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9 posts from March 2021

March 29, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Huge week as Riley magic, Fins draft trades, Marlins Opening Week, R.I.P. Howard, Elite Eight fight for first; plus our Schnellenberger tribute column, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 29. Thanks to the Paul Castronovo Show for having us on this morning to talk Dolphins and Schnellenberger. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat and Riley steal Oladipo at trade deadline, Beckham keeps name-dropping Messi and Ronaldo for Inter Miami, Deshaun Watson's escalating off-field mess, Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow MikejackGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 13th podcast of 2021 (55th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 55 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep13 we offer a tribute to the late great Howard Schnellenberger and welcome in two special guests. Meet Mike Jack (pictured), who just a Guinness World Record for eating the hottest pepper ever grown. And Jeremy Tache' of Bally (nee Fox) Sports Florida is on to discuss Heat, Marlins and Schitt's Creek. Greg and Chris also chew over Dolphins' big draft trades. And hear the return of Mount Gregmore! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (And remember: Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HowardripHOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, 1934-2021: MY TRIBUTE COLUMN: Like grown children do with aging parents, sports fans know the day is coming for beloved old coaches who have faded from sidelines and headlines but never from our hearts. We have so long to prepare for the day, so many years, yet somehow we always feel unprepared when the news hits. Howard Schnellenberger -- father of the Miami Hurricanes football dynasty but with an impact so much greater -- passed away early Saturday. He had turned 87 two weeks earlier. We forgive hyperbole in eulogies, but sometimes what might seem like a statement too big is just right: “Without him there is no Miami football,” the Hurricanes program tweeted simply. For my full tribute column, visit In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.

Riley's magic, Beckham's optimism, Watson's mess. Our three othre most recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / and Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? Other most recent columns: No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 28-29): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Slump deepens, but Miami, Riley win big at draft deadline: Bad news? Heat has lost a season-high six straight games and fallen below .500 (22-24) and tumbled from fourth place to eighth in the East after Friday's loss at Charlotte. Good news? Miami and Pat Riley killed it on NBA trade deadline day. Couldn't pry Kyle Lowry from Toronto, but acquired 20-point scorer Victor Oladipo and forward Nemanja Bjelica without having to part with valued pieces like Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson. No Lowry? No problem! Miami is back in play Monday at Knicks.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami trades down in first round, gets draft windfall in return: The Fins on Friday shook up the NFL draft's April 29 first round by trading down from the No. 3 overall pick. Miami in return got San Francisco's No. 12 overall pick, its third rounder this year and two future first-round picks -- one in 2022 and one in 23. Then, Miami got the No. 6 overall pick this year and a '21 fifth-round pick from Philadelphia in exchange for the '21 12th overall pick, a '21 fourth-round pick and a '22 first-round pick. Got all that? Bottom line: By moving down third to sixth in this year's first round, Fins gained a 3rd-round pick in '21 and a first-rounder in '23. Smart.

3. MARLINS: It's Opening Week for Miami's 29th MLB season!: Marlins open the regular season with a six-game homestand vs. Tampa Bay and St. Louis starting this Thursday vs. the Rays, with Sandy Alcantara on the mound for Miami. Low expectations for Fish in tough NL East, based on betting numbers, though Miami snapped a 17-year playoff drought last year. Season comes after a successful spring that saw Fish finish atop the Grapefruit League standings at 14-5 (not counting five ties) after Sunday's closing win.

4. HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: R.I.P. to Canes' first champion football coach: Howard Schnellenberger passed away Saturday at age 87. His leading the Miami Hurricanes' 1983 national championship touched off a dynasty that would lead to four titles more over the next 18 seasons. He later built FAU's program from scratch.  A true South Florida sports legend. R.I.P. 

5. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: March Madness' Sweet 16 turns to Elite Eight: The original 68 teams in the men's NCAA Tournament are down to the surviving Elite Eight after weekend results. Saturday, No. 1 Baylor advanced along with Houston, Arkansas and Oregon State. (Notably eliminated: Cinderella-designate Oral Roberts and Sister Jean's Loyola). Sunday, No. 1s Gonzaga and Michigan moved on along with USC and, in an upset, UCLA. Elite Eight games are tonight and Tuesday.

6. BOXING: Tyson-Holyfield III set for Miami in May ... or is it?: The third and last fight in the Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson trilogy is set for May 29 at a socially distanced Hard Rock Stadium. But only if it ends up happening. It seemed set. Then Holyfield's camp announced Tyson had rejected the $25 million guarantee. Then, a day after Tyson proclaimed the fight was on, his reps told TMZ the boxer misspoke and wasn't aware how far apart the two sides are in negotiations. So stay tuned. Quick aside: Tyson is 54 and Holyfield 58. Tick tock, fellas!

7. HURRICANES: Spring football practice breaks for UM's NFL Pro Day: Midway through its 15 spring practices, UM pauses on Monday to welcome in scouts for its annual Pro Day in advance of the NFL Draft. Two ex-Cnes -- defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau -- are seen as certain first-rounders, though likely mid-round. Spring practice concludes April 17.

8. PANTHERS: Ekblad injured in Florida win: Florida is 22-9-4, third in NHL Central and only two points off the lead after a pair of wins in Dallas. Sunday's was was costly, though, as defenseman Aaron Ekblad left the ice on a stretcher with a serious left leg injury that will keep him out "an extensive time," said coach Joel Quenneville. Ekblad is a Norris Trophy finalist for NHL defenseman of the year award.

9. TENNIS: What's left of Miami Open reaches midpoint: Rocked by major late withdrawals including Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokvic and Rafael Nadal and with its prize fund gutted, the remains of the Miami Open -- back with limited crowds after being erased by the pandemic last spring -- reached its midway point this weekend outside Hard Rock Stadium.

10. HORSE RACING: Known Agenda wins Florida Derby: Todd Pletcher-trained Known Agenda won Saturday's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, a major prep race for Triple Crown season. Win qualified the horse for the Kentucky Derby. Known Agenda's owner? Vinnie Viola, who also owns the Florida Panthers.

Missing the HB10 cut: U.S. men's soccer failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after Sunday's 2-1 loss to Honduras in Guadalajara, Mexico. It's the U.S. men's third straight missed Olympics ..... Year 2 for David Beckham's Inter Miami opened with a practice game vs. the USL Tampa Bay Rowdies Sunday, a 1-0 loss in St. Pete. After five friendlies will come the MLS regular season opener April 18. Meantime Beckham keeps name-dropping Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as among stars who could end their careers with Miami. We'll hold you to that, Becks! ..... Attrition clobbers Canes hoops. UM men's season ended at 10-17, worst in 27 years, and the hits keep coming. Guard Chris Lykes announced he's turning pro as expected, although at 5-7 it's unlikely he'll draw NBA Draft attention. Now leading scorer Isaiah Wong also is pondering an early departure, and shooting guard Kameron McGusty also is gauging NBA interest. Oh, and two others, Elijah Olaniyi and Earl Timberlake, have entered the transfer portal. Tough times for Jim Larranaga ..... Yeah, innocent until proven guilty. OK. But 16 civil suits against Deshaun Watson for sexual impropriety or assault? At what point might teams negotiating a trade with Houston have second thoughts? ..... Francis Ngannou KO'd Stip Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title Saturday ..... A Miami Heat arena name change is at hand. It's going from AmericanAirlines Arena to FTX Arena, after a cryptocurrency exchange. Will players now be paid in Bitcoin? ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 11-8 entering Sunday's series rubber game at Virginia ..... Upcoming: UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches are next week on April 6; The Masters at Augusta is April 8-11; Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11; and the Kentucky Derby is in one month, on May 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 13th episode of 2021 and 55th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,919 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Other recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

March 26, 2021

No Lowry, but stealing Oladipo, keeping Herro a big win-win for Riley, Heat. New column; plus On Beckham name-dropping Messi and Ronaldo for Inter Miami, Deshaun Watson's colossal mess, latest Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more

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

Ej1) It's FRIDAY, MARCH 26. Happy Birthday, Elton John! Hard to believe you turned 74 Thursday. You have been a soundtrack of my  life and a continuing inspiration. Thank you. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow PabloGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH PABLO TORRE OUT NOW!: Our 12th podcast of 2021 (54th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 54 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep12 ESPN's Pablo Torre joins us to discuss the impact and pain of Asian-American hate crimes such as the recent mass killing in Atlanta. We pivot to light and fun  stuff, too, of course, including his 'Con of Mammals' theory and his never-before-told revelation about his real name -- what his Mom calls him. Also on the menu: We record before a live studio audience, discuss pigs learning to play video games and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Dolphins, Phil 'n Tiger, March Madness. Other latest columns: No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness.

VicolaNO LOWRY? NO PROBLEM. MIAMI HEAT STEALING OLADIPO, KEEPING HERRO A BIG WIN FOR RILEY: Patience, as a virtue, can be profoundly overrated. Pat Riley has known that well in the 25-plus years he has been one of the best things ever to happen to sports in Miami. And Heat fans have almost always benefited from that lack of patience. The Heat team president quietly turned 76 a few days ago. Sometimes a man gets to feeling he doesn’t have all the time in the world to sit around crossing fingers on the status quo when there are dominoes to tip, deals to be made. Chances to take. And so Riley’s Heat was in the mix again Thursday, NBA draft-deadline day, working phones in the midst of a four-game losing streak that saw Miami fall to 22-22 and a tie for fifth place in the East. Getting through the conference and back to the NBA Finals this season has seemed a steep climb — hence, the interest Thursday in a deadline-day roster infusion. This happened: Miami acquired guard Victor Oladipo, a two-time all-star averaging 20.8 points this season, from Houston for Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk. The Heat also obtained power forward Nemanja Bjelica from Sacramento in exchange for Moe Harkless and Chris Silva. (Miami had earlier acquired forward Trevor Ariza from Oklahoma City for Meyers Leonard and a 2027 second-round pick). That’s a beefed-up rotation, added depth at forward and a 20-point scorer without giving up anybody they would truly miss, such as a Duncan Robinson. (And LaMarcus Aldridge might yet be added). Not bad. Now here is what did not happen Thursday: Kyle Lowry-to-Miami didn’t happen. Not for a lack of effort or desire, but because Riley, uncharacteristically, showed patience. For our full latest column, visit No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley.

BecksBECKHAM KEEPS NAME-DROPPING MESSI, RONALDO FOR INTER MIAMI. CAN HE DELIVER?: David Beckham is dreaming out loud again. Putting his grandest, most high-reaching vision for his Inter Miami CF soccer club out there for all to see. It’s almost as if he is challenging himself — daring himself — to reach the bar he is setting. As they await the club’s second season in Major League Soccer (first match is April 18), South Florida fans are again being tempted and teased by Beckham to expect the best, to consider no player out of reach. Now all he has to do is deliver. When you whet the appetite for lobster, steak and caviar, what you actually serve will be under fair scrutiny, after all. So Beckham this week tells ESPN’s Taylor Twellman: “When we announced [a team in] Miami, there was always going to be talk about players we were going to bring in, whether it was Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar. There was always going to be those discussions. I actually don’t think it’s a tough one for players to decide, to be honest, because it’s a great place. Miami is a city that has that pull on players who have been playing in Europe that are big stars.” There are big stars, and then there are Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar, who are of a galaxy far beyond. “It’s not a difficult [sales] pitch,” added Beckham. “You say Miami and they’re, like, OK. There were reasons I chose Miami.” There has always been the assumption that the glamour and sizzle of Miami and the sexy international cache’ of the Beckham brand would be an intoxicating perfume to lure star power. For our full recent column, visit Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver?

DeshaunWOMEN KEEP ACCUSING DESHAUN WATSON OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT. BUT WILL IT MATTER TO NFL TEAMS?: The narrowing of possibilities for Deshaun Watson’s football future plays out in lockstep with the gradual disintegration of his reputation. The NFL has never seen anything quite like it. We watch in fascination, as we would a train wreck unfolding in slow motion. As free agency plods on and players change uniforms, the league‘s most coveted perhaps-available superstar quarterback continues the subject of pursuit by both teams and women alleging sexual misconduct. The women now outnumber the teams, which may or may not be related. It’s a mess from every angle. Watson signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension with the Houston Texans just months ago, but now is adamantly estranged from the club to the degree he is demanding a trade. The Texans are flummoxed on how to play this unexpected hand, continuing to say “Deshaun’s our guy” as if calling the bluff of a man who isn’t bluffing. They could have declared the trade window open and reaped the riches of a multi-team bidding war. Instead they have watched potential suitors sign other quarterbacks and come to realize Watson holds all the cards on where he might agree to be traded. The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi reported Watson has narrowed his choices to the Denver Broncos or San Francisco 49ers. Meaning he has eliminated reported, rumored or potential suitors notably including the Miami Dolphins, along with the New York Jets, Carolina Panthers and several others. Now, though, fans who might once have been devastated to see their team out of the Watson sweepstakes might now consider themselves lucky. For our full recent column, please visit Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams?

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ARCHIVES:

Other most recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

March 22, 2021

New Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre out now. Discussing Asian-American hate crimes but managing to pivot to fun stuff, too (including Pablo's revelation about his real name); plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), links to newest columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 22. Find last Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for my weekly appearance, including a new Back In My Day. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' no-splash free agency suggests team all-in on draft and Tua, Mickelson reflects on 25 years of Tiger as Honda begins, NCAA Tournament preview, Greg Cote Show podcast with Sarah Spain & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH PABLO TORRE OUT NOW!: Our 12th podcast of 2021 (54th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 54 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep12 ESPN's Pablo Torre joins us to discuss the impact and pain of Asian-American hate crimes such as the recent mass killing in Atlanta. We pivot to light and fun  stuff, too, of course, including his 'Con of Mammals' theory and his never-before-told revelation about his real name -- what his Mom calls him. Also on the menu: We record before a live studio audience, discuss pigs learning to play video games and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Dolphins, Phil 'n Tiger, March Madness. Our latest columns: No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness. 

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 21-22): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: No huge splash, but busy first week of free agency for Miami: Miami was active with ripple-type moves but no big-splash gets through the first week of free agency, suggesting the club is relying on the upcoming NFL Draft -- and its faith in Tua Tagovailoa -- to elevate from last season's 10 wins to the playoffs and AFC East contention. As of Friday the Fins the Fins had gained eight free agents, lost six and re-signed one. Notable adds: WR Will Fuller and backup QB Jacoby Brissett. Notable departures: Ryan Fitzpatrick and defenders Davon Godchaux and Kyle Van Noy.  

2. HEAT: Miami swaps Leonard for Ariza ahead of trade deadline: Miami shipped suspended Meyers (Anti-Semitic Slur) Leonard and a 2027 second-round pick to Oklahoma City for veteran forward Trevor Ariza, who'll fight for minutes off bench here. Divesting of Leonard puts Heat in better financial position to perhaps deal for, say, LaMarcus Aldridge ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline? Meantime Heat were on an 11-1 run but have now dropped three straight, and fallen to fifth place in East, entering Tuesday's game vs. Phoenix.

3. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Upsets galore as March Madness nears Sweet 16: March Madness is back after a one-year pandemic pause and reaches the Sweet 16 with Monday's results. Fifteen of the first 41 games (or 36.7 percent) have been by-seed upsets including No. 7 Oregon ousting No. 2 Iowa today/Monday. Biggest upsets so far: No. 15 Oral Roberts eliminating No. 2 Ohio State (and then No. 7 Florida), and No. 8 Loyola-Chicago ousting No. 1 Illinois.

4. PANTHERS: Florida's midseason grade a solid 'A': Florida is 20-7-4 and four points off Tampa's Central lead entering Tuesday and Thursday games at Chicago. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and a hugely improved play from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky have led the way.

5. GOLF: Little-known Matt Jones wins Honda Classic in Palm Beach: Aussie Matt Jones, 40 won his first PGA Tour event in seven years with a comfy five-shot triumph in the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. Fan favorite Phil Mickelson tied for 25th place. It was an otherwise low-watt field with only six of the top 50 ranked players and none higher than 15th. Meanwhile Tiger Woods is back home in nearby Jupiter Island as he continues rehabbing from last month's car wreck that left him with traumatic right leg injuries.

6. TENNIS: Severely depleted Miami Open underway at Hard Rock: Fan favorite Rafael Nadal was a late withdrawal, and top stars Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer canceled even later. Then Sunday, Serena Williams withdrew. What's left of the two-week Miami Open commenced Monday outside Hard Rock Stadium.

7. INTER MIAMI: MLS team adds prominent defender as preseason underway: Former Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs, 31, has agreed to join Inter Miami this summer, when his contract with West Bromwich Albion expires. Year 2 for David Beckham's MLS team was to get underway with the first preseason match Saturday vs. USL club Miami FC. Inter Miami, but that game was canceled due to COV-19 precautions. Season opens April 18.

8. MARLINS: Spring dreaming. Are Fish better than skeptics think?: Miami, lightly regarded in the stacked NL East despite ending a 17-year playoff drought last season, were 9-4 (not counting five ties) and near the top of the Grapefruit League standings entering the final week of spring training this week. Season opens April 1.

9. UM BASEBALL: Canes tumble with home embarrassment vs. Florida State: The No. 6-ranked Canes fell to No. 19 and are 9-7 after  being swept at home by ACC rival rival Florida State -- and by a combined three game score of 34-2. Ouch. 

10. HURRICANES: Spring football practice underway at UM: Miami and coach Manny Diaz are underway with their slate of 15 spring football practices. Quarterback D'Eriq King will miss spring work recovers from his knee injury in the December bowl game, but Diaz says King should be ready for fall camp and the September 4 season opener vs. (uh oh) reigning national champion Alabama in Atlanta.

Missing the HB10 cut: UEFA Champions League is down to its final eight, with first- and second-leg quarterfinal matches set for April 6 and 13-14. The pairings: Bayern Munich vs. Paris-Saint Germain, GC Porto-Chelsea, Manchester City-Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid-Liverpool ..... WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan and WWE star Titus O’Neil will host WrestleMania 37 in Tampa Bay April 10-11 ..... Former MLB and Canes baseball player Aubrey Huff, whose hobby now seems to be embarrassing himself on social media, falsely claimed both Hank Aaron and and Marvin Hagler had died related to taking the COVID vaccine. Facebook flagged the post as misinformation as gullible conspiracy theorists undoubtedly nodded vigorously in agreement with Huff ..... New Zealand defeated Italy in the final of America's Cup sailing in Auckland. Home-water advantage? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 12th episode of 2021 and 54th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,926 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Other most recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

March 19, 2021

Small-splash free agency says Dolphins going all-in on draft -- and Tua. New column; plus Phil reflects on 25-year rivalry/friendship with Tiger as Honda Classic begins, New Greg Cote Show podcast with ESPN's Sarah Spain, NCAA Tournament column & more

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

Pat1) It's FRIDAY, MARCH 19. Hope y'all had a Happy St. Patrick's Day! 2) Check out Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for my weekly appearance, including a new Back In My Day. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast, links to recent columns & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow SpainGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH SARAH SPAIN OUT NOW!: Our 11th podcast of 2021 (53rd overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 53 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep11 we welcome in ESPN star Sarah Spain for a fun chat about her new part-ownership in the Chicago Red Stars women's pro soccer team, Chicagio's Secret Door, dinner with Charles Barkley, her future and more. Also on the menu: A-Rod and J-Lo, March Madness, Marlins Park drones, a Mount Gregmore cameo by Patrick Ewing and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

FinsfloresNO BIG SPLASH IN FREE AGENCY MAKES IT CLEAR DOLPHINS GOING ALL IN ON DRAFT -- AND TUA: Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores tried to warn us. After his team led the NFL in free agency spending a year ago, owner Stephen Ross throwing around Monopoly money, this figured as a quieter offseason building to the draft in six weeks. “I’m going to be playing the song, ‘You can’t always get what you want’,” Flores said. “We may get priced out on some guys we’re looking at that we’d like to have.” And so they have in a first wave of free agency that has been active for Miami but without big-splash moves. Signing still-available wide receiver Kenny Golladay or Juju Smith-Schuster — that would make a splash. Bringing in a starting tackle the likes of Mitchell Schwartz or Alejandro Villanueva would be a sizable ripple. Signing edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney? Cannonball. Instead salary cap-limited Miami so far is making strategic little moves aimed at shoring up depth more than instant impact. Flores referenced a Rolling Stones song that follows you-can’t-always-get-what-you-want with, “But if you try sometime, you might find you get what you need.” Are the Dolphins doing that, at least, as they try to improve on a 10-win season that narrowly missed the playoffs? We size up the notable changes thus far to Miami’s roster in our newest column. To read that latest column in full, visit No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua.

TigerphilPHIL MICKELSON REFLECTS ON 25-YEAR RIVALRY/FRIENDSHIP WITH TIGER AS HONDA CLASSIC TEES OFF: The Honda Classic this week marks its 50th year as a mainstay on the PGA Tour, and as it does so the biggest thing in golf -- still, after all these years, even when he isn’t playing -- looms over the tournament, his presence felt. The absence of him felt. Tiger Woods revealed Tuesday night he is back home on Jupiter Island, just 20 miles north of Palm Beach Gardens, where the Honda tees off Thursday at PGA National and will divvy its $7.2 million prize purse on Sunday. “I will be recovering at home and working on getting stronger every day,” Tiger wrote on Twitter. On February 23 near Los Angeles, Woods’ car careened down an embankment in an accident that could have cost him his life. He sustained traumatic injuries to his lower right leg that will require at least a full year’s rehabilitation and put in some doubt whether his game will ever be the same. An old friend playing in the Honda this week has been reflecting a lot on the gut punch to golf. Phil Mickelson is the old rival who became the dear friend through the decades of he and Woods jousting on the course and jabbing off it. The sheriff on the crash scene called Woods “lucky to be alive.” Woods’ hope is to be ready to play in the 2022 Masters in 13 months, but that almost seems secondary now. “We’re just lucky and appreciative that his kids didn’t lose their father,” Mickelson said in the buildup to the Honda. “All the guys here understand and appreciate what he has meant to the game of golf and for us and the PGA Tour. But right now that’s so far from our minds. We’re thankful he’s still with us.” For our full recent column, visit Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off.

MadnessNCAA TOURNAMENT: WHY MEN'S FIELD HAS A NEEDED FRESH FEEL AS WE WELCOME BACK MARCH MADNESS: It is 1974 in America. Richard Nixon resigned. Ali and Foreman fought in the “Rumble in the Jungle.” The Towering Inferno and Blazing Saddles tore up the box office. Greg Cote went through a brief but unfortunate sartorial phase that included bell bottoms and four-inch platform heels. And North Carolina and Duke both missed the men’s NCAA Tournament in college basketball. Forty-seven years later, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils once again are sitting out March Madness for the first time since ‘74. Ain’t it grand! Wait. This column should come with a disclaimer, like you see on packs of cigarettes. WARNING: Hoops fans in the state of North Carolina who continue reading this may experience discomfort and anger. They’re weeping along Tobacco Road. Duke finished a mediocre 13-11 as the celebrated Mike Krzyzewski was demoted to Coach Just-OK — his team derailed by COVID-19 in the ACC Tournament. UNC was a bit better but not good enough for their own legendary coach, Roy Williams. These giants in the sport were not alone in their uncharacteristic disappointment this season. Kentucky and Louisville are out of the Big Dance, too. For our full recent column previewing the NCAA Tournament, visit Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness

1yearOur three other most recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / and Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season.

CardsAdditional most recent columns: Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

March 14, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat, Madness, sadness, free agency front a jammed, wild week. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now!, links to most recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 15. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On 1-year anniversary of sports' COVID shutdown, Heat's anti-Semitic mess, David Beckham's resolve tested by turmoil, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 11th podcast of 2021 (53rd overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 53 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep11 we welcome in ESPN star Sarah Spain for a fun chat about her new part-ownership in the Chicago Red Stars women's pro soccer team, Chicagio's Secret Door, dinner with Charles Barkley, her future and more. Also on the menu: A-Rod and J-Lo, March Madness, Marlins Park drones, a Mount Gregmore cameo by Patrick Ewing and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Covid1Our three most recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / and Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season.

CardsOther most recent columns: Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 14-15): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Miami stays hot despite recent Leonard off-court mess: Heat is on a 10-1 run, 21-18 overall and alone in fourth place in the East after Sunday's win in Orlando led by en fuego Jimmy Butler. That despite the Meyers Leonard mess. The injured center used an anti-Semitic slur in a video-game livestream last week, was put on indefinite leave by the Heat and fined $50,000 and suspended by the NBA. Miami is back in play Tuesday vs. Cleveland.

2. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Gonzaga (no duh) tops Selection Sunday for NCAA Tournament: March Madness is back! (Sort of). After last year's was canceled by COVID-19, the NCAA Tournament returns this week, albeit with limited crowds and all games played in and around Indianapolis. It was Selection Sunday for the men's tourney, with Gonzaga the overall No. 1 as expected and Baylor, Illinois and Michogan other top seeds. Women's field gets set today.

3. COVID-19: Sports reflects on sad anniversary: March 11 marked the official one-year anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic as sports shut down en masse on March 11-12. It was the least happy anniversary on record, although a torrent of vaccine availability lends hope for better days on road to normalcy.

4. DOLPHINS/NFL: Will Fins be players/spenders as NFL free agency begins?: Oh if I had  dime for every speculative media dart being thrown about what Miami will do as free agency begins this Wednesday. Best possibilities: Veteran QB to back up Tua, with Ryan Fitzatrick expected to sign elsewhere. An upgrade at running back. A quality receiver like Kenny Golladay or Juju Schuster-Smith. And an LB/pass rusher -- especially with productive Kyle Van Noy unwisely released. Lavonte David, perhaps? FA decisions will shape the coming draft as well.

5. PANTHERS: Yes, the Cats are Stanley Cup contenders: Florida is 18-5-4 after three straight wins including 4-2 Saturday vs. Chicago. Cats host Blackhawks again Monday. The Panthers are ranked No. 5 in the NHL in ESPN's latest power rankings. The bad news? Central Division rivals Carolina and Tampa Bay are ranked 1-2.

6. CHRIS BOSH: Popular ex-Heat star a Hall of Fame finalist: No surprise, but two-time Heat champion Chris Bosh is one of 14 new finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame. Notable other first-time finalists include Paul Pierce and (as a coach) Bill Russell. The five back for another try include former Heat star Tim Hardaway. Inductees for 2021 will be announced May 16.

7. HURRICANES: QB King recovering nicely as Canes open spring football: UM's first of 15 spring football practices is today/Monday. Quarterback D'Eriq King will miss spring work as he recovers from an ACL knee injury in the December bowl game, but coach Manny Diaz says King is "smashing every benchmark" in his rehab and should be ready for fall camp and the September 4 season opener vs. reigning national champion Alabama in Atlanta.

8. MARLINS: Winning and tying and drones at midpoint of spring: Miami is second in Grapefruit League standings at 5-2 (not counting five tie games including four straight at one point) at midpoint of spring training. Marlins resume play Monday at Astros. Meantime club announced it would use drones (!) to disinfect Marlins Park this season.

9. GOLF: It's Honda Classic Week in Palm Beach: South Florida's only PGA Tour event returns to Palm Beach Gardens this week with the Honda Classic this Thursday through next Sunday. Tiger Woods' recent serious car accident that badly injured his right leg remains the talk of golf. Woods had not entered to play the Honda prior to his accident.

10. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men show life in ACCs, but much too late: Miami's men had a nice 2-1 run in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., beating Pitt and impressively upsetting Clemson before losing narrowly to Georgia Tech. Still, UM's 10-17 final record marked its worst season in 27 years. Miami's women ended 11-11 after a one-and-done in the ACCs.

Missing the HB10 cut: R.I.P., "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, gone unexpectedly at 66. Hagler was a great middleweight in a golden age of boxing in the'80s ..... UEFA Champions League will advance four more to the final eight Tuesday and Wednesday, with advantages in leg 2 held by Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. Advancing previously: Liverpool, Paris-Saint Germain, Borussia Dortmund and upstart FC Porto ..... Inter Miami's first preseason match ahead of the April start of MLS Year 2 is this coming Saturday March 20 vs. local USL club Miami FC ..... No. 8-ranked UM baseball is 7-4 off four straight wins after a two-game home sweep of Wake Forest ..... Miami and Hard Rock will be one of the 10 or 12 U.S. sites chosen to host 2026 World Cup matches. Let's please quit pretending there is any doubt whatsoever ..... Miami Open tennis outside Hard Rock Stadium begins a week from Monday, running March 22-April 4. Top-ranked players across the WTA and ATP tours will be here. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal top men's field and Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka the women. Eyes will also swivel to fan favorites Roger Federer and Serena Williams ..... New Zealand vs. Italy final continues in America's Cup sailing ..... Blake Griffin signing with Nets reminds us the NBA trade deadline is nearing at March 25 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 11th episode of 2021 and 53rd overall drops Monday morning. Now on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,933 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

March 13, 2021

Reality, loss, comeback: Sports' place in America's past awful year. New column; plus Why Heat should part ways with Meyers Leonard over slur, Greg Cote Show podcast with Ricky Williams, Beckham's resolve amid Inter Miami tumult & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MARCH 13. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast, recent column links & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow RickGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH RICKY WILLIAMS OUT NOW!: On the heel of last week's 1st Anniversary episode, our new 10th podcast of 2021 and 52nd overall is out now it features former NFL and Dolphins star Ricky Williams! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 52 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new Ep10 of '21, we catch the enigmatic, mercurial Ricky in a good mood in a illuminating conversation that touches on football, astrology, cannabis, Le Batard and more. Also on the menu: Cap'n Crunch, LeBron vs. Zlatan, knees to the head in UFC, the new Mount Gregmore (Chris hates it as usual) and more. Ricky Williams was great so don't miss this new episode! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Pan1 REALITY, LOSS, COMEBACK: HOW SPORTS HAS BEEN GUIDING LIGHT IN AMERICA'S AWFUL PAST YEAR: It got real for a lot of us when the basketballs stopped bouncing and the sneakers stopped squeaking. When arenas were full of cheering fans one night and empty and dark the next. It was one year ago. That is when everything changed, when that strange new word, “coronavirus,” entered our lives, the invisible deadly plague not knocking but kicking in our doors, and sports had little choice but to surrender. The role of sports in helping America get through this tragic past year is remarkable, and not spoken of enough, because it is our collective national pasttime — us, loving our teams and games — that led us by the hand. Sports first told us how serious this was. Then made us miss so dearly what was a very part of our fabric. Now sports is out front in the careful, gradual progress toward normalcy again. The past year has been devastating for our pro leagues and colleges in terms of revenue, but what our teams and games mean in our lives and hearts nourishes the future of sports. Being forced to miss them, to miss part of the taken-for-granted rhythm of our lives, has defined and steeled the depth of our love. For our full latest column, visit Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year.

MleonardIT ISN'T 'CANCEL CULTURE', IT'S RIGHT: HEAT SHOULD PART WAYS WITH LEONARD OVER ANTI-SEMITIC SLUR: Life had been so good lately for Miami Heat player Meyers Leonard. One month ago to the day he and wife Elle closed on a $7.8 million, near-7,000-square foot mansion in Miami’s tony eastside community of Bay Point. They were excited about the protein-bar business they’d started. They celebrated Valentine’s Day, and later in February, Meyers’ 29th birthday. Leonard has been sidelined all but three games with a season-ending shoulder injury, but, hey, if the worst thing in your life is that somebody is paying you very well to not work, well, life is good. It all ended for him this week in the dumbest of ways. The end of his time with the Heat, surely — and of his NBA career, perhaps? — was broadcast on a livestream on Twitch. Heard by many, now known by most thanks to the metastasizing power of social media. (I might suggest a basketball player out injured all season but livestreaming himself playing video games is a loser on optics alone. But Leonard had a far bigger problem at hand...) He was playing “Call of Duty: Warzone,” and when angered by his opponents’ actions, Leonard was heard saying: “F---ing cowards, don’t f---ing snipe me, you f---ing k--- b----.” That second-to-last K word that rhymes with bike is a well-known and strongly condemned slur against Jewish people, who hear it with the hurt and hate and anger a Black man might hear the N-word. It was Tuesday when Leonard’s world blew up. The Heat (with a substantial Jewish fan base, and owned by Micky Arison, born in Tel Aviv, Israel) immediately suspended Leonard indefinitely, saying it vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech, and adding, “To hear it from a Miami Heat player is especially disappointing and hurtful.” But have we seen an overreaction or an appropriate one? The answer is clear. For our full recent column, visit Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur.

DavidbDAVID BECKHAM'S RESOLVE TESTED BY TUMULT AS INTER MIAMI SOCCER TEAM NEARS 2ND MLS SEASON: If Inter Milan vs. Inter Miami sounds like a legal proceeding more than a game between two teams, it’s because it is. It’s no game when trademark lawyers are involved in a costly international dispute with potentially far-reaching implications. This competition is happening not on a field, but in a court; i.e., the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Who owns “Inter” as a stand-alone description? It seems such a silly dispute over a rather strange word. When are those two syllables ever uttered in conversation except in reference to the established Italian club or the newer one in Major League Soccer. What does “inter” even mean? For fun, I googled the definition. Here is what comes up first: Verb. To place a corpse in a grave or tomb, typically with funeral rites. “He was interred with the military rites due to him.” Inter is more commonly seen as a prefix meaning between or among. As in interactive or intermediate. In any case, David Beckham’s Miami team having to fight for its very name is such a perfect example of the snakebit, nearly cursed manner in which this franchise taxied and took off. Inter Miami is in training camp now preparing for its second MLS season. Preseason games begin March 20 and the regular season April 17. Nothing has been easy getting to this point. Almost everything has gone wrong. For our full recent column, visit Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season.
 

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Why A Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl Is Torture For Dolphins Fans / Chad Henne: Ex-Dolphin An Overnight Sensation, 13 Years Later / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

March 08, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Seven different sports make the list this week. See who's No. 1 and what else ranks where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast with Ricky Williams out now, my baseball-card sojourn back in time column & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 8. Search out last Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for heavy doses of me including the garage/baseball cards segment and the new 'Back In My Day.' 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Rediscovering a treasure of 1960s baseball cards, Quit lecturing LeBron on activism, Why Dolphins' Tua/Deshaun dilemma is so complicated, Greg Cote Show podcast's 1st anniversary episode & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow RickyGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH RICKY WILLIAMS OUT NOW!: On the heel of last week's 1st Anniversary episode, our new 10th podcast of 2021 and 52nd overall is out now it features former NFL and Dolphins star Ricky Williams! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 52 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new Ep10 of '21, we catch the enigmatic, mercurial Ricky in a good  mood in a illuminating conversation that touches on football, astrology, cannabis, Le Batard and more. Also on the menu: Cap'n Crunch, LeBron vs. Zlatan, knees to the head in UFC, the new Mount Gregmore (Chris hates it as usual) and more. Ricky Williams was great so don't miss this new episode! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review!

MecardsBaseball cards, LeBron, Dolphins: Our most recent columns: Time-Travelling To The 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience and Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs. Other recent columns: Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / and Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 7-8): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NBA: Team LeBron on top in condensed 'All-Star Weekend' in Atlanta: Sunday night's 70th annual NBA All-Star Game was a no-fans, TV-only, one-day event because of COVID-19 -- Team LeBron beating Team Durant, 170-150. The Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest were the pregame show in Atlanta, and the Slam-Dunk Contest the halftime show. It was a Heat shutout, as none of the events includes a Miami player.

2. HEAT: Miami sizzles into the midseason break: Struggling no more, Heat ended season's first half on a 7-1 run to get square at 18-18 and sit only one game out of fourth place in the NBA East -- with Jimmy Butler (20.5 scoring average) and Bam Adebayo (19.2) showing why they deserved the all-star nods they didn't get. Miami resumes play Thursday vs. Orlando.

3. MARLINS: Fish finally lose a spring game: Miami was atop the Grapefruit League standings at 4-0-1, the last team in the bigs to not lose this spring, before Saturday's loss to Nationals and then a second tie Sunday vs. the Mets. This week Miami signed pitcher Gio Gonzalez, 35, a Hialeah native with 131 career wins. Now let's see what's left in his tank and if he can make the rotation. Marlins play Cardinals today.

4. PANTHERS: Cats slip to third in division: Florida has cooled a bit, losing four of past seven after Sunday's 4-2 loss at Carolina. Florida still is 15-5-4, in third place in NHL Central but only two points off the lead. Panthers' five-game road trip wraps up with games at Columbus Tuesday and Thursday. 

5. INTER MIAMI: Club dealing with two legal messes as MLS season nears: Year 2 in MLS begins April 17 for Miami, with the first of six preseason matches scheduled March 20 vs. Miami FC, a second-tier USL club. Meantime David Beckham's club is mired in two legal issues. MLS and Italy's Inter Miami are in settlement talks over Miami also using the word "Inter." And MLS is investigating Miami's signing last fall of French star Blaise Matuidi, and whether he was paid additional money in violation of league salary-budget guidelines.

6. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women ousted in ACCs, UM men on deck: Miami's women's team ended its season 11-11 with a one-and-done 72-64 loss Thursday to Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. ACC men's tourney is this Tuesday through Saturday. Injury-wracked Canes men enter at 8-16, their worst season record in 27 years.

7. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: March Madness dates announced: Canceled by COVID-19 a year ago, March Madness returns this spring, though with limited crowds and all games played in and around Indianapolis. NCAA announced Selection Sunday will be March 14 for the men, with play starting March 18 and the title game April 5. Women's field will be announced March 15.

8. HURRICANES: Spring football practice on deck: A month of offseason spring practice will begin March 13, next Saturday, with the first of 15 practices. Coach Manny Diaz's Canes return 19 of 22 starters from a team that finished 8-3 last season. Quarterback D’Eriq King, rehabbing from a Cheez-It Bowl knee injury, will be a notable spring absence.

9. SOCCER: Champions League will advance four clubs this week: Round of 16 second-leg matches this week will see four clubs move on to the April quarterfinals. Borussia Dortmund and FC Porto bring one-goal edges into their Tuesday matches. Paris-Saint Germain (three goals up) and Liverpool (two ahead) enjoy safer advantages on Wednesday.

10. GOLF: Thoughts with Tiger Woods as Players Championship begins: The Players Championship, maybe the PGA Tour's biggest non-major, begins this Thursday at TPC Sawgrass near Jacksonville. And as it does golf fans worldwide continue wishing the best for Tiger Woods as he recovers from the recent car accident that severely injured his right leg.  

Missing the HB10 cut: Kyle Van Noy is way too good for the Dolphins not to want him back ..... An "illegal knee to the head"? Sure, because, in IUFC, your safety is paramount! ..... A used Blake Griffin, anyone? ..... Canes baseball entered the week ranked No. 8 but is only 4-4 entering today's game at N.C. State ..... Congrats, Maia Chaka, the NFL's first Black woman official ..... Outfielder/quarterback Kaden Martin committed to play baseball for the Hurricanes ..... Countdown 10 days 'til start of NFL free agency March 17 ..... Two-week countdown to the start of Miami Open tennis at Hard Rock Stadium ..... And NBA trade deadline looms on March 25 ..... America's Cup sailing is now underway in New Zealand! Be still my heart ..... seems to want played ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 10th episode of 2021 and 52nd overall drops Monday morning -- and debuts on Sirius XM Channel 145 ..... Update: Countdown now 1,940 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Why A Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl Is Torture For Dolphins Fans / Chad Henne: Ex-Dolphin An Overnight Sensation, 13 Years Later / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

March 06, 2021

Time-travelling to '60s and childhood, when the baseball card was king. My new column; plus Quit lecturing LeBron on activism and How Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun choice is strewn with what-ifs; also, new Greg Cote Show 1st anniversary podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MARCH 6. Search out Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for heavy does of me including the garage/baseball cards segment and the new 'Back In My Day.' 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast's 1st anniversary episode, recent columns & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW 1ST ANNIVERSARY EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our 1st Anniversary episode -- ninth of 2021 and 51st overall -- is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 51 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep9 of '21, we welcome in two special guests. Dr. Daniel B. Chan, an orthopedic trauma surgeon for Memorial Healthcare System, details Tiger Woods' injuries and what's ahead in his recovery -- and explains why what Woods suffered may be even worse than the injury to NFL quarterback Alex Smith. Also, ESPN NFL analyst Mike Tannenbaum joins us to predict how the whole Tua-or-Deshaun Watson drama will play out for the Dolphins. Also on the menu: Greg and Chris discuss the raging new Mr. Potato Head controversy; a smidgen of NASCAR talk (involving Michael Jordan and Pitbull); a debate over the move to make Kobe Bryant the new silhouette in the NBA logo; and a new Mount Gregmore marking the pod’s 1st anniversary with the greatest events or birthdays associated with March 2. Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review!

MecardsTIME-TRAVELLING TO CHILDHOOD IN THE 1960S, WHEN THE BASEBALL CARD WAS KING: The evolution of sports memorabilia, of collectibles, struck me this week as I discovered for the first time a phenomenon of a fad called NBA TopShot. I’m closer to a Luddite than someone out front on the latest trends , so it was no surprise I’d been unfamiliar with these so-called “digital basketball cards.” I happened to learn of NBA TopShot on the same week I’d been immersed in my garage, rooting through large plastic storage tubs, in search of something long-lost: My youth. And there they were, stacked in old shoeboxes: Hundreds and hundreds of baseball and football cards, almost all of them from the 1960s. At a time when the Beatles and Motown were America’s soundtrack and LBJ was in the White House, I was a card collecting fool. Obsessed. You’d buy a pack of Topps cards (I was a Topps kid) and couldn’t wait to get home and unwrap the mystery. Odds were they’d be ordinary players. Oh, but what if you struck gold and Mickey Mantle was there. Or Willie Mays! I collected cards nonstop from the early ‘60s into the early ‘70s, elementary school into the start of high school.More than a half-century later, this week, I discovered those old shoeboxes were falling apart but the long- forgotten treasure they held — those 3 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch rectangles of thin cardboard — were miraculously intact, not all but many in what the collectible experts might call mint condition. For our full latest column, visit Time-Travelling To The 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King

LebronQUIT LECTURING LEBRON JAMES ON ACTIVISM AND HIS OWN CONSCIENCE: LeBron James is hearing the silly noise again, and all it does is make him dig deeper, stand firmer, speak louder. One year ago it was conservative commentator Laura Ingraham on Fox News advising LeBron to “shut up and dribble” instead of speaking out against racial and social injustice. Now it is international soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic lecturing LeBron on what the parameters of his conscience should be. “[LeBron] is phenomenal at what he does, but I don’t like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time,” the AC Milan striker said in an interview in Sweden. “Do what you’re good at. Stay out of politics. Just do what you do best because [the rest] doesn’t look good.” Politics. When did that become the word for standing up for what you believe is right? Why has speaking out for social justice and voters’ rights become a font of controversy? Ibrahimovic doubled down this week, saying, “Athletes unite the world, politics divide us “ — again misrepresenting social conscience as political, in much the same way critics misrepresented Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem as anti-American instead of as a protest of police violence against unarmed Black people. Ibrahimovic reopens the dumb notion of “stick to sports!” as more and more athletes, the L.A. Lakers’ LeBron seemingly always at the forefront, use their platform and voice for positive change. The message from activist athletes is simple: We are here to do more than entertain you. For our full recent column, visit Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience.

TuaTUA OR DESHAUN? WHY DOLPHINS' MONUMENTAL QB CHOICE IS ANYTHING BUT SIMPLE: Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, general manager Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores are seated in a room, trying to see the future. Trying to chart a path. NFL free agency starts March 17. Less than six weeks later is the draft. Most offseasons, those are the two superhighways you travel in building your roster. Improving your team. This offseason, the Dolphins front office faces a bigger decision, of course. The biggest of their professional lives. The biggest in the 56-year history of Miami’s flagship sports franchise. It is Tua Tagovailoa or Deshaun Watson, and nothing at all about that choice is simple. Stick with Tagovailoa and use free agency and the draft to surround him with talent and you have passed on the once-in-a-lifetime chance to trade for a proven, elite quarterback just coming into his prime. Trade for Watson and you have both gutted your draft capital for perhaps years to come and also given up on the great promise of the player you just used a top-five pick to draft. Ah, but the choice is even more complicated than that, and strewn with possibilities Ross, Grier and Flores must consider when deciding how to move forward. For our full recent column, visit Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs

NASCAR/Homestead, Tiger Woods and other most recent columns: Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead This Week and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive. Also: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / and Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Why A Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl Is Torture For Dolphins Fans / Chad Henne: Ex-Dolphin An Overnight Sensation, 13 Years Later / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

March 01, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Tiger, NASCAR, boxing and hot Heat in the mix. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now!, links to recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 1. Welcome, March, month of spring, and St. Patrick's Day! ) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Feels like fresh new era as NASCAR visits Homestead, Tiger Woods lucky to be alive, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Mjnascar TigerNASCAR/Homestead, Tiger Woods, other most recent columns: Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead This Week and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive. Also: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / and Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company.

GREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW 1ST ANNIVERSARY EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our 1st Anniversary episode -- ninth of 2021 and 51st Coteshowoverall -- is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 51 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep9 of '21, we welcome in two special guests. Dr. Daniel B. Chan, an orthopedic trauma surgeon for Memorial Healthcare System, details Tiger Woods' injuries and what's ahead in his recovery -- and explains why what Woods suffered may be even worse than the injury to NFL quarterback Alex Smith. Also, ESPN NFL analyst Mike Tannenbaum joins us to predict how the whole Tua-or-Deshaun Watson drama will play out for the Dolphins. Also on the menu: Greg and Chris discuss the raging new Mr. Potato Head controversy; a smidgen of NASCAR talk (involving Michael Jordan and Pitbull); a debate over the move to make Kobe Bryant the new silhouette in the NBA logo; and a new Mount Gregmore marking the pod’s 1st anniversary with the greatest events or birthdays associated with March 2. Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEBRUARY 28-MARCH 1): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. GOLF: Tiger Woods suffers serious leg injuries in major car wreck: Thirteen months after a helicopter crash killed Kobe Bryant, sports nearly lost another all-time great tragically this week when Tiger Woods' SUV careened several hundred feet down a Los Angeles hillside, flipping multiple times. Woods, 45, suffered serious leg injures that will require many, many months of rehab and further delay if not imperil his career. But he survived. He's alive.

2. NASCAR: Byron wins main race at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Little-known William Byron won comfortably Sunday in the NASCAR Cup Series' Dixie Vodka 400, only the second main-series victory of his career. Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa served as grand marshal, with a pandemic-limited crowd of some 10,000 attending. Austin Cindric won Saturday's Xfinity Series undercard race. 

3. HEAT: No all-star picks, but hot Miami bouncing back big in standings: Neither Bam Adebayo (who should have made it) or Jimmy Butler (who was borderline) were picked as reserves for the March 7 NBA All-Star Game. But offsetting the snub, Heat have won six straight to climb to 17-17. They're back on playoff pace and only a half-game from fourth place in East with two games left before the ASG break.

4. PANTHERS: Pinch me. Are the Cats, like, really this good!?: Florida is 13-4-3 and tied atop the NHL Central even after Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss vs. Carolina. Cats face the Hurricanes in the Sunrise rink again Monday.

5. MARLINS: Doubts all around as Fish impress in spring opener: Miami ended its 17-year playoff drought last year but oddsmakers don't see a repeat in the tough NL East. ESPN projects Fish for 67 wins, last in division and 1 percent playoff shot after a low-key offseason it graded C-minus. Nevertheless, Miami impressed in its spring opener Sunday, beating Houston 6-1 behind home runs by Lewis Brinson, Jazz Chisholm and J.J. Bleday and five innings of shutout relief from the 'pen. Fish host rival Mets today in Jupiter. Regular season opens (no fooling) April 1 with six-game homestand vs. Rays and Cardinals.

6. BOXING: Canelo Alvarez wins easily in title defense at Hard Rock: Mexico's Canelo Alvarez, 30, dominated Avni Yidirim in a third-round TKO at Hard Rock Stadium Saturday night, the first boxing match ever held there. Álvarez, now 54-1-2, defended his WBC, WBA Super and Ring Magazine super-middleweight titles.

7. TENNIS: Miami Open reveals star-studded entry list: The March 22-April 4 Miami Open looks like a tennis fan's dream. Tournament announced the 77 top-ranked men all have committed, led by Australian Open champ and No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic and all-time greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Women's field shows 75 of the top 78 players led by No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, Aussie Open champ Naomi Osaka and 8-time Miami winner and fan favorite Serena Williams. 

8. INTER MIAMI: Second-year club beefs up roster as preseason camp unfurls: Training camp is underway for Miami's second season in Major League Soccer and first for new coach Phil Neville. The club signed midfielder Gregore from Brazil's Esporte Clube Bahia and added veteran defender Ryan Shawcross from Stoke City of England's Premier League. MLS season begins April 17, with the announcement of the 2021 schedule expected shortly.

9. SOCCER: Champions League on to second leg in Round of 16: UEFA Champions League Round of 16 play resumes March 9 with second-leg matches. After the past week's conclusion of the first leg, four teams enjoy cushions of two-plus goals on aggregate: Paris-Saint Germain, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Up by one-goal margins are FC Porto, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea and Real Madrid. 

10. UM BASKETBALL: Do Canes women still have postseason prayer?: Katie Meier's Miami women's team rallied to finish the regular season 11-10, ending with three straight wins including Sunday's at Clemson. Might an impressive run in the March 3-7 ACC Tournament in Greensboro N.C. earn the team a postseason invite to, say, the WNIT? No such hope for Canes men, who are a miserable 7-15 after Saturday's loss at Clemson and close Monday at No. 15 Virginia and then Friday vs. Boston College. UM men are stumbling to their worst season since 1993-94.

Missing the HB10 cut: ESPN's Mel Kiper revealed his first-ever mock draft with trades. He has Miami standing pat at No. 3 and 18. Kiper's Dolphins picks are Alabama WR DaVonta Smith and Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah ..... Choosing the most dramatic way possible to admit his guilt, former USA Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicide Thursday, hours after being charged with two dozen crimes stemming from allegations he physically, emotionally and sexually abused gymnasts ..... Canes baseball, 3-2 and No. 8 in USA Today/Coaches poll, hosts Virginia Tech today in rubber game of three-game series ..... After 13 years in retirement, 10-time majors winner Annika Sorenstam has rejoined the LPGA Tour at age 50 ..... U.S. Women's National Team routed Argentina 6-0 to win soccer's SheBelieves Cup in Orlando. Megan Rapinoe scored twice in the finale; Rose Lavelle was named MVP ..... Seven-day countdown to next Sunday's NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta that nobody seems to want played ..... America's Cup sailing (remember that?) gets underway this coming Saturday in New Zealand ..... ESPN rankings for the July MLB Draft show one top-10 local player: Miami Hurricanes catcher Adrian Del Castillo at No. 9 ..... Tokyo Olympics announced its four-month Torch Relay would commence March 25 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's celebrates its 1-year anniversary since debuting last March 2, with its ninth episode of 2021 and 51st overall dropping Monday morning ..... Update: Countdown now 1,947 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

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Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).