September 17, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 24.6% after shutout loss to New England and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 83.0% after rout of Bethune-Cookman; plus NFL Week 2 picks, odds for ex-Canes, Fins on 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

1) It's MONDAY SEPTEMBER 16. R.I.P. Ric Ocasek, 75. His group The Cars were very big in  my life when I was in my 20s and always held a place in my memory and heart. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 2 picks, yes Dolphins are tanking and yes they should & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

PicksOur NFL Week 2 picks: Will the Miami Dolphins lose by less than the epic 18 1/2-point betting line on Sunday? What is our Game of the Week. Who are our upset winners? Find out that and more by visiting Week 2 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

Other most recent work: Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Also: It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Herald Week 1 QB Rankings / The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that (game column from opening loss).

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 83.0%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 83.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 63-0 UM home Csmvictory over Bethune-Cookman putting the Hurricanes' season record at 1-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10 a.m. today/Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

G2: 15.7% following 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

G3: 83.0% following 63-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman.

Next poll: Sept. 21 following game vs. Central Michigan.

BcmiaG3: BETHUNE-COOKMAN AT HURRICANES: NAME YOUR SCORE: I know in the NFL very occasionally you see a crazy score like, say, 59-10. (Sorry, Dolphins). But generally speaking you don't get many silly-sized routs in the pros like you see too much in the college game, when major schools play small schools that have no shot. It is why I prefer the NFL. Which brings us to the Miami Hurricanes hosting Bethune-Cookman Saturday at 4 in UM's home opener at Hard Rock. Miami has played B-C four times this decade (most recently in 2017), and the Canes have won all four by a combined 169-37. Could have been worse. That involved a bunch of clear the bench and foot off the gas pedal. This could be more of a classic, thorough butt-whippin' because, at 0-2 for the first time since 1978, Manny Diaz and Miami are frustrated and eager to take it out on ... anybody. I'd be shocked if the final score was remotely close. If B-C had even half of Miami's score. So you're up, B-C Wildcats. The designated punching bag and stress relief for the Canes' early-season frustration. So I'll say it now, Wildcats. I'm sorry for your loss. Cote's pick: Hurricanes, 61-0.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 24.6%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 24.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 43-0 DsmDolphins home loss to New England putting Miami's season record at 0-2. (That's an uptick. Tanking crowd weighing in). In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the official results. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

Next poll: Sept. 22 following game at Dallas.

NemiaG2: NEW ENGLAND AT DOLPHINS: LET US PRAYMiami is one of eight home underdogs in NFL Week 2, and oh what a dog! Combo of last week’s humiliating 59-10 opening loss to Baltimore and New England being New England has left Dolphins getting 18 1/2 points Sunday at 1. Perspective: That’s biggest NFL spread since 2007, and one of only three times in past 30 years a road team has been favored by this much. Interesting subplots: Brian Flores coaching against his former team, and Antonio Brown’s debut (maybe) for Pats. Oh, and will ornery Bill Belichick want to run it up for the way Miami stunningly beat his team here last season on that late 69-yard miracle lateral-fest? Would it shock for Fins to lose by 30-plus? Nope. But Miami is on a 5-1 run at home vs. Tom Brady, and I’m hunching that whatever pride wasn’t beaten out of the Dolphins last week will be marshaled for a credible performance that beats not the Patriots (don't be silly), but at least the point spread. Cote's pick: Patriots, 34-17. (Click Week 2 Gems for all our latest NFL picks).

ELEVEN EX-CANES, FINS ON 2020 HALL BALLOT: WE HANDICAP THEIR CHANCES: Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed its 122 contenders for 2020 induction into Canton, a list that includes six Ejamesformer Dolphins and five ex-Canes. The mass will be pared to 25 semifinalists in November and then 15 finalists in January, who'll be voted on for induction during Super Bowl Week in Miami. None of the 11 locals is a good bet to get to Canton, but here's how we see them stacking up in terms of at least making the cut to 25: Best chance: Edgerrin James (pictured), because the former UM running back was a finalist in 2019. Decent chance: Ex-Fins LB Zach Thomas deserves Canton (as I've soapboxed many times), longtime stalwart Dolphins LT Richmond Webb has a case, and ex-Canes WR Reggie Wayne has pretty stout career numbers. A tiny shot, maybe?: Dolphins CB Troy Vincent, TE Keith Jackson and punter Reggie Roby, and Canes RB Clinton Portis and TE Jeremy Shockey. Nah, sorry: Punters Jeff Feagles and Matt Turk. 

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Tankier and tankier as Fins crushed again: Miami was an 18 1/2 point underdog. On the bright side, the Dolphins could lose by double that point spread and still come closer than they did in last week's 59-10 loss. That's what I wrote. And it happened. Patriots, 43-0. Can Miami just concede the final 14 games? Please? 

2. HURRICANES: Thank you, Bethune-Cookman. The Canes needed that: Honestly, I wrote that headline Thursday afternoon. But if the Canes do anything but win comfortably Saturday, just go ahead and cancel the rest of UM's season. They won 63-0. That'll suffice. 

3. BASKETBALL: Team USA gags in awful FIBA World Cup performance: Stunner! Team USA was beaten by France and will play for seventh place Saturday in the FIBA Wold Cup in China -- worst finish ever by an American team that included NBA players. Why? Of 35 players originally selected for the U.S. player pool, only four were in China.

4. INTER MIAMI: Messi-to-Miami rumors heating up?: Soccer rumors that bloom and disseminate from Europe and and South America can be notoriously unreliable. Still, there seems to be traction to the notion Barcelona star Lionel Messi could be considering a late-career move to MLS with the new Miami team. Yes, please. Yes. Please!

5. HORSE RACING: Scandal engulfs Triple Crown winner Justify: New York Times reported that 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test one month before the '18 Kentucky Derby, and that the California Horse Racing Board decided to dismiss the case after the colt went on to win the Triple Crown. Shame, shame. Giant asterisk for the record book please.

6. BASEBALL: Going, going ... MLB sets all-time home run record: Baseball broke its all-time home run record with two weeks to spare when the 6,106th was hit this week. Oh, but the ball isn't joined. No way! 

7. PANTHERS: Cats, full of hope, open NHL training camp: The non-superstitious Florida Panthers and new coach Joel Quenneville open training camp on Friday the 13th, working toward the first of eight preseason games this Monday at Nashville. Playoffs or bust, Cats. Excuses all gone.

8. MARLINS: Fish hurtling toward most-losses mark as season wanes: Miami's club-record 108 losses set in 1998 is in play as Marlins play out the string. Currently in midst of a West Coast swing, Miami's final homestand in Sept. 20-22 before ending (mercifully) with seven straight on road.

9. HEAT: Miami announces training camp dates: The new Jimmy Butler-led Heat announced they'd hold preseason training camp Oct. 1-5 at Keiser University in West Palm Beach, after media day Sept. 30. The first of five Heat preseason games is scheduled Oct. 8 vs. San Antonio.

10. SERENA WILLIAMS: She parties after U.S. Open finals loss: Serena rented out a New York Mexican restaurant and partied with friends 'til the wee hours after losing the U.S. Open final to again be denied a record-tying 24th major. Why do I have the feeling I want her to get that record more than she does? 

Missing the HB10 cut: Antonio Brown, just on general principle ..... Sentences I Never Imagined Writing, one in a series: "LeBron James denied trademark application for phrase 'Taco Tuesday' ..... Hated to see Christian Yelich lost injured for rest of season, and in Miami no less ..... Chess World Cup underway in Russia, in case watching paint dry has proved too exciting for you ..... World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships have begun in Azerbaijan. That's like regular gymnastics, only more ridiculous ..... Update: Countdown now 2,471 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 02, 2019

Dolphins trade Tunsil in blockbuster deal. My latest column; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No. 1 and what else lands where, NFL picks return this week ("Aawwk!") & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2. Welcome, September, month of football, month of autumn. Thanks for hopefully sparing South Florida of Dorian's full wrath. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Flores' tough spot with Tunsil, Clowney trade talks, Luck's shocking retirement, Dolphins/Canes preview-section columns & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Picks"Aaawwwk!" NFL picks return this week!: Our 29th season -- hard to believe -- of NFL predictions returns this week. A Miami Herald fixture since 1991, our picks appear in print every Friday and online Thursday afternoons. Our Thursday night pick appears Thursday in print and online Wednesday. We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the betting line. Can we slay the evil point spread again this season? Come along for the ride starting this week!

THE TUNSIL TRADE: MY COLUMN: Losing Laremy Tunsil really hurts, but getting two first-round pick and second was too much to turn down. Please visit Trading Tunsil Hurts,But Dolphins Won This Deal.

Our Dolphins and Hurricanes preview-section columns: For our 2019 NFL Team Rankings: Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land. And mining UM history for perspective on a bold decision: Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years.

Previous most recent other columns: Tunsil/Clowney Trade Would Be Powderkeg for Dolphins, Flores / Clowney Would Be Missing Piece in Dolphins' Emerging Plan / and Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football. Also: Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Tunsil trade, QB decision and a season opener -- oh my!Can't say it's been dull in Finsville. Miami wrapped up a 3-1 preseason by (predictably and unfortunately) naming Ryan Fitzpatrick as starting quarterback, and then Saturday traded tackle Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to Houston for two first-round picks and a second. (My column on that trade here). Club also released long snapper John Denney, a Fin since 2005. Meantime, oh yeah, the regular season starts this coming Sunday for new coach Brian Flores as the Baltimore Ravens fly into Hard Rock.

2. HURRICANES: UM out to shake Gators loss, preps for Heels in ACC opener: Canes are on the road at North Carolina in five days in a game compelling because it is UM's ACC opener and because, with Miami's opening loss to Florida, an 0-2 start would make UM's season feel derailed right out the gate. It shouldn't be a problem, folks. Miami crushed UNC last season 47-10 and the Heels seem down again. Time for coach Manny Diaz and QB Jarren Williams to bag their first career wins -- or y'all might as well not even bother coming back!

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No big surprises in Week 0/1 so far: Top 25 teams are 23-1 thus far in opening week of college football's 150th season, with Notre Dame playing tonight. And the only ranked-team loss, by No. 11 Oregon, came to another ranked team. What, you wanted Alabama and Clemson to suffer stunning defeats? Dream on, Bubba.

4. NFL: Three days until kickoff of King Sport's regular season!: As the league continues to reel from the aftershock of the sudden retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck, life goes on. The NFL's 100th season kicks off this Thursday night with Chicago hosting Green Bay. As for which two teams will cap the season in the Super Bowl Miami in hosting, let's just say if the Dolphins are one of those teams it would be a bigger stunner than Luck quitting. How about by default we just root as always for ABTP? (Anybody But The Patriots).

5. STATE COLLEGES (NON-UM): 'Noles, FIU, FAU all lose openers: The state's seven FBS (nee Division 1) teams limped to a combined 2-5 start in their openers, including Florida State losing at home to Boise State 36-31 and losses by both FIU (to Tulane) and FAU (at No. 5 Ohio State). No. 17 UCF won but South Florida fell hard. Seemed like our state mostly dodged a bullet with Hurricane Dorian, but five of seven teams didn't fare as well.

6. BASKETBALL: U.S. wins debut in FIBA World Cup: The two-week, 32-nation FIBA men's World Cup is underway in China, with the favored Team USA playing its first game Sunday and comfortably handling the Czech Republic, 88=67, led by Donovan Mitchell's 16 points. The U.S. remains the betting fave despite a tuneup loss to Australia last week, the first time in 13 years a U.S. team that included NBA players had lost in international play. (Then again, this is a superstar-less American roster whose biggest name probably is Kemba Walker, so...).

7. TENNIS: Djokovic, Osaka out in U.S Open at major's midpoint: No major upsets had happened yet in the in the U.S. Open -- but that was before No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic dropped the first two sets to Stan Wawrinka on Sunday then retired with a shoulder ailment, and No. 1 women's seed Naomi Osaka lost today/Monday. But Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are still alive on the men's side, while women's play finds betting favorite Serena Williams still gunning for the title. A triumph by Serena would be a record-tying 24th major for her. Go Williams, go! 

8. MARLINS: It's official. Jeter calls season "frustrating": You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, and you don't need Derek Jeter to tell you this has been "a frustrating year." Miami, in the midst of a six-game road trip, is on a 105-loss pace entering Sunday and threatening the franchise high of 108 losses set in 1998. Six of MLB's top 100 prospects give the Marlins hope, but when will it begin to show? Meantime, thank god for the Tigers and Orioles, who make even the Fish look good. Well, less awful.

9. FANTASY: Gentleman (and ladies), start your drafts!: This was the biggest weekend for NFL fantasy drafts, because the closer they are to the start of the regular season, the better. You want proof? Talk to anybody whose draft was two weeks ago and who was fist-pumping with happiness to have drafted Andrew Luck.  

10. PANTHERS: Ready or not, hockey is almost back: It's getting close, puckheads. Florida Panthers will stage a two-day rookie camp Sept. 10-11, then open full training camp Sept. 13. With new star coach Joel Quenneville and new star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, hopes are high. Which means a franchise that has let its fans down way too often had better live up this time.

Missing the HB10 cut: Baseball can't even get its playoff chase right. As season wanes, only one of six divisions has a real battle for first place (Cardinals-Cubs), and the biggest wild-card question is whether the Rays will make it. Yawn ..... Countdown: No dates set yet, but Jimmy Butler and the retooled Miami Heat will open training camp in late September ..... R.I.P. Jim Langer, 71, Dolphins glory-days center ..... Update: Countdown now 2,485 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 26, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss to Florida (with column); latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), plus why Rosen should start at QB for Dolphins, Fitzpatrick vs. Rosen poll result & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 25. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, case for Rosen as Dolphins' starting QB & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our column on last night's Canes loss to Gators: Please visit Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 64.1%: Results are certified for the opening game of the 11th 1aa1csmseason of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 64.1 percent overall approval (the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday night's season-opening 24-20 loss to No. 8 Florida in Orlando. That's a fairly high number following a loss. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. You may vote here in the blog, elsewhere online here, and also at Twitter.com/gregcote (where the approval was 44%). Online voting will determine the weekly verdict, which will be announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

Next poll: Sept. 7 following game at North Carolina.

MiaflaG1: HURRICANES VS. NO. 8 FLORIDA (IN ORLANDO): DIAZ / WILLIAMS ERA OPENS AS BIG 'DOGS: What a stage for Canes rookie head coach Manny Diaz and first-time starting quarterback Jarren Williams to introduce themselves nationally to college football! Miami and old rival Florida own the nation's attention as the sport's 150th season opens with this game, alone, tonight at 7 on ESPN at the old Citrus Bowl. The erstwhile yearly state rivals haven't met since 2013, and the reunion finds the No. 8-ranked Gators big 7-point favorites coming off a 10-3 season capped by a 41-15 bowl thrashing of Michigan. Miami by contrast limped to the finish at 7-6 after a 35-3 bowl loss to Wisconsin, yet expectations are high enough that UM debuts just outside the Top 25 (29th) in the preseason Associated Press poll. This game for me distills to which offense will be better able to find an answer because this matchup figures to be dominated by two strong defenses. Miami's led by linebacker Shaq Quarterman and UF's led by cornerback C.J. Henderson will be very tough to move and score on. The quarterback position alone gives Florida an edge, with Feleipe Franks' experience in contrast to Williams, whose only prior college action was three pass attempts in garbage time vs. Savannah State last year. Diaz surprised most by anointing Williams for the job over returning incumbent N'Kosi Perry and highly touted Ohio State transfer Tate Martell. Tonight we begin to see if Diaz made the right call. Cote's pick: Florida 20, Hurricanes 16.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Miami falls to Gators in season opener: Miami led three times Saturday night in Orlando but fell 24-20 to No. 8-ranked Florida to kick off college football's 150th season and the Manny Diaz era at The U. What if I'd have told you before the game that the Canes would get a really good performance from new QB Jarren Williams and four takeaways from the defense? That's a win, right? Both happened. No win. But a "right direction" feeling moving forward, am I right?

2. NFL: Stunner! Colts QB Luck retires from NFL: Indianapolis and the NFL reel with the news Saturday night that star quarterback Andrew Luck had abruptly and immediately retired from football three weeks shy of his 30th birthday, citing constant shoulder and other injuries. Jacoby Brissett is now the Indy starter. That sound you hear is the Colts falling from top-tier AFC contender to conference also-ran. 

3. DOLPHINS: Three fake games in, Fins' QB battle still undecided: Fins now 2-1 this preseason after beating Jacksonville here Thursday, but nobody cares. Fake games. What does matter is the decision at quarterback, but coach Brian Flores keeps not making it. He's still weighing Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Josh Rosen entering this Thursday's fake finale in New Orleans. Dear Brian: You're trying to find this team's future, remember? Rosen, please!

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Can anyone bust up the Clemson-'Bama stranglehold?: Canes and one other game snuck in early, but for everyone else the start of college football's 150th season is on deck this week. Highlights: Thursday, No. 1 Clemson whips whomever it's playing and Butch Davis' FIU visits Tulane. Saturday, No. 2 Alabama crushes somebody, Florida State hosts Boise State, and Lane Kiffin leads FAU to slaughter at No. 5 Ohio State.

5. BASKETBALL: U.S. shaky with men's FIBA World Cup on deck: The major 32-nation international hoops event begins this coming Saturday and runs though Sept. 15 in China, with Team USA on shaky ground after a tuneup loss to Australia -- the first time in 13 years an American team with NBA players has lost. Team USA is the favorite but no cinch for gold. Most top NBA stars said nah -- Kemba Walker is the biggest-name U.S. player -- so let's see what Gregg Popovich can do with this B-team roster.

6. TENNIS: Serena, Djokovic favored as U.S. Open begins: Year's fourth and final Grand Slam event begins today/Monday and runs through Sept. 9 in New York, with Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic the betting favorites -- although Serena is only the No. 8 seed. Williams tries again for what would be a record-tying 24th career major, but to do it she must first survive a tough first-round draw in unseeded Maria Sharapova in what, oddly, will be these old rivals' first-ever U.S. Open  meeting.

7. MARLINS: Fish playing out the string as homestand continues: Fish are an NL-worst 47-82 after 0-6 road swing and now 2-1 into a seven-game homestand vs. Phillies and now Reds. The 100-Loss Watch now projects to 59-103. The question: When will the Marlins' bright future get here ... and will Don Mattingly still be around to manage it?

8. GOLF: Mclroy wins season ending Tour Championship: Lightning injured six fans (none seriously) and delayed the Tour Championship in Atlanta, the PGA Tour's season-ending event open only to the year's top 30 money winners. But eventually Rory McIlroy avoided rivals and lightning sufficient to win.

9. YOUTH BASEBALL: U.S. reigns in Little League World Series: Curacao upset powerhouse Japan on Saturday for the international crown and River Ridge, La. beat Wailuku, Hawaii for the U.S. title in the Little League Word Series. Sunday, the U.S. team bopped Curacao 8-0 for the grand title. Now all of those 12-year-old boys can go from being on national TV to being nervous about meeting girls again.

10. SPRING FOOTBALL: XFL reveals team names, logos: Vince McMahon's new eight-team XFL, set to begin play in February 2020, revealed its team names and logos (including the Tampa Bay Vipers). If the history of previous pro spring league attempts is any indication, we can expect the "XFL is folding" announcement any time around midseason 2021.

Missing the HB10 cut: Show of hands. Who drafted Andrew Luck on their fantasy team Saturday? ..... U.S. Patent Office denied Tom Brady's trademark request for "Tom Terrific". About damned time Brady lost at something ..... Orioles set all-time record with a 259th home run allowed. Does the pitching coach walk to the mound in a false nose and glasses? ..... Dolphins coach Brian Flores played eight straight Jay-Z songs at practice a day after receiver Kenny Stills criticized Jay-Z's alliance with the NFL. To "challenge" Stills, said Flores. Weird ..... Dwight Howard to the Lakers. Hahahahaha! ..... Larry Bird complained after an artist painted a mural that depicted him with tattoos. A little too much free time there, Lar? ..... Been a minute Conor McGregor did anything embarrassing. Somebody check, make sure he's OK ..... Update: Countdown now 2,492 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

RosenZERO DOUBT NOW. ROSEN MUST START FOR DOLPHINS! LATEST COLUMN: Me, from the stadium, off last night's Dolphins win over Jacksonville in Fake Game 3: The Miami Dolphins seem prepared to take a big loss even before the NFL regular season begins. Is this a thing that might actually happen? This is the feeling, and we hope we are wrong. Because it would be much easier to say "oops" on what we think and fear might happen than to try to explain why on earth a team in the midst of a rebuild might start bearded fossil Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback at the direct expense of fully finding out what it has in young Josh Rosen. Fins coach Brian Flores acknowledged his Fitzpatrick-leaning after Thursday night’s 22-7 home exhibition win over Jacksonville, saying of Rosen’s performance: "He played well. That makes the decision harder." OK, stop right there. The decision should not be hard. The answer is Rosen (pictured), and it didn't take his leading that 99-yard scoring drive to know that. To read my full column, kindly visit Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins.

Previous most recent other columns: Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

POLL RESULT: ROSEN CLOBBERS FITZPATRICK IN HERALD TWITTER POLL: We posted a Fitzpatrick-or-Rosen poll on our Twitter feed, it drew 2,380 votes in one day and Rosen beat Fitzpatrick in a landslide with 76 percent of the vote at Twitter.com/gregcote.

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 22, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No. 1 this week and what else landed where; plus Dolphins' QB choice (latest column), note to blog readers & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, AUGUST 22. Happy birthday to my wife! The greatest person I know, that's all. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Behind Canes' bold gamble on Jarren Williams, fallout from Ross' fundraiser for Trump, latest Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Note to readers: Blog readers, apologies that I haven't updated here lately. Been busy with special football section stuff. Will properly attend the blog again soon. Stay tuned.

JrosenNEWEST COLUMN: DON'T OVERTHINK IT, DOLPHINS. START ROSEN: The Miami Dolphins and new coach Brian Flores are trying to do the right thing with the most important position. All indications through the first half of this NFL preseason suggest that. Josh Rosen is getting the vast majority of snaps at quarterback. The stage is his to prove he deserves to start, or that he does not. He does. He has shown enough. Flores’ decision on a starter is unmade, or at least unannounced, but it should be clear to him by now. On merit and for other reasons perhaps even more important, Rosen should be given the keys to this season, and that should be unequivocal. The preceding begins my latest column. To read it in full, kindly visit Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen.

Previous most recent other columns: Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump FundraiserLe Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Opening Week as Canes football, QB Williams take on Gators!: Countdown is now 2 days until Hurricanes face No. 8 Florida in Orlando Saturday night in the very first game of college football's 150th season. Game marks opening of the Manny Diaz era and first career start for new quarterback Jarren Williams, who seemed out of the hunt this spring but ended up beating Tate Martell and N'Kosi Perry for the job. That was the easy part. Now he must prove UM made the right choice.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins still haven't named who least-bad starting QB will be: Miami fell in Tampa 16-14 Friday night after beating Atlanta 34-27 to open the preseason, with Fake Game 3 on deck tonight/Thursday vs. Jacksonville. A starting quarterback still hasn't been named between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. Maybe Fins will take a page from the Canes, look behind door No. 3 and surprise us with Jake Rudock?

3. INTER MIAMI: Team Beckham reported close to signing coach, first star player: Inter Miami, beginning play in MLS next spring, already has signed a trio of 19-year-olds who may be a part of the club's future. Now the big news is looming for Team Beckham. International reports are that Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani is prepared to join Miami next summer when his contract in France ends. And reports out of Italy are that former AC Milan coach Gennaro "Rino" Gattuso may be a leading candidate to be Miami's inaugural coach. Futbol!

4. MARLINS: Can this season end quicker, please?: Fish have lost five straight games, 15 of their past 18 and are 45-80 as six-game road trip ends tonight before start of a seven-game homestand. The 100-Loss Watch finds team's current pace still at 58-104. Meantime the 2020 schedule is out and next season will open with a seven-game homestand starting March 26 vs. Phillies. Just say that '20 had better be better than what we're slogging through right now.

5. HEAT: Udonis returns, 2019-20 schedule is set: Udonis Haslem announced he'll be back for a 17th Heat season, good news for Heat fans already suffering withdrawal symptoms from no Dwyane Wade. Meanwhile NBA revealed its 2019-20 schedule and the now Jimmy Butler-led Heat will open Oct. 23 at home vs. Memphis. Though Butler and a weakened East make Miami a likely playoff team, Heat will have only a modest six nationally televised games on ESPN or TNT.

6. PANTHERS: Cats to retire Luongo's jersey number: Fittingly and not unexpectedly, Florida announced goaltender Roberto Luongo's No. 1 would become the first retired number in franchise history in a ceremony prior to the March 7 home game vs. Montreal. Luongo, 40, retired June 26. The Cats and new coach Joel Quenneville open the new NHL season Oct. 3.

7. GYMNASTICS: Queen Simone does it again: Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, 22, reaffirmed her place as the world’s undisputed No. 1 gymnast in the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City -- winning a sixth national gymnastics title with an historic double-double dismount on the uneven bars and then an astounding triple-double during her floor routine.

8. JAY-Z: Rapper and NFL in controversial partnership: Jay-Z's Roc Nation partnered up with the NFL to lead its entertainment and social justice platforms, with Jay-Z immediately called a sellout. Might have helped if Colin Kaepernick had been made part of the marriage. But he wasn't.

9. SOCCER: No Messi is no problem as Miami  turns out anyway: Barcelona beat Napoli 2-1 at Hard Rock Stadium earlier this month in a match that drew 57,062 despite Barca star Lionel Messi missing the trip with (supposedly) a calf injury. Miami's continuing embrace of soccer has to have David Beckham and Jorge Mas smiling as they prepare for Inter Miami's first MLS season next spring. 

10. YOUTH BASEBALL: Little League World Series underway: The annually televised LLWS from Williamsport, Pa. began on Friday and runs through Aug. 25. Don't care who wins as long as it isn't the Rhode Island team accused of cheating by stealing signs to win its New England regional. Their coach should be tarred and feathered and then deported -- while still covered in tar and feathers -- to Tristan da Cunha, the world's most remote inhabited island. Update: Rhode Island got eliminated with two straight, the first by a no-hitter. Justice! Karma!

Missing the HB10 cut: Conor McGregor punched an old man in a Dublin bar in an argument over whisky. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Hot Button Top 10 returns after missing the past two Sundays on holiday. Miss us? Lie and say you did! ..... Locals sports radio giants 560 and 790 were put in a blender and mixed up by the company that owns both. In other news, "560 The Joe" may be the worst radio station name in history ..... English Premier League season is underway with U.S. star Christian Pulisic now with Chelsea. I follow Everton and Watford, proving beyond doubt I am not a frontrunner ..... U.S. Open tennis begins in eight days. Can Serena Williams finally tie the ll-time majors record? ..... The men's FIBA Basketball World Cup begins Aug. 31 in China. Will the last player to drop off the U.S. team please turn out he light? ..... Antonio Brown found a helmet he's OK with. Thanks God! We can all rest easy again! ..... Switzerland just hosted the men's Fistball World Championships. Fistball is like volleyball, only with a much dumber name ..... Six players were ejected from a WNBA game for throwing punches, proving that women occasionally can be every bit as dumb as men ..... The World Orienteering Championships end today in Norway. Are eliminated teams said to be dis-oriented? ..... The Big3 has-beens basketball league came through Miami and nobody cared ..... Fantasy football drafts, near. Greg's Lobos, girding ..... Update: Countdown now 2,499 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 29, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Dolphins and Canes' camp openings battle for No. 1 and see what else falls where; plus thank you Fort Myers, our latest columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 29. Thank you, Fort Myers! To the minor-league Miracle ballclub and to all of the fans who turned out Saturday night for Greg Cote Day. We were truly humbled to be honored at such a truly ridiculous event. Loads o' fun! Le Batard would have shown up, but his private jet was in the shop. 2) It's always the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Flores' Dolphins open camp, countdown to Canes-Gators, Greg Cote Day in Fort Myers, Le Batard back on ESPN air, NFL lenience for Tyreek Hill, The List, Soup of the Day & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our previous week's work: Latest columns: How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Le Batard Headed Back On The Air / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / and In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence.

Other most recent columns: Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / and Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins training camp underway, QB battle on, preseason looms: It's back, folks. Football. King Sport! The Dolphins and new coach Brian Flores on Thursday staged the first of 10 preseason practices and one scrimmage (this Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium) prior to their Aug. 8 exhibition opener vs. the Atlanta Falcons. Meanwhile the Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Josh Rosen quarterback battle heats up as Miami tries to show indications it won't be as lousy as most people seem to think. 

2. HURRICANES: UM preseason practice begins with opener in less than a month: Canes and new boss-coach Manny Diaz held their first preseason practice Friday night indoors as the bell rang for real on the N'Kosi Perry-Tate Martell battle to start at quarterback. And flying fast into view: The Aug. 24 season opener vs. the Florida Gators in Orlando. UF was a fat 7 1/2-point favorite last I looked. Bet you that line about cuts in half as kickoff draws nearer.

3. INTER MIAMI: Teams Beckham reveals first player signing: Inter Miami made official Friday what had been revealed in the Argentine press four days earlier: Miami's first player signing is 19-year-old winger Matias Pellegrini, who will continue to play for the Argentine club Estudiantes until joining Inter Miami for the club's inaugural 2020 MLS season. Pellegrini has been a callup for Argentina's U20 national team. David Beckham's team will have splashier signings (we hope), but this is a promising start.

4. SOCCER: Barcelona confirms Messi for Miami game: Barcelona confirmed that Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and other stars would make the trip to Miami for the Aug. 7 La Liga Serie A Cup match vs. Napoli at Hard Rock Stadium. Show Messi the love, South Florida, and maybe he'll give Inter Miami a thought in a few years.

5. MARLINS: Gallen wins, hot-ish Fish return home: Promising rookie Zac Gallen earned his first career win as Miami won its last two road games at the White Sox before heading home, with Fish now having won four of past five games in the midst of a seven-game homestand vs. Arizona and Minnesota continuing tonight. Season has been full of bright spots like Gallen, making the hurtling toward 100 losses a tad easier to take.

6. CYCLING: French not smiling as Tour de France concludes: Cycling's premier annual race wrapped up Sunday, but someone other than Julian Alaphilippe would win. Alaphilippe, who led for much of the grueling three-week test, was trying to be the first Frenchman to win the Tour de France since 1985. Instead, Egan Bernal became the first Colombian to win and, at 22, the youngest since World War II.

7. MLB: Baseball's trade deadline looms: Deals must be struck by Wednesday, July 31 as teams in the playoff chase look to buy and bolster and teams going nowhere look to divest. Others (likely including Miami) will do neither and stand pat. Fish dealt closer Sergio Romo to Twins for 1B prospect Lewin Diaz, but no major deals are expected. The baseball trade I'd like to see? Game trades all the homers and strikeouts for good old-fashioned contact hitting.

8. PRO WRESTLING: WWE SmackDown visits Miami: The clowns of the ring performed a B-list show at the Heat arena this past week, with Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler the championship match. I'd look up who won, but I don't care and what does it really matter?

9. SWIMMING: World Aquatic Championships wrapping up: The WACs being held in South Korea end Sunday. The Americans are doing slightly better this year than in 2015, but still not that great, and and that pretty much exhausts by knowledge of U.S. swimming post-Michael Phelps and in a non-Olympic year. Katie Ledecky!    

10. BASKETBALL, SORT OF: BIG3 league coming to Miami: The Big3 basketball league founded by rapper Ice Cube, and featuring retired NBA players, plays its next-to-last regular season week of 3-on-3 action in Miami with an Aug. 10 tripleheader at the Heat arena. If you've long to see guys who once were, like Joe Johnson and the ghost of Amar'e Stoudemire, have at it!

Missing the HB10 cut: It was Greg Cote Day on Saturday night in Fort Myers at a minor-league baseball game. And, yes, it was every bit as ridiculous as that sounds ..... Boxers are dying from ring injuries. Can somebody please do something about that? Thank you ..... Dan Le Batard survived his ESPN brouhaha. Which would-a made the HB10, except you knew he would ..... The Monster Jam trucks event, astonishingly still a thing in 2019, is coming to the Panthers' Sunrise arena Aug. 10-11 ..... The World Korfball Championships begin this week in South Africa. Korfball is two teams of eight (four men, four women) trying to throw a ball  into a netless basket. In other words, its coed basketball, but with a ridiculous name ..... U.S. Open tennis begins Aug. 26. Another chance for Serena Williams to try -- again -- to tie the all-time majors records ..... Golf's Senior Open ends Sunday. Sorry, but can't watch that sport without remembering how good those guys used to be, and feeling sad ..... Little League World Series is close. My favorite part is always the one 12-year-old who looks like he shaves and drove to the park ..... Update: Countdown now 2,520 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be  A Win / If You Don't Like Rapinoe, USWNT -- That's On You, Not Them / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / U.S. Women Reach World Cup Final -- Not With Arrogance, But Excellence / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / Kawhi to Lakers Would Mean More Rings, Last Laugh For LeBron / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 22, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 this week and what else falls where; plus our latest columns, Greg Cote Day countdown, 'Redesigning Women' video & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 22. It's always the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Le Batard rebukes Trump and ESPN, 4 reasons Heat has had winning offseason, people keep saying the Dolphins are awful, why 2019 may be best sports year ever, Greg Cote Day countdown, Back In My Day video, The List & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Gcday 5Greg Cote Day countdown: 5 days: We began a 10-day countdown to Greg Cote Day on Saturday, July 27 at Hammond Stadium, home of the minor-league Fort Myers Miracle, and it's now five days to go. (Always said that for me to have a Greg Cote Day would take a Miracle, so I was right). I'll be meeting fans, throwing out the first pitch, singing the national anthem and playing left field. All but one of those four things is actually true. Will I see you there? It's just a couple of hours west of South Florida. Tickets are going fast. Well, I don't really know if they are or not. But they might be! In any case click HERE for the link to buy yours.

Le Batard, Heat, Dolphins and 2019: My most recent columns: Check out my past week's work: Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / and Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Football. Football. FOOTBALL!! Training camp is here: King Sport returns! Preseason training camp is on deck for the Fins as rookies reported to the Davie training facility Sunday, veterans report on Wednesday, and the first full-squad practice is Thursday. The Dolphins are supposed to be lousy this season. All of the media "experts" say so. No matter. In July, Miami is tied for the best record in the NFL at 0-0.

2. GOLF: Lowry wins hometown British Open: Northern Ireland's little known Shane Lowry -- closer to journeyman than star, at least before this week -- carried a big 4-shot lead into Sunday's final round of the British Open being held in his home country for the first time since 1951. He won going away, by six. Much of the air went out of the major, for me, when both native son Rory McIlroy (the betting favorite) and Tiger Woods failed to make the cut. But Lowry winning for his country was sweet consolation.

3. BASEBALL: Cooperstown welcomes 6 new inductees: The Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday welcomed its six latest inductees: Closers Mariano Rivera and Lee Smith; designated hitters Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines; and starters Mike Mussina and the late Roy Halladay. Rivera is a no-brainer, of course. Baines? He was headed to the Hall of Pretty Good and somehow got smuggled into Cooperstown.

4. MARLINS: Fish can't seem to shake 100-loss pace: Brian Anderson's double gave Miami its first walkoff win of the season to end a 3-3 homestand, but Marlins have started 0-3 on a six-game road swing. Fish were swept by Dodgers Sunday and now play three at White Sox before heading home. Current pace: 60-102.

5. HEAT: Might Beal give Miami one last summer splash?: No Russell Westbrook? No problem. Pat Riley worked some magic in a four-team trade to get Jimmy Butler, and might not be done yet as speculation swirls that Riles may be seeking a trade with Washington to acquire rising star Bradley Beal (and if, necessary, injured John Wall as a package deal). Give the Heat this. Miami has been a player in what was supposed to be a dead summer for the club.

6. HURRICANES: Diaz leads UM at ACC Media Days: Coach Manny Diaz, linebacker Shaq Quarterman and receiver K.J. Osborn repped The U at ACC Media Days. They'd have brought a starting quarterback but they don't have one yet. Clemson rules the ACC, but Canes are seen as a strong contender to win the Coastal Division.

7. DAN LE BATARD: Radio hosts blasts Trump, ESPN: Le Batard went on an impassioned four-minute rant against those "send her back" chants at a Trump rally, calling them "un-American," and calling "cowardly" his own network's policy against political talk on the air. The equation: Dan's principles > threat of suspension. 

8. SOCCER: International Champions Cup underway: The creation of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is in midst of seventh edition of its tournament, its 12 teams including giants like Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Real Madrid. No matches in Miami this time, alas. However, Hard Rock Stadium has a Barcelona-Napoli La Liga match coming up August 7. You better be here, Messi!  

9. BOXING: Ageless Pacquiao defies time, wins again: Filipino hero Manny Pacquiao, 40, handed unbeaten Keith Thurman his first career loss in a split decision Saturday night in Vegas to claim the WBA welterweight title. The downside: Could create momentum for yet another Pacquiao-Mayweather bout.

10. CYCLING: Will French drought finally end in Tour de France?: Two-thirds through cycling's biggest race, it is beginning to look like Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe could be the man to finally end France's 34-year drought of no homegrown. Thus exhausts all of my knowledge on the subject. Quick aside: Why do regular people riding bikes dress like they're in the Tour de France? Just so you know, motorists are making fun of you.

Missing the HB10 cut: Sierra Canyon High School outside of L.A. just added a 5-star transfer recruit to a basketball roster already including  the teenage sons of Dwyane Wade (Zaire) and LeBron James (Bronny). Can we just cancel the season and hand them the trophy, please? ..... Hossein Ensan, a 55-year-old German, beat 8,568 other competitors to win the $10 million first-place prize in the 2019 World Series of Poker main event in Vegas. Mamas, put a deck of cards in Junior's crib. No chips, though. Choking hazard! ..... The eight-team 2019 season of World TeamTennis is underway, for those of you who, like me, were under the assumption the WTT had stopped being a thing, like, 30 years ago ..... All of the top U.S. World Cup stars are back with their club teams in the National Women's Soccer League. Another phrase for this is, "Falling off the face of the Earth" ..... MLB trade deadline is July 31. Marlins need bats. But not as much as they to not trade top prospects ..... The FINA World Aquatics Championships are underway in South Korea. I'll see you there! ..... The Rugby Championship is underway to determine best team in Southern Hemisphere. New Zealand and Australia are always up there ..... BIG3 basketball continues, and America continue to not care ..... That reminds me. The WNBA All-Star Game is coming up ..... Update: Countdown now 2,527 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

MEET THE HIGHWOMEN: This is the country supergroup fronted by Maren Morris and Brandi Carlile, and I love everything I've heard from them so far, including this first single, "Redesigning Women," from their forthcoming debut album. Love the music, the smart lyrics, but as much as that I love the very idea of a female group trying to break the old boys' club and carve a meaningful inroad into male-clogged country radio. More power to them. Give a listen:

Select other recent columns: On Brink Of History At Wimbledon, Serena Is Denied Again / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be  A Win / If You Don't Like Rapinoe, USWNT -- That's On You, Not Them / Heat's Run At Westbrook Is Riley's All-Out Gamble To Win Now / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / U.S. Women Reach World Cup Final -- Not With Arrogance, But Excellence / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / Kawhi to Lakers Would Mean More Rings, Last Laugh For LeBron / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 /  Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 08, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): U.S. women, Kawhi, All-Star Break, Loco for Coco ... see who's No. 1 and what else lands where this week; plus USWNT wins World Cup. My new column & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 8. Soccer Sunday in America! "Let's gooooo States!" 2) Always football season around here, so always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life, at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): U.S. beats England and Morgan sips tea, sorry Lebron no Kawhi, Riley and Tallon's big summer, happy Fourth with Seeger video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

U.S. wins Women's World Cup! New column: The reigning queens of soccer over came everything and everybody to keep the dynasty going and win a fourth World Cup and second straight today in France. My new column: Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again.

UsfansFive of our other most recent: U.S. Women Reach World Cup Final -- Not With Arrogance, But Excellence. Also: Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses LeftKawhi to Lakers Would Mean More Rings, Last Laugh For LeBron and It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field.

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

Hotbutton1. SOCCER: U.S. women top Netherlands for World Cup crown!: The favored American women chased and caught a fourth U.S. World Cup championship and second straight on Sunday in beating the Netherlands 2-1 Sunday in France. "Let's gooooo States!" By the way, "nether" is an adjective meaning "lower in position." As in nether world, or nether regions. I'd go back to Holland if I were them. England and Sweden met Saturday in The World's Saddest Game, a 2-1 consolation win by the Swedes for third place.

