May 25, 2019

We're bad, but hardly alone: Dolphins, Marlins and Panthers losing in historical context. New column; plus genuflecting to Warriors' epic greatness, getting to know Tyler Gaffalione, new Raconteurs video & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 25. It's always football season, so it's always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, why Rosen should start over Fitzpatrick, Le Batard Show in New York & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

MiseryNEWEST COLUMN: DOLPHINS, MARLINS AND PANTHERS LOSING IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT: Dolphins haven’t won a championship in 45 years, Panthers last won a Saddolfanhockey playoff series 22 seasons ago and Marlins haven’t made the postseason in 13 years or had a winning record in 10. (Even the reliable Heat missed the playoffs). So how bad do we have it in South Florida pro sports? I did the research and was stunned to find, for example, the the Fins' 45-year title drought doesn't even make the Top 20 for such futility. If misery loves company this your column, Miami, as we present the update Sports Fan Misery Index encompassing the 123 franchises in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. To read our latest column, please visit Take Heart, South Florida. Were Bad, But Hardly Alone.

ScurryHEAT, REST OF NBA CAN ONLY GENUFLECT AT WARRIORS' EPIC GREATNESS: Golden State is in a fifth straight NBA Finals, the longest NBA streak since the Boston Celtics made a crazy 10 in a row in 1957-66. Unless you know something I don't, the Warriors are steaming toward a fourth championship in that span. After sweeping Portland in the West finals, it defies logic to imagine GS will now lose in the Finals to a Milwaukee team struggling to survive Toronto in the East. The Warriors are so good they win with Kevin Durant out injured. Steph Curry (pictured) is so good he has scored 33, 36, 37, 36 and 37 points in his last 4 1/2 games. Some say Durant is the best player in the NBA. I say he isn't even the best player on his own team. The Warriors and Curry are climbing the charts in terms of greatest teams and players ever. I explore all of this in my latest column, and also discuss the tough spot teams like the Miami Heat are in as they struggle to regain relevance in the deep shadow of a modern NBA dynasty. To read, please visit Riley, Heat, Everyone Else Chasing Warriors' Epic Greatness.

TylergFROM DAVIE AND GULFSTREAM PARK, THE FEEL-GOOD STORY HORSE RACING NEEDS: You may have noticed. I break from the Dolphins/Heat/ball sports rut whenever I can, as much as I can get away with, to write about different stuff. So the jockey who won the Preakness on Saturday (pictured) happens to be a young man who grew up in the town of Davie, with Gulfstream his home track. Now, at 24, he already has won more than 1,000 career races and $42 million in purse money. I think this third-generation jockey's story is worth telling, and knowing. Hope you might agree. To read it, please visit Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It (Really) Big.

Other most recent columns: Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Zion Williamson's Power to Reject the Lottery / Dreaming Of a Heat Lottery Night Miracle / All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right / Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging / Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson.

THE RETURN OF THE RACONTEURS: After two albums (remember the songs "Steady As She Goes" and of course the sports staple "Seven Nation Army"?) and then a 10-year hiatus, The Raconteurs are back, led by Jack White and co-fronted by Brendan Benson (far right below), who is  the son of one of my best friends. Can't wait to see them in a live show again. Below is "Help Me Stranger," the latest video offered from their forthcoming new album: 

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 20, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 04, 2019

Dolphins, Jets, Bills make strides at QB, but Brady is as Brady as ever. New column; plus positives of Jeter's Marlins rebuild emerging even amid losing, Dolphins get their prize in first '20 mock draft, Killian and Aquinas make exclusive list & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 4. If you missed it visit BIMD: Phones! for our newest Back In My Day video from this week's Le Batard show on ESPN. 2) Football is never done, so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ugly America through prism of sports, why this could be watershed Dolphins draft, latest Back In My Day (Phones!), your verdict on Fins draft & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

New column: Rest of AFC East growing, but Brady is as Brady as ever: Jets have their franchise QB in Sam Darnold. Bills love their new guy in Josh Allen. Dolphins have Josh Rosen now and (they hope) Tua Tagovailoa in a year. The rest of the AFC East is making strides at the key position/ The problem? Tom Brady is as Brady as ever. For my latest column, please visit, Brady Is As Brady As Ever. 

CsmithMARLINS LOSING BIG, BUT SIGNS OF JETER'S PLAN ARE EMERGING:  To much of Baseball Nation the Marlins are a joke. And with reason. Worst record in MLB. Lowest attendance in the majors. Last year's No. 1 prospect, Lewis Brinson, demoted to the minors because he can't seem to hit .200. But in my newest column I explore all the ways that signs of Derek Jeter's grand reboot plan are emerging, even amid the squalor of this losing season. The starting pitching in particular and a now-deep minor league pipeline in general make Miami a club with a future. (Current best pitcher Caleb Smith is pictured). I spoke with a bunch of fans for this column and quote a few of them in it. And I'll say this: The hard core of 7,000 or 8,000 Marlins fans are some of the best in South Florida. Their optimism and vision, despite the losing all around them, is pretty impressive. To read this latest column please visit Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging.

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

TuaMCSHAY: TAGOVAILOA TO DOLPHINS IN 2020: In his way-too-early-but-I'm-doin'-it-anyway first 2020 mock draft, ESPN's Todd McShay has Dolfan dreams come true with Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa (pictured) going No. 1 overall to Miami. If it happens, after one season, Josh Rosen will be bumped yet again by his team taking a QB first overall. Three other things notable from McShay's mock: Other QBs in first round are Oregon's Justin Herbert, fifth to Raiders, and Iowa's Nate Stanley, 31st to Chargers. No Jake Fromm of Georgia. 2) Florida CB C.J. Henderson, 11th to 49ers, and Gators DE Jabari Zuniga, 21st to Titans, are the only state-college players taken. And 3) More than one-third of the first round, 11 of 32 players, are from Alabama (seven) or Clemson (four).

KILLIAN, AQUINAS MAKE RARE LIST: Miami Killian and Fort Lauderdale's St. Thomas Aquinas are two of only 12 high schools nationwide to have had multiple player selected in the recent NFL Draft, with two each. Killina draftees both were Miami Hurricanes: Sheldrick Redwine and Jaquan Johnson. Aquinas' draftees were No. 2 overall selection Nick Bosa and Jordan Scarlett. The only schools with three players each were in Cocoa, Florida and Allen, Texas. Florida schools led all states with a combined 34 draftees, followed by Texas with 27 and California with 22.

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 29, 2019

What do you think of the Miami Dolphins 2019 draft results? Grade it in poll. Last day to vote!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

It's MONDAY, APRIL 29. Football is never done, so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins trade for QB Rosen, poll on DT WIlkins pick, The List (Fins draft history in 13 range), your verdict on position Miami should target & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

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

DdraftGRADE THE DOLPHINS DRAFT. NEW POLL. VOTE NOW!: Any team's draft of course cannot truly and fairly be graded for a year or two, when we see how players are panning out. But I'm not writing an encyclopedia here. This is a blog. You don't need time for a gut reaction -- a sense of how the Dolphins did based on caliber of players they got and needs met. Are you feeling good about the draft or not? I've not met many sports fans incapable or unwilling to have a strong opinion fast. So let's go! I list the Dolphins' 2019 draft bounty below, then invite your overall opinion in a poll. I include quarterback Josh Rosen, who was acquired in a draft-day trade for, essentially, a second-round pick, because he is very much a part of who Miami got in this draft. Ready, set, vote!

Dolphins 2019 Draft bounty: 1R -- DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson (13th overall)  /  2R -- QB Josh Rosen, Arizona (via trade)  /  3R -- OG Michael Deiter, Wisconsin (78th overall)  /  5R -- OLB Andrew Van Ginkel, Wisconsin (151st overall)  /  6R -- OT Isaiah Prince, Ohio State (202nd)  /  7R -- FB Chandler Cox, Auburn (233rd)  /  7R -- RB Myles Gaskin, Washington (234th)

POLL RESULT: LOTS OF LOVE FOR WILKINS AS NO. 1 PICK: We asked, "What is your reaction to the Miami Dolphins drafting Clemson DT Christian Wilkins 13th overall?" Your verdict: Love it 68.69 percent; Like it 20.20%; So-so 8.08%; and Nope 3.03%. That's strong approval -- 88.89% either loving or liking the pick. (The opinion was more mixed in our Twitter poll, where it was Great 38%, Pretty good 29% and Meh 33%).

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:

Hotbutton Rosen1. DOLPHINS: Wilkins pick, Rosen trade highlight Miami's NFL Draft: An elite defensive tackle in Clemson's Christian Wilkins and a potential franchise quarterback in Josh Rosen (via trade from Arizona) provided a big 1-2 punch to open Miami's draft work. Most thought Wilkins would be gone before the 13th pick, and getting Rosen, a top-10 pick last year, for a low second-rounder felt like a steal. The bad news? Tougher now in 2019 to "Tank for Tua" -- the grand-prize QB the Fins should still take in next year's draft if they're bad enough to have the chance.

2. NBA: Celtics, Warriors take series Game 1s: Celtics routed top-seeded Bucks in Milwaukee on Sunday, while the Warriors and the referees beat the Rockets out west to both take Game 1s of their conference semifinal series. Raptors had previously had won their Game 1 over 76ers. Nuggets-Trail Blazers Game 1 is tonight. Overarching questions: Can Greek Freak lead the Bucks back? And are champion Warriors as vulnerable as they seem?

3. NFL: Kyler Murray, Giants' reach talk of draft: Arizona selected QB Kyler Murray No. 1 overall as expected (leading to Miami getting Josh Rosen in a trade), but the surprise of the first round had to be the Giants taking Duke QB Daniel Jones sixth overall. Huh? Wha! Jones was thought to be a second-round pick, maybe even a third. Somebody give Giants GM Dave Gettleman a Breathalyzer test.

Willis4. HURRICANES: Five Canes drafted -- but no Willis: UM guys drafted, all on Day 3, were S Sheldrick Redwine (4R/Browns), CB Michael Jackson (5/Cowboys), DE Joe Jackson (5/Cowboys), S Jaquan Johnson (6/Bills) and RB Travis Homer (6/Seahawks). Astonishingly missing: DT Gerald Willis III, who some pegged as a 2nd round talent, and who was quickly signed as a free agent by Ravens.

5. MARLINS: So much for that brief hot warm streak: Fish had won four of past six games before losing last three in a row in Philly to fall to an MLB-worst 8-20. Marlins welcome Cleveland on Tuesday as they return home, large, adoring crowds will surely be waiting (!).

6. NHL: It's down to eight for the Stanley Cup: We're early in the conference semifinals for the NHL's last eight teams skating and on Sunday Carolina took a 2-0 seriess lead over the Islanders while the Avalanche tied the Sharks 1-1 in their series. Notably, no Canadian teams are left, so the sad streak continues: No Stanley Cup since 1993 for the nation that invented hockey.

F17. AUTO RACING: Miami loses Formula One race: Miami has held up an Unwelcome sign to Formula One, and so the Miami Grand Prix ain't happening. A planned race in 2020 is being scrapped due to delays in approval by lawmakers, after a planned race in 2019 was erased by complaints from residents about the proposed 2.6-mile track running down Biscayne Boulevard and through Bayfront Park. On top of the recent news Homestead was losing its NASCAR season-finale championship race -- another blow to local motorsports fans.

8.HORSE RACING: It's Derby Week in America!: Triple Crown season in thoroughbred racing kicks off in six days with next Saturday's Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Omaha Beach and Roadster are co-betting favorites at 7-2 odds, but Florida Derby winner Maximum Security is climbing and now is fourth fave at 6-1. Go Max! 

9. CANES BASEBALL: UM ranked and movin' up after sweep: UM baseball is 31-14, ranked No. 24 in the polls and sure to move up in next ranking after Sunday completing a three-game home sweep of Virginia Tech. After a rough patch or two, first-year coach Gino DiMare has his machine humming.

10. RUNNING: Miami Corporate Run draws 27K: The annual Miami Corporate Run drew 26,698 pavement pounders from 882 companies, and the men's and women's winners were Dan Nestor and Ana Villegas. It was believed to be the first time in he history of running that a footrace was not won by somebody from Kenya.

Missing the HB10 cut: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been in the big leagues about a minute and a half and I'm already getting tired of the hype ..... UFC Fort Lauderdale (Fight Night 150) went off Saturday night at Sunrise arena, with ex-NFL player Greg Hardy winning a round 1 knockout ..... How can a Chiefs fan -- how could any fan -- ever cheer for Tyreek Hill again? ..... Heat's Goran Dragic hasn't decided whether to opt-in for $19.2 million. Hassan Whiteside also faces that option at $27.2M. If both opt in, Miami will be over salary cap before it makes any moves ..... Clemson's Dabo Swinney is now the highest paid coach in college football. Anybody wanna start a GoFundMe page for poor Nick Saban? ..... National champion Virginia men's basketball has declined to be honored at the White House. Isn't this where Trump claims they weren't invited to begin with? ..... Anybody else believe Tiger Woods has yet to take off that green jacket and even showers in it? ..... Champions League semifinals commence with first leg of Tottenham-Ajax on Tuesday. The sexier other semi: Liverpool-Barcelona ..... That reminds me. Cannot wait for Watford to stun Manchester City at Wembley in the May 18 FA Cup final. Go Hornets! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,611 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup ..... R.I.P., John Havlicek. Hondo.

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 20, 2019

Luck and Tragedy: The Dolphins drafting 13th. New column; plus Fins landing Tagovailoa seeming likelier, lean times for our pro teams, 2019 NFL schedule, Le Batard Show hits road and sells out, new Mavis song & more

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

4201) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 20. It's 420 Day, when the cannabis culture celebrates its favorite hobby. Hmm. Based on folks I know who smoke weed, I believe every day is 420 Day. 2) Visit Hotel Robots! for the latest Back In My Day video that premiered on Tuesday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. 3) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tiger's unexpected day of triumph, your shocking verdict on Miami's G.O.A.T, Ryan Fitzpatrick at Augusta & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

3at13DOLPHINS DRAFTING 13TH: TWO TIMES LUCKY, ONE HORRIFIC TRAGEDY: The Miami Dolphins were lucky to draft tackle Laremey Tunsil and lucky to draft linebacker/end A.J. Duhe. The drafting of running back David Overstreet in between ended in tragedy. Across a 40-year span, all those three had in common was that they all were selected No. 13 overall by Miami in the NFL Draft. With the Dolphin set to pick 13th again next week, we look back in our newest column at the three very disparate circumstances of the franchise's experience selecting at that spot. To read, visit Dolphins at 13: Twice Lucky, One Horrific Tragedy. Duhe, Tunsil and Overstreet are pictured left to right.

TuaMIAMI LANDING TAGOVAILOA SEEMS LIKELIER AND LIKELIER: A tough 2019 schedule (see below), very low season expectations (win over/under of 5) and the way next week's draft seems to be shaking out -- all are reasons why Dolfans should be increasingly optimistic about the Dolphins landing dream QB Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 draft. We explore deeply in our newest column, online now and in Friday's print editions. To read, visit Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa.

Big4THE 'FORLORN FOUR.' LEAN TIMES FOR DOLPHINS, HEAT, MARLINS, PANTHERSThe Dolphins are re-tooling with a new coach, have Ryan Fitzpatrick & His Fabulous Beard at quarterback, are projected for an NFL-low five wins, and are crossing fingers to strike draft gold. The Heat missed the playoffs, have one or two sort-of stars, one or two could-be stars, but no real stars now that Dwyane Wade has retired. The Marlins were 4-15 when last I winced to check and are in the midst of a complete reboot in Year 2 of Derek Jeter. The Panthers, with Aleksander Barkov-led talent and a proven new coach, might have the best immediate prospects, which only means the Next Great Hope for any of our Big Four pro teams is resting with the franchise that last won a playoff series in 1996. This is my new column. Please visit Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports to read.

DOLPHINS 2019 SCHEDULE: ONLY ONE PRIME-TIME BOW: NFL schedules out last night show Miami's only prime-stage game will be Monday Oct. 28 at Steelers, right after the bye week. Other notes: Five of first seven at home, but six of last nine on road. I  have a deeper analysis and how the schedule affects hopes of drafting Tua Tagovailoa in 2020 in my newest column. To read, visit Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa.

Dolsked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NycshowLE BATARD TAKES HIS SHOW ON THE ROAD: Hey New Yorkers! (And others with money enough to travel!) May 18, Gramercy Theatre, New York City. Be there to catch a first-of-its kind live-on-stage version of the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz, including the Shipping Container, yours truly, and special and surprise guests. Visit Le Batard Takes Miami To Manhattan for my story on Dan's rather bold brand-building move. Tickets ($50) include the show and a post-show meet-and-greet with Le Batard and the whole crew. Tickets go on sale today/Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT right HERE. Act fast. Theatre only seats 500. (Actually 499 for some odd reason). Pictured is a promo for the show. Click on the image to see it larger. I don't know why they have me lounging casually on the roof of a speeding taxi. Looks dangerous. Also, possibly illegal. [UPDATE: Wow. This thing sold out in 2 minutes on Thursday!]

Our trilogy of Dwyane Wade Week columns: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point StarThank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

Other most recent columns: Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than GolfIn Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB.

I LOVE MAVIS (AND THIS NEW SONG): Staple Singers icon Mavis Staples, about to turn 80 and still going strong, has a new album out May 10 called We Get By. Here is a song from it called "Anytime." Love the track. Bass line slays, funk sweats, vocals are great. Enjoy.

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 08, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 7): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 01, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who wins the pitched battle for No. 1 and what else lands where; plus our Florida Derby column, my NCAA bracket (ouch), your verdict on Marlins expectations (ouch again) & more

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

April11) It's MONDAY, APRIL 1. Farewell, March. Welcome, April. Hello, spring! 2) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Opening Week and season-expectations poll, Super Saturday in South Florida, my NCAAA bracket & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our column from Florida Derby: A horse once for sale for $16,000 in a claiming race wins the Florida Derby and a spot in the Kentucky Derby. You needn't be a fan of horse racing to appreciate what happened Saturday at Gulfstream Park. To read my latest column, visit Maximum Security, Maximum Results.

Marlins Opening Week columns: From Opening Day loss: Growing Pains Commence For Rebuilding Marlins. And previewing the season: The Marlins Will Be Better Than You Think. (A column that looks a lot better today, at 2-2, than it did at 0-2, by the way).

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. MARCH MADNESS: Men's NCAA tourney down to its Final Four: It'll be Michigan State-Texas Tech and Virginia-Auburn next Saturday in the coveted Final Four in Minneapolis, playing to reach the college basketball championship game. Meanwhile how's your bracket's health? Are you drowning in the pool or still swimming? Is your title-team still alive? Mine (Virginia) is in an otherwise forlorn bracket. It's April Madness!

2. MARLINS: The Marlins win again! The Marlins at .500!: After consecutive losses to open the season, Fish bats woke up with 16 hits in Saturday's 7-3 win and won again Sunday 3-0 to level the four-game series vs. Colorado. A gem start by Sandy Alcantara and a JT Riddle home run were plenty.  Mets are here for three starting Monday, meaning Marlins Park will be unusually populated and you won't be sure by the sound of it who the home team is.

3. HEAT: Playoff shot teetering as 'Last Dance' nears end: Heat are an even 38-38 after Saturday night's win over the awful, Zion Williamson-winning Knicks in Dwyane Wade's last game at Madison Square Garden. Miami is clinging to the 8th and final East playoff spot with six games left in the regular season starting tonight at Boston. Wade is down to two home games left (Wednesday and April 9) unless a playoff series favors us with a D-Wade curtain a call.

4. HORSE RACING: Florida Derby crowns champ at Gulfstream: Maximum Security, off at 6-1 odds, surprised even his own trainer by comfortably winning Saturday's 68th Florida Derby, a major Triple Crown-season prep race. Win earned Max a spot in May's Kentucky Derby, not bad for a horse available 10 weeks ago for a paltry $16,000 in a claiming race. (Read my column from the race here).

5. TENNIS: Two new champions in 1st Miami Open at HRS: Australian Ashley Barty beat Karolina Pliskova on Saturday for the women's title of the Miami Open -- the first held at Hard Rock Stadium after the move from Key Biscayne. It was a low-watt matchup in terms of starpower. Not so in Sunday's men's final, with all-time great Roger Federer easily beating American John Isner, the defending champion, 6-1, 6-4. HRS earned rave reviews as first-time tennis host. Still miss the ambiance of Key Biscayne, though.

6. MOTORSPORTS: Homestead loses NASCAR finale: Major NASCAR schedule changes will see Homestead-Miami Speedway lose the prestigious season-ending championship race to Phoenix beginning in 2020. Homestead will have an early-season March race instead. Too bad. Big loss for South Florida.

7. HURRICANES: Spring football practice nears midpoint: Coach Manny Diaz's Canes are six workdays into their 15-practice offseason schedule. The definition of being a maniacal UM football fan: You passionately care about a Canes practice ... five months before the seasons starts!!  

8. PANTHERS: Cats eliminated from playoff race (as usual): For the 20th time in 25 NHL seasons your Florida Panthers will be watching the Stanley Cup playoffs on TV. Cats never recovered from a bad start and stars like Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov didn't have enough help. Three more games, all at home tonight, Thursday and Saturday, end the sad season.

9. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women ousted one win shy Sweet 16: Great season including a No. 4 NCAA Tournament seed for Katie Meier's UM women, but a deep run in the NCAAs remains elusive for the program. A 57-55 loss to Arizona State meant Canes again fell short of the Sweet 16, an achievement last earned in 1992.

10. NFL: Owners meet, adopt one notable rules change: NFL owners meeting in Arizona mulled 16 possible rule changes for 2019 and approved a handful. The only one of real significance: Making pass interference a reviewable call subject to instant replay -- a major victory for head coaches, who backed it by a 32-0 vote. Coaches say it was needed. Wonder how they'll feel if it's their team hurt by a reversed call? 

Missing the HB10 cut: The Miami Dolphins traded defensive end Robert Quinn to Dallas for a 2020 6th-round pick. Mostly, they traded his way-too-big salary ..... Fins have 25 days until the NFL Draft, meaning 25 days to please not talk themselves out of selecting a quarterback 13th overall ..... Tiger Woods was eliminated from a match-play event after missing a 4-foot putt. Who's he think he is, Greg Cote? ..... Bryce ($430 Million) Harper hitless on Opening Day. BUM!! ..... Lakers are shutting down LeBron James for last six games due to a groin strain, a fitting finish as LeBron's first season in L.A. ends with a groin and groan ..... Greg Schiano resigned as Patriots defensive chief after two months. Is it me, or does everything seem to be shrinking around Belichick and Brady? ..... Um, is Inter Miami's "new Lockhart Stadium" built yet? Started? Tick-tock! ..... Nova Southeastern men's basketball lost 91-81 to Saint Anselm in NCAA Division II quarterfinals. Title dream done, but still big season for coach Jim Crutchfield and the Davie college ..... And in other news, four teams have reached the men's NIT Final Four, and nobody cares ..... Lawyers for Patriots owner Robert Kraft are seeking to prevent a video from being shown in trial related to his being caught at a Florida "spa" in a prostitution sting. Sure, because the video is pretty pointless other than being, you know, EVIDENCE! ..... Rolling Stones postponed their April 20 Miami concert because of Mick Jagger's health issues. So it's true what they say, fans. You can't always get what you want ..... Update: Countdown now 2,638 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

BracketUPDATED: MY NCAA BRACKET ENTERING FINAL FOUR: Men's NCAA Tournament enters is through the Elite Eight and onto the Final Four, and my bracket in the Le Batard & Friends group through ESPN.com is down to one team standing. I went 0-for-2 Sunday, needing Kentucky and Duke and getting neither. That dropped me from 59th place to 82nd among 215 players in the show pool. The only bright side: I have Virginia alive and winning it all. Only 10 of the 81 teams ahead of me also have Virginia, so if the Cavaliers cut the net I'll have a chance for a respectable finish. #BigIf.

POLL RESULT: MARLINS EXPECTATIONS ARE REALLY LOW: We asked, "How many games do you predict the 2019 Miami Marlins will win?" Top answer with 59.52 percent was 60-to-69. Then it was 21.43% for 59-or-fewer, 11.90% for 70-to-79, and 7.14% for 80-or-more.

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote