February 08, 2020

Time for lone non-Jeter voter to step forward. Latest column; plus Heat, gloriously impatient Riley win with Iguodala trade; also why Reed's return is big for Canes football, Mahomes rises as Dolphins' new roadblock, latest Back In My Day video & more

1) It's SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Chiefs beat 49ers in Miami Super Bowl, Hot Button Top 10, nailed our SB pick, Part 2 of our '72 Dolphins series & more. 2) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

DjTO 'THE LONE VOTER' WHO DENIED JETER: STEP FORWARD OR  BE OUTED!A brief chronology of the world’s 10 greatest mysteries: Is there intelligent alien life? (Infinity). What happened to the Ark of the Covenant? (587 B.C.). Where is Cleopatra’s tomb? (30 B.C.). Who was Jack the Ripper? (1888). Why is "abbreviation" such a long word? (Unknown). Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone? (1963). Whatever happened to D.B. Cooper? (1971). Where is Jimmy Hoffa? (1975). Why ‘New Coke’? WHY?!?! (1985). And who didn’t vote for Derek Jeter? (2020). There you have it. Nine eternal mysteries that may never be fully solved — and one that still might be. "The Lone Voter" is still out there. But where? Someone knows who he (or she?) is. The unnamed anarchist is someone’s neighbor or friend, hiding in plain sight, ripe for outing. To read our full latest column, please visit It's Time For Anonymous Lone Voter  Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward.

IGUODALA TRADE A WIN FOR HEAT AND SIGN OF PAT RILEY"S GLORIOUS IMPATIENCEWhen they called Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s name in honoring the NFL‘s all-time greatest 100 players and coaches before the Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, he held up two hands full of championship rings in a brazen showiness utterly earned. Miami Heat president Pat Riley has Patr Andreidone the equivalent this week, though somewhat more subtly, with his maestro’s work ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. The greats have a way of reminding us how they got that way, lest we forget. It can be the bling on the fingers. Or it can be a midseason trade you didn’t have to make — but one that looks like a master class in how to get more than you give. In a deal completed Thursday Miami got elite wing defender Andre Iguodala from Memphis along with starter-caliber small forward Jae Crowder and reserve Solomon Hill, with the Heat sending to the Grizzlies injury-prone Justise Winslow and two seldom-used spare parts in James Johnson and pouty, oft-suspended Dion Waiters. (Riley and Iguodala are pictured). Miami has a team option on the second year of Iguodala’s two-year, $30 million deal, meaning the Heat can part with him after this season and still have the salary-cap wherewithal to take aim at a major max-salary star in the bounteous free agency sweepstakes coming in the summer of 2021. That’s when the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokonmpo, will grand-marshal the parade of available talent. Riley turns 75 next month. He ain’t playin’. He doesn’t have all day to whip Miami back into championship contention and add another NBA ring to the eight he has won as a player, head coach or executive, including the Heat’s crowns in 2006, 2012 and 2013. To read our full column, please visit Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala.

WHY RETURN OF ED REED, EVEN IF MOSTLY SYMBOLIC, IS HUGE BOOST FOR CANES FOOTBALL: You see a little gray in Ed Reed’s full-but-neatly-trimmed beard now. His age has doubled since he was last an active part of Miami Hurricanes football as a player from 1998 to 2001. His new title now? "Chief of Staff"? It sounds grandly inflated, like he will be in a suit overseeing Edreedboard meetings. "I’m not hiring, I’m not firing. I’m coming here to help. I’m a piece of the puzzle," Reed, now 41, described his own role Wednesday in being officially introduced on campus. He will not be a coach on the field. He will not recruit except when prospects visit on campus. He will be more of an advisor/sounding board and right-hand man to coach Manny Diaz. "I’m [his] Doc Holliday," he said, of the Old West sidekick to Wyatt Earp. "I’ll be his huckleberry," Reed added, citing southern slang for "I’m your man." More than as a counsel to Diaz, though, Reed is on board to be this: An Example. Reed was hired to be a mentor to players, to show them the right way. "Stand up. Be accountable," he said. He was a consensus All-American safety at UM. He was a vital part of the school’s last of five national championships, in 2001. He is the imprimatur of all The U has developed in terms of family and culture. To read this full column, please visit Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football.

BAD LUCK DOLPHINS: FINALLY GETTING RID OF NEMESIS BRADY, NOW MAHOMES TAKES HIS PLACE. NEW COLUMN: Miami hosts another Super Bowl, and Dolphins fans automatically tease themselves (or is it torture?) wondering when their team might be back in one. Dreaming is free, and folks keep insisting anything is possible, so have it. But understand this: the Dolphins seem Pmahno closer today to their first Super Bowl appearance since the 1984 season and first victory since the 1972-73 quiniela. They seem further away, in fact. The Dolphins have simply swapped one gigantic AFC roadblock for another. Tom Brady and the Patriots dynasty fades. Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs dynasty arises. The wattage of brightness for Kansas City’s long-term future under Mahomes, the generational quarterback, can hardly be overstated. Anything said about this young guy that seems like hyperbole probably isn’t. And this is who will now be blocking Miami’s path to playing in a Super Bowl for all of this decade and beyond. The pressure on the Dolphins regime to land a quarterback as good or to assemble a team to beat Mahomes has never been greater than it seems now as we witness the full coronation of Mahomes. This isn’t discounting the long, bright future of another Dolphins AFC roadblock, dual-threat Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. But Mahomes is the league’s new No. 1 QB and face of the NFL until somebody takes those things from him. To read our full column please visit Poor Dolphins Finally Getting Rid Of Brady Only to Have Mahomes Take His Place.

My column from the game: Chiefs, Mahomes And A Former Dolphin Win Super Bowl 54 -- And So Does Miami.

DshulaMY 2-PART SERIES ON HOW DOLPHINS CAME SO QUICKLY TO HAVE GREATEST TEAM OF ALL TIME: This was a Super Bowl Week thing but I'm proud of the series and it's timeless so I wanted to give you another chance to read it. The 1972 Perfect Season Dolphins were named the greatest team of all time as part of the NFL's 100th season celebration. How did it happen? In Part 1 told how a long-lost Dolphins executive pre-dating Don Shula, a man named Joe Thomas, was assembling a treasure trove of talent amid the wild dysfunction of the George Wilson-led expansion years. For that tale, visit How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins. Part 2 tells the story of how and why Shula's arrival changed everything, from the players themselves, and it takes a poignant look at Shula's life today at age 90. For that full column, visit How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90. This is a deep dive into how the Perfect Dolphins happened, with never-before-told stuff. I hope you enjoy.

