May 10, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Fists fly as Cats whip Lightning, Heat beat Boston to protect 6th spot in packed week. See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now with Izzy Gutierrez & more

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

Meandmom1) It's MONDAY, MAY 10. Hope y'all had a Happy Mother's Day! It's a time time to appreciate the Mom you have but also, for me and many others, to remember with love the one no longer with us. Pictured is the last photo of my Mom ever taken before she passed at age 96 in 2015. 2) I was on Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this past Thursday this week, and back in-studio for first time in more than a year with a new Back In My Day. Check out that day's podcasts for way too much of me. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Aging ex-Fins reflect on 1-year anniversary of Shula's death, Aaron Rodgers involves Miami (of course), Grade-A draft fuels Dolphins' momentum, Greg Cote Show podcast with draft talk and Tony Calatayud & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow IzzyGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!:  Our new 18th episode of 2021 and 60th overall is out now! A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 60 we've done HERE for free. Our latest episode features special guest Israel (Izzy) Gutierrez of ESPN (pictured) in a fun conversation about boats, sneakers, golf and Chris Cote's social skills. Oh, and hoops talk, too, including Chris Bosh's Hall of Fame chances and how the Heat are looking as the playoffs near. Also, an historic new Mount Gregmore. Bonus: Greg sings the song that was playing on the radio when he first kissed a girl. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our most recent columns:

Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death

Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen

Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 9-10): 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:

1. PANTHERS: Cats close season, open playoffs vs. bitter-rival Lightning: Florida at 36-14-5 has won five straight and leaped to second in points in the Central ahead of Tampa Bay with Saturday night's penalty-strewn 5-1 home rout of the Lightning, fueled by Alex Wennberg's hat trick. Rivals meet again Monday night in Sunrise to close the 56-game regular, with Cats needing a win or overtime loss to earn home-ice advantage in first round of playoffs. If Saturday was an indication, fists will be flyin' in a Florida-Tampa playoff. 

HButton2. HEAT: Miami jockeying for playoff position and down to stretch run: Miami solidified its lead over the Celtics for sixth place in the East with Sunday's big Jimmy Butler-led win at Boston. Now at 37-31 it's four games left in the shortened 72-game regular-season starting with another game at Boston on Tuesday. Heat are near-certain to make postseason but must finish in the top six to avoid play-in round. (Aside to Jimmy Butler: Could you lay off Karl Anthony-Towns a bit? Dude's had a tough year).

3. DOLPHINS: Fins set offseason schedule, trade for veteran CB: NFL offseason is underway and, for Miami, it starts with rookie minicamp for the Jaylen Waddle and Jaelan Phillips-led incoming draft class this Friday through next Sunday. Then: Voluntary-but-not really OTA workdays May 24-26, June 1-3, June 7-8 and June 10, and a mandatory full-team minicamp June 15-17. Also, Fins signed veteran ex-Pats corner Jason McCourty, 33, to 1-year deal, obviously as insurance (and leverage) in case Xavien Howard brays about holding out for more money.

4. MARLINS: Fish lose two of three after 4-game win streak: Miami was 15-16 and out of the NL East cellar after a three-game home sweep of Arizona and then a fourth straight win Friday vs. Milwaukee, before losing two straight to the Brewers. Miami begins 10-game road trip Monday at Arizona. Starters Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Trevor Rogers have been terrific, and the 'pen has been lights-out.

5. SOCCER: FA Cup, Champions League finals set: What a time for English football! The 140th FA Cup final will match Chelsea and underdog Leicester City this coming Saturday May 15 at Wembley Stadium. On May 29 the UEFA Champions League final in Turkey will see Chelsea the betting underdog this time vs. Manchester City. It will be only the third all-England final in the Champ League's 66 years. 

6. INTER MIAMI: Franchise-first winning record still elusive after 1-1- draw: Team Beckham is 1-2-1 after a loss-win-draw-draw this young season with Sunday's 1-1- home tie vs. Atlanta United. Miami is still chasing its first-ever winning record into its second season in Major League Soccer. Inter Miami is back home for a Wednesday mid-weeker vs. Montreal.

7. NFL: Aaron Rodgers drama heats up, with Miami a peripheral player: MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers reportedly wanting out of Green Bay has seen ripples around the NFL, including an ESPN piece this week speculating Washington, Denver and Miami as the three likeliest teams to pursue. Dolphins are still publicly in "Tua's our guy" mode. Time will tell.

8. UPCOMING: Preakness Stakes leads parade of big events remaining in May: The Preakness at Pimlico next Saturday will be horse racing's second Triple Crown race, with Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit a 7-2 betting fave to win again. Also upcoming in May: The PGA Championship is May 20-23, the Indianapolis 500 on May 30 and the French Open starting May 30.

9. GOLF: Can new 'Premier Golf League' wins its war with PGA Tour?: A proposed European Super League in soccer failed fast. Now golf? The proposed Premier Golf League,' heavily funded by Saudi money, is promising multi-million-dollar guarantees to top-ranked golfers to break away from the PGA and European Tours. Phil Mickelson calls the notion "interesting." The breakaway tour is set to start in September 2022 ... if it can attract top players. Your move, PGA Tour.

10. MLB: Angels abruptly release future Hall of Famer Pujols: Has certain first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols taken his last-MLB at-bat at age 41? Pujols, in sharp decline the past two years, was abruptly cut by the L.A. Angels this week. His first team, St. Louis, seems likeliest to sign him, but perhaps to a 1-day contract so he might retire as a Cardinal. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Former Miami Heat star Chris Bosh will be among likely honorees next Sunday when the College Basketball Hall of Fame announces its 2021 class ..... Mexican star Canelo Alvarez, no doubt inspired by an appearance on the Le Batard Show (!), stopped Billy Joe Saunders before 65,000-plus fans in Texas Saturday in a super middleweight unification fight ..... House Speaker  Nancy Pelosi honored baseball legend Willie Mays for his 90th birthday by tweeting out a photo of herself with Wille McCovey. OY! ..... Russell Westbrook tied Oscar Robertson's NBA record for most career triple-doubles ..... Portland Thorns won the NWSL Challenge Cup tournament over Gotham FC in a penalty shootout ..... Canes baseball at should re-enter the rankings if it completes a home sweep of Appalachian State today ..... Saturday semifinal wins launched Sam Houston State and South Dakota State to next week's FCS championship game in second-level college football ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,877 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Our most recent other columns: Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On  /  What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?  /  The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts   and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

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Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

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

May 03, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Dolphins draft, Heat, Le Batard, Cats jostle for top spot; plus our mock draft and draft poll results, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now (!) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MAY 3. Farewell, April. Welcome, May! 2) I was back on Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this past Thursday. Check out that day's show podcasts. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our 30th NFL Mock Draft (and how we did), Le Batard's $50 million DraftKings deal, Greg Cote Show podcast with ESPN's Mina Kimes talking draft & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow TonyGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our new 17th episode of 2021 and 59th overall is out now! A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 59 we've done HERE for free. Our latest episode, out now, features special guest Anthony (Tony) Calatayud, pictured, from the Le Batard Show Shipping Container before mysteriously falling off the pirate ship. Also, Greg raves about the Dolphins draft, how the Arizona Diamondbacks won Twitter and much more. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

DOLPHINS DRAFT POLL: Mixed results on Waddle, but mostly thumbs up: We asked in a Twitter poll what you thought of Miami picking Alabama WR Jaylon Waddle sixth overall. You said: Love it 30.5%; Like it 29.1%; Hmm 26.5%; Disappointed 14.0%.

MY MOCK DRAFT RESULTS VS. KIPER AND MCSHAY: ESPN's Todd McShay crushed it, with 26 correct first-round picks overall, six misses and a big 11 Exactos -- right player to right team. ESPN's Kiper and your guy Cote both had 25 correct overall, seven misses and seven Exactos. However I give myself the tiebreaker over Kiper because I also had two players pegged to the exact position they were taken, but to different teams. Highlight: One of my Exactos was Hurricane Gregory Rousseau going to Buffalo 30th overall. Neither Kiper nor McShay had Rousseau in their first round. [Find my full 30th annual Mock Draft HERE].

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 2-3): 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: WR Waddle, ex-Cane Phillips front Miami's draft: Fins didn't luck into top receivers Kyle Pitts or Ja'Marr Chase with the sixth overall pick in Thursday night's NFL Draft in Cleveland, so they picked Jaylen Waddle over Heisman winner DeVonta Smith in a choice of 'Bama wideout toys for Tua to play with. It was hardly "settling"; Waddle's really good. Dolphins addressed edge rush at No. 18 and didn't leave the 3-0-5 in getting ex-Hurricane Jaelan Phillips. Solid Day 1 bounty continued in a heralded draft that ESPN's Mel Kiper graded 'A.'

2. HEAT: Miami back on right side of play-in with seven games left in regular season: Up and down Heat sit sixth now in East after Sunday's win in Charlotte left Miami 35-30 with seven games left in the shortened 72-game season. Miami must finish in top six to make the playoffs proper and avoid the play-in that awaits the 7-through-10 finishers.

3. DAN LE BATARD: Leaving ESPN pays. Le Batard strikes gold with DraftKings deal: Meadowlark Media, the content company formed by Miami's Dan Le Batard and former ESPN president John Skipper, landed a three-year, $50 million sponsorship deal with DraftKings. The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz is Meadowlark's flagship. Good for you, Dan. Can you loan me $20? 

4. PANTHERS: Cats jockey for playoff position as regular seasons wanes: Florida is 34-14-5 and two points back of Carolina in the NHL Central after Saturday's 5-4 win at Chicago. Regular season ends now with three at home: Tonight/Monday vs. Dallas, then Saturday and next Monday vs. rival Tampa Bay. Florida must jump Carolina and win the division to avoid facing Tampa in first round of the playoffs, a very tough draw.

5. HURRICANES: First time in 6 years 2 Canes drafted in first round: Defensive ends Jaelan PPhilhe (18th overall to Miami) and Gregory Rousseau (30th to Buffalo) gave UM two 1R NFL Draft picks for the first time since 2015. Tight end Brevin Jordan (5th round, Houston) and DE Quincy Roche ((6th, Pittsburgh) also were drafted.

6. NFL: Rodgers report breaks ahead of QB-laden NFL Draft: ESPN reported that Packers superstar quarterback, reigning league MVP and mediocre Jeopardy! host Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, the buzz of that looming over the start of the draft. The story of round 1? Five QBs go, including the top three and with all five in the top 15. Only the 1983 draft (with six) had more QBs go 1R.

7. MARLINS: Fish at bottom after being swept at Washington: Miami is 11-16 and last in the NL East, but only 2 1/2 games off the lead after being swept at Washington with Sunday's loss. NL East is the only division in MLB without a team over .500. Who wants it. Anybody?

8. INTER MIAMI: Second-year team in scoreless draw at Nashville: Buried in a new pandemic, Inter Miami's inaugural season began with five straight losses and ended 7-13-3. Year 2 started loss-win. That meant 1-1-0 Miami had a chance for its first-ever winning record Sunday at Nashville. Alas, a 0-0 tie ensued.

9. HORSE RACING: Medina Spirit wins Kentucky Derby: Medina Spirit won the 147th Kentucky Derby Saturday to commence the 2021 Triple Crown season. Jockey John Velazquez entered the race with 12-1 odds but delivered trainer Bob Baffert his record seventh Derby win.

10. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League nears title matchup: Second-leg semifinal matches this week will determine which two teams advance to the Champions League finale. Manchester City carries a one-goal edge over Paris-Saint Germain in their Tuesday match. Wednesday, Real Madrid and Chelsea enter even after a draw in in the first leg.

Missing the HB10 cut: There is now speculation Texans QB Deshaun Watson,  besieged by 23 accusations of sexual misconduct, may not play in 2021 ..... Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will sign a bill banning transgender females from women’s and girls’ sports. So  much for the notion of equal rights ..... Four games Sunday will bring us to next Saturday's semifinals in the second-tier FCS college football playoffs. South Dakota State is No. 1 seed of teams still alive from the original 16 ..... Canes baseball is 24-14 entering today's rubber game at Boston College ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is back with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,884 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

IFFY TRADES THAT COST THEM PITTS MEAN DOLPHINS BETTER BE RIGHT ON WADDLE: The top of the Miami Dolphins’ NFL Draft on Thursday night was all about one thing: Making second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa better. They did it in drafting his former Alabama teammate, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (pictured), sixth overall in the first round of the draft in Cleveland. Another Jwaddleway to frame what the Fins’ draft priority was: Tagovailoa has one less excuse now. The coming season must see a leap from him, a verification why Miami put the franchise keys in his hand just one year earlier. Think about the AFC East moving forward. Buffalo has rising star Josh Allen at quarterback. The New York Jets (Zach Wilson) and New England (Mac Jones) drafted their QBs of the future Thursday night. Tua is suddenly in the mix with three young rivals. Miami went defense with its second first-round pick, and looked to the backyard in drafting former Miami Hurricanes defensive end Jaelan Phillips 18th overall. It was a need-filling smart pick (although I believe DE Kwity Paye, who went three spots later, may have a greater career). The way the draft played out — with coveted tight end Kyle Pitts going fourth overall and receiver Ja’Marr Chase going fifth — limited Miami’s options with its top pick. The Dolphins were left to choose among Waddle, his Bama teammate DeVonta Smith, the Heisman Trophy-winning receiver, or offensive tackle Penei Sewell. Waddle’s name being called felt like a bit of a surprise to some. In a pre-draft poll on Twitter that presumed Pitts would be gone before No. 6, I asked who should Dolphins fans hope Miami takes, with four choices. It was Chase 49.0 percent, Smith 23.9 percent, Sewell 19.5 percent and Waddle only 7.6 percent. But consider: Tagovailoa has played with both Waddle and Smith. Do you think the Dolphins brought Tua in on that decision? Of course they did. Any second-guessing of the Dolphins shouldn’t center on Waddle over Smith or Sewell. But it might legitimately center on the club yo-yoing from the third pick to the 12th and back up to sixth via two major trades. Stay at three and you get Pitts, who is said to be a generational, franchise-changing talent. But in the maneuvering that cost them Pitts the Dolphins gained the 49ers’ first-round draft pick in 2023. So here is what a Dolphins fans must weigh. What would you rather have moving forward: Pitts? Or Waddle plus an additional 2023 first-round pick? It isn’t an easy question or a knowable answer right now. For our full column, visit Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle
 
Dolphins 2021 Draft:
1-6   Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
1-18 Miami DE Jaelan Phillips
2-36 Oregon S Jevon Holland
2-42 Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg
3-81 Boston College TE Hunter Long
7-231 UMass OT Larnel Coleman
7-244 Cincinnati RB Gerrid Doaks
 

Our most recent other columns: Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On  /  What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?  /  The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts   and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

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

April 26, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Dolphins draft, Heat and Cats wind down, Inter Miami wins. See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; plus ESPN's Mina Kimes talks NFL Draft, Dolphins on new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 26. I'll be back on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this week after a week off, but on Thursday, not Tuesday. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Justice for George Floyd but still much work to do, Greg Cote Show podcast with Dave Parker and Roy Bellamy & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowMinaGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our new episode, out now, features special Mina Kimes of ESPN (pictured) to talk NFL Draft and Miami Dolphins. Also, Mina and Greg face off in a geography quiz. This is our 16th of 2021 and 58th overall. A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 58 we've done HERE for free. In our new Ep16, along with Mina, we introduce a third member of our podcast team joining Greg and Chris. Also, wait, is that Joe Biden on the phone. Bonus: The Mount Gregmore of Dolphins' all-time worst first round draft picks. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our most recent columns: Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On  /  What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?  /  The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts   and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 25-26): 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Three days 'til Fins select [your guess here] in NFL Draft: First round is Thursday night in Cleveland, with Miami holding sixth overall pick. Will they trade up to get prize TE Kyle Pitts? Will they stay put and get WR Ja'Marr Chase or Devonta Smith or (with luck) Pitts? A trade down, perhaps? Stay tuned. Meantime, Dolphins signed veteran OT/G D.J. Fluker, a 2013 first-round draft pick, lessening the chances they might also have Penei Sewell in mind Thursday night.

2. HEAT: Miami scrambling to avoid play-in as regular season winds down: Heat sit seventh in the East with 11 games left in the NBA's shortened 72-game season. Miami must finish in top six to make the playoffs proper, as teams that finish seven through 10 this year are relegated to a May 18-21 play-in tournament. Miami is 32-29 after Saturday's home win over Chicago. Teams play again here Monday.

3. PANTHERS: Cats top Carolina atop Central: Florida is 31-13-5 and one point back of Carolina in the NHL Central after Saturday's big 4-3 OT win over the Hurricanes. Now it's seven games left in the shortened 56-game season before playoffs begin, starting tonight at Nashville.

4. MARLINS: Fish in rocky start to 10-game roadie: Miami is 9-12 after Sunday's loss in San Francisco. Fish dropped three of four at Giants to start a season-long 10-game road trip that continues Monday in Milwaukee. Miami is ninth in team ERA in all of MLB, but 25th on the offensive end in team OPS.

5. INTER MIAMI: Higuain brothers lift Miami to first win: Inter Miami is 1-0-1 after Saturday night's 2-1 win at the Philadelphia Union, with goals from brothers Gonzalo and Frederico. Following a season-opening 3-2 home loss to the L.A. Galaxy, the win was the first for new coach Phil Neville, and the first time Miami, in its second MLS season, has been .500 or better.

6. SOCCER: R.I.P., European Super League, 2021-2021: The new league was born and died three days later, buried under universal opposition by fans, politicians, other clubs and FIFA. The planned breakaway competition to rival or replace the UEFA Champions League quickly disintegrated when many of the original 12 clubs began pulling out. Super League organizers insist the idea is suspended, not dead. Hmm. OK.

7. SOCCER: Champions League semifinals begin this week: UEFA Champions League's heavyweight final four begins its semifinal round this week, with Real Madrid vs. Chelsea on Tuesday and Paris-Saint Germain vs. Manchester City on Wednesday in first-leg matches. Second-leg games are the following week.

8. AUTO RACING: Formula One in Miami gets the green light: Despite opposition from some Miami Gardens residents, the Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium will join the 2022 FIA Formula One calendar as part of a 10-year deal. The date of the race is to be announced. The circuit will be 3.4 miles with 19 corners and three straights, and estimated top speeds of just under 200 mph. Miami will be the 11th city to host a Formula One race.

9. GAMBLING: Is legalized gambling (finally) coming to Florida?: More than half of all states now allow some form of legal sports betting, and Florida could be next if a proposal agreed to in principle between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state gets approved by the Legislature in the next week. Estimates project an annual revenue of at least $500 million.

10. UFC: Usman dominates Masvidal: Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman dominated Miami's Jorge Masvidal for a second-round knockout in their rematch Saturday night in the main event of UFC 261 in Jacksonville. Usman vs. Colby Covington is now in the offing.

Missing the HB10 cut: FCS small-college football playoffs got underway Saturday with 16 teams playing in a single-elimination tournament for a shot at the title game May 16 ..... Notice how all the Deshaun Watson trade talk disappeared as those 22 women accused him of sexual misconduct? Such a coincidence! ..... NFL Network and NFL RedZone will now be carried on Hulu's live TV subscription streaming service starting in August ..... Heat owner Micky Arison on Dwyane Wade buying an ownership interest in the Utah Jazz: "We had discussed having him join our ownership group after his retirement, but he was not prepared to commit at the time. I am disappointed that he didn’t reconsider" ..... A national effort by conservative state lawmakers to ban transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s sports now looks to be dead in Florida ...... The now-unranked Canes baseball team is 21-13 and trying to avoid being swept today at North Carolina ..... With Hurricanes spring football practice over, individual single-game tickets to UM's seven home games are now on sale ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast, after a week off, is back with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,891 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me / and Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic.

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

April 18, 2021

The new Hot Button Top 10: Dolphins draft, slumping Heat, Inter Miami opener battle for the top. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus Greg Cote Show podcast, links to recent columns & more

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

Mecane1) It's SUNDAY, APRIL 18. We were back on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this past Tuesday. Find that day's show podcasts, including a new Back In My Day. One of the reasons I love being on Dan's show is the fans. They are super loyal, engaged and talented. Example: Dan jokes on-air that I should adopt a royal persona and walk into press boxes carrying a scepter. So a bunch of stuff related to that turns up online including the photo shown. So sublimely ridiculous. Love it. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Why Dolphins should trade up in draft and go all-in for Kyle Pitts, Masuyama's Masters win lifts Japan in time of anti-Asian hate, Greg Cote Show podcast with Dave Parker and Roy Bellamy & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Song of the Week: "Chosen Family," Rina Sawayama with Elton John.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: LATEST EPISODE WITH DAVE PARKER, ROY BELLAMY OUT NOW!: Our 15th podcast of 2021 (57th overall) is out now! A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. However the pod is taking this Monday off with a new episode returning on Monday, April 26. So it's perfect time to catch up on our full catalog! You can find all 57 we've done HERE for free. In our latest Ep15 we welcome in two special guests: Former Pittsburgh Pirates star Dave Parker and, from the Le Batard Show, Roy Bellamy. Parker has a new autobiography out and he speaks about being denied the Hall of Fame, his fight with Parkinson's disease and more. And get to know the inscrutable Bellamy in a fun chat about his bucket list, what scares him and more. (And do we get Roy to sing? Find out). Also: The Mount Gregmore of all-time best food. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our most recent columns: What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts / and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

Personal note: I'm on holiday for a few days. The podcast has the week off but will return with a new episode Monday, April 26. I'll miss this Tuesday's Le Batard Show but will be back on April 27. This week's Hot Button was written Saturday morning. We'll return with a blog update and a new column on Wednesday.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 18-19): 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Countdown 11 days until NFL Draft: The April 29 start of the NFL Draft is coming like a locomotive, with Miami weighing what to do with the No. 6 overall pick, or whether to trade up or down. This week's latest mock draft by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. guessed the Fins will trade up to No. 4 and take Gators tight end Kyle Pitts. (In my dreams ... or in Brian Flores'). Meantime new Vegas over/unders on wins have Miami at 9 for the new 17-game seasons, or likely wild-card contention.

2. HEAT: Playoffs no given as slumping Miami hosts Brooklyn Sunday: An NBA Finals runnerup last season, the Heat is at risk of not making the playoffs this year after falling to seventh in the East at 28-28 after a third straight loss Friday night at Minnesota. Miami has 16 games left in the abbreviated 72-game regular season starting Sunday at home vs. star-laden Brooklyn.

3. INTER MIAMI: Year 2 in MLS unfurls Sunday for Beckham, new coach: David Beckham's Inter Miami hosts the L.A. Galaxy Sunday at it's-still-Inter Miami Stadium-to-me in Fort Lauderdale, with limited fans allowed. It's the debut for new coach Phil Neville. Miami's second match is the following Saturday at the Philadelphia Union.

4. PANTHERS: Cats remain in three-way fight for Central lead: Florida is 27-12-5 after Thursday's 3-2 OT loss at rival Tampa Bay, third in NHL Central but only a point off the lead entering Saturday's rematch at the Lightning. Cats bolstered for the stretch run with a flurry of minor deals ahead of the league trade deadline.

5. MARLINS: Fish shake off rough start, get hot: Miami shook off 1-5 start at home with a 4-2 road trip that including taking three of four in Atlanta, then won the first of three back home over the Giants Friday night with strong relief pitching and homers by Starling Marte and Jazz Chisholm. Marlins were 6-7 heading into Satrday and Sunday games vs. San Fran.

6. POLITICS: Florida House passes controversial transender bill: Florida's state Hour this week passed a bill that would ban transgender female athletes from joining women’s public high school and college sports teams. If signed into law the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act would require athlete eligibility to be based on one's biological (at-birth) sex. The NCAA reiterated support for transgender athletes and announced it would not host college championships in states where discriminatory laws exist.

7. AUTO RACING: Formula One in Miami moves closer to reality: A Formula One Miami Grand Prix race in 2022 in the area of Hard Rock Stadium moved a step closer to reality this week when the Miami Gardens city commission approved a resolution to support the race, angering some residents.

8. HURRICANES: Team Diaz wraps up spring football practice: Offseason work wrapped up Saturday with the annual Spring Game at The Rock. Coach Manny Diaz's Canes open the season September 4 with the toughest possible game -- vs. reigning champion Alabama in Atlanta. Home-game individual tickets go on sale this Wednesday.

9. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League semifinals set: Results last week fashioned a heavyweight Champions League final four, with semifinals matching Real Madrid vs. Chelsea and Paris-Saint Germain vs. Manchester City. First-leg matches are set for April 27-28.

10. OLYMPICS: Are the Summer Games in jeopardy again?: A senior Japanese ruling party official said canceling this summer's Tokyo Olympics remains an option if the pandemic crisis becomes too dire, with Japan experiencing a fourth wave of infections less than 100 days from the Games' scheduled start.

Missing the HB10 cut: Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade is now a part owner of the Utah Jazz. A piece of the Heat or even the Bulls would-a made more sense, but when opportunity knocks you let it in, right? ..... The Basketball Hall of Fame announced Michael Jordan would present the late Kobe Bryant at the May 15 ceremony ..... Twenty women who have alleged inappropriate behavior or sexual assault against Texans QB Deshaun Watson have now disclosed their names. This is getting serious-real, folks ..... Two no-hitters in MLB the past week. When did that stop being a big deal? ..... WWE releases nine wrestlers in a budget cut, and this is where I pretend I've heard of or will miss any of them ..... The Florida Panthers' privately financed $65 million renovation of Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium is underway with construction of a new team practice and community ice facility. It is scheduled to open in Summer 2022...... The NCAA loosened its transfer rule. Starting next season major college football and basketball players may transfer one time before graduating without being required to sit out a year of competition ..... ESPN is mad at Alex Rodriguez because its own MLB analyst gave the scoop to The Athletic, not to his own network, that he and a billionaire partner were buying the Minnedosta Timberwolves. Hilarious! ..... Hurricanes baseball had dropped out of the Top 25 entering its weekend home series vs. Clemson ..... Patriots receiver Julian Edelman retired. Five words: Not a Hall of Famer ..... Browns snared edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney with a one-year deal ..... Texas center Charlie Collier went No. 1 overall in this week's WNBA Draft. League's 25th season tips off May 14 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is off this week -- a perfect time to catch up on any of the 57 episodes you may have missed! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,898 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Our most recent other columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / and The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft. Also: Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / and In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.

Select other recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me / and Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic.

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

April 12, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): The Masters, Heat on road, Cats go cold, flopping Fish finally win, Inter Miami on deck. See who's No. 1, what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now with Dave Parker, Roy Bellamy & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 12. I was back in my regular Tuesday spot last week on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Check it out on that day's show podcasts. Includes the return of Bitter Mickey Mouse. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On talk of U.S. Olympic boycott and sports/politics mix, Kawhi the next Heat whale-sighting?, Six Dolphins options for great No. 6 pick in draft, Greg Cote Show podcast with Dick Stockton & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow DavepGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!:
Our 15th podcast of 2021 (57th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 57 we've done HERE for free. In our new Ep15 we welcome in two special guests: Former Pittsburgh Pirates star Dave Parker (pictured in his swaggery days), and, from the Le Batard Show, Roy Bellamy. Parker has a new autobiography out and he speaks about being denied the Hall of Fame, his fight with Parkinson's disease and more. And get to know the inscrutable Bellamy in a fun chat about his bucket list, what scares him and more. (And do we get Roy to sing? Find out). Also: The Mount Gregmore of all-time best food genres and dishes. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our most recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / and The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft. Also: Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / and In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 11-12): 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:

HButton1. GOLF: The green jacket fits Matsuyama as Masters crowns him champ: Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, seven times top-10 in majors but never before a winner, carried a big four-shot lead into Sunday's final round of The Masters in Augusta and held on to win by one stroke. He became the first Japanese man ever to win golf's biggest prize.

2. HEAT: Miami hits road with win as Kawhi speculation simmers: Heat is 28-25 and fifth in the East after Thursday's home win over the LeBron-less, A.D.-less L.A. Lakers and then Sunday's win at Portland. Victor Oladipo injured a knee and is missing the current four-game road swing. Meanwhile team signed journeyman center Dewayne Dedmon as speculation arose that superstar Kawhi Leonard may be intrigued by Miami should he opt to leave the Clippers in free agency this summer.

3. STADIUMS: Corporate names in South Florida keep getting worse: First it was the home of the Heat becoming FTX Arena. Bad. Then it was Marlins Park becoming loanDepot park. Worse. Now Inter Miami announces its home in Fort Lauderdale is now AutoNation's DRV PNK Stadium. Oh if only I were kidding.

4. PANTHERS: Not ice-cold, but third straight loss cools Cats: Florida is 26-12-4 and down to third in the tight-at-the-top NHL Central after two straight losses to Carolina and then another Saturday at Dallas followed a season-best six-game win streak. Meantime the Cats, in midst of a six-game road swing, picked up defenseman Lucas Carlsson and forward Lucas Wallmark from Chicago and D Brandon Montour from Buffalo in separate in minor trades.

5. MARLINS: Stumbling Fish get needed win Saturday: Coming off last year's unexpected playoff appearance, a 1-5 homestand to open the new season was not the stuff of dreams for Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly. The "loanDepot park" jinx? Marlins are now 2-6 in midst of a seven-game roadie. After a Sunday rainout at the Mets, it's off to Atlanta. Weak-bat Miami has scored two or fewer runs in five of its first six losses but got a needed 3-0 win Saturday fueled by a Jazz Chisholm home run as as Trevor Rogers outpitched Jacob deGrom.

6. INTER MIAMI: Year 2 starts next Sunday for Miami MLS team: Inter Miami hosts the L.A. Galaxy next Sunday at its Fort Lauderdale home to begin its second season in Major League Soccer. A disappointing first season coincided with the onset of the pandemic and this preseason was washed out by COVID concerns, so David Beckham's club sets out as something of a mystery under new coach Phil Neville.

7. OLYMPICS: Will U.S. mull boycott of Beijing Games in '22?: There were conflicting messages from the State Department on whether President Biden and allies will discuss a possible boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Bejing to protest China's human rights record. Games are set for February.  

8. SOCCER: Fort Lauderdale to host Gold Cup matches: The Lauderdale stadium where Inter Miami plays will host preliminary matches in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 2-6. Twelve nations including Cuba and Haiti will vie for the final three of 16 spots in the main group-play stage. The Gold Cup every two years crowns the best team in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Mexico (eight titles) and the U.S. (six) have dominated the 15 previous GC's, with Canada winning once.

9. AUTO RACING: Renewed hope for Formula One in Miami: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ long-running effort to bring Formula One racing to South Florida got help Thursday when Miami Gardens Mayor Rodney Harris offered a joint resolution with Hard Rock Stadium to assuage concerns of local activists. The city council will vote on the resolution Wednesday. Accommodations would include noise barriers.

10. UM BASKETBALL: The hits keep coming for Larranaga, Canes: On the heel  of a really bad 10-17 season, Miami men's team and Jim Larranaga have endured a spate of draft- and transfer-rated departures such as Chris Lykes to Arkansas. The latest: Former Miami guard Earl Timberlake, one of college basketball top transfers this spring, committed to play at Memphis next season, saying he picked the Tigers in order to play for Penny Hardaway.

Missing the HB10 cut: Countdown 18 days 'til Dolphins on clock in NFL Draft ..... Alex Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore are finalizing a deal to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves and WNBA Minnesota Lynx for around $1.5 billion ..... Speeding caused Tiger Woods' car accident in February in which he sustained serious leg injuries. L.A. police say he was doing 84 mph in a 45 zone as he approached a curve, but there were no signs of impairment and he'll face no charges ..... Wrestlemania 37, WWE's two-night crown jewel spectacle, wraps up Sunday at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium, where up to 25,000 fans will be allowed. The pay-per-view gate would have been much greater if they'd taken my advice and arranged for somebody to body-slam Tom Brady ..... No. 18 Canes baseball is 17-10 after two straight losses at No. 24 Pitt. UM tries to avoid the sweep today ..... UMass won its first Frozen Four college hockey title Saturday, beating St. Cloud State ..... The French Open postponed its start by one week, to May 30, related to COVID-19 ..... UEFA Champions League second-leg quarterfinal matches on Tuesday and Wednesday see Real Madrid and Chelsea with two-goal advantages and Manchester City and Paris-Saint Germain both plus-one ..... Nike and other sponsors have begun to distance themselves from embattled Deshaun Watson, with 22 women now accusing him of sexual misconduct related to massage sessions ..... Packers quarterback and closet nerd Aaron Rodgers hosted Jeopardy! ..... Hurricanes spring practice ends this coming Saturday. Quick note: You are way too big a college football fan if you care how your team looks in a practice in March and April ..... Baylor's NCAA championship over Gonzaga in men's basketball last week made it five straight times a title game between the Nos. 1 and 2 overall seeds has been won by the No. 2 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 15th episode of 2021 and 57th overall drops Monday morning on all major podcast platforms. Now heard Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,905 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Our other most recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness.

Other recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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

April 05, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Marlins, March Madness, red-hot Heat and Panthers, Masters Week battle for top. See who's No.1 and what else lands where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast with Dick Stockton out now & more

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

Eeaster1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 5. Hope ya'll had a Happy Easter Sunday and, to our Jewish friends, a celebratory 'chag Pasach sameach' to end Passover! 2) I was back in my regular Tuesday spot last week on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Check out that day's podcasts, including my latest Back In My Day. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Opening Week with columns off opener and season preview, Greg Cote Show podcast with Guinness Record-setting hot pepper eater & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

MarlinsOur most recent columns: Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect (off Opening Day loss) / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope (season preview) / and In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time (tribute column).

CoteshowDickstocktonGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: TV LEGEND DICK STOCKTON IN NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 14th podcast of 2021 (56th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 56 we've done right HERE for free. In our most recent Ep14 we welcome in special guest Dick Stockton (pictured), the newly retired sports broadcasting legend. In a fun chat, he talks about his career and most famous call and does play-by-play on Chris eating a bowl of cereal. Also, he sings! Also on the new pod, a new 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies,' the Mount Gregmore of all-time best sitcom casts, plus loanDepot park and MLB moving its All-Star Game. Almost forgot: Will Greg's toenail soon be for sale? Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 4-5): 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:

HButton1. MARLINS: Play ball! Fans (partly) back as Fish open season: Marlins' season-opening six-game homestand continues with games Monday through Wednesday vs. St. Louis after Easter Sunday off. Fish opened 1-2 vs. Tampa Bay, with bats coming alive in Saturday's 12-7 win. Miami is allowing crowds up to 27 percent capacity this season (about 9,700 per game), although the first three games have averaged only about 6,500 or 18 percent capacity. Almost forgot: The ballpark's gruesome new corporate name is "loanDepot park." (It's still Marlins Park  to me).

2. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Men's title game set as Gonzaga, Baylor advance: Unbeaten Gonzaga goes for a wire-to-wire perfect season and Baylor stands in the way in its first title game since 1948 in the men's NCAA Tournament championship game Monday night in Indianapolis. Baylor routed Houston 78-59 in Saturday's semifinal while the Zags survived UCLA 93-90 on a buzzer-beating 3 by Jalen Suggs in OT.

3. HEAT: Topsy-turvy team is hot again as Oladipo joins the flow: Heat has won four in a row and risen to a tie for fourth place in the East after Saturday's win over Cleveland -- after previously losing six straight. Newly acquired shooting guard Victor Oladipo, the trade-deadline prize, made his Heat debut Thursday. In other news, Jimmy Butler appeared shirtless at a postgame news conference, drawing playful derision from Bam Adebayo. Team's back in play Tuesday vs. Memphis.

4. PANTHERS: Fire-on-ice Cats win sixth in a row!: Florida is 26-9-4, alone in first place in the NHL Central and on a season-best six-game win streak after the weekend's 5-2 and 3-0 home dominations of Columbus. Florida now sets out on a six-game road trip starting Tuesday at Carolina. Also last week, Florida signed goalkeeper Spencer Knight, the team's 2019 top draft pick, to a three-year contract.

5. GOLF: It's the week of The Masters at Augusta: With Tiger Woods watching on TV as he recovers from severe leg injuries suffered in his recent car accident, The Masters goes on without him this week at Augusta starting Thursday. Betting favorites are led by Dustin Johnson, Bryson Dechambeau and Justin Thomas. As for Woods? L.A. detectives have determined the cause of his wreck, but thus far are refusing to reveal their finings. Hmm. 

6. NFL: Fans cheer, players gripe as league OKs 17-game season: After 43 seasons with a 16-game regular season, the NFL is increasing it to 17 games beginning this year. Fans love it. More football. TV loves it. More revenue and ratings. Players don't love it and can't believe their union let it happen.   

7. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Stanford tops Arizona in women's championship game: Women's NCAA Tournament got an all-Pac 12 title game in which Stanford edged Arizona 54-53 on Sunday for the Cardinal's first national title since 1992. No. 1 seed Stanford had advanced by beating South Carolina 66-65 while No. 3 Arizona had stunned No. 1 UConn, 69-65. Results deprived America of a championship-stage look at UConn freshman sensation and AP Player of the Year Paige Bueckers, who was held to 18 points on 5-for-13 shooting Friday.

8. TENNIS: Ash Barty leads championship weekend at Miami Open: Defending Miami Open champ Ash Barty won again on Saturday, with ease when underdog opponent Bianca Andreescu retired injured in the second set outside of Hard Rock Stadium. A no-name, who's-that men's final four advanced 19-year-old Italian Jannik Skinner and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland to Sunday's men's championship match, won by Hurkacz. This year's Miami Open was back after taking 2020 off but was decimated by star withdrawals and gutted prize money.

9. MLB: Baseball moves All-Star Game to punish Georgia voting laws: Baseball announced it's 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft would be moved from Atlanta in response to Georgia's recently passed voter suppression law. Bravo baseball!

10. INTER MIAMI: Teams cancels preseason scrimmages over COVID concerns: Inter Miami canceled three scheduled exhibition games in Bradenton ahead of its second MLS season on account of COVID-19 concerns. David Beckham's outfit and new coach Phil Neville are prioritizing full health as team preps for its April 18 season opener.

Missing the HB10 cut: Countdown: 24 days 'til Dolphins draft ..... Houston police have now begun an investigation of Deshaun Watson as 21 women have now alleged inappropriate sexual behavior during massages ..... North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams is retiring after 18 years with the Tar Heels and 33 years in the sport overall ..... Also retiring: Veteran TV sports broadcaster Dick Stockton ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 15-8 off four straight wins and goes for home sweep of Duke today ..... North Macedonia stunned Germany in a World Cup qualifying match ..... UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches commence Tuesday with Manchester City-Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid-Liverpool ..... Oh, and Miami FC, the second-tier USL team, prepares to open its new season May 2 ..... Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey, you embarrassed everyone on Earth by saying COVID testing should be done away with so as not to disrupt the Final Four ..... If anybody cares, Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 next weekend ..... Hurricanes spring football practuce continues through April 17 ..... xxxxx ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 14th episode of 2021 and 56th overall drops Monday morning on all major podcast platforms. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,912 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Our other most recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness.

Other recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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

April 03, 2021

Miami Marlins Opening Week! 'Bottom Feeders' still after respect, lose opener 1-0 as fans return. My column from stadium; plus Greg Cote Show podcast has man who set Guinness record for eating hot peppers, our Schnellenberger tribute column & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 3. Welcome, April! Did you have an April Foolish Thursday? 2) I was back in my regular Tuesday spot this week on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Check out that day's podcasts, including my new Back In My Day. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Howard Schnellenberger tribute column, Greg Cote Show podcast with Guinness Record-setting hot pepper eater & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, 1934-2021: OUR TRIBUTE COLUMN: In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.


Coteshow MikejackGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW AND IT'S CHILI PEPPER HOT!:
Our 13th podcast of 2021 (55th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 55 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep13 we offer a tribute to the late great Howard Schnellenberger and welcome in two special guests. Meet Mike Jack (pictured), who just a Guinness World Record for eating the hottest pepper ever grown -- a ball of fire some 400 times hotter than a jalapeno. And Jeremy Tache' of Bally (nee Fox) Sports Florida is on to discuss Heat, Marlins and Schitt's Creek. Greg and Chris also chew over Dolphins' big draft trades. And Mount Gregmore is back! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (And remember: Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Sandy'BOTTOM FEEDER' MARLINS, STILL FIGHTING FOR RESPECT, DROP OPENER 1-0 AS FANS RETURN [Column from Opening Day]: Baseball began to dig itself out from under a pandemic on Thursday and carry America with it. This is the sport wrapped in symbolism, and there was plenty of that on Opening Day at still-Marlins Park-to-me and at ballparks around the country. There were more face coverings than ballcaps in the crowd, but there were fans watching, and cheering, wearing Marlins colors, moms, dads and kids remembering what normal used to feel like. After a 2020 marked by somberly empty MLB stadiums as COIVD-19 raged, fans are returning this spring, though in limited numbers such as Miami’s 27 percent capacity. There were Marlins T-shirts that read, WELCOME HOME. They marked the return of fans as the club began its 29th franchise season and 10th at what most of us still think of as “the new ballpark.” Red, white and blue bunting hung in the stands A salsa band played in the concourse beyond left field. Not since September 2019 had this place felt this alive, this itself. Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays players lined up on the first- and third-base baselines for pregame introductions, an Opening Day tradition, and applause met them, not the silence of one year earlier. The defending AL champion Rays would win the game, 1-0, on an eighth-inning Austin Meadows home run off Miami reliever Yimi Garcia, though the result of this first of 162 games was less the story of this day-into-night as the return of fans and all that symbolized. The outcome, though, did nothing to alter the season’s narrative about Miami: A team that will need to win on the strength of its starting pitching, not with a batting lineup that strikes little fear. It was only the third shutout loss in 29 Marlins season openers. Starter Sandy Alcantara was strong in six shutout innings, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out seven, but got scant help offensively. A crowd of 7,062 attended, only about 19 percent of capacity and below the max allowed because many fans remain wary. But it was an impressively spread-out, masked-up, happy-to-be-there throng. For our full latest column, visit Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect.
 

Marlins opdayMIAMI MARLINS WELCOME BACK CHEERING CROWD, FEELING OF HOPE [Season-preview column]: Baseball fans will flock to watch the Miami Marlins play a home game Thursday. They will cheer and buy hot dogs. The ballpark will be decorated in red, white and blue bunting. The umpire will shout “Play ball!” and Sandy Alcantara will begin his windup on the pitcher’s mound. All of the little stuff, the normal stuff we took for granted and missed, is coming back to us by degrees. Crowds at games. Sweet noise. The communal of fans. It is Opening Day in America. It will feel a little like a re-opening. The Marlins’ 29th season of Major League Baseball unfurls with a six-game homestand starting Thursday vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, and it will be the semblance of a real Opening Day for the first time in two years, after last season was delayed, truncated and tossed upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans were last at the former Marlins Park on September 22, 2019. They will return to find it newly renamed “loanDepot Park” now because the Marlins this week, like most franchises across sports, agreed to sell a little bit of their soul for the added revenue stream of corporate naming rights. For the full column, visit Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope.

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ARCHIVES:

Our other most recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / and Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness.

Other recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

March 29, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Huge week as Riley magic, Fins draft trades, Marlins Opening Week, R.I.P. Howard, Elite Eight fight for first; plus our Schnellenberger tribute column, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 29. Thanks to the Paul Castronovo Show for having us on this morning to talk Dolphins and Schnellenberger. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat and Riley steal Oladipo at trade deadline, Beckham keeps name-dropping Messi and Ronaldo for Inter Miami, Deshaun Watson's escalating off-field mess, Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow MikejackGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 13th podcast of 2021 (55th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 55 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep13 we offer a tribute to the late great Howard Schnellenberger and welcome in two special guests. Meet Mike Jack (pictured), who just a Guinness World Record for eating the hottest pepper ever grown. And Jeremy Tache' of Bally (nee Fox) Sports Florida is on to discuss Heat, Marlins and Schitt's Creek. Greg and Chris also chew over Dolphins' big draft trades. And hear the return of Mount Gregmore! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (And remember: Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HowardripHOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, 1934-2021: MY TRIBUTE COLUMN: Like grown children do with aging parents, sports fans know the day is coming for beloved old coaches who have faded from sidelines and headlines but never from our hearts. We have so long to prepare for the day, so many years, yet somehow we always feel unprepared when the news hits. Howard Schnellenberger -- father of the Miami Hurricanes football dynasty but with an impact so much greater -- passed away early Saturday. He had turned 87 two weeks earlier. We forgive hyperbole in eulogies, but sometimes what might seem like a statement too big is just right: “Without him there is no Miami football,” the Hurricanes program tweeted simply. For my full tribute column, visit In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.

Riley's magic, Beckham's optimism, Watson's mess. Our three othre most recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / and Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? Other most recent columns: No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 28-29): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur 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:

HButton1. HEAT: Slump deepens, but Miami, Riley win big at draft deadline: Bad news? Heat has lost a season-high six straight games and fallen below .500 (22-24) and tumbled from fourth place to eighth in the East after Friday's loss at Charlotte. Good news? Miami and Pat Riley killed it on NBA trade deadline day. Couldn't pry Kyle Lowry from Toronto, but acquired 20-point scorer Victor Oladipo and forward Nemanja Bjelica without having to part with valued pieces like Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson. No Lowry? No problem! Miami is back in play Monday at Knicks.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami trades down in first round, gets draft windfall in return: The Fins on Friday shook up the NFL draft's April 29 first round by trading down from the No. 3 overall pick. Miami in return got San Francisco's No. 12 overall pick, its third rounder this year and two future first-round picks -- one in 2022 and one in 23. Then, Miami got the No. 6 overall pick this year and a '21 fifth-round pick from Philadelphia in exchange for the '21 12th overall pick, a '21 fourth-round pick and a '22 first-round pick. Got all that? Bottom line: By moving down third to sixth in this year's first round, Fins gained a 3rd-round pick in '21 and a first-rounder in '23. Smart.

3. MARLINS: It's Opening Week for Miami's 29th MLB season!: Marlins open the regular season with a six-game homestand vs. Tampa Bay and St. Louis starting this Thursday vs. the Rays, with Sandy Alcantara on the mound for Miami. Low expectations for Fish in tough NL East, based on betting numbers, though Miami snapped a 17-year playoff drought last year. Season comes after a successful spring that saw Fish finish atop the Grapefruit League standings at 14-5 (not counting five ties) after Sunday's closing win.

4. HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: R.I.P. to Canes' first champion football coach: Howard Schnellenberger passed away Saturday at age 87. His leading the Miami Hurricanes' 1983 national championship touched off a dynasty that would lead to four titles more over the next 18 seasons. He later built FAU's program from scratch.  A true South Florida sports legend. R.I.P. 

5. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: March Madness' Sweet 16 turns to Elite Eight: The original 68 teams in the men's NCAA Tournament are down to the surviving Elite Eight after weekend results. Saturday, No. 1 Baylor advanced along with Houston, Arkansas and Oregon State. (Notably eliminated: Cinderella-designate Oral Roberts and Sister Jean's Loyola). Sunday, No. 1s Gonzaga and Michigan moved on along with USC and, in an upset, UCLA. Elite Eight games are tonight and Tuesday.

6. BOXING: Tyson-Holyfield III set for Miami in May ... or is it?: The third and last fight in the Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson trilogy is set for May 29 at a socially distanced Hard Rock Stadium. But only if it ends up happening. It seemed set. Then Holyfield's camp announced Tyson had rejected the $25 million guarantee. Then, a day after Tyson proclaimed the fight was on, his reps told TMZ the boxer misspoke and wasn't aware how far apart the two sides are in negotiations. So stay tuned. Quick aside: Tyson is 54 and Holyfield 58. Tick tock, fellas!

7. HURRICANES: Spring football practice breaks for UM's NFL Pro Day: Midway through its 15 spring practices, UM pauses on Monday to welcome in scouts for its annual Pro Day in advance of the NFL Draft. Two ex-Cnes -- defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau -- are seen as certain first-rounders, though likely mid-round. Spring practice concludes April 17.

8. PANTHERS: Ekblad injured in Florida win: Florida is 22-9-4, third in NHL Central and only two points off the lead after a pair of wins in Dallas. Sunday's was was costly, though, as defenseman Aaron Ekblad left the ice on a stretcher with a serious left leg injury that will keep him out "an extensive time," said coach Joel Quenneville. Ekblad is a Norris Trophy finalist for NHL defenseman of the year award.

9. TENNIS: What's left of Miami Open reaches midpoint: Rocked by major late withdrawals including Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokvic and Rafael Nadal and with its prize fund gutted, the remains of the Miami Open -- back with limited crowds after being erased by the pandemic last spring -- reached its midway point this weekend outside Hard Rock Stadium.

10. HORSE RACING: Known Agenda wins Florida Derby: Todd Pletcher-trained Known Agenda won Saturday's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, a major prep race for Triple Crown season. Win qualified the horse for the Kentucky Derby. Known Agenda's owner? Vinnie Viola, who also owns the Florida Panthers.

Missing the HB10 cut: U.S. men's soccer failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after Sunday's 2-1 loss to Honduras in Guadalajara, Mexico. It's the U.S. men's third straight missed Olympics ..... Year 2 for David Beckham's Inter Miami opened with a practice game vs. the USL Tampa Bay Rowdies Sunday, a 1-0 loss in St. Pete. After five friendlies will come the MLS regular season opener April 18. Meantime Beckham keeps name-dropping Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as among stars who could end their careers with Miami. We'll hold you to that, Becks! ..... Attrition clobbers Canes hoops. UM men's season ended at 10-17, worst in 27 years, and the hits keep coming. Guard Chris Lykes announced he's turning pro as expected, although at 5-7 it's unlikely he'll draw NBA Draft attention. Now leading scorer Isaiah Wong also is pondering an early departure, and shooting guard Kameron McGusty also is gauging NBA interest. Oh, and two others, Elijah Olaniyi and Earl Timberlake, have entered the transfer portal. Tough times for Jim Larranaga ..... Yeah, innocent until proven guilty. OK. But 16 civil suits against Deshaun Watson for sexual impropriety or assault? At what point might teams negotiating a trade with Houston have second thoughts? ..... Francis Ngannou KO'd Stip Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title Saturday ..... A Miami Heat arena name change is at hand. It's going from AmericanAirlines Arena to FTX Arena, after a cryptocurrency exchange. Will players now be paid in Bitcoin? ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 11-8 entering Sunday's series rubber game at Virginia ..... Upcoming: UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches are next week on April 6; The Masters at Augusta is April 8-11; Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11; and the Kentucky Derby is in one month, on May 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 13th episode of 2021 and 55th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,919 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES:

Other recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

March 22, 2021

New Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre out now. Discussing Asian-American hate crimes but managing to pivot to fun stuff, too (including Pablo's revelation about his real name); plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), links to newest columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 22. Find last Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for my weekly appearance, including a new Back In My Day. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' no-splash free agency suggests team all-in on draft and Tua, Mickelson reflects on 25 years of Tiger as Honda begins, NCAA Tournament preview, Greg Cote Show podcast with Sarah Spain & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH PABLO TORRE OUT NOW!: Our 12th podcast of 2021 (54th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 54 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep12 ESPN's Pablo Torre joins us to discuss the impact and pain of Asian-American hate crimes such as the recent mass killing in Atlanta. We pivot to light and fun  stuff, too, of course, including his 'Con of Mammals' theory and his never-before-told revelation about his real name -- what his Mom calls him. Also on the menu: We record before a live studio audience, discuss pigs learning to play video games and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Dolphins, Phil 'n Tiger, March Madness. Our latest columns: No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness. 

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 21-22): 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: No huge splash, but busy first week of free agency for Miami: Miami was active with ripple-type moves but no big-splash gets through the first week of free agency, suggesting the club is relying on the upcoming NFL Draft -- and its faith in Tua Tagovailoa -- to elevate from last season's 10 wins to the playoffs and AFC East contention. As of Friday the Fins the Fins had gained eight free agents, lost six and re-signed one. Notable adds: WR Will Fuller and backup QB Jacoby Brissett. Notable departures: Ryan Fitzpatrick and defenders Davon Godchaux and Kyle Van Noy.  

2. HEAT: Miami swaps Leonard for Ariza ahead of trade deadline: Miami shipped suspended Meyers (Anti-Semitic Slur) Leonard and a 2027 second-round pick to Oklahoma City for veteran forward Trevor Ariza, who'll fight for minutes off bench here. Divesting of Leonard puts Heat in better financial position to perhaps deal for, say, LaMarcus Aldridge ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline? Meantime Heat were on an 11-1 run but have now dropped three straight, and fallen to fifth place in East, entering Tuesday's game vs. Phoenix.

3. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Upsets galore as March Madness nears Sweet 16: March Madness is back after a one-year pandemic pause and reaches the Sweet 16 with Monday's results. Fifteen of the first 41 games (or 36.7 percent) have been by-seed upsets including No. 7 Oregon ousting No. 2 Iowa today/Monday. Biggest upsets so far: No. 15 Oral Roberts eliminating No. 2 Ohio State (and then No. 7 Florida), and No. 8 Loyola-Chicago ousting No. 1 Illinois.

4. PANTHERS: Florida's midseason grade a solid 'A': Florida is 20-7-4 and four points off Tampa's Central lead entering Tuesday and Thursday games at Chicago. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and a hugely improved play from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky have led the way.

5. GOLF: Little-known Matt Jones wins Honda Classic in Palm Beach: Aussie Matt Jones, 40 won his first PGA Tour event in seven years with a comfy five-shot triumph in the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. Fan favorite Phil Mickelson tied for 25th place. It was an otherwise low-watt field with only six of the top 50 ranked players and none higher than 15th. Meanwhile Tiger Woods is back home in nearby Jupiter Island as he continues rehabbing from last month's car wreck that left him with traumatic right leg injuries.

6. TENNIS: Severely depleted Miami Open underway at Hard Rock: Fan favorite Rafael Nadal was a late withdrawal, and top stars Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer canceled even later. Then Sunday, Serena Williams withdrew. What's left of the two-week Miami Open commenced Monday outside Hard Rock Stadium.

7. INTER MIAMI: MLS team adds prominent defender as preseason underway: Former Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs, 31, has agreed to join Inter Miami this summer, when his contract with West Bromwich Albion expires. Year 2 for David Beckham's MLS team was to get underway with the first preseason match Saturday vs. USL club Miami FC. Inter Miami, but that game was canceled due to COV-19 precautions. Season opens April 18.

8. MARLINS: Spring dreaming. Are Fish better than skeptics think?: Miami, lightly regarded in the stacked NL East despite ending a 17-year playoff drought last season, were 9-4 (not counting five ties) and near the top of the Grapefruit League standings entering the final week of spring training this week. Season opens April 1.

9. UM BASEBALL: Canes tumble with home embarrassment vs. Florida State: The No. 6-ranked Canes fell to No. 19 and are 9-7 after  being swept at home by ACC rival rival Florida State -- and by a combined three game score of 34-2. Ouch. 

10. HURRICANES: Spring football practice underway at UM: Miami and coach Manny Diaz are underway with their slate of 15 spring football practices. Quarterback D'Eriq King will miss spring work recovers from his knee injury in the December bowl game, but Diaz says King should be ready for fall camp and the September 4 season opener vs. (uh oh) reigning national champion Alabama in Atlanta.

Missing the HB10 cut: UEFA Champions League is down to its final eight, with first- and second-leg quarterfinal matches set for April 6 and 13-14. The pairings: Bayern Munich vs. Paris-Saint Germain, GC Porto-Chelsea, Manchester City-Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid-Liverpool ..... WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan and WWE star Titus O’Neil will host WrestleMania 37 in Tampa Bay April 10-11 ..... Former MLB and Canes baseball player Aubrey Huff, whose hobby now seems to be embarrassing himself on social media, falsely claimed both Hank Aaron and and Marvin Hagler had died related to taking the COVID vaccine. Facebook flagged the post as misinformation as gullible conspiracy theorists undoubtedly nodded vigorously in agreement with Huff ..... New Zealand defeated Italy in the final of America's Cup sailing in Auckland. Home-water advantage? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 12th episode of 2021 and 54th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,926 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Other most recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

March 14, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat, Madness, sadness, free agency front a jammed, wild week. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now!, links to most recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 15. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On 1-year anniversary of sports' COVID shutdown, Heat's anti-Semitic mess, David Beckham's resolve tested by turmoil, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 11th podcast of 2021 (53rd overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 53 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep11 we welcome in ESPN star Sarah Spain for a fun chat about her new part-ownership in the Chicago Red Stars women's pro soccer team, Chicagio's Secret Door, dinner with Charles Barkley, her future and more. Also on the menu: A-Rod and J-Lo, March Madness, Marlins Park drones, a Mount Gregmore cameo by Patrick Ewing and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Covid1Our three most recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / and Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season.

CardsOther most recent columns: Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 14-15): 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:

HButton1. HEAT: Miami stays hot despite recent Leonard off-court mess: Heat is on a 10-1 run, 21-18 overall and alone in fourth place in the East after Sunday's win in Orlando led by en fuego Jimmy Butler. That despite the Meyers Leonard mess. The injured center used an anti-Semitic slur in a video-game livestream last week, was put on indefinite leave by the Heat and fined $50,000 and suspended by the NBA. Miami is back in play Tuesday vs. Cleveland.

2. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Gonzaga (no duh) tops Selection Sunday for NCAA Tournament: March Madness is back! (Sort of). After last year's was canceled by COVID-19, the NCAA Tournament returns this week, albeit with limited crowds and all games played in and around Indianapolis. It was Selection Sunday for the men's tourney, with Gonzaga the overall No. 1 as expected and Baylor, Illinois and Michogan other top seeds. Women's field gets set today.

3. COVID-19: Sports reflects on sad anniversary: March 11 marked the official one-year anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic as sports shut down en masse on March 11-12. It was the least happy anniversary on record, although a torrent of vaccine availability lends hope for better days on road to normalcy.

4. DOLPHINS/NFL: Will Fins be players/spenders as NFL free agency begins?: Oh if I had  dime for every speculative media dart being thrown about what Miami will do as free agency begins this Wednesday. Best possibilities: Veteran QB to back up Tua, with Ryan Fitzatrick expected to sign elsewhere. An upgrade at running back. A quality receiver like Kenny Golladay or Juju Schuster-Smith. And an LB/pass rusher -- especially with productive Kyle Van Noy unwisely released. Lavonte David, perhaps? FA decisions will shape the coming draft as well.

5. PANTHERS: Yes, the Cats are Stanley Cup contenders: Florida is 18-5-4 after three straight wins including 4-2 Saturday vs. Chicago. Cats host Blackhawks again Monday. The Panthers are ranked No. 5 in the NHL in ESPN's latest power rankings. The bad news? Central Division rivals Carolina and Tampa Bay are ranked 1-2.

6. CHRIS BOSH: Popular ex-Heat star a Hall of Fame finalist: No surprise, but two-time Heat champion Chris Bosh is one of 14 new finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame. Notable other first-time finalists include Paul Pierce and (as a coach) Bill Russell. The five back for another try include former Heat star Tim Hardaway. Inductees for 2021 will be announced May 16.

7. HURRICANES: QB King recovering nicely as Canes open spring football: UM's first of 15 spring football practices is today/Monday. Quarterback D'Eriq King will miss spring work as he recovers from an ACL knee injury in the December bowl game, but coach Manny Diaz says King is "smashing every benchmark" in his rehab and should be ready for fall camp and the September 4 season opener vs. reigning national champion Alabama in Atlanta.

8. MARLINS: Winning and tying and drones at midpoint of spring: Miami is second in Grapefruit League standings at 5-2 (not counting five tie games including four straight at one point) at midpoint of spring training. Marlins resume play Monday at Astros. Meantime club announced it would use drones (!) to disinfect Marlins Park this season.

9. GOLF: It's Honda Classic Week in Palm Beach: South Florida's only PGA Tour event returns to Palm Beach Gardens this week with the Honda Classic this Thursday through next Sunday. Tiger Woods' recent serious car accident that badly injured his right leg remains the talk of golf. Woods had not entered to play the Honda prior to his accident.

10. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men show life in ACCs, but much too late: Miami's men had a nice 2-1 run in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., beating Pitt and impressively upsetting Clemson before losing narrowly to Georgia Tech. Still, UM's 10-17 final record marked its worst season in 27 years. Miami's women ended 11-11 after a one-and-done in the ACCs.

Missing the HB10 cut: R.I.P., "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, gone unexpectedly at 66. Hagler was a great middleweight in a golden age of boxing in the'80s ..... UEFA Champions League will advance four more to the final eight Tuesday and Wednesday, with advantages in leg 2 held by Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. Advancing previously: Liverpool, Paris-Saint Germain, Borussia Dortmund and upstart FC Porto ..... Inter Miami's first preseason match ahead of the April start of MLS Year 2 is this coming Saturday March 20 vs. local USL club Miami FC ..... No. 8-ranked UM baseball is 7-4 off four straight wins after a two-game home sweep of Wake Forest ..... Miami and Hard Rock will be one of the 10 or 12 U.S. sites chosen to host 2026 World Cup matches. Let's please quit pretending there is any doubt whatsoever ..... Miami Open tennis outside Hard Rock Stadium begins a week from Monday, running March 22-April 4. Top-ranked players across the WTA and ATP tours will be here. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal top men's field and Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka the women. Eyes will also swivel to fan favorites Roger Federer and Serena Williams ..... New Zealand vs. Italy final continues in America's Cup sailing ..... Blake Griffin signing with Nets reminds us the NBA trade deadline is nearing at March 25 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 11th episode of 2021 and 53rd overall drops Monday morning. Now on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,933 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk VSmirk IVSmirk IIISmirk IISmirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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