October 26, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Topping the marquee, a Fins QB change tinged in drama, wins by Canes and Inter Miami win and World Series; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new episode 34 out now!, NFL Week 7 picks & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 26. Hope y'all had a nice weekend! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes host Virginia with preview and pick, FIU falls badly, NFL Week 7 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 33 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Most recent stuff from me: NFL Week 7 picks, Dolphins' QB change and fun time in Miami sports: NFL Week 7 Gems // Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move // Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 34 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 34 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 34 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep34, myself and Chris engage in a sometimes contentious debate over the Dolphins quarterback-change drama, Chris reveals his first career parenting faux pas, and we offer a new edition of 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies.' And of course a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the Q's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 25-26): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Miami names Tagovailoa starter, benches Fitzpatrick: Can't say the Fins didn't pack major news and unwanted controversy into their bye week. Miami named rookie Tua Tagovailoa as starting quarterback beginning next Sunday, with benched Ryan Fitzpatrick admitting surprise and disappointing and calling himself "heartbroken." Fins have won two in a row, with Fitzpatrick playing well. His reaction turns up the pressure on Brian Flores to have made the right call -- and on Tua to justify his coach's faith, and timing.

2. HURRICANES: UM doesn't dominate but gets past Virginia: No. 11 Miami never trailed Saturday here in a 19-14 victory over Virginia that was more efficient than overly impressive. D'Eriq King's 322 yards passing -- 170 of them to Mike Harley -- fueled the home win. With No. 8 Penn State losing, the now 5-1 Canes are likely to  nudge up into the top 10 in the next polls. 

3. MLB: Dodgers on brink of World Series title: Dodgers lead Rays 3-2 in games after last night's 4-2 Los Angeles win -- putting L.A. one more victory from its first World Series crown since 1988. Does Tampa Bay have another comeback in it? The Series pauses today before resuming with Tuesday night. And the city that just celebrated the Lakers i poised again.

4. INTER MIAMI: A dramatic late home win for Miami over Orlando: MLS expansion team Inter Miami is now 6-11-3 -- a credible 6-6-3 since an 0-5 start -- after Saturday's 2-1 win over rival Orlando City before a limited number of fans in Fort Lauderdale. Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez headed in  an 89th minute goal off a corner kick to decide it. Next match: Wednesday at FC Dallas.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Cowardly Big Ten, Ohio State join season: No. 5 Ohio State and the Big Ten began their season Saturday, after righteously saying they would not play in 2020 due to the COVID threat -- and then changing their minds, putting money over safety. (Buckeyes beat Nebraska, 52-17, Saturday). Pac-12 also went from not playing to changing its mind and will begin play November 7.

6. NBA: League mulls starting next season sooner, playing fewer games: COVID shows no signs it will stop messing with sports anytime soon. As the NBA plans for a delayed, virtual draft next month, the league's board of governors met and discussed possible changes to the 2020-21 season, including starting as quickly as possible -- as soon as Christmas Day -- playing fewer than 82 games and not waiting for fans to be permitted to all arenas.

7. HEAT: Riley hints at offseason plans: Godfather Pat Riley in his annual postseason state-of-the Heat news conference suggested he's reday to stand pat next season with a team that unexpectedly reached the NBA Finals as a 5 seed. Said he'd keep the team as close to intact as possible and maintain spending money to go whale-hunting in 2021. Our takeaway: Re-sign as many of own free agents as possible -- priority: Goran Dragic -- and gun hard for Giannis Antetokounmpo next summer.

8. SOCCER: Barcelona-Juventus spices Champions League play: UEFA Champions League group-stage play is underway, and this Wednesday delivers the much anticipated Barcelona-Juventus match in Group G. It would pit longtime rival soccer gods Lionel Messi of Barca vs. Juve's Cristiano Ronaldo -- if Ronaldo is cleared to play after testing positive for COVID on October 13. Butsome reports in Europe are that he'll be ruled out.

9. NASCAR: Logano first to reach Championship 4: Joey Logano's win at Kansas made him the first to qualify for the November 8 championship race in Phoenix. Two more runs (Monday at Texas after Sunday's rain postponement and November 1 at Martinsville) will complete the Championship 4 field, with Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski currently owning the inside track.

10. FIU: Butch Davis' miserable 2020 gets worse: Panthers football fell to 0-3 Friday night, absorbing an embarrassing 19-10 home loss to FCS-level Jacksonville State. This after three FIU games already had been postponed by COVID issues. Otherwise, everything going great for Butch Davis!

Missing the HB10 cut: Antonio Brown to Bucs. A 32-year-old problem child on a team with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin getting enough targets to keep him happy? Yeah good luck with that, Tom Brady ..... Steelers-Titans today is only sixth time in Super Bowl era two unbeaten teams have met this late in a season ..... 0Congrats Stan Van Gundy on the New Orleans Pelicans job. He inherits Zion Williamson. Also, Lonzo Ball's dad! ..... Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje in UFC 254. Betting favorite: Me misspelling one of their names ..... South Park cutouts to be seen at Broncos-Chiefs game Sunday ..... Ha! ESPN's Adam Schefter added Antonio Brown to his fantasy team moments before tweeting out the news Brown's suspension had been lifted and the Seahawks were interested ..... Happy birthday to Pele'. The Brazilian soccer legend turned 80 on Friday ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 34 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,073 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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

THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Other most recent columns: COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages / Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is / Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron / and We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw.

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

Select other recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

October 12, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat fall in Game 6 as LeBron's Lakers win NBA title (with column), Canes routed by Clemson (w/ column), Fins clobber Niners, Marlins run ends, Inter Miami wins again; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 12. Peruse NFL Week 4 QB Rankings for the latest Top 20. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat win to force Finals Game 6, Canes visit Clemson, Marlins eliminated, NFL Week 5 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 31 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Canes clobbered by Clemson ... yet again: My column off Saturday night's game: Canes Not 'Back' Yet, As Clemson Emphatically Proves Again.

HeatPLAYOFFS! HEAT FALL IN GAME 6 AS LEBRON, LAKERS WIN NBA FINALS: Miami's unexpected deep playoff run ended two wins short of a championship Sunday night in a 106-93 Game 6 loss to the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals. Our column off the season-ending loss: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Column off Game 5: They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Column off Game 4: Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Off Game 3: Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Off Game 2: NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Off Game 1: Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

FishPLAYOFFS! MIRACLE MARLINS ELIMINATED BY BRAVES IN NLDS SWEEP: Marlins were ousted by Braves in a three-game sweep of the best-of-5 NL Division Series with Thursday's 7-0 loss in the Houston bubble. Our column off the season-ending Game 3: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Off Game 2: Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Off Game 1: Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

MiasfG5: DOLPHINS 43, AT SAN FRANCISCO 17: FINS COMPLETELY DOMINATE NINERS. (DID THIS REALLY JUST HAPPEN?): Original post: The Niners should beat Miami no matter what, but the iffy status of QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) makes picking against the point spread a crapshoot, because it’s a big drop-off to Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard. The uncertainly whittled the bet line all the way from 13 to 8 1/2. San Fran also has mounting defensive injuries, but still will show better pass D that what Fins saw from Seattle last week. After surprise loss to Philly in Week 4, Niners are too good and too well coached to be surprised again. Still, a fat-looking point spread given SF’s injuries has us liking Miami plus-nine. One more thing, an aside: Glad to hear Dolphins coach Brian Flores finally say directly and aloud this week that rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa is not ready to be the starter ahead of Ryan Fitzpatrick. So to you fans with your "We want Tua!" chants, shhh please. And to my fellow media members on the "Tua now!" soapbox, eschew the easy clickbait and find something a little more original (and realistic) to espouse. It’s Tua when it’s Tua time, and the won-lost record or how Fitzpatrick played last game should not matter an iota. It’s Tua time when there is a synchronicity of his complete fitness, his mentality and confidence, his utter knowledge of the offense and the faith his O-line can protect him. It’s Tua time then, not a moment before. Quick update: Looking more and more like Garoppolo will return from a two-game absence. That makes my pick (Fins with points) a bit less secure. My pick: 49ers (-9) over Dolphins, 27-20. Visit NFL Week 5 Gems for this and all of our other latest previews and picks.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 11-12): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Miami falls in Game 6 as LeBron, Lakers win NBA Finals: Heat fell 106-93 Sunday night as LeBron won a fourth championship with a third different team. Miami's unexpected deep playoff run ended two wins shy of a title, but respect for a surprising, exhilarating postseason that saw Jimmy Butler elevate from mere star to something closer to elite.

2. HURRICANES: Clemson shows (again) that The U isn't 'back' yet: In 2015 it was 58-0. In 2017 it was 38-3. Last night it was 42-17. Progress, I guess? Miami keeps losing big to ACC nemesis Clemson, and last night's latest loss to the top-ranked Tigers was the latest comeuppance for No. 7 UM.

3. DOLPHINS: Fins crush 49ers on road. Wow. Did that really just happen?: It wasn't that Miami won. But 43-17? Fins were nine-point 'dogs Sunday afternoon in the club's first trip since 2012 to The City by the Bay. Niners had QB Jimmy Garoppolo back after a two-game absence but Miami made him look so  bad he was benched. Dolphins at 2-3 now and bubbling with promise. (Miami will host Jets next Sunday as NFL rejiggers its schedule due to COVID-related issues).

4. MARLINS: Miracle season ends with Miami swept from NLDS: It ended with the thud of a three-game sweep by the Braves in the NL Division Series. Still, this truncated MLB season marked Miami's first winning record in nine years and first postseason in 17 years. The Derek Jeter rebuild is justified three years in, and Marlins fans are left with this odd, unfamiliar feeling. It is called optimism.

5. INTER MIAMI: Higuain pays off with a winning first MLS goal: In only his third match with Inter Miami former Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain lifted the expansion club past New York Red Bulls 2-1 on a gorgeous free kick bent over the wall. Then Saturday Miami made it two straight wins with a 1-0 decision over Houston Dynamo. Miami is now 5-10-2, a credible turnaround after an 0-5 start to the season. Next up: Atlanta United visits Wednesday.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No. 4 Gators bounced on road: No. 4 Florida will fall in polls after Saturday's 41-38 loss at No. 21 Texas A&M. Gators were only top 10 team (besides Miami) to los this week. UF coach Dan Mullen credited A&M's crowd and said he wants 90,000 fans at The Swamp. In a pandemic. Idiot. Fans don't win or lose games, Dan.

7. PANTHERS: Cats take Finnish center first in NHL Draft: With free agency now underway, Florida and new GM Bill Zito made full-ice center Anton Lundell from Finland the 12th overall of eight Panthers picks in the NHL Draft, the haul earning a B-grade in ESPN's analysis. New York Rangers made left wing Alexis Lafreniere the overall No. 1 pick as expected. 

8. TENNIS: Nadal takes heavyweight men's final as French Open ends: Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic on Sunday for his 13th French Open win and record-tying 20th men's major title. The final could not have been higher wattage on star power. No so Saturday's women's final, in which unseeded Iga Swiatek, 19, of Poland defeated little-known fourth seeded Russian-American Sofia Kenin.

9. NFL: Second week in row for COVID disruptions to schedule: In Week 5 one game was delayed until Monday night and another until Tuesday night -- then the game delayed o Monday (Broncos-Patriots) was postponed to a later week. That was one week after one game was postponed entirely and another moved to Monday. Test positives around the league are having an impact as King Sport confronts the risk of traveling and having some fans at games instead of the bubble format that worked well for the NBA and NHL.

10. NASCAR: Playoffs pare from 12 drivers to eight: Sunday's run at Charlotte left eight men still contending for the NASCAR Cup season title, with Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick the drivers to catch as the playoffs get serious. The four drivers eliminated Sunday included reigning champion Kyle Busch.

Missing the HB10 cut: Bad home loss for FIU to a Middle Tennessee team that had been 0-4 ..... What were the odds of Tom Brady forgetting it was fourth down? Only time Greg Cote gets mixed up on small numbers is when he shoots a six on a golf hole and "mistakenly" writes five on his scorecard ..... Seattle Storm are celebrating their fourth WNBA title and Sue Bird, 40 next week, is the remarkable ageless athlete who gets way too little appreciation ..... UEFA Champions League group-stage play begins October 20, running into early December. Among the 32 clubs Bayern Munich and Manchester City are co-favorites at most books just head of Liverpool. ..... xxxxx ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 32 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,087 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Ticket line forming yet?

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 32 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and the new Episode 32 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 32 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep32, 'Growing Up Cote,' we welcome in my older brother, a.k.a. Uncle Dick, and share memories of me as a (strange) child. Greg and Chris also discuss Dolphins' big win over Niners, Canes' crushing loss, and Heat. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the O's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

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

THE ARCHIVES:

Other most recent columns: COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages / Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is / Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron / and We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw.

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

Select other recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

September 28, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): History! 4-way tie for 1st: Marlins in playoffs, Heat in Finals vs. LeBron, UM crushes FSU, Fins crush Jax; plus our Six Pack 'O Takeaways from Canes-Noles, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 30 out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28. If you missed who won the week, who leads the early season Top 20 and where Fins' Ryan Fitzpatrick lands, check out our NFL Week 2 QB Rankings2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crush Jacksonville, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 29 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Our latest NFL picks: NFL Week 3 Gems.

HEAT IN FINALS VS. LEBRON!: For my column off last night's Game 6 win that catapulted Miami into the NBA Finals, visit Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron. Off Game 5: Heat Lose, Still Lead 3-2. The Prize? An NBA Finals Date With LeBron. Game 4: Conquering Herro! Rookie's 37 Has Heat 1 Win From NBA Finals. G3: The Fun Starts Now As Heat's Joy-Ride Postseason Finally Hit a Bump. G2: Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues. G1: Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now].

Newest Dolphins columns: Off Thursday night's big win in Jacksonville: We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw. Off Game 2: Power Outage, Lightning Delay, No Pass Defense As Dolphins Drop Home Opener to Bills. Off Game 1: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua.

SixpackCANES 52, FSU 10: OUR SIX PACK 'O TAKEAWAYS: For our column from last night's UM win, visit Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is. Six Pack 'O Takeaways: 1. King D'Eriq. Transfer D'Eriq King continues his excellent play and is nominating himself as UM's best QB since Ken Dorsey closed out the glory years. 2. Putting the No in Noles. After losing seven in a row to its state and ACC rival, Miami has now beaten FSU four straight times. 3. Kickin' It. After the field goal and extra point nightmare that contributed to 2019's 6-7 record, transfer kicker Jose Borregales has been a godsend. 4. Monster D. Six sacks, seven hurries 13 tackles for loss. Canes defense had its way. P.S., Noles QB James Blackman? Not very good. 5. Discipline. Miami needs more of it. Two defensive ejections last night, too many penalties. Against better foes, those things can beat you. 6. Next, please. As the gist of my game column stressed, UM's 3-0 start gets its ultimate test at No.1 Clemson on October 10. Are the Canes teasing us again? Soon we find out.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 27-28): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton

1. MARLINS: Miracle Fish make playoffs for first time in 17 years!: They did it. One year after losing 105 games, in a pandemic season that began with much of the team COVID-positive, the Marlins somehow made the playoffs for the first time since 2003. It'll be a best-of-three vs. Cubs to follow the 60-game season. Amazin'!

1. HEAT: Miami wins East to get to LeBron and Lakers: Heat beat Boston last nibght for a 4-2 series and an NBA Finals berth vs. old friend LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers. 

1. HURRICANES: UM crushes rival FSU, heads for top 10: Miami's 52-10 rout of Florida State last night at Hard Rock was the biggest in the series since 1976. The 3-0 Canes now have leaped to No. 8 (from 12) after two teams above UM lost Saturday. But is The U really that good? We all find out October 10 at Clemson.

1. DOLPHINS: Miami crushes it in Jax. Who are these guys!?: A Dolphins team we hadn't seen the first two games showed up and crushed host Jacksonville 31-13 Thursday night. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 18-for-20 with two TDs passing and one running. The defense dominated. It was a night when Miami's improvement and potential showed itself, and rather gloriously at that!   

5. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team back in action, falls in Philly: Miami returned to the pitch on the road Sunday night vs. a strong Philadelphia Union squad and lost 3-0. Despite two straight lopsided losses, Inter Miami since an 0-5 start has won three and drawn two of its past nine matches. Miami now has with it recently signed Gonzalo Higuain, the former Juventus striker.

6. NHL: Stanley Cup Final Game 6 is Monday: Tampa Bay leads Dallas 3-2 after the Stars staved off elimination Saturday night. The Lightning will win it all, or be forced to a Game 7, on Monday night. 

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Weak! Pac-12 follows Big Ten back into play: Two of the Power 5 conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, said they would not play in 2020 over COVID-19 concerns. Then the weak Big Ten caved and agreed to begin play in late October. Now the weak Pac-12 has caved and said it will play a seven-game schedule starting in November. Sad.

8. NASCAR: Michael Jordan buys into race team: With NASCAR in the midst of its playoffs, Michael Jordan has become a team owner for next season. The basketball legend has teamed up with NASCAR star Denny Hamlin -- currently second in the playoff standings with seven races left -- and with Bubba Wallace, the Black driver whose fight led to the sport banning Confederate flags from its tracks.

9. PANTHERS: Florida NHL club signals win-now mode with trade: New Panthers general manager Bill Zito swung a trade acquiring veteran forward Patric Hornqvist from Pittsburgh in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour. Hornqvist, 33, appeared in 52 games with the Penguins this season scoring 17 goals with 15 assists.

10. WNBA: Seattle, Connecticut can advance to Finals Sunday: The Seattle Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday for a 3-0 series win and a spot in the WNBA Finals. The Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces are tied 2-2 in their semifinal in the Bradenton bubble heading into a deciding Game 5 on Tuesday.

Missing the HB10 cut: The majors keep a-comin'! Next: Tennis' French Open starts Sunday. Rafael Nadal has won a record 12 French Opens and is the strong betting favorite to make it 13, with Novak Djokovic the second pick. Simona Halep is a less-sure favorite on women's side, with Serena Williams a distant fourth ..... Conor McGregor says he'll fight Manny Pacquiao. Oh lord! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 30 is out now! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,101 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll have crowds in stadiums again by then?

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 30 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 30 is out now! A new episode drops early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 30 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In new Ep30 we welcome back special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN for Iz 2.0. Last week we talked sports and silly stuff. This week -- vey different. On the fifth anniversary of his coming out publicly as gay, Izzy talks about his life since, including the heartache and a very recent loss. It's emotional, and a must-hear. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the M's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

Select other most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

September 20, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 20-21): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Brooms stay in closet. Miami's ECF lead down to 2-1: Boston's 117-106 win Saturday night means Miami's Eastern Conference finals lead is now 2-1 as we wait (and wait) for Game 4 on Wednesday night. The Heat's habit of falling behind and needing miracle rallies finally came back to haunt. Out West, Lakers are up 2-0 on Denver after Sunday's 105-103 escape on Anthony Davis' last-second 3. For Miami, the climb to a Heat vs. LeBron NBA Finals just got steeper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

Other notable most recent columns: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua / 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

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

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

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

September 14, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 13-14): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Miami opens 55th season with loss at New England: No Tom Brady. No fans in the stands. After no preseason. Otherwise, Dolphins at Patriots as usual. Is the post-Brady AFC East evolving? Are the improved/improving Dolphins ready to make their move after a bunch  of high draft picks and big spending in free agency? Quick answer: Not yet. Patriots 21, Fins 11. And the Year of Waiting For Tua has begun! (Meanwhile, Fins remained in lockerroom during pregame national anthem as a form of protest against racial injustice).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

July 20, 2020

New Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 21 out now! Stars Miguel Rojas, David Beckham, Greg's wife; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), defending D-Wade, other recent column links & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 20. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Defending Dwyane Wade, Marlins' Miguel Rojas on MLB in a pandemic, Good riddance Redskins nickname, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 20 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 21 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 21 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 21 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 21 we chat with Miami Marlins captain Miguel Rojas about Opening Week in a pandemic, and also about fun stuff. New episode also stars Greg's wife complaining about an odd habit of mine; the Mount Gregmore Name Game (D's); and some gossip about David Beckham that's blowing up the British tabloids. Hear all of that and more in new Ep21! 

Our columns from this past week:

He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is -- And Knows It By Heart

Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns

Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JULY 19-20): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MARLINS: Play ball? It's (finally) Opening Week for MLB: Ready or not, smart or not, the truncated 60-game season-in-a-pandemic is upon us. Miami opens this Friday with three in Philadelphia, then opens at home next Monday July 27 vs. Baltimore. No fans allowed for the foreseeable future, but it'll sound like there are, sort  of. MLB will play crowd noise from its official video game through ballpark sound systems during games. Somewhat bizarre, if you ask us.

2. DOLPHINS: Team will ban all fans at least through preseason: COVID-19 continues to pound South Florida particularly hard, which led the Miami Dolphins to announce they will bar fans from attending all training camp practices as well as preseason games. Also, no tailgating will be permitted throughout the season. The club still hopes a limited number of fans might be allowed in Hard Rock Stadium for regular season games starting in September. Training camp is supposed to start next Tuesday July 28, which I'll believe when I see it.

3. NFL: Washington drops 'Redskins,' now faces new scandal: Better (decades) late than never on dropping the racist Redskins nickname. Now, though, 15 women who previously worked for the organization have alleged sexual harassment, verbal abuse and a toxic culture under Dan Snyder's ownership. Astonishingly, the NFL says it will rely on the results of a (supposedly) independent investigation by lawyer hired by Snyder. Hmm. Meantime, NFL announced 72 players leaguewide had tested positive for COVID-19 in advance of the planned July 28 opening of full training camps. In a conference call with teams this week the NFL did not waver on its intention to start the season on time, although how many if any fans will be permitted remains to be determined. 

4. INTER MIAMI: Still a faint prayer of advancing in MLS Is Back tourney: Inter Miami, with two one-goal losses since the season resumed, must beat New York City FC this Monday and then get lucky with other results to advance to the knockout stage of the MLS Is Back tournament in Orlando. Tournament runs through August 11, after which the regular season will resume. Meantime, Fort Lauderdale CF — Inter Miami's lower-tier USL League One team — kicked off its inaugural season vs. Greenville on Saturday night, the first professional soccer game at the team’s new stadium in Fort Lauderdale on the old Lockhart grounds.

5. HURRICANES: Three football players test positive as camp nears: At least three University of Miami football players tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the cancellation of a scheduled Thursday workouts. Full training camp is supposed to start August 7, supposed to being the key phrase there.

6. HEAT/PANTHERS: Our other local teams 12 days from resuming seasons: With Inter Miami already back at it and Marlins playing again beginning this Friday, So Fla's other two spring and summer teams prepare to both resume their seasons August 1. Heat training camp ends July 29 in the Orlando hub. Cats have been practicing locally and travel to the Toronto hub July 26.

7. GOLF: Tiger returns, ending long layoff: He finished tied for 40th, 15 shots behind winner Jon Rahm in the no-fans Memorial in Ohio. The good news? At least Tiger Woods, 44, rallied to make the cut in his first PGA Tour event since February and first in the pandemic.

8. DWYANE WADE: Tough week for D-Wade after Twitter misstep: Wade tweeted support for Nick Cannon after ViacomCBS fired the TV host for anti-Semitic comments on his podcast -- and got buried for it. Tweet deleted, then the clarification/apology. Wade f'd-up but deserves benefit of doubt as a man of character consistently promoting inclusion and condemning hate speech.

9. NASCAR: Sports welcomes back fans, health risk be damned: NASCAR held its All-Star Race in Bristol, Tennessee this past Wednesday and let roughly 20,000 race fans attend, the most since the pandemic hit in March. Chase Elliott won the race and its $1 million prize, but shame on NASCAR for not doing as much as it can to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

10. WNBA: Women's hoops opens under Delle Donne cloud: The WNBA opens its season this coming Saturday July 25 in the Bradenton bubble amid the controversy involving Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne, reigning MVP and the league's best player. She requested a medical waiver to not play and still be paid because she suffers Lyme Disease, requiring she take 64 pills per day -- but was turned down. Mystics will pay her regardless, but, c'mon WNBA!

Missing the HB10 cut: No, Canada. The Toronto Blue Jays have been prevented from playing games in Canada this season due to he coronavirus ..... Power couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez have enlisted other investors in their bid to buy the New York Mets, all the proof you need that their pockets are way too light and that their bid won't succeed ..... Arsenal reached the August 1 FA Cup final by upsetting Manchester City on Saturday. Gunners will face winner of today's Chelsea- Man U match ..... ESPN announced the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz would be only two hours, not three, starting in August. Did the stock market plummet? ..... Dolphins coach Brian Flores says it is "hard to say" whether rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa will be physically ready to start the season. Which is just about the same as saying absolutely nothing at all ..... Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers have split up. OK who was cheating on whom? ..... Um, can somebody please explain to an apparently unenlightened Jorge Masvidal that QAnon is a far-right ideology that purposely and dangerously promotes utterly false and usually patently absurd conspiracy theories? ..... Speaking of James Harden (!) ..... The Golden Eagles, with a roster of mostly alumni from Marquette, won The Basketball Tournament (what genius came up with that name?) and its $1 million prize ..... #FreeWoj ..... The Buffalo Bills' stadium needs a new name sponsor, and a bidet company called Tushy is bidding. Decorum prevents us from noting that Tushy Stadium sounds like a pretty crappy name ..... A realtor in Alexandria, Virginia has trademarked all the likeliest new nicknames for the former Washington Redskins. As Stugotz might says: "Heady play!" ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 21 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,171 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. In front of crowds again by then, we hope?

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 29, 2020

As sports lurches toward the (re)starting line -- or is that edge of a cliff? ... the latest (updated) Hot Button Top 10! See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 18 is out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 29. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Why sports should not abandon the Star-Spangled Banner, Baseball has restart plan but is sports walking into a giant mess?, Noose in Bubba Wallace's garage, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 17 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 18 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 18 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 18 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 18 we talk baseball but also get funny/personal with ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, chat with somebody else named Greg Cote, introduce a new segment called the Mount Gregmore Name Game, and praise the South African nation of Botswana. Why?Only one way to find out, right?

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

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

Columns from this past week: Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction  /  Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?  / and Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 28-29): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MARLINS: Finally! MLB has announces a restart plan: After owners and players failed to agree on anything, MLB exercised its power and imposed a 60-game season, with Opening Day expected on July 23 or 24 and the regular season running through September 27. Players are to report for spring training July 1. Teams will play 10 games each vs. their four division rivals, with interleague play making up the other 20 games. Teams are to play home games in their own stadiums and travel for road games despite that adding coronavirus risk to the equation.

2. HEAT: NBA sets restart dates for Miami, rest of league: Unless the whole grand plan collapses under the weight of the coronavirus -- the NBA tested 302 players and found 16 positive for COVID-19, reportedly including the Heat's Derrick Jones Jr. -- NBA games will resume for real (sans fans) on July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports campus in Orlando, where teams will report July 7 to begin preparing. The Heat's return will be on Saturday, August 1 vs. Denver. Teams will play eight regular season games, which, combined with their record at the time of stoppage, will determine playoff seedings. There are negotiations ongoing to allow players to wear social-justice messages on their jerseys.

3. NFL: Patriots sign Cam Newton: New England reportedly has agreed to a one-year deal with Cam Newton to replace departed Tom Brady. In other news, the Pats have been fined $1.1 million and lose a third-round draft pick over their TV crew filming the field and sideline during a Browns-Bengals game. 

4. NASCAR: Confederate flag, noose overshadow the racing: NASCAR banned Confederate flags from its tracks and properties in the wake of the national George Floyd protests, angering many race fans who still think it's 1863. Oh, and a noose turned up in the Talladega garage of Bubba Wallace, the Cup SerIes' only black driver, but an investigation found it had been there for years, not intentionally left for him. Um, OK. And whhhhyyy had it been there for years!?

5. NFL: Preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game is canceled: There won't be a Cowboys-Steelers game to christen the NFL preseason this August, after it was canceled this week. As of now, the regular season still is set to start on September 10 (the Dolphins open at New England on the 13th), but whether any or a limited number of fans will be in stadiums is open to doubt. Training camps remain set to open July 28. For now, at least.

6. SOCCER: NWSL ushers in return of pro sports: The National Women's Soccer League Challenge Cup began Saturday in Utah -- marking the return of professional team sports leagues in the U.S. for the first time since March shutdown for the cornavirus pandemic. All players from the first game, North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns, knelt during the national anthem in an empty stadium to protest racial injustice.

7. PANTHERS: NHL close to naming hub cities for restart: With the Panthers and other NHL teams set to open training camp in their home cities July 10, the NHL expects this week to name the two hub cities where the direct-to-playoffs season will be played and finished, starting in late July. Hub city finalists are Chicago, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Toronto and Vegas.

8. SOCCER: Next Women's World Cup headed Down Under: FIFA announced its 2023 Women's World Cup would be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The United States has won the past two WWC's. Let's gooooo States!

9. ESPN: Backstory on LeBron's 'The Decision' premieres: ESPN's 'The Decision" (about LeBron James' show to reveal he was taking his talent to South Beach 10 years ago) debuts tonight at 9, yet another reminder ESPN Is desperate for content in the void of live sports. Spoiler alert: The idea for the controversial show was not LeBron's, his agent's or ESPN's. The idea came from a 38-year-old Pistons fans from Columbus, Ohio, identified only as "Drew" in a Bill Simmons mailbag column published by ESPN in November 2009. So there.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 133-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 84 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 17. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has pledged $13 million over the next four years to fight systemic racism through the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), the nonprofit foundation he began in 2015 ..... Vince Carter has retired after 22 NBA seasons, surprising analysts who thought he'd retired around 2012 ..... Canes legend Ray Lewis donated personal protective equipment to the UM football program ..... Family of thr late great Dolphin Jim Kiick have donated his brain for research. Good for them! ..... Somebody named "Chez Reavie" leads by four shots entering today's final round of he PGA Tour's coronavirus-depleted Travelers Championship. Even money Chez blows it? ..... Countdown 10 days until Inter Miami resumes its inaugural with a July 8 match vs. Orlando in the MLS Is Back tournament being held sans fans in that city ..... The debacle-in-waiting, UFC's Fight Island, is set to debut July 11 ..... WNBA players begin reporting next week ..... The new, independent 3-on-3 pro ice hockey league set to debut next year, called 3ICE, has launched an online merchandise store. Buy now. That crap will be a minor collectors' item once the league folds ..... FLorida Panthers announced the launch of an all-access, behind-the-scenes online series, "Panthers Uncaged," chronicling team's preparation for NHL's upcoming 24-team postseason. First episode is this Wednesday on team's Facebook, IGTV, PanthersVision and YouTube channels ..... Shaq and Gronk had or are having some sort of virtual party, but HB didn't care enough to find out details ..... Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown reopened on Friday with enhanced health procedures including masks and social distancing ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 18 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,192 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope large social gatherings are OK again by then?

Previous most recent columns: Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street  /  Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument  /  and Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down

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

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

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

June 27, 2020

Here's why embattled Star-Spangled Banner should remain in American sports. New column; plus Baseball has return plan. But is sports walking into giant mess?, Le Batard and Papi on new Greg Cote Show podcast, Noose in Bubba Wallace's garage & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 27. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 17 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: DAN LE BATARD, PAPI STAR IN NEW NEW EPISODE 17 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 17 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 17 we've done so far right here. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. Episode 17 is a Father's Day special with ESPN's Dan Le Batard and his dad Papi -- in Papi's first interview since he walked away from his fulltime role on Dan's Highly Questionable show. Why did he leave? Might he return? Join the conversation. That and more in new Ep17! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

Our Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

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

HERE'S WHY EMBATTLED STAR-SPANGLED BANNER SHOULD REMAIN A PART OF AMERICAN SPORTS: You thought kneeling during the national anthem was controversial? How about eliminating the national anthem? Erasing its place at sporting events altogether? It is a conversation we will be having. The signs already are here. A debate will arise from the ongoing nationwide Flagmovement for social justice and against police brutality and racial inequality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and others. Symbolism matters in all of this. It is why Confederate statues are toppled and why Aunt Jemima got retired. It’s why we leaped to a false conclusion over the noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage. Sometimes, overreaction is better than no action at all. Now, the maelstrom of conscience the nation is in will lead some to wonder what the "Star-Spangled Banner" has to do with games, anyway? It already has. And if you ever doubted that we are polarized, far more divided than united, all the evidence required is that even the national anthem might be seen as a lightning rod of controversy. Former U.S. men’s national soccer team coach Bruce Arena, to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman: "I think it puts people in awkward positions. We don’t use the national anthem at movie theaters and on Broadway, other events in the United States, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to have a national anthem before a baseball game, an MLS game." This week we saw the first team to take Arena up on his suggestion. The Tulsa Athletic of the lower-tier National Premier Soccer League announced it no longer would play the national anthem before matches, and would replace the "Star-Spangled Banner" with another patriotic song, Woody Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land." What sports will be this summer in its restart from the coronavirus/COVID-19 delay could be the excuse sports needs to move from the national anthem as an every-game routine. No fans in the stands would be that excuse. MLS already has said it would not play the anthem before games in empty stadiums. Whether this becomes any sort of trend, we shall see. I hope it does not. Unlike many of my media brethren, I support continuing to play our national anthem before sporting events. To read our full most recent column, please visit Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction.

MlbBASEBALL JOINS IN WITH RESTART PLAN, BUT IS SPORTS WALKING INTO A MESS IT WILL REGRET? LATEST COLUMN: Step aside, Fubon Guardians and Rakuten Monkeys. Thank you for your service, Hyundai Unicorns and Kiwoon Heroes. Riveted as we have been by the Chinese and Korean brand of baseball, the Yankees and Dodgers will take it from here. Baseball is back! Sort of. Sports is back! Or at least this bizarre, pandemic version of it. MLB finally has a resumption plan to belatedly join the NBA, NHL and MLS in summer restarts, and the NFL and college football still hope to play as scheduled this fall — but with an asterisk as big as a cardboard golf check attached to every sport as 2020 plays out. So our leagues and teams move forward. But are they stepping into a giant mess they will regret? For our full recent column, please visit Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?

NOOSE LEFT IN BUBBA WALLACE'S NASCAR GARAGE TAKES UNEXPECTED TURN: [Update: FBI found that the noose in Wallace's garage was being used to hold a door open and had been there since October -- not placed with Wallace in mind. "It was still a noose," said Wallace] Original post: It took a single coward in the cover of darkness, or was it a few? It took this one act to remind us how far we have not come, how far we have yet to go. It took this one gut-churning symbol of hatred and inequality to verify to all why America is in the streets right now — exactly Bubba Wallacewhy a national movement is marching for change. A noose, placed in Bubba Wallace’s garage. A noose, at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, placed in the workspace of the NASCAR Cup Series’ lone Black driver. A noose, someone’s answer to the man who led and won the fight to see NASCAR recently step forward and ban Confederate flags at all of its tracks. A noose, in 2020 America, and suddenly we are in the 19th century again, where men in pointy white hoods carried torches, where 41 persons of color were found hanged in Gainesville, Texas, in 1862, where 30 years after that the governor of South Carolina, Benjamin Tillman, said, "We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will." Wallace never saw the noose, only the unimaginable prejudice and gall that put it there. A member of his team found it late Saturday night and immediately informed NASCAR. "Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism," Wallace wrote on Twitter. "We will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate." This is why Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem. This is why thousands nationwide — Black and white — march for George Floyd and for Breonna Taylor and for all of the other victims of the systemic racism that can foment deadly police brutality. To read our full recent column, please visit Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred.

My previous most recent columns: Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street  /  Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument  /  and Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down

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

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

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

June 22, 2020

Dan Le Batard and Papi in Greg Cote Cote podcast's Father's Day special. It's new Episode 17, out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), links to recent columns & more

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

Hapdad1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 22. Hope it was a Happy Fathers Day for all my fellow papis and padres! 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Team that signs Kaepernick will be champion of the streets, Should sports play it safe and take rest of 2020 off?, America's Pastime is letting America down, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 16, Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 17 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 17 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 17 we've done so far right here. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 17 we Father's Day with ESPN's Dan Le Batard and his dad Papi -- in Papi's first interview since he walked away from his fulltime role on Dan's Highly Questionable show. Why did he leave? Might he return? Join the conversation. That and more in new Ep17! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My columns from this past week: Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street  /  Should Sports Take the Rest Of 2020 Off? There's An Argument  /  and Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down

Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 21-22): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MLB: America's Pastime continues to whiff on restart plan: MLB Players Association proposed a 70-game regular-season schedule (July 19 through September 30) that was immediately rejected by commissioner Rob Manfred, with no counter-proposal, as sides continue back and forth with no solution in sight. All sports move forward to playing again, except one. Sad, baseball. Sad.

2. HEAT: Butler recalls racism in team's Town Hall: As NBA players prepare to arrive July 7 in Orlando for restart of the season, Heat held a town hall about race on Juneteenth, on Zoom, with coach Erik Spoelstra and several players. Notable was Jimmy Butler remembering this from age 16 in Houston: "A white man and his son, who is no older than maybe 6 -- I'm walking with my brother, and we hear the kid turn around and say, 'Hey, Dad, those are those n-words that you are telling me about," Butler said. "The kid doesn't know any better. The first thing that popped in my head was, 'You had to [have] taught him that.' [The kid] doesn't know that. My daughter, I have to teach her that the stove is hot. You are choosing to teach your kid hate."

3. INTER MIAMI: Local team among wave of sports test-positives: An unnamed Inter Miami player tested positive for coronavirus as the team prepares to restart its inaugural season July 8 in Orlando in the MLS Is Back tournament. Recent test-positives in sports also have included Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott, two Tampa Bay Bucs, driver Dale Jarrett, a PGA Tour player and 28 Clemson athletes -- almost all in football. All MLB spring training sites have temporarily closed because of the threat.

4. HURRICANES: UM sports names Chief Diversity Officer: As the football team prepares to reassemble July 13, Miami athletics announced that senior associate athletic director for administration Renae Myles Payne will be UM's first Chief Diversity Officer, a newly created position.

5. HORSE RACING: Tiz The Law christens delayed Triple Crown season: Favorite Tiz the Law won Saturday's no-fans Belmont Stakes in Elmont, N.Y., as expected, as thoroughbred racing's delayed Triple Crown season finally commenced. The "Run for the Carnations," usually the third and last race, led off the triumvirate of races for the first time.

6. MARLINS: Jeter finds optimism in protests: Marlins CEO Derek Jeter took part remotely in an MLB Network special on race. "Something needs to change. It gets to a point where you say enough is enough," Jeter said. "The one thing that I was optimistic about is, for the first time, you're seeing people across all 50 states and roughly 20 other countries -- people of all different races and different nationalities -- out there in agreement that now is the time and things do need to change, because it's been going on for too long."

7. MIKE GUNDY: Oklahoma State coach called out by player: Oklahoma State's weird football coach got called out publicly by running back Chuba Hubbard for wearing an OAN T-shirt. (On the bright side, at least he wasn't also waving a Confederate flag at the time). One America News, for the uninitiated, is an extreme far-right "news" network prone to conspiracy theories and Black Lives Matter-bashing. Gundy said oops I won't wear the shirt any more.

8. GATORS: Florida retires 'Gator Bait' cheer: The Swamp no longer will resonate on football Saturdays with the "Gator Bait" cheer and song -- both done away with due to their roots in racism. In a related story the SEC said no more championship events will be held in the state of Mississippi until it removes the Confederate flag from its state flag.

9. NASCAR: Dale Jr. leads newest Hall of Fame class: As NASCAR runs at Talladega Sunday, former driver and perennial fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins two others as latest inductees into the sport's Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. Junior never did win a series championship, but popularity evidently counts for something.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 125-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 77 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 16. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hey, other than the racial stereotypes and all, it was a good run, Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben! ..... Webb Simpson won the PGA Tour event at Hilton Head on Sunday ..... NHL, would you name the two bleepin' hub cities already!? ..... Former U.S. national men's soccer coach Bruce Arena suggested The Star-Spangled Banner should not be played before sporting events. Where's the Trump Tweetstorm!? ..... July 11 is set as date for first of four UFC July fight cards on its Fight Island, located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi ..... Serena Williams committed to the U.S. Open starting Aug. 31 even as some others players hesitate. Meanwhile, dumb people spray painted "White lives matter" on a statue of Arthur Ashe ..... That July 28 reporting date for NFL teams? Believe it when we you it ..... WNBA announced a commitment to return to play with a focus on social justice, in a shortened season to be played sans fans on the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, near Tampa, with reporting in early July ..... Tony Hawk was in the news, but I didn't care enough to Google why. Something about a 52-year-old man on a skateboard makes me sad ..... Shaquille O'Neal and Ron Gronkowski will host a virtual, live-streamed party this Saturday on TikTok and www.ShaqVsGronk.com. I'll be sure to miss it ..... Rams and Chargers will be featured on this season's Hard Knocks starting Aug.11. Assume the camera crew will be in masks? ..... Josh Gordon is seeking NFL reinstatement for what feels like the 45th time ..... Ray Ciccarelli, the unsuccessful NASCAR truck-series driver who threatened to quit over the sport's Confederate flag ban, is now hedging on that. His fans are happy. Both of them ..... Still for rent: A slightly used 1989 Cam Newton. Inquire Within ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 17 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,198 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope large social gatherings are OK again by then?

OTHER MOST RECENT COLUMNS: Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / and R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer

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

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

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

June 15, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 this week and what else lands where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now!, our George Floyd-related columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 15. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Return of sports will mean historic TV smorgasbord in fall, Homestead hosts NASCAR race, R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 15 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 16 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 16 is out now! Find a new episode every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 16 we've done so far right here. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 16 we talk NASCAR banning the Confederate flag, update you on our Duck Family (bad news) and our ailing tree (better news), and have a conversation with an author who both wrote a new biography of Yogi Berra and was Le Batard's first editor. Fun stuff! That and more in new Ep16! Find every podcast we've done so far HERE.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 14-15): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NASCAR: After Confederate flag ban, Homestead hosts race before small crowd: The Dixie Vodka 400 ran Sunday -- eventually, after much weather delay -- at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with Denny Hamlin winning. About 1,000 invited guests from the military were in the stands, the first major American professional sport to play before any fans since the pandemic shutdown. In the leadup to the race NASCAR banned Confederate flags from its tracks in the wake of the George Floyd killing and resulting national protests. Bubba Wallace, the circuit's only black driver, ran in a car emblazoned #BlackLivesMatter, finishing 13th.

2. MARLINS: It's all pitching in historic 2020 Fish draft: Led by third overall pick Max Meyer from the University of Minnesota the Marlins drafted pitchers with all six selections in the 2020 draft -- a franchise first. Then again, the pandemic reduced the draft to only five rounds this year, not the usual bloated 40. But remember the name Asa Lacy. He's who Miami surprisingly passed over to take Meyer. Meanwhile MLB, unlike the other sports,  continues to fight with itself over a restart plan.

3. GOLF: Berger win in PGA Tour's first event in three months: Golf returned from its three-month pandemic layoff with a tournament in Fort Worth, Texas that had no spectators, began with a moment of silence for George Floyd, and saw social distancing among players. It was a strong field that did not include Tiger Woods but featured world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, but in the end Daniel Berger won in a low-watt playoff over Collin Morikawa.

4. INTER MIAMI: Miami's first match in four months set as MLS details restart: Finally, a date on the calendar to circle! On Wednesday, July 8, expansion team Inter Miami will play its first match in four months, since March 7, in the no-fans MLS Is Back tournament that will see all 26 teams competing at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Miami will open versus natural rival Orlando City. A rescheduled regular season will follow the tournament, with teams back in their home stadiums but likely still without fans.

5. HEAT: NBA sets timetable for resumption: The 22 teams that will resume the season, including Miami, are to report to the Orlando hub beginning July 9-11 for a training camp that will precede eight regular-season games for each, sans fans, starting July 30. Then, the playoffs. According to reports, the league is estimating the NBA Finals would begin around Sept. 30, meaning the two teams left standing would end up being in Orlando about three months. 

6. PANTHERS: Date set for start of formal training camp: The NHL set July 10 as the date to start formal training camp for the 24 teams that will resume play by heading directly to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Florida will open with a five-game series vs. the Islanders, with the season resuming with no fans in two yet-unnamed hub cities. It isn't yet known if training camps will be held in the teams' home rinks or in one of the hub cities, or how long they will last.

7. HURRICANES: NCAA outlines football teams' return dates: The NCAA Football Oversight Committee passed a recommendation that coaches may begin formally working with their teams on July 13. The committee laid out the practice guidelines to allow players to return safely prior to the traditional four-week football training camp.

8. DOLPHINS: Details emerge on buildup to NFL season: The NFL announced 28 of its teams including Miami now have a July 28 reporting date for the start of preseason training camp. No mini-camps or OTA dates will be held prior to that. The league also is discussing preseason games going from from four to two. The regular season still is set to begin as scheduled in September, but increasingly likely to start with no fans or a limited number.

9. COLLEGE SPORTS: DeSantis signs athlete compensation bill: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill enabling college students to be paid for use of their name, image and likeness. The bill goes into effect July 1, 2021 as the first of its kind on a state level. It is potentially a very big deal for a very few, and of zero consequence to the vast majority of college athletes.

10. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT is a weekly update on how many major local pro games have been lost to coronavirus shutdown. We'll continue this until the first of our four spring/summer teams has resumed play. Through today/Sunday -- 115-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 71 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 14. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage.

Missing the HB10 cut: Ray Ciccarelli. Who!? This was a NASCAR truck-series driver of little note -- one top-10 finish in four seasons and zero laps run in 2020 -- before he abruptly became known for the wrong reasons by quitting the sport this week to protest its ban on Confederate flags at all its tracks. Farewell, Ray. You shan't be missed ..... Former UM booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro is out of federal prison and will serve the remainder of his sentence on house arrest ..... Top heavyweights Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua agreed on a two-fight deal in 2021. Fury will first complete his trilogy vs. Deontay Wilder later this fall ..... A U.S. Olympic boxer was cleared when it was determined her banned substance happened because of sex. Her name: Virginia Fuchs ..... Spanish soccer's La Liga resumed play with piped-in reactive crowd noise and visuals to give the impression of a live audience. How marvelously fake! ..... In a fishing tournament, Michael Jordan's team caught a 442-pound blue marlin. Top that, LeBron! ..... Golf's Ryder Cup is still scheduled for Sept. 25-27 in Wisconsin. Could be without fans, but both the U.S. and European teams pushing to allow spectators ..... Times tough. The UM Sports Hall of Fame started a GoFundMe page ..... Florida Panthers forward Noel Acciari is the team's 2019-20 nominee for the NHL's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy given for perseverance and sportsmanship ..... Still for rent: A slightly used 1989 Cam Newton. Inquire Within ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 16 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,205 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope large social gatherings are OK again by then?

COLUMNS FROM PAST WEEK:

Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord

Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans

R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer

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

--  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --  --

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (video) and The Ballad Of 1440 (audio).