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Heat's 1st-round playoff opponent: Who do you want? New poll too close to call. Last day to vote!; plus 4-Man Outfield (updated), 'Dream Still Lives' video & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 7. Surprise and thrill the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Click on Amazon to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins and Gronk, Heat playoff's ball of confusion, 4-Man Outfield & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

BuddiesON THE HEAT'S OPENING PLAYOFF OPPONENT: WHO DO YOU WANT?: If the season were over right now, the 6th-seed Heat would face the 3-seed 76ers in the first round of the playoffs after Philly beat and supplanted the Cavaliers and LeBron James last night. Pictured right, we imagine BFFs 'Bron and D-Wade -- hell-bent to deter lipreaders -- are whispering about the possibility they too may meet. Because the season is not over right now. Miami has two games left after last night's loss at the Knicks. That means the Heat still could finish 6th, 7th or 8th and the opening playoff opponent still could be the Raptors, Celtics, 76ers or Cavs. I explore all of this in my latest column; to read, click For Heat, 1 Team to Avoid. Staying out of the 8th seed and avoiding Toronto is, to me, paramount. That's partly because the Celtics are without injured Kyrie Irving, the hot Sixers may be without Joel Embiid, and LeBron's Cavs have not been as dominant as years past. For whatever reason, who do you hope is the Heat's opening playoff foe? Is it the opponent you think would be easiest to beat? Is it the series you'd most want to watch? Poll is alphabetical by city name. Vote now!

Other most recent columns: Dolphins and Gronk, Dave Shula, Marlins: Hop aboard our flight of fancy: The Case For Gronk to Dolphins  /  He'd been out of coaching since 1996, now Don Shula's eldest son is back: Dave Shula Goes Home Again  /  And on baseball's Opening Day: Marlins' Ballpark Experience Only Missing One Thing.

Yelich 4manofUPDATED: 'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD': OL' YELICH OUT FRONT: Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We'll base our continually updated rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). Early days, but all four are struggling to some degree except Yelich -- and now he's sidelined by an oblique (abdominal) issue. The latest, entering Saturday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers        .984   6   26    6  10    5    2-0-1      .385

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees     .843   8   33    5   7    7    2-0-3      .212

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .667    7   30    3   8    5    1-0-1      .267

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .443    7   35    3   7    1    0-0-0      .200

'DREAM STILL LIVES': AN MLK SALUTE: Stevie Wonder assembled dozens of notables and others for a 'Dream Still Lives' video marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. The few folks going for humor (talking to you, Stern) were off-key notes, but overall a pretty powerful piece:

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks to APSE. Here are our nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional columns: Gore Continues Dolphins' Strange Offseason / Wayne Huizenga: A Legacy Indelible Serena Fighting Her Career Sunset. And She Has Company / Canes QB Battle One Of Strength, Not Desperation / Don't Shut Up, Get Louder / Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018 / Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed / Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season / 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 / Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The NightHeat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 and Welcome Home, D.Wade / Also: Dear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamWhen Victims Seize The PowerThe Godfather SpeaksRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

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