THE NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': READY, SET, HYPE!: We poke good-natured fun at the excess of sports in general, led by the Super Bowl. Debuted on yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Other select recent columns: Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His. Also: How The NFL, Even Amid Safety Concerns, Bounced Back And Is Healthier Than Ever / How Miami Went From Forgotten to Back On Top As 'Super Bowl City' / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

Visit Greg Cote Column Headquarters, and revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Author of 'Fins At 50,' available on Amazon. Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

January 09, 2020

Dan Enos Cup: Our nominees for biggest current disappointment in Miami sports. Latest column; plus Dream Ticket: Brady, Tagovailoa both Dolphins in 2020? Column; also, a new 'Back In My Day' video & more

1) It's THURSDAY, JANUARY 9. One last chance to visit Herald 2019 Final NFL QB Rankings for the wrapup of our 22nd year of NFL passer ratings. 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect (late) holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, NFL Wild Card Weekend, Dolphins All-Decade Team, The List, happy birthday Don Shula & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Dis4IT'S THE DAN ENOS CUP. GOES TO MIAMI SPORTS' BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT. AND THE NOMINEES ARE...: So one year ago this week the Miami Hurricanes hire Dan Enos as their new offensive coordinator, and he arrives with the perfume of Alabama excellence and the papal-like blessing of having worked under Nick Saban. Canes fans are understandably thrilled. Manny Diaz would soon say flatly, "The best recruit we signed was Dan Enos." Not quite one year later, after a 6-7 season that ended with a stupefying shutout loss to Louisiana Tech (!) in a third-tier bowl game, Enos’ firing was announced in a terse one-sentence release. The sentence might as well have been, "Don’t let the door hit you on the way out." We need an annual Disappointment of the Year award in South Florida sports. The trophy would be called the Dan Enos Cup. The cup, in this case, would be half empty, of course. Here, we present our inaugural nominees. A few pictured clockwise from upper left are the Dolphins' Kalen Ballage, Heat's Dion Waiters, UM's Cup namesake Enos, and the Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky. For my full latest column, please visit Here's Winner Of the Dan Enos Cup For Biggest Disappointment in Miami Sports.

TuatomDREAM TICKET: TOM BRADY, TUA TAGOVAILOA BOTH DOLPHINS IN 2020?: What becomes of an aging G.O.A.T? The question insisted itself suddenly upon America as Tom Brady hurried off New England’s home field in playoff defeat and disappeared into free agency. Had he just played his final game as a Patriot? His final game, period? The possibilities for Brady’s future are many, and deliciously unknowable today. He could retire and somehow scrape by on supermodel/wife Gisele Bundchen’s millions as he awaited his call from Canton, Ohio. He could enter the open market (officially becoming a free agent on March 18) as teams in need of a pricey 42-year-old QB -- assuming there were any -- lined up in a bidding war. Hey, what about the Dolphins!? They need an upgrade, and Brady is better than Ryan Fitzpatrick in every measurable category except beard-growing. The idea of Brady as a one- or two-season luxury bridge to a QB Miami might draft and groom in 2020 does have some merit. Tua Tagovailoa on Monday officially declared for the upcoming NFL Draft as expected but is rehabbing from a serious hip injury. Scenario: Miami selects Tagovailao No. 5 overall and he learns under Brady in ‘20. (They are pictured). Betting odds say it isn't even that far-fetched. Likely? Of course. But worth a flight of fancy. For the full recent column, please visit Dream Ticket: Brady, Tagovailoa Both Dolphins in 2020?

Other most recent columns: Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team. Also: On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

PicksOY! WE GOT SHUT OUT ON WILD CARD WEEKEND: Big losers in the first round of the NFL playoffs: Bills, Patriots, Saints and Eagles, who all lost and were eliminated ... and me. I went 0-4 straight-up on Wild Card Weekend and also 0-4 against the spread. I got Brickered, a phrase in dishonor of a former Sun-Sentinel football writer named Charles Bricker, who once infamously went 0-14 one week against the spread, a near impossibility. For me, even 0-4 was a first. Better be a last. We'll be looking for twins 4-0s this week!

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': GIFT WRAPPING!: Weighed in with a new Back In My Day yesterday on ESPN Radio on my first 2020 appearance on the Le Batard Show. Enjoy:

Select recent other columns: Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes / Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft / Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author as a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

December 05, 2019

The case for Dolphins' Flores as Coach of Year, Fitzpatrick as starting QB in '20. New column; plus Hurricanes won't but should decline bowl invite, tonight's Cowboys-Bears pick, latest Back In My Day, NFL Week 13 Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5. Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for the Dolfans in your life. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins upset Philadelphia with DSM poll, NFL Week 13 picks & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Cowboys-Bears pick: Two desperate teams clawing to make the playoffs meet tonight at Soldier Field. My preview and pick: Thursday Week 14 Gem.

DOLPHINS' FLORES COACH OF YEAR? FITZPATRICK STARTING QB IN '20? LET ME EXPLAIN!: In this strangest of Miami Dolphins seasons, two things to consider have arisen that both would have seemed sheer lunacy only five weeks ago. Before stating these two things and then explaining I should first emphasize that I do not have a concussion and have not been drinking. 1. Brian FitzfloFlores should be considered for NFL Coach of the Year. 2. There is a circumstance and a case to be made why Ryan Fitzpatrick might still be the Fins’ starting quarterback beyond this season. (The QB and coach are pictured). Let me explain quickly, before anyone has time to draw up papers to have me committed under the Baker Act. First, Flores. He won’t win Coach of the Year, of course. Might not even get a vote, because voters are lemmings beholden to formulaic thinking. And for this award you start with what coach improved by the most wins. That’s why the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan (4-12 to a current 10-2) or somebody like that will win. But Flores should be considered, by outside-the-box thinkers, because nobody else inherited his situation, or has made more of less. It isn’t even close. At 0-7 he was the captain of the S.S. Tanktanic. His team was a laughingstock. Epic bad. His own front office undercut him by trading away top players for future draft picks. Those not mocking the Dolphins were excoriating them. ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth (needing a ladder to scale that high horse) called the overt tanking "morally reprehensible." All Flores did was take a winless, laughed-at team bound for 0-16 and keep it believing in itself. Now Miami is 3-9, with a few more winnable games ahead starting Sunday at the Jets and old coach Adam Gase. OK. On to Fitzpatrick and the quarterback spot. This 37-year-old man with the lumberjack beard has proved, again, why he has survived 15 NFL seasons across eight teams. He is an affable, always smiling leader whose love of playing is infectious. He has earned the right to be kept by Miami in 2020 as a backup. But the idea he might start next season is worth consideration. On merit, first, he is capable to lead a team. He has led this one. Today Fitzpatrick’s QBR rating of 64.1, measuring overall efficiency at the position, ranks No. 8 in the league. And that is despite the worst offensive line and the worst running game in the NFL! A strategy worth considering for Miami is to go with Fitzpatrick one more season and instead devote draft capital in 2020 to the team’s many other urgent needs such as O-line, an edge rusher and a running back. What we are seeing from Fitzpatrick gives the Fins the luxury to seriously weigh such an option. Miami could then turn its eye to the quarterback-of-the-future in the 2021 draft, when the available first-round bounty will include Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields — and maybe Alabama’s Tua Tagovailao, who has been pondering bypassing the ‘20 draft ever since his season-ending hip injury on Nov. 16. To read my full latest column, please visit Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft.

