October 19, 2020

Dolphins smother Stinkin' Jets 24-0 and we have a Tua sighting! My new column; plus overstuffed latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 19. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes handle Pitt, NFL Week 6 picks, NFL Week 5 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 32 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

NyjmiaG6: DOLPHINS 24, N.Y. STINKIN' JETS 0: MIAMI SAILS, REACHES .500 ... AND WE HAVE A TUA SIGHTING!: My column off the game: For Dolphins, 4th Straight Good Game -- And Tua, Too! Original post: Strange to ask, but after playing Seattle tough and then last week’s exhilarating road rout over San Fran, are the Dolphins at risk of overconfidence or a letdown Sunday vs. the lowly Jets? The division rivalry says probably not, but rarely in this series have the Fins been such a favorite or NYJ been so awful. The Jets stink at just about Tuaeverything. How does old friend Adam Gase still have a job? (Rhetorical question. He might not if Planes lose here). Now Le’Veon Bell is gone. Gase’s inability to get along with star players sounds like a bit of a job detriment. Bell also was available and ESPN reported he intended to sign with Buffalo, Kansas City or Miami; unsurprisingly he picked the Chiefs. Fins could have used him, obviously. Miami’s supposedly improved running game has been way disappointing. Even lacking balance, though, Fins’ offense still is averaging a decent 27.2 points per game. NFL has set five-week records for most TDs (453) and points (3,958) — no thanks to Jets’ league-worst offense, although NYJ’s equally bad defense probably deserves a little credit. Sam Darnold (shoulder) won’t play Sunday, but his regression and capable backup Joe Flacco make the QB change a push at worst for the Jets. Flacco is 6-0 in his career vs. Miami. But those six were with Baltimore, filet mignon to the Jets’ dog food. On the other side in this mis-matchup, Ryan Fitzpatrick should have another big game. Oh, and if Miami leads big late, might there even be a Tua Tagovailoa sighting for a series or so? This is the first time all season — the first game and situation — where I can see it as at least a possibility. Although with a bye on deck, a Week 8 first taste ‘o Tua may be likelier. This, by the water, is yet another NFL game affected by COVID-related schedule shuffling. Original 1 p.m. start was shifted to 4:05 to sneak in the previously postponed Denver-New England game at 1. My pick: Dolphins (-9 1/2) over Stinkin' Jets, 37-16. Visit NFL Week 6 Gems for this and all of our other latest previews and picks.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 33 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and the new Episode 33 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. Find all 33 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep33, 'Growing Up Cote II,' we welcome back my older brother for Uncle Dick 2.0. He makes fun of explains the phenomenon of PFPI and the PFPI Gala, shares how Greg is so odd on a golf course, and reveals what he really thinks about how Dan Le Batard treats his little brother on the air. Also, Greg and Chris chat up Tua's long-awaited Dolphins debut. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the P's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 18-19): 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: Hot Fish blank Stinkin' Jets as Tua makes NFL debut: Yes I said hot. Miami has now strung together four strong efforts in a row, winning big in Jacksonville, fighting nobly in a loss to unbeaten Seattle, that unexpected easy rout at San Fran, and now Sunday's 24-0 waltz past the Jets. Even better than the shutout: Tua Tagovailoa debuts late, enters to an ovation, goes 2-for-2.

2. HURRICANES: UM bounces back from Clemson debacle, handles Pitt: The Canes shed last week's flat 42-17 loss to Clemson and handled Pitt at home Saturday, 31-19, behind solid defense and D'Eriq King's four TD passes. Win elevated UM two spots to No. 11 in polls. The ACC tests keep coming next week at home vs. Virginia in prime time, with now 4-1 Miami ill-affording a second conference loss if it stills hopes to reach ACC title game.

3. MLB: It's a Rays-Dodgers World Series!: Tampa Bay Rays took ALCS Game 7 Saturday over the Houston Cheatin' Astros, while Los Angeles Dodgers pushed NLCS to a Sunday Game 7 vs. Atlanta and won. Braves had earlier eliminated Marlins in NL Division Series to end Miami's first postseason in 17 years. The two leagues' best-record teams advance in an LA-Tampa World Series starting Tuesday.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Tide beats Dawgs, FSU stuns UNC: No. 2 Alabama beat No. 3 Georgia 41-24 Saturday, with Nick Saban back on the sideline after getting COVID. Shocker of the day: Florida State's 31-28 win over No. 5 North Carolina. LSU at No. 10 Florida was postponed after Gators' COVID outbreak. UF coach Dan Mullen also tested positive -- the same guy who said he wanted a packed stadium. 

5. PANTHERS: Ouch! Cats taking hits in free agency: Ottawa poached steady Florida scorer Evgenii Dadonov in free agency, signing him to a three-year, $15 million deal after three straight seasons of 25-plus goals. Cats now brace to lose Mike Hoffman, who had 29 goals last season. Panthers' free-agent gains have been more modest, with defenseman Radko Gudas and forwards Alexander Wennberg and Vinnie Hinostroza fronting a low-watt bunch.

6. MARLINS: Fish parting with longtime exec Michael Hill: The timing is odd, but Marlins CEO Derek Jeter announced Sunday the club will not renew the contract of longtime president of baseball operations Michael Hill. Comes after the club's first winning season in nine years and first postseason trip since 2003. 

7. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team falls at Montreal: Inter Miami, in this strangest of MLS expansion seasons, is now 5-11-3 after Wednesday's 1-1- draw with Atlanta and then Saturday's 2-1 loss at Montreal. Miami is a credible 5-6-3 after an 0-5 start. Next: Home in Fort Lauderdale vs. budding rival Orlando City next Saturday.

8. HEAT: Miami approaches 2020 offseason mostly girding for '21: After an unexpected run to the NBA Finals and eventual loss to LeBron' champion Lakers, expect Miami's 2020 offseason priority to be re-signing pending free agents Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder, then adding perhaps a second-tier, rotation-type FA from a modest class. The larger goal: Enough cap-space to whale hunt when the monster free agents come around in '21. Can you say Giannis Antetokounmpo? No, I'm serious. I mean, can you pronounce it?  

9. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League group play at hand: Group-stage play begins this Tuesday, running into early December. Among the 32 clubs Bayern Munich and Manchester City are co-favorites at most books just head of Liverpool. Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for COVID, but Juventus are hopeful Ronaldo will be available for its Champions League match vs. Barcelona and old rival Lionel Messi on October 28.

10. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Hurricanes, others open preseason practice: Jim Larranaga's Miami men, Katie Meier's Canes women and the rest of college basketball began preseason practice this week toward a delayed November 25 planned start to the season. But nothing is the same due to COVID. Last season ended with a canceled March Madness. This one began with no Midnight Madness first practices in packed gyms.

Missing the HB10 cut: It was announced this week the NFL is canceling this season's Pro Bowl game for the first time since 1949. Fans nationwide reacted with yawning indifference. The NFL said the Pro Bowl would return after missing just this one. "No that really isn't necessary," said fans in a chorus ..... The Mumbai Indians won the toss today and elected to bat first against the Kings XI Punjab ..... The Lakers' championship celebration in L.A. included some rowdiness, a few fires and not much attention to social distancing. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Teofimo Lopez at age 23 became youngest undisputed lightweight champion by dethroning Vasiliy Lomachenko in Las Vegas Saturday night. People enthralled by lightweight boxing might care, if there are such folks out there ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 33 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,080 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Too soon for a "U-S-A!" chant?

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THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Other most recent columns: COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages / Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is / Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron / and We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw.

Football special-section columns: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-A-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / 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

Revisit this blog often because it is updated 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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

September 28, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): History! 4-way tie for 1st: Marlins in playoffs, Heat in Finals vs. LeBron, UM crushes FSU, Fins crush Jax; plus our Six Pack 'O Takeaways from Canes-Noles, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 30 out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28. If you missed who won the week, who leads the early season Top 20 and where Fins' Ryan Fitzpatrick lands, check out our NFL Week 2 QB Rankings2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crush Jacksonville, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 29 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Our latest NFL picks: NFL Week 3 Gems.

HEAT IN FINALS VS. LEBRON!: For my column off last night's Game 6 win that catapulted Miami into the NBA Finals, visit Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron. Off Game 5: Heat Lose, Still Lead 3-2. The Prize? An NBA Finals Date With LeBron. Game 4: Conquering Herro! Rookie's 37 Has Heat 1 Win From NBA Finals. G3: The Fun Starts Now As Heat's Joy-Ride Postseason Finally Hit a Bump. G2: Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues. G1: Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now].

Newest Dolphins columns: Off Thursday night's big win in Jacksonville: We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw. Off Game 2: Power Outage, Lightning Delay, No Pass Defense As Dolphins Drop Home Opener to Bills. Off Game 1: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua.

SixpackCANES 52, FSU 10: OUR SIX PACK 'O TAKEAWAYS: For our column from last night's UM win, visit Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is. Six Pack 'O Takeaways: 1. King D'Eriq. Transfer D'Eriq King continues his excellent play and is nominating himself as UM's best QB since Ken Dorsey closed out the glory years. 2. Putting the No in Noles. After losing seven in a row to its state and ACC rival, Miami has now beaten FSU four straight times. 3. Kickin' It. After the field goal and extra point nightmare that contributed to 2019's 6-7 record, transfer kicker Jose Borregales has been a godsend. 4. Monster D. Six sacks, seven hurries 13 tackles for loss. Canes defense had its way. P.S., Noles QB James Blackman? Not very good. 5. Discipline. Miami needs more of it. Two defensive ejections last night, too many penalties. Against better foes, those things can beat you. 6. Next, please. As the gist of my game column stressed, UM's 3-0 start gets its ultimate test at No.1 Clemson on October 10. Are the Canes teasing us again? Soon we find out.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 27-28): 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:

HButton

1. MARLINS: Miracle Fish make playoffs for first time in 17 years!: They did it. One year after losing 105 games, in a pandemic season that began with much of the team COVID-positive, the Marlins somehow made the playoffs for the first time since 2003. It'll be a best-of-three vs. Cubs to follow the 60-game season. Amazin'!

1. HEAT: Miami wins East to get to LeBron and Lakers: Heat beat Boston last nibght for a 4-2 series and an NBA Finals berth vs. old friend LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers. 

1. HURRICANES: UM crushes rival FSU, heads for top 10: Miami's 52-10 rout of Florida State last night at Hard Rock was the biggest in the series since 1976. The 3-0 Canes now have leaped to No. 8 (from 12) after two teams above UM lost Saturday. But is The U really that good? We all find out October 10 at Clemson.

1. DOLPHINS: Miami crushes it in Jax. Who are these guys!?: A Dolphins team we hadn't seen the first two games showed up and crushed host Jacksonville 31-13 Thursday night. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 18-for-20 with two TDs passing and one running. The defense dominated. It was a night when Miami's improvement and potential showed itself, and rather gloriously at that!   

5. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team back in action, falls in Philly: Miami returned to the pitch on the road Sunday night vs. a strong Philadelphia Union squad and lost 3-0. Despite two straight lopsided losses, Inter Miami since an 0-5 start has won three and drawn two of its past nine matches. Miami now has with it recently signed Gonzalo Higuain, the former Juventus striker.

6. NHL: Stanley Cup Final Game 6 is Monday: Tampa Bay leads Dallas 3-2 after the Stars staved off elimination Saturday night. The Lightning will win it all, or be forced to a Game 7, on Monday night. 

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Weak! Pac-12 follows Big Ten back into play: Two of the Power 5 conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, said they would not play in 2020 over COVID-19 concerns. Then the weak Big Ten caved and agreed to begin play in late October. Now the weak Pac-12 has caved and said it will play a seven-game schedule starting in November. Sad.

8. NASCAR: Michael Jordan buys into race team: With NASCAR in the midst of its playoffs, Michael Jordan has become a team owner for next season. The basketball legend has teamed up with NASCAR star Denny Hamlin -- currently second in the playoff standings with seven races left -- and with Bubba Wallace, the Black driver whose fight led to the sport banning Confederate flags from its tracks.

9. PANTHERS: Florida NHL club signals win-now mode with trade: New Panthers general manager Bill Zito swung a trade acquiring veteran forward Patric Hornqvist from Pittsburgh in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour. Hornqvist, 33, appeared in 52 games with the Penguins this season scoring 17 goals with 15 assists.

10. WNBA: Seattle, Connecticut can advance to Finals Sunday: The Seattle Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday for a 3-0 series win and a spot in the WNBA Finals. The Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces are tied 2-2 in their semifinal in the Bradenton bubble heading into a deciding Game 5 on Tuesday.

Missing the HB10 cut: The majors keep a-comin'! Next: Tennis' French Open starts Sunday. Rafael Nadal has won a record 12 French Opens and is the strong betting favorite to make it 13, with Novak Djokovic the second pick. Simona Halep is a less-sure favorite on women's side, with Serena Williams a distant fourth ..... Conor McGregor says he'll fight Manny Pacquiao. Oh lord! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 30 is out now! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,101 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll have crowds in stadiums again by then?

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 30 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 30 is out now! A new episode drops early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 30 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In new Ep30 we welcome back special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN for Iz 2.0. Last week we talked sports and silly stuff. This week -- vey different. On the fifth anniversary of his coming out publicly as gay, Izzy talks about his life since, including the heartache and a very recent loss. It's emotional, and a must-hear. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the M's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

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THE ARCHIVES:

Our football special-section column troika: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / 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

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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

August 24, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Inter Miami wins, Heat in command, Sixto wins debut, Paris-Bayern. See who's No. 1 and and what else falls where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 25 out now!, links to recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 24. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Riley's grand plan on track as Heat near playoff advance, Greg Cote Show podcast on a bye week & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: SILVER POD-IVERSARY EPISODE 25 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with Silver Pod-iversary Episode 25, out now! New episodes drop Monday mornings on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 25 we've done RIGHT HERE. Free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep25 we chat with special guest Mike Tannenbaum, the former Dolphins and NFL executive, about Tua and the Fins; Juju Gotti drops by; Greg saves the U.S. Postal Service'and of course we bring you the Mount Gregmore Name Game -- H's! All that and more in new Ep25! 

Latest column: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance

Other most recent columns: For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / 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 

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 23-24): 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. INTER MIAMI: Finally! MLS expansion team plays at home --and wins!: Five months later than planned due to the coronavirus, Inter Miami finally played its first home match Saturday, albeit in front of cardboard fans at its temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The bigger news: A win! Coming in 0-5, Miami beat natural rival Orlando City 3-2 on a pair of goals by Julian Carranza, a 20-year-old Argentine, and one by team star Rodolfo Pizarro. Next up for Miami: Wednesday back home vs. Atlanta United, and next Sunday at Nashville SC.

2. HEAT: Miami takes commanding 3-0 series lead over Pacers: This one's (all but) over. Miami took a 3-0 first-round NBA playoff series lead over Indiana with Saturday's 124-115 win. Four 20-ppiint scorers led the way: Jimmy Butler 27, Goran Dragic 24, Bam Adebayo 22 and Tyler Herro 20 off the bench. Heat can earn club's first playoff advance since 2016 in Game 4 in the Orlando bubble Monday evening. (Toronto and Boston are the first two teams to advance, both with sweeps). 

3. MARLINS: Sanchez wins in debut; Fish fall Sunday: The Marlins are hanging onto second place in NL East after Saturday's double-header split at Washington -- led by Sixto Sanche'z win in his first start for Miami -- then a loss Sunday. Fish had earlier snapped a recent five-game losing streak when Miguel Rojas homered in his first game back after a COVID-19 related absence. Miami has now had 11 games postponed by the virus, most recently when two Mets got it. Fish are in midst of an eight-game road trip. (Be smart, guys. Nobody sneaks out, right?)

4. SOCCER: It's Bayern Munich atop UEFA Champions League: It was Germany's mighty Bayern Munich defeating French power Paris-St. Germain 1-0 on Sunday in the UEFA Championship League title match in Lisbon, Portugal. Both advanced with no-doubt 3-0 semifinal verdicts, Bayern over Lyon and Paris over Leipzig, forming the battle for one of the major international futbol trophies.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NCAA grants extra year to fall-sport athletes: In the wake of the Big Ten, Pac-12 and other smaller conferences opting to not risk playing football in 2020 due to the pandemic, the NCAA Division I board of directors voted to give all fall sport student-athletes an additional year of eligibility and an extra year to complete it through a blanket waiver. Meanwhile Ohio State QB Justin Fields began a petition against the Big Ten postponement. The other three of the Power 5 conferences plan to play as scheduled, at least for now.

6. DOLPHINS: Three weeks from opener, a bit of QB tumult: Starter-for-now Ryan Ftzpatrick returned after missing one practice due to  mysterious Whel personal reasons. Meantime quarterback of the future Tua Tagovailoa looks healthy (the good news) but not close to NFL-ready yet (the bad). Josh "Remember Me" Rosen has looked better than Tua at times. Ready or not, Fins open at New England in three weeks.

7. HURRICANES: RB Harris stars in second fall scrimmage: Miami’s offensive star Saturday in its second fall football scrimmage was junior running back Cam’Ron Harris, who scored three touchdowns, rushed for 77 yards on 13 carries and caught five passes. With the ACC one of three of the Power 5 conferences still planning to play this fall, the Hurricanes are set to open in 18 days, September 10 at home vs. UAB, though likely in an empty stadium.

8. NHL: Dallas first to win as conference semifinals underway: While the eliminated Florida Panthers continue their search to replace departed general manger Dale Tallon, the Stanley Cup playoffs skate into the conference semifinals -- the final eight. In the West it's Dallas up 1-0 on Colorado after a 5-3 win Saturday, with Vegas 1-0 on Vancouver. In the East it's Boston 1-0 over Tampa Bay and Philadelphia-New York Islanders starting Monday. 

9. NBA: Lottery awards No. 1 overall draft pick to Minnesota: In a lottery drawing for the delayed-unti- October 16 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves lucked to draw the top pick. Their likely choice? Point guard LaMelo Ball, who eschewed American college ball and has been playing in Australia. Uh oh. Brace yourself for the reemergence of the dreaded Annoying Dad we haven't heard from lately to our great delight -- LaVar Ball.

10. MLB: Padres make grand slam history: The San Diego Padres hit a grand slam in four straight games, an MLB first. Hadn't been done in even three straight since 2006. And three straight by an NL team had last been done by the Cleveland Spiders in (!) 1895. I was there. Quite a feat.

Missing the HB10 cut: Oscar de la Hoya, 47, says he is coming out of retirement. (Cash-strapped, Oscar?) Over/under on his retiring again following an embarrassing comeback defeat: Four months ...... First Bubba Wallace leads a successful fight to ban Confederate flags at all NASCAR tracks. Now Erik Moses is named president of Nashville Superspeedway, becoming the first Black man to hold that title at any of the sport's tracks. Welcome to the 21st Century, NASCAR! Been waitin' for ya ..... Baseball and its damned "unwritten rules"! Somebody please just write them down for poor Fernando Tatis ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast returns Monday morning with extravaganza silver pod-iversary Episode 25! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,136 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll all be back to uncomfortably close social interaction by then.

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THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA FinalsMarlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Special Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / 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

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / and two-part series on how Dolphins' Glory Day happened: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

August 03, 2020

Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 23 out now! Heat! Marlins! Leftovers! Mount Gregmore!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10. See who's No. 1 and what else ranks where; also, our Marlins Hell Week column trilogy & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 3. Welcome, August. Be nice. And thank you, Isaias, for going easy on us. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Hell Week column trilogy, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 22 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 23 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 23 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 23 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Episode 23 Greg and Chris are joined by two special guests. ESPN's Amin Elhassan is in to discuss the Miami Heat/NBA restart and leftovers. (Yes, leftovers). And Herald Marlins writer Jordan McPherson joins us to talk about working in a pandemic hotspot and covering the team whose season was derailed by a COVID-19 outbreak. New episode also includes the latest Mount Gregmore Name Game (F's). Hear all of that and more now in new Ep22! 

DonmatMarlins Hell Week: Column Trilogy: As Miami's COVID-19 outbreak wreaks havoc with the roster and with MLB, putting the Marlins season on pause: Latest: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Middle: Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / And first: Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Our most recent other columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps. And: He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 2-3): 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 wins season (re-)opener as NBA returns: NBA resumed with an eight-game regular season starting Thursday, and Heat (after going 1-2 in scrimmages) tipped off Saturday with an impressive 125-105 win over Denver in the Orlando bubble. Bam Adebayo, back from a bout with COVID-19, scored 22 for Miami as did Jimmy Butler. Next, Heat face Toronto Monday. Eight games each for the 22 teams still alive will determine playoff seedings.

2. MARLINS: Miami returns from virus-outbreak 'pause' Tuesday: Marlins went 2-1 in Philadelphia to open MLB's 60-game season on an upbeat. Then all hell broke loose. Miami's next seven games including the home opener were postponed when 20 members of the team including two coaches tested positive for COVID-19 -- putting all of MLB on high alert. Uninfected players remained in Philly and will bus to Baltimore to resume season on Tuesday, further delaying the already delayed home opener. Also: Team traded for lefty pitcher Richard Bleier, a local kid from South Plantation High (his story here in a 2016 column by me), and young 2B Isan Diaz opted out of the season.

3. MLB: Marlins-led mess has entire season wobbling: What began with the Marlins is spreading across the league, causing other games to postpone and some players to begin opting out. Remember MLB's plan for a Phoenix bubble where everybody would play to avoid travel? And how it was vilified as a crazy idea? Looking pretty damn good right about now. Play ball? 

4. DOLPHINS: Tua cleared for full activity as training camp ramps up: The good news? Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa passed his physical and was OK'd for all activity (no surprise), and the Fins so far have had no players opt-out of the season. The bad news? Oft-injured CB Xavien Howard is on the physically-unable-to-perform list, and the team has reassembled IN A PANDEMIC! 

5. PANTHERS: Cats fall to Islanders in series Game 1 of NHL restart: Florida is down 1-0 in its five-game play-in series vs. the New York Islanders after a 2-1 Game 1 loss on Saturday in hockey's straight-to-playoffs resumption in the Toronto bubble. Isles were up two goals  before Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the third period. Game 2 is on Tuesday, with Cats now two losses away from seeing their season end short of advancing to the Stanley Cup tournament.

6. NFL: Sport hit hard by growing list of players opting out of season: The latest number is 37 players opting out of the 2020 season so far over coronavirus concerns, including seven Patriots, star linebacker Dont'a Hightower among them, and Jets star linebacker C.J. Mosley. More than half of all teams have been affected by the opt-outs. Miami has lucked out. So far.

7. HURRICANES: UM football opens full preseason camp this week amid uncertainty: Canes will open their full fall training camp this coming Friday. ACC's no-divisions schedule brings Notre Dame into league. UM will not play Irish but will play at Clemson (Uh oh). Canes hope their season will open on Sept. 12, with fans or no fans still to be determined. UM AD Blake James admitted the whole thing is "aspirational."

8. GOLF: This week's PGA Championship is year's first major: There'll be no fans but a stellar field in San Francisco for the first major of the virus-wracked golf. The logjam of betting favorites includes Bryson Dechambeau, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka. Some guy named Tiger is playing, too. Starts Thursday.

9. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team preparing for August 22 restart of MLS season: As the MLS Is Back tournament moves toward its August 11 championship match, long-eliminated Inter Miami is preparing for a scheduled August 22 restart to the MLS regular season. An 18-game season is planned (9 home, 9 away), but the schedule is not yet announced. Inter Miami will resume play under pressure, its 0-5 start the league's worst ever for an expansion team.

10. SOCCER: Arsenal tops Chelsea for FA Cup crown: Arsenal rallied from an early hole to defeat Chelsea 2-1 in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley, one of the major trophies in European soccer. Chelsea found no luck, including young U.S. star Christian Pulisic (Chelsea's goal scorer) erased by a hamstring injury early in second half.

Missing the HB10 cut: Seattle Kraken. Sorry. Not growin' on me ..... Free agent Antonio Brown, looking for work at 32, is now suspended first eight games of NFL season for "multiple" violations of personal conduct policy. Teams still interested, line forms here. Plenty of spots available ..... Patrick Mahomes is now a part owner of the Kansas City Royals. Still, all that money could not buy Pat better than a No. 4 in NFL.com's Top 100 ranking ..... Woj is back! He's in the NBA bubble. I think I'd rather be suspended ..... Still hanging onto that nickname, Indians? I hear 'Cleveland Baseball Team' is  still  available ..... Delayed WNBA season is underway in Bradenton bubble ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 23 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,157 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Full stadiums again by then?

Other recent columns: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Special Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

July 27, 2020

The latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Marlins postpone opener amid COVID outbreak, Dolphins convene, Heat and Cats on deck. Sports in a pandemic!; plus new Greg Cote podcast out now!, links to recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 27. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins and Dolphins in race for relevance, When will Fins unleash Tua?, Concerns threaten football in the fall, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 21 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 22 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 22 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 22 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 22 Greg and Chris are joined by special guest co-host Juju Gotti, the Atlanta rapper, for a fun and veering conversation. New episode also includes Greg's Mail Sack, the top 10 Miami sports stars of all time, and the Mount Gregmore Name Game (E's). Hear all that and more in new Ep22! 

MattinglyMARLINS POSTPONE HOME OPENER, BECOME SCARY LESSON FOR ALL SPORTS ON PERILS OF PLAYING IN PANDEMIC: For all the world to see, the Miami Marlins just became Exhibit A for all that can go wrong when you try to play games in a pandemic. It is this baseball club, situated in one of America’s continuing coronavirus/COVID-19 hotpots, that you look to now when you wonder if this whole sports restart — for our entertainment and so leagues can make money, not necessarily in that order — is worth the risk. The worst that can happen, happened. The Marlins (masked manager Don Mattingly is pictured) suffered a virus outbreak infecting half the team on the first road trip of the season. At least 12 players and two coaches have tested positive — forcing Monday night’s scheduled home opener at Marlins Park to be canceled. It is an historic happenstance in a year unlike any in American history as the U.S. virus death toll grimly approaches the 150,000 milestone while sports start back up in empty stadiums and arenas. The Marlins’ next game, when and where it will be — all to be determined. For our full newest column, please visit Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Our most recent other columns:

Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That

When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report

Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps

Also: He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is -- And Knows It By Heart  /  Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns  /  and Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): 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. MARLINS: Baseball's back, but Fish postpone home opener amid outbreak: Baseball's delayed, truncated 60-game regular season is underway minus fans in the stands because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The good news: Marlins opened by winning two of three in Philly led by Miguel Rojas' 7-for-10 bustout. The overarching bad news: Four Fish missed Sunday's game after testing positive (Jose Urena, Jorge Alfaro, Garrett Cooper and Harold Ramirez), and club postponed Monday's home opener with at least 14 players and two coaches now infected.  Oy.

2. HEAT: It's time. Basketball in a bubble starts this week: Miami is 1-1 in scrimmage games in the Orlando bubble, with one left Tuesday. NBA regular season resumes with eight games leading into the playoffs, with Heat opening this coming Saturday vs. Denver. Almost forgot: Inexplicably, Jimmy Butler sings the Hall & Oates song, "You Make My Dreams Come True" in a new commercial for Michelob Ultra. And he ain't half bad!

3. DOLPHINS: Training camp opens ... but what's ahead?: Miami's recent draft picks including Tua Tagovailoa and other rookies are here, and now the full team is to report this Tuesday as training camps open around the NFL. But, with the preseason already canceled, can we expect an on-time season? With any fans. Into the great unknown steps King Sport!

4. HURRICANES: UM football lands prized recruit in Williams: As Canes move toward an uncertain season (full preseason work begins August 7), the program and coach Manny Diaz landed their top class of 2021 recruit in Western High OLB/safety James Williams. He is ranked No. 8 in Florida and 33rd in the nation by ESPN.com, which currently rank UM's '21 class 11th overall. It's been a big backyard win thus far. The U's eight Top 300 recruits all are from Miami-Dade or Broward schools. (Oh, and in the least surprising news ever, UM named D'Eriq King as starting QB).

5. MLB: Dr. Fauci, Mookie, expanded playoffs highlight Opening Week: Baseball returned Thursday night with America's virus doctor (and Nationals fan) Anthony Fauci, in a mask, throwing out the first pitch. It was hilariously wide left by about a quarter of a mile. In other MLB news, the playoffs will expand from 10 teams to 16 for this season, at least. And Mookie Betts signed a record 12-year, $365 million contract extension with the Dodgers. (Brother, can you spare a dime?)

6. PANTHERS: Cats are back in action in 5 days: The Panthers arrived Sunday in the NHL's Toronto hub to resume preparation for the direct-to-playoffs season restart. Florida's five-game East qualifying series vs. the New York Islanders begins this coming Saturday, August 1. Isles won all three regular season meetings, by 3-2 (SO), 2-1 and 3-1.

7. NFL: Former Redskins adopt most boring name in history: Until it settles on a new nickname to replace the thankfully retired "Redskins," the cub announced it will be called Washington Football Team. And the funny thing is, I'm not kidding! I like Washington No Names better.

8. INTER MIAMI: Is expansion team's coach already on hot seat?: MLB Is Back tournament is in midst of its round of 16 knockout stage working toward an August 11 finale. Inter Miami failed (badly) to advance after its 0-3 tourney run left the team 0-5 this season -- worst start ever for an MLS expansion team. And, yes, coach Diego Alonso already is feeling the heat. Washington Post reported MLS hopes to follow the tournament with an 18 to 22 game regular season in home markets, but no schedule or confirmation has yet been made.

9. NEW YORK JETS: The J-e-t-s have a wild week: These things happened on the eve of training camp: 1) Disgruntled, trade-seeking star safety Jamal Adams ripped coach Adam Gase, saying he isn't the "right leader" and has no relationship with players. And 2) Jets owner Woody Johnson was accused of sexist and racist remarks in his role as U.S. ambassador to the U.K. But NYJ made it right on Saturday, trading Adams to Seattle for two first-round picks.

10. BOXING: Lookout! Old man Tyson is coming back: Former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson -- who last fought 15 years ago -- is making a comeback. At age 54. He's fighting Roy Jones Jr. Who is 51. It'll be an eight-round exhibition on September 12, on pay-per-view, of course. Oxygen tanks in both corners, please.

Missing the HB10 cut: Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif  became the first NFL player to opt out of the coming seasons related to the pandemic. Who's next? ..... QB Alex Smith finally is cleared to play for the Washington No Names ..... Canes transfer QB D'Eriq King made the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the college player of the year. He earlier made the Davey O'Brien top-QB watch list ..... It'll be Arsenal vs. Chelsea in the FA Cup final this coming Saturday at an empty Wembley Stadium ..... Educate yourself, Sam Coonrod ..... The delayed WNBA season started Saturday in a bubble in Bradenton ..... Couldn't play in Canada this season, then Pittsburgh has turned 'em down. But the homeless folks, the Toronto Blue Jays, finally found a place to play in Buffalo ..... The Seattle Kraken, the NHL's new expansion team, nicknamed itself after a mythological sea creature. Will they be playing in the Bigfoot Division? ..... Woj: Unsuspended and back at work! ..... The Redskins may get company in the Graveyard of Shamed Nicknames. The Cleveland Indians are now considering a change and meeting with Native American groups ..... The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were supposed to start this week. Now there is concern a Summer Games in 2021 may not even happen ..... The FHSAA wisely voted to delay the start of fall prep sports in Florida ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 22 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,164 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. We still in our masks then or what?

Other recent columns: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear  /  Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision  /  Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope  /  The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1  /  Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020  /  Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back  /  Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction  /  Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?  / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred  /  and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Special Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / 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

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

July 18, 2020

He had a rough week, but Miami knows who Dwyane Wade is -- and knows it by heart. New column; plus Marlins' Miguel Rojas on pandemic (and playoffs!?) as MLB returns; also, Rest in pieces Redskins, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 20 & more

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

Johnlewis1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 18. R.I.P., John Lewis, 80, Congressman, civil rights giant, American patriot. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 20 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 20 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 20 is out now! A new episode is out every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 20 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Episode 20 we chat ESPN's IT wizard Tim Cronin, who shares behind the scenes stories about working with the network's on-air stars, and about his recently being diagnosed with COVID-19. We also throw a pod-y party for our 20th podiversary, including a montage of Greg's greatest throat-clears, and bring you the controversial Mount Gregore Name Game (the C's). Oh, and we bury the Redskins name. Hear it all now! 

MIAMI HEAT ICON DWYANE WADE HAS DONE WAY TOO MUCH GOOD TO HAVE ONE MISTAKE DERAIL HIM. NEW COLUMNDwyane Wade made a mistake. He knew it and tried to fix it very quickly, but it’s never quickly enough in the age of social media and instant everything. When you tweet something you should not have to 9 million Twitter followers around the Dwadeworld, it’s out there, an echo reverberating. You can delete what you wrote, and he did, but you cannot make it disappear. D-Wade, retired Miami Heat legend and beloved icon, was defended by some but buried by consensus. The mea culpa came fast, the explanation, the carefully worded oops. It helped. But it’s never enough. In the offending tweet, Wade supported Nick Cannon after the TV host was fired by ViacomCBS for making anti-Semitic comments on his podcast. Wade tweeted at Cannon, "We are with you" and "Keep leading!" along with a black fist emoji. The national context made it worse, as both Cannon’s comments and Wade’s initial reaction come at a time of great tension in America over prejudice and divide. It is more than the ongoing protests for racial justice in the wake of the George Floyd killing. It is anti-Asian incidents ignorantly related to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic originating in China. And it is a rise in hate crimes of anti-Semitism targeting those of the Jewish faith. Wade quickly wrote, "I want to clarify my now deleted tweet. I was not supporting or condoning what Nick Cannon specifically said, but I had expressed my support of him owning the content and brand he helped create." The emoji this time was prayer hands. Less than an hour later Wade said in another tweet: "I was too quick to respond without being fully informed about his hurtful anti-Semitic remarks. As you all know I have ZERO tolerance for any hate speech!" The first response was an explanation that fell short of contrition. The second was better, because it acknowledged that Cannon’s words were anti-Semitic, offensive and hurtful to many in the Jewish community — and because it rightly reminded the world what Miami knows very well about Dwyane Wade’s heart. Who he is as a man. For my full latest column -- free; no paywall! -- please visit, He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is -- And Knows It By Heart.

MARLINS CAPTAIN MIGUEL ROJAS ON PANDEMIC, PLAYOFFS AND MONKEY MASKS AS MLB RETURNSMiguel Rojas has earned "face of the Marlins" status as far as players go. He is the starting shortstop, team captain, clubhouse leader, fan favorite and player rep to the MLBPA. He’s been in Miami the longest, since 2015, surviving the roster teardown to be a part of Rojasthe work-in-progress rebuild as a veteran at age 31. Now Rojas helps a young team navigate the great unknown, the return of baseball amid a coronavirus/COVID-19 threat that finds his team, his team, at the epicenter of one of the pandemic’s worst hot spots. So, naturally, when speaking with Rojas, you must get to the obvious serious question first: Will the postgame monkey be back? We’re looking for signs of normalcy here, ports in a storm, and for the Marlins one of them the past few years has been Rojas, in a rubber monkey mask, sneaking up with a whipped-cream pie to the face of the game’s hero after a win as the teammate is being interviewed on TV. That was before wearing a mask took on a whole new meaning in 2020. Alas, everything has changed. Players aren’t even supposed to shake hands or fist-bump now. Or spit. So pies to the face are on indefinite hold. "I think it’s gonna have to be on a Zoom call now," Rojas joked this week — on a Zoom call with us, as a matter of fact. "Maybe I’ll create a YouTube channel or something like that? This is the new normal. We have to be responsible. It was fun, the monkey thing, but we have to move forward from that. Our conversation with Rojas comes as the Marlins and MLB prepare for Opening Week in a pandemic next week. For that full recent column, please visit Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns.

REST IN PIECES, REDSKINS. NOW HERE ARE SPORTS' OTHER SUSPECT (OR JUST WEIRD OR DUMB) NICKNAMES: They are out there. Fans of the Washington football club formerly known as "Redskins" who are genuinely upset that their team is burying some of its tradition and heritage with the nickname change that the franchise Gameoverofficially announced Monday was coming. Which invites the question: Can you be indignant and angry while simultaneously wearing a rubber hog’s nose strapped on your face? Oft times elements of tradition and heritage are lousy things to celebrate. Slavery, for example. Fans angry at the disappearance of Redskins is the same misplaced outrage you see from folks attaching great significance to the Confederate flag and outraged to see it ceremonially lowered without salute. Racist symbols gotta go. The belated national consensus on that is some of the good to come from the hurt. From the George Floyd killing that forced an opening of eyes to social injustice and racial inequality. Sports is playing its part, that’s all, so NASCAR bans Confederate flags at its racetracks and now Washington is retiring Redskins and its Indian head logo, the new nickname yet to be revealed. Are the Nickname Police looking elsewhere now? Are other teams nervous about a forced rebranding? Nothing is as bad as Redskins — a dictionary-defined slur that some Native Americans saw as their N-word. Redskins was never really defensible, and team owner Dan Snyder needs to acknowledge that at some point. As for the other teams under related scrutiny? And what about teams whose nicknames are not so much controversial as just weird or dumb? We name 'em. For lour full recent column, please visit Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames.

Other columns from the past week: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear  /  Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision  /  Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope  /  and The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1.

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Other recent columns: Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Special Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / 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

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

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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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

July 06, 2020

Washington Redtails, test positives and Makur Maker: the new Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No.1 and what else ranks where; plus the face of Miami sports in 2020 (new column), Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 19 out now! & more

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 6. Hope you all had a happy and safe (!) Fourth of July weekedn. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The 2020 Face of Miami sports, time to cancel sports for rest of year, Cam Newton and Belichick, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 18 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 19 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 19 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 19 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 19 we chat with the University of Miami's new Chief Diversity Officer for athletics, Dr. Renae Myles Payne, whose job takes on magnified relevance as America protests for social and racial justice. She talks about the anger, frustration and fear of many of her own Hurricanes athletes. For the fun  stuff, we bring you the latest installment of Greg Doesn't Know Movies, plus the Mount Gregmore Name Game B edition. Greg also talks Tuscaloosa COVID-19 parties and the (supposed) return of sports. Here it all in the new pod now!

TuaTHE FACE OF MIAMI SPORTS IN 2020. OUR TOP 20: In our latest column we decide who is the face of Miami sports in 2020 among current athletes from our five major pro teams: Dolphins, Heat Marlins, Panthers and Inter Miami. We list our Top 20 choices and arrive at a No. 1 that may surprise you. (Could it be the guy pictured at left?) For the full column and Top 20 list, please visit The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1. 

Most recent other columns: Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / 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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JULY 5-6): 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. NFL: Redskins finally weighing name change: Under increasing pressure at a time of demand for social justice, the Washington Redskins now say they are considering a nickname change (Redtails, anyone?) after pressure from main sponsor FedEx, the D.C. mayor and Native American groups. Baseball's Cleveland Indians are now considering a new nickname, too.

2. HEAT: Third Miami player tests positive as camp nears: Three Heat players have now tested positive for COVID-19 as the team readies for its July 9-29 training camp in the bubble in Orlando. If it happens, 22 teams will play eight games to end the regular season starting July 30 (Heat open August 1), followed by the playoffs.

3. MARLINS: Fish  begin spring work with four test-positives: Four players from the 60-man pool were absent after testing positive for COVID-19 as Miami began spring work at its stadium, preparing for a 60-game season set to start July 23 or 24 and run through September.

4. INTER MIAMI: No test-positives as Miami arrives in Orlando: All Inter Miami players tested negative on arrival (after one had earlier been positive), and the expansion team is set to restart its season this Wednesday night vs. Orlando City SC. Inter Miami's game will now be the first in the MLS Is Back tournament, after the league said Saturday it would postpone the scheduled first match after nine FC Dallas players tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Orlando.

5. NCAA: Did Makur Maker just change college basketball?: A nationally coveted five-star basketball recruit named Makur Maker just chose Howard University, an historically black college that was 1-15 last season in the MEAC, over powers such as UCLA. Season changer. Game changer. Sport changer?

6. NFL: League cuts preseason, stirs anthem debate: Hey something good has come out of the global pandemic! The NFL is reducing its excruciating preseason from four meaningless exhibtions to two. Also, NFL mired in controversy over report it will play the so-called Black National Anthem before games opening week. Relax, white folks. Put down the gun, Karen. Song's been around for decades. And it'll play before the Star-Spangled Banner, not in place of.

7. MLB: ASG cancelled; might sport lose trout, too?: Baseball announced a 2020 All-Star Game would not be played. The sport's planned July 23-24 restart wobbles as more players test positive or opt out. Now, the game's biggest star of all, the Angels' Mike Trout, says he is undecided whether to play the season, which, unlike other sports, will involve traveling and likely crowds in some stadiums. 

8. PANTHERS: NHL eyes two hub cities in Canada for restart: The NHL has singled out Toronto and Edmonton as the two hub cities where games will be played when a straight-to-playoffs season resumes in late July. Playoff-bound teams including the Florida Panthers will begin training camp in their home cities this coming Friday.

9. WNBA: Maya Moore's sacrifice pays off: As WNBA players return to practice this week, star Maya Moore fell to her knees in emotion when, after 22 years in prison, Jonathan Irons walked out of Jefferson City Correctional Center a free man and exonerated this past week. Moore quit basketball in her prime to crusade for Irons' innocence.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 141-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 90 games of regular season. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 19. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hope y'all had a safe and happy Fourth of July, happy being a relative term in the wrenching gauntlet that is 2020 ..... Death. Taxes. And Joey Chestnut winning the Nathan's July 4 Hot Dog Eating Contest ..... As NASCAR runs at Indianapolis today, Jimmie Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 ..... Cubs pitcher Jose Quintana lacerated his thumb while washing dishes. Jose. You make big-league money. Look into this really neat invention. It's called a dishwasher! ..... Happy to hear Oklahoma State socked football coach Mike Gundy with a huge pay cut over questionable behavior in the race relations realm ..... Bryson DeChambeau won the PGA Tour event in Detroit by three shots Sunday. He led the field in both driving distance and putting. Look out ..... UFC's 'Fight Island' debuts this coming Saturday with Jorge Masvidal now in the main event vs. Kamaru Usman ..... 'The Basketball Tournament' is underway, and nobody but the participating teams gives a bleep ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 19 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,185 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup, always presuming the world is still around then.

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

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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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

July 04, 2020

Happy 4th of July! Our 2020 Face Of Miami Sports Top 20: See who's No. 1. New column; plus time to abort season restarts and call off sports for rest of year, latest Greg Cote Show podcast out now!, Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots are back & more

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

4th1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 4. Happy Fourth of July, all! Fight to save yourself, America. Don't be stupid. Wear a bleepin' mask! 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 18 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 18 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 18 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 18 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 18 we talk baseball but also get funny/personal with ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, chat with somebody else named Greg Cote, introduce a new segment called the Mount Gregmore Name Game, and praise the South African nation of Botswana. Why? Only one way to find out, right?

Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need  /  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

WHO IS THE FACE OF MIAMI SPORTS IN 2020? HERE IS OUR LIST, AND NO. 1 MAY SURPRISE YOU: The question is simple: Who right now is the face of Miami sports? South Florida’s biggest star on any of our professional teams? We thought the timing was right to ask as all of our teams reassemble this month and prepare to play again, always presuming the coronavirus/COVID-19 Tuat
Jbut Rpiz Sandy Barkpandemic lets them. The answer is not so simple because of a lack of obvious candidates reflecting the evolution and flux we are in this weird summer of 2020. We see the Dolphins and Marlins plainly in tear-it-down-and-start-again rebuild mode. The Heat is still trying to find its way back to contender status, post Big 3 era. The Florida Panthers are improved but always in search of some elusive missing piece. And we welcome an expansion team in soccer’s Inter Miami. Face of Miami sports is an exercise we like to do every couple or three years to suit an always-shifting landscape. And oh how easy it used to be! We first did this in December 2015 and we were amid a bounty of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez, Jaromir Jagr, Roberto Luongo,Christian Yelich, Cameron Wake, Ichiro, Chris Bosh, Ndamukong Suh — all gone now. Honestly, the biggest sports stars we have today are former athletes both distant (Dan Marino) and near (D. Wade). We hold onto memories more fiercely than we embrace anyone new. Our biggest current sports figures don’t play at all, they wear suits. Derek Jeter. Erik Spoelstra. Pat Riley. David Beckham. For our 2020 Face of Miami Sports Top 20 we are considering only players on the current rosters of our five major pro teams. Our criteria is a mashup of career accomplishment, potential, starpower, popularity, local impact and national stature. A starting point for me? Imagine: You are driving along Interstate 95 and see a giant billboard. It reads, THIS IS MIAMI SPORTS, with a Mount Rushmore-like display of the four active athletes who best represent us. Who are they? Here’s what I say. To read our full latest column, please visit The 2020 Face Of Miami Sports Top 20. Some of our top contenders are pictured in no particular order.

EmptyIT'S TIME TO ABORT SEASON RESTARTS AND CALL OFF SPORTS FOR REST OF 2020: It might be time to shut the whole thing down. No more sports in 2020. It is looking more and more like that. All of our leagues have plans to return this summer to help recoup their financial losses, let’s not kid ourselves. The resumption might be couched as a magnanimous move to entertain America at a time when the nation’s spirits badly need lifting. But it’s about money first. And that health-of-the-industry priority seems increasingly at odds with the health of teams, players coaches and staffs. Sports’ grand return is already fraying. You can feel it. You can see it collapsing by degrees, this ambitious plan. It is a giant wobbling on balsa wood legs as it steps into a treacherous unknown. July now. The month when everything is supposed to resume. When MLB, the NBA, NHL and MLS all reassemble toward restarting their seasons. When NFL and college football players report and start to prepare for their seasons. U.S. pandemic expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday: "Clearly we are not in total control right now. We’re going in the wrong direction." And sports wants to step in that? Do we believe it? Do we really think sports will start back up, let alone finish their 2020 schedules, without being swallowed by a worsening pandemic and made to abort the restart? The uneasy feeling grows palpably: That leagues and teams should put the safety of their people first and not expect them to place themselves at risk, any risk, for the sake of revenue. To read our full recent column, please visit Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020.

CamnUH-OH. THEY NEVER LEFT, BUT CAM NEWTON MEANS BILL BELICHICK AND PATRIOTS ARE BACK!: America awakened Monday to the perfect little juxtaposition of NFL news, the timing of it exquisite. Top headline on ESPN.com: ‘Sources: QB Newton joins Patriots on 1-year deal.’ Headline right below that: ‘NFL fines Pats $1.1 million, takes pick for sideline film.’ I was raised being told, "Cheaters never prosper." Hmm. Really, ma? The cheaters just prospered. The rules-bending, corner-cutting New England Patriots — prematurely written off as a dead dynasty when Tom Brady departed for Tampa Bay — just signed free agent prize Cam Newton (pictured) to replace him. Crreeaak. The coffin lid lifts and Bill Belichick sits bolt-upright, a maniacal grin on his maw. He winks. The wink says, "Not that I ever left — but I’m back!" The dynamic in the AFC East just shifted dramatically if Newton is fit and can again be the three-time Pro Bowl player who was league MVP in 2015. He missed almost all of last season with a Linsfranc fracture of his foot and also has labored through a shoulder injury but is said to be fully healthy. And when he is, he’s a dual-threat offensive force as good as most anybody. Miami will find out first. Season opener, presuming there is a season: The Newton England Patriots host the Dolphins on September 13. To read our full recent column, please visit Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back.

Most recent other columns: Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction  /  Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?  / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street  /  Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument  /  and Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down

Select earlier columns from 2020: Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

June 29, 2020

As sports lurches toward the (re)starting line -- or is that edge of a cliff? ... the latest (updated) Hot Button Top 10! See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 18 is out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 29. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Why sports should not abandon the Star-Spangled Banner, Baseball has restart plan but is sports walking into a giant mess?, Noose in Bubba Wallace's garage, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 17 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 18 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 18 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 18 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 18 we talk baseball but also get funny/personal with ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, chat with somebody else named Greg Cote, introduce a new segment called the Mount Gregmore Name Game, and praise the South African nation of Botswana. Why?Only one way to find out, right?

Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need  /  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

Columns from this past week: Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction  /  Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?  / and Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 28-29): 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. MARLINS: Finally! MLB has announces a restart plan: After owners and players failed to agree on anything, MLB exercised its power and imposed a 60-game season, with Opening Day expected on July 23 or 24 and the regular season running through September 27. Players are to report for spring training July 1. Teams will play 10 games each vs. their four division rivals, with interleague play making up the other 20 games. Teams are to play home games in their own stadiums and travel for road games despite that adding coronavirus risk to the equation.

2. HEAT: NBA sets restart dates for Miami, rest of league: Unless the whole grand plan collapses under the weight of the coronavirus -- the NBA tested 302 players and found 16 positive for COVID-19, reportedly including the Heat's Derrick Jones Jr. -- NBA games will resume for real (sans fans) on July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports campus in Orlando, where teams will report July 7 to begin preparing. The Heat's return will be on Saturday, August 1 vs. Denver. Teams will play eight regular season games, which, combined with their record at the time of stoppage, will determine playoff seedings. There are negotiations ongoing to allow players to wear social-justice messages on their jerseys.

3. NFL: Patriots sign Cam Newton: New England reportedly has agreed to a one-year deal with Cam Newton to replace departed Tom Brady. In other news, the Pats have been fined $1.1 million and lose a third-round draft pick over their TV crew filming the field and sideline during a Browns-Bengals game. 

4. NASCAR: Confederate flag, noose overshadow the racing: NASCAR banned Confederate flags from its tracks and properties in the wake of the national George Floyd protests, angering many race fans who still think it's 1863. Oh, and a noose turned up in the Talladega garage of Bubba Wallace, the Cup SerIes' only black driver, but an investigation found it had been there for years, not intentionally left for him. Um, OK. And whhhhyyy had it been there for years!?

5. NFL: Preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game is canceled: There won't be a Cowboys-Steelers game to christen the NFL preseason this August, after it was canceled this week. As of now, the regular season still is set to start on September 10 (the Dolphins open at New England on the 13th), but whether any or a limited number of fans will be in stadiums is open to doubt. Training camps remain set to open July 28. For now, at least.

6. SOCCER: NWSL ushers in return of pro sports: The National Women's Soccer League Challenge Cup began Saturday in Utah -- marking the return of professional team sports leagues in the U.S. for the first time since March shutdown for the cornavirus pandemic. All players from the first game, North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns, knelt during the national anthem in an empty stadium to protest racial injustice.

7. PANTHERS: NHL close to naming hub cities for restart: With the Panthers and other NHL teams set to open training camp in their home cities July 10, the NHL expects this week to name the two hub cities where the direct-to-playoffs season will be played and finished, starting in late July. Hub city finalists are Chicago, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Toronto and Vegas.

8. SOCCER: Next Women's World Cup headed Down Under: FIFA announced its 2023 Women's World Cup would be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The United States has won the past two WWC's. Let's gooooo States!

9. ESPN: Backstory on LeBron's 'The Decision' premieres: ESPN's 'The Decision" (about LeBron James' show to reveal he was taking his talent to South Beach 10 years ago) debuts tonight at 9, yet another reminder ESPN Is desperate for content in the void of live sports. Spoiler alert: The idea for the controversial show was not LeBron's, his agent's or ESPN's. The idea came from a 38-year-old Pistons fans from Columbus, Ohio, identified only as "Drew" in a Bill Simmons mailbag column published by ESPN in November 2009. So there.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 133-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 84 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 17. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has pledged $13 million over the next four years to fight systemic racism through the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), the nonprofit foundation he began in 2015 ..... Vince Carter has retired after 22 NBA seasons, surprising analysts who thought he'd retired around 2012 ..... Canes legend Ray Lewis donated personal protective equipment to the UM football program ..... Family of thr late great Dolphin Jim Kiick have donated his brain for research. Good for them! ..... Somebody named "Chez Reavie" leads by four shots entering today's final round of he PGA Tour's coronavirus-depleted Travelers Championship. Even money Chez blows it? ..... Countdown 10 days until Inter Miami resumes its inaugural with a July 8 match vs. Orlando in the MLS Is Back tournament being held sans fans in that city ..... The debacle-in-waiting, UFC's Fight Island, is set to debut July 11 ..... WNBA players begin reporting next week ..... The new, independent 3-on-3 pro ice hockey league set to debut next year, called 3ICE, has launched an online merchandise store. Buy now. That crap will be a minor collectors' item once the league folds ..... FLorida Panthers announced the launch of an all-access, behind-the-scenes online series, "Panthers Uncaged," chronicling team's preparation for NHL's upcoming 24-team postseason. First episode is this Wednesday on team's Facebook, IGTV, PanthersVision and YouTube channels ..... Shaq and Gronk had or are having some sort of virtual party, but HB didn't care enough to find out details ..... Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown reopened on Friday with enhanced health procedures including masks and social distancing ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 18 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,192 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope large social gatherings are OK again by then?

Previous most recent columns: Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street  /  Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument  /  and Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down

Select earlier columns from 2020: Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

June 27, 2020

Here's why embattled Star-Spangled Banner should remain in American sports. New column; plus Baseball has return plan. But is sports walking into giant mess?, Le Batard and Papi on new Greg Cote Show podcast, Noose in Bubba Wallace's garage & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 27. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 17 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: DAN LE BATARD, PAPI STAR IN NEW NEW EPISODE 17 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 17 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 17 we've done so far right here. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. Episode 17 is a Father's Day special with ESPN's Dan Le Batard and his dad Papi -- in Papi's first interview since he walked away from his fulltime role on Dan's Highly Questionable show. Why did he leave? Might he return? Join the conversation. That and more in new Ep17! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

Our Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

Our George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief, a Respite We Desperately Need  /  It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America  /  Goodell's NFL Response to George Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic  /  and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

HERE'S WHY EMBATTLED STAR-SPANGLED BANNER SHOULD REMAIN A PART OF AMERICAN SPORTS: You thought kneeling during the national anthem was controversial? How about eliminating the national anthem? Erasing its place at sporting events altogether? It is a conversation we will be having. The signs already are here. A debate will arise from the ongoing nationwide Flagmovement for social justice and against police brutality and racial inequality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and others. Symbolism matters in all of this. It is why Confederate statues are toppled and why Aunt Jemima got retired. It’s why we leaped to a false conclusion over the noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage. Sometimes, overreaction is better than no action at all. Now, the maelstrom of conscience the nation is in will lead some to wonder what the "Star-Spangled Banner" has to do with games, anyway? It already has. And if you ever doubted that we are polarized, far more divided than united, all the evidence required is that even the national anthem might be seen as a lightning rod of controversy. Former U.S. men’s national soccer team coach Bruce Arena, to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman: "I think it puts people in awkward positions. We don’t use the national anthem at movie theaters and on Broadway, other events in the United States, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to have a national anthem before a baseball game, an MLS game." This week we saw the first team to take Arena up on his suggestion. The Tulsa Athletic of the lower-tier National Premier Soccer League announced it no longer would play the national anthem before matches, and would replace the "Star-Spangled Banner" with another patriotic song, Woody Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land." What sports will be this summer in its restart from the coronavirus/COVID-19 delay could be the excuse sports needs to move from the national anthem as an every-game routine. No fans in the stands would be that excuse. MLS already has said it would not play the anthem before games in empty stadiums. Whether this becomes any sort of trend, we shall see. I hope it does not. Unlike many of my media brethren, I support continuing to play our national anthem before sporting events. To read our full most recent column, please visit Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction.

MlbBASEBALL JOINS IN WITH RESTART PLAN, BUT IS SPORTS WALKING INTO A MESS IT WILL REGRET? LATEST COLUMN: Step aside, Fubon Guardians and Rakuten Monkeys. Thank you for your service, Hyundai Unicorns and Kiwoon Heroes. Riveted as we have been by the Chinese and Korean brand of baseball, the Yankees and Dodgers will take it from here. Baseball is back! Sort of. Sports is back! Or at least this bizarre, pandemic version of it. MLB finally has a resumption plan to belatedly join the NBA, NHL and MLS in summer restarts, and the NFL and college football still hope to play as scheduled this fall — but with an asterisk as big as a cardboard golf check attached to every sport as 2020 plays out. So our leagues and teams move forward. But are they stepping into a giant mess they will regret? For our full recent column, please visit Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?

NOOSE LEFT IN BUBBA WALLACE'S NASCAR GARAGE TAKES UNEXPECTED TURN: [Update: FBI found that the noose in Wallace's garage was being used to hold a door open and had been there since October -- not placed with Wallace in mind. "It was still a noose," said Wallace] Original post: It took a single coward in the cover of darkness, or was it a few? It took this one act to remind us how far we have not come, how far we have yet to go. It took this one gut-churning symbol of hatred and inequality to verify to all why America is in the streets right now — exactly Bubba Wallacewhy a national movement is marching for change. A noose, placed in Bubba Wallace’s garage. A noose, at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, placed in the workspace of the NASCAR Cup Series’ lone Black driver. A noose, someone’s answer to the man who led and won the fight to see NASCAR recently step forward and ban Confederate flags at all of its tracks. A noose, in 2020 America, and suddenly we are in the 19th century again, where men in pointy white hoods carried torches, where 41 persons of color were found hanged in Gainesville, Texas, in 1862, where 30 years after that the governor of South Carolina, Benjamin Tillman, said, "We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will." Wallace never saw the noose, only the unimaginable prejudice and gall that put it there. A member of his team found it late Saturday night and immediately informed NASCAR. "Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism," Wallace wrote on Twitter. "We will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate." This is why Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem. This is why thousands nationwide — Black and white — march for George Floyd and for Breonna Taylor and for all of the other victims of the systemic racism that can foment deadly police brutality. To read our full recent column, please visit Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred.

My previous most recent columns: Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street  /  Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument  /  and Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down

Select earlier recent columns: Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards has 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 on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (video) and The Ballad Of 1440 (audio).