February 26, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Tiger caught in Bear Trap. See if that landed on top and what else falls where; plus Frank Caliendo & more


1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26. Saw Frank Caliendo perform Saturday night. His Trump is spot-on, as you'd expect. Most all of his impersonations are great, but my favorite by far continues to be his John Madden. 2) The Dolfans in your life don't know it yet, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out our book, Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tiger still best show in golf, Panthers embrace Stoneman Douglas, incongruous buoyancy as Marlins open spring training, latest Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: Tiger, Marlins, Stoneman Douglas: Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed, on Woods playing the Honda. Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season and Will You Make The Leap Of Faith The Marlins Are Asking?, as team opens spring training. And MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing, on the Stoneman Douglas tragedy.

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

Hot1. GOLF: Thomas wins Honda as Bear Trap gets Tiger: Justin Thomas beat Luke List in the first hole of a low-watt playoff Sunday to win the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, but nobody cares except Mrs. Thomas. Fans were out there wondering if Tiger Woods could mount a final-round rally as his comeback continued in his first South Florida appearance since 2014. Alas, the Bear Trap (15th, 16th and 17th holes) trapped Tiger, who finished 12th at even par.

2. STONEMAN DOUGLAS: Shock and pain still raw 12 days later:  Major companies are now disassociating from the N.R.A. over its support for assault weapons, and sports continues to lend support. Panthers showed a tribute video before Friday night's home game and Marlins wore 'SD' caps, while golfers at the Honda are wearing 'MSD" ribbons on their caps. Meanwhile, the Douglas kids lead the fight for change as the leaders balk.

3. OLYMPICS: U.S. 4th in medals as Winter Games wrap up: Norway dominated the medal count while the U.S. finished fourth in both total medals (23) and golds (9) at the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea. The host nation and enemy North Korea made peace for the Winter Games in a gesture of hope. Now North Korea may lapse back into its accustomed role as the crackpot nation led by a megalomaniac.

4. HEAT: Slumping Miami looking for home lift: Heat have lost eight of past 10 even with Saturday night's win over Memphis, but that began a stretch of seven games at home of the next eight as they hope to rise from eighth place in the East. This Thursday marks a visit by the Los Angeles Lakers. Remember, items you prohibited from being brought into the arena include coolers, laser lights, noisemakers and LaVar Ball. 

5. PANTHERS: Cats stay hot as playoffs loom within reach: Florida has won two games in a row and nine of the past 12 and is now within five points of NHL playoff pace. And the streak comes as the Panthers have begun a stretch of 11 of the next 12 games being at home. Now or never, Cats.     

6. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women wrap up regular seasons: The 20-8 UM men finish Tuesday at No. 10 North Carolina and then next Saturday at home vs. Virginia Tech, while the 20-9 women ended Sunday at home with a 76-46 rout of Va-Tech. Both Miami teams should get an NCAA Tournament invite, also strong showings in the ACC Tournament would erase any doubt. Jim Larranaga's guys especially are trying to catch back up to expectations, after once being 10-0 and ranked No. 6. 

7. MARLINS: Post-fire sale, Fish begin spring training 2-0: Miami is widely expected to be among the worst teams in baseball but has began spring training with consecutive wins before finally losing Sunday to the Mets. "We're 2-1! See, I told you we'd be much better than everybody thought!" said absolutely no one.

8. JONATHAN MARTIN: Ex-Dolphin detained for threatening post: The saga of the Dolphins' Bullygate star gets weirder and weirder. The ex-Dolphin Martin was detained by Los Angeles  police and held in a mental health facility after a threatening post on social media depicted a gun, named accused bullies Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey, and included the ominous message: "When you're a bully victim & a coward, your options are suicide, or revenge." Get this man some help. Please?

9. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Yahoo report offers details on FBI probe: The FBI probe of a recruiting sacndal in college basketball has overshadowed the season, now a Yahoo Sports report names more than 20 schools and 25 players involved. Miami Hurricanes are not implicated but current Heat player Bam Adebayo is named. It is a very serious report, or at least as serious as anything can be coming from a media outlet that calls itself Yahoo!

10. DOLPHINS: NFL Scouting Combine next step in draft prep: The Dolphins and every other team will avidly attend the five-day Scouting Combine starting this Wednesday in Indianapolis, a major step in teams' preparations for the April NFL Draft. I'd have the Combine ranked much higher in this week's HB10 but I just cannot muster all that much anticipation or excitement for watching a bunch of fat offensive linemen being timed in the 40-yard dash.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hurricanes baseball had lost four straight since a 2-0 start to season but Sunday beat nemesis Florida to avoid being swept at home. Way early, but Jim Morris' final season has begun closer to a nightmare than a dream ..... U.S. figure skater Mirai Nagasu, who became first American woman to nail a triple axel at the Olympics, revealed to Cosmopolitan.com that she competed while on her period. "It’s really not that big of a deal," she said. "You just stick a tampon up there." Oy! G'night, everybody!"

Select other recent columns: UM Morally Right, But Will the Force (Majeure) Be With Them? LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami. Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Also: Richt Building Something Big & Something To LastDear Canton: Call Zach. Exploring Dolphins' QB QuandaryFarewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerNo Way to Escape Her ShameStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 27, 2017

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) starring en fuego Heat, Canes bedeviling Duke, sinking Cats, Fish, Daytona, Fins; plus World OutGames Miami, PopeFest info, Seinfeld, Tannehill, Hot Button Daily & more


1) It is MONDAY, February 27. You a Dolfan? Know any? Buy our new book on club's first half-century, Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ryan Tannehill vs. 3 options with poll, hot Panthers return home, Radio Friday & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Latest column: On Larranaga, Canes beating Duke: This was supposed to be a down year for a depleted Hurricanes men's team. Instead it is headed to Top 25 after beating visiting Duke 55-50 Saturday. The season is a testimony to coach Jim Larranaga. Click on The Wonder of Coach L for my column. 

PopefestPOPEFEST! 1 DAY 'TIL THE CELEBRATION OF EDWIN POPE: A public celebration in honor of the late, great Miami Herald sports columnist Edwin Pope will be held this Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Clevelander at Marlins Park -- the first event in his honor held in Miami and open to the public. The celebration is free. However, due to seating capacity, only a limited number of invitees are being chosen from among those who RSVP'd and described what Pope meant to them. You can still try to sneak in by RSVP'ing now to [email protected]

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Miami stays hot on court, says nah on trades: Heat has now won 16 of past 18 games including both since the All-Star Break and enters tonight's game in Dallas a mere 1 game off playoff pace. Meanwhile Miami made no moves before last week's NBA trade deadline. “I'm glad we didn't do anything stupid,” said Pat Riley. Well that's a low bar. But maybe smart, too. Maybe a team capable of winning 16 of 18 is sort of good enough as is?

2. HURRICANES: UM men beat Duke in huge home win as postseason nears: Canes men hosted and handled No. 10 Blue Devils, 55-50, Saturday behind freshman Bruce Brown, and are down to two regular-season games left. And No. 17 UM women ended their regular season 21-7 by beating Georgia Tech Sunday. With ACC tourneys looming, there'll be no NIT-picking this year with UM. NCAA invites await both Canes teams.

3. PANTHERS: Cats cool down at home, still chasing 8th seed: Florida has followed a 5-0 road trip by losing three straight at home with Sunday's loss here to Ottawa and is now 3 points off playoff pace. Suddenly slumping Cats have some tough clawing and scratching to do to have any shot at that bodacious preseason Stanley Cup talk.

4. MARLINS: Spring is sprung for real as fake games begin: Marlins' spring-training games began with a win Saturday in Jupiter fueled by a Christian Yelich homer. Can we end the season now and go straight to the playoffs? Also it was reported the late Jose Fernandez just had a baby girl. Whether uplifting memories or stuff like lawsuits or reports he'd been previously divorced, Jose will continue to loom over this season.

5. NASCAR: Kurt Busch win in Daytona 500 kicks off new season: "Gentlemen (and Danica Patrick), start your season!" What ends at Homestead in November begins Sunday at Daytona with Kurt Busch prevailing with a late flurry.

6. GOLF: Fowler dominates, wins Honda Classic: Colorful Rickie Fowler's fourth PGA Tour title was by a commanding four shots Sunday in the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. Hard to say which will be louder today with Fowler: the gallery following him. Or his clothes.

7. UM BASEBALL: Ouch. Canes get swept in Gainesville: Miami lost three straight to Florida up there ending Sunday. This has unquestionably been the nemesis opponent in Jim Morris' Canes career. As of now, Morris' epitaph would read, "Yes. But he couldn't beat the Gators."  

8. DOLPHINS: Fins get three compensatory draft picks: Miami gets one added third-round pick and two in the fifth round, based on players gained and lost in free agency. Then again, almost every NFL team gets added picks, which is why this only ranks eighth on the HB10. 

9. TENNIS: Sock wins by default at Delray Beach Open: Top-ranked American Jack Sock won the Delray Beach Open, a second-tier ATP men's event, anticlimactically Sunday when No. 1-seeded Milos Raonic withdrew with a hamstring injury. Sorry, fans. Them's the breaks.

10. NBA: Cousins to Pelicans biggest deal before trade deadline: DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins aligns with Anthony Davis in New Orleans and I read a headline to the effect, "Watch out, Golden State! Power shift!" Then I laughed uncontrollably for the next four minutes. 

Missing the HB10 cut: PopeFest! Huge party Tuesday at The Clevelander at Marlins Park will honor late, great Miami Herald icon Edwin Pope. It's being put on by Dan LeBatard and Greg Cote. Hopefully it'll be good, anyway ..... Dolphins signed six ex-players including Dan Marino to ceremonial one-day contracts. Team denied it wa a publicity stunt ..... Former WNBA star Candace Wiggins said she guessed 95 percent of players in the league are gay. Which is absurd. Gotta be higher than that, no? ..... A transgender wrestler, female-becoming-male Mack Beggs, won the girls 110-pound Texas state title to complete a 56-0 season. Which is heartwarming, other than the testosterone he's using in his transition providing a possible advantage in competition ..... The Jets cut center Nick Mangold and 943 Dolphins fans immediately tweeted Miami should sign him ..... Vince Young is eyeing a comeback. If only any football teams were eyeing Vince Young.

'WORLD OUTGAMES MIAMI 2017" IS COMING TO TOWN: It was announced this week that a major 10-day event that combines sports, culture and human rights will make its U.S. debut in Miami this May 26 through June 4, with registration now underway online at outgames.org. (Florida residents can save $100 off registration by signing up before April 14 and entering code OutgamesFLLRES). Athletes from more than 40 countries are expected to compete in some 400 events across some 30 sports, with Opening and Closing Ceremonies scheduled for Marlins Park. "World OutGames Miami will welcome thousands of athletes, participants, spectators and thought leaders from around the world as a strong statement of unity, inclusiveness and healthy competition," said CEO Ivan Cano, who calls the event "a life-changing experience which will inspire, motivate and celebrate the human spirit." World OutGames, held every four years like the Olympics, brings together LGBTQ athletes -- many from countries where homosexuality remains illegal and hidden. In a spirit of true inclusiveness, however, World OutGames are open to anyone 18 or older, regardless of sexual orientation. In addition, a youth program for those ages 14 to 17 will be held via Pridelines Youth Services, a Miami-based non-profit group that offers a safe place for LGBTQ youth and others. The event also will include a three-day Global Conference on Human Rights. Organizations and business interested in supporting World OutGames Miami may click here or visit www.outgames.org. Why am I writing about and promoting this event? Simple. Two reasons, and they are not in order of importance: 1) This is a major sports-related event coming to my town. And 2) Paths of acceptance and inclusion are severely and I think unfairly narrowing under the new presidential administration, making life tougher for those of any sexual orientation but heterosexuals. I don't think that's right, I don't believe most people think that's right, and an event like this and support for it are a way to push forward the ideals of inclusion, acceptance and goodwill.

POLL RESULT: BIG WIN FOR TANNEHILL: We asked, in a just-for-fun poll, who you would most like to see as the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback in 2017 among four choices, the response was huge, and and it was Ryan Tannehill 75.1 percent, Jimmy Garoppolo 13.0%, Tony Romo 10.0% and Jay Cutler 1.9%.

JerrySEINFELD ON HIS A-GAME: My wife and I and a son and his girlfriend attended the Jerry Seinfeld show at the Hard Rock last night, and I don't believe I have ever laughed as much -- harder or more nonstop -- at any standup comic's show I have ever seen, live or on film. Seinfeld, at 62, is as great as he has ever been. He owned the audience, start to finish. Wonderful show. This is the third time we have seen him live and I still am amazed (and impressed) that none of his show is spent talking about the eponymous '90s sitcom that made him famous. Nary an mention of Elaine or George or that era. He's moved on, stayed fresh. A Marvel to see live.

HOT BUTTON DAILY / MON 2-27-17: What events on today's sports calendar should interest SoFla most:

1. Heat at Dallas, 8 p.m.: Hot Miami enters day only 1 back of 8th seed in East.

2. Hurricanes at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m.: Off big Duke win, next-to-last regular season game for UM men.

3. Marlins at Minnesota, 1:05 p.m.: Marlins' 3rd spring game is in Fort Myers.

4. Not much else. Sleepy  Mondays often follow full Sundays in sports kingdom.

Select recent columns: The Wonder of Coach L, the latest, off the Canes' win over Duke, on the job Jim Larranaga has done this season. It's What's Great About Sports, on Heat and Panthers' concurrent surge. The Miracle of Liberty City, on how youth football there is about more than scoring touchdowns. Also: Is Whiteside the Whale Heat Needs?, surveying Heat as trade deadline neared. French Embassy and Cuban Smuggling: Play Ball!, from start of Marlins spring training. Loria: The End Of An Error, on team's reported possible sale. Give the Devils Their Due, on Belichick and Brady. Home Run For Montoya, Miami, from the Race of Champions. Thank You, Edwin Pope, on the death of friend, mentor and Herald icon.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 25, 2014

New survey slams Joe Philbin; plus SNL's all-time best cast members poll; also Upset Bird Countdown, Stanton's chilling words, Marino, Kaaya & more

1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 26. Not one of today's Dolphins cuts -- not one -- is surprising or a big deal except to those being cut. 2) No radio again today. We're back in-studio with the Dan Le Batard Show next Tuesday, Sept. 2. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes name Brad Kaaya QB, Knowshon Moreno propels Dolphins win, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

1aa1ahecklejeckleUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 10 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th season of NFL
1aa1atenFriday Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 10 days, on Sept. 5. To celebrate we begin a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. To start us off, today please welcome Heckle & Jeckle, the mischievous magpies who spread their merry mayhew for Terrytoons from 1946 to 1981.

State of the Quarterbacks: In today's latest column I scan the QB situations of the state's 10 big football teams (3 NFL, 7 FBS) on the eve of the season, and find all involve questions or doubts -- with one notable exception. Click on State of the QBs to read.

"Enough with Jim Parsons already! William H. Macy should-a won that Emmy." --Greg Cote

1aa1ajoepNEW EXPERTS SURVEY SLAMS JOE PHILBIN: Dolphin Joe Philbin is ranked 29th of 32 NFL head coaches in a new ESPN survey of 30 anonymous league "insiders." (Story and list here). Experts were asked to rate each coach from 1st through 5th tier. Patriots' Bill Belichick was No. 1 overall with an average tier rating of 1.07. Also from the AFC East, the Jets' Rex Ryan ranked 17th at 2.73, and the Bills' Doug Marrone was 28th at 3.53, just ahead of Philbin's 3.63. The 30 voters gave Philbin one 2nd-tier vote, nine 3rd-tier votes and 20 4th-tier votes.

1aa1agstantonSTANTON'S SIX CHILLING WORDS: "Five months doesn't change five years." Marlin Giancarlo Stanton said that in Anaheim yesterday when asked by Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown (story here) if Miami's unexpected playoff contention this season has altered his view of the future in terms of his re-signing long term. That's a bit ominous. It means the club and Jeffrey Loria still have much work to do to keep him and that the odds may still be long. Stanton last night hit his 33rd homer and ran his RBI count to 97 to lead a big win that drew the Fish within three games in the wild-card race, as if we needed a reminder why keeping him is such a gargantuan deal.

WE RIP OFF GRANTLAND FOR AN 'SNL' 40TH ANNIVERSARY POLL: ESPN's Grantland is running a bracket-style vote to name the greatest Saturday Night Live cast members as NBC's SNL marks its 40th 1aa1aSNLanniversary season. They're down to the final 16, and our poll features those 16, alphabetically. It's a very strong list considering the finalists do not include the likes of Chevy Chase, Billy Crystal, Jon Lovitz, Seth Meyers, Tracy Morgan, Gilda Radner, Adam Sandler or Martin Short. You may vote here for up to five (5), and there also is a "somebody else" category if this top 16 excludes one of your favorites. Vote and say why your all-time No. 1 is who it  is.


ON MARINO, KAAYA, INCOGNITO, LLWS AND TIGER: Some quick scattershot thoughts across sports for an early week...

1aa1adanmDolphins' Marino hire much ado about very little for now: "Special adviser" is one of those weightless, amorphous titles that sound mostly ceremonial. What I'm hearing from two club sources is that Dan Marino will have owner Stephen Ross' ear to offer opinions on personnel but that he'll mostly be a figurehead, a familiar face out front. Club also wants him to mentor Ryan Tannehill.

Canes right to go with Kid Kaaya: I'd not hand the reins to a 23-year-old transfer -- a stopgap solution -- unless he clearly proved himself better. Jake Heaps did not. So Al Golden was smart to opt for true freshman Brad Kaaya. Fast-forward the future. If Kaaya is the next great UM QB, find out now and have him for four seasons instead of three.

Defrocked bully Incognito gets another shot: Tampa Bay Bucs have ousted Dolphins bully Richie Incognito in for a look. Glad Miami has sanitized itself of Incognito, but I don't begrudge him another chance elsewhere. To the Bucs: Bully for you!

1aa1amoneyPaying Little Leaguers. No, seriously. Somebody said that: So evidently Mo'ne Davis being on national TV and the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 13 isn't enough, and she should get a cut of the profits. Gawd. Somewhere, the dollar-struck father of a 6-year-old T-ball phenom is trying to reach Drew Rosenhaus.

Tiger, your desperation is showing: Tiger Woods has parted ways with swing coach Sean Foley. Coach-changing and swing-tinkering are sure signs a golfer is desperate. So is this: Bearing down on age 39, struggling to stay healthy, and not having won a major since 2008.

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February 01, 2014

Canton ballot. Here's yours. Vote who should get into Hall of Fame tonight; plus Smirk V, Pacers get Bynum, Incognito in a rout, Seinfeld & more

1) It is SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1. Happy new month, all. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Smirk IV (par-tay), Super Bowl prediction, Incognito-Martin poll & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

1aa1abradshawSMIRK V: AMERICA THREATENED, CHALLENGED BY FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS OF TERRY BRADSHAW: Today's last of five Super Bowl With a Smirk notes columns details Fox-TV's parade of scheduled pregame 1aa1ajimmyjshow features that have zero to do with a Broncos-Seahawks game -- what happens when you have four hours to kill. Supposedly one of the features will be Jimmy Johnson deep-sea fishing in the nude. (At least that's what I read). Also included in today's new Smirk: Partying Heat, Bison & Pistachio Sausage, a coin, brawling do-gooders, griping bowlers and Betty White nursing the E-Trade Baby. Click on Smirk V for the complete latest column. (Previously: Smirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk ISB Top 10 Storylines).

Poll result: Incognito routs Martin on sympathy scale: I asked previously where your sympathy lies in the Dolphins Bullygate mess, a wound reopened this week. A plurality of 47.2 percent said "neither player" and only 2.5% said "both." But of those who sided with player, Richie Incognito swamped Jonathan Martin by 44.0% to 6.3% -- the bully more sympathetic than the victim by a 7-to-1 margin.    

WORLD'S LONGEST POLL: WHO SHOULD GET INTO CANTON TONIGHT? VOTE YOUR TOP 5: Hey can I help it there are 17 finalists on the darned ballot? I'm a selective voter. I think the only three I'd vote in this year are Marvin Harrison, Derrick Brooks and Walter Jones. Warren Sapp's anti-Michael Strahan campaign should make that vote interesting. Anyway, here's the alphabetical lst of finalists. Vote for as many as five (5)!

PACERS, NOT HEAT, LAND BYNUM: Indiana signs Andrew Bynum for rest of NBA season, a backup center the Heat considered. This gives Pacers increased depth behind Roy Hibbert, and underlines the onus on Miami's Greg Oden to continue to develop in his comeback. If I didn't know any better I'd say it appears the Pacers are serious about dethroning Miami. The inevitable Eastern finals just got a little more interesting. 

SEINFELD STILL THE KING: We saw Jerry Seinfeld last night at the Hard Rock and I think it was the best 1aa1ajerrysstandup show I'd seen in a long time. Wife rermarked afterward how much I'd laughed. I mean big, out-loud laughter. Seinfeld didn't invent observational humor but owns the genre. Always amazes me he doesn't use his iconic, eponymous former sitcom as a crutch or fallback. Doesn't need to. The only vague reference to Seinfeld was him imagining some people coming to his show and saying, "Where are the other three people!?" Seinfeld, at 59, is at the top of his game. Absolutely terrific.

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