April 12, 2021

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 29, 2019

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 09, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Tough fight but a new No. 1, and see what else lands where; plus my Sunday Tiger 'n Phil column, your Heat playoff-foe verdict, 4-Man Outfield update (oh no Brinson) & more


1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 9. This was my mother's birthday. It's why my first uniform number in Little League was 9. Miss you, Mom. 2) Surprise and thrill the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat playoff possibilities with poll, 4-Man Outfield, 'Dream Still Lives' video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Tiger, Phil and the emotional power of sports: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at The Masters. Two beloved, all-time greats, out of contention but trying to summon glimpses of the greatness that is running away from them. This is the emotional pull of sports, the sentimental power of it. And this is an atypically personal column by me. To read, click Tiger & Phil & the Emotional Power Of Sports.

Other most recent columns: Heat/playoffs, Dolphins/Gronk, Dave Shula, Marlins: As a playoff opponent is determined: For Heat, 1 Team to Avoid  /  Hop aboard our flight of fancy: The Case For Gronk to Dolphins  /  He'd been out of coaching since 1996, now Don Shula's eldest son is back: Dave Shula Goes Home Again  /  And on baseball's Opening Day: Marlins' Ballpark Experience Only Missing One Thing

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Two games left and playoff foe still a mystery: Miami ends the NBA regular season at home tonight vs. Oklahoma City and Wednesday vs. Toronto -- with everything still up in the air. At the moment Heat is 6th seed and set to open playoffs vs 76ers, but that can change. Miami still could finish 6th, 7th or 8th and face the Raptors, Celtics, Sixers or Cavaliers. So pick your preferred opponent and then hold your breath for a couple of days.

2. PANTHERS: No playoffs for you, Cats. The fight was lost: Florida ended its season with five straight wins but still was officially eliminated from playoff contention -- by one standings point. Cats started season too slowly and got good too late. Roberto Luongo became only third goalie to reach 1,000 career games, but, once again, too little of that career has been spent getting anywhere near the elusive Stanley Cup.

3. GOLF: Reed hangs on to win Masters: American Patrick Reed finished 15-under-par to to win The Masters and his first career major, edging Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Way back were Tiger Woods at plus-1 and Phil Mickelson at plus-2. You know it's bad when Sunday for Tiger and Phil is more about saving face than contending. Meantime defending champ Sergio Garcia missed the cut thanks to an 8-over par 13 on the 15th hole of the first round. Who'd he think he was, Greg Cote!? 

4. MARLINS: Fire-Sale Fish embarrassed in 20-1 loss: Miami has a 3-6 early-season record lowlighted by Sunday's shameful 20-1 loss -- yes, 20-1 -- at Philadelphia. The Mets visit starting tonight. The marketing catch-phrase for Derek Jeter's starless team is, "Just Gettin' Started." Yeah, that's what worries us, Derek!

5. PRO WRESTLING: Bam! Pow! It was Wrestlemania XXXIV!: The Undertaker beat John Cena and Ronda Rousey was victorious in her WWE in-ring debut to highlight Sunday's 34th Wrestlemania extravaganza before 70,000 at the Superdome in New Orleans. When the final history of America is written just prior to the Apocalypse, our bizarre, enduring fascination with the loony spectacle of pro wrestling needs to have its own chapter.

6. DOLPHINS: NFL Draft countdown: 17 days: Getting closer to the April 26 first round. I'm not privy to exactly what's being discussed inside the Dolphins' Ginn Family War Room. But I do know that Miami probably should spend the 11th overall pick to get its quarterback of the future. Which is why it probably won't happen as the conservative, inside-the-box Fins probably will target defense first.

7. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League nearing semifinals: Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will own the inside track as the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals take place this Tuesday and Wednesday. If you're radar for the sport is only engaged during the World Cup, treat yourself to some of the the best club futbol on Earth. I mean, Ronaldo's bicycle-kick goal, am I right!?

8. UFC: McGregor rampage, then UFC 223: Khalib Nurmagomedov or perhaps Nurmagomedov Khalib won the lightweight Saturday at UFC 223 in Brooklyn. But more interesting was the rampage that got Conor McGregor arrested earlier in the week for disrupting a Dana White UFC media event. McGregor was caught on camera throwing a hand dolly through the window of a bus carrying UFC fighters. There is a phrase for this: "Publicity stunt."

9. HURRICANES: Spring football unveiling in five days: Canes' open-to-public Spring Game is this coming Saturday at The Rock. Yesterday's scrimmage was closed to fans and media, but, based on statistics provided by Mark Richt, Malik Rosier outplayed challenger N'Kosi Perry in the quarterback battle. Spring schming. September, please.

10. UM BASEBALL: Canes' rocky farewell for Morris continues: UM baseball is 13-18 after beating North Carolina on Sunday to snap a seven-game losing streak and avoid being swept at home. Forget College World Series for the moment. Don't even think NCAA playoffs. Take it one step at a time, Canes. Think .500. Think trying to avoid one of the worst seasons in UM history.

Missing the HB10 cut: The Alliance of American Football spring league announced Steve Spurrier, 73 this month, will coach its Orlando team when the eight-team league begins play the week after the next Super Bowl. Negotiations with Spurrier went smoothly once they agreed to that sideline putting green ..... I correctly had Villanova winning it all. It was all those other damned games that ruined my bracket ..... Miami Open tennis leaving Key Biscayne for Hard Rock Stadium? If I might adapt the lyrics to Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi: "They left paradise and moved to a parking lot" ..... The WNBA Draft is coming up on April 12. Where's Mel Kiper's mock? ..... Dear Media: Can we please quit acting all excited every time Tim Tebow hits a home run in Double-A? Thank you ..... That reminds me: Johnny Manziel, the devil to Tebow's angel, threw TD pass in some spring game Saturday ..... The quarterback grandson of Bear Bryant just signed with Alabama. Hey no pressure or anything, kid!

POLL RESULTS: CELTICS OR CAVS FOR HEAT, PLEASE, NOT 76ERS OR RAPTORS: We asked what opponent (of four possibilities) you'd most like the Miami Heat to face in the playoffs' first round, and it was 43.2 percent Boston Celtics, 32.0% Cleveland Cavaliers, 22.4% Philadelphia 76ers and 2.4% Toronto Raptors. The same question on our Twitter feed had the same order: Celtics 46%, Cavs 36%, 76ers 11% and Raptors 7%

4manofUPDATED: 'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD': BRINSON'S WOES: Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We'll base our continually updated rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). Early days, but all four (especially Brinson) RE struggling to some degree except Yelich -- and he's sidelined by an oblique (abdominal) issue. The latest, entering Monday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers        .984   6   26    6  10    5    2-0-1      .385

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees     .831   9   35    5   7    7    2-0-3      .200

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .765    8   34    4  11    5    1-0-1      .324

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .428    8   38    3   7    1    0-0-0      .184

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks to APSE. Here are our nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional columns: Gore Continues Dolphins' Strange Offseason / Wayne Huizenga: A Legacy Indelible Serena Fighting Her Career Sunset. And She Has Company / Canes QB Battle One Of Strength, Not Desperation / Don't Shut Up, Get Louder / Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018 / Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed / Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season / Our two on the Parkland tragedy: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing / Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The NightHeat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 and Welcome Home, D.Wade / Also: Dear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamWhen Victims Seize The PowerThe Godfather SpeaksRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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