HURRICANES AT 6-6 HAVE ZERO TO CELEBRATE, SHOULD DECLINE BOWL INVITE: Here is what should happen this week in a news conference on the University of Miami campus. It won’t. I Mannyam dreaming. But it should. Director of athletics Blake James and head football coach Manny Diaz (pictured) are standing side by a side, a united front. Neither man is smiling. James clears his throat to speak first. "After much consideration the past few days," James would begin, "Manny and I are in agreement the football season just past did not meet the high expectations of the University of Miami, and therefore — although eligible to play in a postseason bowl — the Hurricanes will decline any and all invitations to do so." Diaz adds: "A bowl game should be a reward, and this season has not been one to earn such a thing. Neither myself, my staff nor our players have proved worthy of the prize that is a bowl trip." Canes fans are digesting and trying to fathom a season that had ended 6-6 with consecutive losses — first the comeuppance of ignominy against cross-county rival FIU, then Saturday’s closing defeat at Duke. UM of course will soon perfunctorily accept an invitation to some Grade D bowl game, almost as if it doesn’t have a choice and must. It might be the Independence, the Music City, the Sun or some other lame pity prize the Canes should be embarrassed to attend. Plainly, there is too much incentive (read: money) involved to turn down a bowl invite. The Atlantic Coast Conference, for example, gets $4 million for every one of its teams that goes bowling. But, again, I am not talking about what will happen, but what should in an ideal world. This UM football program should be licking its wounds and closing the sad ledger on this season now, not putting on display one last time one of the most disappointing teams in all of college football. To read our full recent column, please visit Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite.

Our most recent other work: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis. Also FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / and Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 13: OK, PLAYOFFS!, PLAYOFFS!: NFL picks -- OK. We were a so-so 9-7 overall and a pretty good 9-7 against the spread last week. Nailed our Upset of the Week with winless Bengals beating Jets. Also had a mini-upset with Steelers over Browns, a 'dog-with-points in Bills covering vs. Cowboys, and a rare Exacto (perfect score) in Packers' 31-13 win over Giants. ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Playoffs! Greg's Lobos improved to 8-5 with a 103.1 to 95.7 win over Sarah Spain led by Patrick Mahomes' 21.5 points. We're in the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and face Stugotz in the first round. Mahomes is frontrunner for MVL honors (Most Valuable Lobo), but Mike Evans has not been ruled out. Go 'Bos! ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Playoffs! Lobos lost their regular-season finale 134-129 to finish 7-6 but still made the six-team playoffs as the No. 5 seed. Dalvin Cook and Deshaun Watson are neck  and neck for MVL (Most Valuable Lobo) honors, and we'll need them both, and Cook healthy, as the playoffs begin. Go 'Bos!

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': FITNESS NUTS!: After several weeks' hiatus, a new Back In My Day returned to ESPN and the Le Batard Show today. Hope you enjoy... 

Select other recent columns: Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 03, 2019

Time for NHL Panthers to stop wasting the Barkov years! Latest column; plus 'Culture' isn't enough. What must happen to make Heat contenders again; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 4 results, updated Herald NFL QB rankings, latest Back In My Day video & more

1) It's THURSDAY OCTOBER 3. Happy new month, all! You tried, September. Except with the Dolphins. 2) Watch for our Herald Week 4 NFL QB Rankings and NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results here later this afternoon. And scroll down to previous blogpost for latest Dolphins postgame poll result. It's surprising. (Or is it?) 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose to Chargers with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Riley introduces Butler 'cause Heat don't tank, NFL Week 4 pix, Canes/FIU lick wounds & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Herald's updated NFL Week 4 QB Rankings: Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes maintains his comfortable season lead but an interloper unaccustomed to winning takes Week 4 honors. Visit Herald NFL Week 4 QB Rankings for details and the updated chart. 

Our Dolphins column from Sunday's latest loss: Visit Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins.

STAR COACH, STAR GOALIE: WILL 2 BIG ADDITIONS BE ENOUGH FOR NHL PANTHERS TO STOP WASTING THE BARKOV YEARS?: It has been something of a running joke in South Florida sports. "This is the Florida Panthers’ year!" Yes, so this feels like about the fifth anniversary of hearing that, right? Every year it’s "but this time we mean it!" And then the NHL season starts and Coachqgradually the hyped-up Cats lose air as inexorably as a helium party balloon. High hopes, ultimate disappointment, rinse, repeat. Nobody is more sick of this treadmill than Dale Tallon, the Panthers’ general manager. "Talk is cheap, so let’s see. Let’s stop talking and start acting," was Tallon’s message to his 2019-20 team. "We’ve got the pieces in place. Everybody is excited. ‘Great summer, great summer.’ Now let’s prove it!" The proving needs to start as fast as a puck leaves a stick for a franchise more accustomed to slow starts. Florida opens its 26th season Thursday night in Tampa Bay and makes its home debut Saturday vs. the same Lightning — owners of the NHL’s best record (by a lot) last season. Tallon’s great summer co-starred the hiring of a new head coach in Joel Quenneville (pictured) and the free agent signing of a new goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, a starpower quiniela not to be understated. One is the second-winningest coach in NHL history and a three-time Stanley Cup champion. The other is a five-time all-star and twice has won the Vezina Trophy as hockey’s best goalie. The question: Can the two of them lead the Cats out of their rut and into contention at last? Florida has been wasting the prime of Aleksander Barkov, whom defenseman Keith Yandle calls "one of the best players if not the best player in the world." Time for the Panthers to prove they're ready for a championship run. This is my latest column. To read it in full, please visit Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

Rilesbutler'CULTURE' ISN'T ENOUGH. THESE 5 FACTORS MUST LIFT HEAT BACK TO CONTENTION: The question put to Erik Spoelstra on Monday was general enough for him to dodge it with veteran-coach ease. He did not. Does he think the Miami Heat can contend in the NBA’s Eastern Conference this season? "We do," he answered, quickly. "Unequivocally so." But how? How does a franchise trying to shed its post-Big 3 era malaise of three missed playoffs in the past five years turn it around so dramatically? How does a team starting a season without Dwyane Wade for the first time since 2002 pull off the big reboot? I explore in my newest column, and list five factors that must go right for Miami to be East contenders in the mix for top-four seed. Pictured: Pat Riley after introducing Jimmy Butler at a recent news conference. To read my full recent column and see what those five keys to the upcoming season are, kindly visit 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat.

Other most recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days / and Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes. Also: Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 4: NFL picks--Head above water. We did OK in a tough week, going 9-6 overall and 8-7 against the spread. That included another Upset of the Week bull's-eye ("Aawwk!") with Saints over Cowboys, a second outright upset hit with Jaguars winning in Denver, and a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Bills, Lions and Buccaneers. LeBatard Show fantasy--Don't ask. Greg's Lobos dropped to 2-2, falling to unbeaten Izzy Gutierrez, 120.6-93.2. Rough. Mike Evans led us with 18.9 and Patrick Mahomes turned mortal with 18. Shady McCoy chipped in 16.9 but not much else went right. Friends n' family fantasy--No again! Lobos now 1-3 after an embarrassing 143-85 loss. What am I, the Dolphins!? Four starters in single figures and a leading scorer with only 18 (Dalvin Cook) won't win you many games. The Saquon Barkley curse sets in.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': FAKE BURGERS!: This premiered on today's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Select other recent columns: Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / and From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 16, 2019

Why Canes took bold gamble with Jarren Williams at QB. New column; plus Trump fundraiser causing major fallout for Dolphins' owner Ross, latest 'Back In My Day' video (Fake Candles!) & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, AUGUST 16. Back from our glorious vacation! Nine days in New Mexico, Arizona and California. More on that to come, inevitably. 2) Look for the return of the Hot Button Top 10 this coming Sunday after a two-week hiatus. 3) It's always the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): I'm outta here! Off on vacation & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

WHY CANES TOOK THE BOLD (BUT SMART) GAMBLE ON JARREN WILLIAMS AT QB: Manny Diaz said the other day that the biggest signing in his first months as Miami Hurricanes head coach Jwmswas not a player, not anybody who would be in uniform on the football field. "The best recruit we signed was Dan Enos," he said. We saw why this week as UM stunned most folks by awarding its starting quarterback job to Jarren Williams (pictured). It was a reminder of the essential importance of a head coach having a lieutenant who can be relied upon to lend an experienced, trusted voice. The Hurricanes’ offense was mired in the bog of bad quarterbacking last season in the combination of Malik Rosier and N’Kosi Perry. A strong defense was wasted in the 7-6 season. Yet the highly recruited Williams was invisible at a time when his spark might have turned a season around. He couldn’t get in a game. (Well, OK, he got in one. Played garbage time against cupcake Savannah State, going 1 for 3 for 17 yards). Why? Because then-coach Mark Richt was too busy waffling between Rosier and Perry to notice Williams’ talent or grow it. And Richt had nobody on his staff to either champion Williams or tell the head coach he was wrong to not give him a shot. Richt’s quarterback coach last season? His oldest son, Jon. The missteps at quarterback that collapsed the 2018 season led to Richt’s abrupt resignation, Diaz’s return to The U from a brief few weeks at Temple — and to Enos. Diaz’s first major decision upon his return to UM was to understand he’s a rookie head coach versed in defense, and needed to hit big on the offensive coordinator. Plenty of coaches’ egos wouldn’t allow that concession. Enos was hired off Nick Saban’s Alabama staff, where he ran the offense, coached the QBs and helped developed Tua Tagovailoa (the Dolphins’ dream get in 2020) and Jalen Hurts. That is hitting big. And that is why Williams will be the Canes’ starting quarterback in the Aug. 24 opener vs. rival Florida in Orlando — even though Williams was not the easiest, safest, most experienced or most expected choice. I explain how and why that came to be in my latest column. To read, kindly visit Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QB

RosstrumpDOLPHINS' ROSS GAMBLED HE COULD HAVE IT BOTH WAYS -- AND LOST BIG: Those of us with lighter wallets can only imagine that when one is wealthy enough to have it all, that luxury might come with a sense of entitlement. Of expecting to have it both ways, all ways, any way the billionaire desires. Doesn’t always work that way, of course, as Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross is being reminded. Ross’ net worth is estimated at $7.7 billion, but he doesn’t have enough money to buy his way out of this controversy of his own design, this distraction his football team hardly needs as it prepares for the NFL season. You still say sports and politics don’t mix? Ross just mixed them, and with combustible results. OK, that's the intro to my recent back-from vacation column, on Ross hosting a fundraiser for Donald Trump's re-election campaign, and the resulting fallout. (The two buddies are pictured). The fallout Ross is enduring includes calls for boycotts of his businesses, criticism from Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills, and public disappointment within his own Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). To read the full column, kindly visit Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser.

Previous most recent columns: Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Analyzing QB Battles for Hurricanes, Dolphins, and Why These Players Will Win / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': FAKE CANDLES!: This premiered on Tuesday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio, to rather rave reviews, I must say...:

Select other recent columns: Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be  A Win / If You Don't Like Rapinoe, USWNT -- That's On You, Not Them / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / U.S. Women Reach World Cup Final -- Not With Arrogance, But Excellence / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / Kawhi to Lakers Would Mean More Rings, Last Laugh For LeBron / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 20, 2019

On the Le Batard-gets-political/ESPN controversy. New column; plus 4 ways Heat have had winning summer, is everyone wrong about Dolphins?, why 2019 could be best sports year ever, Greg Cote Day countdown, latest Back In My Day (Apps!), Moon Landing & more

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

Moon1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 20. Today is the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. The United States' Apollo 11 was the first crewed mission to land on the moon  on July 20, 1969. I remember watching as a boy. That was a time of widespread protest against the Vietnam War across the country, and the Moon Landing felt a little bit like healing, a reason for Americans to feel good about their country. 2) It's always the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Gcday 7Greg Cote Day countdown: 7 days: We began a 10-day countdown to Greg Cote Day on Saturday, July 27 at Hammond Stadium, home of the minor-league Fort Myers Miracle, and it's now seven days to go. I'll be meeting fans, throwing out the first pitch, singing the national anthem and playing left field. All but that last thing are actually true. Will I see you there? Tickets are going fast. Well, I don't really know if they are or not. In any case click HERE for the link to buy yours. (Click image for larger version).

DanlLE BATARD REBUKES TRUMP, ESPN'S NO-POLITICS POLICY. NEW COLUMNThis isn’t the first time Miami-based ESPN star Dan Le Batard has defied his network and faced consequences. It happened in 2014, when the radio and television host was suspended two days for buying billboards in Cleveland that needled LeBron James — "You’re Welcome, LeBron. Love, Miami" — after he’d left the Heat. That was playful. This isn’t. Le Batard on Thursday took on the president of the United States and his own network’s no-political-talk policy in a fiery, four-minute rebuke of both Donald Trump and ESPN management’s stick-to-sports edict. His voice emotional, Le Batard called it "deeply offensive" that a Trump crowd chanted "send her back" at a rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night, a chant directed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who now is a U.S. citizen representing Minnesota. Le Batard accused trump of instigating racial division and called the chant "un-American." And called his own network's stick-to-sports policy "cowardly." He was back on the air Friday (no mention of the controversy), but faces a possible suspension. I dive into the whole thing in today's latest column. To read, please visit Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy.

Priley4 REASONS HEAT HAS HAD WINNING OFFSEASON -- AND RILEY MAY NOT BE DONEThey could close the summer ledger right now and claim victory. What was supposed to be a dead summer in South Florida for Heat activity ended up delightfully noisy. Pat Riley (pictured) somehow maestro’d a four-team trade to get genuine star talent in Jimmy Butler despite being salary cap-strapped. The Heat essentially got Butler for Josh Richardson, a swap that by itself makes the Heat better and competitive in an Eastern Conference now looking refreshingly wide open. Three other ways the Heat won: Unloading Hassan Whiteside. Declining to give up too much in order to get Russell Westbrook. And saying no to Chris Paul. Now, might Riley still find a way to land Bradley Beal? I explore all of this in my recent column. To read it, please visit The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason.

BfloresPILING ON! ESPN LATEST TO CALL DOLPHINS THE WORST. BUT, IS EVERYBODY WRONG?: The idea of the Miami Dolphins as snakebit in their recent history has only been underlined, not alleviated, this summer. The NFL season is right around the corner, but for this team what’s around the corner always seems to be a blindside punch waiting to land. Training camp is mere days away — rookies report Sunday and veterans next Wednesday — but the Fins are losing before they ever hit the football field. Miami lost a defensive tackle candidate, Kendrick Norton, to a terrible truck accident that caused his left arm to be amputated. Days later assistant head coach Jim Caldwell announced he would take a medical leave of absence and miss the entire 2019 season to address health issues. Now — and this should be a piling-on penalty — ESPN has calculated in its new NFL Future Power Rankings that the Dolphins not only are No. 32 (dead last) right now but will be for the next three years. I explore all this, and say why I think Miami will be much better than expected, in my recent column. One reason for my optimism, new coach Brian Flores, is pictured. To read our latest column, please visit What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins?

2019WHY 2019 IS LOOKING LIKE SPORTS' BEST YEAR EVERYou know it when you are watching it, not just watching but feeling it. Sports has that power. Suddenly, what might have been an ordinary, forgettable competition blooms into something epic, something that will leave its mark on the history of that sport, and on your memory. We have  been full of that stuff in sports this year, and the calendar is barely half done.That's why I think this shapes up to be the greatest. Tom Brady's sixth Super Bowl. Tiger Woods' Masters win. First-time champions in the NBA, NHL and men's college basketball. League-changing NBA free agency. U.S. women winning a record fourth World Cup. The Angels' no-hitter the night they honored a fallen teammate. Right through to Sunday and Novak Djokovic's epic five-hour Wimbledon win over Roger Federer. Oh, and the Cricket World Cup! (Yes, cricket...) And so much more. I explore fall of this -- the wonder and joy and surprise of sports -- in my recent column. To read it, kindly visit: Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever.

Our previous most recent columns: On Brink Of History At Wimbledon, Serena Is Denied Again / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be  A Win / If You Don't Like Rapinoe, USWNT -- That's On You, Not Them / Heat's Run At Westbrook Is Riley's All-Out Gamble To Win Now and Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': APPS!: This video includes quite a bit of chatter leading into the new Back in My Day and a little bit afterward. The actuall BIMD kicks in around the 3:10 mark:

THE LIST: FIRST-TIME NBA, NHL CHAMPS IN SAME YEAR: What happened this year in basketball and hockey is a rarity, and one of the many reasons I like 2019 as the best sports year ever (see above). The only times since 1970 that the NBA and NHL have had a first-time franchise champion the same year:

Year        NBA champion                    NHL champion

2019       Toronto Raptors                  St. Louis Blues

2006       Miami Heat                         Carolina Hurricanes

1999       San Antonio Spurs               Dallas Stars

1991       Chicago Bulls                      Pittsburgh Penguins

Select other recent columns: Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / U.S. Women Reach World Cup Final -- Not With Arrogance, But Excellence / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / Kawhi to Lakers Would Mean More Rings, Last Laugh For LeBron / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 /  Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 22, 2019

Drip or swag, Herro brings what Heat needs. New column; plus Riley needs to have hit big in draft, Panthers go goalie in draft, O.J. Simpson on Twitter and reaction, latest Back In My Day (Band-Aids!), Taylor Swift's message & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 22. Excited about the inaugural Miami Beach Pop Festival Nov. 8-10 on the sands of South Beach -- especially The Raconteurs, who are second-line on the bill but should be co-headliners. 2) Here's the new Back In My Day that premiered this week on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio/ESPNews: BIMD: Band-Aids! 3) Always football season, so always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life, here: Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Father's Day, Taylor Swift anti-hate video & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

TherroDRIP AND SWAG, SPARK AND SPLASH AS HEAT INTRODUCE HERRO: Tyler Herro’s personality can be loud. That we know already. Will his NBA game be just as loud? Half of the fun is in the finding out. Meantime let’s appreciate the personality while fans hope the skills back it up. We need it. The down Miami Heat franchise needs it. South Florida sports needs it. He boasted on draft night Thursday that he had “the most drip in the room” -- as a million older white folks like myself probably said, “What’d he just say? The most what!?” The most drip as in street slang for the most swagger. The most drip as in the floral purple jacket he wore to his entree into the NBA. The most drip as in the rope of gold chain around his neck, and the fat, blingy watch on his left wrist. His game backs it up. "He checks every single box," said Pat Riley on Friday as he introduced Herro. To read my newest column, please visit Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It

WHY HEAT, RILEY NEED TO HIT BIG WITH HERRO AS NO. 1 DRAFT PICK: The pressure isn't on Kentucky guard Tyler Herro to be great as much as it's on Heat president Pat Riley to have been spot-on in seeing greatness in the kid. Riley ended a draft slump by getting Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson in the previous two drafts. Now he needs to keep the run going with last night's bounty: Herro (pictured), whom most mock drafts pegged going a bit lower than 13th overall, and Stanford forward KZ Okpala, whom the Heat traded up to select in the second round. If either or both can become starters or at least promising rotation contributors -- if both show promise -- Miami's roster will look a lot better a year from now to available 2020 free agents when the Heat next has big money to spend. I explore all of this in my column on the pick. To read, visit Heat, Riley Need To Have Hit Big With Herro

THE LIST: HIGHEST HEAT DRAFT PICKS IN RILEY ERA: The Miami Heat's five highest NBA Draft selections of the Pat Riley era:

No.   Year   Player, Pos., School                         Draft grade

2      2008   Michael Beasley, F, Kansas State  D: 12.3 points over 4 seasons here. OK, but not for 2nd overall

5      2003   Dwyane Wade, G, Marquette          A+: Is an explanation really necessary?

10    2002   Caron Butler, F/G, UConn               B: Only 2 years here, but key player in trade that brought Shaq

10    2015   Justise Winslow, G/F, Duke             C: Grade still incomplete, but climbing. Coming off best season

13   2019   Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky                 ???: The fun is in the finding out

SpencerknightPANTHERS GO GOALIE IN NHL DRAFT: Florida Panthers Friday night selected America goaltender Spencer Knight, 18, with the 13th overall pick in the NHL Draft. Best goalie in the draft at a position of urgent need = smart pick. ESPN's scouting report: "The things that makes Knight (pictured) exceptional among his goaltending peers is elite hockey sense, tremendous athleticism balanced with controlled play, great footwork and size and elite puck-moving abilities. I don't put huge value on a goalie's puckhandling skills, but Knight's are so good it's hard not to mention. Knight has really grown a lot in his confidence and poise in the net. There's such little flash in Knight's game, and that's a good thing. He's just always in the right spot because he tracks and anticipates as well as any goalie prospect I've seen in the past few years." Cats still will pursue veteran all-star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in coming free agency. It all spells the likely end of the line for longtime Panther Roberto Luongo, a franchise great but now 40.   

PatdanceHEAT'S FALL FROM CENTER OF PARADE TO SPECTATORS: To quote the top of my own new column in what may or may not be a fit of narcissism: "We were the parade, once. Now we’re on the curb, watching. The NBA is somebody else’s party now. Miami has gone from epicenter to spectator. Basketball summers in South Florida were nearly as exciting as the seasons because Pat Riley and the Heat could be expected to be 'in the room' with top free agents. Now here we are, water all around us and not a whale in sight. Being out of the playoffs is bad enough. Being out of the mix might be worse." Tonight is the NBA Draft, then comes free agency -- basketball's big summer -- but the Heat (selecting 13th overall tonight) figures to be pretty quiet. I explore how and why in my recent column. To read, kindly visit Heat Can Only Watch As Seismic Talent Shift Quakes NBA. Pictured: Been a minute since Riley was happy enough to dance over the fortunes of his franchise. 

OjathomeO.J. SIMPSON IS ON TWITTER. UH OH: Disgraced former Bills star escapes on two murder charges, later serves nine years for armed robbery, is paroled, spends a couple of quiet years under the radar in Vegas and -- now -- reemerges on social media with a Twitter account @TheRealOJ32. "I got a little gettin' even to do," he says in his first video. Wants to "set the record straight," he says in another. What he really wants, obviously, to to remake his image into the good guy who did his time and now wants back into the mainstream. (A smiling O.J. is pictured outside his home in Las Vegas in a recent Los Angeles Times photo that accompanied an AP story headlined, '25 years after murders, O.J. says 'Life is fine'). Simpson isn't the first shamed celebrity to see social media as a means of making over his persona and hoping people will allow him a reboot. The thing is, that is entirely up to us, the public, not up to him. Friendly tweets aren't unlikely to change the minds of the millions who will always think he got away with murder. I explore all of this in my recent column. To read, please visit O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him. Below, a Twitter response to an O.J. tweet that is, frankly, what Simpson had to know he was getting into by opening himself up to social media:

Ojexchange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our other most recent columns: Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic / Why Florida Panthers Are Poised To (Finally) Be The Next Big Thing U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players.

#YNTCDMUSICVIDEO: I posted the lyric video for this in my previous blogpost. Here's the proper full video, with array of cameo appearances. The song is good. The message is better:Other select recent columns: Durant Legacy Wobbles With Finals Reinjury / Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / Buckner Legacy One Of Notoriety And Forgiveness /End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It Big / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 15, 2019

Can Heat's Riley trade Whiteside and Dragic's big contracts? New column; plus NHL Panthers poised to be Next Big Thing, U.S. women's soccer should be celebrated, Durant's legacy, newest Back In My Day, O.J.'s happiness, The List (Game 7's) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 15. Always football season, so always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life, here: Amazon. Thanks for making it Amazon's 902,432nd best-selling book as of this morning. Seriously. I think I'm right behind the guy who self-published a book about his lifelong battle with ingrown toenails. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, will Dolphins be too good for Tua & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

HwBIG SUMMER FOR HEAT WOULD BE RILEY UNLOADING TRADING WHITESIDE, DRAGIC. NEW COLUMN: Goran Dragic opting in will cost the Heat 19.2 million next season. If Hassan Whiteside (pictured) also opts in as expected at $27.1M, that's a combined $46.3 million for two aging, injury-prone players who are made expendable by the rise of Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo, both vitally a part of the Heat's future. Meaning? Meaning this would be a good summer for Miami if Pat Riley becomes a master salesman and is able to unload both in trade. Maybe a package deal could pry point guard Mike Conley from Memphis for a year before he becomes a free agent. I explore this and more in my latest column. To read it, kindly visit Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic.

Catstwo BobPANTHERS POISED TO BE NEXT BIG THING. (AND THIS TIME THEY MEAN  IT): As next week's NHL Draft and then free agency loom, the Florida Panthers have positioned themselves, with a big summer, to be the next big thing in hockey and in South Florida pro sports. They've done it with a strong young core led by budding superstar Aleksander Barkov. They've done it with a great coaching hire in three-time Stanley Cup champion Joel Quenneville. They've done by stockpiling draft picks. They've done by freeing up a ton of money to chase major free agents. One they really want, and need, is goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, 30, a four-time all-star and twice Vezina Trophy winner as goalie of the year. A strong draft and a Bobrovsky-led FA haul would give Quenneville a lot to work with. Pictured right: Bobrovsky, and Florida GM Dale Tallon introducing his new coach. For my column as the Panthers enter their summer of reckoning, please visit Why Florida Panthers Are Poised To (Finally) Be The Next Big Thing.

U.S. WOMEN NEED NOT APOLOGIZE FOR WORLD CUP ROUT: [U.S. rolls over Thailand 13-0 in most lopsided match in Women's World Cup history, and team gets blasted for running up the score and celebrating too much. That's baloney. For my column, please visit U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies] ..... Original post: It's U.S. Women's National Team vs. Thailand in the Americans' first group-stage match of the month-long World Cup in France. Kickoff Amorganis 3 p.m. in the East. U.S. is the defending WC champion and a narrow betting favorite this time to repeat and earn a record fourth world title overall, although host France and Germany will be tough competition for the crown. States are led by a familiar, veteran team spearheaded by Alex Morgan (pictured) up front. There is a popular notion that the world is catching up to the Americans' dominance. We're about to find out. I love everything about this team, from their style and skill on the pitch to their outspoken fight for pay equity and for gender equality. Oh, and their coach, U.K.-born Jill Ellis, lives in Palmetto Bay just south of Miami. I'll be rooting for the U.S. and I don't care who knows it. "Let's gooooo States!"

DURANT RETURNS, GETS REINJURED, BUT GOLDEN STATE SURVIVES ANYWAY: Kevin Durant has spent his entire NBA career as the dispensable superstar. He still is. Durant finally returned from his calf injury last night, left reinjured in the second quarter (with a torn Achilles, they fear), but Golden State won anyway, 106-105, in Toronto to force an NBA Finals KdurantGame 6. Durant was set up to heroically be the oxygen and rescue his team from a 3-1 series hole — something done only once before in Finals history — and carry it to a third consecutive championship. As a parting gift for likely leaving in free agency in a month, Durant could have saved Golden State’s dynasty. Nothing less would do. What is Durant’s value? To the Warriors, and in free agency. That would the question in play the rest of these Finals. Durant is elite. A perennial all-star. A former league MVP. Hall of Fame-bound. But he has never been what he had a chance to prove himself as the rest of this series: Indispensable. He was great for Oklahoma City but never good enough to lift the Thunder to a championship in eight seasons. Did Golden State need Durant to become what they have? No. They won a title before he got there. Then had the single-best regular season in league history before he got there. Now, as Golden State steamed into the Finals with Durant absent, sidelined since May 8, there was audacious talk that the Warriors somehow might be a better team without Durant. It was quantifiable, the team’s record much better with Steph Curry but no Durant than with Durant but no Steph. That could all have changed starting last night. Instead, it only affirmed the Warriors can win without him. Now, sadly, he likely will leave Golden State the way he did Oklahoma City, a dispensable superstar not feeling a lot of love on the way out. To read the column, kindly visit Durant Legacy Wobbles As Warriors Win Without Him

Other most recent columns: Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 and Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez. Also: Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / Drama Kings: How NBA Became America's Most Interesting Sport / Buckner Legacy One Of Notoriety And Forgiveness / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players.

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': COMMERCE!: This premiered on today's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. Hashtag: #SaveTheRetailStore. Dan liked it. Maybe you will, too. (By the way, thanks to all the show fans we met today the the Father's Day Fiesta event at Fogo de Chao on South Beach).

THE LIST: CHAMPIONSHIP GAME 7s: Including this week's Boston-St. Louis NHL Final as the latest, the 10 most recent championship-deciding Game 7s in baseball, basketball and hockey:

Year Sport       Winner                Loser                    Score

2019 NHL        Blues                   @Bruins                4-1

2017 MLB        Astros                  @Dodgers             5-1

2016 NBA        Cavaliers             @Warriors             93-89

2016 MLB        Cubs                   @Indians               8-7 (10i)

2014 MLB        Giants                 @Royals                3-2

2013 NBA        @Heat                 Spurs                   95-88 

2011 NHL        Bruins                 @Canucks             4-0

2011 MLB        @Cardinals          Rangers                6-2

2010 NBA        @Lakers              Celtics                  83-79

2009 NHL        Penguins             @Red Wings          2-1

Notes: Road teams have now won five (!) Game 7s in a row and seven of past 10. The only Game 7 involving South Florida teams in addition to '13 Heat was @Marlins beating Indians 3-2 (11i) in 1997.

OjnowARE WE HAPPY THAT O.J. SIMPSON IS HAPPY?: The Associated Press scored an exclusive interview this week with the media-shy O.J. Simpson, the former Bills running back who of course skated in 1995 on that infamous double-murder charge but later did nine years for a robbery/kidnapping conviction. He was released in 2017 and now lives in Las Vegas. The AP story ran with the headline, '25 years after murders, O.J. says 'Life is fine'. It describes a now 71-year-old who plays lots of golf, poses for lots of selfies and is happy or at least content, not overcome with guilt, anger or anything of the sort. He declines to discuss the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, for which Simpson was acquitted to the shock (mostly) of white America. He describes the not looking back as his "no negative zone." The story is worth the read anyway. To do so, click here. The photo is an AP shot taken last week.

Other select recent columns: End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It Big / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Zion Williamson's Power to Reject Lottery / Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T. / Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 08, 2019

Why Dolphins will be better than you think. Latest column; plus Inter Miami aims high with Barca's Suarez, 5 key battles as Fins end offseason, Marlins go bat-heavy in draft, Schnellenberger denied again, new Back In My Day video, R.I.P. Dr. John & more

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

Drjohn1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 8. One day after noting the 75th anniversary  of the Normandy landings on D-Day, we mourn the passing of New Orleans music legend Dr. John (pictured) at 77, from a heart attack. Second line ready, Big Easy. R.I.P. 2) Sorry to hear earlier this week of the sudden passing this week of WPLG news anchor Todd Tongen at 56 -- and no less so after learning the cause was suicide. We were the most casual of acquaintances, rarely crossing paths, but I always admired the job he did and his humor and good nature. Condolences to his family and loved ones. 3) It's always football season, so it's always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy it on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your NFL Finals will/want poll results, our review of  the Elton John biopic 'Rocketman' & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

BfloresTOO-DA-LOO, TUA? DOLPHINS WILL BE BETTER THAN EXPECTED IN 2019. NEW COLUMN: The Fins wrapped up their offseason program of OTA workdays and minicamps Thursday. Now it's six dark weeks for the club before it reassembles for full preseason training camp in late July. Thought the break was a good time to assess where the team is at, expectations-wise. We know the Vegas betting over/under is way low, around 5 wins. We think, or at least I think, Miami will be better, and I explore why in my newest column. A bright new coach in Brian Flores (pictured), an interesting quarterback battle with much upside, a really good receivers room, strong defensive tackle rotation, productive linebackers, better than average secondary -- too many positives for this team to be god-awful. The negatives: the offensive line other than Laremy Tunsil, and the absence of an edge rush leaving you wondering where the sacks will come from. Still, I think Miami will be good enough to make it difficult being bad enough to get the No. 1 overall 2020 draft pick and grand-prize QB Tua Tagovailoa. To read my latest column, kindly visit Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019.

LsuarezINTER MIAMI SIGNING LUIS SUAREZ WOULD BE NEARLY LEBRON-SIZED GET: David Beckham is gunning for Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, which if it  happens would be Miami sports' biggest get since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach and the Heat in 2010. Suarez (pictured) is a proven, prolific goal scorer, with 25 or more net-shakers the past seven consecutive seasons for Liverpool or Barca at the highest levels of the sport. The negative: He will turn 33 just before the 2020 Major League Soccer season starts and Inter Mimi debuts as an expansion team. Still, there is little evidence of decline in his dynamic game, and he'd be a major piece to build an attacking team around. He would join the L.A. Galaxy's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and D.C. United's Wayne Rooney as the biggest international names in MLS. For that column of mine, please visit Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez.

AS DOLPHINS WRAP UP OFFSEASON, REASONS TO LIKE FLORES AND 5 KEYS TO SEASON: Dolphins' mandatory minicamp ended Thursday to close Miami's offseason program. In my column previewing this week's minicamp I offer reasons I've really liked the hiring of Brian Flores as head coach thus far, and also five key position battles that will shape the coming season. To read that column, kindly visit Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season.

Other most recent columns: Marlins, NBA Finals, Bill Buckner, Miami's top young stars: For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / Drama Kings: How NBA Became America's Most Interesting Sport / Buckner Legacy One Of Notoriety And Forgiveness / And Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players.

BledayMARLINS DRAFT QUICK THOUGHT: BATS, BATS, BATS: The trades for prospects mostly have brought pitching, pitching, pitching. It is why Miami is pretty deeply stocked in its starting rotation. So the 2019 MLB Draft brings a different emphasis: Offense. And we saw that in the draft's first two rounds Monday night, led by Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday, the fourth overall pick. Then came Missouri OF Kameron Misner (a competitive balance pick) and in the second round, Lawrenceville, Ga. high-school infielder Nasim Nunez. Bleday, personally scouted by Derek Jeter at the recent SEC Tournament, is pictured. He had five hits that game, by the way. In the power-starved Bleday the Fish get a guy who led all NCAA Division 1 baseball with 26 home runs this season.

HowardTHREE EX-CANES ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL BALLOT, BUT...: Stalwart former Hurricanes defensive stars Jerome Brown, Ray Lewis and Dan Morgan are on the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame ballot revealed Monday. But one ex-Cane who deserves the honor continues to be left out: Coach Howard Schnellenberger. In a flashback column from a hyear ago, June 2018, and truer than ever, I make the case why Schnellenberger deserves the College Hall. Read: End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': CAFETERIAS!: The latest BIMD, which premiered Tuesday on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Other select recent columns: Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It (Really) Big / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Zion Williamson's Power to Reject the Lottery / Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T. / Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 01, 2019

For Marlins, an encouraging 2 weeks. New column; plus Drama Kings: How NBA won America. With 2 Finals polls; also, the complicated legacy of Bill Buckner, Miami sports' Top 15 athletes 25-and-younger, latest Back In My Day (Food Trucks!) & more

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 1. Happy new month, all! Farewell, May. See you next year. 2) Find the new Back In My Day video (Food Trucks!) just below here. 3) It's always football season, so it's always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Miami sports sucks yeah but has company, Memorial Day tribute video & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

MarlinsTHESE ARE THE MARLINS. AN ENCOURAGING HALF-MONTH IS A START: Though Miami lost 3-1 to the Giants Thursday at Marlins Park (I was there) and 5-2 in San Diego Friday to open a road trip, the Fish were a neat 9-5 the past two weeks to end May, a notable upturn after ending the first quarter of the season a dreadful, record-threatening 10-31. Around here, right now, in the midst of a franchise reboot, you take an encouraging half month. You take any reason to try on optimism and hope it fits. For my column, from the ballyard, kindly visit For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress. P.s., as a kid who grew up a Carl Yastrzemski fan, it was nice to personally witness grandson Mike Yastrzemski, the Giants rookie, collect his first major-league RBI yesterday. Yaz 2.0 is 28 and played parts of seven minor-0league seasons. Kid didn't coast on his name; he paid those proverbial dues.

Gstor2HOW BASKETBALL BECAME AMERICA'S MOST INTERESTING SPORT: The mess enveloping LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors vs. Raptors/Steph Curry vs. Kawhi Leonard NBA Finals and when Kevin Durant will return. The Zion Williamson draft. Free agency and where Durant, Leonard, Anthony Davis (by trade) and other stars will end up. For all its drama, the NBA has become the most interesting league and sport in America. Or so I make the case in my latest column. To read it, please visit Drama Kings: How NBA Became America's Most Interesting Sport. An added element of interest in these Finals that start tonight is a Canadian team playing for the title for the first time. Ordinarily, much of America outside of Oakland might be predisposed to root for the underdog and against the dynasty. But in this case that means rooting for Canada over the American team. Does it matter? Maybe it's only during the Olympics and World Cup that we think about such things. In any case we present our NBA Finals "Head vs. Heart" polls -- the will and want polls. The first is which team you predict will win -- who you'd bet your money on. The second is who you want to win -- who you''ll be rooting for. Vote now in both!

BbucknerTHE COMPLICATED LEGACY OF BILL BUCKNER: It is wrong, in remembering Bill Buckner, to not appreciate a well above average 22-year MLB career. He was an all-star. Won a batting title. Had a .289 career average. But it also is wrong that a story about that man and career upon his death might not emphasize the one thing for which he is most (unfortunately) remembered -- that infamous 1986 World Series error. I dive into Buckner's complicated legacy in my recent column, from the perspective of a lifelong Red Sox fan who once despised him but outgrew that misplaced passion. To read, please Buckner Legacy One Of Notoriety And Forgiveness.

FutureTHE FUTURE: MIAMI SPORTS' TOP 15 ATHLETES 25 AND YOUNGER: What’s next? Who’s next? What is the path forward from losing for the Dolphins, Heat, Marlins and Panthers — and who will find it? We last did one of these best-25-and-younger lists in 2013 and I’m surprised to say only one player from that top 10 remains in town. Hopefully our Big Four teams will do a better job hanging onto our expanded list of young talent. In forming the ranking we combined current quality with potential, how essential the player is in his team’s plans, and how good we imagine they’ll be in, say, three years. To read our recent column and see the Top 15 U-25 list, please visit Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players.

Other most recent columns: Take Heart, South Florida. We're Bad, But Hardly Alone / Riley, Heat, Everyone Else Chasing Warriors' Epic Greatness / Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It (Really) Big / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Zion Williamson's Power to Reject the Lottery / All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right / Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': FOOD TRUCKS!: Food truck owners, don't take this personally...

THREE POWERHOUSE WOMEN VOCALISTS = ONE GREAT SONG: Sheryl Crow. Bonnie Raitt. Mavis Staples. Three of my favorites, together on one song. What could go wrong? Nothing. For me, this song chugs like a locomotive in no hurry. Love the lyrics, the mix of vocals, everything. Hope you might, too. This is a vocals-only vid, but no worry. Close your eyes and let these voices and Bonnie's sublime slide guitar carry you away.

Select other recent columns: Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa in '20 / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T. / Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote