May 16, 2013

It's Indiana! Heat-Pacers in East finals; plus Heat bigger faves than ever to repeat, D-Wade prom video, Oxbow, Sad-O-Meter & more

1aa1mando1) It is SATURDAY, MAY 18. Sesame Street is introducing a new character named Armando or "Mando," which may or may not be an homage to Herald sports writer Armando Salguero. Mando is pictured at right. (Is it me or do half of the Sesame Street characters sort of look like this?) 2) Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle dead at 71 of reported suicide. Sad story. All-time great name, Dick Trickle, but a sad story. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 5 win, Wade health poll, LeBron No. 2 in money, most disappointing hotel, catchers' fake fingernails, Sad-O-Meter. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

Another year, another horse fails to win Triple Crown: Affirmed in 1978 remains the last to do it after Kentucky Derby winner Orb finished a disappointing fourth in today's Preakness Stakes, won by Oxbow with ancient Gary Stevens aboard. Orb started on the rail and really struggled to extricate himself from traffic.

Hit Wade Strikes Back for my column off Wednesday's Heat win.

"David Beckham is retiring? What a big, big loss for the sport of underwear endorsing." --Greg Cote

UPDATED: HEAT CRAZY-BIG FAVES TO REPEATS AS CHAMPS: If you want the other side you stand to make some big bucks. Are you that daring? New from Bovada, championship odds on the five teams still alive show Heat at 1-3, Spurs 5-1, Grizzlies 6-1, Pacers 20-1 and Knicks 40-1. Miami odds to win East and get to Finals: 1-9. Man! Based on the public perception that sets the odds, let's just go ahead and plan that parade right now. I'm just sayin'.

EASTERN FINALS SET: HEAT VS. PACERS: Indiana beat visiting New York 106-99 tonight to win the series 4 games to 2. Miami will host Eastern finals Game 1 vs. Pacers on Wednesday night. The series suggests Pacers are a better team, although that is debatable. Both teams fared well against Miami this season, Indy going 2-1 against the Heat and the Knickerbockers 3-1. The other factor in answering the poll question below was the vantage point of your vote. It might have been based on which team you think would be an easier draw for the Heat. Or you might have voted for what you think the more exciting series would be. On the latter criteria the clear preference would seem to have been New York, a bigger rival with more starpower and boorish fans in constant need of shutting up. Based on results, your choice was pretty clear. Enjoys the Eastern finals anyway.

1aa1leblady 1aa1bearladyUPDATE: HEAT MIDDLE-FINGER LADY: South Florida's most famous birder is keeping sharp between playoff series. After honing her skills against the Bulls' Joakim Noah, Middle-Finger Lady now prepares for Indiana or New York in the next round. Pictured left, MFL transmogrifies into a clownishly grinning LeBron James in a final, parting-shot farewell to Noah. At right, Middle-Finger Lady inexplicably proffers the Flying Digit to an adorably dumbfounded polar bear.

1aa1dwpromDWYANE WADE: PROM DATE: What cute story. Archbishop Coleman Carroll senior Nicole Muxo posts a YouTube video asking Heat star Dwyane Wade to be her prom date. He calls her cell phone with his regrets, then moments later walks into the Friday ight event in Coral Gables, shocking her. Later Wade Tweeted, 'I had a blast at Prom. Never be 2 scared to ask.' The couple is pictured on the dance floor. This, among a million other reasons, is why South Florida loves Dwyane Wade.

Click HERE for a 3-minute video on how Wade pulled off his big prom surprise. Good stuff.

1aa1chadjLATEST TRAVAILS OF CHAD JOHNSON: Free-agent receiver Chad (nee Ochocinco) Johnson lessens his chances of ever playing again with a warrant for his arrest for failing to report to his probation officer stemming from the domestic violence issue that got him cut by the Dolphins. The latest misstep is indicative of Johnson perhaps suffering from DAS, Dumbass Athlete Syndrome. There is no known cure.

UPDATED! MARLINS' SAD-O-METER: We have this new blog feature we update as long as Marlins' 1aa1bbsadwinning percentage is under .300 -- as long as the New York Mets' infamous 1962 record of 40-120 (.250) is within dubious reach. Well, six straight losses with last night's have brought the S-O-M roaring back as the season inches past the one-quarter mark. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 11-31 (.262). Season projection, 42.43 wins, 119.57 losses.

1aa1bimboBACKSTORY: COMPANY NAMES: Took this pic on my phone camera as proof there is a baked-goods company operating in South Florida under the name Bimbo. (Primary dictionary definition: "A foolish, stupid or inept person.") I am envisioning the initial meeting of company investors. "OK, first things first," says the boss. "We need a name that represents who we are. Thoughts?"

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April 17, 2013

Vote! Who is Heat's MVOG (Most Valuable Other Guy)?; plus Heat-Bucks schedule, Kiper plays Ireland, Marlins, reflections on Boston & more

1) It is THURSDAY, APRIL 18. NFL says Larry Litttle will anounce Dolphins' 2nd- and 3rd-round draft picks. 2) UM linebacker Eddie Johnson officially departs for Hinds Community College. 3) R.I.P. Pat Summerall, 82, for many the voice of football. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Boston Marathon tragedy, Man vs. World on Heat, Dolphins' Mount Rushmore results, UM spring football, New Orleans visit. 5) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

Heat-Bucks schedule: Game 1--Sunday 21st at MIA 7 pm; 2--Tuesday 23rd at MIA 7:30; 3--Thursday 25th at MILW 7; 4--Sunday 28th at MILW 3:30. If necessary: 5--Tuesday 30th at MIA tbd;p 6--Thursday 2nd at MILW tbd; 7--Saturday 4th at MIA tbd. Click on Must Win for my forward-looking column off last night's regular season finale. Dwyane Wade says Miami must win a repeat title for the record-setting regular season to matter.  

Click UM In Right, But NCAA Has Might for today's latest column.

FORGET THE BIG 3. WHO HAS BEEN HEAT'S MOST VALUABLE OTHER GUY?: LeBron James will win another NBA season MVP award or the league should be disbanded. So a vote on the Heat's season MVP 1aa1heatwould be pointless; it's obvious. Likewise, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the Heat's second and third 1aa1mvogbest and most valuable players beyond argument. But after the Big 3? There the debate begins. In this poll I offer a choice of the eight other players who have played most. Any of four of them, to me, might be legitimate picks here. Have your say. Vote and say why.

KIPER PLAYS IRELAND ON DOLPHINS DRAFT: Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, take the month off. ESPN draftnik Mel Kiper has done your job for you by revealing Miami's picks in the first three rounds. Dolphs are only NFL team with five, by the way. They'll be, says Mel: 1st round (12th overall)--Alabama OT D.J. Fluker; 2R (42nd)--Florida State DE Tank Carradine; 2R (54th)--UConn CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson; 3R (77th)--North Carolina State CB David Amerson; and 3R (82nd)--Harvard FB Kyle Juszczyk.

MORE REFLECTIONS ON BOSTON: I grew up in South Florida but was born in Massachusetts, 25 miles west of Boston, in Lawrence. Many longtime readers know the Red Sox and Carl Yastrzemski were my 1aa1bosnyfirst love in sports. My second was the parquet floor on which Bill Russell and John Havlicek worked. But of course I felt Monday's Boston Marathon tragedy not because of those roots, but as an American. Background matters not at a time like that. We are all one country. It sounds corny, but it is the one truism that the terrorists fail to understand: That what they think will tear us apart, binds us together instead. I was so moved to see people running toward where the bombs blew, to render aid. To hear of runners sprinting straight from the race to the nearest hospital, to donate blood. New York understands, and so the Yankees last night displayed both teams' logos with the banner, 'United We Stand,' and played the Red Sox anthem Sweet Caroline during the game. (Click here to see and hear that sweet gesture). Times like these remind us there are so many evil people in the world .. but also that there are so many, many more who are good. [Click on We Deal With It for my reaction to the tragedy, a column I am grateful to say has appeared in newspapers all over the country].

Papelbon goes there: Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies (and ex-Red Sox) pitcher, might have had a little internal voice saying, "Don't go there." But he went there. He might have heard that little inward voice warn, "Don't be that guy." But he was that guy. Papelbon, yesterday, on the Boston bombings: "Today's day and age has gotten so crazy. Shoot, man, Obama wants to take our guns from us and everything."

MARLINS UPDATED WORLD SERIES ODDS. NO, SERIOUSLY!: Hey, Mr. Vegas wants somebody to bet on everybody. Hence, odds. Updated World Series odds from Bovada, new today, have a bunched crowd for favorite, with Tigers 7-1, Braves 15-2 and Nationals 8-1. Your Marlins are dead last now at 1,000-to-1.

SHANE LARKIN, DON'T GO: Hurricanes point guard Shane Larkin's protrcated decision whether to return 1aa1larkinto UM or enter the NBA draft is said to be leaning toward go-pro, according to ESPN's Chad Ford. That would be unfortunate for him, I think. Larkin would not be a certain first-round draft pick. TNT's Steve Kerr, appearing on 790 The Ticket recently, responded to my question about Larkin's NBA future by saying he'd be a career backup. Larkin needs another college season to solidify his first-round status and improve perceptions about his upside on the next level.

On FIU's basketball hire: Norfolk State's Anthony Evans taking over FIU men's basketball feels like a solid hire if only because -- unlike star names Richard Pitino and Isiah Thomas before that -- Evans seems like he might not treat the job as an immediate stepping stone. FIU doesn't need another fast-break outta town. It needs a coach who wants to stay, and build.   

1aa1gokartqb"DEAR GREG...": "...your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a picture of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill riding a go-kart. Thank you." Dear reader, I'll see what I can do. No promises.

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March 05, 2013

Word to the Timberwolves; plus Heat win 16th straight, Sileo, Hartline, clown diplomat, golfers rapping, Downton Abbey & more

1aa1goodell[1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6. The new Sports Illustrated (right) has NFL commish Roger Goodell atop its list of 50 most powerful figures in sports off-the field. List here. No So-Fla folks on it. 2) R.I.P. Alvin Lee, guitarist from Ten Years After, dead at 68. 3) Happier musical news: Jack White, Brendan Benson and The Raconteurs are reuniting to record another album. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Laura Silberman, Heat 15th straight, UM falls to 6, Dolphins franchise Starks, A-Rod's girl, golf's surprise, Bar Eaters. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Dolphins close to re-signing Hartline: Good news, Dolfans. Miami and pending free-agent wide receiver Brian Hartline are close to agreement on an extended contract averaging just over $6 million a year. Dolphins will continue to target outside help at the position, such as former Steeler Mike Wallace. Click on Greg Cote Talks Free-Agency to see and hear a video of, well, I guess that title about says it.

Heat win 16th in a row: LeBron James with a layup with three seconds left and Heat survive visiting Orlando 97-96 tonight. That was Miami's first field goal in final seven minutes. A fortunate win. Funny, though. Good teams seem to have a lot of those.

A WORD OR TWO FOR THE MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES: During the Timberwolves' loss to Miami the other night the club released an official response video (click here) to the Heat's immensely popular (and well done) Harlem Shake video. Minnesota's version depicts a guy in a No. 6 Heat jersey (LeBron's number) being clubbed into submission bye the T-Wolves' mascot. Later, after the game, Minnesota's J.J. Barea blasted Ray Allen for "crying." I believe this merits a response. J.J., you're from Miami and I hate to pick on a homeboy, but you calling out Allen is like a flea calling out an elephant. It's comical. He's a hall of famer. You are a career backup. Shhh. As for that video, similar situation. Miami is reigning champion. You, Minnesota, have done nothing worth hanging from a rafter in 24 NBA seasons. Zero. This will be your ninth straight year out of the playoffs. Respect those who have earned it. Know your role.

FIRING ONLY FEATHERS SILEO'S CAREFULLY CULTIVATED PERSONA: WQAM-560 fired Dan Sileo, its 10 a.m.-to-1 p.m. radio host, and it's just about the best thing that could have happened to him and his career. Sileo being suspended or fired is sort of like a rapper being shot or arrested. What seems like 1aa1dansileobad news really isn't. Street cred is only enhanced. Reputations are only magnified. I have known Sileo since he played for the Miami Hurricanes in the mid-'80s, and credit him with creating for himself a career in radio. But the niche he has tried to carve and own is pretty clear by the self-description on his Twitter account: AMERICA'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST. (The capital letters are his). The listener is left to discern whether Sileo is actually good at what he does, or simply loud. The listener is left to decide if Sileo's controversy is organic and natural or a manicured contrivance. The next station that hires him -- preparatory to firing him, and then acting like it didn't know what it was getting -- should know precisely what it is getting: a guy who is going to bang into a market shouting and ranting and hoping to make headlines. It might take cartoonishly sexist Twitter comments about Erin Andrews. It might take suggesting the Canes pull a knife on the opposing quarterback and gouge his eyes. Or it might take what led to his firing this time: Saying "that's the half Hebrew in me" regarding saving money. But he will make his headlines. Sileo's Tweet upon his dismissal: FIRED FOR SPEAKING MY MIND, BABY!!!! Love it!! And he does, too, and should. For him, it's good for business.

D-WADE'S SPECIAL DAY: Dwyane Wade scored 32 points with 10 assists and seven 1aa1dreamrebounds in a club-record 15th straight Heat win; his recent play has been vintage, pre-LeBron dominance. But what distinguished the trip to the Twin Cities was Wade making time for a Make-A-Wish fan, a 13-year-old girl, Tess Mountain, who suffers from a heart ailment that also affects her facial features. Click HERE for the story and video. Michael Jordan once told Wade to perform every night as if he were playing for the one fan in the arena who'd never seen him in person but always wished to. His making this girl's dream real was sort of the same thing. Only better.

CATS' WEISS OUT FOR SEASON: A bad hockey season got worse for the Florida Panthers with the news center and longest-tenured Cat Stephen Weiss would undergo wrist surgery and be done for the year. It lessens the team's already slim playoff hopes. And it eliminates Weiss, who is in the final year of his contract, as a trade option prior to the April NHL deadline.

1aa1dennisDENNIS RODMAN: CLOWN DIPLOMAT: It's funny to me. Not quite a year ago Ozzie Guillen expressed admiration for Fidel Castro and Little Havana exploded in his face. But Dennis Rodman recently heaped effusive praise on North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un after a visit there and it's just sort of passed off as Dennis Being Dennis. I rip Rodman in my latest column. Click on Clown Diplomat to read.

WARNING: GOLFERS RAPPING: PGA Tour players Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan call themselves Golf Boys. Thankfully their schtick is a bit more inventive than 1aa1golfboystheir name. Click HERE for their latest faux-rap video, "2.Oh." It is wonderfully awful. If you think golfers are dull, consider this a prescribed antidote. I'd love to make fun of this project and snarkily suggest less-rapping-more-golfing -- except this is a pretty accomplished quarter in the sport. They have 14 PGA Tour titles among them; each has won. Fowler is an up-and-coming star and Watson is the reigning 2012 Master champion. Hard to imagine this video playing well -- or at all -- at staid Augusta. Which makes it that much better!   

THE CURIOUS MAGNETICISM OF 'DOWNTON ABBEY': My wife has fallen in love with this show and so I have developed a residual interest. Sort of an osmosis thing. It's about an aristocratic 1aa1downtonBritish family, sub-royals but full of lords, ladies and servants. I love the time period, 1912-21, an era that fascinates me because it is out of personal reach but not prehistoric. (I love Boardwalk Empire for some of the same reasons). I love the costuming and sets of Downton Abbey as well; the series is stunningly luxurious visually, and, for me, wonderfully acted. There is also something about the British accent that is lilting and mesmerizing. Let's be honest. A Brit could say, "Pardon me but I must go take a giant crap" and it would sound like poetry.

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September 18, 2012

On Jeff Ireland: Vote now; plus Beinfest out?, state of our Big 4 teams, Chad Johnson, Dolphin WR prospects, Ozzie on the (other) f-word & more

[1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21. Thanks to the Dan Le Batard show on 790 The Ticket for having us on in-studio. Fun. More to come? Stay tuned. 2) Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote. Promise to resume the videos soon.

STATE OF THE FRANCHISE: DOLPHINS, HEAT, MARLINS, PANTHERS: In this latest column by me, online now and shipping to today's/Wednesday's pulp editions, I offer a state-of-the-franchise report for our four major professional teams, grading and ranking them 1aa1jeffitop to bottom. We consider management, success, prognosis, everything. I thought about adding a complementary poll here but decided it would be pointless because, logically, the Heat would dominate as our best-run pro team. Instead I offer a poll on South Florida's biggest sports lightning rod, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, who was in the news again this week when a Dolfan confronted him, said he should "fire himself," and Ireland in turn called his critic an "asshole," later expressing regrets. There is a perception Ireland is extremely unpopular with fans. Leave it to me to find out. Vote in our poll and say why.

Poll result: Mixed, lukewarm support for Ozzie Guillen: In our previous blog poll we asked if you wanted Ozzie Guillen back as Marlins manager (you can still vote), and 49.1 percent said yes, 45.1% said no and 5.8% were unsure. Interesting. Results about as polarizing as the outspoken Guillen tends to be.

REPORT: LARRY BEINFEST TO BE REPLACED: USA Today is reporting the Marlins plan to replace president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest with assistant Dan Jennings. Beinfest has been GM or president since 2002. The move would not be a surprise. The same report indicated manager Ozzie Guillen likely would be back. No surprise there, either. Owner Jeffrey Loria tonight called the Beinfest report a "ridiculous" rumor. Which is not the same as simply denying it.

CHAD JOHNSON SPEAKS!: The former Dolphins receiver spoke last night on the 9 p.m. premiere of Showtime's Inside the NFL, and we brought you excerpts first. Highlights: 1) Johnson says, "The consequences to that altercation with my wife was me being released" -- even though coach Joe Philbin did not tell him that directly. "That was the reason. There is no need to blow smoke up my ass." 2) Johnson reveals he is taking anger-management classes, says, "Chad has to work on Chad." 3) He says he will work to win back the wife who divorced him.

DOLPHINS DRAFT PROSPECTS AT WR: Be surprised if wide receiver wasn't the Dolphins thinking right now for a No.1 draft pick in 2013. With that in mind, I note the three WRs listed on Mel Kiper's new top-25 "Big Board" are spaced apart enough that Miami, no matter how it finishes, likely would have a shot at one of them. The names to remember: Tennessee's Justin Hunter (pegged 7th overall), Cal's Keenan Allen (17th) and USC's Robert Woods (25th). 

STANLEY C. PANTHER OUT OF WORK: I half expect to see Panthers mascot Stanley C. Panther on a 1aa1stanleycwest Broward intersection holding a cardboard sign reading, 'Will Caper For Food.' Panthers have temporarily laid off their team mascot related to the NHL lockout threatening the season. Is there anything sadder than an out-of-work mascot? I'd imagine Stanley C. Panther must now be included as one of Mitt Romney's non-tax-paying 47 percent. I'm just saying.

ON STEVE SABOL: The NFL Films leader passed away today at age 69. NFL Films' dramatic, intimate packaging and presenting of the NFL was a big part of the league's emergence as America's favorite sport. It also was precursor to all-access shows such as HBO's Hard Knocks and Showtime's The Franchise. R.I.P. to an important figure in the history of sports and television.

ON YUNEL ESCOBAR: The Blue Jays shortstop is suspended three games for wearing an eye-black message written in Spanish (pictured) that used an anti-gay slur. He said it was meant as a 1aa1escobarjoke and "not meant to be offensive." Some suggest it's a cultural thing, that in the machismo of many Hispanics homophobic language is more accepted. I think that sounds like an insult to the majority of Hispanics who know bigotry is wrong in any language. What gets me about stuff like this is not just that Escobar might feel this way. It's that he (evidently) thought wearing an anti-gay slur on his face in a televised game would not, um, be noticed? Leaves us to wonder which is worse: Prejudice. Or outright obliviousness.

Ozzie weighs in on use of gay slur: Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen admits he is comfortable using the anti-gay slur "faggot," the word that got Escobar (see above) in trouble. Guillen once was disciplined for calling a Chicago columnist that. Yesterday he explained it as a cultural thing, saying, "In my house we call [each other] that word every 20 seconds. I've got three kids. For us it's like, 'What's up, bro?'" Ozzie lives his life unfiltered, which is fine. But Marlins ownership/management, in reviewing this season and deciding Guillen's future, must judge not just his managerial skills, but how he represents the team in the community. See Steve Rothaus' excellent Herald blog, Gay South Florida, for more on this. 

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July 18, 2012

Yes. Yes, Ozzie DID say that; plus Marlins trade rumors, The View From Miami (new video!), Olympic pole dancing, Heat, Dolphins, Gaga & more

1aa1tvfm2NEW VIDEO! Greg Cote's The View From Miami #2 * 7-19-12 * U.S. Olympic Uniforms -- This week I launched a series of one-minute videos about various stuff called The View From Miami (TVFM). Might be daily, maybe a few a week, maybe occasional, we'll see how it goes. Click on TVFM#2 for my YouTube channel to access the latest vid or to see both.

[1) It is FRIDAY, JULY 20. 2) UM dismisses senior safety Ray-Ray Armstrong. Good for Al Golden. Armstrong's bad decisions painted his own departure. 2) Ex-Dolpins LB Joey Porter is retiring as a Steeler. 3) Dez Bryant arrested for attacking his mother. Ma hasn't had this much attention since Jeff Ireland saw to it. 4) Knicks did the right thing letting Jeremy Lin go to Houston. Does Linsanity even exist anymore? 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

OZZIE: TIME FOR MARLINS TO STICK THEIR "D--K IN THE DIRT": Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen displayed inventive variation in his vulgarity Wednesday night in Episode 2 of Showtime's The Franchise. 1aa1ozgAnyone who thought Oz was a one-trick pony with the F-bombs has undersold the man severely. About 25 minutes into the 30-minute segment, Guillen is in the clubhouse addressing his underperforming team as it returns from the All-Star Break, tells his players he hopes they had a nice rest and adds: "Now it's time to stick your d--k in the dirt." I re-watched the show on-demand today and re-wound that part several times to make sure that is what he said. It is. I'm as vulgar as the next guy (well, unless the next guy is Guillen) but had not heard that phrase. Is sticking one's d--k in the dirt a good thing? I consulted and discovered the phrase can be a negative condition of having been knocked to the ground, but also a reference to knocking someone out, so we'll assume Guillen meant the latter to inspire his team. It's like a Gipper speech, but R-rated. Never a dull moment with Guillen, or a moment free of !@#$%s and [bleep]s, apparently.   

Marlins willing to trade Hanley, others?: Reports yesterday had the Marlins exploring trades involving third baseman Hanley Ramirez and others prior to 1aa1carlcthe July 31 deadline. USA Today had the Marlins pondering a deal with Boston to send left fielder Carl Crawford (pictured) and a prospect here for Ramirez and closer Heath Bell. FoxSports had Boston approaching Miami about dealing Crawford for either Ramirez or shortstop Jose Reyes. USA Today also floated a suggestion the club has discussed trades involving Josh Johnson, Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez. However, ESPN's Buster Olney then Tweeted that the Crawford/Ramirez deal was "brought up briefly as concept, immediately died." A Marlins source of mine said the club is torn whether to be a buyer or seller. I wouldn't deal Reyes or Ramirez for Crawford, who turns 31 in August and has dealt with wrist and elbow issues. Interesting, though, the speculation. The Marlins distance themselves from any truth to the rumors. But where there's smoke...

DENIED LONDON, POLE DANCERS SET SIGHTS ON 2016 OLYMPICS: This is one of those stories that is at once serious and silly: A petition, fueled by the Pole Fitness Association and other advocacy groups, to get pole dancing into the Olympics. Or, as they prefer to call it: "Vertical dance." 1aa1poled 1aa1rio2016Pictured: KT Coates, a pole dance advocate from the United Kingdom who failed in efforts to get her sport into the 2012 London Games. Advocates are now taking aim at the '16 Summer Games in (a perfect city for pole dancing!) partying Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pole dancing, though suburbanized as a fitness outlet for moms and other non-strippers, unfortunately maintains its seedier connotation associated with gentlemen's clubs, lap dances and athletes making it rain. I am picturing the first Olympic pole-dance medal ceremony. The gold medalist bends forward to receive her medal as a leering IOC official discreetly slips a $100 bill into her cleavage. Well, as discreetly one one can in an internationally televised event!

Poll result: Basketball, track, swimming win your Olympic medals: We asked in the previous blogpost what Summer Olympics sports you are most looking forward to, inviting you to select your top two from eight options (you may still vote), and the winners were basketball (gold, 28.3 percent); track and field (silver, 27.1%); and swimming (bronze, 18.8%).

DOLPHINS' YOUNG-PLAYERS RANKING: presents NFL "Organizational Rankings" in the category of players 25 and younger. Patriots are No. 1 overall and Dolphins are 25th -- but ahead of the Bills (29th) and Jets (30th). AFC East'ers among the Top 25 prospects are Jets WR Jeremy Kerley (13th), Patriots QB Ryan Mallett (16th) and Pats OL Marcus Cannon (19th). I might have ranked Miami higher in the U25s. To mind come the names Vontae Davis, Reshad Jones, Jared Odrick, Mike Pouncey, Sean Smith and Ryan Tannehill.

WHITE HOUSE HONORS 'GREEN' HEAT: The Heat will be among teams honored at the White House today in an event focusing on sports franchises and facilities that lead the way in recycling, energy efficiency and other green initiatives. Jackie Ventura, operations coordinator for the Heat's arena, will represent the club. [On the court, Heat developmental team fell to 2-1 in the Las Vegas Summer League in a 65-62 loss to Golden State last night. Norris Cole had 15 points].

1aa1dumervilbbMAKING FUN OF DUMBASS ATHLETES: Someone in Denver paid for the billboard pictured to poke fun (albeit gently) at Broncos defender Elvis Dumervil for his recent arrest in Miami in a road-rage incident involving a gun. It reads, "Dumervil: Sticks with the Guns that made you a Star." I see this as a promising trend. More athletes might be dissuaded from appearing on police reports if the shame included mocking billboards in the cities in which they play. Fans, make it a grass-roots movement!

1aa1gagaadLADY GAGA'S NEW PERFUME AD: What is it about celebrity that celebrities think lends itself to a signature cologne or perfume? It seems everybody in entertainment has one now. Am waiting for a Larry the Cable Guy Body Spray. I think fandom might be traversing a dark, creepy road when we not only want to be like our favorite star but also smell like them. I digress. Here is the new ad for the inevitable new Lady Gaga scent. The good news? Ladies, this perfume will have men crawling all over you. The bad news? They'll all be tiny little men with tiny little ... let's move on.

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