GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It's SATURDAY, MARCH 10. Going to the LeBatard Brothers' 'Mas Miami' event tonight at Blackbird Ordinary? I'll be there. Say hello. 2) Surprise and delight the Dolfans in your life with our Fins At 50 book. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Ross, and anthem-kneeling, on LeBron and activism, new Back In My Day (Cookbooks) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you, Dwyane Wade: Really nice gesture by D-Wade to visit kids at Stoneman Douglas High this week to offer his support and pledge to join the cause of gun control. This is a great, important use of the platform of fame. Well done, Dwyane.
STRONG MAJORITY DISLIKE DOLPHINS' LANDRY TRADE: Miami traded soon-to-be-pricey receiver Jarvis Landry yesterday to Cleveland for fourth- and seventh-round draft picks. I get it. Not sure even a productive slot receiver is worth $16 million-plus a year. But a fourth and a seventh isn't much in return. Should've been a second- or at a least a third-round pick. And you agreed, apparently. On my Twitter feed I posted a poll on the trade. I asked whether or not you were in favor if it. More than 4,000 had voted when last I checked, and by a 2-to-1 margin -- 67 to 33 percent -- you were voting "no." Don't like it. Visit @gregcote for updated results, to vote or to join our Twitter family if you haven't already.
THRILLING THURSDAY IN SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS: WHAT IT MEANT: [Click on Heat, Panthers, Canes Gunning For History for the full column version of this blog entry] I think of days like Thursday (well, nights like this) whenever folks moan about Miami not being a great sports town. In the 24 years with all three teams, this will be only the third time that the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers both make the playoffs and Miami Hurricanes men's basketball makes the NCAA Tournament the same season. It happened in the 1999-00 season and again in 2015-16, and will now again, barring an extreme unlikelihood. And all three teams were in play last night:
(*) Heat beat 76ers, 108-99: Miami sits seventh in the NBA East in the jockeying for eight playoff spots and with 16 games left in the regular season and now has a 99.5 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to ESPN's Basketball Power Index projections. Philadelphia sits just above in sixth place but now is only one game ahead of Miami, so last night's Heat win enhanced the odds Miami will move up further for an (ostensibly) easier first-round opponent. Next: Tonight vs. Washington.
(*) Panthers beat Canadiens, 5-0: Florida sits in ninth place right now in the race for the top eight and the NHL playoffs, still two points off pace but with three games in hand over the team now eighth. Computer projections now put the Panthers' chances of reaching the postseason at 69 to 78 percent. Cats have been super-hot lately, winning 14 of past 18 games and scoring at least one point in eight straight. Next: Tonight vs. N.Y. Rangers.
(*) UM men lose to North Carolina, 82-65: It was Canes-Tar Heels in UM's opener of the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, but UNC was a tough opening draw. Though a sixth-seed, Heels were ranked No. 12 to UM's 24th. Miami beat Carolina 91-88 just nine days earlier, but a repeat of the feat was much to expect. Miami is assured a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but one-and-out in the ACCs certainly did not enhance UM's likely seeding. Next: NCAA Tournament, date and opponent to be determined.
OUR NEWEST COLUMNS: ON STEPHEN ROSS, ATHLETE ACTIVISM, TOP 25 MIAMI SPORTS FIGURES: My latest is on the unfair criticism of the Dolphins owner Ross, and on Kenny Stills' hands-on offseason odyssey for social justice and equality. To read, click As Dolphins' Owner Wrestles With Anthem-Kneeling, A Player Shows A Way Beyond Protests. On athlete activism, click Don't Shut Up, Get Louder. Also: Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018.
AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT OF ICHIRO: A very personal story of Ichiro in his career's deep winter appears on ESPN.com today and in ESPN The Magazine's April 2 issue, the work of one of our favorite sports writers, Wright Thompson. Ichiro played a fair chunk of his long career in Miami, of course (432 games in 2015-17), and Marlins fans who embraced will want to read this. It is a portrait of Ichiro at 44, at a time when his baseball career seemed possibly over, before he re-signed recently with the Seattle Mariners. It explores Ichiro's estrangement from his father, and the idiosyncrasies of a very private, fascinating man. To read Thompson's latest, click on Ichiro In Winter. (Coincidentally, ESPN.com today has a new piece on another former Miami sports star, Chris Bosh, also recommended as worth a read. Click on Bosh At A Crossroads).
ICYMI: OUR APSE CONTEST-WINNING COLUMNS: Here are the five submitted 2017 columns that earned us a Top 10 national designation from the Associated Press Sports Editors: From March 1: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / April 22: Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose / May 15: NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / July 24: What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / October 1: With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.
Select additional other columns: Fins Must Find Their Future / Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed / Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season / And our two on the Parkland tragedy: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing. Also, our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Others: Richt Building Something Big & Something To Last. Dear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, Rubin. Beckham's Dream Becomes A Team. Appreciating Wayne Huizenga. When Victims Seize The Power. The Godfather Speaks. Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Thank You, Edwin Pope.
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