September 20, 2020

Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 29 out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated); also, column off Sunday's Dolphins loss and Marlins, Heat, Canes & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21. Schitt's Creek! Congrats on the Emmy haul to one of my favorite shows of all time. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Celtics Game 3, Canes win at Louisville, NFL Week 2 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 28 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 29 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 29 is out now! A new episode drops early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 29 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In new Ep29 we welcome in special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN to talk Heat and NBA playoffs and (yes) who's got the best restaurant bread. Greg and Chris also talk Heat-Celtics, Dolphins’ loss to Buffalo, Canes, Marlins’ playoff run and more. And Chris reveals something about Greg at a restaurant table that he finds annoying. Will you agree? Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the L's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

HeatcelticsHEAT-CELTICS GAME 3: LOSS MEANS THE HARD PART STARTS NOW FOR MIAMI: Miami was in command up 2-0 in this NBA Eastern Conference finals, in a dreamy postseason run that began 10-1. But Saturday's 117-106 Game 3 loss means the Heat suddenly feel some pressure. My latest column: The Fun Starts Now As Heat's Joy-Ride Postseason Finally Hit a Bump. The tension marinates now, because Game 4 isn't 'til Wednesday night. [Column off Game 2: Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues. Off G1: Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now].

MannySIX PACK 'O TAKEAWAYS FROM CANES' WIN AT LOUISVILLE: No. 17 Miami handled 18-Louisville 47-34 last night. I had it right (see previous blogpost), predicting UM would win 31-27. Six Pack 'O Takeaways: 1. They passed. First big test of the season. ACC opener. First road game. An opposing (though limited) crowd to deal with. UM handled it all. 2. King shines. His NCAA record streak of games with both a passing and rushing TD ended, but D'Eriq King threw for 325 yards and three TDs. Transfer is the real deal. 3. Cam'Ron = Cam'Run. Second straight big game from RB Cam'Ron with 134 yards including a 75-yard TD. 4. The Defense. It needs to be better. Had three takeaways, yes.But also gave up 516 Louisville yards. 5. Work ahead. Next three games are rival Florida State, at No. 1 Clemson, then vs. No. 25 Pitt. Miami will be sitting pretty if it comes out 4-1. 6. A chance. Manny Diaz Year 2.0 is off to promising start. Ranked and with ESPN's College GameDay coming for the FSU game, The U has a chance to get back on the national map. Don't blow it!

BufmiaG2: BUFFALO 31, @DOLPHINS 28: WHERE IS MIAMI's DEFENSE?: My column off Sunday's narrow Dolphins loss: Power Outage, Lightning Delay, No Pass Defense As Dolphins Drop Home Opener to Bills. Original post: We an agree (or should) that New England even post-Tom Brady remains the cream of the AFC East until another team proves otherwise. And, since the New York Jets appear to stink, Buffalo at Miami is the game whose winner will nominate itself for the early inside track in the Dethroning Bill Belichick Sweepstakes. Buffalo is the clear favorite for that, a 5 1/2-point road pick on Sunday. The Bills are anointed as having caught up to the less-than-they-were Patriots. It's the improving Dolphins who must show they're ready to be seen as contenders now, not just maybe soon. They did not in the 21-11 loss at New England in the opener. So this game will  tell a lot. Can the Fins mount a consistent ground game to take the heat off Ryan Fitzpatrick? Can Miami's defense contain dual-threat Bills QB Josh Allen better than it did Cam Newton last week? And, on a side note, will the maximum-allowed 13,000 brave or foolish souls actually flock to a stadium in the midst of a pandemic? Are that many Dolfans that desperate or cavalier? I don’t like the matchup much for Miami. Bills secondary will be tough to throw on, and DeVante Parker (hamstring) was late-week iffy. And Allen will be a handful for Fins’ D. Finally, a reminder to Dolfans and the we-want-Tua cheerleaders among my media brethren: Chill, please. Don't start your chant at the next Fitz pick or Fins loss. Can we at least wait ‘til bleepin’ midseason!? Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa needs to find his readiness, physically and otherwise, at an unhurried pace unmindful of the season record or Fitzpatrick’s passer rating. Please repeat that as needed. My pick: Bills (-5 1/2) over Dolphins, 24-17

For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 2 Gems. For our column off Miami's opener: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 20-21): 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: Brooms stay in closet. Miami's ECF lead down to 2-1: Boston's 117-106 win Saturday night means Miami's Eastern Conference finals lead is now 2-1 as we wait (and wait) for Game 4 on Wednesday night. The Heat's habit of falling behind and needing miracle rallies finally came back to haunt. Out West, Lakers are up 2-0 on Denver after Sunday's 105-103 escape on Anthony Davis' last-second 3. For Miami, the climb to a Heat vs. LeBron NBA Finals just got steeper.

2. HURRICANES: Huge! No. 17 UM wins at No. 18 Louisville: Not a lot of defense in Louisville Saturday night as Miami handled the Cardinals 47-34. But that D'Eriq King and Cam'Ron Harris-led offense looks sweet. And pretty unstoppable so far. Rival Florida State on deck, here, next Saturday. ESPN's College GameDay coming, too. Let's see how The U (rocketing up to 12th in AP poll after win) handles the spotlight.

3. MARLINS: Playoff-bound? Miracle Fish in stretch run: Miami is 28-25 and looking strong for a playoff ticket after Sunday's doubleheader split with Washington. ESPN's computer model puts Miami's playoff likelihood at 83.8 percent entering today entering seven games on road starting tonight in Atlanta to end the truncated 60-game regular season. 

4. DOLPHINS: Miami falls to Buffalo in wild home opener: Yes, a Dolphins home opener is only fourth on the HB10. A power outage that knocked the game off network TV for a half hour. Then a lightning delay that delayed the game 36 minutes. Finally, a 31-28 Miami loss because the Fins' supposedly improved pass defense looks pretty awful so far. Quick turnaround now as Miami plays at Jacksonville this Thursday night. COVID protocols limited the home-opening crowd to a max of 13,000, but only 11,075 showed at Hard Rock.

5. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team stays hot, wins at Atlanta: Inter Miami began its MLS life 0-5. Since then the lads have won three and drawn two of their last seven matches with Saturday's 2-1 victory at Atlanta United. Next: Wednesday vs. New York Red Bulls. Team also formally signed Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain after earlier agreeing to terms.

6. GOLF: Nope. The no-name kid could not hang on in U.S. Open: His name is Matthew Wolff. He's 21. You don't know him and shouldn't, but he had a 2-shot leading entering Sunday's final round of the U.S. Open. Chasing, two back: Accomplished Bryson DeChambeau. Well, predictably, the kid wilted, and DeChambeau wound up beating him by six strokes for his first (of what you guess will be many) major wins.

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Weak, waffling Big Ten re-enters season: They joined the Pac-10 as the two Power 5 conferences to be the adults in the room and not play football during the pandemic. But the weak, waffling BIg Ten Ten changed its mind and will start its season October 23-24. Weak. 

8. NHL: Dallas strikes first in Stanley Cup Final: Tampa Bay is a big favorite (or was) but Dallas cruised 4-1 in the Final opener, with Game 2 on Monday. Lightning-Stars. Hmm. I know y'all are loving it in Tampa and Dallas, but, um, can I borrow a telescope to find the national TV ratings?

9. NBA: LeBron squawks as Giannis wins another MVP: Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo handily won a second straight NBA MVP award despite his team's playoff fizzle. And runnerup LeBron James of the Lakers wasn't having it. "I'm pissed," he admitted. (And with pretty good cause, it says here). 

10. NASCAR: Harvick wins as playoff field trimmed: Kevin Harvick won in Bristol, Tennessee Saturday to establish himself as the season's NASCAR Cup fronturnner as the sport's playoff field pared from 16 drivers to 12.

Missing the HB10 cut: The majors keep-a-comin'! Tennis' long-delayed French Open starts next Sunday ..... The Tour de France ends Sunday, with 21-year-old Slovenian Tadej Pogacar the guy to beat ..... MLB and players agreed to a playoffs-in-a-bubble plan ..... English Premier League season is underway. Go Everton! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 29 is out now! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,108 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. That's if Miami isn't underwater and there's still a world by then.


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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Our football special-section column troika: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Other notable most recent columns: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua / 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / 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 Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / 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 / Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Other notable recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals / Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

September 14, 2020

G1: @New England 21, Dolphins 11: Power shift in AFC East? (Not yet). My column off game; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) as Fins opener, Heat-Celtics vie for top; also, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 28 out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes slap UAB in opener, Chiefs win ushers in NFL season, Your verdict on Greg's Lobos fantasy draft, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 27 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

OUR FOOTBALL SPECIAL-SECTION TRIUMVIRATE!: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 28 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 28 is out now! New episodes drop early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 28 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep28 we get all sportsy -- sportsier than we've ever been. Greg and Chris chew over the Dolphins and Hurricanes season openers with a dash of Marlins and Inter Miami talk. Mostly we dive deep into Heat-Celtics with special guest Amin Elhassan, the ESPN NBA expert. And he makes a bold prediction. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the K's. Here all that and more on the Greg Cote Show podcast now!

G1: @NEW ENGLAND 21, DOLPHINS 11: INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN...: Visit Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua for my column off Sunday's opener. ..... Original post: The Great Unknown: Football in a pandemic. Tom Brady gone. Dolphins on the rise. AFC East power shift? The finding out starts today at 1 p.m. at a Foxborough Stadium where no fans will attend. History: This is first time since 1999 New England has fielded a team without Brady. In general regard Bill FitzBelichick’s Cam
Patriots have sunk from dynasty to just another mid-pack team with the departure of Brady and all those coronavirus-related opt outs decimating the defense. That’s while the Dolphins, via a stockpile of high draft picks and big spending in free agency, have hugely upgraded their roster. So it’s New England in decline vs. Miami ascending in an evolving AFC East. That’s why I like Fins with the points here and why an outright upset would only mildly surprise. Still an edge to Patriots, though. Those guys are still are tough on D, and a healthy dual-threat Cam Newton, Brady's replacement, is a lot to defend. There’s still that Belichick guy, too. Dolphins should be much improved, but, out the gate, and with no preseason, the Fins’ young offensive line may especially struggle early in the season to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick while rookie Tua Tagovailoa grows unhurried into the starting role. Question for pics at right: Who's postgame cooler: Fitzpatrick or Newton? My pick: Patriots (-6 1/2) over Dolphins, 24-20.

For all of our opening week previews and picks: NFL Week 1 Gems.

[Note to readers: The Dolfan Satisfaction Meter (and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter) postgame polls have retired. After a long and successful run, we are using this weird pandemic season to make a clean break. Thanks to all you many DSM and CSM fans who have participated over the years!]

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 13-14): 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: Miami opens 55th season with loss at New England: No Tom Brady. No fans in the stands. After no preseason. Otherwise, Dolphins at Patriots as usual. Is the post-Brady AFC East evolving? Are the improved/improving Dolphins ready to make their move after a bunch  of high draft picks and big spending in free agency? Quick answer: Not yet. Patriots 21, Fins 11. And the Year of Waiting For Tua has begun! (Meanwhile, Fins remained in lockerroom during pregame national anthem as a form of protest against racial injustice).

2. HEAT/NBA: Rested Miami to meet rival Boston in Eastern finals: After a shockingly easy 4-1 dispatch of top-seeded Milwaukee making Miami 8-1 this postseason, the Heat watched Friday night as Boston won its semifinal Game 7 over Toronto, 92-87. Game 1 of the Heat-Celtics Eastern finals is Tuesday, with Miami now four wins from reaching its first NBA Finals since 2014. The Lakers reached the West finals on Saturday; Clippers and Denver are 3-3 entering Game 7 Tuesday.

3. HURRICANES: UM ushers in Manny Diaz Year 2 with comfy win: Miami became the first Power 5 conference team to open the 2020 college football season Thursday night with a 31-14 home cruise past UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) of Conference USA, as new QB D'Eriq King debuted with 227 total yards and three TDS. Crowd at The Rock fell well short of the 13,000 max allowed by coronavirus protocols. Based on a low-watt opponent and health concerns, no surprise. Win sent UM rocketing from unranked to No. 17 in The AP Top 25.

4. MARLINS: Fish sweep DH, move past Phillies in playoff chase: Miami shook off the embarrassment of a 29-9 loss to Atlanta -- most runs allowed in an MLB game since 2007. Because there was a playoff race to worry about. Fish swept doubleheader from Phillies Sunday and wrap up an unprecedented seven-game home series with Philly today. Miami at 23-21 is now a half-game ahead of Philadelphia in NL East in chase for a playoff spot.

5. NFL: Brady-Brees 'Old G.O.A.T.s Bowl' tops Week 1 schedule: After Patrick Mahomes and champion Chiefs christened season with a Thursday win, full slate on for Sunday featured Tom Brady's debut in a Tampa Bay Bucs uniform, facing fellow old-timer Drew Brees in New Orleans. Combined age: 84 years 9 months. Oxygen tanks ready? Drew won.

6. INTER MIAMI: Improving expansion team scores huge signing with Higuain: Former Juventus striker and new Inter Miami star Gonzalo Higuain has arrived on the heel of Miami also signing former French World Cup star Blaise Matuidi. Meanwhile the vastly improving rookie club, after an 0-5 start, has won two and drawn two in its past six matches after Saturday's 2-1 loss to Orlando City. Next: At Atlanta United next Saturday.

7. TENNIS: Serena denied history again as U.S. Open reaches title weekend: Serena Williams fell short yet again in her bid for a record-tying 24th career major win. Instead No. 4 seed Naomi Osaka beat unseeded Victoria Azarenka for Saturday's U.S. Open women's championship. It was Dominic Thiem over Alexander Zverev in Sunday's low-watt men's final. Serena, about to turn 39, will give history another shot in the French open starting September 27.

8. GOLF: Koepka out as U.S. Open begins on Thursday: Major at Winged Foot is this Thursday through Sunday, but without two-time champ Brooks Koepka, an injury withdrawal. Dustin Johnson leads a still-strong field as 8-1 betting favorite. Tiger Woods is tied for eighth pick at 28-1 odds.

9. NHL: Heading to a Tampa-Dallas Stanley Cup Final?: Tampa Bay leads N.Y. Islanders 3-1 in the East finals after Sunday's win and aims to clinch Tuesday. IN the West Dallas leads Vegas 3-1 after Saturday's win and can clinch on Monday.

10. NASCAR: Playoffs two races in as first cuts near: NASCAR's 10-race playoffs are two races, with Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick having won so far. Field will trim from 16 drivers to 12 after the next race.

Missing the HB10 cut: Sports smorgasbord! This past Thursday the NFL, college football, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS and U.S. Open tennis all were playing. Full yet? ..... Six Top 25 teams played Saturday; only No. 23 Iowa State fell, to Louisiana. Florida State also lost (to Georgia Tech) , the only other state FBS team besides UM to play in Week 2..... MLB's playoffs-in-a-bubble plan awaits players unIon approval ..... The weak Big Ten is wavering on whether to not play this fall ..... English Premier League season has begun! ..... Well it sure has been a good while since Conor McGregor's been in trouble. Oh. Wait ..... USWNT star Alex Morgan is joning Tottenham Hotspur's women's club on loan ..... Bubba Wallace, NASCAR driver and the man who removed the Confederate flag from his sport, is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports after this season ..... A bunch of men you've never heard of are riding really expensive bicycles in the Tour de France, and it ends next Sunday ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 28 is out Monday morning ..... Update: Countdown now 2,115 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Always cheerily assuming the world hasn't imploded by then.

Other most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic and our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2: Lifting Spirits And A City: Heat, Up 2-0, Continue Pandemic Playoff Run and Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency. Also: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk. And: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All SportsSpecial Don Shula tribute: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was MeGeorge Floyd-related: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals / Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

September 07, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat denied the broom, Canes open, Fins 'n Fish. See who's No.1 and what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 27 -- with Meet the Press star and huge Canes fan Chuck Todd -- out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Happy Labor Day, all! Please remember: COVID-19 doesn't take the holiday off. Be safe. Be smart. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Kirk Cousins' cavalier comments on pandemic, Our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 26 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 27 STARRING CHUCK TODD OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with new Episode 27, out now! New episodes drop early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 27 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep26 we welcome in very special guest Chuck Todd, the NBA Meet the Press moderator who also happens to be Miami born and raised and a huge Hurricanes fans. He talks growing up in the 3-0-5, UM football and also a bit of politics. What was his pinch-me moment? The answer will surprise you. Greg and Chris also talk Heat-Bucks. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore -- the royal J's. Here all that and more on the the Greg Cote Show podcast now!

Our most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic and our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2: Lifting Spirits And A City: Heat, Up 2-0, Continue Pandemic Playoff Run and Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency. Also: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 6-7): 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: Broom denied, but Miami still up 3-1 on Milwaukee: Underdog fifth-seed Heat were denied a series sweep Sunday but still hold a commanding 3-1 lead over top-seeded Bucks in NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. Heat go for the win and a ticket to the East finals in Game 5 Tuesday if necessary. Miami last reached the East finals in 2014, the last season of LeBron and the Big 3.

2. HURRICANES: College football is back! Miami opens Thursday night: The Canes open their season vs. 16-point underdog UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) Thursday night at 8 at Hard Rock Stadium, where coronavirus protocols will limit attendance to a max 20 percent of capacity, or 13,000. Seven Top 25 teams are in action this coming week including No. 1 Clemson at Wake Forest. The only state school in action besides UM is Florida State hosting Georgia Tech next Saturday.

3. DOLPHINS/NFL: Rosen released, now, ready or not: Kickoff in 6 days: Dolphins open their 55th season and first in a pandemic next Sunday at New England with Ryan Fitzpatrick again expected under center as rookie first-rounder Tua Tagovailoa waits his turn. Miami cut third-stringer Josh Rosen on Friday after failing to find a trade partner. Opener will be instant measure of Miami's improvement and a new AFC East after offseason that saw Patriots decimated by Tom Brady's departure and coronavirus opt-outs. The quick test for Fins's improved defense? One Cam Newton. King Sport kicks off this Thursday night with Houston at champ Kansas City.  

4. MARLINS: Alcantara helps end skid vs. Rays, then  Fish fall Sunday: Nifty outing by Sandy Alcantara lifted Miami on Saturday and ended a nine-game losing streak vs. Tampa Bay. But then Fish fell Sunday to tumble 17-18 in midst of six-game road trip that heads now to Atlanta. Miami has fallen to third in NL East but is still in the hunt. Trade-deadline acquisition of outfielder Starling Marte added a potent bat to the lineup to aid the playoff push.

5. NBA: Yes, there are three other playoff series, and all are tied: Miami awaits winner of Boston-Toronto, which leveled at 2-2 Saturday with Raptors' second straight win; Game 5 is tonight. Out west, L.A. Clippers and Denver are tied 1-1- after Nuggets' win Saturday, with Game 3 tonight. Houston and James Harden and LeBron's L.A. Lakers are tied 1-1, with Game 3 Tuesday.

6. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team goes nil-nil with Nashville: Inter Miami is 1-6-2 after a second straight 0-0 draw, this Sunday night at home vs. fellow expansion team Nashville. Game marked the Miami debut of Blaise Matuidi, formerly of reigning Italian champions Juventus and before that Paris St. Germain. Of greater note: Inter Miami reportedly is close to agreeing to terms with Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain. It would be the biggest signing yet for David Beckham's struggling first-year club.

7. HORSE RACING: Authentic with big upset win in Kentucky Derby: Authentic outraced heavy favorite Tiz the Law to win the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs. With John Velazquez aboard, Authentic led from start to finish to give trainer Bob Baffert his record-tying sixth Derby champion in the race delayed by four months. There were protests outside track over the Breonna Taylor killing by Louisville police.

8. GOLF: U.S. Open gets under way Thursday: The virus-delayed U.S. Open is this coming Thursday through next Sunday at Winged Foot in New York. Betting favorites are Dustin Johnson along with Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka. Tiger Woods is tied for seventh favorites, because a stunning number of bets are placed by sentiment ad hope.

9. TENNIS: Depleted U.S. Open reaches its midpoint with Djokovic controversy: Faced with her earliest ouster at the U.S. Open since her debut 22 years ago, Serena Williams rallied from a set down to beat American rival Sloane Stephens 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the delayed, no-fans major. Serena stays alive in hunt for her record-tying 24th major at the open's midpoint. Sunday, men's favorite Novak Djokovic was ousted by default after he hit a ball in anger that struck a line judge in the neck.

10. NHL: Final four! Conference finals set: The Florida Panthers filled their general manager opening by hiring Bill Zito away from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Teams not needing to fire their GM because they're really good: the NHL's Final Four! Out west, Dallas took a 1-0 lead on Vegas Sunday. In the East, Tampa Bay and N.Y. Islanders begin skating Monday. Meanwhile, yet another year of no Stanley Cup for Canada.

Missing the HB10 cut: NASCAR's 16-driver playoffs get underway Sunday at Darlington. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are betting favorites among the field qualified for the 10-race playoffs that end with the Championship Four racing for the season crown Nov. 8 in Phoenix, ending Homestead's 18-year run as title-race host ..... Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona! It ends a week's tempest of his own doing. (Keep his phone number handy anyway, David Beckham) ..... Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, who doubts the efficacy of mask-wearing, says, "If I die, I die." About a coronavirus pandemic that has already killed more than 185,000 Americans. What a cavalier, callous expression from a supposed team leader ..... The Tour de France is at its midpoint and I can't bring myself to pretend I've heard of a single cyclist ..... Match made in gambling heaven: Michael Jordan is a new equity partner in DraftKings ..... Welcome to Twitter, Vin Scully! Social media does not deserve but dearly needs your civility ..... Brooklyn Nets hired Steve Nash as new coach ..... Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola was named a part of a new NHL anti-racism initiative ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 27 is out Monday morning ..... R.I.P. to the greatest Met of all, Tom Seaver, gone at 75 ..... Update: Countdown now 2,122 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. We will all still be six feet apart then?

Most recent other columns: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

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

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

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals / Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

August 31, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Boycotts, fans at HRS, Heat-Bucks, death in Fins family. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 26 out now! & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 31. Farewell, Augie. Will you be better, September? 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Boycotts show injustice is bigger than sports right now, Allowing fans in Dolphins and Canes games a bad idea, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 25 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 26 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with new Episode 26! New episodes drop early every Monday on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 26 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep26 we chat up new TV finds, rank the five South Florida pro teams in terms of brightest future, and welcome in guest Roy Bellamy from the Le Batard Show. (Or do we?) Mount Gregmore, too, of course. We also had a lengthy discussion of the Armando Salguero controversy within the Herald, but unfortunately you won't here it. It was censored from the podcast. Listen now. 

Our two newest columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big RiskMost recent other columns: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and ''Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 30-31): 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. RACIAL JUSTICE: Boycotts over Jacob Blake shooting halt sports: It started with the Bucks refusing to take the court for their playoff game vs. Orlando to protest the police shooting of (yet another) unarmed Black man -- this in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 45 minutes from Milwaukee. The to or three day boycott spread through the NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS and NHL as athletes demonstrated that injustice is bigger than sports -- that systemic racism is no game.

2. COVID-19: Limited Fins, Canes fans ruled OK at Hard Rock this fall: Miami-Dade County decreed that Hard Rock Stadium may be filled to 20 percent capacity -- that's 13,000 fans -- for Dolphins and Hurricanes home games this fall. UM opens at home September 10 vs UAB; Fins' home opener is September 20 vs. Buffalo. Allowing thousands of fans at games seems like a really good idea, other than us being in the middle of a pandemic and Miami-Dade being among the top 10 counties nationally in most COVID-19 deaths.

3. HEAT: It's Milwaukee (as expected) in next playoff round for Miami: NBA playoffs resumed after three days of boycotts that inadvertently meant additional rest for Miami, which advanced with a sweep of Indiana. Milwaukee eliminated Orlando Saturday and will face Heat in next round starting Monday at 6:30 in the Orlando bubble. Lakers also advanced Saturday; Clippers did the same on Sunday.

4. DOLPHINS: QB Fitzpatrick takes leave from team after death in family: The mother of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed away Saturday morning just before the team's stadium scrimmage, and he has left the team indefinitely to be with family. There are no indications he wouldn't be back in time for the September 13 season opener at New England, although coach Brian Flores offered no guarantee. Ready or not for Tua time? We'll see.

5. MARLINS: Bats quiet as Fish drop fourth in a row: Miami fell to 14-15 and hangs onto a tie for second in NL East after a fourth straight loss Sunday and a sweep by Tampa Bay. Fish are clinging to the far edge of playoff contention nearing the midway point of the truncated 60-game season. Monday the Marlins face the Mets to make up Thursday's game postponed by racial-justice protest. Meanwhile rookie Sixto Sanchez's second straight impressive start featured 10 strikeouts and one walk in a no-decision loss Friday.

6. TENNIS: Depleted, fan-less U.S. Open begins Monday: Path to history has cleared for Serena Williams and it's even easier for Novak Djokovic as the U.S. Open fortnight starts Monday in New York. Six of top eight women including Simona Halep (opt out) aren't playing as Serena guns for record-tying 24th career major, and Djokovic should breeze in a field missing Roger Federer (knee) and Rafael Nadal (opt out). Djokovic is heavy favorite; Serena and Naomi Osaka are near-even. Event also marks return of Andy Murray and Kim Clijsters -- in her first major since 2012. 

7. SOCCER: Where will Messi land if split with Barca happens?: Soccer god Lionel Messi reportedly wants out of Barcelona, his career-long club, and some of the biggest teams in the world are jockeying to acquire the 33-year-old forward. Manchester City, Inter Milan, Paris-Saint Germain and Juventus are among the power clubs rumored after Messi. (Join me in starting an Inter Miami rumor?) But wait! Barca is resolute to not let hi  go. Stay tuned.

8. INTER MIAMI: New team back in play, loses again: Major League Soccer returned to play after six Wednesday matches Including Inter Miami-Atlanta were postponed by the racial injustice boycott. Inter Miami fell to 1-6 Sunday with a 1-0 loss at Nashville that followed the expansion team's maiden win last Saturday in its home debut. Inter Miami is back in action Wednesday at Atlanta United. 

9. NHL: Playoffs down to final eight as postseason resumes: NHL postponed Thursday and Friday games as part of the sports-wide racial justice boycott, but Stanley Cup playoffs resumed Saturday. Hockey is down to its final eight: Tampa Bay-Boston and Philadelphia-N.Y. Islanders in the East, and Vegas-Vancouver and Colorado-Dallas out West. Meanwhile, as the Florida Panthers continue search for a new general manager, the NHL is investigating an anonymous allegation that deposed GM Dale Tallon used racist language.

10. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Weirdest of all seasons is (sort of) underway!: Week 1 in college football kicked off quietly Saturday night as Central Arkansas beat Austin Peay 24-17 in a second-tier FCS matchup before limited fans in Montgomery, Alabama. No Top 25 teams are in play this week as the sport gets underway in a pandemic -- minus a large percentage of conferences opting out including two (Big Ten, Pac-12) Power 5 leagues. Week 2 will see the proper start of the season, including Hurricanes vs. UAB on Thursday, September 10.

Missing the HB10 cut: R.I.P. John Thompson Jr. Legendary Georgetown hoops coach has died at 78 ..... Phil Mickelson said hello to old age and kicked its ass. The lefty, who turned 50 in June, made his PGA Champions (nee Senior Tour) debut and went wire-to-wire for a four-stroke win at Ozarks National in Missouri. He's preparing to challenge the younger guys again in the delayed-from-June U.S. Open on September 17-20 ..... The Dolphins traded Raekwon McMillan and a 2021 fifth-round pick to Las Vegas for a 2021 fourth-rounder. The linebacker was a second round pick in 2017. If not an outright bust, that makes him bust-ish ..... What are you seeing when you look in the mirror, Brian Urlacher? ..... OK, and the NFL needs how many more reasons to force out Daniel Snyder as Washington's owner? ..... The Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo was named NBA Defensive Player of the year after winning MVP last year. He's the fifth to win both, after Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett ..... A-Rod and J-Lo are out of the running to buy the Mets. That's 2-Bad ..... Truly Dumb Ideas, one in a series: The Big Ten, which said it would not play football in 2020, now reportedly is mulling a Thanksgiving start ..... The three-week Tour de France is underway. It was more fun when all the bike tires were being punctured because discarded steroid needles were everywhere ..... MLB trade deadline is Monday ..... Answer: Usain Bolt tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a massive, mask-less birthday party. Question: And you wonder why this pandemic will be around a lot longer? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's Episode 26 is out Monday morning ..... Update: Countdown now 2,129 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll all be out of our masks by then?

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

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

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

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals / Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

August 24, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Inter Miami wins, Heat in command, Sixto wins debut, Paris-Bayern. See who's No. 1 and and what else falls where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 25 out now!, links to recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 24. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Riley's grand plan on track as Heat near playoff advance, Greg Cote Show podcast on a bye week & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: SILVER POD-IVERSARY EPISODE 25 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with Silver Pod-iversary Episode 25, out now! New episodes drop Monday mornings on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 25 we've done RIGHT HERE. Free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep25 we chat with special guest Mike Tannenbaum, the former Dolphins and NFL executive, about Tua and the Fins; Juju Gotti drops by; Greg saves the U.S. Postal Service'and of course we bring you the Mount Gregmore Name Game -- H's! All that and more in new Ep25! 

Latest column: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance

Other most recent columns: For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / 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 

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 23-24): 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. INTER MIAMI: Finally! MLS expansion team plays at home --and wins!: Five months later than planned due to the coronavirus, Inter Miami finally played its first home match Saturday, albeit in front of cardboard fans at its temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The bigger news: A win! Coming in 0-5, Miami beat natural rival Orlando City 3-2 on a pair of goals by Julian Carranza, a 20-year-old Argentine, and one by team star Rodolfo Pizarro. Next up for Miami: Wednesday back home vs. Atlanta United, and next Sunday at Nashville SC.

2. HEAT: Miami takes commanding 3-0 series lead over Pacers: This one's (all but) over. Miami took a 3-0 first-round NBA playoff series lead over Indiana with Saturday's 124-115 win. Four 20-ppiint scorers led the way: Jimmy Butler 27, Goran Dragic 24, Bam Adebayo 22 and Tyler Herro 20 off the bench. Heat can earn club's first playoff advance since 2016 in Game 4 in the Orlando bubble Monday evening. (Toronto and Boston are the first two teams to advance, both with sweeps). 

3. MARLINS: Sanchez wins in debut; Fish fall Sunday: The Marlins are hanging onto second place in NL East after Saturday's double-header split at Washington -- led by Sixto Sanche'z win in his first start for Miami -- then a loss Sunday. Fish had earlier snapped a recent five-game losing streak when Miguel Rojas homered in his first game back after a COVID-19 related absence. Miami has now had 11 games postponed by the virus, most recently when two Mets got it. Fish are in midst of an eight-game road trip. (Be smart, guys. Nobody sneaks out, right?)

4. SOCCER: It's Bayern Munich atop UEFA Champions League: It was Germany's mighty Bayern Munich defeating French power Paris-St. Germain 1-0 on Sunday in the UEFA Championship League title match in Lisbon, Portugal. Both advanced with no-doubt 3-0 semifinal verdicts, Bayern over Lyon and Paris over Leipzig, forming the battle for one of the major international futbol trophies.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NCAA grants extra year to fall-sport athletes: In the wake of the Big Ten, Pac-12 and other smaller conferences opting to not risk playing football in 2020 due to the pandemic, the NCAA Division I board of directors voted to give all fall sport student-athletes an additional year of eligibility and an extra year to complete it through a blanket waiver. Meanwhile Ohio State QB Justin Fields began a petition against the Big Ten postponement. The other three of the Power 5 conferences plan to play as scheduled, at least for now.

6. DOLPHINS: Three weeks from opener, a bit of QB tumult: Starter-for-now Ryan Ftzpatrick returned after missing one practice due to  mysterious Whel personal reasons. Meantime quarterback of the future Tua Tagovailoa looks healthy (the good news) but not close to NFL-ready yet (the bad). Josh "Remember Me" Rosen has looked better than Tua at times. Ready or not, Fins open at New England in three weeks.

7. HURRICANES: RB Harris stars in second fall scrimmage: Miami’s offensive star Saturday in its second fall football scrimmage was junior running back Cam’Ron Harris, who scored three touchdowns, rushed for 77 yards on 13 carries and caught five passes. With the ACC one of three of the Power 5 conferences still planning to play this fall, the Hurricanes are set to open in 18 days, September 10 at home vs. UAB, though likely in an empty stadium.

8. NHL: Dallas first to win as conference semifinals underway: While the eliminated Florida Panthers continue their search to replace departed general manger Dale Tallon, the Stanley Cup playoffs skate into the conference semifinals -- the final eight. In the West it's Dallas up 1-0 on Colorado after a 5-3 win Saturday, with Vegas 1-0 on Vancouver. In the East it's Boston 1-0 over Tampa Bay and Philadelphia-New York Islanders starting Monday. 

9. NBA: Lottery awards No. 1 overall draft pick to Minnesota: In a lottery drawing for the delayed-unti- October 16 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves lucked to draw the top pick. Their likely choice? Point guard LaMelo Ball, who eschewed American college ball and has been playing in Australia. Uh oh. Brace yourself for the reemergence of the dreaded Annoying Dad we haven't heard from lately to our great delight -- LaVar Ball.

10. MLB: Padres make grand slam history: The San Diego Padres hit a grand slam in four straight games, an MLB first. Hadn't been done in even three straight since 2006. And three straight by an NL team had last been done by the Cleveland Spiders in (!) 1895. I was there. Quite a feat.

Missing the HB10 cut: Oscar de la Hoya, 47, says he is coming out of retirement. (Cash-strapped, Oscar?) Over/under on his retiring again following an embarrassing comeback defeat: Four months ...... First Bubba Wallace leads a successful fight to ban Confederate flags at all NASCAR tracks. Now Erik Moses is named president of Nashville Superspeedway, becoming the first Black man to hold that title at any of the sport's tracks. Welcome to the 21st Century, NASCAR! Been waitin' for ya ..... Baseball and its damned "unwritten rules"! Somebody please just write them down for poor Fernando Tatis ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast returns Monday morning with extravaganza silver pod-iversary Episode 25! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,136 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll all be back to uncomfortably close social interaction by then.

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA FinalsMarlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

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

August 17, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Marlins back home, college football chaos, Heat playoffs ... see who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 24, links to newest columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 17. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Fractured college football mirrors America's divide on pandemic, Big Ten and Pac-12 set a moral compass, On Panthers moving on from GM Tallon, Marlins home opener (finally!), Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 24 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: A WEEK OFF, THEN NEW EPISODE 25!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 24 is out now. After a week off (no new episode Monday), we'll celebrate our silver podiversary with Ep25 on August 24. New episodes drop Monday mornings on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 24 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 24 Greg reveals his likes and dislikes about being on Le Batard Show. Also, hear from a screenwriter with a movie on Netflix who also happens to be running for Broward County supervisor of elections. And a guy who wrote a book about baseball cards ... and a double dose of Mount Gregmore (G's)! All that and more in new Ep24! 

Our most recent columns:

For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August

Also: Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / 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 and Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 16-17): 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: Hear ye, hear ye! An actual game actually happened in Miami!: For the first time in 156 days, since the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports on March 11, an actual game happened in South Florida -- the Marlins' long-delayed home opener Friday night, albeit sans fans. The Heat, Panthers and Inter Inter Miami have been playing elsewhere; this was the first time in just over five months a local team had played an actual home game. Seven-game Fish homestand vs. Braves and Mets continued Sunday with Marlins wearing throwback Miami Giants uniforms (a 1930s semipro team) in honor of 100th anniversary of Negro Leagues. Atlanta won to take two of three.

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Seismic! Big Ten, Pac-12 to skip 2020 season: In the biggest sports story of the pandemic since the cancellation of March Madness, two of the Power 5 football conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, announced they would not play in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. They're hoping to play in spring of '21 instead. However, the SEC, Big 12 and ACC/Miami Hurricanes plan as of now to play this fall as scheduled. Miami is to open September 10 at home vs. UAB, though likely without fans or with a very limited number.

3. HEAT: Playoffs! Miami-Indiana best-of-7 series starts Tuesday: NBA playoffs start Monday and Heat-Pacers first-round series begins Tuesday, all in the Orlando bubble. Miami finished only 3-5 in the eight-game regular season restart, including a split of two games with the Pacers. Derrick Jones Jr. left on a stretcher Friday with a "neck sprain."

4. INTER MIAMI: Team announces major signing as MLS resumption nears: Portland Timbers beat Orlando City 2-1 to win the MLS is Back tournament, now the league's regular season has resumed. Expansion team Inter Miami returns to play next Saturday, August 22, vs. Orlando in its temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale -- its first-ever home game, although sans fans. Miami is 0-5 in its rookie year but just signed French international midfielder and former Juventus star Blaise Matuidi, 33, who helped France win the 2018 World Cup. Meantime speculation persists that David Beckham's Miami is hot after Barcelona striker Luis Suarez.

5. DOLPHINS: Club to honor Shula with jersey patch this season: Miami would be one game into its exhibition schedule had the whole preseason not been canceled. Now, with the September 13 season opener at New England less than a month away, Dolphins announced players would wear a 'Shula/347' jersey patch this season to honor the late Don Shula. This will be first time club has had a uniform patch to honor an individual.

6. PANTHERS: Cats get unlucky in NHL draft lottery: NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are underway, as Florida continues its search to replace general manager Dale Tallon, sacked after a play-in series fizzle vs. Islanders. (Might former Cat Scott Mellanby be a candidate?) Meantime Panthers got no luck in NHL draft lottery. Had a 12.5 percent shot at the overall No. 1 pick but will select 12th instead. Draft, delayed from June, is scheduled to be done virtually October 9–10.

7. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League semifinals are set: UEFA Champions League being held in Portugal is down to its semifinals. It'll be Paris-St. Germain vs. Leipzig on Tuesday, and Bayern Munich vs. Lyon -- which stunned Manchester City 3-1 on Saturday. Semifinal winners will meet for the European crown on August 23, with Bayern now a stout favorite.

8. HIGH SCHOOLS: FHSAA green lights fall sports: The FHSAA, governing body for Florida prep sports, voted 11-5 to allow fall sports including football to go on beginning later this month despite the pandemic hitting this state harder than most. To the five adults in that room, thank you for trying, at least.

9. UFC: Miocic pummels Cormier into retirement: Stipe Miocic beat Daniel Cormier in a unanimous decision in UFC 252 Saturday night in Vegas to cement his status as the sport's heavyweight G.O.A.T. The loss pushed Cormier to say he's retiring. Over/under on his coming out of retirement: Three months.

10. HORSE RACING: Delayed Kentucky Derby to allow some fans: The 146th Kentucky Derby, delayed by the coronavirus from early May until September 5, plans to allow some 23,000 spectators, or 14 percent of capacity. Meanwhile activists are calling for the race day to be cancelled and accuse police of cracking down on social-justice protests to put a happy face on Louisville as the race nears.

Missing the HB10 cut: R.I.P., Aubrey Hill. FIU''s wide receivers coach, 48, passed away on Sunday after a long battle with cancer ..... The Miami Hurricanes impressed in a football scrimmage Sunday night,with D'Eriq King throwing for four TDs. That was according to UM. Since no media were there to see it, did it really happen? ..... The Masters at Augusta, delayed by the pandemic this year from the spring to November 12-15, announced it would go on with no spectators allowed at the course ..... Along with some 70 players who have opted out of the coming season (including Dolphins Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns), at least seven NFL game officials have opted out, ESPN reported. Five are on-field officials and two are replay-booth guys ..... "TUA," a documentary on the Dolphins' rookie quarterback Tagovailoa (unless by some wild coincidence somebody else goes by Tua), premieres on Sunday, September 6 on Fox ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast will return August 24 with silver pod-iversary Episode 25 after a week off ..... Update: Countdown now 2,143 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup, always presuming the world still exists at that point.

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Other most recent columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

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

August 15, 2020

Marlins' home opener: Empty stadium, but full of promise. New column; plus Fractured college football mirrors U.S. divide on handling pandemic, Big Ten and Pac-12 set moral compass, on Panthers/Tallon, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 24 out now & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 15. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 24 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 24 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 24 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 24 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 24 Greg discusses his likes and dislikes about being on the Le Batard Show. Also, hear from a screenwriter with a movie on Netflix who also happens to be running for Broward County supervisor of elections. And: A guy who wrote a book about baseball cards ... and a double dose of Mount Gregmore (G's)! Hear all that and more now in new Ep24! 

FOR MARLINS, A HOME OPENER -- AND FIRST PLACE -- IN MID-AUGUST. CAN THIS YEAR GET ANY WEIRDER?: [From Marlin s Park and last night's 8-2 win over Atlanta in Miami's much-delayed home opener]: Oh my how the Miami Marlins tried. Did everything they could to make their much-delayed first home game of the season Friday night feel special. Only in Marlinsbaseball does Opening Day get capital letters, and so for their return to Marlins Park — finally! — they hung red, white and blue bunting and even called the full team to the baseline for pregame introductions. Like it was April. Like everything was the same. When absolutely nothing is. The jumbo video screens were lit and the PA announcer enthusiastically called out the Marlins to a sea of 37,000 empty blue seats. Manager Don Mattingly has been in 31 big-league home openers as player, coach or manager, and he wasn’t even going to try to pretend. "I know it’s a home opener, but it doesn’t feel like much of one," said Donnie Baseball via a remote Zoom hookup, de rigeur now for coach and athlete interaction with media. "It’s another game, honestly. It ends up being a regular game." Well, not that, either, though. Not in a time when hardly anything in 2020 is regular, in sports or in life. That includes the Marlins themselves, more happily for Mattingly. His team unexpectedly held onto first place in the NL East with an 8-2 home-opening win led by Pablo Lopez’s eight-strikeout, no-walks gem. One month ago Lopez, 24, was grieving the sudden death of his father to a heart attack. Now he’s a big reason why Miami is an unlikely feelgood story in MLB. (Pictured: Lopez and first baseman Jesus Aguilar during the game]. "We were eager and excited to come home," Lopez said. "A really fun game all around." Clutch hitting, speed, great base running including another steal of home, a pair of highlight-reel defensive plays in left field by Matt Joyce -- all of that happened on a night that would have set the ballpark rocking, had there been fans in it. "A well-rounded game for us," Mattingly understated it afterward. "Kind of got contributions from all over the place. Speed is a difficult thing to deal with. The bats are coming alive." (Can it be real? The Marlins look good). The Fish became the first South Florida pro team in more than five months — in 156 days, since March 11 — to play a home game that actually was at home, following a 24-day, 12-game road trip to begin the delayed MLB season. It was the latest home opener by any team in the sport’s 144-year history. For my full latest column on a night both eerie and exhilarating, please visit For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August.

FRACTURED COLLEGE FOOTBALL MIRRORS AMERICA'S DEEP DIVIDE ON HOW TO HANDLE A PANDEMIC: Who is in charge here? Anyone? We haven’t seen this before. Not at any time, in any major sport. It has elements of anarchy. Mutiny. Insanity, even. Hello, NCAA? Anybody home? Like pandemic-plagued 2020 itself, what we see happening in college football Collballahead of this fractured 2020 season is unprecedented. Wait. No. There was the Spanish Flu of 1918 as a pandemic precedent. But in terms of sports? Nope. This is a first. College football always has been an entity of many conferences at different levels, but with a cohesion to it. One sport under one umbrella, under one governing body. Now we see a sport splintered, going in starkly different directions. The Power 5 Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announcing Tuesday they would not play football in 2020 was the biggest sports headline of this coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Other smaller conferences and individual colleges already had done so. Now the onus is on the sport’s three other major leagues — Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 — to follow the path of safety first, of prudent caution, or be seen as recklessly putting revenue over the health of their student-athletes. And all indications are they will follow the money, of course. But even that is a crapshoot in a fluid time of uncertainty. "We’re going forward. The Big 12, SEC and ACC have made their decision," as director of athletics Blake James of the ACC’s Miami Hurricanes told us Wednesday. "But we can’t say anything with certainty. Can anything change? Without a doubt." College football's divide on whether to play in 2020 mirrors America's division on how best to handle a pandemic. To read our full recent column, please visit Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic.

FALL WITHOUT FOOTBALL: BIG TEN, PAC-12 SET MORAL COMPASS FOR NFL, OTHER SCHOOLS TO FOLLOWSomething amazing and nearly unimaginable is happening. Major college sports is doing the right thing. Not the popular thing. Not the best thing for its financial bottom line. But the right thing. If reports are true the Big Ten and Pac-12, major Power 5 Bigpacconferences, will not play college football in the fall of 2020. Reports are official announcements from both leagues are expected Tuesday. The much smaller Ivy League and Centennial Conference previously had opted out of football season. The Mid-American Conference joined them to become the first FBS-level league to do so. But the Big Ten and Pac-12 opting out takes this to a whole new level. This is the biggest news in sports since the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic turned everything upside down exactly five months ago. It is a monumental development because it a powerful message that our government — federal, state and local — should hear and heed: That in the ongoing national struggle to balance health and economic concerns, there should be no real debate. Lives are more important than dollars. The adults in the room, in this case Big Ten and Pac-12 presidents, commissioners and athletic directors, are saying as much, loudly, on behalf of their student-athletes. They are saying so even knowing acutely that football is the big dog on campus producing the revenue that sustains entire athletic programs. This also is a seismic development for what it may portend, for the huge domino that may have just tipped. Because, now, how can the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12 and the University of Miami’s Atlantic Coast Conference go on with their seasons as planned? How reckless will they seem, putting money ahead of safety, now that the Big Ten and Pac-12 have taken hold of sports’ moral compass? Same with the mighty NFL. To read this full recent column, please visit Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow.

AS FLORIDA PANTHERS MOVE ON FROM GM TALLON, WHO'S NEXT MIAMI TEAM EXECUTIVE FACING HOT SEAT?: When you don’t know what else to do, you fire somebody. When you’re out of answers and excuses, fire somebody. This is the way it works in big-time sports. Coaches and team executives are not often let go based on incompetence, but rather because the team owner Tallonran out of patience, felt pressure and needed a fall guy. Needed a bold stroke to convey action, perhaps to divert attention from his own inability to find a winning combination. Change merely for the sake of change is sometimes enough, and it erased Dale Tallon from the South Florida sports landscape on Monday. The Florida Panthers’ longtime general manager — 10 years is a lifetime in sports — leaves the hockey club by what is being called a "mutual agreement," because a respected 69-year-old NHL lifer deserves that, at least. Plainly, his contract expired when this season did and would not be renewed. It is understandable, this move. I am sorry to see it, and to say, but it is justifiable. Said team owner Vincent Viola: "When we purchased the Panthers in 2013 we did so with a singular goal, to win a Stanley Cup. We have not seen our efforts come to fruition." Tallon thanked fans and Viola in a parting statement issued through the club, but he is hurting. I texted Dale on Monday to ask if we might speak. He replied and, politely, wrote, "I will hold off at this time." Ironically, Tallon’s own successes as a GM raised the bar that ultimately caused his sacking. His Cats made a cannonball splash during the past offseason in hiring star coach Joel Quenneville (pictured with Tallon) and top free agent goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The moves screamed win-now-or-else. Let Tallon’s departure be a warning that applies elsewhere in this market to others who are feeling job pressure, should be, or might be soon. Because not many get the 10 years Tallon got, and everywhere you look in South Florida — outside of the steadily competitive and stable Miami Heat — you see potential change. For my full recent column, including who I see as the next Miami team executive to feel pressure, please visit As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat?

Our two most recent previous columns: 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off and Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals.

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Column Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Other most recent columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

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

August 10, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Flying Fish, dead Cats and Fins lead scrum for No.1 spot. See what falls where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 24 out now!, links to latest columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 10. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Football as 'perfect storm for virus transmission,' Don't rule out Heat reaching NBA Finals, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 23 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

GREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 24 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 24 is out now! A new Coteshowepisode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 24 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 24 Greg discusses his likes and dislikes about being on the Le Batard Show. Also, hear from a screenwriter with a movie on Netflix who also happens to be running for Broward County supervisor of elections. And: A guy who wrote a book about baseball cards ... and a double dose of Mount Gregmore (G's)! Hear all that and more now in new Ep24! 

Our most recent columns: 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off and Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 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:

HButton1. MARLINS: Finally! Much-delayed home opener is this Friday: Marlins are 5-2 since the restart and 7-3 overall, all on the road, and depleted by COVID-19 absences. Don Mattingly for manager of the year! Fins will have played 12 straight away from home before finally debuting at a fan-less Marlins Park this Friday vs. Atlanta. BTW, Mattingly's 282nd win passed Jack McKeon for club record.

2. PANTHERS: Season done. Cats eliminated. GM Tallon out: NHL season ended Friday for Florida in a no-doubt-about-it 5-1 loss to the Islanders in the Toronto bubble, giving NYI a decisive 3-1 series win to advance into the full Stanley Cup playoffs. Given the big offseason -- hiring star coach Joel Quenneville, signing top goalie Sergei Bobrovsky-- call it yet another disappointing season for Florida. As a result: Monday, the club announced a mutual parting of the ways with longtime general manager Dale Tallon.

3. DOLPHINS: Coronavirus begins hitting Fins hard: Dolphins had been lucky as training camp began, but this week two players sure to have made the team and been major contributors -- receivers Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns -- opted out of the 2020 season over coronavirus concerns. And six more players were temporarily deactivated Thursday onto the COVID-19 list including prominent defensive linemen Shaq Lawson and Raekwon Davis.

4. HEAT: It's Miami-Indiana with seeding on line Monday: Miami is 2-3 in the bubble after Saturday's loss to Phoenix, and Heat's chances of reaching the NBA Finals seem slimmer after losses to East powers Toronto and Milwaukee. With three regular season games left before playoffs Miami is in fight for fourth place with Indiana -- and teams play Monday night.

5. HURRICANES: UM football loses sack-star Rousseau to opt-out: Canes' full fall training camp opened on Friday with some bad news. ACC sacks leader and likely first-round NFL draft pick Gregory Rousseau is opting out of the coming season (should there be one), a huge blow. UM receives votes in preseason coaches poll (34th overall). Miami's 11-game schedule includes No. 1 Clemson, 19th-ranked North Carolina and No. 24 Virginia Tech. Season opens Sept. 10 vs UAB, fans-or-no-fans to be announced.

6. GOLF: Who!? Morikawa win PGA Championship: Dustin Johnson could not hold a lead entering the fourth round and little-known Collin Morikawa on Sunday won the year's first major by two strokes in San Francisco. Tiger Woods finished strong but ended tied for 37th place. No fans were there watching, unless you count the seagulls. 

7. NFL: Final opt-outs at 67 players leaguewide: At this week's deadline 67 NFL players from 28 teams had opted out of the 2020 season related to the coronavirus. Patriots had the most with eight, while only teams with zero were the Chargers, Falcons, Rams and Steelers. Miami had two (see above). Players may opt out beyond the deadline, however, if they or a close family member contract the virus.

8. INTER MIAMI: MLS announces resumption of regular season: Orlando City and Philadelphia will play Tuesday in the Orlando bubble for the MLS Is Back tournament title, the winner qualifying for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. To follow: A resumption of the MLS regular season. Expansion team Inter Miami is 0-5 -- every loss by one goal and all away from home -- returns to play on August 22 vs. Orlando City in Fort Lauderdale. Teams will play in home stadiums, but in most markets, including South Florida, fans will not be allowed.

9. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League reaches quarterfinals: Final eight are set in Champions League: Atalanta vs. Paris Saint-Germain this Wednesday; Leipzig vs. Atletico Madrid on Thursday; Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich on Friday; and Manchester City vs. Lyon on Saturday. Man City and and Bayern are betting co-favorites for the trophy.

10. TENNIS: Nadal opts out of upcoming U.S. Open: The Grand Slam event in New York is scheduled to go on August 31 to September 13 without fans -- and, now, with men's star Rafael Nadal. The former Capri pants-wearing Spaniard will skip the Open over coronavirus concerns. 

Missing the HB10 cut: The Mid-American Conference will not play football in the fall. The MAC becomes the first FBS-level league to opt out of the 2020 season over coronavirus concerns ..... A Patrick Mahomes-Josh Allen 'Throw-Off' to see who has the strongest arm? Headline I'm imagining: 'Star QBs Injure Arms in Dumb Throwing Contest' ..... Free agent Antonio Brown, looking for work at 32 and now suspended first eight games of NFL season? Don't even think about it, Dolphins ..... Green Bay Packers announce no fans for at least first two home games. Lamb-oh-no Field ..... Headline of the week: "A's Coach Sorry For Making Apparent Nazi Salute" ..... Are the Indians still the Indians? ..... T-shirt of the Week honors to WNBA players for 'Vote Warnock' ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 24 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,150 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Out of our face masks by then? Maybe?

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Column Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Other most recent columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

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

August 08, 2020

'Perfect storm for virus transmission': Why football is struggling to loft off. Latest column; plus Don't rule out Heat reaching NBA Finals, manager Mattingly's Marlins magic, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 23 out now & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 8. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 23 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

"The COVID-depleted Miami Marlins are now 5-0 since the restart, 7-1 overall. All on the road. With a makeshift team. Don Mattingly: Manager of the year!" -- Greg Cote

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 23 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 23 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 23 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Episode 23 Greg and Chris are joined by two special guests. ESPN's Amin Elhassan is in to discuss the Miami Heat/NBA restart and leftovers. (Yes, leftovers). And Herald Marlins writer Jordan McPherson joins us to talk about working in a pandemic hotspot and covering the team whose season was derailed by a COVID-19 outbreak. New episode also includes the latest Mount Gregmore Name Game (F's). Hear all of that and more now in new Ep23! 

'THE PERFECT STORM FOR VIRUS TRANSMISSION': WHY FOOTBALL IS STRUGGLING TO LIFT OFF: Football season is struggling mightily to lift off in the pandemic year 2020. We are seeing it in the NFL and we are seeing it at the college level, and it is not the least bit surprising. We should have all seen this coming. Football in the fall is chugging at us like a malignant Nflvirus Cfbviruslocomotive. That the NFL and college game are still planning to play at all with schedules including travel, even in stadiums with few or no fans, lends a whole new shade of meaning to the idea this is a "dangerous sport." Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter, the new president of the NFL Players Association, wrote this in a recent communique with the league’s players: "More than any other sport, the game of football is the perfect storm for virus transmission." Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned the same, saying players, coaches and staff must be isolated in an "enclosed community" to safely play this season. And it’s common sense. Amid a coronavirus/COVID-19 plague not nearly contained, in a time when social distancing is a part of the lexicon, football oppositely demands close and violent contact. There isn’t a single play where sweat isn’t flying and bodies aren’t colliding. Health and safety protocols are fine (when followed) and frequent testing is fine; still, what Tretter said is true, and the danger is magnified by by travel, by airports, hotels and other stadiums — things outside that "closed community." My my full latest column, please visit 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off

Raptors_Heat_Basketball_47060HERE'S WHY NOBODY SHOULD RULE OUT MIAMI HEAT REACHING NBA FINALS: Heat now 2-2 in the restart after losses to East powers Washington and Toronto. Original post: This was something we hadn’t seen, in this strangest of all years, in almost five months, since March. A big game. It’s almost tough to remember what those were, but Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors felt like one Monday in the NBA’s Orlando bubble. It felt like a game that might mean something. Might tell us something. It did. Even in a 107-103 loss Monday, Miami reminded us it is on a level with the defending NBA champions, and that a deep run in the looming playoffs -- maybe even one reaching the NBA Finals -- is not an unreasonable notion. (pictured: Miami's Goran Dragic greets Toronto's Fred VanFleet). This arrived as a measuring-stick game for the one South Florida team best positioned to come out of this delayed, truncated, upside-down sports year with an actual shot at a title. This eight-game regular-season restart will be over and the playoffs will be here in a flash. Can the Heat actually get through the Eastern Conference? I say yes. Still. And I'm not alone. For my full recent column, please visit Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals.

Marlins Hell Week: Column Trilogy: As Miami's COVID-19 outbreak wreaks havoc with the roster and with MLB, putting the Marlins season on pause: Latest: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Middle: Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / And first: Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Other most recent columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps. And: He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

Other recent columns: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

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

August 03, 2020

Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 23 out now! Heat! Marlins! Leftovers! Mount Gregmore!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10. See who's No. 1 and what else ranks where; also, our Marlins Hell Week column trilogy & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 3. Welcome, August. Be nice. And thank you, Isaias, for going easy on us. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Hell Week column trilogy, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 22 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 23 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 23 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 23 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Episode 23 Greg and Chris are joined by two special guests. ESPN's Amin Elhassan is in to discuss the Miami Heat/NBA restart and leftovers. (Yes, leftovers). And Herald Marlins writer Jordan McPherson joins us to talk about working in a pandemic hotspot and covering the team whose season was derailed by a COVID-19 outbreak. New episode also includes the latest Mount Gregmore Name Game (F's). Hear all of that and more now in new Ep22! 

DonmatMarlins Hell Week: Column Trilogy: As Miami's COVID-19 outbreak wreaks havoc with the roster and with MLB, putting the Marlins season on pause: Latest: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Middle: Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / And first: Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Our most recent other columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps. And: He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 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. HEAT: Miami wins season (re-)opener as NBA returns: NBA resumed with an eight-game regular season starting Thursday, and Heat (after going 1-2 in scrimmages) tipped off Saturday with an impressive 125-105 win over Denver in the Orlando bubble. Bam Adebayo, back from a bout with COVID-19, scored 22 for Miami as did Jimmy Butler. Next, Heat face Toronto Monday. Eight games each for the 22 teams still alive will determine playoff seedings.

2. MARLINS: Miami returns from virus-outbreak 'pause' Tuesday: Marlins went 2-1 in Philadelphia to open MLB's 60-game season on an upbeat. Then all hell broke loose. Miami's next seven games including the home opener were postponed when 20 members of the team including two coaches tested positive for COVID-19 -- putting all of MLB on high alert. Uninfected players remained in Philly and will bus to Baltimore to resume season on Tuesday, further delaying the already delayed home opener. Also: Team traded for lefty pitcher Richard Bleier, a local kid from South Plantation High (his story here in a 2016 column by me), and young 2B Isan Diaz opted out of the season.

3. MLB: Marlins-led mess has entire season wobbling: What began with the Marlins is spreading across the league, causing other games to postpone and some players to begin opting out. Remember MLB's plan for a Phoenix bubble where everybody would play to avoid travel? And how it was vilified as a crazy idea? Looking pretty damn good right about now. Play ball? 

4. DOLPHINS: Tua cleared for full activity as training camp ramps up: The good news? Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa passed his physical and was OK'd for all activity (no surprise), and the Fins so far have had no players opt-out of the season. The bad news? Oft-injured CB Xavien Howard is on the physically-unable-to-perform list, and the team has reassembled IN A PANDEMIC! 

5. PANTHERS: Cats fall to Islanders in series Game 1 of NHL restart: Florida is down 1-0 in its five-game play-in series vs. the New York Islanders after a 2-1 Game 1 loss on Saturday in hockey's straight-to-playoffs resumption in the Toronto bubble. Isles were up two goals  before Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the third period. Game 2 is on Tuesday, with Cats now two losses away from seeing their season end short of advancing to the Stanley Cup tournament.

6. NFL: Sport hit hard by growing list of players opting out of season: The latest number is 37 players opting out of the 2020 season so far over coronavirus concerns, including seven Patriots, star linebacker Dont'a Hightower among them, and Jets star linebacker C.J. Mosley. More than half of all teams have been affected by the opt-outs. Miami has lucked out. So far.

7. HURRICANES: UM football opens full preseason camp this week amid uncertainty: Canes will open their full fall training camp this coming Friday. ACC's no-divisions schedule brings Notre Dame into league. UM will not play Irish but will play at Clemson (Uh oh). Canes hope their season will open on Sept. 12, with fans or no fans still to be determined. UM AD Blake James admitted the whole thing is "aspirational."

8. GOLF: This week's PGA Championship is year's first major: There'll be no fans but a stellar field in San Francisco for the first major of the virus-wracked golf. The logjam of betting favorites includes Bryson Dechambeau, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka. Some guy named Tiger is playing, too. Starts Thursday.

9. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team preparing for August 22 restart of MLS season: As the MLS Is Back tournament moves toward its August 11 championship match, long-eliminated Inter Miami is preparing for a scheduled August 22 restart to the MLS regular season. An 18-game season is planned (9 home, 9 away), but the schedule is not yet announced. Inter Miami will resume play under pressure, its 0-5 start the league's worst ever for an expansion team.

10. SOCCER: Arsenal tops Chelsea for FA Cup crown: Arsenal rallied from an early hole to defeat Chelsea 2-1 in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley, one of the major trophies in European soccer. Chelsea found no luck, including young U.S. star Christian Pulisic (Chelsea's goal scorer) erased by a hamstring injury early in second half.

Missing the HB10 cut: Seattle Kraken. Sorry. Not growin' on me ..... Free agent Antonio Brown, looking for work at 32, is now suspended first eight games of NFL season for "multiple" violations of personal conduct policy. Teams still interested, line forms here. Plenty of spots available ..... Patrick Mahomes is now a part owner of the Kansas City Royals. Still, all that money could not buy Pat better than a No. 4 in NFL.com's Top 100 ranking ..... Woj is back! He's in the NBA bubble. I think I'd rather be suspended ..... Still hanging onto that nickname, Indians? I hear 'Cleveland Baseball Team' is  still  available ..... Delayed WNBA season is underway in Bradenton bubble ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 23 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,157 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Full stadiums again by then?

Other recent columns: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

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