July 04, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

May 26, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Tiger 'n Peyton and leagues inch toward no-fans resumption. See who's No. 1, what else lands where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 13 out now!, Memorial Day tribute (50,000 Names), our Shula tribute columns & more

Memday1) It's TUESDAY, MAY 26. See our annual Memorial Day tribute below. 2) I'm pleased to be hosting this year's Miami Herald All-County Athletic Awards, an annual tradition since 1957 -- but virtual this time because of the pandemic. Mark it: We'll honor Miami-Dade & Broward's best in prep sports this Wednesday May 27 at 6 p.m. on the Herald's Facebook & YouTube pages. 3) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Pierce escalates beef with LeBron, why Dolphins have perfect QB room, sports' no-fans New Normal, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 12, our Shula tribute columns, new Back In My Day video & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

It's Radio ... Wednesday: I'm on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio on Wednesday this week, not today.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 13 OUT NOW!: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and the new Episode 13 is out now! Find a new episode out every Monday morning on Apple and Google Podcasts as well as on Spotify, iHeart, iTunes, Megaphone, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 13 episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! In new Episode 13, we rock with Brendan Benson, co-founder of The Raconteurs along with Jack White -- a group that had the No. 1 album on the Billboard charts last summer. Brendan visits to talk about his new solo album (which we sample), the night Mick Jagger and and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones visited backstage and more. Packed menu, including a celebration of Ryan Fitzpattrick's glorious pandemic beard. Don't miss it! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My most recent columns: How Can A Man 6-7 Seem So Small? That's Pierce On LeBron / No Controversy Here. Dolphins Have Ideal QB Situation / and Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal.

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 24-25): 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 (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. GOLF: Tiger 'n Peyton win charity match: "The Match: Champions for Charity" took place Sunday at The Medalist in Hobe Sound, Fla. -- Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeating Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in a rain-soaked event that raised $20 million. That's one hell of a fore!-some. (Sorry). The best part? Seeing Brady not be great at something.

2. DOLPHINS: Benign comment sparks controversy because ... coronavirus: Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said he'd like to remain the starter, not immediately step aside for rookie Tua Tagovailoa. It was no big deal but was chewed over as some controversy in the void of actual sports to talk about. The Fins made Fitzpatrick available on a video conference call and his always intriguing full beard was absolutely magnificent -- quite possibly the only good to come out of this pandemic.

3. MLB: Players respond to resumption proposal: The MLB Players Association responded to the sport's 67-page set of protocols for a planned early-July restart. Union addressed protections for high-risk players, access to therapies, testing frequency, protocols for positive tests, in-stadium medical personnel and sanitizing procedures. Players also object to some proposals such as arriving in uniform at the ballparks and no showering in clubhouses. Negotiations continue, with players' objections to proposed pay cuts another major obstacle to any resumption.

4. HEAT: NBA talking late July restart in Orlando: NBA insiders expect commissioner Adam Silver to soon OK the return of players sometime in June, with games expected to resume before the end of July. The league is in talks for a single-site restart at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, sans fans.

5. PANTHERS: Cats catch a break in NHL's proposed restart: Hockey proposes to resume its season this summer with a 24-team playoff that would whittle down to a 16-team Stanley Cup tournament with seven-game series -- all played in two as-yet-unnamed "hub" locations. The players association approved the plan. The Florida Panthers were not on playoff pace when the season stopped but would be among the 24 to make it under the new resumption format.

6. INTER MIAMI: MLS eyeing Orlando tournament for return: All 26 teams are expected to convene in Orlando for a tournament from late June into July, followed by a regular season of perhaps 18 games. However some players are balking because the tournament would separate them from their families for up to 10 weeks.

7. TOM BRADY: ESPN plans nine-part Brady documentary: Drunk with delight over the reception (read: ratings) for its just-ended Michael Jordan 10-part series, ESPN announced it would air a nine-part documentary series in 2021 that focuses on Brady and his nine Patriots Super Bowls, six of them championships. It will be called "The Man In the Arena: Tom Brady," unless someone steps in to alert ESPN what a bland, weird, bad title that is. 

8. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many major local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. Through today/Sunday -- 96-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 53 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 11. 

9. HOCKEY: Debut of new 3-on-3 league planned: A new 3-on-3 pro hockey league called 3ICE is set to debut in eight cities in June 2021, with eight head coaches already hired including Hall of Famers Grant Fuhr, Bryan Trottier, Guy Carbonneau, Angela Ruggiero, Larry Murphy and Joe Mullen. The teams are expected to be based in the U.S. northeast and midwest and Canada.

10. CHEERLEADING: Kentucky alumni back fired coaches: It's an historic first-ever HB10 appearance for cheerleading! More than 800 former Kentucky cheerleaders issued a joint statement in support of the powerhouse program's coaching staff, which was fired last week after an internal report revealed a lack of oversight and a culture of hazing. The former cheerleaders who signed the statement apparently considered the instances of inappropriate behavior, drunkenness and public nudity and said, "What's wrong with that!?"

Missing the HB10 cut: Defrocked cycling cheater Lance Armstrong, in the new documentary film "Lance" airing Sunday on ESPN, that he told "10,000 lies" over a six-year span to cover up his doping. I think he's lying. Bet it was more than that ..... The Stripchat Superdome? The Saints home stadium needs a new sponsor, and Stripchat, an adult website, announced a $15 million bid for naming rights ..... History: Vanderbilt made Candice Storey Lee the SEC's first African-American and first female athletic director ..... NFL owners, in a virtual league meeting this Thursday, will vote on a rule change that would allow teams, instead of an onside kick, to convert a 4th-and-15 play from their own 25 to keep possession. Would need 24 yay votes of 32. The guess here? Too XFL-y. Too radical for the starched NFL...... Josh Gordon, who leads the league in seeking reinstatement, is doing it again ..... MLB teams including the Miami Marlins are holding charity raffles as a part of the All In Challenge to feed those in need. Miami's winner will get to manage the team for one game alongside Don Mattingly, plus other perks, presuming there is a game at some point ..... NASCAR on Sunday runs its third no-fans race in seven days. In trying to catch up, the race schedule is now as crowded as the racetrack on a first turn ..... Hurricanes football is No. 11 nationally in ESPN's latest 2021 college recruiting rankings. They do not include transfers, so the Canes' biggest offseason get, quarterback D'Eriq King, is not factored ..... MLS expansion team FC Cincinnati hired Jaap Stam as its new coach, announcing him with a photo of someone who is not Jaap Stam. To whomever is running the club's social media, that's a red card! ..... Out there somewhere, still twisting in the wind: Cam Newton ..... The Super Bowl ring Patriots owner Robert Kraft donated to the All In Challenge raised a winning bid of $1.025 million to help feed those in need. Now that's what I call a happy ending for everybody! ..... R.I.P. longtime former NBA coach Jerry Sloan, 78 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with Episode 13 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,226 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully large public gatherings will be allowed by then?

MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE: This is the George Jones song, "50,000 Names." It was written about the Vietnam War memorial wall in particular, but the sentiment applies to all of America's war dead across time -- all of the soldiers who lost their lives and who we remember and honor today:

Featured other recent columns: As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More TrivialAnticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19Miami Sports Right Now If Coronavirus Never Happened and Games Never Stopped / and Dolphins Are Winning Rebuild With 3-Year Plan That Won't Rush Top-Prize Tua

Also: Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential' / A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For Dolphins / Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in No-Fans Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks

Select other columns from earlier in 2020: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About Time / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

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Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

April 27, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10: Tua! Tua! Tua! With my Tua column, your grade on the pick, and my mock vs. Mel's; plus Greg Cote Show podcast news, other column links & more

1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 27. Hang in, stay apart and eventually we rise together! 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram! Follow both at TheGregCoteShow. 3) Find our latest Back In My Day from Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio HERE. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins draft Tua Tagovailoa with column and poll, live results on our Mock Draft, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 9 DROPS MONDAY: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and the new Episode 9 is now out Monday morning. Find a new Greg Cote Show every Monday on Apple, Spotify or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all eight episodes we've done so far 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 necessary) serious. In Episode 8 we take a deep dive into Dolphins' NFL Draft with ESPN Fins reporter Cameron Wolfe, and, in Stugotz 2.0, he talks Grateful Dead and shares something you didn't know about Dan Le Batard.

TuadolOUR LATEST COLUMN: DOLPHINS AIM HIGH, WIN BIG WITH TUA TAGOVAILOA PICK

POLL RESULT: MIAMI L-O-V-E-S THE TUA PICK: We asked, "What do you think of the Dolphins making Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa their first pick (fifth overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft?" The verdict? A huge thumbs up. Grade A/Love it drew 72.19 percent and Grade B/Now pray he stays healthy had 17.75%. That's nearly 90% who graded A or B. Naysayers were few, with Grade D/Should-a gone Herbert at 5.92%and Grade C/Risky for a pick that high at 4.14%.

COTE BEATS KIPER!: I am not saying my Mock Draft was better than Mel's. I am saying, simply and accurately, that my mock had seven Exactos -- right player to right team -- and his had six. Boo-ya!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 26-27): 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 (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: With fingers crossed, Miami lands Tagovailoa with top pick: Smartly, I say, the Fins gambled on Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and his injury history with the fifth pick of the NFL draft, getting (they hope) their first real franchise passer since Dan Marino. Miami also fortified his protection with three OL picks including tackle Austin Jackson. Five defensive players were drafted as well among the 11 overall picks. Also include in this draft the trade for running back Matt Breida from the 49ers. He's 25, with 1,902 rush yards and a fat 5.0 average. He'll push Jordan Howard for the start. Call it a solid B-grade draft -- a grade that could grow if Tua stays healthy and lives up to sky-high hopes.

2. NFL: Burrow No. 1 in surprisingly smooth virtual draft: Joe Burrow to the Bengals led three quarterbacks chosen in the first six picks of the three-day NFL Draft. This year, the players selected were secondary to the circumstances: A virtual draft taking place remotely from living rooms across America because of the coronavirus stay-at-home edicts. Commissioner Roger Goodell orchestrated the proceedings from his basement den in New York. There were a few random appearances by family dogs but, astonishingly, no embarrassing technological glitches.

3. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. Through today/Sunday -- 66 games lost: Marlins 28, Heat 19, Panthers 13, Inter Miami 6. Marlins have missed first 28 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 season games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last six.

4. GOLF: Tiger vs. Phil 2.0 (with friends) is on for May: A Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson rematch is planned for May, perhaps Memorial Day weekend -- this time with quarterback buddies Tom Brady and Peyton Manning joining them. "The Match: Champions for Charity" will benefit coronavirus relief, from an undisclosed location without spectators. A Florida course is thought likely. Remember, fellas: Social distancing and no hand shaking!

5. ROB GRONKOWSKI: Gronk unretires to rejoin Brady: Did the ad read, 'Partying tight end for rent'? Gronkowski was lured out of retirement to rejoin Tom Brady in TB12's reincarnation as a Tampa Bay Buc. Even sweeter: Bill Belichick's Pats got only a fourth-round pick for him. Let's go Tompa!

6. MLB: Red Sox punished for sign stealing, too: OK it wasn't just the Astros. MLB concluded Boston also stole signs during its 2018 World Series title run. It suspended Boston's video replay system operator without pay for a year and took away a second-round draft pick. Manager Alex Cora, whom the Red Sox fired in January, previously was suspended for the year for his role in Houston's 2017 sign-stealing scandal, when he was bench coach.

7. INTER MIAMI: David Beckham raffling himself for charity: The charismatic former England captain and current co-owner of MLS' Inter Miami is giving fans a chance to play a five-a-side charity match with him and raise funds to help feed those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. The offer is part of the "All In Challenge" in which athletes and celebrities come up with fan experiences to raise dough. Winner also gets lunch with Becks and a spot in the owners suite for an Inter Miami match.

8. A-ROD & J-LO: Power couple's increasing interest in Mets: Seems betrothed power couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are increasingly serious about actually buying the New York Mets. Fun sidebar to that: A-Rod and Marlins CEO Derek Jeter being NL East rivals to intensify their famously "frenemies" relationship.

9. NHL: Hockey toying with four-city plan to resume: Puck commish Gary Bettman said NHL is exploring a four-city plan to restart the 2019-20 season, which was paused March 12. Arenas would be places that are not coronavirus hot spots, with home rinks of Carolina, Edmonton and Minnesota three mentioned. Bettman said he "presumes [there] wouldn't be fans."

10. NASCAR: Florida, Texas jockeying to resume racing first: Where will the gentlemen start their engines first? Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted NASCAR is working with Texas Motor Speedway on a plan to race there, sans spectators, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has spoken with NASCAR about resuming races at Daytona and at Homestead-Miami Speedway. So. Which state will get the checkered flag?

Missing the HB10 cut: Greg Cote outmocks Mel Kiper Jr! You read that right. I had 7 "exacto" picks in my first round to Mel's 6. Boo-ya! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast, new Episode 9, is out Monday morning. Pluggin' it! ..... Only four Canes got drafted: LB Shaq Quarterman (4th round), RB DeeJay Dallas (4th), WR K.J. Osborn (5th) and DE Jonathan Garvin (7th). The former NFL pipeline leader is now Day 3 U. ..... Is football season in doubt? NFL Players Association director DeMaurice Smith called mass testing crucial for returning to football, while University of Arizona's president said she doubts the college season will happen .... Money-first Dana White and UFC will hold three no-fans events at an undisclosed Florida location beginning May 9 ..... Showtime has ex-NFL QB Mark Sanchez in a new digital series talking with top quarterbacks in this draft. Wait a second. Isn't that like putting top thespians in an acting roundtable hosted by Adam Sandler? ..... Chris Paul says NBA players would need at least three weeks' prep time before  returning ..... Notre Dame women's hoops coach Muffet McGraw retired after 33 seasons. Most successful Muffet ever? ..... Parts 3 and 4 of ESPN's 10-part Michael Jordan docuseries hit the screen Sunday night. I was a skeptic, but parts 1-2 reeled me in ..... Two New York fans are suing baseball over lack of ticket refunds due to canceled games. Wow. Even if their claim is legally legit, oh what a bad look! ..... Novak Djokovic, who is anti-vaccine, said he faces dilemma if tennis requires players to get vaccinated before they can return to competing. Dear Novak: Move on in to the 21st Century and give science a shot ..... Update: Countdown now 2,254 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we're allowing large crowds to gather by then.

FEATURED MOST RECENT OTHER COLUMNS:

Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft

Hackers, Barking Dogs, Crazy Pressure: Why Virtual NFL Draft Is Biggest Ever For Dolphins

Dolphins' Grier Says He Has An Idea On Top Pick. He'd Better Be Right.

Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever.

Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential'.

A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For Dolphins.

Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players

NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent.

Other featured recent columns: NFL Draft, Tiger 'n Phil Not A Good Look Right Now / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Saturday's No-Fans Florida Derby / In Midst Of Pandemic, A Horse Race / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Backlash Over NBA Coronavirus Testing Mirrors Growing Anxiety, the New National Mood / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / 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: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / 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 / 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 / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

* * * * *

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

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!

July 20, 2019

On the Le Batard-gets-political/ESPN controversy. New column; plus 4 ways Heat have had winning summer, is everyone wrong about Dolphins?, why 2019 could be best sports year ever, Greg Cote Day countdown, latest Back In My Day (Apps!), Moon Landing & more

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

Moon1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 20. Today is the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. The United States' Apollo 11 was the first crewed mission to land on the moon  on July 20, 1969. I remember watching as a boy. That was a time of widespread protest against the Vietnam War across the country, and the Moon Landing felt a little bit like healing, a reason for Americans to feel good about their country. 2) It's always the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Gcday 7Greg Cote Day countdown: 7 days: We began a 10-day countdown to Greg Cote Day on Saturday, July 27 at Hammond Stadium, home of the minor-league Fort Myers Miracle, and it's now seven days to go. I'll be meeting fans, throwing out the first pitch, singing the national anthem and playing left field. All but that last thing are actually true. Will I see you there? Tickets are going fast. Well, I don't really know if they are or not. In any case click HERE for the link to buy yours. (Click image for larger version).

DanlLE BATARD REBUKES TRUMP, ESPN'S NO-POLITICS POLICY. NEW COLUMNThis isn’t the first time Miami-based ESPN star Dan Le Batard has defied his network and faced consequences. It happened in 2014, when the radio and television host was suspended two days for buying billboards in Cleveland that needled LeBron James — "You’re Welcome, LeBron. Love, Miami" — after he’d left the Heat. That was playful. This isn’t. Le Batard on Thursday took on the president of the United States and his own network’s no-political-talk policy in a fiery, four-minute rebuke of both Donald Trump and ESPN management’s stick-to-sports edict. His voice emotional, Le Batard called it "deeply offensive" that a Trump crowd chanted "send her back" at a rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night, a chant directed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who now is a U.S. citizen representing Minnesota. Le Batard accused trump of instigating racial division and called the chant "un-American." And called his own network's stick-to-sports policy "cowardly." He was back on the air Friday (no mention of the controversy), but faces a possible suspension. I dive into the whole thing in today's latest column. To read, please visit Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy.

Priley4 REASONS HEAT HAS HAD WINNING OFFSEASON -- AND RILEY MAY NOT BE DONEThey could close the summer ledger right now and claim victory. What was supposed to be a dead summer in South Florida for Heat activity ended up delightfully noisy. Pat Riley (pictured) somehow maestro’d a four-team trade to get genuine star talent in Jimmy Butler despite being salary cap-strapped. The Heat essentially got Butler for Josh Richardson, a swap that by itself makes the Heat better and competitive in an Eastern Conference now looking refreshingly wide open. Three other ways the Heat won: Unloading Hassan Whiteside. Declining to give up too much in order to get Russell Westbrook. And saying no to Chris Paul. Now, might Riley still find a way to land Bradley Beal? I explore all of this in my recent column. To read it, please visit The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason.

BfloresPILING ON! ESPN LATEST TO CALL DOLPHINS THE WORST. BUT, IS EVERYBODY WRONG?: The idea of the Miami Dolphins as snakebit in their recent history has only been underlined, not alleviated, this summer. The NFL season is right around the corner, but for this team what’s around the corner always seems to be a blindside punch waiting to land. Training camp is mere days away — rookies report Sunday and veterans next Wednesday — but the Fins are losing before they ever hit the football field. Miami lost a defensive tackle candidate, Kendrick Norton, to a terrible truck accident that caused his left arm to be amputated. Days later assistant head coach Jim Caldwell announced he would take a medical leave of absence and miss the entire 2019 season to address health issues. Now — and this should be a piling-on penalty — ESPN has calculated in its new NFL Future Power Rankings that the Dolphins not only are No. 32 (dead last) right now but will be for the next three years. I explore all this, and say why I think Miami will be much better than expected, in my recent column. One reason for my optimism, new coach Brian Flores, is pictured. To read our latest column, please visit What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins?

2019WHY 2019 IS LOOKING LIKE SPORTS' BEST YEAR EVERYou know it when you are watching it, not just watching but feeling it. Sports has that power. Suddenly, what might have been an ordinary, forgettable competition blooms into something epic, something that will leave its mark on the history of that sport, and on your memory. We have  been full of that stuff in sports this year, and the calendar is barely half done.That's why I think this shapes up to be the greatest. Tom Brady's sixth Super Bowl. Tiger Woods' Masters win. First-time champions in the NBA, NHL and men's college basketball. League-changing NBA free agency. U.S. women winning a record fourth World Cup. The Angels' no-hitter the night they honored a fallen teammate. Right through to Sunday and Novak Djokovic's epic five-hour Wimbledon win over Roger Federer. Oh, and the Cricket World Cup! (Yes, cricket...) And so much more. I explore fall of this -- the wonder and joy and surprise of sports -- in my recent column. To read it, kindly visit: Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever.

Our previous most recent columns: On Brink Of History At Wimbledon, Serena Is Denied Again / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be  A Win / If You Don't Like Rapinoe, USWNT -- That's On You, Not Them / Heat's Run At Westbrook Is Riley's All-Out Gamble To Win Now and Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': APPS!: This video includes quite a bit of chatter leading into the new Back in My Day and a little bit afterward. The actuall BIMD kicks in around the 3:10 mark:

THE LIST: FIRST-TIME NBA, NHL CHAMPS IN SAME YEAR: What happened this year in basketball and hockey is a rarity, and one of the many reasons I like 2019 as the best sports year ever (see above). The only times since 1970 that the NBA and NHL have had a first-time franchise champion the same year:

Year        NBA champion                    NHL champion

2019       Toronto Raptors                  St. Louis Blues

2006       Miami Heat                         Carolina Hurricanes

1999       San Antonio Spurs               Dallas Stars

1991       Chicago Bulls                      Pittsburgh Penguins

Select other recent columns: Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / U.S. Women Reach World Cup Final -- Not With Arrogance, But Excellence / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / Kawhi to Lakers Would Mean More Rings, Last Laugh For LeBron / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 /  Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

July 01, 2019

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat/Jimmy Butler, U.S. World Cup run, Luongo retirement all battle for week's top spot. See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; plus the Rapinoe and Butler columns, radio today, Raconteurs video & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 1. Radio today in addition to Tuesday. Le Batard Show. ESPN Radio. Tune in now! 2) Welcome July, month of independence! See ya next year, June bug. 3) Always football season around here, so always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life, at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): U.S. women roll into World Cup semifinals, Roberto Luongo retires, Udonis Haslem takes flamethrower to critics, Willie Nelson's "Immigrant Eyes" video & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Click here for My Heat/Jimmy Butler column.

MeganrapMEGAN RAPINOE OWNS THE WORLD CUP, AND IT'S GLORIOUS! NEW COLUMN: Megan Rapinoe is not afraid of a fight. Not afraid of expectations, any opponent, criticism, controversy or the president of the United States. It is her World Cup now. She is the most important athlete on the planet at the moment, a woman in full power, on a mission, carrying her team, taking on the world. And it is a rather awesome thing to see. Rapinoe has scored all four U.S. goals in the knockout stage of this World Cup to lead America into Tuesday's semifinal vs. England. But she has been just as noteworthy off the field, standing up for equal rights, social justice and equal pay. She is outspokenly anti-Trump, polarizing for that, but unabashedly unapologetic it. She is on a mission, a woman in full power, and she will not shut up. For myy latest column, please visit: It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field.

Other columns from this week: An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires and Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire. From previous week: Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / Heat, Riley Need To Have Hit Big With Herro / Heat Can Only Watch As Seismic Talent Shift Quakes NBA / And O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated through Monday, 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. SOCCER: U.S. women blast into World Cup semifinals: U.S. faces England  Tuesday in the Women's World Cup semifinals, after eliminating host France 2-1 in the quarters -- the American side once again led by Megan Rapinoe. It's Netherlands vs. Sweden in the other semifinal on Wednesday. America's fourth World Cup title and second straight is close enough to taste now. On my count: "Let's gooooo States!"  

2. HEAT: Miami, Jimmy Butler agree to terms: A lot going on! Heat are getting Jimmy Butler in a three-way sign-and-trade that sends Josh Richardson to Philly and sees Hassan Whiteside go to Portland. Meantime, Heat No. 1 draft pick Tyler Herro out of Kentucky and Georgetown's undrafted Trey Mourning -- Alonzo's son -- headline Miami's 12-man NBA Summer League roster. Games start July 5 in Las Vegas, after a three-game tournament in Sacramento starting Monday. Heat's five-game preseason schedule opens Oct. 8 at home vs. Spurs. In other team news, Udonis Haslem, on Instagram, took a flamethrower to critics who say he should retire. He may yet, but doesn't want you telling him what to do.  

3. PANTHERS: Luongo retires; Cats sign Bobrovsky: Busy time for the Cats, led by Luongo -- third-winningest goaltender in NHL history -- announcing he's calling it quits after 19 seasons including 11 in two stints with Florida. Decision not a shock, but still seismic news. Farewell, Lu. The Panthers wrapped up their four-day developmental camp for young guys including No. 1 draft pick Spencer Knight, and Monday signed their top free-agent target, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

4. NBA: 'Special K's' free agency begins Sunday: Gentlemen, start your spending! NBA's wheelin' and dealin' all started Sunday and call it the "Special K's" free agency, with Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant (reportedly to Brooklyn) and Kyrie Irving (also Nets-bound) the three biggest available prizes, and Kemba Walker (headed to Celtics), Klay Thompson (staying put) and Kristaps Porzingis (to Mavericks) perhaps next. Should be an exciting offseason -- even in Miami, presuming the Jimmy Butler thing goes through.

5. SOCCER: U.S. men in Gold Cup semifinals, Copa America to semis: A couple of nice men's little sideshows to the Women's World Cup. The oft-maligned U.S. men's national team beat Curacao 1-0 Sunday night to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, after sailing through group play at 3-0 by a combined 11-0 score. And the Copa America is down to the semifinals, highlighted by a Brazil-Argentina heavyweight match Tuesday. Viva futbol!

6. MARLINS: Alcantara selected for ASG as Fish head on road: Marlins fell to Phils in Sunday's matinee to wrap a six-game homestand, now it's six straight on the road heading into the All-Star Break. Miami's best bet to be picked as an All-Star reserve? No clear frontrunner. I liked Brian Anderson -- but it was young pitcher Sandy Alcantara getting the nod today.

7. HORSES: Gulfstream's Summer Of Speed tops summer schedule: Gulfstream's 14-race Summit of Speed was led by the $250,000 Grade 2 Princess Rooney Stakes, won Saturday by favorite Stormy Embrace for the second straight year, earning an automatic entry into November's Breeders’ Cup Grade 1 Filly & Mare Turf Stakes. Saturday's card marked Gulfstream's biggest race day of the summer meet.

8. TENNIS: Upsets begin fortnight at Wimbledon: The sport's third of four Grand Slam majors began Monday in London and runs two weeks. Defending men's champ Novak Djokovic is men's betting favorite ahead of usual suspects Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Women's pick is Ashleigh Barty ahead of Serena Williams, with 2018 winner Angelique Kerber only the fifth pick. Serena needs one more major win to tie Margaret Court's record of 24 favorite, but can she? She's 37 and last won a major in early 2017, now fighting much younger opponents but also time. Two big women's upsets Monday: Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka and Venus Williams both ousted.

9. INTER MIAMI: MLS expansion team after U.S. men's star: While they're trying to build stadium(s), the 2020 Major League Soccer arrival is also trying to build a roster. Latest speculation: David Beckham's team is after U.S. national team rising star Tyler Boyd, a 24-year-old winger currently leading the American's Gold Cup charge. Inter Miami has his "discovery rights," which are, well, like first dibs.

10. DOLPHINS: Fins set training camp dates: New head coach Brian Flores will lead Miami through 11 practices starting July 25 through Aug. 6, prior to the first preseason game Aug. 8. All practices will be at the Davie/Nova Southeastern HQ except for an Aug. 3 scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium. Bring your sunscreen. But at least you won't be wearing 40 pounds of equipment.

Missing the HB10 cut: Yankees swept Red Sox in London. Teams totaled 50 runs in two games, giving Brits the mistaken impression baseball is an exciting sport ..... Baseball named its 16 All-Star Game starters, excluding the two pitchers. The Democrats have more presidential candidates than baseball has starters ..... Bob Ley retired from ESPN this week after 40 years. He was kind enough to have us on Outside The Lines several times. Terrific guy ..... Some sentences are so absurd they need no elaboration. So: Breakdancing is headed to the 2024 Olympics ..... A Kansas City radio station fired host Kevin Kietzman for saying Chiefs coach Andy Reid "fix" either his players or his family. Reid has lost one son to a drug overdose and has another son who has had addiction problems. Ouch ..... Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo was named NBA MVP, deserved it and gave an emotional acceptance speech, after which the classless Rockets embarrassed themselves with tweets saying James Harden shoulda won ..... Australia banging in the Cricket World Cup. Updates as warranted ..... The Tour de France starts in six days. It was more fun when everybody was getting suspended for doping ..... Vanderbilt wins College World Series ..... O.J. Simpson: "I did it!" No, not that. He just meant he's on Twitter now ..... Answer: The U.S. championships in taekwondo and fencing are both going on. Question: What are two sports nobody except participants and their families will watch? ..... Somebody check on LaVar Ball to make sure he's OK. Been almost a week since he's said anything stupid ..... Update: Countdown now 2,548 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

THE RACONTEURS HAVE RETURNED TO SAVE ROCK 'N ROLL: Jack White, Brendan Benson and The Raconteurs are back with their first new album in 10 years, Help Us Stranger, and here is the (almost) title track, "Help Me Stranger":  

Select other recent columns: Why Florida Panthers Are Poised To (Finally) Be The Next Big ThingU.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 /  Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It Big / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

June 29, 2019

U.S. beats France to reach World Cup semifinals! "Let's gooooo States!"; plus Panthers' Luongo retiring not unexpected but still seismic. My latest column; also, will Heat's Haslem be next to call it quits?, Willie Nelson's "Immigrant Eyes" video & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 29. Always football season around here, so always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life, at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, our (Tyler) Herro sandwich of columns & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

UswntU.S. RIDES RAPINOE INTO WORLD CUP SEMIFINALS!: U.S. beats host France 2-1 behind two more goals by Megan Rapinoe to reah Woemns' World Cup semifinals vs. England. Original post: A few thoughts on the U.S. women reaching the quarterfinals of the World Cup and next facing host France on Friday, after beating Spain 2-1 Monday in the round of 16. 1) Tired of hearing how the second U.S. penalty kick was a "soft call." American Rose Lavelle did not trip over her own feet in the box, nor the wind blow her over. She was tripped. It may have been inadvertent and the opponent's foot barely made contact, but barely counts. It was a PK call that survived VAR review. Move on. 2)  The U.S. survived as much as beat Spain, and that same effort/performance on Friday will not be good enough to beat France. It's also a shame that group pairings were such that the U.S. and France -- the two World Cup favorite -- would meet in the quarters and not later. Friday's game will feel like the championship match. 3) To beat France the Americans will need better individual play, especially from star Alex Morgan (pictured being fouled vs. Spain Thursday) and from goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and her defense. Morgan was unusually quiet and seemed bothered by Spain's close marking, fouling and aggression. And the defensive lapse that caused Spain's goal (Naeher's dumb short rollout to a defender closely marked and pickpocketed) was not the only mistake that led to Spanish chances. The U.S. is the best team in this tournament, but Thursday reminded the Americans are not unbeatable.

PANTHERS ALL-TIME GREAT LUONGO RETIRES. NEW COLUMN: Farewell, Roberto Luongo. A big piece of Florida Panthers history has faded to past tense. The man who guarded the Cats' goal Rluongofor more than twice as many games as anybody else said goodbye to hockey Wednesday afternoon, retiring at age 40 after 19 NHL seasons. With typical good humor Luongo announced his decision on Twitter by saying, "I’ve decided to take my talents to a South Beach retirement home." Cats fans in turn say goodbye to one of the most popular players in franchise history, an 11-season Panther from 2000 to 2006 and again from 2014 through this past season. He was the league’s active leader in games played and games won in goal, and made five all-star teams. All-time, Luongo is second in games played in goal, second in saves and third in wins. He is, in our view, a certain future Hall of Famer, and he’ll certainly get the ceremonial night he deserves from the club this coming season. Luongo, his wife Gina and their two kids live in Parkland, where he did all he could to help that community heal after the Stoneman Douglas tragedy. Look for Luongo to continue to have a role with the club in some capacity -- but off ice. "This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve faced in my life and it took me a long time to make it,” Luongo wrote in an open letter on NHL.com and the Panthers’ website. “After thinking about it a lot over the past two months and listening to my body, I made up my mind. It just feels like the right time for me to step away from the game." He said his kids Gianni and Gabriella cried when he told them. "We cried together," he said. The retirement was not unexpected given his age and declining production. Plus, the Panthers just drafted a goalie in the first round and are targeting another, Sergei Bobrovsky, in coming free agency. Still, though expected. Luongo's retirement hits heavy. An era ends. For my latest column, please visit An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires

UdUDONIS HASLEM TAKES A FLAMETHROWER TO THOSE WHO WANT HIM GONE: Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem can be fierce presence on the court but off it has always kept a low profile. Not this week! U.D. broke character Monday on Instagram with an angry rebuke for those critics and Heat fans who think it's time he retired, at 39, so Miami can use the roster spot on a younger guy who'd contribute more. A few thoughts. 1) He might retire, and doesn't need your help in deciding. If anything, in a life and career fueled by doubters, the more volume that he should retire, perhaps the less likely he is to do so. 2) Nobody who's the 14th or 15th man on any NBA roster is going to play or contribute much. 3) Haslem's contribution to the Heat cannot be measure in minutes or points or games played alone. His value as a lockerroom presence and mentor is palpable, only more so with Dwyane Wade retired. Haslem embodies Heat culture. He should be showed the respect to retire on his terms, at his time. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra are giving him that. So should all Heat fans.  I explore all of this and more in standing with Haslem in my recent column. To read it, kindly visit Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire.

Our previous week's columns: Heat introduces its top pick: Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It. From draft night: Heat, Riley Need To Have Hit Big With Herro. As free agency nears: Heat Can Only Watch As Seismic Talent Shift Quakes NBA. And, uh oh: O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him. Also: Why Florida Panthers Are Poised To (Finally) Be The Next Big Thing U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 /  Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players.

WILLIE NELSON'S "IMMIGRANT SONG": The times we are living in have given rise to a new era of protest songs. Recently I mentioned Taylor Swift's bouncy pro-LGBTQ, anti-hate anthem "You Need to Calm Down." Here now is Willie Nelson's impassioned bid that we remember the ideals that helped found our nation. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," is what we remember from school, of Emma Lazarus' The New Colossus poem. But my favorite part of that Statue Of Liberty inscription, "A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name is Mother of Exiles." Make this about politics if you must. For me, it is about heart,

Select other recent columns: Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It Big / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

June 24, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat, soccer, drafts brawl for top spot. See who gets it, and what else falls where this week; plus our two Heat draft columns (a Herro sandwich) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 24. Always football season, so always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life: Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat draft guard Tyler Herro and why Riley needs to have hit big, Panthers draft goalie Spencer Knight, The List (Heat high picks), O.J. on Twitter, Taylor Swift's message & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

TherroOur most recent column quartet: The latest: Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It. From draft night: Heat, Riley Need To Have Hit Big With Herro. As free agency nears: Heat Can Only Watch As Seismic Talent Shift Quakes NBA. And, uh oh: O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him. Also: Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic / Why Florida Panthers Are Poised To (Finally) Be The Next Big Thing U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / And Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players.

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 gets flashy Kentucky guard Herro in 1st round: The Heat just got a little more swaggery. That's a good thing. Kentucky guard Tyler Herro arrived in a purple suit and all blinged out with the 13th overall pick in the NBA Draft Thursday night. Miami later got Stanford forward KZ Okpala in the second round. Heat may have reached a tad for Herro, but a South Florida sports scene shy on starpower just got an infusion of interesting. Heat are expected to be quiet in upcoming free agency, but at least their draft was splashy.

2. SOCCER: U.S. women face Spain in World Cup knockout stage: The round of 16 is underway in France after no major surprises in group play. The reigning champion U.S. women breezed through with a 3-0 record and 19-0 (!) goal differential and now face Spain today/Monday at noon in the must-win knockout stage. Once again, I am totally neutral here. ("U-S-A! U-S-A!"). 

3. NBA: King Zion and trades highlight NBA Draft: The top three picks went as expected Thursday night, led by Duke's Zion Williamson to New Orleans as the NBA's most anticipated arrival since LeBron James. After that? Choas. In all 38 of the 60 overall picks involved trades, including 15 in the first round. Next: The NBA's main summer act, free agency, starting June 30.

4. PANTHERS: Cats go goalie in draft's 1st round: To Florida comes Boston College goaltender Spencer Knight, 18, with the NHL Draft's 13th overall pick, filling the Panthers' biggest need with the draft's acknowledged premier goalie. Cats also expected to chase veteran all-star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in upcoming free agency -- all of it likely spelling the end of an era for now-40-year-old Roberto Luongo.

5. MARLINS: Yamamoto wins again as as Fish wrap road trip: Miami wrapped up a 5-2 road trip with  sweep of the Philles Sunday as Hawaiian rookie pitching sensation Jordan Yamamoto won a third straight game. Marlins are now home for six straight. Yamamoto was not as sharp Sunday but in his first three career starts is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA with 19 strikeouts and only six hits allowed in 19 innings.

6. SOCCER: U.S. men looking good (!) in Gold Cup so far: The oft-maligned U.S. men's national team -- motto: Yeah, We Know We're Not As Successful As The Women -- is sailing through the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, first beating Guyana 4-0 and last night crushing Trinidad & Tobago 6-0 -- the team that kept the U.S. men out of the last World Cup. Americans play Panama Wednesday but will be in the quarterfinals no matter the result. Championship game is set for Soldier Field. ("Let's gooooo States!").

7. HURRICANES: UM football hosts annual "Paradise Camp": Manny Diaz's first Paradise Camp as head coach was this past weekend -- an annual celebration of UM football and the program's family culture as current recruits mingled with famous football alums. It's a rather amazing thing, largely because it really is a made-up, non-newsworthy event, yet is covered rapturously by local media. Fun fact: Paradise Camp also is the name of a 1986 documentary film about the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia.

8. SOCCER: Messi, Barcelona coming to Miami: Soccer god Lionel Messi and his mighty Barcelona club team will play a friendly Aug. 7 vs Italy's Napoli club at Hard Rock Stadium, it was announced. HRS continues to draw sexy international matches. Aside to David Beckham: While he's here, please quietly kidnap Messi and put him in an Inter Miami kit.

9. NHL: Draft. Done. Awards. Given. Next: Free agency: New Jersey selected American center Jack Hughes, 18, No. 1 overall, and this is where I don't even pretend to have ever heard of him. Meanwhile Tampa's 128-point scorer Nikita Kucherov was named league MVP. (He should-a saved a few of those points for the playoffs. Ouch. Too soon?) Panthers' Aleksander Barkov won the Lady Byng Trophy for "gentlemanly conduct." (Don't they make fun of you for that in hockey?) Next stop: Free agency.

10. UM BASKETBALL: Canes extend women's coach Meier: Katie Meier signed a contract extension through the 2024-25 season, a well-deserved security for both the coach and the program. UM women's hoops has been a consistent winner under the aegis of the classy Meier, and good for athletic director Blake James to extend the run.

Missing the HB10 cut: Major League Soccer is at midseason, meaning we are now about nine months from Inter Miami kicking off. How those stadium(s) coming along, fellas? ..... Dewan Hernandez, 6-10 former Hurricanes center, snuck into the NBA Draft as the 59th overall pick, by Toronto. Good to see, after a brutally harsh NCAA suspension cost him all last season ..... Turns out David (Big Papi) Ortiz was shot and nearly killed in the Dominican Republic in a case of mistaken identity. Dude should keep on his old Red Sox uni at all times ..... Cricket World Cup continues. Updates as warranted ..... It's Michigan-Vanderbilt in best-of-three College World Series final starting Monday in Omaha. Scouting report: the Vanderbilt Whistler is a fan who annoys everybody with his constant loud whistling, so I hope Michigan wins ..... Copa America soccer tourney continues. Fast fact: Event's mascot is Zizito, a capybara, which is the world's largest rodent ..... A 103-year-old woman won gold in the 100-meter dash at the Senior Games. I'd tell you her time, but she hasn't finished yet ..... The U.S. Fencing Championships begin later this week in Ohio. How terrible. A competition for folks who deal in stolen goods! ..... O.J. Simpson on Twitter didn't take long to get boring. His fourth Tweet was about fantasy football. Come on Orenthal. A confession or I'm unfollowing! ..... Yeah, I mean, other than giving a platform for LaVar Ball's sexist comment and ignoring Tyson Fury's homophobia and misogyny as it promotes boxing, it was a good week for ESPN ..... Update: Countdown now 2,555 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It Big / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

June 22, 2019

Drip or swag, Herro brings what Heat needs. New column; plus Riley needs to have hit big in draft, Panthers go goalie in draft, O.J. Simpson on Twitter and reaction, latest Back In My Day (Band-Aids!), Taylor Swift's message & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 22. Excited about the inaugural Miami Beach Pop Festival Nov. 8-10 on the sands of South Beach -- especially The Raconteurs, who are second-line on the bill but should be co-headliners. 2) Here's the new Back In My Day that premiered this week on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio/ESPNews: BIMD: Band-Aids! 3) Always football season, so always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life, here: Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Father's Day, Taylor Swift anti-hate video & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

TherroDRIP AND SWAG, SPARK AND SPLASH AS HEAT INTRODUCE HERRO: Tyler Herro’s personality can be loud. That we know already. Will his NBA game be just as loud? Half of the fun is in the finding out. Meantime let’s appreciate the personality while fans hope the skills back it up. We need it. The down Miami Heat franchise needs it. South Florida sports needs it. He boasted on draft night Thursday that he had “the most drip in the room” -- as a million older white folks like myself probably said, “What’d he just say? The most what!?” The most drip as in street slang for the most swagger. The most drip as in the floral purple jacket he wore to his entree into the NBA. The most drip as in the rope of gold chain around his neck, and the fat, blingy watch on his left wrist. His game backs it up. "He checks every single box," said Pat Riley on Friday as he introduced Herro. To read my newest column, please visit Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It

WHY HEAT, RILEY NEED TO HIT BIG WITH HERRO AS NO. 1 DRAFT PICK: The pressure isn't on Kentucky guard Tyler Herro to be great as much as it's on Heat president Pat Riley to have been spot-on in seeing greatness in the kid. Riley ended a draft slump by getting Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson in the previous two drafts. Now he needs to keep the run going with last night's bounty: Herro (pictured), whom most mock drafts pegged going a bit lower than 13th overall, and Stanford forward KZ Okpala, whom the Heat traded up to select in the second round. If either or both can become starters or at least promising rotation contributors -- if both show promise -- Miami's roster will look a lot better a year from now to available 2020 free agents when the Heat next has big money to spend. I explore all of this in my column on the pick. To read, visit Heat, Riley Need To Have Hit Big With Herro

THE LIST: HIGHEST HEAT DRAFT PICKS IN RILEY ERA: The Miami Heat's five highest NBA Draft selections of the Pat Riley era:

No.   Year   Player, Pos., School                         Draft grade

2      2008   Michael Beasley, F, Kansas State  D: 12.3 points over 4 seasons here. OK, but not for 2nd overall

5      2003   Dwyane Wade, G, Marquette          A+: Is an explanation really necessary?

10    2002   Caron Butler, F/G, UConn               B: Only 2 years here, but key player in trade that brought Shaq

10    2015   Justise Winslow, G/F, Duke             C: Grade still incomplete, but climbing. Coming off best season

13   2019   Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky                 ???: The fun is in the finding out

SpencerknightPANTHERS GO GOALIE IN NHL DRAFT: Florida Panthers Friday night selected America goaltender Spencer Knight, 18, with the 13th overall pick in the NHL Draft. Best goalie in the draft at a position of urgent need = smart pick. ESPN's scouting report: "The things that makes Knight (pictured) exceptional among his goaltending peers is elite hockey sense, tremendous athleticism balanced with controlled play, great footwork and size and elite puck-moving abilities. I don't put huge value on a goalie's puckhandling skills, but Knight's are so good it's hard not to mention. Knight has really grown a lot in his confidence and poise in the net. There's such little flash in Knight's game, and that's a good thing. He's just always in the right spot because he tracks and anticipates as well as any goalie prospect I've seen in the past few years." Cats still will pursue veteran all-star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in coming free agency. It all spells the likely end of the line for longtime Panther Roberto Luongo, a franchise great but now 40.   

PatdanceHEAT'S FALL FROM CENTER OF PARADE TO SPECTATORS: To quote the top of my own new column in what may or may not be a fit of narcissism: "We were the parade, once. Now we’re on the curb, watching. The NBA is somebody else’s party now. Miami has gone from epicenter to spectator. Basketball summers in South Florida were nearly as exciting as the seasons because Pat Riley and the Heat could be expected to be 'in the room' with top free agents. Now here we are, water all around us and not a whale in sight. Being out of the playoffs is bad enough. Being out of the mix might be worse." Tonight is the NBA Draft, then comes free agency -- basketball's big summer -- but the Heat (selecting 13th overall tonight) figures to be pretty quiet. I explore how and why in my recent column. To read, kindly visit Heat Can Only Watch As Seismic Talent Shift Quakes NBA. Pictured: Been a minute since Riley was happy enough to dance over the fortunes of his franchise. 

OjathomeO.J. SIMPSON IS ON TWITTER. UH OH: Disgraced former Bills star escapes on two murder charges, later serves nine years for armed robbery, is paroled, spends a couple of quiet years under the radar in Vegas and -- now -- reemerges on social media with a Twitter account @TheRealOJ32. "I got a little gettin' even to do," he says in his first video. Wants to "set the record straight," he says in another. What he really wants, obviously, to to remake his image into the good guy who did his time and now wants back into the mainstream. (A smiling O.J. is pictured outside his home in Las Vegas in a recent Los Angeles Times photo that accompanied an AP story headlined, '25 years after murders, O.J. says 'Life is fine'). Simpson isn't the first shamed celebrity to see social media as a means of making over his persona and hoping people will allow him a reboot. The thing is, that is entirely up to us, the public, not up to him. Friendly tweets aren't unlikely to change the minds of the millions who will always think he got away with murder. I explore all of this in my recent column. To read, please visit O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him. Below, a Twitter response to an O.J. tweet that is, frankly, what Simpson had to know he was getting into by opening himself up to social media:

Ojexchange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our other most recent columns: Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic / Why Florida Panthers Are Poised To (Finally) Be The Next Big Thing U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players.

#YNTCDMUSICVIDEO: I posted the lyric video for this in my previous blogpost. Here's the proper full video, with array of cameo appearances. The song is good. The message is better:Other select recent columns: Durant Legacy Wobbles With Finals Reinjury / Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / Buckner Legacy One Of Notoriety And Forgiveness /End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It Big / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / 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 / And our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

June 17, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See the late flip at No. 1 and what else falls where; plus Happy Father's Day, our latest column links, Taylor Swift's anti-hate anthem & more

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

Fathers1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 17. Hope your Father's Day was as happy as  mine! Thanks, family. 2) Always football season, so always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life, here: Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Can Riley unload Whiteside/Dragic contracts?, Panthers poised to be Next Big Thing,  U.S. women's soccer deserves praise not criticism, Kevin Durant's legacy, O.J. Simpson's happiness, latest Back In My Day, The List (Game 7s) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our week's work: Latest columns on Heat, Panthers, U.S. women's soccer, Durant: Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, DragicWhy Florida Panthers Are Poised To (Finally) Be The Next Big Thing / U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / and Durant Legacy Wobbles With Finals Reinjury. Other most recent columns: Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / and Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players.

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:

1. NBA: Lakers get Davis in blockbuster trade: LeBron James has help now. L.A. acquired Anthony Davis from New Orleans on Saturday in exchange for three young players including Lonzo Ball plus three first-round draft pick's including the Lakers' No. 4 overall in this Thursday's draft. World's Most Annoying Dad LaVar Ball swooped in to complain L.A. had just made the worst trade it ever had. So, if it made LaVar upset, then I love the trade!

Hotbutton2. SOCCER: U.S. women win second straight, advance in World Cup: After a 13-0 opening rout of Thailand that saw the United States accused by some of running up the score or celebrating too much -- oh bleepin' boo hoo! -- the reigning-champ Americans were back with Game 2 of group play vs. Chile Sunday and a comfortable 3-0 win that could have been double that. U.S. is now assured of advancing to the knockout stage. On my count: "U-S-A! U-S-A!" (Sorry, all my Chilean readers. Quizas la proxima vez.

3. HEAT: Miami picks No. 13 in this week's NBA Draft: The two-round NBA Draft is this Thursday night, with 13th overall Miami's lone selection, after Zion Williamson surely goes No. 1 overall to New Orleans. No consensus on Heat's thinking; latest ESPN mock had them taking Kentucky 6-8 forward P.J. Washington. The intrigue beyond Heat's pick and Zion: Possible draft-day trades ahead of pending free agency. Anthony Davis already has changed jerseys. Will possible Heat target Mike Conley be next?

4. NBA: Oh Canada! Toronto wins first NBA title: NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors topped reigning champ Golden State in six games for Toronto's first-ever championship. Sorry Canada, but slap an asterisk on the crown, eh? Warriors were missing Kevin Durant first to a calf injury and then to a ruptured Achilles for all but 15 minutes of the Finals, and were missing Klay Thompson to a torn ACL for much of Thursday's deciding game. The Warriors didn't lose. The semi-Warriors did.

5. GOLF: Woodland (not Woods) wins the U.S. Open: American Gary Woodland held a shaky one-shot lead over more pedigreed Englishman Justin Rose entering Sunday's final round but wound up winning by three strokes over star Brooks Koepka in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Woodland's 13-under was good for his first career major, while Tiger Woods tied for 21st at 2-under.

6. PANTHERS: Cats await this week's draft, then free agency: The Panthers, with GM Dale Tallon and new coach Joel Quenneville at the helm, have the 13th overall pick and nine selections in all in the NHL Draft this coming Friday and Saturday. Cats would take gladly take a defenseman like Sweden's Philip Broberg, thank you. Stakes are even higher in free agency commencing July 1, with high-aiming Florida's reported targets including all-star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky of Columbus.

7. NHL: St. Louis wins Game 7, first-ever Stanley Cup: St. Louis and NHL Final MVP Alex Pietrangelo upset host Boston 4-1 in Game 7 Wednesday to win the Blues' first NHL crown in 51 seasons, overcoming the Bruins' early 2-1 series. Nobody sober saw it coming before the season, or when St. Louis had the league's worst record on January 3 before an epic rally. Miracle On Ice 2.0?

8. HURRICANES: UM football scoring big in recruiting: Canes have risen to a No. 5 national ranking in ESPN's 2020 college football recruiting charts, led by this past week's big get: premier offensive tackle Jalen Rivers from Orange Park, whose other finalists were Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Florida State. Running back Don Chaney Jr. leads a group of nine other ESPN top 300 recruits. Meanwhile, RB Frank Gore Jr. is headed to Boca and joining Lane Kiffin at FAU.

9. MARLINS: Fish wrap up homestand, head on road: After being 10-31 at the season's quarter mark Miami went on a 13-5 run -- two weeks of magic (relatively speaking). But it's been 2-8  since after Sunday loss to Pittsburgh wrapped up a losing homestand, with a seven-game road next. Thud! That's the Marlins coming back to earth. 

10. BOXING: Fury crushes Schwarz in Vegas: Andy Ruiz Jr. beat Anthony Joshua in a stunning upset earlier in June. It wouldn't happen again Saturday night in Vegas as heavily favored 6-9 British giant Tyson Fury (astoundingly his real name) easily handled unheralded German Tom Schwarz. Fury, by the way, seems like pretty decent guy, other than being a raging homophobe and unapologetic mysogynist.

Missing the HB10 cut: Happy Father's Day my fellow padres! ..... Beloved former Red Sox star David Ortiz was shot in the Dominican Republic in an apparent assassination attempt, requiring five hours of emergency surgery, but thankfully Papi is expected to make a full recovery ..... First it was Barcelona's star striker Luis Suarez. Now, reports are that Argentine forward Mauro Icardi, who plays for Italy's Inter Milan, is being shopped and that David Beckham is interested in him for his MLS expansion team Inter Miami. Points for now: Becks is aiming high ..... NHL Awards Show is Wednesday in Vegas, with only one Panther, Aleksander Barkov, a finalist in any of the 11 categories. He's up for the Lady Byng Trophy for most gentlemanly player, which has to be the most un-hockey-like award in hockey ..... The 24 Hours of Le Mans ends today, the college baseball World Series is underway, so is the Cricket World Cup, and I'm planning to watch not a single minute of any of them ..... O.J. Simpson is on Twitter now. Uh oh ..... Update: Countdown now 2,562 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup

TAYLOR SWIFT'S NEW ANTI-HATE ANTHEM: Taking aim at hate, especially that which spews on social media: 

Other select recent columns: Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is ProgressBuckner Legacy One Of Notoriety And Forgiveness /End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It Big / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 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