March 05, 2022

Tom Brady a Dolphins' part owner? Why it could happen. New column; plus Le Batard Show musical out now, Why Jeter-Marlins marriage fell apart, NFL's Top 20 most hated people, Panthers' 5-9 hitman Lomberg on latest Greg Cote Show podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MARCH 5. Visit THE BIG GAME: THE MUSICAL for Le Batard Show's latest venture. Includes our original 'Back In My Day' song. 2) Join me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast separately on TwitterInstagram and now TikTok, too! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Personal note and thanks, new Greg Cote Show podcast, column links.

Coteshow LombergGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH RYAN LOMBERG OUT NOW!: Our 10th episode of 2022 and 101st overall is out Monday. A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 100 we've done so far HERE, free. In our newest pod, we welcome in the Florida Panthers' 5-9 dynamo hitman, Ryan Lomberg (pictured, on a dog sled). Fun chat with an interesting dude. Guaranteed, you don't need to be a Panthers fan or a puckhead to enjoy the conversation. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow. (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET).

Mebeard ApseA PERSONAL NOTE, AND THANKS: I was very honored this week to once again be named by Associated Press Sports Editors as a national Top 10 columnist in the major-outlet category. The Miami Herald also was honored as a Top 10 daily section, and earned a Top 10 in special projects for ours on the 5-year annniversary of the Jose Fernandez tragedy, a project in which I also was involved. (I have included a recent photo of myself that seems somber and somewhat unflattering; it is my 'serious journalist' look). Some of you have asked, so: These are the four nominated columns from 2021 (earliest to most recent) that won us the APSE distinction for column writing: Inter Miami’s David Beckham and Qatar a budding, avoidable controversyHall of Famer Jimmy Johnson knows biggest victory happened in own familyScorned, but does he deserve empathy, too? Behind who Aubrey Huff became and Miami Dolphins sabotaging Tua, season with misguided interest in Watson

TbrossTOM BRADY, MIAMI DOLPHINS PART OWNER? WHY SIGNS STRONGLY SUGGEST IT COULD HAPPENHe retired as the greatest quarterback of all time, but have zero doubt Tom Brady remains a major player. Only this time it is a behind-the-scenes yet potentially starring role in all of the off-field drama surrounding the Miami Dolphins, embattled owner Stephen Ross and the franchise’s designated ownership-successor, Bruce Beal. There seems little question that Brady may be entwined in all of this, but how? Could be with a future ownership stake in the Dolphins. Or might it be as a witness in former coach Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL that levied serious allegations against Ross? New head coach Mike McDaniel signed on to lead a football team and revive the potential of Tua Tagovailoa, but walked into the mire of a soap opera full of intrigue. One that could be long-running. As Brady moves to Miami's exclusive Indian Creek, his close relationship with Ross and friendship with chosen successor Beal is worth exploring for what it might portend. For our full latest column, visit Tom Brady. Miami Dolphins Part Owner? Why It Could Happen

JeterWHY CEO DEREK JETER AND THE MIAMI MARLINS' MARRIAGE FELL APART, ENDED IN DIVORCEThe announcement was abrupt and unexpected in a way that partings of this type seldom are in sports. There was mystery to it as well — Derek Jeter suddenly quitting Monday as CEO of the Miami Marlins. He had a lot to say on his way out, much of it trying to spin his four seasons with the baseball club as a success. But only one sentence, 18 words, cut to the truth and came close to revealing the why. “The vision for the future of the franchise is different than the one I signed up to lead.” Boom. Subtle as a 100 mph fastball under the chin, that verified there is little harmonious about this parting, which a Marlins source of ours described as mutually agreed upon. Jeter’s five-year contract as baseball’s only Black CEO was to expire later this year. He also is relinquishing his 4 percent ownership stake. For our full recent column, including what we hear on why Jeter resigned, visit Why The Derek Jeter-Marlins Marriage Fell Apart And Ended In Divorce.

Our most recent other columns: Players Are On Right Side In Labor Dispute, But MLB Has Far Bigger Problem To Fix / Mickelson's Support Of Saudi Tour Mirrors Sports' Blind Eye to Human Rights / Top 15 Figures (Non-Athletes) In Miami Sports History / and Who Dolphins, With Windfall To Spend, Should Target In Offseason To Fix Offense Fast. Also: Hall of Fame Keeps Saying No, But Zach Thomas Keeps Feeling Gratitude / and McDaniel Overcame Much In Own Life, Now Must Overcome Dolphins' Turmoil And Win.

ArNFL's TOP 10 MOST DISLIKED INDIVIDUALS: NFL's most despised person has been identified. A semi-scientific Twitter study by gaming website BetOnline.ag has answered the question. The conclusion was derived from than 1 million tweets analyzed by keyword association in December, including negative phrases such as "I hate so-and-so," "so-and-so sucks" and "bleep so-and-so." Here are Top 20 most-hated NFL figures (players and others), with number of negative tweets:

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers QB, 266,850; 2. Antonio Brown, free-agent WR, 107,379; 3. Bill Belichick, Patriots head coach, 88,482; 4. Odell Beckham Jr., Rams WR, 84,399; 5. Deshaun Watson, Texans QB, 75,210; 6. Jackson Mahomes, Patrick's brother, 71,349; 7. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs WR, 62,379; 8. Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, 59,731; 9. Baker Mayfield, Browns QB, 51,285; 10. Dan Snyder, Commanders owner, 48,529.

The rest: 11. Cam Newton, Panthers QB; 12. Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner; 13. Kirk Cousins, Vikings QB; 14. Josh McDaniels, Raiders head coach; 15. DeSean Jackson, Raiders WR; 16. Jalen Ramsey, Rams CB; 17. Brittany Matthews, Patrick Mahomes' girlfriend; 18. Richard Sherman, Bucs CB; 19. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys RB; 20. Robert Kraft, Patriots owner.

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ARCHIVES

Select other recent columns: An Inside Preview Of Le Batard Show's Upcoming Musical. Yes, Musical / The Lesson For Dolphins in Rams-Bengals Super Bowl Result / Ranking Flores/Ross Bombshell Among Biggest Dolphins Scandals / Ross Should Be Done As Fins Owner if Flores Allegations Are True  / The G.O.A.T. We Never Saw Coming: From 199th Drafted To History, A Salute To Tom Brady Like Him Or Don't, Antonio Brown Not Always To Blame -- And Wasn't In Bucs Divorce / Ortiz Makes Hall, But Final Denial Of Bonds, Clemens A Shame on Voters, Baseball / Mahomes-Allen Air Show A Reminder How Much Better Dolphins And Tua Need To Be / Time Is Right (But Running Out) For MLB to Reinstate Pete Rose /'There Was A Pall On Us': The Panthers Season That Would Not Be Derailed / No-Vaccine Is Your Right. But There Are Consequences as Djokovic Was Reminded / State Of Miami Sports: Every Major Team, Graded Top To Bottom /Dolphins Firing of Flores The Unjustified Travesty Of A Clown-Show Owner / Canes Land Grand Prize In Cristobal, So No Excuses Left. New Glory Days A Must and 50 Years At the Herald For Me -- And a Lifetime Of Gratitude.

Select other columnsDolphins Win, Finish 9-8, Now Must Commit To Build Around Tua / Why Saban 'What-If' Still Haunts Miami 15 Years later / No Playoffs And No Idea Yet On Tua Worst Possible Way For Dolphins To End Season / Revealing My 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot /  Hey, America, After 7th Straight Win, Do Miami Dolphins Have Your Attention Yet? / UM Legend Frank Gore Talks NFL Future, Cristobal, Boxing As He Prepes For Ring Debut / Tua Keeps Showing Dolphins How Silly They Were To Doubt Him So Soon / UM And Blake James Parted Ways With Class -- Which Butch Davis Didn't Get From FIU / How Miami Dolphins Are Poised to Transform Their 1-7 Start Into Playoff Contention /  Quenneville Rightly Sacked as Panthers Coach Over 2010 Chicago Scandal / As Dolphins' Dysfunction Surrounds Him, 10 Ways Tua Is The Unluckiest Man On Earth / State of the Art: Heat, Miami's Best-Run Franchise, Sails In Opener / 'Time to Hunt': Cats' Hyped Season Off to Wild, Winning Start / Dolphins Fans, Ex-Players Gather For Emotional Farewell to Don Shula, Father of the Glory Days / If Sports Had A Spine, Kyrie Irving & Other Anti-Vaxxers Wouldn't Be Playing / Kyle Lowry Must Channel 'Doctor Of Greatness' If Heat Is To Chase NBA Title / Fairy Tale With Wrong Ending: Remembering Jose Fernandez 5 Years Later / Why It's Too Soon, And Dumb, To Quit On Tua As Dolphins Answer /  Hope And Hype Are Sky-High. Time For Florida Panthers To Finally Deliver / Miami Herald's 2021 NFL Team Rankings: You Won't Believe Where Dolphins are / Why Dolphins, Canes Should Be Taking Lead In Requiring Fans To Be COVID-Vaccinated / An Appreciation of Udonis Haslem As He Re-Ups For 19th Heat Season / College Football and FSU Lose a Treasure In Passing Of Bobby Bowden /  Biles' Withdrawal For Mental-Health Reasons Merits Empathy, Not Scorn / Where Dolphins Rank Among Teams With Longest Championship Droughts / Dolphins Owner Ross Unveils New $135 Million Training Site As Another Reason Team Must Win Now / Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security / May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards again this year ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz.

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

February 28, 2022

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Jeter leaves Marlins, MLB impasse, Inter Miami opens, Heat hot, Cats slump. See who's No.1 and what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show ;podcast drops Monday, personal news & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28. Farewell, February, "Shorty" to the other months. See you next year. 2) Join me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast separately on TwitterInstagram and now TikTok, too! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): MLB has bigger problem that labor impasse, Mickelson tempest mirrors sports' blind eye on human rights, Top 15 non-athletes in Miami sports history, new Greg Cote Show podcast.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH RYAN LOMBERG OUT NOW!: Our 10th episode of 2022 and 101st overall is out Monday. A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 100 we've done so far HERE, free. In our newest pod, we welcome in the Florida Panthers' 5-9 dynamo hitman, Ryan Lomberg. Fun chat with an interesting dude. Guaranteed, you don't need to be a Panthers fan or a puckhead to enjoy the conversation. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow. (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET).

ApseMebeardA PERSONAL NOTE, AND THANKS: I was very honored this week to once again be named by Associated Press Sports Editors as a national Top 10 columnist in the major-outlet category. The Miami Herald also was honored as a Top 10 daily section, and earned a Top 10 in special projects for ours on the 5-year annniversary of the Jose Fernandez tragedy, a project in which I also was involved. (I have included a recent photo of myself that seems somber and somewhat unflattering; it is my 'serious journalist' look). Some of you have asked, so: These are the four nominated columns from 2021 (earliest to most recent) that won us the APSE distinction for column writing:

Inter Miami’s David Beckham and Qatar a budding, avoidable controversy

Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson knows biggest victory happened in own family

Scorned, but does he deserve empathy, too? Behind who Aubrey Huff became

Miami Dolphins sabotaging Tua, season with misguided interest in Watson

Our most recent columns: Players Are On Right Side In Labor Dispute, But MLB Has Far Bigger Problem To Fix / Mickelson's Support Of Saudi Tour Mirrors Sports' Blind Eye to Human Rights / Top 15 Figures (Non-Athletes) In Miami Sports History / and Who Dolphins, With Windfall To Spend, Should Target In Offseason To Fix Offense Fast. Also: Hall of Fame Keeps Saying No, But Zach Thomas Keeps Feeling Gratitude / and McDaniel Overcame Much In Own Life, Now Must Overcome Dolphins' Turmoil And Win.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEBRUARY 27-28): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. The latest HB10:

1. MARLINS: Jeter steps down as CEO: Derek Jeter abruptly resigned Monday after four seasons as Miami Marlins CEO in what was called a mutual parting. Said Jeter: "The vision for the future of the franchise is different than the one I signed up to lead." [NEW COLUMN ON JETER LEAVING].

HButton2. MLB: Marlins, sport on edge, season on hold as CBA deadline hits: Monday is MLB's deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union or, says Commissioner Rob Manfred, the season will not start on time or be the full 162 games. MLB says games would not be made up and players would not be paid full-season salaries. Spring training already is delayed; Opening Day (as of now) is still March 31. The two sides will meet in Jupiter today/Sunday for a seventh straight day of talks.

3. INTER MIAMI: Herons open MLS Year3 with home draw: David Beckham's squad opened season tres Saturday night with a 0-0 tie vs. Chicago Fire before 16,080 fans in Fort Lauderdale. Miami retooled its roster after disappointing last year at 12-17 with five draws and tied for second-fewest goals in league, and it may be playoffs-or-bust for coach Phil Neville to stay employed. Gonzalo Higuain tops returning players, with newcomers led by midfielder Jean Mota from Santos (Brazil) and U.S. national team defender DeAndre Yedlin. Meantime the city of Miami' vote on team's  propsoed new stadium was delayed (again) to March 9.

4. HEAT: Bam! Miami regains lead in East: Miami is 40-21 and back in front in the NBA East after Saturday's 133-129 home win over San Antonio fueled by Bam Adebayo's 36 points. Heat host second place Chicago Monday. Meantime Jimmy Butler got fined $25,000 by NBA for not meeting postgame media obligations after the All-Star Game. (Clearly, playing only nine minutes and scoring two points did not have Jimmy in a good mood).

5. PANTHERS: Florida loses third straight in rare slump: Florida is 35-13-5 and now only one point out front in the NHL Atlantic Division after Saturday night's 4-3 home loss to Edmonton. The third straight loss is the Cats' longest skid since mid-December. Panthers are now off until hosting Ottawa on Thursday. 

6. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women chasing NCAA bids: Canes men are 20-9 (12-6 ACC) and seeming safe for an NCAA Tournament bid even afgter Saturday's 71-70 loss to Virginia Tech in UM's regular season home finale. They now close at Boston College Wednesday and Syracuse Saturday. UM women are 17-11 (10-8 ACC) after Sunday's regular season finale vs. Clemson, a 76-40 UM win. ESPN's Bracketology has the Canes women in its "last four in" category for an NCAA invite.

7. POLITICS: Sports world reacts to Russian invasion of Ukraine: UEFA moved its May 28 Champions League final from Saint Petersburgb to Paris, and Formula One canceled its Russian Grand Prix set for September: Other response has included Ukrainian former heavywight champion Wladimir Klitschko saying he will join the fight; condemnation of Russian by the IOC; and Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic saying their March World Cup qualiftyng matches should be moved from Russia.

8. NFL: Dolphins prep for this week's pre-draft Scouting Combine: The NFL Scouting Combine, league's biggest event between the Super Bowl and Draft, takes the field in Indianapolis this coming Thursday through next Sunday, with 324 invited draft prospects seen by scouts from all 32 teams. Miami hopefuls invited are three former Hurricanes -- QB D'Eriq King, DB Bubba Bolden and DL Jonathan King -- along with former FIU RB D'vonte Price. Dolphins scouts should be especially keen on Friday, when running back and offensive line prospects take the field.

9. GOLF: Mickelson's Saudi backing draws backlash: Four longtime sponsors including Callaway And Amstel Light have now dumped Phil Mickelson in the wake of the six-time major champion's comments backing the Saudi Arabia-backed attempted breakaway league. Mickelson said he supports the league as leverage to force changes in the PGA Tour, despite also saying, "We know they killed [Washington Post reporter Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay."

10. HURRICANES: Countdown 7 days 'til spring football: UM's first on-field work under new coach Mario Cristobal will be a week from Monday, March 7, with the first of 15 spring practice work days. Season opens September 3 vs. Bethune-Cookman.

Missing the HB10 cut: Little-known Austrian Sepp Straka won the PGA Tour's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens ..... The eight-team USFL spring football league, back and launching April 6, held its draft and SoFla guys selected included former Canes WR Jeff Thomas (by Pittsburgh) and ex-FIU QB Alex McGough (Birmingham). Also taken: FIU WR Maurice Alexander and CB Ike Brown, and FAU OT Calvin Ashley, RB B.J. Emmons and S Andrew Soroh ..... The USWNT win the SheBelieves Cup, its youthful roster beating Iceland 5-nil in the final ..... No. 24-ranked Canes baseballis is 6-1 and hosts Harvard today in rubber game of three-game series ..... UEFA Champions League plays resumes March 8 with Bayern Munich vs. Salzburg and Liverpool vs. Internazionale. The eight teams left after the round of 16 will be in a quarterfinal draw on March 18 ..... And speaking of hell: Art Briles! Way to embarrass yourself, Grambling State ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is back with a new episode out Monday at 7 a.m. ..... Update: Countdown now 1,583 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES

Select other recent columns: An Inside Preview Of Le Batard Show's Upcoming Musical. Yes, Musical / The Lesson For Dolphins in Rams-Bengals Super Bowl Result / Ranking Flores/Ross Bombshell Among Biggest Dolphins Scandals / Ross Should Be Done As Fins Owner if Flores Allegations Are True  / The G.O.A.T. We Never Saw Coming: From 199th Drafted To History, A Salute To Tom Brady Like Him Or Don't, Antonio Brown Not Always To Blame -- And Wasn't In Bucs Divorce / Ortiz Makes Hall, But Final Denial Of Bonds, Clemens A Shame on Voters, Baseball / Mahomes-Allen Air Show A Reminder How Much Better Dolphins And Tua Need To Be / Time Is Right (But Running Out) For MLB to Reinstate Pete Rose /'There Was A Pall On Us': The Panthers Season That Would Not Be Derailed / No-Vaccine Is Your Right. But There Are Consequences as Djokovic Was Reminded / State Of Miami Sports: Every Major Team, Graded Top To Bottom /Dolphins Firing of Flores The Unjustified Travesty Of A Clown-Show Owner / Canes Land Grand Prize In Cristobal, So No Excuses Left. New Glory Days A Must and 50 Years At the Herald For Me -- And a Lifetime Of Gratitude.

Select other columnsDolphins Win, Finish 9-8, Now Must Commit To Build Around Tua / Why Saban 'What-If' Still Haunts Miami 15 Years later / No Playoffs And No Idea Yet On Tua Worst Possible Way For Dolphins To End Season / Revealing My 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot /  Hey, America, After 7th Straight Win, Do Miami Dolphins Have Your Attention Yet?UM Legend Frank Gore Talks NFL Future, Cristobal, Boxing As He Prepes For Ring Debut / Tua Keeps Showing Dolphins How Silly They Were To Doubt Him So Soon / UM And Blake James Parted Ways With Class -- Which Butch Davis Didn't Get From FIU / How Miami Dolphins Are Poised to Transform Their 1-7 Start Into Playoff Contention /  Quenneville Rightly Sacked as Panthers Coach Over 2010 Chicago Scandal / As Dolphins' Dysfunction Surrounds Him, 10 Ways Tua Is The Unluckiest Man On Earth / State of the Art: Heat, Miami's Best-Run Franchise, Sails In Opener / 'Time to Hunt': Cats' Hyped Season Off to Wild, Winning Start / Dolphins Fans, Ex-Players Gather For Emotional Farewell to Don Shula, Father of the Glory Days / If Sports Had A Spine, Kyrie Irving & Other Anti-Vaxxers Wouldn't Be Playing / Kyle Lowry Must Channel 'Doctor Of Greatness' If Heat Is To Chase NBA Title / Fairy Tale With Wrong Ending: Remembering Jose Fernandez 5 Years Later / Why It's Too Soon, And Dumb, To Quit On Tua As Dolphins Answer /  Hope And Hype Are Sky-High. Time For Florida Panthers To Finally Deliver / Miami Herald's 2021 NFL Team Rankings: You Won't Believe Where Dolphins are / Why Dolphins, Canes Should Be Taking Lead In Requiring Fans To Be COVID-Vaccinated / An Appreciation of Udonis Haslem As He Re-Ups For 19th Heat Season / College Football and FSU Lose a Treasure In Passing Of Bobby Bowden /  Biles' Withdrawal For Mental-Health Reasons Merits Empathy, Not Scorn / Where Dolphins Rank Among Teams With Longest Championship Droughts / Dolphins Owner Ross Unveils New $135 Million Training Site As Another Reason Team Must Win Now / Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security / May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's AliveMarlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards again this year ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz.

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

November 27, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! Our NFL Week 12 picks and my Thanksgiving column; plus latest Greg Cote Show podcast including worst Thanksgiving foods and Dolphins' No. 1 fan & more

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

Ht1) It's SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27. HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEKEND! Hope y'all had a glorious Bird Day! 2) I was back on the Le Batard Show with a soup recipe Tuesday. Check out that day's show podcasts. 3) Join me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast separately on TwitterInstagram and now TikTok, too! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast, NFL Week 11 picks, columns off Dolphins and Canes wins & more.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: WORST THANKSGIVING FOODS, DOLPHINS' NO. 1 FAN! NEW EPISODE OUT NOW: Our 45th episode of 2021 and 87th overall is out now! New pod drops every Monday at 7 ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 87 we've done HERE, free. In our newest episode: Meet orange-bearded Marc Angelo, the Miam Dolphins' nominee for 2021 NFL Fan of the Year. And Greg, Chris and Yeti share their picks for worst Thanksgiving foods -- the ones that should be kicked off the table. Plus, Chris' empty bags vs. Greg's umbrella misuse; Chris rips Scottie Pippen, Dolphins keep rollin', Lobos update and Quirk Line for you to call in. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Most podcasts are off this week for the holiday. NOT US!!! Please listen, rate, review and follow. (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET).

Picks NflbirdOUR NFL WEEK 12 PICKS!: Might not seem like it but this was the 16th year of Thanksgiving Day tripleheaders as Americans competed to see what they would be more full of come midnight: food, or football. The NFL has wrapped itself in the holiday since 1925, and the 1934 Bird Day game was the first to be broadcast nationally. Traditional host Detroit played in its 82nd game on the holiday, and Dallas hosted for the 44th straight year. Chicago made its 37th Thanksgiving appearance, Buffalo its 10th, the Raiders their eighth and New Orleans its fourth. Got all that? Quiz in the morning. We did lousy on our Bird Day picks, going 1-2 overall (got Buffalo's win) and 1-2 against the spread (got Detroit's cover). Hope we do better with the main schedule ahead. For all of this week's pick, visit NFL Week 12 Gems.

CotesTHIS THANKSGIVING MARKS 50 YEARS AT THE HERALD FOR US. AND A LIFETIME OF GRATITUDEMy mentor on these pages, the great Edwin Pope, left us almost five years ago at age 88. He used to write these heartfelt Thanksgiving columns every year that (full disclosure) made some of the younger writers roll our eyes a little bit. We loved and admired our leader so much, and yet we would smirk. We called these his annual “smell of new-mown grass” columns. The cynic would delight to note that the fresh-cut lawn scent we all know actually is produced by molecules released when plants including grass are damaged by insects, disease or other forces — like lawnmower blades. In effect, that pleasant smell is your lawn screaming it has just been cut in half. But I digress. The point is: Edwin had it exactly right. You appreciate the little things. You don’t overanalyze. You let your heart lead you to where your thankfulness and gratitude should go. You have faith it it will steer you right. I love Thanksgiving for the family and food and football, but mostly because it is the one holiday whose reason for being is to encourage that we stop, pause, reflect and appreciate. That can be tough at times. We have been surrounded by so much the past couple of years. The horrific COVID-19 pandemic we are still trying to get free of. The racial injustice and national discord that has turned civil to vile. Just Monday we awakened to the terrible headline involving a deranged SUV driver and a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The antidote is in the smile of my first grandchild, in her laughter and dance. She is not quite 4, and everything good and hopeful about the world and future radiate from her. She calls me “Pop.” I melt. For my full latest column -- a very personal one on a very special week: 50 Years At the Herald For Me -- And a Lifetime Of Gratitude.

Our other most recent columns: They're Alive! Dolphins, Tua Beat Jets For 3rd Straight As Revival Continues / and Diaz Smiles Through Rain & Pain As Canes Win,  Reach Bowl Game He May Not Be Around To Coach. Also: Hurricanes, Too Beholden to Past and UM Family, Need to Go Outside for new AD Hire / UM And Blake James Parted Ways With Class -- Which Butch Davis Didn't Get From FIU / and How Miami Dolphins Are Poised to Transform Their 1-7 Start Into Playoff Contention.

NFL WEEK 11 RESULTS:

(*) OUR PICKS: A STRONG WEEK BOTH WAYS FOR US: A down season for us so far, but an uplifting Week 11 both ways as we went 10-5 straght-up and 9-6 against the spread. That included a third straight bull's-eye on our Upset of the Week with Washington winning at Panthers, along with three other 'dogs-with-points covers.

(*) GREG'S LOBOS: LEAGUE-LEADING AND A 5TH STRAIGHT WIN!: The close games keep going our way. Lobos won 99-97 last week over Christie (Chris's wife), led by 21 points from Keenan Allen and 20 from Mike Evans. We are now 9-2 after five straight wins and alone in first place in the PFPI Fantasy regular season, our 10-team friends 'n family league, with three weeks left in the regular season.

(*) HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS: McCOY, BRADY AND TUA ON THE MARQUEE: Cardinals backup Colt McCoy wins Week 11 honors, the Bucs' Tom Brady maintains the No.1 spot overall, and Do,lphin Tua Tagovailao leaps five big spots in the Herald's updated rankings. Details and the latest Top 20: NFL Week 11 QB Rankings.

xxx

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ARCHIVES

Select other recent columns: Miracles Happen: Huge Defense, Tua Off Bench Help Fins Stun BaltimoreOh Brother! Heat-Nuggets' Family Feud Spices Season / Fins End 7-Game Skid -- But Only Because Texans Were Even Worse / Is Manny Diaz Saving Himself? Coach, Comeback Canes Win 3rd Straight. Also: Dolphins' Watson Lust Ruined Season, Damaged Tua. And That Starts With Owner Ross / Buffalo's Late Classlessness Aside, Miami Out Of Answers In 7th Straight Loss / U-Turn: UM Season, Diaz Future Looking Up With 2nd Straight Big Win / Quenneville Rightly Sacked as Panthers Coach Over 2010 Chicago Scandal / Dolphins Sabotaging Tua Season Over Misguided Infatuation With Watson / As Dolphins' Dysfunction Surrounds Him, 10 Ways Tua Is The Unluckiest Man On Earth / State of the Art: Heat, Miami's Best-Run Franchise, Sails In Opener / 'Time to Hunt': Cats' Hyped Season Off to Wild, Winning Start / Dolphins Fans, Ex-Players Gather For Emotional Farewell to Don Shula, Father of the Glory Days / If Sports Had A Spine, Kyrie Irving & Other Anti-Vaxxers Wouldn't Be Playing / Kyle Lowry Must Channel 'Doctor Of Greatness' If Heat Is To Chase NBA Title / Fairy Tale With Wrong Ending: Remembering Jose Fernandez 5 Years Later / Loss In Tampa Has Dolphins Season In Free Fall As Embarrassments Pile Up / Why It's Too Soon, And Dumb, To Quit On Tua As Dolphins Answer / Year Of Reckoning, And Impatience, For Slow-Starting Dolphins & Canes / With Ghosts Of Glory Days Watching, Dolphins Showed Inept Effort in Third Straight Loss / Hope And Hype Are Sky-High. Time For Florida Panthers To Finally Deliver / Miami Herald's 2021 NFL Team Rankings: You Won't Believe Where Dolphins are / Why Dolphins, Canes Should Be Taking Lead In Requiring Fans To Be COVID-Vaccinated / An Appreciation of Udonis Haslem As He Re-Ups For 19th Heat Season / Unraveled: The Story Behind Who Aubrey Huff Became / College Football and FSU Lose a Treasure In Passing Of Bobby Bowden / Biggest Victory Of Hall Of Famer Jimmy Johnson's Life Was Getting His Son Back / Biles' Withdrawal For Mental-Health Reasons Merits Empathy, Not Scorn / Where Dolphins Rank Among Teams With Longest Championship Droughts / Dolphins Owner Ross Unveils New $135 Million Training Site As Another Reason Team Must Win Now / Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security / May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz.

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

March 30, 2020

Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 5 out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10, Florida Derby's no-fans ghost race, longtime Herald sports writer buys racehorse and hits jackpot, time for NBA & NHL to shut down, latest 2 'Back In My Days' & more

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 30. Our new Greg Cote Show podcast now has its own Twitter and Instagram sites! Follow both at TheGregCoteShow. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Back In My Day (Quarantining), NBA controversy over coronavirus testing & more. 2) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

New 'Back In My Day': Streaming services!: It debuted on Tuesday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. Listen here. We're doing the show remotely from our homes these days, me via Zoom. Sound isn't great. Hope you enjoy, anyway! Starts around the 23:15 mark of Hour 1. 

CoteshowHEAR NEW GREG COTE SHOW PODCAST -- EPISODE 5!: Our new Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," premiered this month and Episode 5 is now available! You can find a new Greg Cote Show out every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Or find all five episodes we've done including the new one directly right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! Our podcast is a variety show, sports and non-sports, 3-0-5 and national, fun and (when absolutely necessary) serious. In new Episode 5 we interview the man who brought notorious sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein to justice. There's fun stuff, too, as we share things we're doing in the Stay at Home era, I get mocked over halibut fishing and we introduce a new Q&A feature called Greg's Mail Sack. Check it out now HERE!

'BACK IN MY DAY': QUARANTINING!: I talk about being hunkered down at home in this recent BIMD, which probably has generated more favorable reaction than any I've done. Here is the link to it from the Le Batard Show's Instagram: Back In My Day; Quarantining!

My column on (but not at) the Florida Derby: Tiz the Law won the ghost race. No fans. No cheering. Clark Spencer's horse finished fourth. My column: In Midst Of Pandemic, A Horse Race.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 29-30): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. CORONAVIRUS: A sports ponders when and how the games will resume: America is two full weeks into staying at home and turning hand-washing into an art to fight the still-growing global coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. And adjusting to a life without sports as leagues try to figure out when they'll be able to resume and play a major role in our return to normalcy.

2. OLYMPICS: Summer Games in Tokyo delayed a full year: The IOC finally relented, found its senses, and announced the 2020 Games set to start in late July will now be the 2021 Olympics. 

3. HORSE RACING: Tiz the Law wins the "ghost race" Florida Derby: xStrong favorite Tiz the Law won the 69th Florida Derby Saturday on a race day with no fans and no media allowed.

4. MLB: The Opening Day that never happened: Opening Day on March 26 found baseball shuttered and wondering when it might start, increasingly likely with a shortened season. Meantime Strat-O-Matic is simulating the entire season, surprising those who were unaware the board game still existed.

5. DOLPHINS: Fins use social distancing to intro new free agents: Miami introduced its newly signed free agents led by cornerback Byron Jones in a video press conference via the Zoom app.

6. HEAT: Haslem scolds spring breakers in his town: The Heat's Miami-born Udonis Haslem damned spring breakers for partying in his city and being slow to leave in The Players Tribune.

7. DREW BREES: Saints QB makes huge donation to fight virus: Brees donated $5 million to Louisiana toward feed the needy and helping health car workers. Hero.

8. DORIS BURKE: ESPN fixture reveals she has virus: Burke, ESPN's much-loved NBA broadcaster, says she is now asymptomatic and feeling better. 

9. NHL: Hockey postpones three June events: The 2020 NHL Scouting Combine (June 1-6), awards show (June 18) and draft (June 26-27) all were indefinitely postponed.

10. AUTO RACING: Indianapolis 500 postponed: The biggest of the IndyCar races will be delayed three months, moving from May 24 to, it hopes, August 23. 

Missing the HB10 cut: The Greg Cote Show podcast, Episode 5, is out Monday morning! Please listen, subscribe, rate, review and stay home ..... WNBA will hold its April 17 draft virtually, and televise it. You hearing that, NFL? ..... UFC starJon (Bones) Jones got arrested for DUI and firearms possession. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Can we please stop acting like guys playing video games (i.e. teams in the Overwatch League) are playing an actual sport? ..... Marlins "classic games" are being replayed on 940 WINZ. Yes, wise guy, there actually are a few ..... Keep booing the sign-stealing Astros, please. Even when they're not playing ..... R.I.P., Curly Neal, all-time Harlem Globetrotters great ..... And in other news, Eric Dickerson says the new Rams logo "looks like a penis" ..... Update: Countdown now 2,282 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup, by which time hopefully we're all out of our houses.

LONGTIME HERALD SPORTS WRITER BUYS RACEHORSE, HITS JACKPOT: [Thanks to Peter King for naming this his Spots Column of the Week] "This all started the day I got hit in the [crotch] my last day on the job." And thus begins the unlikely tale of a South Florida man who retired after a long career, bought a small share of a racehorse on a whim and on Saturday will watch his thoroughbred run in the prestigious Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park Clarkjose Thegovwith a chance to qualify for the postponed Kentucky Derby and a shot at winning the Triple Crown. Clark Spencer is the man who played the lottery for the first time and won. A gamble that almost always proves to be a losing proposition and major money drain — owning a racehorse — has a chance in this case to be profitable. The name should be familiar to Miami Herald readers. Spencer, of Pembroke Pines, was a journalist 40 years and a Herald sportswriter for 30, first covering horse racing, and the last 20 as the Marlins baseball beat writer. That ended last year during spring training in late February in Jupiter. Clark was standing outside foul line 150 feet away during batting practice, looking down at his phone. He heard someone yell, "Heads up!" It was too late. The baseball hit him squarely in that most sensitive of anatomical regions, and he fell to the ground in agony. He was OK, but, "maybe it was a sign," Clark says. At that time the Herald was offering early retirement buyouts. He accepted and suddenly was a 60-year-old retired man looking for something to do. And, man, did he find something. This is a fun, feelgood story at a time when maybe we all could use one of those. For my full latest column (no paywall!), please visit How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Saturday's No-Fans Florida Derby. Pictured: Left, Clark at his old job, chatting with the late Jose Fernandez; and right, Gouverneur Morris, the racehorse he lucked into buying into. 

OlytokyoOLYMPICS POSTPONED. TIME FOR NBA, NHL TO ALSO SHUT IT DOWN FOR THE YEAR, END SEASONS: Sports, collectively, has difficult choices ahead. They are about more than safety. They are moral decisions, too. Monday came reports the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be postponed until 2021. That’s smart. Canada and Australia already had withdrawn. There would have been mounting and justified pressure on the U.S. to do the same had the Games started this July 24 as scheduled. Sports and leagues around the world debate when to return to play, but sports, collectively, don’t matter right now — not when we are in the middle of a global pandemic, at war with coronavirus/COVID-19. The plague already has killed nearly 20,000. It is not nearly contained. Some projections estimate it could result in two million or more deaths in the United States this year alone. This is a war we quite literally cannot afford to lose. Everything is weird right now. By government edict or common sense, we practice “social distancing,” avoid crowds, “self-quarantine” in our homes. We miss our sports so much. Our home teams, the simply pleasure and comforting routine of seasons, of cheering crowds, of yelling at the ump. We know that the eventual return of sports will be a major symbol of our return to normalcy. We long for that. The simple normalcy more than the games. And yet we know this is not the time. Not when health care is under siege, doctors and nurses fighting this war under-equipped. Not when this thing is not nearly contained. And not until it is. For our full recent column (no paywall), please visit Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons

Our other most recent columns:

Backlash Over NBA Coronavirus Testing Mirrors Growing Anxiety, the New National Mood

Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval

Dolphins' Most Important Rebuilding Is Yet to Come

Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go?

Desperate Fans Turn to NFL After Reality Of First Weekend With No Games

Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified

It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks.

Select additional recent columns: Repentant Cheater A-Rod Slams Astros With Lesson On How to Handle Their Own Scandal / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / As NFL Free Agency & Draft Near, All You Need To Know About Dolphins' QB Situation / Beckham, Inter Miami Survive To Finally Reach Opening Week / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Why Marlins Aren't Pursuing Puig All About Change In Ownership / and Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / It's Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Poor Dolphins Finally Getting Rid Of Brady Only to Have Mahomes Take His Place / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team.

Visit Greg Cote Column Headquarters, and revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Author of 'Fins At 50,' available on Amazon. Regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. Follow on Twitter @gregcoteAnd check and our new The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote podcast HERE and listen, subscribe, rate and review for free!

March 05, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): A new No. 1 not used to being there, and see what else falls where; plus our APSE-winning columns, Miami's Top 25 Sports Figures & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 5. Surprise and delight the Dolfans in your life with our Fins At 50 book. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ranking Miami's Top 25 Sports Figures for 2018, thank you APSE & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Ranking Miami's 2018 Top 25 Sports Figures: I last did one of these in late 2015 and man has a lot changed around here in two-plus years. Does Dwyane Wade hang on to No. 1? Where do newcomers Derek Jeter and David Beckham land? Who's the top Dolphin? You're a click away from those answers and more. For the column and full list, click Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018.

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

Hot1. PANTHERS: Six straight! Cats surging toward playoff pace: The HB10 doesn't often smile this much on the Panthers, but they've been as good as any team in NHL the past five weeks, winning 13 of the past 16 games including six straight after Sunday's 4-1 win over Philly in a home matinee. Florida is today one only one point off playoff pace but with three games in hand. Cats failed to make a trade-deadline deal, but apparently no help is needed, thanks.

2. HURRICANES: UM men open ACC tourney; women out: Jim Larranaga's Cardiac Canes ended regular season with four straight wins by three points or less to finish 22-8 entering the men's ACC Tournament in Brooklyn. UM opens Thursday night vs. winner of North Carolina  vs. Syracuse or Wake Forest. Meanwhile Katie Meier's Canes women followed a 20-9 season with a 1-1 ACC run, beating Wake Forest then being eliminated by Florida State. Both UM teams should get an NCAA Tournament invite, the men more assuredly.

3. DOLPHINS: Combine, Landry, Quinn fill busy week: With top receiver Jarvis Landry hot on the trading block, Miami dealt a 4th-round draft pick to the Rams for starting-caliber defensive end Robert Quinn. Meantime the NFL Scouting Combine in Indy wrapped up this weekend with coach Adam Gase giving incumbent QB Ryan Tannehill a strong vote of confidence ... and Dolfans left to wonder if that's a good thing.

4. HEAT: Miami gets lift from homestand: Miami hardly seemed a playoff team in that defenseless 131-113 home loss to the Lakers but is 3-1 on this homestand. As Heat hosted its annual Family Fest for fans on Sunday, team had lost nine of its past 12 before beating Detroit here Saturday -- the team chasing Miami for that eighth and last East playoff spot. Heat is erratic but it appears depth will earn a postseason ticket.

5. MARLINS: Hot spring so far for Fish: Little is expected this season of the Fire-Sale Fish, but they're 6-3-1 this spring entering Monday. I know. It's meaningless. A mirage. A dream. Still, um, can we start the playoffs right now!? 

6. HORSE RACING: Big upset in Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream:  Quite a spring for the Hallandale Beach track. The Pegasus World Cup just ran and the Florida Derby is coming; now, Sunday brought the Fountain of Youth Stakes, a Kentucky Derby prep race highlighted by 7-5 betting pick Good Magic. Alas, 18-1 longshot Promises Fulfilled led wire to wire to cast the Derby picture into unfocused confusion.

7. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Six days 'til Selection Sunday: Brackets ready? March Madness will be upon us in six days, after this week's conference tournament results dole out automatic bids and let the bubble teams make their case.

8. ALY RAISMAN: Olympic gymnast sues over Nassar scandal: Gold-medalist Aly Raisman is suing the U.S. Olympics Committee and USA Gymnastics over the Dr. Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Right on! This will settle, because there's no way those two shamed groups will want to endure further shame in open court. 

9. SOCCER: MLS in Miami, yes, but where still in doubt: Major League Soccer's 23rd season began this week. Miami will have an expansion team in the 25th. But where will team's permanent home be? Overtown as assumed? A larger site in Doral? Somewhere else? If David Beckham doesn't even know, we sure can't.

10. UM BASEBALL: Canes face rival FIU, begin ACC play this week: Slow-starting UM is 5-6 after two straight wins, but the season gets interesting starting this week. Wednesday the Canes visit rival FIU, then host Notre Dame in a series launching the ACC schedule. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Well, [bleep], I made the national Top 10 in column writing from the Associated Press Sports Editors this week, a pretty big deal in the sports journalism biz, and if Greg Cote can't brag in his own damned blog, where can he  brag!? ..... When do the Winter Olympics start? In South Korea, right? ..... Jerry Jones vs. Roger Goodell. Any way they can both lose? ..... Sentences I Never Imagined Writing, one in a series: "New manager Dave Martinez had a trio of camels brought to Nationals spring training to help players get over franchise playoff hump" ..... And another: "J.R. Smith threw soup at a Cavaliers assistant coach." What a terrible waste of soup! ..... Keep doing what you're doing, Stoneman Douglas survivors and other students. Show us the way. The world is watching.

ICYMI: OUR APSE CONTEST-WINNING COLUMNS: These were the five submitted 2017 columns that earned us a Top 10 national designation from the Associated Press Sports Editors:

March 1: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing.

April 22: Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose.

May 15: NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering.

July 24: What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer.

October 1: With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional recent columns: For One Night: Magic City  /  Fins Must Find Their Future  /  Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed  /  Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season  /  Will You Make The Leap Of Faith The Marlins Are Asking? And our two on the Parkland tragedy: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing. Also: UM Morally Right, But Will the Force (Majeure) Be With Them? LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami. Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Others: Richt Building Something Big & Something To LastDear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerNo Way to Escape Her ShameThe Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksWade Will End Where He BelongsRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 03, 2018

Ranking Miami/SoFla's Top 25 Sports Figures in 2018. New column!; plus thank you, APSE: 3 ways I'm grateful, and 1 reason it doesn't matter; also, Magic City for one night & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MARCH 3. Happy to be done with sad February. Welcome, new month! 2) Surprise and delight the Dolfans in your life with our Fins At 50 book. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): This is week Dolphins must find their future, latest Back In My Day video (Uber!) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DwadeRANKING MIAMI/SOFLA'S 2018 TOP 25 SPORTS FIGURES: I last did one of these in late 2015 and man has a lot changed around here in two-plus years. Does Dwyane Wade hang on to No. 1? Where do newcomers Derek Jeter and David Beckham land? Who's the top Dolphin? You're a click away from all of those answers and many more. For the column and full list, click Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018.

Our most recent other columns:  For One Night: Magic City  /  Fins Must Find Their Future  /  Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed  /  Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season  /  Will You Make The Leap Of Faith The Marlins Are Asking? And our two on the Parkland tragedy: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing.

THANK YOU, APSE: THREE WAYS I'M GRATEFUL, AND ONE REASON IT DOESN'T MATTER: Yesterday the Associated Press Sports Editors completed its annual contest judging, and look who turned up as Top 10 in column writing. Yep, me. The five columns the Miami Herald entered for me are listed below. I'd like to tell you three reasons why I'm honored by this, and one reason why it doesn't matter:

Apse(*) I'm honored because the APSE awards are to written sports journalism what the Oscars are to actors. It's national. It's the big prize. And in my case, the Miami Herald is in the major-outlet category (over-175,000 circulation), and so our competition is the likes of the New York Times, Boston Globe, USA Today, L.A. Times and ESPN.com. It was me against the giants, so it pleases me to be placed in their company. (By the way, I laughed out loud the first time I saw on Twitter that, in my case, some joked that they thought "over 175,000" was an age category. Funny!).

(*) I'm honored because variety is the thing I like most about my job. I have been a beat writer who covers the same team every day, and, for me, it got boring. Column writing presents me a blank palette, more freedom to roam. I go for variety in my subject matter, and so it was very pleasing to me that of the five 2017 columns chosen by my boss to enter in the contest, none were standard Dolphins/Heat/UM football fare. All were off the beaten path to a degree.

(*) And I'm honored because the columns of mine that got me in the top 10 offer a little bit of a lesson, I think, for the evolving newspaper business, which, in its increasing and understandable emphasis on the digital product over the print product, is increasingly obsessed with writing only stuff that generates a lot of online "clicks," and eliminating subject matter that does not. I think most of my five winning columns were probably not click monsters, but resonated very much with those who did read them. Sometimes, that still needs to be enough.

(*) Now, why it doesn't matter is because of the capriciousness of contests and judging, the randomness of it. I have always believed that about writing awards; now I can say it without it sounding like sour grapes. There is no validation here. I have had better years and better columns, but got lucky that these five happened to resonate with enough judges who liked them. Hundreds of sports writers who've never been handed a plaque are doing good work every year, every day. Keep it up, brothers and sisters, because it's always about readers, not judges.

Thanks to all of our readers, listeners, followers, clickers and thinkers -- especially those loyal long-timers. Now here are the five 2017 columns that happened to win for me:

March 1: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing.

April 22: Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose.

May 15: NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering.

July 24: What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer.

October 1: With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional columns: UM Morally Right, But Will the Force (Majeure) Be With Them? LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami. Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Also: Richt Building Something Big & Something To LastDear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerNo Way to Escape Her ShameThe Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksWade Will End Where He BelongsRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 10, 2017

Thank you, Mae Riback. Story of how I (finally) met my oldest fan; plus Luddite's Anti-Analytics Heat MVP race, Canes await Selection Sunday, Dolphins bashed for Stills/Branch deals, background on why 'Ballad Of 1440' happened, Hot Button Daily & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, March 10. Who is panicking more right now: the fading Panthers, losers of six of past seven and now six points back in NHL playoff chase? Or Jim Morris, whose baseball Canes are 2-8 since starting 2-0? 2) Know any Dolfans? Buy them all our new book on club's first half-century, Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): "The Ballad of 1440" video debut, the dead we forgot (Ghost Tour addendum), Jimmy Buffett's retirement communities, Marlins odds & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Canes blown out in ACC quarters, await Selection Sunday: UM lost Thursday 78-53 to top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels in ACC Tournament in Brooklyn. Nobody except super freshman Bruce Brown (21 points) scored in double figures for UM. Canes had beaten Syracuse 62-57 on Saturday led by two  men who know Brooklyn well in coach Jim Larranaga and senior forward Kamari Murphy. Click on At Home in Brooklyn for my column off Saturday's win. Next: Selection Sunday should find Miami a mid-seed for NCAA Tournament, with an 8 vs. 9 opener most likely.

THANK YOU, MAE RIBACK: There are no "average readers." The story of most every life is a tale worth telling, which brings us to Mae Riback of Hollywood. Next week she will turn 104 -- still alert, still reading the Miami Herald daily, still turning to the sports section first. She had written me a lovely letter in late 2015, kind words in appreciation of my writing. She said how she Tinyhad read me for decades, told me I should write a book. She apologized for tremors in her penmanship, noting she was then 102. Her letter sat in a cardboard box, unseen, for 18 months. I rarely visit my office, and almost never answer envelope mail, because readers reach me by email 95 percent of the time. But on a recent visit to our Doral building I went through old mail that had accumulated, tossing most of it but somehow drawn to open this one envelope. Guilt overrode me. Here this centenarian had taken time to write such a kind letter, and I had ignored it! Eighteen months later, as I finally wrote back, I dreaded I might be too late. I cannot tell you who was happier when she called me on the number I'd given. We met this week, at the Hollywood apartment she shares with a fulltime aide in the Hillcrest area. Her handshake was unexpectedly firm. She uses a walker and struggles to hear but is sharp, and looked 20 years younger than I'd imagined. I gave her a copy of my Herald book, "Fins At 50," which I'd signed. She has been a Dolphins fan for years. ("But they annoy me lately!" she said). Ms. Riback was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. but moved here in 1971 after a 25-year career teaching phys-ed. She loved tennis and golf, so retiring with her husband to South Florida was a dream. Her aide produces a Sept. 30, 1950 page from The Grossinger Times with Mae "Tiny" Riback in a headline for having won a tennis tournament. Only 0.02 percent of Americans live to be 100. I asked how she explains her longevity. "I played. I moved all the time," she said. "Tennis I was best at, but sports, to me, were No. 1." Her racket is retired now but she remains active. Plays bridge every week. Reads the Herald voraciously, devours CNN or CNBC to stay up on current events. We parted with another strong handshake, and this time she asked me to lean down so she might kiss my cheek. She was was delighted by our meeting, and said she'd tell everyone she knew all about it. Tiny, the pleasure and honor were mine. [Click on Thank You, Mae Riback to see the column as it appears online

UPDATED: THE LUDDITE'S ANTI-ANALYTICS HEAT MVP STANDINGS (65 GAMES)Points. Rebounds. Assists. That's it. With tongue only partly in cheek, we go old-school, strip it down, combine the Original Big Three statistical categories, and offer a running, cumulative race for 2016-17 Heat team MVP. We bring you updated standings at five-game intervals. With Miami now 31-34 after Wednesday night's home win over Charlotte, here's The Luddite's 13th installment, with 60-game rank in parentheses.

The Luddite's Anti-Analytics Heat MVP Standings (65 games):

Luddite1. Hassan Whiteside (1)      1,869

2. Goran Dragic (2)             1,721

3. James Johnson (3)          1,207

4. Tyler Johnson (4)            1,189

5. Dion Waiters (5)               994

6. Rodney McGruder (6)      674

7. Wayne Ellington (7)         651

8. Josh Richardson (9)         561

9. Willie Reed (8)                558

10. Luke Babbitt (10)          421

Others: Justise Winslow 355, Derrick Williams 234, Josh McRoberts 232, Okaro White 154, Udonis Haslem 72.

ESPN ANALYST SLAMS DOLPHINS' RE-SIGNING OF STILLS, BRANCH: While some in the local media genuflect over the Dolphins re-signing their own free agents in receiver Kenny Stills (pictured) and defensive end Andre Branch, at least one prominent ESPN analyst slams the deals. Bill Barnwell grades each a "D+" (ouch) in this analysis of early free-agent activity. (Teams may begin signing others' unrestricted free agents beginning at 4 p.m. today). An excerpt/synopsis of Barnwell's criticism of the Stills deal: "Miami shelled out $20 million in guarantees as part of a four-year, $3e2 million deal to bring its third wideout back to South Florida. The Dolphins are bringing back a player coming off a nine-touchdown season, one that isn't Stillssupported by usage rate and is almost guaranteed to regress toward the mean. In terms of total production during his two seasons with the Dolphins, Stills is 77th in the league in receptions and 57th in receiving yards. Nobody's expecting him to catch a high percentage of his passes because he is thrown so many deep balls, but Stills has the fifth-worst catch rate in the league among guys with 100 or more targets the past two seasons, at 47.9 percent. Because it takes so many passes for him to hook up with his quarterback, the Dolphins generate only 8.1 yards per Stills target, which is 35th in the league. Unless the Dolphins target Stills more, he isn't going to offer much of a return on this deal. Where are those targets coming from? Jarvis Landry probably isn't going anywhere. DeVante Parker has at least two years left on his rookie deal and has looked brilliant when healthy. The Dolphins committed to a run-heavy approach once Jay Ajayi got the starting job last season. This is the same organization that traded three picks, including their third- and fourth-round selections in the 2017 draft, to move up and grab Rutgers wideout Leonte Carroo in April. Carroo now has no path to a meaningful role in the offense one year after he was worth what amounted to a mid-second-round pick off draft capital. Carroo might very well be a bust, but it's both too early to judge and a horrible sign for Miami's ability to gauge talent if he's a sure-fire failure after one season. Mike Tannenbaum is paying for the player the Dolphins want Stills to be, which is something approximating DeSean Jackson. At 24, Stills could develop into that sort of player, but he hasn't been that guy yet in his career. This is a receiver who has one 100-yard game (and that was exactly 100 yards) in his time with the Dolphins, a wideout who did most of his damage against average-or-worse pass defenses, such as those of the Bills, Browns, Bengals, 49ers and Jets last season. That's a guy worth taking a shot on, but even in this inflated market, $20 million in guarantees is an exorbitant sum." Now, Barnwell's criticism of the Branch deal: "The Dolphins have one of the league's most expensive defensive lines, anchored by two elite players in Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake. They wanted a third pass-rusher last offseason and paid a premium for Mario Williams while quietly adding Branch, a former Jaguars bust, on a one-year, $2.5 million deal to serve as a backup. Williams busted in spectacular (if predictable) fashion, while Branch was a useful reserve, racking up 5.5 sacks and 12 hits on 430 pass rush attempts. You would think that the Dolphins would figure that most players are going to look effective playing next to two Hall of Fame-caliber defenders and allow Branch to leave while signing the next buy-low opportunity to play alongside Suh and Wake. Instead, the Dolphins paid a hefty premium to keep Branch around, giving him $27 million over three years. Much depends on the structure of this deal, but in a draft exceedingly deep in pass-rushers, Miami likely overpaid to hold onto a player whom it could have replaced at a fraction of the cost." My take: Somewhere between the local fawning and Barnwell's harsh view is the truth. The Dolphins kept two very useful players in Stills and Branch ... but paid dearly, likely paid too much.

HOT BUTTON DAILY / FRI 3-10-17: What events on today's sports calendar should interest SoFla most:

1. Minnesota at Panthers, 7:30 p.m.: Fading Cats have lost 6 of 7, now 6 points off NHL playoff pace.

2. United States vs. Colombia, 6 p.m.: U.S. opener in World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park.

3. ACC Tournament semifinals, 7 p.m.: It's Duke-North Carolina and then Florida State-Notre Dame.

4. Florida vs. Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.: No. 2-seed Gators men debut in SEC Tournament in Nashville.

5. Georgia Tech at Hurricanes, 7 p.m.: UM baseball, off to 4-8 start, hosts ACC opener.

'THE BALLAD OF 1440': HOW, WHY IT HAPPENED: "Greg, why are you standing in your very messy garage, appearing in a very homemade video and singing while wearing a suit and cowboy hat?" It is a reasonable question. Why the suit and hat is hard to answer. I guess I just felt like it, and wanted something that might stand out visually. The rest of it is easier to answer. I have 1440always enjoyed singing, which is not the same as claiming I have a good voice, which I do not. (I have an earnest voice that means well). "The Singing Sportswriter" used to be an alter-ego of mine on Dan LeBatard's radio show as I'd write what were meant to be humorous parodies related to sports. A few years ago I recorded a serious song, called "Letting Go," that my late friend Alan Cherry had written. This new song, "The Ballad Of 1440," was borne of nostalgia, wistfulness and gratitude. The newspaper business, socked hard, is working hard to reinvent itself. I have grown old enough to have retirement now on the back burner. My mentor, Edwin Pope, just died. These things together led me to reflect on growing up and falling into the career I did -- how unexpected that was, and how lucky I am. I happened to hear an old and obscure song called "Muswell Hillbilly" and though the structure would adapt well to autobiographical lyrics I could write. "1440" is the street address where I grew up in Hollywood, Florida, and the song is about how I'll always be that little barefoot, lower-middle-class kid who was the first in his family to go to college. The video, shot by my oldest son Christopher, includes opening and closing credits (with a dedication), and is interspersed with several old family photos of me when I was a boy. The song may be hard for some to take seriously -- it is, after all, me singing in a messy garage wearing a cowboy hat! -- but know that the sentiment behind it is genuine. This is meant as a thank-you to a lot of people who have helped me along the way, including our most loyal and longtime Miami Herald readers and radio listeners. I hope you enjoy it and in case you missed it,the video is below:

Select recent columns: Thank You, Mae Riback, as I (finally) meet my oldest fan. At Home in Brooklyn, on UM's win over Syracuse in ACC tourney. A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, on our history of defunct teams. A Tradition Ends In Silence, on Doral's first March without a PGA Tour event since 1961. Also: Amar'e Joins the Shame Club.  NFL's Arrested Development.  The Wonder of Coach L.  The Miracle of Liberty City.  Is Whiteside the Whale Heat Needs?  French Embassy and Cuban Smuggling: Play Ball!  Loria: The End Of An Error.  Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 01, 2017

PopeFest: Thanks for making celebration of Edwin Pope a huge success! Sharing thoughts and videos; plus over/under on Marlins wins, The Luddite's Anti-Analytics Heat MVP Standings (60 games), my NFL player-arrests column, Hot Button Daily & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, March 1. Happy new month, all! 2) You a Dolfan? Know any? Buy our new book on club's first half-century, Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, World OutGames Miami, your Tannehill vs. 3 options verdict, Seinfeld on his game & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Over/under on Marlins wins: MLB victory over/unders via Bovada find Cubs on top at 95.5. In NL East it's Nationals 90.5, Mets 88.5, Marlins 76.5, and Braves and Phillies both 73.5.

My latest column: NFL still all over map on arrested players: The NFL has banned certain player with arrest histories from this week's Scouting Combine, but will welcome those same into its draft. College and pro football could get serious on this if they chose, but it's easier (and self-serving) to just pretend to care. Click on NFL's Arrested Development for my latest column.

Popefest2'EDWIN POPE DAY' IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY CRESCENDOS WITH CELEBRATION: Thanks to the hundreds who showed up last night for PopeFest at The Clevelander/Marlins Park -- a celebration of the life and career of the late, great Miami Herald sports columnist Edwin Pope. Dan LeBatard and I were pleased to co-host the event in honor of our great friend and mentor. Guests included championship football coach Howard Schnellenberger, Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese, Miami-Dade School Board icon G. Holmes Braddock, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Dave Barry, sports broadcasting's Hank Goldberg, ESPN's Amin Elhassan and king of Liberty City Luther (Uncle Luke) Campbell, in addition to Heat, Dolphins and Orange Bowl Committee officials. The crowd also includes readers, of course, folks who never met Edwin but felt like they knew him through his writing. Evening highlights included the proclamation of "Edwin Pope Day" by Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez. Here are couple of videos from last night.

Video 1: LeBatard, Cote and Hank Goldberg share thoughts and feelings about Edwin Pope:

Video 2: Cote welcomes the crowd, mayor proclaims "Edwin Pope Day":

UPDATED: THE LUDDITE'S ANTI-ANALYTICS HEAT MVP STANDINGS (60 GAMES)Points. Rebounds. Assists. That's it. With tongue only partly in cheek, we go old-school, strip it down, combine the Original Big Three statistical categories, and offer a running, cumulative race for 2016-17 Heat team MVP. We bring you updated standings at five-game intervals. With Miami now 27-33 after Monday night's 96-89 loss at Dallas, here's The Luddite's 12th installment, with 55-game rank in parentheses.

LudditeThe Luddite's Anti-Analytics Heat MVP Standings (60 games):

1. Hassan Whiteside (1)      1,734

2. Goran Dragic (2)             1,580

3. James Johnson (3)          1,120

4. Tyler Johnson (4)            1,107

5. Dion Waiters (5)               885

6. Rodney McGruder (6)      626

7. Wayne Ellington (7)         562

8. Willie Reed (9)                523

9. Josh Richardson (8)         495

10. Luke Babbitt (11)          370

Others: Justise Winslow 355, Derrick Williams 234, Josh McRoberts 232, Okaro White 120, Udonis Haslem 72.

HOT BUTTON DAILY / WED 3-1-17: What events on today's sports calendar should interest SoFla most:

1. Philadelphia at Heat, 7:30 p.m.: Miami enters game 2 back of 8th place in playoff chase.

2. Marlins at Houston, 1:05 p.m.: Spring game vs. Astros in West Palm Beach.

3. Arkansas at Gators, 7 p.m.: No. 12 UF men in next-to-last regular season game.

4. ACC women's tournament, 1 p.m.: In Conway, S.C., with UM Hurricanes' first game Thursday.

5. NHL trade deadline, 3 p.m.: But no big Panthers deals expected.

Select other recent columns: The Wonder of Coach L, off Canes' win over Duke, on job Jim Larranaga has done this season. It's What's Great About Sports, on Heat and Panthers' concurrent surge. The Miracle of Liberty City, on how youth football there is about more than scoring TDs. Also: Is Whiteside the Whale Heat Needs? French Embassy and Cuban Smuggling: Play Ball! Loria: The End Of An Error. Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 21, 2017

Details on open-to-the-public Miami celebration of the late, great Edwin Pope; plus the magic of Liberty City youth football (with video), Greg Cote at age 7, Hot Button Daily & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, February 21. Hope you all enjoyed your Presidents Day, to the degree that's still possible in 2017. 2) Our Miami Dolphins book on club's first half-century makes a great gift for any Dolfan you know. Click on Fins At 50 to order. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Whiteside column, your Marlins-expectations verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

EpopeDETAILS: CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF EDWIN POPE IN A PUBLIC EVENT IN MIAMI: A public celebration in honor of the late, great Miami Herald sports columnist Edwin Pope has been set for next Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Clevelander bar inside Marlins Park. A private ceremony was held this past weekend in Okeechobee for Pope, who passed away Jan. 19 at age 88, but this will be the first event in his honor held in Miami and open to the public. The celebration is free and will include an open bar and light food. However, only a limited number of invitees may be chosen from those who RSVP and describe what Pope meant to them in a Herald career that began in 1967 through his retirement as full-time sports columnist in 2003. RSVPs should be emailed as soon as possible to: edwinpopememorial@gmail.com. The event is being hosted by two of Edwin's biggest fans, ESPN Radio's Dan Le Batard and the Herald's Greg Cote. Hey. That's me!

NEW DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHTS THE MAGIC OF LIBERTY CITY YOUTH FOOTBALL: I was pleased to interview Miami icon Luther Campbell (Uncle Luke, pictured) yesterday for my new column to help promote a forthcoming Libcity Lukedocumentary film about the Liberty City Optimist youth football program he helped found more than 20 years ago. It has produced current NFL stars such as Antonio Brown, Amari Cooper, Devonta Freeman, Teddy Bridgewater and Duke Johnson and continues to be a thriving community focal point on Saturdays during football season. I wrote about this now because the film, Rivals: The Boom Squad, is premiering Wednesday night at 10:30 on the Viceland cable channel. Click Viceland.com and click channel finder to track down where you can see it. There also will be a live local showing of the 45-minute film on Sunday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 N.W. 22nd Ave., Miami. A 30-second trailer is presented directly below. The Liberty City Warriors, Gwen Cherry Bulls and other teams thrive because they are needed in a city that can be a tough place for kids to grow up, too often under the threat of gun violence. It is about more than football. As Campbell told us, "Our purpose is to save lives." Click on The Miracle of Liberty City to ready my full column.

HOT BUTTON DAILY / TUE 2-21-17: What events on today's sports calendar should interest SoFla most:

1. Marlins spring training, 9:30 a.m.: Another workday in Jupiter, with spring games starting next weekend.

2. South Carolina at Gators, 7 p.m.: No. 13 UF hosts 'Cocks in SEC men's game.

3. Delray Beach Open, 11 a.m.: Second-tier men's ATP event continues.

Other select recent columns: Is Whiteside the Whale Heat Needs?, my new one, surveying Heat at the all-star break. French Embassy and Cuban Smuggling: Play Ball!, from the start of Marlins spring training. Also: Loria: The End Of An Error, on team's reported possible sale. Spoelstra Leads the Parade, on the man at the wheel of recent long win streak. Give the Devils Their Due, on Belichick and Brady. Home Run For Montoya, Miami, from the Race of Champions here. Thank You, Edwin Pope, on the death of a friend, mentor and Miami Herald icon.

GREG COTE, AGE 7: In the autobiographical song I'll soon post on social media, called "The Ballad of 1440," there is a lyric that refers to "Tonka tanks on a pebble drive." Well, lo and behold, looking through scrapbooks, I unearthed an old photo (very) of me around age 7 playing with said tank. Wish I still had it. I leave you with that ghostly photo today...

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 18, 2017

How will Marlins do this season? Set the early bar on expectations. Poll. Last day to vote!; plus Cam Wake, my Fish column, Edwin Pope news, what Kate Upton is (not) wearing, ode to the Monopoly thimble, new Hot Button Daily & more

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

Mepic1) It is SATURDAY, February 18. We're about to put out a new song, "The Ballad of 1440," an autobiographical tale of a little boy in Hollywood, Florida who grew up to have an unexpected life. Click on image at left to see larger version. Will post a video of song on social media later this month. Stay tuned. 2) Our Miami Dolphins book on club's first half-century makes a great gift for any Dolfan you know. Click on Fins At 50 to order. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Trump sticks nose in Marlins' sale, Branden Albert, Shane Battier, 3 Fins in PFF 101, Fish farm barren, your Villain Purge verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Dolphins extend Cam Wake contract: Announced today, it's through the 2018 season.

My new Marlins column: From Jupiter and the team's first full-squad workday of spring training, I wrote of how nothing is ever simple for this team. Still getting over the Jose Fernandez grief, now the players deal with questions about the prospective sale of the team and other off-field stuff. Click on French Embassy and Cuban Smuggling: Play Ball! to read.

Edwin Pope news: The Miami Herald longtime former sports columnist, who passed away earlier this year,  is being honored today in Okeechobee in a private celebration for family, friends and colleagues. There had been no public event planned. However, myself and Dan LeBatard are putting together a Miami event to honor Edwin that will be free and open to the public. Stay tuned for details. 

MattinglyWHAT IS YOUR OPTIMISM ON MARLINS SEASON AS TEAM STAGES FIRST FULL-SQUAD SPRING WORKOUT?: I'll be up in Jupiter for a column today as the Marlins stage their first full-squad workout of the spring. Much swirls around this team (as usual). The tragic offseason death of Jose Fernandez is a huge loss both from emotional and baseball standpoints. Now the team also deals with the distracting speculation about Jeffrey Loria selling the team and the White House-related Kushner family maybe buying and the possible offer to Loria of an ambassadorship to France (!) tossing a monkey wrench. But somewhere amid all of that there will be a baseball season, Miami's second under manager Don Mattingly (pictured). Most NL East estimations are that the Nationals are clear favorites and the Mets are next, with the Marlins in the middle -- better, at least, than the Braves and Phillies. The playoffs seem a longshot. Again. Although the Marlins toying around with .500 and contention seems plausible. We invite your thoughts on the matter. Take a dip in our poll and set the expectations bar on this Marlins season.

KateUptonNO, IT IS NOT SEXIST TO SHOW THIS COVER PHOTO IN MY BLOG BECAUSE IT'S FROM A SPORTS MAGAZINE AND SHE IS WEARING (HALF OF) WHAT COULD ALMOST BE A SWIMSUIT, SORT OF: Cover your eyes, Junior! And click on the image to see a larger version, Dad. The Sports Illustrated "swimsuit issue" continues as a sublime and ridiculous slice of Americana and an annual $$$-maker for SI. This year three models get the cover prize of this week's current issue, with Kate Upton pictured here, setting a record in the category, "Minimalist Swimwear." (Note to self: Consider an abrupt career change; apply to be a Sports Illustrated photographer. Unless, that is, SI's budget and staffing have gone the way of the newspaper, in which case the person taking this photo may have been the lone remaining SI editor, or perhaps one of the other models using a smartphone). Where was I ? Is this a swimsuit bottom or jewelry? How come on my occasional forays to the beach I see not a person who looks like this (un)dressed like this, but rather a matronly, waddling Canadian packed into a black one-piece like 20 pounds of potatoes crammed in a 10-pound sack? That's a rhetorical question. Keep doing the great work you do, Kate Upton!

ThimbleFAREWELL, THIMBLE. R.I.P.: The Monopoly board game is retiring its Thimble after 82 years. The Thimble, though never respected like the Dog or the Tophat, has stood sturdily across the generations, moving inexorably around the board, easing past the Iron, passing go, landing on Free Parking, staying out of jail, quietly making money for its owners. Farewell, great, humble Thimble, and a thumb's up to you. Gone ... but never forgotten.   

HOT BUTTON DAILY / SAT 2-18-17: What events on today's sports calendar should interest SoFla most:

1. Clemson at Hurricanes, noon: UM men playing for NCAA Tournament seeding in final regular games.

2. Panthers at Los Angeles, 10 p.m.: Playoff-chasing Cats have won three in row and five of past six.

3. NBA All-Star events, 8 p.m.: Including 3-Point and Slam-Dunk contests.

4. Kansas at Baylor, 1 p.m.: A men's Final Four feel with No. 3 at No. 4.

5. Rutgers at Hurricanes, 7 p.m.: Second of three in opening baseball series at The Light.

Select recent columns: French Embassy and Cuban Smuggling: Play Ball!, the new one, from the start of Marlins spring training. Surge Has Heat Buyers, LeBron In View, on how Heat's recent run has Miami poised to be buyers at trade deadline as possibility of first-round playoff meeting with LeBron James looms. Also: Loria: The End Of An Error, on team's reported possible sale. Spoelstra Leads the Parade, on the man at the wheel of recent long win streak. Give the Devils Their Due, on Belichick and Brady. Greatness Times Four, on Lebron, Brady, Serena and Tiger. Home Run For Montoya, Miami, from the Race of Champions here. Thank You, Edwin Pope, on the death of a friend, mentor and Miami Herald icon.

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

Twitter @gregcote