. Unlikely? Miami got a career-high 32 points from ex-Celtic Kelly Olynyk with the injury-decimated Heat barely having enough players to compete. I mean, how impressive was it to see 72-year-old Pat Riley ditch the Armani suit and slip on those '70s short-shorts for some quality minutes!
 
5. UM BASKETBALL: No. 6 Canes lose first, prepare for ACC schedule: Jim Larranaga's No. 6-ranked basketball Canes are 10-1 after upset loss to New Mexico State 63-54 Saturday night in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. The real games -- the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule -- begins Dec. 30 at Pitt. Even with the first loss, considering the season began with the cloud of UM's reported implication in that national FBI recruiting probe, the Canes have found the perfect diversion and distraction: Winning.
 
6. FAU / FIU: Opposite bowl results end winning seasons: Lane Kiffin's FAU Owls clobbered Akron 50-3 in the Boca Raton Bowl to finish 11-3, while Butch Davis' FIU Panthers got clobbered by Temple 28-3 in the Gasparilla Bowl to end 8-5. Congrats to both for only the third bowl season in each's 14 years at the FBS level.
 
7. PANTHERS: Fire on ice! Cats win third in a row!: Florida has won three straight games for the first time all season but still is only 15-21 and seven point s off NHL playoff pace, and ranked 29th (of 31) in ESPN's NHL power rankings. Lots of young, rising talent paints the picture of an underachieving team, and three in a row needs to be a start, not an aberration.

8. SOCCER: And it's another in the 'El Clasico' series: Historic rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid faced off again Saturday in the latest El Clasico matchup, with Barca winners in a 3-0 rout. Yes, the rivalry's intensity preceded them and will go on without them, but, admit it: El Clasico will pale when its centerpiece is no longer Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo.

9. VINCE MCMAHON: WWE leader explores new football league: McMahon reportedly has invested $100 million into the startup of a "new XFL" football league to rival the NFL. (Wonder how long he'd been wrestling with the idea?) No date has yet been scheduled for the announcement the venture has been scrapped and will never happen.

10. BASKETBALL: Two ex-Heat among Hall of Fame candidates: Favorites for 2018 induction are thought to be Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Ray Allen. In addition to Allen, another former Heat player among contenders is Tim Hardaway. What, they're only letting guards in from now on?

Missing the HB10 cut: Darryl Strawberry revealed he used to have sex during games, between innings. Thank goodness for those last two words. I was picturing him doing it in right field ..... An Alabama radio station plays only songs Nick Saban likes. [Your punchline goes here] ..... LaVar Ball is forming a Big Baller league for high school grads. Um, I think there's already one of those. It's called "college basketball" ..... And in today's title match: An NBA player who had a tractor trailer drive into his swimming pool vs. a former NBA player who found burglars had stolen his toilet ..... Former Heat No. 1 pick Michael Beasley has resurrected his career as a valuable role player for the Knicks. Over/under on the love affair lasting? Five more weeks ..... David Beckham is now in line to have his Miami expansion team make its Major League Soccer debut in 2020, or seven years after the bid began. World Wars I and II didn't take as long ..... Jaguars fans are shipping garbage cans to Texans' Jadeveon Clowney after he called QB Blake Bortles "trash." I'm not sure what's more surprising: That Bortles is having a good season. Or that there are Jaguars fans ..... UFC 219 featured Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm. Now what were the odds a fighter would luck to have the surname Cyborg!? ..... NFL fined Seahawks $100,000 for ignoring concussion protocol to keep Russell Wilson in game. That's cheating! Who they think they are, the Patriots? ..... R.I.P., Dick Enberg, 82. If he doesn't make your sports-broadcasting Mount Rushmore, get a bigger mountain.

 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 23, 2017

NFL Week 16 picks: Dolphins-Chiefs (uh oh) and all the rest; plus FIU bowl loss to Temple can't ruin positive first season under Butch Davis, your Saddest Fans verdict (well, no duh) & more

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

Finsat501) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23. Merry Christmas Eve-Eve! Procrastinating shopper? Need the perfect inexpensive gift for the Dolfans in your life? Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and buy my historical book, Fins At 50. 2) Sorry we haven't had as many general sports columns lately. Burning a slew of leftover vacation time this month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games involving state FBS teams. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Jeter's Marlins town hall meeting, Sadness poll, Shameless Book Plug, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, FAU wins bowl game & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

R.I.P., Dick Enberg, the classy, much-loved, much-respected sports broadcaster, gone at 82.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 16 PICKS: ON DOLPHINS-CHIEFS AND THE REST: The NFL's 12-team playoff picture will come into sharp focus this weekend -- it's possible 11 of the 12 spots, all but one AFC ticket, could end up spoken for -- but the chances of that picture including Miami are, well ... let's just say Dolphins in the postseason won't be one of the gifts under your tree. Fins must win out and get much help to sneak in and that first order of business -- win out -- won't happen because Sunday at Kansas City looks like a bad matchup to me. Figures as a rough day for Miami's defense. Click Week 16 Gems for my full Fins-Chiefs predix capsule, my Game of the Week (Falcons-Saints), Upset of the Week (Rams-Titans: "Aawwk!") and all the rest. Thursday games have ended (and the angels sang!), so the week kicks off Saturday.

GasparillaFIU BOWL LOSS CAN'T DAMPEN POSITIVE SEASON: Update: FIU got hammered by Temple, 28-3, last night in the Gasparilla Bowl. Panthers lost starting QB Alex McGough to a collarbone injury early in the game and could muster little offense. Still, a school-record-tying 8-win season ..... Original post: Florida International University always will perform in the shadow of a winning Miami Hurricanes football team in terms of local attention. This year FIU also got bumped by Lane Kiffin and FAU, which capped an 11-3 season with a Boca Raton Bowl win and (I doubt it, but maybe) could sneak into the final, post-bowls Top 25. But none of this should detract from the job Butch Davis has done in his first season with The Int'l, guiding the Panthers to an 8-4 mark heading into tonight's Gasparilla Bowl (8 p.m., St. Petersburg) vs. the 6-6 Temple Owls. It is the only bowl game on the calendar, so FIU is about as close to having the national stage as is possible. Temple, I'm not sure justifiably, is favored by seven points. I like FIU to cover, and give the Cats a medium shot at an outright upset. I'd like the underdog more if the Cats' solid QB, Alex McGough, wasn't missing top receiver Thomas Owens to a knee injury. Win or lose though it's been an encouraging season for what had been a downtrodden program. This is only FIU's third bowl game in 14 seasons at the FBS level, and first since 2011. A ninth win tonight would set a school record for most in a season. Mark Richt and Kiffin have made a lot more national noise, but Davis turned around his program, too, and aimed it right.

SadmarlinsPOLL RESULT: NO SURPRISE. MARLINS FANS SHOULD BE SADDEST: We asked: "As 2017 ebbs, fans of which of these teams have the right to be the saddest?" We offered South Florida's four major pro teams. But timing is everything in any poll, and we asked this question just after the Marlins traded Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees. So the results are predictable, although a second team made the Sadness Meter wiggle, too. The results on whose fans should be saddest: Marlins 64.9 percent, Dolphins 26.9%, Panthers 5.3% and Heat 2.9%.

 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 20, 2017

A few thoughts on Jeter's Marlins 'town hall' meeting; plus should fans of Dolphins, Heat, Marlins or Panthers be saddest? Poll. Vote now; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald QB rankings, Shameless Book Plug, FAU goes bowling & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. Not pretty. 2) Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It for our most recent general column. Sorry we haven't had as many lately. Burning a slew of leftover vacation time this  month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fizzle in Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl and I won't pretend to, but I will say Ndamukong Suh should have joined Reshad Jones as a Dolphins selection." -- Greg Cote 

A FEW THOUGHTS ON JETER'S MARLINS 'TOWN HALL': Happily, I did not attend the Derek Jeter "town hall" Q&A session with Marlins season-ticket holders last night, but have spoken with Jetertownhallfolks who were there, have read the accounts and would share a few thoughts. First, it was smart of Jeter to do, and and necessary. He has been the sniper-owner, making unpopular deals from a safe bunker and in hiding. Last night, he showed his face. It was a start. Second, fans need a forum to vent, to voice displeasure. It was a win-win for Jeter because there would be the appearance of openness and transparency without there actually being any. Jeter said a lot without saying much. No details of the master "plan" were shared. I did find interesting that Jeter justified the Giancarlo Stanton deal by emphasizing the Marlins gained $260 million in contract relief to help the club move forward. Hmm. Wouldn't/shouldn't saving $260M on Stanton have allowed the club to then not trade Marcell Ozuna, and not consider trading Christian Yelich? Shouldn't that $260M "saving" be put back into the team by either using it to keep the best remaining players or to be a major player in free agency? Or is that windfall of "saving" just going to pay off corporate debt or enrich the owners? Finally, I laughed out loud (LOL!) at reporters who were there actually interviewing Marlins Man as if he were a news source, not just the grandstanding fan who stood behind the mic last night and asked Jeter, "Do you know who I am?" Marlins Man. Puh-leeze. It would be like, back in the day, interviewing Dolfan Denny about the Dolphins' words. C'mon, media.

SadnessWHAT SOUTH FLORIDA TEAM'S FANS SHOULD BE SADDEST RIGHT NOW?: I refer a lot to Greater Miami's "Big 5" teams -- our four major pro franchises plus Canes football. Obviously in this poll I don't include UM, which is preparing for an Orange Bowl date with Wisconsin to cap the Hurricanes' first 10-win season since 2003. But our four pro teams are fair game for the dubious "most disappointing" crown that would have their fans saddest. The Marlins of course are in mid-fire sale/dismantling as the new Derek Jeter regime proves roughly as popular as the old Jeffrey Loria era. The Panthers are en route to making it a 21st consecutive season of either not making the NHL playoffs or not winning a postseason series. The Heat continue in post-Big 3 malaise, a starless doldrums, hanging around .500, with fans who became accustomed to thinking championship now relegated to hoping for a low playoff seed. And the Dolphins are back to mediocrity after last year's aberrant bump. I will volunteer that I think Heat fans have the least cause for sadness, but that the other three are in the mix. But his is your say. As you consider this poll question consider it literally: Which team's fans have the most cause right now to be the saddest?

Finsat50 Finsat50SHAMELESS BOOK PLUG! AND JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!: Know any Dolfans on your holiday shopping list? Of course you do. And that means you know Dolfans who are so sick of the current team they'd rather marinate in the heydays of Shula and Marino. Well I just so happen to have a book on the franchise's first half-century, called Fins At 50. Talk about a perfect gift! And reasonably priced, too. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to go directly to those site's page om the book to order and to learn more about it. You'll be glad you did, friend.

BRADY'S LEAD SHRINKS, CUTLER RETREATS / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 15: The 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo wins Week 15 with a 46.05-point game while Patriot Tom Brady's overall lead shrinks further in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. Brady's margin over second place Drew Brees of the Saints has narrowed to only 8.40 points with two games to play. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler slips three spots, down to 24th place. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 16:

RK LW Player, Team                 WK15      Season

1    1  Tom Brady, NE               28.90       502.10

2    2  Drew Brees, NO             38.25       493.70

3    3  Alex Smith, KC              38.55       452.90

4    5  Matthew Stafford, DET  39.85       447.00

5    4  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  31.05      440.25

6    9  Kirk Cousins, WAS          30.80       406.80

7  11  Case Keenum, MIN         39.80       401.95

8    7  Russell Wilson, SEA         8.10       391.45

9    8  Philip Rivers, LAC           9.35       390.90

10  6  Carson Wentz, PHI          DNP       386.80

11 10 Jared Goff, LAR            21.00       386.40

12 12 Matt Ryan, ATL              21.60      376.50

13 16 Blake Bortles, JAC         43.30      337.35

14 13 Josh McCown, NYJ          DNP       336.30

15 14 Derek Carr, OAK            18.55      335.65

16 15 Dak Prescott, DAL         18.60      331.80

17 20 Eli Manning, NYG          44.70      319.65

18 19 Cam Newton, CAR        38.10      314.10

19 18 Joe Flacco, BAL            32.40      311.05

20 17 Andy Dalton, CIN           -0.35      281.00

24 21 Jay Cutler, MIA             11.70      260.70

Bubble: Jameis Winston, TB, 277.70. Week 15 Best: Jimmy Garoppolo, SF, 46.05 (31-43, 381, 1-0 in win). Week 15 Worst: Blaine Gabbert, ARI, minus-2.55 (16-41, 189, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 15 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 15: Herald picks: Went a nifty 13-3 overall but a just-OK 6-7-3 against the spread, with the wins by Patriots, Niners and Cowboys all pushing for the ties. Called the Chiefs' mini-upset of Rams and also had a pair of dogs-with-points in Jets and Giants. Greg's Lobos: We're done. The 'Bos reached the semifinals of a 14-team league (not bad) before falling to Allyson in a shootout, 157.7-139, despite 45 points from Todd Gurley. #GurleyMen #LobosMVP.
 
OWLS ON THE PROWL: FAU SMACKS AKRON IN BOWL: For only the third time in its 14-year history as an FBS-level football program, Florida Atlantic University played in a bowl game last night, hosting Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl, and winning in a 50-3 rout. The Owls were big three-touchdown home favorites to finish the season 11-3 under first-year coach Lane Kiffin and behind the running of Devin Singletary, and showed why. Kiffin earlier in the day signed a six-year contract extension. Still doubting he's an Owls lifer, but good for now. I'll say this: I'd love to see this traditionally overshadowed program get some love now with a final, post-bowls Top 25 ranking. They deserve the consideration.
 
 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 19, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.9%; plus Fins' 24-16 loss to Bills kills all playoff hope; also, the latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), your grade on Derek Jeter (ouch!) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 18. ICYMI, click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It for my column on the Marlins trading their best player to the Yankees. 2) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 3) Holiday shopping? Giving all the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Judging Derek Jeter poll, NFL Week 15 picks & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G14: 6.9%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 6.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 24-16 Dolphins loss at the Buffalo Bills putting Miami's season record at 6-8. That's a drop off more than 70% from the previous week. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2017 game-by-game DSM results
 
G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)
 
G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)
 
G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)
 
G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)
 
G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)
 
G6: 86.1% (following 31-28 victory vs. N.Y. Jets)
 
G7: 6.1% (following 40-0 loss at Baltimore)
 
G8: 13.1% (following 27-24 loss vs. Oakland)
 
G9: 3.5% (following 45-21 loss at Carolina)
 
G10: 3.6% (following 30-20 loss vs. Tampa Bay)
 
G11: 7.7% (following 35-17 loss at New England)
 
G12: 56.4% (following 35-9 victory vs. Denver)
 
G13: 79.4% (following 27-20 victory vs. New England)
 
G14: 6.9% (following 24-16 loss at Buffalo)
 
Next poll: Dec. 24 (following game at Kansas City)
 
G14: DOLPHINS AT BUFFALO: TO KEEP (FAINT) PLAYOFF HOPE ALIVE, OR WATCH IT DIEPostgame thoughts: Remember how good the Miami Dolphins were on Monday night? They were mostly that bad six days later. Remember how great quarterback Jay Cutler was against the Patriots. It was Bad Jay who made the trip to Buffalo. The Dolphins lost to the Bills, 24-16, on Sunday. It felt worse. Seemed worse as Miami never led, fell to 6-8 and watched its already faint playoff hopes fade to black. I didn't trust the Dolphins to replicate last week's fire displayed in the upset of New England, and with reason. And inconsistency has been the stamp on Cutler's career. Did you think that was going to change for the better when Miami hauled him out of retirement? The game ended fittingly, with Miami recovering an onside kick in the final minute ... followed immediately by Cutler's third interceptions. A year ago the Dolphins had seemed to lay claim to the consolation prize of at least being second-best in the AFC East to the eternally superior Patriots. For now Miami has slipped to third behind the Bills, too. By the way, good to hear a female voice, that of Beth Mowins, doing play-by-play on the CBS broadcast of the game. Women have made great strides on-air broadcasting sports as studio hosts and sideline reporters, but less so in the booth calling the actual game. Another barrier dissolving by degrees. P.S., Mowins had a better game than the Dolphins did ..... Halftime thoughts: With Bills leading Dolphins 21-6 at the half, Buffalo is turning red-zone opportunities into touchdown while Miami settles for field goals. Sound familiar? Been the story most of this season, although less so lately for Fins. Bills lead in total yards 245-156 and Tyrod Taylor is on pace for 330 yards passing and is outplaying Jay Cutler. Dolphins are playing to stay alive in playoff hunt but not showing the intensity or fire to indicate that. I expected a dropoff from what we saw vs. Pats Monday bight, and am seeing that so far .....  Original post: The Dolphins Bandwagon, formerly bereft of passengers, has begun to populate a bit since Monday night. It is hardly a jam-packed, rollicking party bus, don’t get me me wrong. Playoff hope remains slim, but at least the Maybe Meter wiggles a little. I wish I could tell you I’m Miabufhopping on that Bandwagon (there’s still plenty of good seats available), but I just cannot bring myself to count on the inconsistent and therefore unreliable Fins to replicate the extraordinary performance they mustered in beating the Patriots Monday night in Miami. Not sure that will travel well on a short week, especially to a place where the temperature will be in the low 30s and falling, and under an expected cloudy sky threatening snow. Game stayed off betting boards until Thursday, when it became obvious Buffs QB Tyrod Taylor would be good to go. RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) also should play. But Bills WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) is iffy to play, and his absence would be a big break for Fins. These AFC East rivals will play twice in next three weeks, but it’s this game both sides must consider as must-win for any real playoff hope — and moreso 6-7 Miami than the 7-6 Buffs. I like Dolphins with the (3 1/2) points in a low-scoring game and give MIA a medium outright upset shot. But Fins have not been great on the road this year (2-4), and Buffs have been solid at home (5-2). Jay Cutler on Sunday will confront a much better pass defense than he saw from the Pats, so the key for Miami may be more good stuff from RB Kenyan Drake vs. a very average Bills run defense. Good teams keep stacking good performances on top of one another, but I don’t think Miami is there yet. As impressed (and surprised) as I was in the Dolphins Monday night, I think this will be a long flight home by a team out of playoff hope. My pick: Buffalo, 20-17. [Click Week 15 Gems for all our latest NFL picks].

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/greg-cote/article189792549.html#storylink=cpy

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton 1. MARLINS: Remember 10 weeks ago when we all loved Jeter?: Ah, the good old days! It was the month before last. Derek Jeter arrived as a knight on a white steed to save the Marlins and be everything for South Florida that Jeffrey Loria was not. Then the traded Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna in a flurry -- a murder-us row. Loria 2.0.

2. DOLPHINS: Loss in Buffalo crushes faint playoff hope: Patriots at Steelers and the return of Aaron Rodgers topped the NFL Week 15 marquee, but Dolphins at Bills Sunday loomed big in that the winner would see playoff hopes buoyed. But these weare the inconsistent, let-you-down Fins. Could they really replicate that Monday magic in chilly Buffalo? Nope.

3. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Unbeaten Canes, OB Classic in spotlight: No. 6-ranked Miami men stayed unbeaten Saturday with a 59-50 win at George Washington in UM's first of four straight road games, while in Sunrise the 19th-ranked Seminoles and No. 22 Gators headlined but both lost in the four-team Orange Bowl Classic. Canes have been ranked higher only once, in 2012-13.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FAU, FIU prepare for rare bowl games: Saturday began the glut of 41 bowl games. Hurricanes in the Orange is two weeks off, but the appetizers are being served. Lane Kiffin's FAU (Tuesday vs. Akron) and Butch Davis' FIU (Thursday vs. Temple) prepare for only the third bowl games in each school's 14-year history as FBS-level programs.

5. SOCCER: Beckham enlists help in Miami MLS bid: David Beckham fortified his ongoing and laborious bid to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to Miami by adding as ownerships partners Miami business titans Jorge and Jose Mas and a Japanese billionaire. So, yes, a Miami team that doesn't exist yet has better owners than the Marlins.

6. HEAT: Spoelstra surpasses Riley's wins mark: Erik Spoelstra tied and then passed Pat Riley for most coaching wins in franchise history with Friday's and Saturday's wins over Charlotte and the Clippers. Game also got Miami back up over .500. But is that what we're cheering now? Being around average? Wednesday's game at Boston will tell us about this Heat team's potential to make playoffs and do something in them.

7. PANTHERS: We keep waiting for a run, Cats. And waiting...: Florida is 12-21 now, having lost three straight and seven of past  nine after Sunday's defeat at expansion Las Vegas. People keep telling me the Panthers are playing better lately. I look at the NHL standings and the standings keep telling me, "Eh, not so much..."

8. POLITICS: NHL wife details Trump encounter: Stacia Robitaille, married to former NHL player Luc Robitaille, claims an uncomfortable situation with Donald Trump when once alone on a elevator with his at Madison Square Garden. "He was aggressive and told me I was coming home with him," she Tweeted. Lucky for Trump, he isn't in a job where that kind of sexual harassment might get him in trouble!

9. NBA: Knicks fans cheer Melo's return: Knicks fans (mostly) cheered Carmelo Anthony's first return in an Oklahoma City uniform after six-plus seasons in New York. There were boos, too, of course, because, well, they're Knicks fans.

10. YANKEES: Judge says 'can't wait' to play alongside Stanton: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are instant BFFs, I guess. Or at least until the games start and one gets jealous of the other and the bickering starts over who's playing DH too much and the media pressure builds.

Missing the HB10 cut: Pro Bowl voting has concluded. The Pro Bowl: The game no player really wants to play in and no fan wants to watch, but we all act like it's a big deal anyway ..... The Phillies signed Carlos Santana for $60 million. Does a baseball team really need a guitar player that badly?

POLL RESULT: WE ASKED YOU TO GRADE JETER AS NEW MARLINS OWNER, AND YOU SAID "F-YOU!": In wake of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, we asked, "What grade would you give Derek Jeter 10 weeks into his running the Marlins based on his performance so far and your expectations?" Ouch. A consensus of 64.3 percent gave him an "F," and another 17.1% graded him "D." After that It was 7.1% "C," 6.7% "B" and only 4.8% "A."

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 16, 2017

Derek Jeter: Grading his performance as Marlins boss 10 weeks into the job. New poll. Vote now!; plus Dolphins-Bills and other NFL Week 15 picks & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16. ICYMI, click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It for my column on the Marlins trading their best player to the Yankees. 2) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 3) Holiday shopping? Giving all the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): How can Jeter show his face in this town?, your Stanton trade blame verdict, McShay mock pick for Dolphins, Herald NFL QB rankings, David Grisham = idiot, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

JeterintroJUDGING DEREK JETER SO FAR: It took him 10 weeks. Actually a little less. The press conference to introduce Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter as the new owners-out-front of the Miami Marlins happened Oct. 3. Now, in mid-December, the Jeter group already has traded Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon in a salary dump, enraging many fans. We've had some of our say in a couple of columns linked-to here and also in this blog. Now it's your turn. Two months into an ownership is too soon to judge it, admittedly. But in this case, some fans already are missing Jeffrey Loria (which they'd never thought possible), while others may agree with the tear-down and reboot. This poll is meant simply to take a pulse, right now, on how Marlins fans and South Florida after feeling about Jeter so far. Tell me. Tell each other. Tell Jeter. Ready? Vote!

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 15 PICKS: ON DOLPHINS-BILLS, GAME OF THE CENTURY AND THE REST: Do you trust the Dolphins to replicate in freezing Buffalo on Sunday the same level of passion and performance they showed at home in stunning the Patriots Monday night? Sorry, but I do not. The team is too inconsistent and thus unreliable to expect that. Click Week 15 Gems for my full Fins-Bills predix capsule, my Game of the Century Week (Patriots-Steelers), Upset of the Week (also Pats-Steelers: "Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our week got off to a crappy start Thursday night as we hunched a win by the home-'dog Colts over Denver and instead the broke-down Nags clippity-clopped on their inexorable march toward the glue factory.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 14, 2017

How does Derek Jeter dare show his face in this town?; plus McShay's mock pick for Dolphins, Cutler's climb in QB rankings, Broncos-Colts pick, David Grisham = idiot, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results (Go Lobos!), your blame verdict on Stanton trade & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14. Am at Friday Page World Headquarters today making my Week 15 NFL picks. Uh oh. 2) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 3) Holiday shopping? Giving all the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins stun Patriots with my 5 takeaways and DSM poll, thanks for the memories Giancarlo with blame poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

ICYMI, my column on Marlins trading Stanton: Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It.

Thursday's Broncos-Colts pick: Two bad teams and one awful matchup, but somebody gotta win tonight! Click Thursday Gem to find out who will.

STANTON, GORDON, NOW OZUNA ... HOW DOES JETER DARE SHOW HIS FACE IN THIS TOWN?: Dee Gordon going first sounded the fire (sale) alarm. JeterGiancarlo Stanton being traded was the bombshell that made it a three-alarm blaze. Now Marcell Ozuna is dealt and the flames climb higher. Three of the Marlins' best and most popular players -- gone. Three of the reasons for a local fan to go to Marlins Park and care about this team -- gone. Such high hopes were held for the new ownership group of Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. They had to be better than Jeffrey Loria ...right? Be careful what you wish for. You might get it. Recently new Jeter has been courtside at a Heat game (vs. Golden State) and then up in a suite for the Dolphins' Monday night game vs. New England (when he should have been upstate attending the baseball winter meetings instead of hiding from the tough questions). Honestly, I'm surprised at this point that Jeter has the nerve to show up anywhere in public in South Florida. He is now the guy dismantling the Marlins, running the fire sale. His cascade from heroic entrance to Loria 2.0 has been dizzying fast. It may already be too late to win back angry fans, but the new Litmus test is Christian Yelich, the last remaining star of any stature. Trade him, too, Jeter, and you'll never recover in this town. What the "new" Marlins have given away in a pure salary dump:

Giancarlo Stanton: Age 28, 59 homers, 132 RBIs, 1.007 OPS, NL MVP. 

Marcell Ozuna: Age 27, .312 average, 37 homers, 124 RBIs, .924 OPS.

Dee Gordon: Age 29, .308 average, 114 runs, leadoff man, 60 stolen bases. 

Poll result: Most blame Jeter for Stanton trade: We asked who you blame most for Giancarlo Stanton no longer being a Marlin, and offered four choices. Your verdict: 51.9 percent blame new owner Derek Jeter (pictured) for not committing to keeping Stanton and building around him; 31.5% blame former owner Jeffrey Loria for Stanton's huge, back-loaded contract that made keeping him difficult; 15.4% blame nobody because trading big contracts for prospects may prove smart; and only 1.2% blame Stanton himself for agreeing to be traded.

QnelsonFIGHTING IRISH TO FIGHTING FIN? MCSHAY'S EARLY MOCK-DRAFT PICK FOR MIAMI: Todd McShay today offers his 2018 Mock Draft 1.0 for ESPN. He has Southern Cal QB Sam Darnold going No. 1 overall to Cleveland. No Miami Hurricanes make his first round; in fact the only state player who makes it is Florida State safety Derwin James, going 13th to Washington. McShay projects the Dolphins selecting 14th overall and taking Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson (pictured). Says McShay: "Guard is a glaring need for the Dolphins, who need to protect whomever is at QB and get more push in the running game. Nelson is the most NFL-ready offensive lineman in this class and a road-grader (listed at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds). He's ready to start right away." Makes some sense. But I also think Miami may be tired of using first-round picks on offensive linemen, which they have done four times since 2008. 

JaycutlerBRADY'S LEAD NARROWS, CUTLER CLIMBS / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 14: The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger rode a 506-yard performance to a season-best 58.30-point game to win Week 14 and climb to fourth place overall in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. Patriot Tom Brady maintains the overall season lead but his margin has slipped to less than 18 points over second place Drew Brees of the Saints — who is officially now in the passing lane with three weeks to play. Meanwhile, the Dolphins’ Jay Cutler (pictured) climbs three big spots to 21st overall off a solid 39.15-point game Monday night. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL’s and ESPN’s are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. [Click here to see the latest QB rankings online].

The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 15:

RK LW Player, Team                    WK14      Season

1    1  Tom Brady, NE                   13.65      473.20

2    2  Drew Brees, NO                 33.55      455.45

3    3  Alex Smith, KC                   21.40      414.35

4    8  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT      58.30      409.20

5    6  Matthew Stafford, DET       49.05      407.15

6    7  Carson Wentz, PHI              32.55      386.80

7    4  Russell Wilson, SEA             16.55      383.35

8    9  Philip Rivers, LAC               31.95      381.55

9    5  Kirk Cousins, WAS               10.55      376.00

10 10 Jared Goff, LAR                  21.95      365.40

11 12 Case Keenum, MIN              24.00      362.15

12 11 Matt Ryan, ATL                   13.05      354.90

13 13 Josh McCown, NYJ              -0.70      336.30

14 14 Derek Carr, OAK                 14.55      317.10

15 16 Dak Prescott, DAL              40.60      313.20

16 18 Blake Bortles, JAC              33.40      294.05

17 15 Andy Dalton, CIN                  6.05      281.35

18 19 Joe Flacco, BAL                  21.45      278.65

19 19 Cam Newton, CAR              12.85      276.00

20 20 Eli Manning, NYG                24.40      274.95

21 24 Jay Cutler, MIA                   39.15      249.00

39 38 Matt Moore, MIA                  DNP         72.05

Bubble: Cutler, MIA, 249.00. Week 14 Best: Roethlisberger, PIT, 58.30, season high (44-66, 506, 2-0 in win). Week 14 Worst: Bryce Petty, NYJ, minus-4.30 (2-9, 14, 0-0 in loss).

'PASTOR' AND REAL-LIFE GRINCH DAVID GRISHAM IS A REPREHENSIBLE MORON: I have nothing against religion but believe it to be a very personal matter
Davidgrishamand do not appreciate aggressive evangelism, whether it be Jehovahs knocking on my door or this example from a mall in Amarillo, Texas, where a self-described pastor from Alaska's Last Frontier Evangelism started telling little kids there is no Santa Claus. Have you heard this? What a moron David Grisham is. What a reprehensible idiot. Little kids waiting in a line to sit on Santa's lap and this stranger starts crapping all over their childhood because he feels Santa is getting too much credit at the expense of Jesus. Or something. Angry parents started confronting this selfish Grinch. I almost wish somebody had decked him. I'd been in the long line of those volunteering to pay the bail. You can find the story and the wildly incriminating video this nut took of himself here. The off-his-rocker lunatic also is pictured.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 14 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with Fripix Lobosmy Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 14: Herald picks: Mixed bag. Went upset crazy and got hammered straight-up with only an 8-8 mark, but was a nifty 9-5-2 against the spread, with two games off the board. Hit outright upsets wins by the Falcons, Panthers, Broncos and Eagles, and also had three other 'dogs-with-points in Jaguars, Ravens and Dolphins. Greg's Lobos: Thriller! The playoffs began with a Lobos miracle: 24.6 points from Jarvis Landry Monday night and a 120-117.4 victory over No. 1 seed Chris. Man! We made the final four and face Allyson in a semifinal this week. #GoLobosGo

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 13, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 79.4%; plus Cutler, Miami stun New England 27-17; also, Radio Tuesday, Greg's Lobos news, latest Hot Button Top 10, Stanton trade poll (vote now) & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12. It's the holidays! Which can mean only one thing: Giving the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins trade Stanton to Yankees with poll, my column on trade, your verdicts on Gordon trade/faith in Jeter & more. 3Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My column on Marlins trading Stanton to Yankees: Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It.

Greg's Lobos Update!: Epic! EPIC! The Lobos got 24.6 points from Jarvis Landry last night to miraculously beat No. 1 seed Chris 120-117.4 in the first round of the LeBatard Show fantasy-league playoffs. Landry had The Heart of a Lobo -- the highest compliment that can be attributed to anyone. 

FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM DOLPHINS' ASTOUNDING, IMPRESSIVE WIN OVER PATRIOTS: Jay Cutler thoroughly outplayed Tom Brady and the Miami Dolphins mostly dominated the New England Patriots.

The preceding may be the most unlikely sentence ever written in the history of the English language.

Five takeaways from Miami's 27-20 Monday Night Football home victory over the Patriots:

1. Where have you guys been? Why is a Dolphins team capable of this kind of effort, this kind of night, still sitting at 6-7 and still an NFL playoff longshot even after this exhilarating triumph? Miami wore its throwback uniforms and gave us a throwback performance. We thought the Dolphins just weren’t very good. Maybe it's that they've just been grossly underperforming.

2. Cutler finished with three TD passes and a 112.1 passer rating to Brady's two interceptions and 60.8 rating. Brady didn't have an off night. Miami's defense gave him an off night, forced it on him, with constant pressure and those two picks by Xavien Howard.

3. I'm finally sold on Kenyan Drake, who had 114 yards rushing and 79 receiving. He is fast, elusive, explosive. I thought Miami was dumb to trade top back Jay Ajayi earlier this season. I feel less like that after Monday night.

4. Finally -- finally -- they were ready for the prime-time stage. Before this, Miami has lost 14 of its past 18 games under the lights, including all three this season. The Fins were on a 1-7 skid on MNF. But that changed Monday as the NFL week's biggest underdog, against their longtime nemesis rival, stood up with everybody watching. Impressive.

5. This was a rotten week in South Florida sports, with the Marlins losing superstar Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees. Monday night made Miami smile. Ah, the power of sports. The power to lift. And to surprise!

Your challenge now: Weigh the elation of Monday night with the whole of the season and vote in the latest Dolphins postgame poll:

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G13: 79.4%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 79.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of DsmMonday night's 27-20 Dolphins home victory vs. the New England Patriots putting Miami's season record at 6-7. That is the highest positive rating in seven weeks. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Wednesday.

2017 game-by-game DSM results

G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)

G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)

G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)

G13: NEW ENGLAND AT DOLPHINS: WILL THE NOT-READY-FOR-PRIMETIME FINS FINALLY SHOW UP UNDER THE LIGHTS?: NE 17-27 (4Q): Brady-White 3-yard pass ... MIA 27-10 (3Q): Cutler-Landry 4-yard pass ... MIA 20-10 (3Q): Cutler-Grant 25-yard pass ... NE 10-13 (2Q): Gostkowski 46-yard FG ... MIA 13-7 (2Q): Cutler-Landry 5-yard pass ... NE 7-6 (2Q): Burkhead 3-yard run ... MIA 6-0 (1Q): Parkey 44-yard FG ... MIA 3-0 (1Q): Parkey 30-yard FG. ... Original post: I’m no slave to trends, friends, but some you simply cannot ignore. They are like a car in a ditch. You can’t help but slow down and rubberneck. One is that few teams in recent history are Nemiabetter in prime time than New England, and few are worse than Miami. Patriots are on a 16-3 run under the lights while Dolphins are on a 4-14 stumble — including 0-3 this season by a combined score of 112-40. Fine-tune that trend even more and find Fins are 1-7 in past eight Monday appearances. That, along with these teams’ overall disparity and a guy named Tom Brady, is why Miami is NFL Week 14's biggest betting underdog at 11 points. And there’s this: Jay Cutler in three career starts vs. NE is 0-3 with five interceptions in losses by 34, 29 and 28 points. These are reasons why the hope borne of last week’s 35-9 Dolphins rout of Denver will prove fleeting as the 10-2 Pats handle the 5-7 Fins at The Rock tonight. But now here are reasons why some hope still exists. Dolphins have beaten Patriots three of the past four meetings in Miami. Brady is below his overall career averages in most every category vs. Miami -- merely quite good, vs. otherworldly. And no Gronk. Wait. One more! Pats visit Steelers next week in a battle for the AFC’s No. 1 seed and may be peeking ahead past the disrespected, easy-to-overlook Dolphins. Bottom line: Do I give Miami much chance to upset New England? Nope. But do I sort of like the Fins getting 11 points? Yep. My pick: New England, 31-23.

StantongTHANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, GIANCARLO: [This item and the poll are carried over from previous blogpost] My column that you'd find here focuses on how the no-trade clause given to Stanton by former owner Jeffrey Loria meant Stanton could get the best deal for himself -- and that the Marlins could not get the best deal for the Marlins. The poll below invites Marlins fans to lay blame for Stanton's departure as they see fit. There has to be room for thanks as well, though. You cannot blame Stanton for the contract he got or the no-trade clause he was given. I honestly believe he wanted to stay; it was the Derek Jeter-led new owners who found his contract beyond their means. I trust Marlins fans will show Stanton the love when he returns in pinstripes. For me, he ranks below only Dan Marino and Dwyane Wade as the great team-drafted star in Miami sports history. Farewell, Giancarlo.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. MARLINS: Team trades Stanton, Gordon. Merry Christmas, fans!: Marlins fans were still shaking heads over the team trading Dee Gordon to Seattle when the dreaded bombshell hit on Saturday: Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees. Miami got Starlin Castro and prospects for Stanton but couldn't get the best deal it was offered because Stanton's no-trade clause gave him ultimate control. Call it Jeffrey Loria's final parting gift. 
 
2. DOLPHINS: Fins try to keep (faint) hope alive vs. Patriots Monday: How did Miami, 5-7 and a playoff longshot, become an NFL also-ran team? Try this: Fins have lost 14 of past 18 night games including all three this season and seven of past eight on Monday stage. Somewhere along the line, folks, your Dolphins turned into the Not Yet Ready For Prime-Time Players.
 
3. HEAT: Miami beat Brooklyn in Mexico City: The Heat faced the Nets in Mexico City on Saturday night -- both teams were able to successfully scale Donald Trump's border wall -- and Miami won, 101-89. Given the disappointing, off-playoff-pace seasons both franchises are having thus far, was this a regularly scheduled game ... or were the two teams deported?
 
4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Five days from start of bowl season: Dec. 16 begins the parade of 41 bowl games culminating with the College Football Playoff national championship Jan. 8. This is first time all three South Florida FBS teams have made the postseason the same year, with Miami in the Orange, FAU in the Boca Raton and FIU in the Gasparilla. Gentlemen, start your bowling!
 
5. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Canes, OB Classic in spotlight: The unbeaten, 10th-ranked Hurricanes men's team returns to action on the road this coming Saturday, the same day the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic featuring No. 5 Florida vs. Clemson and FSU vs. Oklahoma State happens at the Sunrise arena. It'll be so strange, so different, to see exciting action in the building where the NHL Panthers play.
 
6. BASEBALL: Angels land Japanese sensation Ohtani: Baseball winter meetings in Orlando don't start 'til Monday, but the two biggest prizes already have changed uniforms, with the Yankees landing Miami's Giancarlo Stanton after the Angels won the sweepstakes for Japanese hit/pitch sensation Shohei Ohtani. He is being called the sport's greatest dual threat since Babe Ruth. No pressure or anything!

7. PANTHERS: No defense for Cats' poor start: Florida is 11-18 after Saturday night's 7-3 home loss to Colorado, is eight points off playoff pace, and has given up the second-most goals in the NHL. Cats are off now on a five-game road trip. Probably just as well. Seeing bad hockey on TV is never quite as bad as enduring it in person.

8. HEISMAN TROPHY: Ho hum. It's Mayfield in a rout: Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won college football's biggest individual prize in a rout Saturday, collecting 82.5 percent of the first-place votes. If he has two more wins in him -- over Georgia, then over Clemson or Alabama -- he'll be lifting another pretty nice little trophy as well.

9. SOCCER: Toronto beats Seattle for MLS Cup: Toronto FC handled Seattle 2-0 in the championship match of Major League Soccer. You know MLS. It's the league David Beckham has been trying to get a Miami team into for about the past 45 years. 

10. TIGER WOODS: Comeback Kid to play Honda Classic?: Tiger Woods is back healthy (for now) and competing again in PGA Tour events. He lives on Jupiter Island in Florida. The Honda Classic is around the corner Feb. 22-25 in Palm Beach Gardens, which is about a 20-mile hop from Jupiter Island. Hmm....

Missing the HB10 cut: Hope Solo is running for president of U.S. Soccer. The preceding sentence would be much bigger news if we dropped the word "soccer" ..... The Cavaliers' winning streak ended at 13 games. See. I told ya that LeBron James guy would never amount to anything! ..... Actual Headlines I Never Thought I'd See, But Did: 'Vending Machine Worker and Season Ticket Holder Dresses For Blues as Emergency Goalie' ..... In football, Army beat Navy for the second straight year. It figures. Army is built to perform best on land ..... Soccer superstar Ronaldo said, "I am the best player in history." OK, Pele and Messi, you have my permission to beat the [bleep] out of him.
 

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 09, 2017

Going, going ... GONE! Marlins trade Stanton to Yankees: A farewell, my column and your opinion. New poll. Vote now!

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9. It's the holidays! Which can mean only one thing: Giving the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins trade Gordon with two new polls, NFL Week 14 picks & more. 3Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

New: My column on Marlins trading Stanton to Yankees: Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It to read. Column also is published here, below the poll. Also, click Do We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins? for my previous column, off the Dee Gordon trade.

StantongTHANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, GIANCARLO: My column, now online here, focuses on how the no-trade clause given to Stanton by former owner Jeffrey Loria meant Stanton could get the best deal for himself -- and that the Marlins could not get the best deal for the Marlins. The poll below invites Marlins fans to lay blame for Stanton's departure as they see fit. There has to be room for thanks as well, though. You cannot blame Stanton for the contract he got or the no-trade clause he was given. I honestly believe he wanted to stay; it was the Derek Jeter-led new owners who found his contract beyond their means. I trust Marlins fans will show Stanton the love when he returns in pinstripes. For me, he ranks below only Dan Marino and Dwyane Wade as the great team-drafted star in Miami sports history. Farewell, Giancarlo.

[Stanton-trade poll has been relocated to newer blogpost]

Poll results: You disliked Gordon trade, don't have faith in Jeter: We asked if you liked or disliked the Dee Gordon trade, and it was 80.4 percent "Don't like it." We asked if you trust that Derek Jeter will fix the Marlins and it was 83.3% "No."

STANTON HAD ALL THE POWER -- AND USED IT: MY NEW COLUMN: In the Bronx, Yankees fans are partying like it’s 1927. In South Florida, Marlins fans are stuck feeling the hangover as the reality of this new Derek Jeter-led ownership group kicks in like a boot-toe to the temple. Giancarlo Stanton is headed for pinstripes, joining Aaron Judge to give New York a modern-day Murderer’s Row, shades of that epic ’27 team of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Stanton takes his 59 home runs with him, and the NL MVP award, and what was left of the soul of the Marlins.The new face of the franchise is, by default, that of Jeter, the retired Yankees legend now running the Marlins for new majority owner Bruce Sherman. The face looks different now, though. Jeter is not who we thought he’d be. Can we trust that inscrutable smile? The change has happened fast. This should still be the honeymoon. Spring training hasn’t even started. But, already, Miami fans are wiser now than a couple of months ago, when they cheered Jeter’s arrival and anointment — cheered because Jeter was swathed in success, cheered mainly because of the conviction anybody would be a better owner than the long-loathed and un-dearly departed Jeffrey Loria. We now know that Jeter will be just as unpopular as Loria, though fiscally smarter, and that he doesn’t care what you think.He surely didn’t care that a former Yankees great trading Stanton to his former team would ignite a wildfire of conspiracy theories on social media. Yes, it’s all a grand scheme! “You’re welcome!” says Jeter to the Bronx with a leering smile and a wink. Of course, Miami and Jeter preferred the deals offered by St. Louis and San Francisco, but Stanton invoked his no-trade clause to nix those deals — exercising every bit as much power in this trade process as he did in hitting those 59 homers. But let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory!! Stanton had all the power in this, not the Marlins. That the new owners were hell-bent to dump his contract is what’s sobering. Did you picture Jeter riding in heroically on a white steed, ready to win now, caring about nothing more filling the diamond with talent? Ha. Your naivete is showing. Get real. Trading Stanton to the Yankees, and trading Dee Gordon to Seattle two days before, was zero about the team or winning and everything about dumping payroll, reducing debt and achieving financial stability. Business first, baseball second. Finances first, fans second. This may be bottom-line prudent. This may even work in the long run, the idea of rebooting the franchise from the ground up by regrowing what became a decimated farm system. But that’s also an excuse for frugality, and losing, in the meantime. It is a process that hurts while it happens — hurts like it did Saturday morning when South Florida awoke to the Stanton news. You know how children have their whole lives to prepare for the loss of a parent, to think they are ready for it, but when it comes, it’s still so hard? This isn’t family; it’s only fandom. But the idea is the same. Marlins fans have had a long time to live with the growing assumption-turned-inevitability that Stanton would be traded. But when it happens it still hits like a gut-punch. Losing Stanton the way they did is Loria’s ultimate parting gift to Marlins fans. (Along with grossly overpaying for the likes of Wei-Yin Chen and Martin Prado, bad contracts Miami can’t move, which made divesting of Stanton less an option). Loria gave Stanton the crazy-big contract that was severely back-loaded, and gave him an iron-clad no-trade clause — the only one of those he ever gave. Loria likely knew he’d be gone and that the escalating contract and no-trade clause would be some other owner’s headache. Oh, and it was. The no-trade clause meant the Marlins could not make the best deal for the Marlins. It meant Stanton could make the best deal for Stanton. He had all the power and, just like in hitting all those homers, he used it. Flexed it. The Cardinals offered the Marlins the deal they really wanted. Stanton said nah. The Giants offered a deal Miami liked. Stanton said nope. The Marlins were losing leverage, bleeding leverage, as Stanton narrowed to only four teams he’d be OK with. In effect, he told Jeter, “Make the deal I’m happy with, or be stuck owing me $295 million over the next 10 years.” So the Marlins did the best they could. New York absorbs the bear’s share of that contract and sends Miami all-star second baseman Starlin Castro along with prospects reported to be in the good-not-great category. Miami gets a capable guy to plug in for Gordon. Castro hit .300 last season, with a comparable on-base percentage. He has more power than Gordon, but doesn’t steal bases or bat leadoff or have a great glove. And those added prospects, of course, are a crapshoot. The deal mainly did the one thing the Jeter group most needed it to: Made a huge, onerous contract go away. Now what? Is the payroll slashing done with the Stanton-Gordon quiniela or should Marlins fans still brace for losing Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna or others? We can’t know that yet, but we can know this as Derek Jeter moves forward: Business first, baseball second.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote