May 20, 2019

Why Dolphins should start Rosen -- no matter what. Latest column; plus Hot Button Top 10 (updated), Zion/lottery column, Game Of Thrones finale, Le Batard Show in New York & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MAY 20. Happy birthday, Christopher, our eldest son! Proud of you, kid. 2) Game Of Thrones! I'll put off my full commentary on the series finale until later in week, rather than do the spoiler-alert thing. For now: The negative reaction is more predictable than warranted. You want the perfect ending? Write your own damned show! 3) It's always football season, so it's always the right time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat luckless in NBA Draft lottery, ESPN's mock-guess for Heat at 13th, Back In My Day link, The List & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

LebnyLe Batard Show in New York: We spent the past weekend Big Apple-ing as part of the Le Batard & Friends live, sold-out Saturday night stage event at the Gramercy Theatre, which I was honored to be a part of. What a blast! The Le Batard show has a loyal following nationwide, and those fans are fiercely into it, as we saw again Saturday. So nice to meet so many of you in the post-show meet and greet!

JrosenWhy Dolphins should start Rosen over Fitzpatrick: In Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen and third guy Jake Rudock the Dolphins have the smartest quarterback room in the NFL. But club's decision on who to start is a no-brainer. Forget "open competition" and may-the-best-man-win. There is every reason to start Rosen. To read why in my newest column please visit Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen.

Other most recent columns: Zion Williamson's Power to Reject the Lottery / Dreaming Of a Heat Lottery Night Miracle / All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right / Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging / Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson.

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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. NBA: New Orleans wins lottery, Zion as Knicks crap out: Pelicans surprisingly won the draft lottery, vaulting to No. 1 and the right to grand prize Zion Williamson in the June NBA Draft, although Zion has until June 10 to try to force a trade to a preferred team. Meanwhile New York, hoping for Zion after a league-worst season, settled for the third pick as a legion of disappointed Knicks fans wept to the sheer delight of the rest of America.

2. DOLPHINS: The Beard takes early lead in offseason QB race: As periodic OTA practice days continue building toward the mandatory Dolphins minicamp June 4-6, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick & His Fabulous Beard by acclimation have the early lead over young gun Josh Rosen in the ballyhooed quarterback competition. Of course it would be dumb for anybody but Rosen to end up starting. Someone please advise coach Brian Flores as such.

3. NBA: Golden State seeks sweep, Milwaukee leads in conference finals: Defending champion Golden State leads Portland 3-0 in the West finals entering Monday's sweep-seeking Game 4 in Oregon, while top overall seed Milwaukee leads in the East finals 2-1 over Toronto after Raptors' double-OT win Sunday, with Game 4 Tuesday. Scary: The Warriors are playing, and winning, without Kevin Durant.

4. HEAT: Miami's miserable lack of lottery luck continues: Heat stayed stuck with the 13th overall pick in next month's draft, once again failing to get lucky in the draft lottery. In eleven lotteries Miami has stood pat five times, moved down six times and moved up not at all. Ever. #IHatePingPongBalls

5. GOLF: Koepka wins PGA Championship after Tiger misses cut: Tiger Woods was betting favorite after last month's unexpected Masters win, but started badly Thursday at Bethpage in New York and missed the cut, while Brooks Koepka enjoyed the early lead with a scorching 63 and held on to win. Love the lurching storyline on Tiger. Post-Masters: He's baaaccckkk! Today: Should we worry about Tiger?

6. MARLINS: Fish sweep! Fish sweep Fish sweep!: Miami is still an MLB-worst 13-31 but won a season-high third straight game Sunday at home to sweep the Mets. Miami has lost seven straight prior to the sweep. Now it's seven straight on the road at Detroit and Washington starting Tuesday.

7. SOCCER: Watford gets clobbered in FA Cup final: Upstart Watford faced mighty Manchester City Saturday in the FA Cup final -- Watford after its first crown in its first final since 1984. Alas, it was a 6-nil rout by Man City. Meanwhile Liverpool and Tottenham are girding for June 1 Champions League final, marking first all-England final since Man U-Chelsea in 2008.

8. NHL: Boston sweeps, St. Louis leads: Boston swept Carolina in four straight games to win the East and head to the Stanley Cup Finals. Bruins now wait for St. Louis (up 3-2 after Sunday's 5-0 win) or San Jose to get out of the West, with Game 6 on Tuesday. Thank the ice gods for Boston, the only "name" franchise in a low-watt final four shy on superstars.

9. HORSE RACING: War Of Will wins Preakness Stakes: Saturday's Preakness, for the first time since 1951, found the second leg of the Triple Crown series without any of the top four horses to cross the finish line in the Kentucky Derby. Improbable went off as 5-2 fave to earn Bob Baffert's record eighth Preakness win, but it was second-favorite War Of Will across the wire first. Meanwhile Maximum Security's owners are suing over the DQ that erased their Derby win. Dark days for the Sport of Kings.

10. UM BASEBALL: Solid regular season ending, now its on to ACCs: Canes finished a solid 38-17 regular season, ranked 17th nationally in Gino DiMare's first season, and now begin play in the ACC Tournament Thursday and Friday vs. Virginia and North Carolina in Durham. Then it's the NCAA Regional ... and then Omaha ... maybe?

Missing the HB10 cut: Bulletin: NCAA weighs entering 21st Century! They're talking about maybe compensating athletes for use of their names and likenesses. Sounds like it'll be stuck in committee for the next 16 years ..... The good luck Cats? The four Panthers playing in the IIHF men's ice hockey world championships going on in Slovakia -- their teams won 14 of their first 16 games ..... A judge excluded that incriminating police-sting video from Robert Kraft's solicitation trial. For Bob, the happy endings keep comin' ..... Women's World Cup getting close. It'll be good to see the U.S. women, coached by Miamian Jill Ellis, do what the American men never do. Contend! ..... I trust the rest of Lockhart Stadium demoliton is going better for Inter Miami than the lame photo-op that began it? ..... WNBA opens its 23rd season later this week. Dare you to name the reigning champion or MVP ..... Update: Countdown now 2,590 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 13, 2019

The latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Game 7s, minicamp, lottery party, demolition -- see who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus Dolphins pushing all the right buttons (latest column), Happy Mother's Day & more

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

Moms1) It's MONDAY, MAY 13. Hope y'all had a nice and Happy Mother's Day and a Feliz dia de las Madres! Was thinking of and missing my own wonderful mom today, grateful my wife is the best mom there is, and thankful Christopher found a great one in his own wife. Lucky! 2) It's always football season, so it's always the right time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Inter Miami's "Demolition Ceremony," shame and stain on Kentucky Derby, Back In My Day video, Dolphins' 1-in-10K shot at Super Bowl, D-Wade at Met Gala, The List & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: 'New Dolphins' pushing all the right buttons: I'm feeling really upbeat about where the Dolphins are and where they're headed. I discuss many of the reasons why in my latest offering, an unusually optimistic column about a long-down franchise that is seeing a cloud lift at last. To read that column, please visit All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right.

Other most recent columns: Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging / Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson / Rosen Has Chance To Turn A Good Dolphins Draft Great.

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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. NBA: Seventh Heaven! Kawhi, CJ lift Raps, Blazers to final four: The two best teams -- defending NBA champion Golden State and overall No. 1 seed Milwaukee -- were waiting, and resting. Warriors, even sans Kevin Durant, eliminated Houston Friday behind Steph Curry's 33-point second half, after the Bucks had previously dusted Boston in five games. A pair of Sunday Game 7s would send the the underdogs to the conference finals -- and it was Toronto ousting Philadelphia on Kawhi Leonard's five-bounces-off-the rim buzzer beater, and Portland eliminating Denver behind CJ McCollum's 37 points. 

2. DOLPHINS: Draftees and dreamers at Fins rookie minicamp: Fifty players, draftees led by No. 1 pick Christian Wilkins and dreamers alike, wrap up Dolphins' three-day rookie minicamp on Sunday. Full-squad OTA workdays follow on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. You cannot stop it, people. Football season!

3. HEAT: Miami plans arena watch party for draft lottery: The Heat will throw a draft lottery watch party at the arena this Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. with free admission. Miami has a 1 percent chance to land the overall No. 1 pick (a.k.a. Zion Williamson) in the June 20 draft, and a 4.7% shot to score a top-four pick. In other words, it's mathematically likely to end up a meh result in the 10-14 range. By the way, am I the only one who thinks it a bit odd the Heat is throwing a party to essentially celebrate it being in the lottery for not being good enough to make the playoffs?

4. INTER MIAMI: MLS club on the clock with start of Lockhart demolition: Inter Miami held a "Demolition Ceremony" that amounted to knocking down a small ticket building. It was a lot more ceremony than demolition. But the clock has started. The club now has about nine months to raze the old Lockhart and build a new stadium there in time for the March 2020 start of its MLS expansion season. Inter will simultaneously be trying to get going on its eventual home at Miami Freedom Park. Tick-tock, Jorge Mas.

5. GOLF: Tiger heads PGA Championship field in year's second major: The PGA Championship runs this Thursday through Sunday in Farmingdale, N.Y., the year's second major. Tiger Woods predictably is an 8-1 betting favorite off the big bounce of his exhilarating Masters win. But Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy lead a crowed field of wanna-be spoilsports.

6. SOCCER: All eyes on Champions League, FA Cup finals: Upstart Watford will face favored Manchester City next Saturday in the FA Cup final -- Watford after its first crown in its first final since 1984. Meanwhile Liverpool and Tottenham improbably overcame first leg losses to Barcelona and Ajax to reach the June 1 Champions League final, marking the first all-England final since Man U-Chelsea in 2008. Liverpool is the Champs League favorite because, well, when you shake off a 3-nil loss to eliminate Messi, you get to be.

7. MARLINS: Stinky, skidding Fish continue to lose: Miami is an MLB-worst 10-29 after five straight losses. Blessedly, Sunday's rainout at the Mets prevented another one. Marlins will return home Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay, and you can bet Marlins Park will be brimming with literally hundreds of fans.

8. NHL: Boston in command, San Jose out front in conference finals: Boston leads Carolina by a commanding 2-0 in the East and San Jose leads St. Louis 1-0 in the West as Stanley Cup conference finals continue Monday at Sharks. Thanks goodness for Boston, the only "name" franchise in an otherwise low-watt final four. 

9. HORSE RACING: Preakness shadowed by Derby fallout, key non-entry: Next Saturday's Peakness Stakes in Baltimore runs in the aftermath of the Kentucky Derby controversy that robbed Maximum Security of its win. And the horse gifted the Derby, Country House, will not run at Pimlico -- instantly robbing Triple Crown season of any chance of a Triple Crown. Improbable at 2-1 odds and War of Will at 7-2 are near co-favorites in the Preakness, but a feeling of Who Cares clouds the whole endeavor.

10. BASEBALL: Red Sox honored at White House, sort of: The Boston Red Sox (heatin' up; won four straight; look out!) were honored at the White House for winning the World Series, except the official WH notice called them the Boston Red "Socks" and said they'd won the "World Cup" Series. Oy. Moreover, most persons of color associated with the team including Puerto Rican manager Alex Cora declined to attend. So, in effect, the president was honoring the "white Socks."

Missing the HB10 cut: Happy Mother's Day, madres! Fun trivia: Every athlete in history has had a mother ..... Breaking news: Frank Vogel agrees to coach the Los Angeles LeBrons ..... UM baseball up to 19th in polls and go for three-game sweep Monday at Wake Forest as regular season wanes. Omaha, please ..... Congrats to Hurricanes women's tennis for reaching the second round of the NCAA team championships for the 18th year in a row ..... Canes women's golf, alas, was knocked out in regional play and did not advance ..... Retired Heat star Dwyane Wade and wife Gabrielle Union attended the Met Gala. Dwyane tried to make high fashion of a black hoodie. Points for effort ..... U.S. weightlifting championships conclude today in Memphis, on the grounds of Elvis' Graceland estate. Division winners get a peanut butter 'n 'nana sandwich ..... Panthers Evgenii Dadonov (Team Russia) and Frank Vatrano (USA) are thinking gold in the IIHF men's ice hockey world championships underway in Slovakia. Two other Cats in it, Juho Lammikko (Finland) and Vincent Praplan (Switzerland), face longer odds ..... Update: Countdown now 2,597 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 02, 2019

The ugly America we have become through the prism of sports. Newest column; plus 3 reasons this might prove to be Dolphins' best draft in more than 20 years, latest Back In My Day video (Phones!), your grade on Fins draft & more

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

WillienIt's THURSDAY, MAY 2. Welcome, May. It's been almost a year. 2) Happy 86th Birthday Week to Willie Nelson, country music icon and the freest of spirits. 3) Football is never done, so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins draft bounty and you-grade-it poll, your verdict on Wilkins as the No. 1 pick, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Newest 'Back In My Day' video: This premiered earlier this week on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. To watch, visit BIMD: Phones!

GolfthreeNEWEST COLUMN: WHAT AMERICA HAS BECOME THROUGH PRISM OF SPORTS: I happen to not be a Trump voter or supporter. But I try to be nonpartisan in my latest column in lamenting that pro golfer Lexi Thompson was chased from social media by the torrent of negative comments she called "hurtful"  after she played a round of golf with the president. We are so divided, us against them, one side fighting the other, hitting each other with rights and lefts. We can blame who's in the White House if we wish. But this is us. It is we the people who have been unable -- maybe unwilling? -- to rise above the divisiveness and rancor. This is not a typical column for me. To read it please visit, Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson.

WilkinsrosenWHY THIS HAS CHANCE TO BE DOLPHINS' MOST IMPACTFUL DRAFT IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS: My three main reasons, in shorthand: 1) Clemson DT Christian Wilkins, taken 13th overall, shows every indication of being a star, a fixture on the line for years. And his lockerroom presence is just as good. He'll be a culture cornerstone, an instant leader. 2) I believe in Josh Rosen’s continuing potential to be a franchise QB, and it was a steal of a deal to get him for a low second-round pick and a fifth. It is low-risk, high-reward. If he blossoms, great. If he doesn’t, there’s still Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jake Fromm in 2020. Rosen is a safety net, a potential elite QB in case "Tank for Tua" doesn’t pan out. 3) The stockpiling of additional draft picks for next year. Miami has 12, and that could grow to 14 with expected compensatory picks for losing Ja’Wuan James and Cam Wake in free agency. Wilkins and Rosen are pictured. To read the full column please visit Rosen Has Chance To Turn A Good Dolphins Draft Great.

Our previous Dolphins draft columns on Rosen trade, Wilkins pick: To read, visit Dolphins Big Winners With Draft-Day Trade For QB Rosen and Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins. Yes, I really liked both moves. When your first two days deliver an elite defensive tackle and a potential franchise quarterback on the cheap in a buyer's-market trade -- that's good work.

POLL RESULT: SOLID APPROVAL FOR DOLPHINS' OVERALL 2019 DRAFT: We asked, "What do you think of what the Miami Dolphins got done in the 2019 NFL Draft?" The poll included the trade for the QB Rosen as a part of the team's draft bounty. Your verdict: Very Impressed/Love It 27.34 percent; Impressed/Like It 43.17%; Fair/It's OK 21.58%; and Disappointing 7.91%. I say that's solid to  strong approval -- 70.51% loving or liking it.

Other most recent columns: Dolphins at 13: Twice Lucky, One Horrific Tragedy / Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa in '20 / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Le Batard Takes Miami To Manhattan / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / And our Dwyane Wade Week trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is Bereft / Wade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star / And Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

Select other columns: Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 22, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See what takes over No. 1 this week and what else falls where; plus Luck and tragedy when Dolphins draft 13th (newest column), Happy Earth Day & more

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

Earthday1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 22. Happy Earth Day, fellow planet inhabitants! Global warming is real. Treat your other mother right!  2) Hope y'all had a nice Easter or Passover. I also trust my weedeaters out there had a lovely 420 Day? 3) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): When the Dolphins draft 13th, Tagovailoa to Fins seeming likelier, The Forlorn Four in Miami sports, Dolphins' 2019 schedule, Le Batard Show hits the road, new Mavis song & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our latest column: Luck & tragedy when the Dolphins draft 13th: Miami was lucky to draft tackle Laremey Tunsil and lucky to draft linebacker/end A.J. Duhe. But running back David Overstreet in between ended in tragedy. Across a 40-year span, all those three had in common was being selected 13th overall in the NFL Draft. With Dolphins set to pick 13th again this week, we look back at the three very disparate circumstances of the franchise's experience selecting there. To read, visit Dolphins at 13: Twice Lucky, One Horrific Tragedy.

Other most recent columns: Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Le Batard Takes Miami To Manhattan / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / And our Dwyane Wade Week trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is Bereft / Wade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star / And Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: It's NFL Draft Week in Miami and America!: The NFL Draft's first round is Thursday night in Nashville, with the Miami Dolphins under new coach Brian Flores scheduled to select 13th overall. The Fins' biggest need? Someone who can excellently play about eight positions simultaneously to fill all of the roster's shortcomings. Draft rounds two through seven will be Friday and Saturday, but disproportionate interest in the top pick means we'll hardly care who comes later.

2. NBA: Celtics are first to advance in playoffs: Deep into the NBA playoffs' first round, Boston on Sunday won at Indiana to complete a 4-game sweep and be the first to advance. No. 2 West seed Denver seems the lone higher seed in greatest jeopardy of an early exit, tied 2-2 with San Antonio. These are the first playoffs since 2005 without LeBron James. There's a phrase for that: "Nice little break."

3. HURRICANES: QB still in doubt as UM wraps up spring football: Miami concluded 15 days of spring football practice with an open scrimmage Saturday in Orlando -- new coach Many Diaz foisting The U up in Gator country. The big story line coming out of spring work: Who's the starting quarterback? Decision will go into the fall. Positive spin: Such competition! Alternative spin: Nobody has stood and out and grabbed the job. 

4. HEAT: Riley replacing Magic in L.A? Um ... NO!: Dwyane Wade diggin' into retirement, drinking his own signature wine on a golf course (growing the brand gets tougher when one retires) and getting a giant tattoo on his leg. But let's downplay that speculation that the Lakers may want Heat god-daddy Pat Riley to replace Magic Johnson in running LeBron's team. Pat says he'll retire "a Heat." That's good enough for us. (Unless he changes his mind...?)

5. MARLINS: Fish catch fire after dumping hitting coach: Miami is 6-16 but had won two straight over Nationals to win first series of season before losing Sunday. The day before they chased Nats ace Max Scherzer in 9-3 win. Marlins now set out on 6-game roadie starting Tuesday. Fish fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo, but, I dunno, other than the Marlins being last in the majors in runs scored and having a .215 team average, I thought he was doing a great job!

6. NHL: Four teams advance closer to Stanley Cup: Colorado, New York Islanders, Columbus and St. Louis have advanced in first round of Stanley Cup playoffs, but Toronto and Vegas were thwarted on Sunday and now face Game 7s. Meanwhile, in Tampa Bay, Lightning fans are still shell-shocked and walking around like zombies.

7. SOCCER: Big week for MLS and in Europe: Tottenham ousted Man City to reach the Champions League semifinals vs Ajax. Barcelona and Liverpool go in the other semi. Meanwhile MLS announced plans to expand to 30 teams, with 24 now running and Miami, Austin and Nashville in the incubator. Tap the brakes, MLS!

8. HORSES: Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown season near: The Run For the Roses at Churchill Downs kicks off Triple Crown season on May 4. Omaha Beach and Roadster figure to be early betting favorites, but keep an eye on Maximum Security, who burst out of a $16,000 claiming race to win the recent Florida Derby at Gulfstream.

9. GOLF: Tiger's Masters afterglow: Golf fans continue their swoon over Tiger Woods winning his first major in 11 years and first Masters in 14. So does Tiger himself. The other day Woods walked into his own restaurant, The Woods Jupiter, wearing his iconic green jacket. This is the Internet. I couldn't say it if it weren't true.

10. RUNNING: Miami Corporate Run on deck: The annual Miami Corporate Run clogs hits downtown streets this Thursday evening. Last year's run drew 28,265 entrants from 850 companies. Hey you all: Less running, more working!

Missing the HB10 cut: Gino DiMare and Canes baseball are Top 25-bound at 28-13 after taking two of three at No. 8 Louisville ..... Notable as 2019 NFL schedule rolled out: Only one team has no prime-time games. The Buffalo Bills ..... Defending champ Red Sox have won two straight to escape the AL East cellar. Lookout! ..... The Le Batard Show's May 18 live show in New York sold out in two minutes this week. You're welcome! ..... Conor McGregor fought an exhibition boxing match in Dublin. Anybody else getting a little tired of this guy? ..... Bumper sticker: Honk If You've Seen the Leaked Robert Kraft Sex Tape ..... Update: Countdown now 2,618 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB / Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 17, 2019

Sweet 15: Tiger Woods' long-awaited day of triumph, redemption. Latest column; plus your stunning verdict in Miami G.O.A.T. poll, newest Back In My Day video (Hotel Robots!), Ryan Fitzbeardrick at Augusta & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17. Visit Hotel Robots! for the new Back In My Day video that premiered on Tuesday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. 2) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami Mount GOATmore poll, Dwyane Wade Week columns trilogy, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

TigerwinsSWEET 15: TIGER'S UNEXPECTED, LONG-AWAITED DAY OF TRIUMPH: We'd begun to write him off if we hadn't already, yes? Fourteen years past his previous Masters win. Eleven years since his last major win of any sort. He was 43. Fading. Stuck for so long at 14 career majors, Tiger's chance of ever catching Jack Nicklaus' record 18 was running away from him. Fast. But then. Magic happened. Tiger was Tiger again. Riveting attention again on a Sunday at August. Slipping on a green jacket. What a weekend for Tiger, for golf, for sports. And beyond. There was something about what just happened that is very personal to Woods, and bigger than golf. This is my latest column. To read it, please visit Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf.

Our trilogy of Dwyane Wade Week columns: No. 3 -- The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is Bereft. Exploring what's next, who's next, in the tremendous void left by Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat retirement. From his final home game -- Wade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star. How No. 3, the Heat, fans and this community stuck the landing on an emotional night of gratitude. And the first -- Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.Unabashedly, a tribute column for the retiring generational star who meant so much to a city.

Other most recent columns: In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula & Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB.

DonshulaPOLL RESULT: STUNNER! SHULA HOLDS OFF WADE AS MIAMI SPORTS' G.O.A.T.: We asked, "Which major Miami team-sports figure has accomplished and meant the most to South Florida?" We narrowed it down to our Mount Rushmore foursome, and listed them alphabetically in the poll. Your results: Don Shula 42.20 percent, Dwyane Wade 32.95%, Dan Marino 20.23% and Pat Riley 4.62%. I say that's a stunner partly because of the timing. The poll appeared in the midst of Wade's retirement and final game and the lovefest that ensued. And yet Shula's longevity, those two Super Bowl rings and the Perfect Season were not forgotten. Miami as first and foremost a football town may have played a role, too. Wasn't surprised Riley was fourth. Was a bit surprised Shula prevailed over Marino as well as over Wade. My vote would have been for Wade (close), but I respect your collective choice and cannot say a vote for Shula wasn't legit.

FitzbeardFINS' QB FITZPATRICK, ET AL, AT AUGUSTA: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick & His Fabulous Beard, Jets QB Sam Darnold and Bills QB Josh Allen filmed a bit at Augusta  prior to The Masters, a closest-to-the-in contest that was really just a pimp for the Maxfli Tour golf ball. Fitzbeardrick sort of emceed, a nod to seniority. Allen won the contest. But the highlight is just a few seconds in when Fitzpatrick introduces himself and the other two and says, "...and Tom B-- ... most of the AFC East quarterbacks," making fun of the I'm-too-good-for-this absence of the Pats' Tom Brady. Fun, short video. To watch it on Instagram, go HERE.

Select other recent columns: Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 15, 2019

Mount GOATmore: Marino vs. Riley vs. Shula vs. Wade. Who has accomplished and meant the most to South Florida sports? Shockingly close. And last day to vote!; plus new Hot Button Top 10, my D.Wade trilogy, Tiger's triumph & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 15. We're back from a long weekend with friends in Chicago. Missed the finale-season premiere of Game Of Thrones. Will watch it tonight. Can't wait! 2) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dwyane Wade's final Heat home game, your next-Dolphins-QB verdict, our NCAA bracket sticks landing & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

ThanksdwOUR TRILOGY OF DWYANE WADE WEEK COLUMNS: The latest -- The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is Bereft. Exploring what's next, who's next, in the tremendous void left by Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat retirement. From his final home game -- Wade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star. How No. 3, the Heat, fans and this community stuck the landing on an emotional night of gratitude. And the first -- Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T. Unabashedly, a tribute column for the retiring generational star who meant so much to a city and to basketball.

Other most recent columns: Panthers' new coach, Dolphins next QB: In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula and Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB.

MIAMI'S MOUNT GOATMORE: WHO'S ON TOP? CLOSE. LAST DAY TO VOTE!: I declare the all-time Mount Rushmore of Miami professional team-sports figures Goatis pretty clear. The four men etched in stone, alphabetically, are Dan Marino, Pat Riley, Don Shula and Dwyane Wade. But who's the greatest of our four G.O.A.T.s? Who has accomplished the most and meant the most to South Florida fans? I know it's a tough ask because you (probably) love/admire all four. But life is full of difficult decisions, right? I know timing is everything n a poll, and the timing of this one unquestionably and probably unfairly favors Wade. Still, the other three are of such an historic stature their names speak for themselves, and stand up to time and timing. So. Four Miami pro team-sport G.O.A.T.s, but only one can be the G.O.A.T.iest of them all. Who is it? Your call. Very close vote when last I checked. We'll close the poll and announce the winner very early tomorrow morning, so today and tonight really are your last chance to vote. So vote now!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, early this week, 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:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: An era ends. With no playoffs, Wade's epic career is over: The G.O.A.T. has left the building. Heat eliminated from playoff contention last Tuesday night at home means no Wade encore. Wednesday at Brooklyn ended the season, and now No. 3 is officially retired. But not before a fitting sendoff by Miami fans in a love-in of a final home game, with Wade's 30-point night the exclamation point. (See links to our Wade Week trilogy above).

2. GOLF: Tiger masters Masters to end majors drought: The Masters was Thursday though Sunday at Augusta, and most of eyeballs were on Tiger Woods to see if he can win his fifth green jacket but first in 14 years. And he did! The power of this man? At age 43 and 11 years removed from his last major win of any kind, we still care. A lot. Sunday proved it.

3. MARLINS: Flailing Fish looking for home bump: Miami is 4-12, tied for worst record in bigs, in midst of  nine-game homestand that continues tonight at with Cubs visiting. Lots of Cubbie fans in SoFla, so, who  knows? Maybe Marlins Park will actually be almost sort of fillled!?

4. NBA: Playoffs, a.k.a Golden State Coronation, are undereway: First-round NBA playoffs are underway and one game in, with three better-seeded teams -- Raptors, 76ers and Nuggets-- also losing the series opener. The postseason's overarching question: Can anyone in the West -- or in the league -- keep Golden State from a third straight championship and fourth in five years?

5. DOLPHINS: Fins pad roster as draft nears: Ten-day countdown, people. NFL Draft April 25-27 is getting close, with Miami holding 13th overall pick and no real idea what they'll target first to fill one of their many, many needs. Meanwhile Fins just signed seven players from the folded Alliance of American Football. Um, is that a good thing?

6. PANTHERS: New coach Quenneville's first draft is set: Lottery results last week determined Florida would select 13th overall in first round of the June 21-22 NHL Draft in Vancouver, the first under newly introduced Panthers coach Joel Quenneville, a three-time Stanley Cup champ as a head coach. Cats have hit big with recent top-15 picks like Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad.

7. MARCH MADNESS: They're still celebrating in Charlottesville: Virginia is still euphoric over the recent win over Texas Tech for the NCAA men's championship. (Me, too, since I had Cavaliers winning it all in my bracket). One disappointment? Just found out Virginia coach Tony Bennett is some other guy and not the 92-year-old crooner.

8. NHL: Stunner! Tampa Bay on brink on first round: First-round NHL playoffs are well underway, and the big question was: After Tampa Bay's 62-win, 128-point, plus-103 goals differential mega-season led the league, by a lot, could anybody stop the Lightning from raising the Stanley Cup? Answer: Yeah, Columbus in the first round, apparently. Blue Jackets up 3-0 and can sweep at home Tuesday night. 

9. MAGIC JOHNSON: Lakers' president abruptly resigns: Once an all-time great player, Magic has since failed pretty miserably as a broadcaster, a coach and now as a club executive. The good news? There has to be some way to blame LeBron James for this, no?

10. HURRICANES: UM set to wrap up spring football work: Remaining Canes spring football workdays include an open scrimmage April 20 to conclude offseason work at the old Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Mid-April, and Manny Diaz still is unbeaten as UM head coach!

Missing the HB10 cut: The 123rd Boston Marathon hit the streets Monday. No idea who'd be the men's women's champion, but it's always a good bet if your money was on "Somebody From Kenya." (P.s., a Kenyan guy won) ..... A citation was issued against a man accused of flashing a laser at Patriots QB Tom Brady during the past AFC Championship Game. I vehemently deny the charges ..... A woman is suing the Astros for $1 million because her finger was injured by a T-shirt cannon. Must be a Goldfinger ..... Saturday is Record Store Day. Go to your local indie shop and buy some wax, Jack! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,624 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 08, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Wade's farewell is king. See what follows; plus predict Dolphins' starting QB in 2020. Poll. Vote now! With column; also, Heat Playoff Watch (updated), Panthers change coaches, over/under on NFL wins (ouch) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 8. Visit Breakfast! for the new Back In My Day that debuted last week on Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. 2) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): ESPN's latest Dolphins-draft guesses, playoff-chase drama adds to Wade's farewell, glory of an unexpected Final Four with polls, response to slam on Marlins fans, latest NBA/NHL odds & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: On Dolphins' next quarterback: I consider all of the players and all of the options through the next two drafts and handicap who'll be the Fins' starting QB in 2020 and beyond. To read, please visit Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB to read. There's a poll below awaiting your vote.

Heat Playoff Watch (updated entering Monday): Heat (9th place/38-42) after losing Sunday at Toronto; chasing Pistons (8th/39-41) after losing Sunday at Charlotte. Nets and Magic both won Sunday to clinch playoffs spots. Heat, Pistons and Hornets (also 38-42) are alive for final East playoff ticket. Remaining Heat games: Tuesday vs. Philadelphia and Wednesday at Brooklyn. Today: No games scheduled. Outlook: Heat, after an ill-timed fourth straight loss, are in trouble. Miami must win both of its final two games and get help, because both Detroit and Charlotte own the tiebreaker over Miami.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 7): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday 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:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: The end is near for Dwyane Wade's farewell: What started in June of 2003 is coming to an end a sweet 16 years later. Dwyane Wade's final regular-season home game of his final year in the NBA will be Tuesday in a downtown arena packed with emotion and gratitude. There could be a curtain call of at least two additional home games -- but only if Miami makes the playoffs, which now seems unlikely after Sunday's loss at Toronto. Miami is home vs. Philly Tuesday, then at Brooklyn Wednesday, needing to win both and get help.

2. MARCH MADNESS (MEN): It's Virginia vs. Texas Tech for NCAA title: After Virginia edged Auburn by one point (on a lucky late call) and Texas Tech handled Michigan State more comfortably in Saturday's Final Four, the two winners will meet Monday night in Minneapolis for the national championship. No.1-seed Cavaliers and No. 3 Red Raiders both are playing for the first national title, with Virginia a narrow 1 1/2-point favorite. 

3. PANTHERS: Cats end disappointing season, change coaches: Panthers will watch Stanley Cup playoffs on TV after finishing 36-46 with Saturday's appropriately fitting 4-3 overtime home loss to New jersey. Cats started season 0-4 and 2-8, and 7- and 6-game losing streaks along the way and just never really made a run. Wasted talent. Again. Sunday, team announced coach Bob Boughner was out after two seasons and Monday announced the hiring of 3-time Stanley Cup champion coach Joel Quenneville. Justified move. Solid hire.

4. MARLINS: Alfaro sparks Fish on first road trip: After Saturday's 4-2 win in Atlanta behind Jorge Alfaro's two homers ended a 4-game losing skid, Miami fell to 3-7 with Sunday's loss. Fish remain last in NL East in midst of young season's first road trip.

5. DOLPHINS: Countdown to NFL Draft: 17 days: Draft on April 25-27 finds Dolphins with so many needs it's anybody's guess what position will be targeted 13th overall. Why so many needs? Hint: New betting odds put Miami's over/under at 5 wins, lowest in league. Before the draft, team will hold a  "voluntary" mini-camp April 16-18. That's "voluntary" in quotes because if a player doesn't show up they look at him funny and call him names.

6. GOLF: It's Masters Week. Let us pray: The Masters is this Thursday through Sunday at Augusta, maybe the holiest-feeling annual event in sports. You can't even talk about it without hearing soft violins and tinkling pianos. Rory McIlroy is the betting fave at 7-1, then it's Dustin Johnson 10-1. At 12-1 are Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and some guy named Tiger Woods.

7. MARCH MADNESS (WOMEN): Baylor wins women's crown: After Baylor beat Oregon and Notre Dame bested UConn in Final Four semis Friday night, the two winners met Sunday in Tampa, with Baylor beating the Irish 82-81 for the national title.

8. HURRICANES: UM holds first spring scrimmage (supposedly): Coach Manny Diaz's Canes have six spring football practice days left, through April 20, after holding the first of three scrimmage games on Saturday. Well, we think so. The alleged super-secret stealth scrimmage was closed to fans and media, so do we reeeaaallly know it happened?

9. WWE: Pow! Boom! WrestleMania 35 takes place!: WrestleMania 35, Sunday in New Jersey and on pay-per view, made history with a first-ever women's main match: Becky Lynch taking the belt over Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair. The card also featured Brock Lesnar, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio and a long parade of other people in tights whom Greg Cote has never heard of. 

10. FOOTBALL: R.I.P. to the (incredibly short-lived) A.A.F.: The latest spring football tombstone shall read: Here lies the Alliance of American Football, 2019 to 2019. The league flopped like a dying fish on a pier after only eight weeks. Back to the golf course, Steve Spurrier!

Missing the HB10 cut: Canes baseball failed to complete a home sweep over Florida State today after shutout wins Friday and Saturday. UM is now 20-12; 'Noles are 19-12 after a 12-0 start ..... Duke's Zion Williamson is AP's college basketball player of the year. He also won in the more obscure category, Best Shoe Explosion ..... Bengals RB Mark Walton, the ex-Cane, was arrested for the third time this year. The year just entered its fourth month ..... Answer: Paul Westphal, Al Attles and Jack Sikman are among the latest inductees. Question: "What makes you say they Basketball Hall of Fame lets in too many people?" ..... Texas won men's NIT. Has anybody ever actually worn an "NIT Champions" T-shirt? Do they even make them? ..... Tennis' Miami Open set attendance records its first year at Hard Rock Stadium. Which is good. But, sorry, a stadium parking lot, even all dressed up, still cannot match the ambiance they had to leave behind on Key Biscayne ..... Stoking a future rivalry MLS with Inter Miami, Orlando FC put out a video making fun of the weeds at ramshackle Lockhart Stadium. Love it. Spot on ..... Update: Countdown now 2,631 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

JherbertCRYSTAL (FOOT)BALL: HANDICAPPING DOLPHINS' LIKELIEST STARTING QB IN 2020: Looking at all of the players, all of the possibilities and what's most realistically likely to happen, we handicap who'll be the Dolphins' starting quarterback in 2020 and beyond, after one season of stopgap bridge Ryan Fitzpatrick replacing the departed Ryan Tannehill. And the answer may surprise you. That is our newest column. Please visit Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB to read. I describe and rank the 10 possibilities, with percentage likelihoods of that player being the guy. Only the top three QBs score in double-digits percents. One of those top three, Oregon star Justin Herbert, is pictured. Here, in this poll, I list the seven most likely candidates alphabetically. Please vote for the QB you realistically think will be next -- the one you'd bet on! -- not who you hope. Vote now!

Our other most recent columns: Playoff Chase Drama Enriches Wade's Swansong and An Intriguing Final Four Despite What's Missing. Also: Maximum Security, Maximum Results (from the Florida Derby) and The Marlins Will Be Better Than You Think.

BETTING OVER/UNDER WIN TOTALS FOR NFL (OUCH!): Via BetOnline.ag, your Miami Dolphins are dead-last in the NFL with a betting over/under of 5 wins. Also among early leaders in the Tua Tagovailoa Derby are the Cardinals at 5 1/2 wins and Redskins, Giants and Bengals all at 6. On the high end are the Patriots (of course!) at 11 wins and the Chiefs, Rams and Saints all 10 1/2. Elsewhere in the AFC East, Jets are at 7 wins and Bills at 6 1/2.

POLL RESULTS: WHO YOU WANT TO WIN NCAA TITLE, WHO YOU THINK WILL WIN: We asked, "Which Final Four team do you bet WILL win the NCAA Tournament men's championship?" You answered 42.53 percent Michigan State, 36.78% Virginia, 16.09% Texas Tech and 4.60% Auburn. We also asked, "Which Final Four team do you (or your bracket) WANT to win the NCAA Tournament men's championship?" There it was 38.23% Virginia, 26.47% Texas Tech, 20.59% Michigan State and 14.71% Auburn. 

Final Four preferences by state: Based on geotagged Twitter data, Michigan State enjoys the most support in 27 U.S. states, Texas Tech in 10, Auburn in eight (including Florida) and Virginia in five.

My bracket's title-game needs: My bracket in the Le Batard & Friends group through ESPN.com and remains buoyant with Virginia my pick to win it all. Including Final Four results I leaped from 82nd place to 34th place among 215 players in the show pool. Ten of the teams ahead of me also have Virginia, so if the Cavaliers cut the net I'll have a chance for a great finish. Go Wahoos!

Other select recent columns: Growing Pains Commence For Rebuilding Marlins / Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / Jeter Gets Reminder Why Marlins Boss Is His Toughest Position Yet / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 05, 2019

A Necessary Firestorm: Why Martina Navratilova's controversial comments on transgender athletes sparks a valuable conversation. Our new column; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), Radio Tuesday, our holiday in Mexico & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, MARCH 5. Happy to be back. Wife and I took a long weekend off on a four-night cruise to Mexico. Cozumel is better than Cancun and it ain't even close. Our tour guide's passion about his Mayan culture was really great to hear. All in all we had a great time there after successfully scaling Trump's border wall. 2) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The extraordinary journey of Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, Wade's signature 'Last Dance' moment & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. It airs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews, after an exclusive local hour 8:55 to 10 on Miami's 790 The Ticket. Join us!

MartinaWHY MARTINA NAVRATILOVA'S COMMENTS ON TRANSGENDER ATHLETES HAVE STARTED A VALUABLE CONVERSATION. OUR LATEST COLUMN: This is complicated. It's about equal rights on one side, but also about fairness on the other. Tennis great Martina Navratilova (pictured) is now  being vilified by the same LGBTQ community that once adored here because she dared to suggest, in an  op-ed piece for the Sunday Times Of London, that transgender women have an unfair advantage competing in sports against athletes born female, and thus should not be allowed to. Evidence backs her on the advantage claim, yet the comments have been angrily portrayed as transphobic. To read our latest column, please visit Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate. I believe Navratilova raises valuable points that merit a civil discussion. There is much gray here. I do not think it is at odds to be both pro LGBTQ-rights (as I am) but also to find merit in Navratilova's concerns.    

Other most recent columns: Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / The Evolution Of Sports Into Big Business / Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Zion Should Say See-Ya Duke and Shut It Down / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild / Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature (one day late here because of our weekend away, and updated today), 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:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Miami wins, now needs to get on a run: Dwyane Wade's exhilarating game-winning buzzer-beater vs. Golden State was a signature moment for his Last Dance season, but it doesn't erase the fact Heat are wallowing at 29-34 and on the far edge of playoff contention after last night's 1-point home win over Atlanta. Wednesday in Charlotte, Miami aims for its first three-game winning streak since before Christmas.

2. DOLPHINS: Kyler Murray wows at Scouting Combine: Oklahoma's Heisman-winning quarterback was thought to be in play for the Dolphins with the 13th overall pick in the draft. But after his showing at the recent NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis there is talk he may go top-five or even No. 1 overall. The big news? He measured 5-10 1/8th -- not 5-9 as some feared. (Woo hoo!) Do the Dolphins have a major trade-up in them? Yeah, I doubt it, too.

3. GOLF: Keith Mitchell wins Honda Classic: Who!? Yeah, it was Mitchell's first PGA Tour win, by one shot over big names Brooks Kopeka and Rickie Fowler in a mostly low-watt event in terms of star power. Mexico's Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, whom we wrote about (see link above) missed the cut.

4. MLB: Phillies land Bryce Harper: Free-agent prize Harper stays in the NL East after signing a 13-year, $330 million contract with Philadelphia. Always thought he was overrated. Add overpaid now. He'll next be a free agent at age 39 entering the 2032 season. Think the rebuilding Marlins might be good by then?

5. UM BASKETBALL: Ranked Canes women prep for ACC tourney: No. 15-ranked UM women bring a 24-7 season record and No. 4 seed into the ACC Tournament, which opens for the Canes Friday vs. a yet-to-be-determined opponent in Greensboro, N.C. Expectations are high. Not so much for the Miami's men's team, which is only 12-16 entering Tuesday's season finale vs. Pitt prior to next week's ACC tourney.

6. PANTHERS: Are we still pretending Cats have playoff shot?: Four straight losses, all by one goal, have left Florida 28-37 and a big 10 points off NHL playoff pace entering Tuesday's game at Pittsburgh. Cats had been hot(ish) before the current tailspin that is ill-timed to say the least.

7. CANES BASEBALL: Hot UM prepares for ACC schedule: Gino DiMare era is off and running at 9-2 entering a Wednesday home game vs. Appalachian State, with ACC play opening with a home series starting Friday vs. Georgia Tech. DiMare seems up to the Ron Fraser/Jim Morris lineage so far.

8. NFL: Jaguars zeroing in on QB Nick Foles: As NFL free agency commences next week, Jacksonville reportedly has plans to release Blake Bortles in favor of signing Eagles free agent-to-be Foles. Miami could have opted for a similar upgrade, said nah.

9. NBA: LeBron calls out Lakers teammates: LeBron James called out his young Lakers teammates for being distracted from basketball, and later yelled at teammate Mo Wagner. Oh the indignity of me, LeBron James, not making the playoffs! It's an outrage!

10. MARLINS: Yep, it seems Fish may be as bad as we thought: Marlins are 3-7 one-third through spring training after yesterday snapping a five-game losing streak. But the last three of those losses in a row had been by only one run. (Nobody said accentuating the positive was easy, folks).

Missing the HB10 cut: Division II men's basketball team Indiana University of Pennsylvania traveled for a road game without its uniforms, and had to play in the nude. Just kidding! They borrowed the host team's road unis ..... L.A. high school safety Antoinette "Toni" Harris, the first female football player (non-kicker) to sign a college letter of intent. Missouri's Central Methodist University, y'all just made history ..... The Montreal Alouettes released Johnny Manziel and the CFL banned him from the league for violating his contract. "Operator, could I have a number for the Alliance of American Football, please?" ..... Pacman Jones was arrested at an Indiana casino. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Because NFL officials were not present, ex-Packers coach Mike McCarthy berated high-school basketball referees after a loss by his stepson's team ..... Update: Countdown now 2,666 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup. ..... Farewell and happy retirement to Clark Spencer, the Herald's longtime baseball writer. Mostly congratulations, for not having to cover the Marlins anymore. 

Select other recent columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble / Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 28, 2019

The extraordinary journey of Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Our latest column; plus Wade's 'Last Dance' gets its signature moment, a personal note & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28 through SUNDAY, MARCH 3. Farewell February and a hearty welcome, March! 2) A fond bon voyage to colleague and friend Clark Spencer, the Herald 's Marlins beat writer who has retired after a long career in sports writing. Great at what he did, and an even better person. 3) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): New sports-business tome and Top 50 breakthrough moments, NBA best-under-25 list snubs Heat, What's Ridiculous In Sports & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

A personal note: We're off on holiday for a few days through the weekend, so look for the new Hot Button Top 10 here on Monday upon our return, one day later than usual. 

JoserTHE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF JOSE DE JESUS RODRIGUEZ: I have been chronicling sports since the 1970s and have met and written about hundreds of athletes more famous but maybe none more extraordinary than golfer Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. I met him Wednesday, and wrote the column linked here, just below. He is a PGA Tour rookie at age 38, competing in this week's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. At age 15 he left his home in central Mexico, made his way more than 500 miles to the border, and after months of trying finally crossed the Rio Grande into the United States, convinced golf would be the way he might lift his family from poverty. He arrived "illegally" but today has a proper work visa and a bright future. He learned the game with homemade clubs made of rebar shafts, inner-tube-rubber grips and clubheads of shaped metal. It was an impossible dream that came true. The American dream. Had a border wall been there, he'd have never have made it. His story is enough to make you glad there was no wall. And to consider that for every bad guy a wall might turn away, how many honest dreamers like this might also be denied. An excerpt from the column: The Mexican side of the border is rife with smugglers who’ll get you across, but Jose had not nearly enough money for that. He would have to do it himself. In the black of night, the boy who could not swim tried to make his way across the famous river only to be intercepted, again, by the U.S. Border Patrol. For months this went on, until finally Jose heard the Border Patrol changed shift at 2 p.m. In that sliver of time, he crossed. He made it. He was in America. The water that night was up to his chin. The currents shoved him. “I’m dying in the Rio Grande,” he recalled thinking. “I’m saying, ‘God help me. I want to help my family.” To read the full column, please visit Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour.

Our other most recent columns: The Evolution Of Sports Into Big Business / Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Zion Should Say See-Ya Duke and Shut It Down / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild / Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

DwadeWADE'S 'LAST DANCE' GETS ITS SIGNATURE MOMENT: Maybe the Heat's Dwyane Wade still has something in store to top Wednesday night, but it's hard to imagine what we just saw can be topped. Wade, in his 'Last Dance' farewell season before retirement, hits a last-second, buzzer-beating 3-point bank-shot prayer on the home court to beat mighty Golden State, 126-125. That slumping Miami needed a win badly only accentuated the moment. Fans roared in merry disbelief. Teammates engulfed Wade with love -- but only after he hopped onto a scorer's table and faced the cheering fans. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant watched it all, standing shoulder to shoulder. Curry wore a small smile. "Those are iconic moments that he's had," Curry said later, in admiration. Said Wade: "It's special for me." The long chronology of magic moments that D.Wade his authored just got its exclamation point.

Select other recent columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble / Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 25, 2019

Why Heat's Pat Riley is defiantly scoffing at retirement. On the premiere of new ESPN/Le Batard TV series with Riles in debut episode; plus Radio Monday (!), latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25. Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Wade's farewell a masterwork in how to retire right, 6 reason for Marlins optimism, Miami's rank among best sports cities, new Back In My Day video, Brandi Carlile's 'The Joke' & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Monday (!): I'm co-hosting on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz today/Monday instead of my regular Tuesday gig because of a Herald work-related conflict. It airs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews, after a local-only hour 8:55 to 10 on Miami's 790 The Ticket. Join us!  

PrileyOn Le Batard TV premiere with Riley: ESPN's Dan Le Batard has a new ESPN TV series called Art Of Conversation that premiering last evening with Heat president Pat Riley. I thought it was really good. In case you missed it, or even you didn't, here is our review. Please visit Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done.

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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Miami stumbling out of All-Star break: Post All-Star break, first the Heat lose to a 76ers team minus Joel Embiid, then get clobbered 119-96 by a Pistons they're chasing for the final East playoff spot. Slumping Miami now is 26-32 and 10th in the jockeying for eight playoff tickets. Why? Largely because the 11-17 home record is the worst by far of any playoff contender. After hosting Phoenix on Monday, Miami plays Golden State here Wednesday. Oy.

2. MARLINS: Spring games underway for retooling Fish: Miami opened its 30-game spring schedule on Saturday vs. the Cardinals in Jupiter. They got clobbered, giving up 20 hits in an 11-1 loss, and are now 0-2 in fake games. (Keep repeating: "Spring results don't matter..."). Highlight of spring opener: Starter Sandy Alcantara looked pretty good in two innings' work. Lowlight: Everything else. 

3. MLB: Padres hit Machado jackpot: San Diego won the bidding for prized Hialeah-born free-agent slugger Manny Machado with a 10-year, $300 million bid. Padres have never won a championship in their 50 seasons and last made the playoffs 13 years ago. No pressure or anything, Manny! 

4. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women end jinx, beat FSU: The 23-6 UM women rose to No. 14 in polls before an upset loss at Virginia Tech, but bounced back at home to beat nemesis Florida State 64-54 Sunday -- ending  a nine-game regular season losing streak in the series. As regular seasons wanes, Katie Meier's troops are playing for NCAA Tournament seeding. Meanwhile Jim Larranaga's 11-14 Miami men's team likely needs a big finish and a prayer just to sneak into the NIT.

5. ZION WILLIAMSON: Unraveling Nike sneaker fells game's top player: panthers ] College Player of the Year-designate Zion Williamson of No. 1 Duke crumples and injures a knee when his Nike sneaker falls apart during a game like a frayed retread on the Interstate. Barack Obama, at the game, was seen on TV saying, "His shoe broke!" Accurate. Meanwhile Nike stock takes a billion-dollar hit before rallying.

6. GOLF: Tiger says he won't play the Honda: Tiger Woods said he'll skip this week's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, South Florida's only PGA Tour event since the tour left Doral. Modest field features only three of top 20-ranked players in No. 2 Brooks Koepka, No. 4 Justin Thomas and No. 9 Rickie Fowler. With fan favorites like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth also all skipping Honda, event could have really used Tiger.   

7. ROBERT KRAFT: Patriots owner nabbed in prostitution sting: You just can't make this stuff up, folks. If you did, nobody would believe you. So the 77-year-old owner of the New England Patriots is caught in a police sting for eliciting sex at a Jupiter massage parlor. Pats won the Super Bowl but evidently (you see this coming, right?) Kraft had another happy ending in mind. 

8. PANTHERS: Cats clobber Kings, but time running out: As Monday's NHL trade deadline looms, Florida routed the visiting L.A. King 6-1 Saturday night but still are only 27-33 and a big 10 points back in the playoff chase. Cats finished a seven-game homestand 4-3 and now hit the road starting Monday in Colorado.

9. CANES BASEBALL: UM loses series at rival Florida: The Gino DiMare era busted out to a 5-0 start before the unranked Canes lost the final two games of a three-game weekend set vs. No. 3-ranked Gators in Gainesville. 

10. DOLPHINS: Fins bolster front office with McKenzie: Dolphins hired Reggie McKenzie as "senior personnel 0executive," which basically sounds like he'll be a right-hand man for general manager Chris Grier. McKenzie spent past seven years as GM for the Oakland Raiders, but we won't hold that against him.

Missing the HB10 cut: Dan Le Batard's new ESPN series, Art Of Conversation, premieres Sunday at 5:30 with a profile of Heat prez Pat Riley. Shameless Plug Alert: I have details about the show and its first episode here ..... Ichiro singled in his first spring at-bat for Seattle. Also notable: He's bleepin' 45! ..... Famed Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim said he would coach Saturday night's game just two days after an accident in which his car struck and killed a man. Boeheim has fully cooperated and may not be charged with anything. Still, maybe take the next game off while the other family plans the funeral? Just a thought ..... The new Alliance of American Football, entering its third week, already has needed a bailout to meet payroll. Buzzards are circling ..... Former straight-laced NBA coach Don Nelson, in retirement, has grown a hippie beard and become a devotee of marijuana. Somewhere, Bill Walton is smiling ..... ..... A Kenosha, Wisconsin high school gave cheerleader awards called Big Booty and Big Boobie until the school board stepped in. Give the Big Idiot award to the coach who let it happen ..... Breakdancing has been proposed for the 2024 Olympics. Oh Lord how I wish I were kidding ..... Update: Countdown now 2,674 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

ZionwA BUSTED SHOE, A HURT KNEE AND WHAT'S NEXT FOR ZION WILLIAMSON: The most-talked about and coveted young basketball phenom since LeBron James suddenly falls with an injured knee on Duke’s court because his Nike sneaker fell apart. It’s national TV. The camera shows former President Barack Obama, seated courtside, saying, "His shoe broke!" That’s notable enough. But what happens next might be bigger: Will Zion Williamson play another game for Duke? Should he? Why should he? That's the gist of my column. To read it, please visit: Zion Should Say See-Ya Duke and Shut It Down.

Other most recent columns: Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye  /  Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild  /  Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed /  He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too /  Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

Select recent other columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble / Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote