July 19, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10: COVID Olympics, surging Bucks and Morikawa jockey for top spot. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more


1) It's MONDAY, JULY 19. I'll be back in my regular Tuesday slot this week (tomorrow) on the Le Batard Show. 2) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast now on Twitter and Instagram. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Seat rankings for Miami coaches, Should Heat gamble on Ben Simmons?, Exhibition losses wakeup call for Team USA, Tokyo Olympics should be delayed yet again, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our new 28th episode of 2021 and hallmark 70th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 70 we've done so far HERE, for free. In our new episode: The big reveal on our show decal giveaway, golf with Tony and Roy, Messi mania in Miami, the COVID Olympics, a Legoland lifeguard and more. (Oh, and apologies in advance for the unseemly topic that opens the show). Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our most recent columns: Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security / Peril vs. Possibility: Should the Heat Gamble and Try to Fix Ben Simmons? / Exhibition Losses Give Team USA Wakeup Call It Needs Headed to Olympics / and Tokyo Olympics Should Be Delayed Again, But It's Too Late. Why? Money. Also: May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Time For Sports To Quit Hiding, Stand Up And Lead The Pro-Vaccine Fight / and Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JULY 18-19: WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Our thoughts and sympathy continue with the victims and families affected by the Surfside condominium collapse that has now left at least 97 confirmed dead and more still unaccounted for. 

HButton1. OLYMPICS: COVID-shadowed Tokyo Games start this week: Ready or not, smart or not, the delayed-from-2020 Summer Olympics begin this coming Friday in COVID-spiking Tokyo, and run through August 8. Two athletes there already have tested positive. United States is betting favorite to win most gold medals, followed by China and host Japan. First must-see day is next Sunday, when Team USA men's basketball (vs. France), swimming star Katie Ledecky and gymnastics G.O.A.T. Simone Biles all debut.

2. NBA: Surging Bucks up 3-2 in NBA Finals: The Phoenix Suns' 2-0 series lead is a distant memory now, after Giannis and Milwaukee on Saturday night won a third straight NBA Finals game. The Bucks can clinch their first league title since 1971 on Tuesday in Game 6 at home.

3. GOLF: Morikawa wins British Open: The fourth of the golf majors -- on the calendar and frankly in general interest stateside -- wrapped up Sunday with 24-year-old Los Angeles-born Collin Morikawa winning by two shots over Jordan Spieth. Morikawa also won the 2020 PGA Championship in his first attempt, as he did today in The Open in northern England.

4. MARLINS: Fish stumbling to begin second-half: Following the All-Star break and MLB Draft, the NL East-trailing Marlins took on a seven-game division road trip looking for a spark to begin the season's second half. Instead Miami dropped three of four in Philly and is 40-53 and mired in the NL East cellar. Fish try again with three at Washington starting tonight.

5. DOLPHINS : Fins set training camp schedule: Miami's King Team announced it would hold 14 open-to-fans practices at its new training facility during this year's training camp, which starts July 31. After training at Nova Southeastern University since 1993, the Fins this year move to a new 227,000-square-foot facility next to Hard Rock Stadium. Training camp segues to the preseason opener August 14 at Chicago.

6. SOCCER: U.S. beats Canada, advances in Gold Cup: The U.S. men beat Canada 1-0 Sunday night in Kansas City to end 3-0 and +7 on goals in the CONCACAF Gold Cup group play. Americans easily qualified for the knockout phase starting next Saturday. Tournament crowns the top team in the North and Central America and Caribbean region.

7. COLLECTIBLES: Heat, Panthers enter the NFT game: The Miami Heat and Florida Panthers have begun offering non-fungible token (NFT) digital collectibles. Heat is offering unique digital memorabilia via auction and sale celebrating the 15th anniversary of the 2006 championship, the club's first. Panthers have partnered with digital collectibles developer Fanaply to host, sell, trade and distribute Panthers NFT collections.

8. INTER MIAMI: Game postponed; Herons back in play Wednesday: Inter Miami, 2-2-7 and looking to snap a five-game losing streak, saw its game at the New York Red Bulls postponed by severe weather and lightning Saturday night. The Herons are back at it Wednesday night with a visit by New England Revolution. 

9. PANTHERS: Cats drop Yandle, prepare for NHL Draft: Florida released longtime defenseman Keith Yandle after buying out the last two years of his contract, and re-signed forward Anthony Duclair and defenseman Gustav Forsling. Cats will lose one unprotected player to the Seattle Kraken in Wednesday's NHL expansion draft (likely goaltender Chris Driedger, according to reports). The main NHL Draft is this coming Friday and Saturday. Florida picks 24th in the first round, the club's lowest top selection since 2008.

10. MLB: AL, Ohtani, Alonso win All-Star break: Angels' two-way star Shohei Ohtani was winning pitcher as AL won its eighth straight All-Star Game, beating NL 5-2. Blue Jay Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered and was game MVP. In the co-headlining event the Mets' Pete Alonso won his second straight Home Run Derby.

Missing the HB10 cut: Heat's 2021-22 preseason schedule will include home games Oct. 4 (Atlanta), Oct. 11 (Charlotte) and Oct. 15 (Boston), the team announced ..... A shooting outside Nationals Park that wounded three on Saturday postponed the Padres game ..... Ted Ginn Jr. and his family have announced their retirement from the NFL ..... For Sale (but not cheap): A slightly damaged Ben Simmons ..... Team WNBA beat Team USA 93-85 in the WNBA All-Star Game. Interesting format for an Olympic year ..... The Stanley Cup trophy got dented during Tampa Bay's boat parade. Gotta be a way to blame Tom Brady, no? ..... NBA Draft is July 29 but it's who-cares in Miami, with no Heat picks and no Canes likely to be taken ..... R.I.P., Biz Markie ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,807 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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


Select other recent columns: Injury-Wrecked Playoffs, Asterisk Champion: Why Greedy NBA Is Getting What It Deserves / Better 2 Years Late Than Never, Panthers Get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Here's What Else Must Go Right (Besides Tua) For Dolphins To Continue Momentum / Rumors, Speculation and the Truth on Spoelstra, Lillard and Heat / Wanted: A 'Next Big Thing' In Men's Tennis, Golf / Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling / Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs / Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal / Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins /  Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? /  It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished /  Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

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

March 06, 2021

Time-travelling to '60s and childhood, when the baseball card was king. My new column; plus Quit lecturing LeBron on activism and How Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun choice is strewn with what-ifs; also, new Greg Cote Show 1st anniversary podcast & more


1) It's SATURDAY, MARCH 6. Search out Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for heavy does of me including the garage/baseball cards segment and the new 'Back In My Day.' 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast's 1st anniversary episode, recent columns & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW 1ST ANNIVERSARY EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our 1st Anniversary episode -- ninth of 2021 and 51st overall -- is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 51 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep9 of '21, we welcome in two special guests. Dr. Daniel B. Chan, an orthopedic trauma surgeon for Memorial Healthcare System, details Tiger Woods' injuries and what's ahead in his recovery -- and explains why what Woods suffered may be even worse than the injury to NFL quarterback Alex Smith. Also, ESPN NFL analyst Mike Tannenbaum joins us to predict how the whole Tua-or-Deshaun Watson drama will play out for the Dolphins. Also on the menu: Greg and Chris discuss the raging new Mr. Potato Head controversy; a smidgen of NASCAR talk (involving Michael Jordan and Pitbull); a debate over the move to make Kobe Bryant the new silhouette in the NBA logo; and a new Mount Gregmore marking the pod’s 1st anniversary with the greatest events or birthdays associated with March 2. Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review!

MecardsTIME-TRAVELLING TO CHILDHOOD IN THE 1960S, WHEN THE BASEBALL CARD WAS KING: The evolution of sports memorabilia, of collectibles, struck me this week as I discovered for the first time a phenomenon of a fad called NBA TopShot. I’m closer to a Luddite than someone out front on the latest trends , so it was no surprise I’d been unfamiliar with these so-called “digital basketball cards.” I happened to learn of NBA TopShot on the same week I’d been immersed in my garage, rooting through large plastic storage tubs, in search of something long-lost: My youth. And there they were, stacked in old shoeboxes: Hundreds and hundreds of baseball and football cards, almost all of them from the 1960s. At a time when the Beatles and Motown were America’s soundtrack and LBJ was in the White House, I was a card collecting fool. Obsessed. You’d buy a pack of Topps cards (I was a Topps kid) and couldn’t wait to get home and unwrap the mystery. Odds were they’d be ordinary players. Oh, but what if you struck gold and Mickey Mantle was there. Or Willie Mays! I collected cards nonstop from the early ‘60s into the early ‘70s, elementary school into the start of high school.More than a half-century later, this week, I discovered those old shoeboxes were falling apart but the long- forgotten treasure they held — those 3 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch rectangles of thin cardboard — were miraculously intact, not all but many in what the collectible experts might call mint condition. For our full latest column, visit Time-Travelling To The 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King

LebronQUIT LECTURING LEBRON JAMES ON ACTIVISM AND HIS OWN CONSCIENCE: LeBron James is hearing the silly noise again, and all it does is make him dig deeper, stand firmer, speak louder. One year ago it was conservative commentator Laura Ingraham on Fox News advising LeBron to “shut up and dribble” instead of speaking out against racial and social injustice. Now it is international soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic lecturing LeBron on what the parameters of his conscience should be. “[LeBron] is phenomenal at what he does, but I don’t like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time,” the AC Milan striker said in an interview in Sweden. “Do what you’re good at. Stay out of politics. Just do what you do best because [the rest] doesn’t look good.” Politics. When did that become the word for standing up for what you believe is right? Why has speaking out for social justice and voters’ rights become a font of controversy? Ibrahimovic doubled down this week, saying, “Athletes unite the world, politics divide us “ — again misrepresenting social conscience as political, in much the same way critics misrepresented Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem as anti-American instead of as a protest of police violence against unarmed Black people. Ibrahimovic reopens the dumb notion of “stick to sports!” as more and more athletes, the L.A. Lakers’ LeBron seemingly always at the forefront, use their platform and voice for positive change. The message from activist athletes is simple: We are here to do more than entertain you. For our full recent column, visit Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience.

TuaTUA OR DESHAUN? WHY DOLPHINS' MONUMENTAL QB CHOICE IS ANYTHING BUT SIMPLE: Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, general manager Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores are seated in a room, trying to see the future. Trying to chart a path. NFL free agency starts March 17. Less than six weeks later is the draft. Most offseasons, those are the two superhighways you travel in building your roster. Improving your team. This offseason, the Dolphins front office faces a bigger decision, of course. The biggest of their professional lives. The biggest in the 56-year history of Miami’s flagship sports franchise. It is Tua Tagovailoa or Deshaun Watson, and nothing at all about that choice is simple. Stick with Tagovailoa and use free agency and the draft to surround him with talent and you have passed on the once-in-a-lifetime chance to trade for a proven, elite quarterback just coming into his prime. Trade for Watson and you have both gutted your draft capital for perhaps years to come and also given up on the great promise of the player you just used a top-five pick to draft. Ah, but the choice is even more complicated than that, and strewn with possibilities Ross, Grier and Flores must consider when deciding how to move forward. For our full recent column, visit Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs

NASCAR/Homestead, Tiger Woods and other most recent columns: Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead This Week and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive. Also: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / and Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company.

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


Select other recent columns: Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Why A Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl Is Torture For Dolphins Fans / Chad Henne: Ex-Dolphin An Overnight Sensation, 13 Years Later / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

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