2. NBA: Clippers steal Kawhi from LeBron: Waiting for Godot was a 1953 Samuel Beckett play in which two men wait for the arrival of someone who never shows. Waiting for Kawhi was a 2019 drama in which three basketball teams, the Lakers, Raptors and Clippers, waited for someone who would arrive for only one of them. Most media thought LeBron James' Lakers would get him. ESPN's Jalen Rose called it "99 percent" he'd stay in Toronto. Wrong. Wrong. Leonard chose Clippers, who also traded for Paul George. Clippers and the LeBron/Anthony Davis Lakers are now 1-2 in betting odds for '20 title. And the NBA just got interesting ... well, in L.A., at least.

3. MLB: Home Run Derby, All-Star Game on deck: Many now see the Home Run Derby as the star of the All-Star Break, and it's tonight/Monday in Cleveland, with Christian Yelich, Pete Alonso and Vlad Guerrero Jr. 1-2-3 as betting favorites. Tuesday night is the All-Star Game itself and, well, who cares, really. Marlins fans get to see pitcher Sandy Alcantara (if he gets in), but also have to endure seeing Yelich and J.T. Realmuto in somebody else's uniform.

4. TENNIS: Loco for Coco! was the story of Wimbledon so far: Halfway through the fortnight in London, it was 15-year-old Cori (Coco) Gauff of Delray Beach who was the talk of the tournament. Little-known and ranked 319th in the world, Coco won three straight matches (starting with Venus Williams) and reached a fourth-round match today/Monday vs. No. 7-ranked Simona Halep before finally losing, 6-3, 6-2. Even though the dream ended, what a magical run for Kid Coco!

5. SOCCER: U.S. men fall to Mexico in Gold Cup final: Regional men's rivals U.S. and Mexico played Sunday night for the CONCACAF Gold Cup title at Soldier Field in Chicago, and the Americans fell, 1-0, failing to generate the same big win the U.S. had earlier in the day. The American men and Mexico are intense adversaries who had been even at 2-2 with one draw in their previous five meetings. Mejico was a slight betting favorite last night and showed why. 

6. DOLPHINS: Tragic accident for Dolphins player from UM: Dolphins defensive tackle Kendrick Norton, a former Hurricane, had his left arm amputated due to injuries suffered early Thursday morning in a career-ending -- but thankfully, they say, not life-ending -- auto accident. Our best wishes for his fullest possible recovery.

7. HEAT: Miami kiddies ballin' in summer play: Heat went 3-0 in the tournament in Sacramento and is now 2-0 in the full Las Vegas Summer League after Sunday's win over the Jazz. Top draft pick Tyler Herro has mostly impressed, averaging 19 points in the five games so far. This is just gravy, though. Far as I'm concerned, Heat already won the summer by trading for Jimmy Butler and getting rid of Hassan Whiteside.

8. MARLINS: Fish wrap first half of season today: Fish are 33-55 (season pace: 61-101) entering entering the All-Star Break, with pitcher Sandy Alcantara repping the Marlins.  Miami resumes play Friday at home vs. Mets. Marlins have been as bad as we all figured, but with young talent beginning to shine and show signs of a brighter future. In fact three Fish prospects were in last night's Futures game: 2B Isan Diaz, OF Monte Harrison and P Sixto Sanchez. 

9. SOCCER: Brazil beats Peru for Copa America crown: Who'd be the kings of South America? Brazil is a big betting pick over surprise-finalist Peru in Sunday's Copa America title match in Rio de Janeiro, and rolled to a 3-1 win. A comfortable win but not nearly as lopsided as their group-stage meeting, when Peru got crushed 5-nil in a Brazilian samba.

10. CYCLING: Tour de France is underway: The biggest race in cycling has begun and betting favorites to win at the July 28th finish are Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas and Jakob Fuglsang. Fast fact: I'd never heard of any of them. I'm more interested in who wins the Lance Armstrong (Urine) Cup given annually to the first cyclist caught doping.

Missing the HB10 cut: President Trump spoke on the Fourth of July about the U.S. Army "manning the air" during the Revolutionary War, and has been widely mocked. In Trump's defense, he was only off on the invention of air travel by 120 years ..... India and Australia looking good in the Cricket World Cup, and thus exhausts my CWC knowledge. Fast fact: A Sri Lanka-South Africa was interrupted by a swarm of bees ..... The new definition of basking: Florida Panthers president/GM Dale Tallon on a dais, flanked by Joel Quenneville and Sergei Bobrovsky ..... NBA's Vegas Summer League saw a few games postponed by that 7.1-magnitude earthquake. Come to Florida, where at least our natural disasters come with a warning ..... Update: Countdown now 2,541 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / U.S. Women's Soccer Should Be Celebrated -- No Apologies / Miami Dolphins Will Be Better Than You Think In 2019 /  Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / Reasons To Like Flores & 5 Keys To Dolphins Season / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 11, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else lands where this week; plus our newest column (Dolphins), Blake Shelton Friends and Heroes concert review & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 11. Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins boss Jeter's toughest position yet, Radio Friday, latest Back In My Day video, final-season Games Of Thrones trailer & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Miami on playoff pace now: Heat still a we-ain't-braggin' 31-35 but had won four in a row before Sunday's home loss to tough Toronto. Miami still is alone in 8th place in the East, holding the last playoff card. You know those coveted tickets you're holding to Dwyane Wade's final regular season home game? Looking now like he may have at least two more home games after that.

2. DOLPHINS: Team's makeover underway as free agency nears: Fins this week released WR Danny Amendola, DE Andre Branch and OG Ted Larsen, the three-veteran purge alone freeing up some $15 million in salary cap space with NFL free agency beginning this coming week. Don't expect the re-booting Dolphins to be big players, as evidenced by the signing of tight end Dwayne Allen. Does that mean the two TEs they drafted last year aren't very good?

3. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women disappoint in ACCs; men on deck: The 16th-ranked UM women are 24-8 after falling to No. 18 Syracuse 92-85 in opener of ACC Tournament, a one-and done that won't help Katie Meier's team in its NCAA seeding. The Canes men, after a letdown of a 13-17 regular season, open their ACC tourney Tuesday vs. Wake Forest in Charlotte. Jim Larranaga's guys would need a miracle run in ACCs for even a prayer to reach March Madness.

4. NFL: Raiders getting Antonio Brown: Brown is done griping about being a Steeler and now can begin finding ways to gripe about being a Raider after teams reached a trade agreement that will become official Wednesday. Oakland gives up only 3rd and 5th-round draft picks for Brown. Big winner? Derek Carr.

5. MARLINS: Even amid losing, Jeter says at least you'll have fun: Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, this week: "One thing you always remember is the experience you had while you were at the park. And that’s what we’re focusing on." While most teams focus on winning and the product on the field, the Fish's focus is the ballpark experience. Hmm. Marlins are 7-10 with three straight wins this spring training entering the next week. We havin' fun yet?

6. CANES BASEBALL: UM tops Georgia Tech in first ACC games: Canes retired Jim Morris' No. 3 before the Georgia Tech series that opened Miami's ACC schedule, and won Sunday to take two out of three games. Coach Gino DiMare's guys are 12-3 and may finally get some love in the new polls.

7. PANTHERS: Cats seeking another miracle on ice: After losing six in a row, erratic Cats followed a much-needed 6-2 win over Minnesota with Sunday's 6-1 rout of Detroit to go to 30-39 and move within seven points of NHL playoff pace with 13 games left. Do you believe in miracles? Big four-game road trip ahead will shape Florida's hopes. 

8. NBA: LeBron, Lakers season implode: LeBron James' first season in Los Angeles has been an unequivocal mess, and now TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy is on the air suggest the Lakers shoudl trade LeBron this summer. The bright side? The Lakers haven't been this interesting in years.

9. A-ROD: Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez trying knot: A[Rod, 43, and J-Lo, 49, announced their engagement. This will be Lopez's fourth marriage and Rodriguez's second, and each has two children from previous marriages. Hope the two can scrape together enough money for a decent wedding.

10. DONALD TRUMP: President partied with spa owner: President Trump reportedly partied on Super Bowl Sunday with a group that included the owner of the "spa" that got Patriots owner Robert Kraft busted in a police solicitation sting at a place suspected of human trafficking. Or, did that go without saying?

Missing the HB10 cut: The grueling Iditarod Sled Dog Race is underway in Alaska. Don't know who'll win, but I know who loses. The dogs ..... Had a bad week? Wasn't as bad as Real Madrid's ..... Twenty-one horses have died mysteriously at Santa Anita. Um, somebody wanna figure this out, please? ..... Fox Sports North announcer Doug McLeod was pulled from the broadcast of a boys’ state hockey tournament in Minnesota after saying one team’s fans should "get out the lynching ropes." McLeod needs a new title: Former Fox Sports north announcer ..... Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly strained his back while spending five hours minding the boiling crawfish at a Cajun party for teammates. I blame the Dodgers. His contract prohibited skydiving and motorcycle racing but said nothing of minding boiling crawfish ..... R.I.P., Dan Jenkins, sports writing titan ..... Update: Countdown now 2,659 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Goretanny WakeTANNEHILL, GORE AND WAKE ALL BACK WITH DOLPHINS? WE EXPLORE: Making two things clear: 1. Not predicting this will happen! Miami is poised to move on from all three of ts biggest-name veterans, especially if it is serious about being fine with being bad this coming season; i.e., tanking. 2. The Fins' clear priority should remain finding its quarterback of the future in the 2019 or 2020 drafts, no matter what. Having said that, if the Fins are serious about being as competitive as possible this year, as they now claim, another year of RB Frank Gore and DE Cameron Wake begins to make sense. And, with QB options diminishing for Miami in both pending free agency and the draft, one more stopgap season of Ryan Tannehill -- at a reduced price! -- begins to seem a viable option as well. Worth exploring, anyway. And I do, here. Visit and read our latest column at A Case For Tannehill, Gore And Wake All Returning.

Other most recent columns: Jeter Gets Reminder Why Marlins Boss Is His Toughest Position Yet. Also: The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top?, Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate and Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour.

COTE GOES COUNTRY: A REVIEW: We saw the Blake Shelton Friends & Heroes concert last night at the Panthers arena. I looked forward to it -- but not for Shelton, who I think is OK but diminished by having turned into a cheesy music game-show judge. One of his friends on the bill, Lauren Alaina, I'd not heard of. But the three others? Really like a couple of Bellamy Brothers songs. Think Trace Adkins is great. And! John Anderson. OMG. I've been a fan since Seminole Wind and Swingin'. He's a country hero of mine, and the only other time I've seen him live was before a couple of hundred folks in a country western club. Here's the Shelton video announcing the tour below. Our quickie review: It was a 4 hour 15-minute marathon, much too long, largely because opening act Alaina played way too long and the delay after her set was way too long. It meant the concert really dragged before it ever really started. Not good. But the rest of the show was great. Shelton impressed with his stage presence and catalog, my man Anderson sent chills with the opening violin on Seminole Wind, and Adkins proved he's still headliner-quality with that sub-baritone of his. Drastically pare back the Alaina opening and you got you a nice concert format there, Blake.

Other select recent columns: Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild / Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 27, 2019

The evolution of sports into big business and Miami's role. New column; plus Heat young players are chopped liver, says ESPN; also, struggling Heat, Kraft arrest, AAF, 'Greg Cote Monday' ESPN podcast & more

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

Bhm1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27. I co-hosted LeBatard Show a day earlier than usual this week on ESPN Radio. Visit Greg Cote Monday for the best-of podcast. 2) Black History Month is February. It was first celebrated at Kent State University in 1970 and was officially recognized nationally in 1976. We spent hours one weekend wandering the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis a couple of  years ago. An irreplaceable trove. Well worth your time and effort! 3) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10. Le Batard TV show premiere with Riley, Zion Williams Shoegate & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

THE TOP 50 'BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS' IN SPORTS-BUSINESS HISTORY: A new book, The Sports Business Handbook, says it's been around 50 years since we began to understand that "sports Thedecision Williamsbusiness" was about more than games and results -- that it also was about deal-making and law and business and marketing and administration in what has become a trillion-dollar industry. "Fifty years ago was around the first time people really started focusing on those off-field things," said author Rick Horrow. "Before that if it wasn't in a box score, it wasn't reported or talked about." The Miami Beach-born Horrow, who hand a hand in shepherding the original Miami Arena into fruition back in the day, includes in the book a chronological list of the top 50 "breakthrough moments" in sports business. I write of this in my latest column; please visit The Evolution Of Sports Into Big Business to read. Two of those beyond-sports moments mentioned have strong South Florida ties: the emergence of the Williams sisters Serena and Venus in tennis, and LeBron James' 'The Decision' that brought his talents to South Beach and the Heat. (I found it interesting that the first and most recent moments listed both were about social justice involving the national anthem: the raised fists on the medal stand during the 1968 Mexico Olympics, and Colin Kaepernick kneeling. Horrow's book has spawned a "symposium tour" that begins Thursday at Harvard University. A stop in Miami  is expected this summer. The book is out next week, and available now at mascot books.com.

Our other most recent columns: Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Zion Should Say See-Ya Duke and Shut It Down / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' RebuildStain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

WinadeESPN UNDER-25 LIST SNUBS HEAT: ESPN today tossed out a list of top 25 NBA players under 25. Greak Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo is on top, the usual suspects follow, and the whole list is here, based on a mix of right now and "future potential." Next Superstar Rankings, they call it. What jumped out at me, Mr. Miami, was the absence of any love for any Heat player. The list is a by a panel of three experts with 25 votes each. That's 75 votes, total. Number given to any Heat player: Zero. I thought either or both of the two legit candidates, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo (pictured right), might at least have been tossed the crumb of a No. 24 vote something. Nada! (Josh Richardson just missed the poll's kiddie pool at age 26, if you wondered). It's one more gloomy indication that Miami is a team without a current (in-his-prime) superstar and also apparently a team without a future superstar on the roster, at least so says ESPN.

WHAT'S RIDICULOUS IN SPORTS: A quick Tuesday three-pack...

Spo(*) Heat losing at home to Phoenix -- If Miami misses the NBA playoffs, last night's loss will be presented as Exhibit A. Rock bottom. Zero excuse available for a 124-121 home loss to a league-worst Suns team that had lost 17 in a row coming in, and is blatantly tanking for Zion Williamson. Great games by Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk, wasted. Miami has now lost six home games in a row, once unheard of. The season is turning depressing for Miami, although at least Dwyane Wade's long farewell lends an emotional heft and a reason to keep watching.

Kraft(*) Arrest of Robert Kraft -- So the Patriots owner is caught up in a police prostitution sting out of a happy ending massage parlor "day spa" in Jupiter. There are real criminals in this case. They are whomever is involved in the alleged human sex trafficking that may be in play here. Arrest them and throw 'em in jail. But clients unaware of any trafficking who simply went there for what they thought was private enjoyment? Cops have better stuff to do. If a restaurant is selling stolen steaks, you arrest the owner buying them, not the diners.

Aaf(*) Alliance of American Football -- The new spring AAF just finished its third weekend and already it has had to be bailed out financially and seen a coach quit. Ratings have dived after initial curiosity made Week 1 numbers encouraging. The whole venture is just one network's content initiative, and it's stumbling early. The question: Will the AAF even survive to welcome a rebooted XFL as competition a year from now? "LOL," says a grinning NFL.

Select recent other columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble / Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 04, 2019

New: Why Dolphins are poised to hit big with Flores gamble; plus Patriots win and so did I on Super Bowl Sunday; also, our SB pick, Smirk Quintet, your Canton verdict, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4. Happy new month, all. Do good, Feb! 2) Football is at its crescendo so it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Super Bowl With a Smirk I-II-III-IV-V, Pro Football Hall of Fame poll, Super Bowl pick & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NEW COLUMN: DOLPHINS POISED TO HIT BIG WITH FLORES HIRE:The Dolphins have made only two head-coaching since the Don Shula era that should have had fans truly excited: Jimmy Johnson in 1995, and Nick Saban in 2005. Brian Flores, in 2019, could be the third. I explain why in my new column: Visit Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble to read.

PATRIOTS WON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY. SO'D DOLPHINS. AND SO DID I: Unorthodox game and odd score, 13-3, but Patriots last night won sixth championship of the Brady/Belichick era. The Dolphins won, too, because now they get Brian Flores, the New England defensive play-caller whose handprints were on Sunday's win and who now becomes the Fins next head coach. I won, too. I had the Patriots winning outright. (Check). I had the Patriots comfortably covering at minus 2 1/2 points. (Check). And I had the 'under' on what what a 56 1/2-point line on total scoring. (Check). A fitting end to our personal-record-setting season of picks!

SbliiiSUPER BOWL LIII: RAMS VS. PATRIOTS: THE PICK: Do you suffer from Super Bowl Week Syndrome? This is a medically recognized malady that causes headaches and victims’ eyes to glaze over from the the incessant parade of media hype for the big game. Do you suffer from Patriot Fatigue? Symptoms of this diagnosis — prevalent to nearly epidemic levels outside of Massachusetts — include acute irritability over the very idea of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick winning yet again. Either way, folks, for better or worse, it’ll all be over soon! Atlanta hosts the 53rd SB and Brady and Belichick haven’t actually been in all of them, it only seems that way. New England’s Double-G.O.A.T. quarterback/coach combo is merely making a ninth Super appearance together, in search of a record sixth NFL championship. These two have more rings than Saturn. But will they add one more or is the dynasty about to end as 120 Americans bear witness? An L.A. Rams team led by a 24-year QB (Jared Goff) and a 33-year-old coach (Sean McVay) is well-poised to represent “Next!” But can they? I’m doubting it. There’s a neat full-circle thing in play here, because it was the Rams (then in St. Louis) who gave Brady/Belichick its first Super Bowl win 17 years ago. Rams haven't been back to the Big Game since, ‘til now. New England was way back then a 14-point underdog; Sunday they're 2 1/2 -point favorites. Faith in the Pats is easy by now. New England is playing its best ball of the season, nobody is more clutch on this stage than Brady, and now it seems Rob Gronkowski has gotten his second wind. That’s huge, because the Rams have defended tight ends poorly all season. The Patriots’ defense also is better all-round than L.A.’s, which has given up 30-plus points seven times. Then there’s Belichick. He has a great track record vs. young QBs, of which Goff still qualifies. He also earned his Genius Card by limiting opponents’ most dangerous threat, which is why I think he’ll find a way to insulate Brady from the Rams’ up-the-gut pass rush led by Aaron Donald. I know that underdogs tend to be a smart Super Bowl play; that ‘dogs have won six of the past seven SBs outright. But that trend ends here. Yes, the Patriots have been much better at home than on the road this year. But consider this: For New England, the Super Bowl is home. (For the full preview/predix, visit Super Bowl Gem). Our pick: Patriots, 31-24.

SmirkTHE 'SUPER BOWL WITH A SMIRK' QUINTET: Smirk returned with five daily notes columns poking fun at the self-important NFL and the gravitas of its big game:

Smirk V: Mahomes, Reed top Honors night. But what about Miss Colombia? -- Previewing NFL Honors night hosted by Steve Harvey. Also: Lamb belly, Lil Yachty, Greg Economou. 

Smirk IV: Of 100-plus Super Bowl Canes, he was 1st -- Meet UM Hurricane whose historical distinction will always be his alone. Also: Merriam-Webster's SB analysis, amputation, Etrade Baby.

Smirk III: No comment, say halftime performers -- Maroon 5 canceled halftime-show presser as Roger Goodell tried to explain away Saintsgate. Also: Romo's non-pick, 442 prop bets. 

Smirk II: No. 1 Dolfan on edge of history -- For 34th straight season Miami didn't make Super Bowl. But team's biggest fan did. Also: Clydesdale dates Betty White, Hungary, Ed Mangan. 

Smirk I: Welcome to 'Suit' Bowl LVIII -- Join host city Atlanta in welcoming Patriots, Rams, lawsuits, anger and a squirming NFL commissioner. Also: Dodgeball, Pizza Hut, haggis.

EdreedPOLL RESULT: REED, GONZALEZ TOP YOUR PICKS FOR CANTON: We asked, "Which of 18 finalists should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?" and gave you up to six votes. The maximum vote for any one player would be 16.7 percent if every voter used all six votes, and you'd multiply any player's total by six for an idea the percent of ballots that included that person. Got all that? Your top six: Safety Ed Reed (pictured) with 17.27%, tight end Tony Gonzalez 15.07%, cornerback Champ Bailey 11.77%, running back Edgerrin James 7.69% and tackle Tony Boselli 6.91%. (Next best were coach Don Coryell 5.34% and receiver Isaac Bruce 5.18%). Applying the 80 percent requirement used in actual Hall of Fame voting, only Reed and Gonzalez were voted into Canton by you all, although Bailey came close.

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

Hotbutton1. NFL: Patriots beat Rams in weird Super Bowl: The Patriots were 2 1/2-point favorites over the Rams as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady attempt to win (what seems like) their 943rd Super Bowl together. It was actually their sixth, 13-3, in an oddly low-scoring, somewhat boring letdown of a game. New England is the team we love to hate. Los Angeles shouldn't even have been there except the officials screwed the Saints. Um, was anybody else rooting for both teams to lose?

2. HEAT: Wade's 'Last Dance' includes All-Star nod: His team is the epitome of mediocrity at 24-27 after three straight losses and eighth in the East entering a six-game road trip starting Tuesday. The good news? Dwyane Wade's farewell season will see him  in the Feb. 17 All-Star Game after Wade and Dirk Nowitzki made as it "special additions" of commissioner Adam Silver. Hi-yo, Silver!

3. HURRICANES: Transfer Portal kings await national signing day: After a bad end to the season, an unexpected coaching change and a lousy early recruiting period, UM football has roared back as this Wednesday's National Signing Day looms. Miami nabbed four of 247sports' top 17 available transfer including Ohio State QB Tate Martell to make what happens Wednesday less urgent than it might have been.

4. NFL HONORS: Ex-Cane Reed makes Canton, Mahomes is MVP: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes won league MVP in a runaway and ex-Hurricane Ed Reed led the new Hall of Fame class at the NFL Honors awards show on Super Bowl eve in Atlanta Saturday night. Joining Reed in Canton: Tony Gonzalez, Champ Bailey, Ty Law, Johnny Robinson, Kevin Mawae, Pat Bowlen and Gil Brandt. Shoulda been picked but denied: Isaac Bruce.

5. PANTHERS: Cats trade Bujgstad, McCann: Florida (21-29 and nine points off playoff pace even with Saturday's win over Vegas) traded forwards Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann to Pittsburgh for Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan and three 2019 draft picks. That's either a white towel waving on this season or a last shot at jolting it to life. We'll see.

6. NBA: Unibrow fined for trade talk as deadline nears: Player movement a hot topic approaching Thursday's NBA trade deadline. Anthony Davis was fined 50K for publicly saying he wanted out of New Orleans. The Knicks dealt Kristaps Porzingis. Kyrie Irving may be moving. And who will LeBron lure to L.A?

7. DOLPHINS: As Flores arrives, Tannehill on way out: Pats assistant Brian Flores will soon be introduced as Miami's next head coach now that his team's season is (finally) ending. Meantime, it was reported the Fins will parts ways with QB Ryan Tannehill. Wait. Is that news? Hearing Miami will part with Tannehill is like hearing your 104-year-old grandpa died. It wasn't if, just when.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men continue freefall: Jim Larranaga's guys, once 5-0, fell to 9-12 overall and 1-8 (ugh) in ACC play with Saturday's 56-46 loss at No. 3 Virginia. At least the No. 23 Canes women are 19-5 after a Sunday home win over Virginia.

9. MARLINS: FanFest ushers in spring in five days: FanFest is this coming Saturday and the start of spring training will soon follow as the Marlins gear for Year 2 of the Derek Jeter era. Meanwhile trading away catcher J.T. Realmuto for prospects (to the Braves, perhaps?) continues to percolate on the hot stove.

10. SKIING: Vonn announces she's retiring: American Lindsay Vonn, 34, said she'll retire after the World Championships in Sweden later this month. She has won 82 World Cup races, second all-time. Also could describe Tiger Woods naked, if she wanted to.

Missing the HB10 cut: Sentences I Never Imagined Writing (one in a series): "Golfer Sergio Garcia was disqualified from an event in Saudi Arabia for intentionally destroying greens ..... Update: Countdown now 2,695 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Most recent non-Smirk columns: Le'Veon wants Dolphins, And Interest Should Be Mutual / Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / We All Got Cheated, Not Just Saints. Also: This Is Offseason for Dolphins to Be Bold, Not Think Tanking / Blueprint For Dolphins Is Right In Front Of Them / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / A Better Coach Isn't Dolphins' Biggest Need / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote