November 13, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.8%; plus Fins fall 31-12 at Green Bay, drop to 5-5; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated; are Collapsing Canes on top?), thank you Veterans & more

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

Vetday1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12. Veterans Day is when we honor all of those who have served in our military. Thank you! 2) Find results of the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in the previous blogpost or directly here. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose fourth straight with CSM poll, other state Collball, your Dolphins-in-playoffs verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our latest columns: Sabermetrics ace and Red Sox adviser Bill James fell into hot water by saying baseball players are replaceable, likening their importance to that of beer vendors. By extension he meant athletes in general. But here's the thing. He may be right. I discuss in my newest column. To read: Bill James Struck A Nerve, But He's More Right Than Wrong. Also: Marino Set the Blueprint For Mahomes and State of Shock For Canes, Gators and Noles.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 5.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-12 loss at Green Bay putting Miami's season record at 5-5. That ties for the season low. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 25%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

G6: 75.0% following 31-28 OT victory vs. Chicago.

G7: 8.9% following 32-21 loss vs. Detroit.

G8: 5.8% following 42-23 loss at Houston.

G9: 29.6% following 13-6 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G10: 5.8% following 31-12 loss at Green Bay.

Next poll: Nov. 25 (after bye week) following game at Indianapolis.

G10: GREEN BAY 31, DOLPHINS 12: TEMPS in 20'S, PACKER POINTS IN 30'S. TOLD YA!: Final thoughts: Four field goals does not pass as decent offense in any world I know. Especially at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers ..... 4Q: GB 31-12 as Pack add 38-yard FG. It's over, people ..... 3Q: GB 28-12 on Rodgers-Adam 25-yard scoring pass. This game feels over ... GB 21- Miagb12 on Jones 12-yard TD run. Like I said, FGs will nit beat Rodgers in Green Bay ... MIA 12-14 on 40-yard FG ... Halftime thoughts: Rodgers less than 100 yards passing? Gore kicking ass? Good, encouraging signs for Miami. But field goals will not beat Rodgers at Lambeau. Book that ..... 2Q: MIA 9-14 on 47-yard FG. Fins competitive, but will settling for threes come back to haunt? ... MIA 6-14 on 25-yard FG after red-zone fizzle ... GB 14-3 on Jones 2-yards TD run set up by his 67-yard run ... 1Q: Fins defense gouged for 67-yard run to arrange another Pack score as quarter ends ... MIA 3-7 on 37-yard FG after Pack fumble. A 3rd-and-8 sack forced the three ... Miami recovers fumble on punt return near midfield ... GB 7-0 on Rodgers-Adams 7-yard TD pass, capitalizing on Miami turnover ... Nice opening drive by Fins ruined by lost fumble. Shotgun snap to Osweiler looked fast and high, but catchable ..... Pregame: Patriots loss today means Miami can move within one game and re-energize whole season with win at Lambeau ... Starting OTs Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James both inactive today. Oh my. Good lukc, Osweiler! ..... Original post: Miami is a surprisingly not-terrible 5-4 and Green Bay is a surprisingly desperate 3-4-1 and yet the Packers are favored by a big 10 points in today's 4:25 p.m. Lambeau Field kickoff before CBS cameras. Why? Quotation of the week to Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who said it deadpan-perfect, when asked if his defense could carry the momentum of last week’s domination of the Jets into this Sunday’s game in Green Bay: "Aaron Rodgers is a little different than Sam Darnold," noted Gase. I might further note that Mr. Rodgers also is a little different than Brock Osweiler. And that temperatures diving into the 20s at Lambeau will be a little different for the Fins than the advantageous comfort of home humidity. I’m scrounging around for reasons to believe in a Miami upset, and finding the cupboard bare short of assuming least a couple of Dolphins takeaways. (Perhaps a pick by Reshad Jones, if he deigns to actually appear in the game rather than pouting on the sideline?) Reasons to not like the Dolphins today are easier to spot. Osweiler is gradually becoming Osweiler again; he has not thrown a touchdown pass for almost nine quarters. Miami is 1-3 away and the Gee Bees 3-0-1 at home. All four of Miami’s losses have been by double digits, and the Dolphins are on a 1-8 skid when kicking off as road underdogs. Miami’s best shot might be that Green Bay — after facing the Patriots last week and with roadies to Seattle/Minnesota on deck — might sort of not pay much attention to this game. Except the Pack’s scant margin of error in the playoff chase assures Rodgers and the Cheesers will be on high alert here, buoyed by the Frozen Tundra and the ghost of Vince Lombardi in a fedora. Bonus fact: GB’s offensive coordinator is Joe Philbin. How much do you figure he’d love to run up the score? The forecast for today in Green Bay: Temps in the 20s, Pack points in the 30s. My pick: Green Bay, 37-20.

Visit Week 10 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. 

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. HURRICANES: It's four straight losses with UM's fall at Tech: With Saturday's 27-21 loss at Georgia Tech the Hurricanes are now 5-5, have lost four in a row, are not yet bowl-eligible and are 5-8 in the past 13 games. Let's all agree that the honeymoon is over for Mark Richt. Heck, at this rate, the divorce lawyers may be on call.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami fizzles on the frozen tundra: The Dolphins' defense handled the Jets in winning last week but Aaron Rodgers is different than Sam Darnold about as subtly as Green Bay temps in the 20s are to South Florida humidity. And so 31-12 Green Bay on Sunday has the Fins, once 3-0, now stalled at 5-5.

3. HEAT: Sputtering Heat brace for Sixers and Butler, then LeBron: Heat at 5-7 have lost two straight and five of seven as they prepare to host Philadelphia and newly acquired Jimmy Butler Monday night. Minnesota trading Butler into the East made Miami's playoff chase that much more problematic. Almost forgot: Lakers and LeBron here in seven days.

4. NASCAR: Championship Four is set for Homestead: Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick were joined by Kyle Busch and Martin Truex in the Championship Four for next Sunday's NASCAR title run at Homestead. The final two spots were filled in yesterday's penultimate race in Phoenix. Now the entire sport packs up and heads south of Miami.

5. SOCCER: Miami MLS wins stadium vote: The David Beckham group's embryonic Major League Soccer expansion franchise, Inter Miami, comfortably won voter approval on stadium plans for the Melreese site. Meanwhile the MLS playoffs continue with semifinals pitting Portland vs. Sporting KC and New York vs. Atlanta.

6. PANTHERS: Ice on fire! The Cats are heating up: Slow-starting Florida has now won four in a row to rise to 6-8 with Sunday's victory over Ottawa prior to a six-game road trip. Credit some of the rally to the return of goalie Roberto Luongo. They honored the late Bill Torrey, Panthers founding father, before Saturday's home win. All hail the Bowtie!

7. UM HOOPS: Canes men, women off and runnning: UM men routed Lehigh in their opener and will now beef up their record vs. a soft schedule until the serious games start in January, when we start paying attention for real. Meanwhile he 25th-ranked Canes women are 2-0 and continue relentlessly competitive under Katie Meier.

8. GATORS: UF protects ranking with big rally: No. 15 Florida scored the game's last 21 points Saturday to survive South Carolina in the Swamp, 35-31. UM and FSU have lost a combined seven games in a row, but The Gator (oh, and 9-0 UCF) are holding up the state.  

9. FIU: ButchCats sail to 7-3 record: Well at least one Miami college football team is winning. As the Canes marinate in a four-game losing streak, FIU is 7-3 with Saturday's 45-7 rout of UTSA. Overlooked program continues to climb under Butch Davis.

10. DOG RACING: State bans greyhound racing: Florida citizens this week voted to ban dog racing in the state, meaning some 6,000 suddenly retired racing greyhound may need new homes. Breathing a well-earned sigh of relief: the mechanical rabbit!

Missing the HB10 cut: State of Florida's election recount is underway in several key races. Depending on your point of view, it's a noble effort to get it right or screwing your candidate who thought he'd won ..... Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan: the CFP top four, uninterrupted ..... Would somebody give Bryce Harper and Manny Machado a bunch of money already!? ..... I'd like to report that the Duke men's basketball team is, like, really good ..... Update: Countdown now 2,780 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not RainbowTime For Faith In Richt, And PatienceMoving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveSnakebit AdamFamily TraditionVictor-y, Miami! Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 29, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 this week and what else falls where; plus Red Sox reign, it-ain't-easy-being-a-Dolfan column, NFL Week 8 picks & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 29. Check out the latest Canesfan and Dolfan postgame satisfaction polls at CSM and DSM. Warning. They're both both depressing. 2) Homer Me the Red Sox fan is presently staging a one-man championship parade in his house. Go Saaawx! 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose at Boston College with CSM poll, it-ain't-easy-being-a-Dolfan column, other state Collball & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It ain't easy being a Dolfan: Hundreds of Miami Dolphins fans told me what it's like to be Dolfan. I bet some of y'all can relate. Their/your answers informed my latest column. To read the venting and frustration, visit Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love.

NFL Week 8 picks: We bull's-eyed Thursday night's Dolphins loss in Houston. For all of Sunday's (and tonight's) picks, visit Week 8 Gems.

Other most recent stuff: On Dolphins head coach: Snakebit Adam. On N'Kosi Perry's lap-cash video: Family Tradition. And on Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr.: Victory-y, Miami! 

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins fall in Houston as defense collapses again: The 42-23 Thursday night loss at Houston dropped Miami (once 3-0) to an even 4-4 at midseason. However, other than Ryan Tannehill still being out, the recent embarrassing defensive collapse, the spate of injuries and palpable fan dissatisfaction, indications are all is well!

2. HURRICANES: Slumping UM loses at Boston College: UM's 27-14 Friday night loss at Boston College found neither Malik Rosier nor the defense playing particularly well. Canes now 5-3 after the second straight loss, with hopes fading sharply for a return to ACC title game. Mark Richt's third season in the Gables is looking like regression.

3. MLB: Dominant Red Sox roll to World Series championship!: Boston bounced the Dodgers in five games, clinching last night with a home run barrage in L.A. -- the Red Sox's only loss that record-setting 18-inning, 7-hours-plus marathon on Friday. Red Sox fans weren't sure whether to want the clincher back at Fenway or to get it over with last night -- a happy dilemma indeed.

4. HEAT: Miami above .500 for first time: Heat's 120-111 home win over Portland has Miami 3-2 and on good side of .500 for first time in the young NBA season. Dwyane Wade's 18 in first half and Goran Dragic's 28 total did the heavy lifting. Oh, and Chris Bosh earlier made his first return to arena since his medical departure. It was a love-fest, a hug-in! The soundtrack of the visual would have been the whole crowd singing Kumbaya!

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Season's first CFP ranking on deck: First College Football Playoff pecking order comes out Tuesday, with the top four all that matters. Alabama-Clemson-Notre Dame should be a clear, perfunctory top three, but then it gets interesting. Call it The Fight For Fourth.

6. GATORS: Florida's big chance goes awry vs. Georgia: It was No. 9 Gators vs. No, 7 Bulldogs in neutral Jacksonville Saturday and it was close ... and then it wasn't. Georgia pulled away and won 36-17, dropping UF's season from potentially special to shades of pretty good.

7. PANTHERS: Struggling Cats headed for pair in Finland: With Saturday's 3-2 loss at New Jersey the Panthers have now won only two of their first nine games, five of them going to overtime or shootouts. Florida now faces Winnipeg two in a row in Helsinki, Finland, as part of NHL's Global Series this Thursday and Friday. Maybe a break from North America will do the Cats good.

8. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Canes men's hoops still embroiled in FBI mess: FBI wiretaps into college basketball corruption include Adidas reps discussing whether to divert a top recruit from Arizona to UM, an Adidas school. Neither Jim Larranaga or his program have been implicated in wrongdoing, but it's still an unwanted cloud as his Hurricanes' Nov. 9 season opener nears.

9. SOCCER: It was an unusual El Clasico Sunday: Real Madrid at Barcelona in La Liga play on Sunday was the 238th El Clasico but the first in more than a decade featuring neither Cristiano Ronaldo (who left Madrid for Juventus over the summer) nor Lionel Messi (out injured for Barca with a fractured arm). Call it El Clasico Reducido. And a rout: Barca, 5-1.

10. FIU: ButchCats win, get bowl-eligible: FIU is 6-2 and bowl-eligible after a 38-17 rout at Western Kentucky. Last year FAU's Lane Kiffin dwarfed FIU's Butch Davis in attention among the first-year coaches. This year so far: Lane Train off the rails and it's all ButchCats.

Missing the HB10 cut: Halloween is Wednesday. I wanted a costume nobody else would have, so I'm dressing up as someone who isn't the least bit worried that America is going insane ..... That reminds me: Robert D. Bowers and Cesar Sayoc, your reservations in Hell are confirmed ..... Four Jaguars reportedly tried to skip out on a $64,000 bar tab in London. I'm guessing they went top-shelf? ..... LeBron wins! Finally, after the Lakers' 0-3 start ..... Marlins' recently signed young Cuban star, Victor Victor Mesa, is relentlessly active on social media. If his hitting is as productive as his Tweeting, Fish fans will be in for a treat ..... Countdown now 21 days 'til NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway ..... Update: Countdown now 2,794 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter GradeWade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackKid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 09, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.4%; plus Tannehill, Fins collapse, blow huge lead in 27-17 loss in Cincy; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 8. Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results (they're sky-high) may be found in the previous blogpost. 2) Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes rally past FSU with CSM poll, other state Collball, your World Series rooting-interest verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: From Canes' comeback win over FSU: From the stadium on Miami's 28-27 victory over the Seminoles, led by N'Kosi Perry's four touchdown passes: Kid QB Passes His Big Test. Also, voting continues all day in the latest Canesfan postgame poll. Find it in the blogpost directly below or get there directly here. 

Select recent other columns: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 6.4%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 6.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 27-17 road loss at Cincinnati putting Miami's season record at 3-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 20%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

Next poll: Oct. 14 following game vs. Chicago.

G5: CINCINNATI 27, DOLPHINS 17: COMPLETE COLLAPSE AS MIAMI BLOWS 17-POINT LEAD!Postgame thoughts at Bengals, 27-17: A tale of two Miamis. Saturday, the Hurricanes overcome a 20-7 halftime hole to beat FSU 28-27. Today, the Dolphins blow a 14-0 halftime lead, completely collapse and fall in Cincinnati 27-17. It was a Tannehill second-half meltdown, first with a 22-yard interception-return TD, then with a sack/fumble returned 19 yards for a score, and finally with another interception. Penalties hurt Miami again, too. As usual. So a season once 3-0 is now 3-2. And Dolfans are left to wonder which was worse: Getting blown out 38-7 in Foxboro. Or the 27 straight unanswered points given up today. Close call. No winning answer .....     Halftime thoughts at Dolphins, 14-0: A Kiko Alonso red-zone interception. A 22-yard Ryan Tannehill TD strike to Kenyan Drake. Vincent Taylor's block of a short field goal attempt. Jakeem Grant's late 70-yard punt=return score. Big plays are carrying the Dolphins so far in Cincinnati, a low-scoring upset in the making. Long way to go, but thus far a very impressive bounceback performance by Dolphins after last week's fiasco in Foxboro ..... Original post: Dolphins need a healing win after last week's 38-7 loss to the Patriots in the Fiasco at Foxboro, but finding Miacinthat remedy Sunday in Cincinnati will be tough in this duel of 3-1 teams and unlikely division leaders. Miami hasn't been 4-1 through five games since 2003, and I do not see them getting there on the road vs. the Bengals. This marks only these teams' seventh meeting since 2000, with Cincy winning the most recent, 22-7, in 2016. Andy Dalton is 1-2 in his career vs. Miami with five interceptions, but the Bengals' uptempo offense is the best and most balanced it has been in years, and the ‘Gals add two key pieces here, getting top defender Vontaze Burfict back from suspension and also expecting to have starting running back Joe Mixon back from injury. In contrast, Miami could be missing as many as six starters to injuries. Yes, there are reasons Cincy is favored by 5 1/2 points. This in some ways might be a bigger defensive challenge for Miami then even the Patriots were last week. Dalton to A.J. Green will be a handful for Xavien Howard, and Mixon and Gio Bernard form one of NFL’s better running back tandems. (Speaking of running backs, look for Dolphins coach Adam Gase to remember that Kenyan Drake is pretty good and start feeding him the ball again. That was the focus of this column by me. Maybe Adam read it). Ball control to limit Cincy’s offensive forays might be Miami’s best upset shot. I do think the Dolphins are a fair bet to cover the point spread. Bengals could be in letdown mode after last week’s last-second 37-36 upset win in Atlanta. But the Fins lost a lot of trust capital with me in that utter collapse last week. Also, the Dolphins are only 1-6 in their past seven road games, making this a strong venue call. My pick: Bengals, 30-20.

Watch for latest DSM postgame poll, right here and also on my Twitter site, right after today's game ends.

Visit Week 5 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

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. HURRICANES: Perry, defense lead miracle-rally past FSU: Miami trailed 20-7 at home into the third quarter Saturday. Little was going right. But N'Kosi Perry's three second-half TD passes and a mighty defense rising up worked the Miracle On Marino Boulevard. For my game column centered on Perry: Kid QB Passes His Big Test.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami blows 17-point in monumental collapse in Cincinnati: At 3-0 Dolfans were chanting "Su-per Bowl!" After a 38-7 loss in New England it was "Here we go again." And then came Sunday's 27-17 loss in Cincy after Fins blew 17-0 lead. Until further notice: Same ol' Dolphins.

3. HEAT: Butler trade reportedly falls apart: Heat is 0-3 halfway through its six-game preseason schedule as the Oct. 17 regular season opens draws nearer. More importantly, the push to trade for Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler, so close, fell apart over the weekend, ESPN reported.

4. PANTHERS: Cats open 25th season with loss, Luongo injury: A 2-1 season-opening shootout loss at Tampa Bay and goalie Roberto Luongo helped off the ice in the second period with a knee injury made for what you'd call an inauspicious debut Saturday night. Luongo will be sidelined two to four weeks, missing Thursday's home opener. 

5. MLB: Brewers first team to clinch division series: Brewers swept Rockies 3-0 while Dodgers are up 2-1 on Braves and can cinch today. In AL, Astros lead Indians 2-0 and can clinch today, while Red Sox and Yankees are tied 1-1 entering Game 3 today. Over/under on that one is what, 4 hours?

6. UFC: Nurmagomedov beats McGregor, brawl ensues: Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight title in Las Vegas by submitting Conor McGregor in a chokehold, a highly anticipated and well-fought bout that devolved into a post-fight brawl. Admit it. Didn't you want both guys to lose?

7. GATORS: Florida drowns No. 5 LSU in the Swamp: No. 22 Florida impressively won a third straight SEC game Saturday with a big 27-19 win over favored and 5th-ranked LSU. The Gator defense will keep this team in every game and Dan Mullen is the mayor of Gainesville.

8. MARLINS: The sting of Yelich as Fish begin offseason: Off an NL-worst 63-98 record, the salary-cutting, rebuilding Marlins plan for 2019. But this hurts: Seeing Christian Yelich lead Milwaukee in the playoffs in a likely MVP season. So cheap to keep, Yelich was. (Shake my head...)  

9. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Controversial judge confirmed to Supreme Court: Several women testifying about his past lechery and sexual misconduct were not enough to derail Kavanaugh's approval to the Highest Court. Remember when saying "Only in America" was a good thing?

10. CRISTIANO RONALDO: Soccer god face rap allegation: Ronaldo has resumed league play for Juventus despite the Portuguese superstar facing a rape allegation in the United States stemming from a 2009 accusation he has steadfastly denied. No matter how it shakes out, Ronaldo may have a future on the U.S. Supreme Court!

Missing the HB10 cut: Update. Countdown now 2,815 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 06, 2018

Verdict in! See how you ranked teams in LeBatard Show/League of Lobos fantasy draft (and you won't believe won won!); plus tonight's Falcons-Eagles pick, MLS/Miami's new name and logo, latest Back In My Day video (Collecting!) & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6. See the previous blogpost for the result of the season's first Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. It ain't pretty. 2) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall hard to LSU in opener with CSM poll and results, other State Collball Week 1, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Picks Upsetbird"Aaawwwk!" NFL Friday predix are back! Here's tonight's pick: Our Friday NFL predictions (posted online Thursdays beginning late this afternoon) return starting this week. For tonight's Falcons-Eagles pick: Thursday Night Gem. Pictured: Our Friday picks shield, and an artist rendering of the Upset Bird, the never-photographed raven and trusted prognosticatory sidekick. "Aaawwwk!"

Latest column: Don't bail on Canes yet, but time for UM to remind us why we all thought The U was back: Here's my column off UM's 33-17 season-opening football loss to LSU: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... Other recent Canes columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsCanes Could Go 12-0 and Still Have Mountain to ClimbNow We See How Hurricanes Handle Burden Of ExpectationsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town.

Annual NFL team rankings: Dolphins higher than you think: It's NFL Opening Week, here are my annual NFL Team Rankings, and who's No. 1 might surprise you. So might how low the Patriots are ranked and how high the Dolphins are. Check it out, 1 through 32: NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

Wolfmoon TardshowHOW'D I DO? (VERY WELL, THANKS!) HERE'S HOW YOU RANKED THE LEBATARD SHOW'S 'LEAGUE OF LOBOS' FANTASY DRAFT IN A BLIND POLL: The NFL regular season starts Thursday night, so if you haven't done your league's fantasy draft yet, WAKE UP! ESPN's Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz had its League Of Lobos online draft Tuesday afternoon, a snake draft in a PPR league whose 14 members, alphabetically, are Roy Bellamy, Chris Cote, Greg Cote (that's me!), Amin Elhassan, Domonique Foxworth, Guillermo (Billy) Gil, Mina Kimes, Dan LeBatard, Lorenzo Rodriguez, Mike Ryan, Randy Scott, Sarah Spain, Allyson Turner and Jon (Stugotz) Weiner. In this poll, I listed every team's first four picks, in the draft order, without telling you (until after the vote) who the selector was. So you were ranking the teams 1 through 14 based on which of the first four picks you'd most want to have. Note: A few days ago I Tweeted out my first three picks in my other league, a friends 'n family deal. This is a different league, different draft. By the way, four Dolphins went in our 14-round, 196-player LeBatard Show draft: Kenyan Drake in the 3rd round (31st overall), Kenny Stills in the 8th round (109th), Danny Amendola in the 9th (114th) and DeVante Parker in the 9th (120th). You may still vote below, but we cut it off and made it official right at 1 p.m. after almost 1,000 votes (984) had been counted. Your verdict:

Lobos

 

 

 

 

CHAMPION!: GREG COTE (Team #2 led by Le'Veon Bell)--17.07%.

CONTENDERS: Guillermo "Billy" Gil (#10/Kareem Hunt)--14.23%; Jon "Stugotz" Weiner (#1/Todd Gurley)--13.11%; Chris Cote (#11/Christian McCaffrey)--12.70%.

PRETENDERS: Amin Elhassen (#8/Alvin Kamara)--6.50%; Mina Kimes (#14/Dalvin Cook)--5.18%; Domonique Foxworthy (#12/Leonard Fournette)--4.98%; Sarah Spain (#4/Antonio Brown)--4.78%.

ALSO-RANS: Randy Scott (#7/Ezekiel Elliott)--4.57%; Allyson Turner (#6/DeAndre Hopkins)--4.37%; Roy Bellamy (#5/Saquon Barkley)--4.17%; Dan LeBatard (#13/Julio Jones)--3.66%.

DREGS: Mike Ryan (#9/Odell Beckham)--2.95%; Lorenzo Rodriguez (#3/David Johnson)--1.73%.

Thanks to all who voted! #WeAreTheLobos!

MlsmiamiMLS MIAMI HAS A NAME AND LOGO: What we've been calling "MLS Miami" or "the Miami expansion soccer team fronted by David Beckham" now has a name and a shield/logo/crest. With an announcement this morning, Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami is born. It will begin play in Major League Soccer in 2020 at various sites, and move into its new stadium at the Melreese site (supposedly) in 2021. The new 13-syllable full name does not exactly roll off the tongue but Inter Miami will be the quickie version. The name reflects Miami's diversity. Said managing owner Jorge Mas: "Our city and our fans draw their strength from the dreams of a global population that calls Miami home. It is only fitting that our name pays tribute to the inclusiveness that makes us who we are." The circular crest depicts two tropical birds back to back with the sun behind them, and the Roman numeral MMXX, for 2020. The raised legs suggest the birds are flamingos, and there's an ibis flavor, too. But enough aviary talk. The Miami Flamingos (!) hit the field in about 18 months.

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': COLLECTING!: This debuted on yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. Not my favorite BIMD, but they can't all be, right?

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 31, 2018

PS4: Dolphins 34, at Atlanta 7: Wizard of Os shines, Fins provide some hope as rocky preseason ebbs; plus our 2018 NFL Team Rankings, Hurricanes and burden of expected greatness, your verdict on what team owns this town, Beckham and Uncle Elton & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, AUGUST 31. Farewell, August. You were a trying month of turbulence but, ultimately, of renewed hope. 2) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): What team owns this town with poll, latest Back In My Day video, your verdict on No. 1 fantasy pick & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our annual NFL team rankings: Dolphins higher than you think: My annual NFL Team Rankings are out today, and who's No. 1 might surprise you. So might how low the Patriots are ranked, how high the Dolphins are and a bunch of other stuff, too. Check it out, 1 through 32: NFL 2018 Team Rankings. 

New column: Hurricanes face burden of expected greatness: Reality: No. 8-ranked UM has a chance for a 12-0 regular season when the games begin Sunday night vs. LSU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Also reality: That might not be good enough. The Canes are close to all the way back -- close enough to see the four-team College Football Playoff as a reasonable goal. But they still must find a way to close the gap on elite powerhouses like Alabama and ACC roadblock Clemson to be all the way back, meaning national-championship good. I explore in my latest column: Canes Could Go 12-0 and Still Have Mountain to Climb.

PS4: DOLPHINS 34, @ ATLANTA 7: WHY THIS ONE WAS A LITTLE BIT IMPORTANT: Miami tonight avoided what would have been only the fourth winless preseason in its history in a game of scrubs on both sides. Notably, Brock (Wizard of Os) Osweiler outplayed David Fales to (likely) secure the backup QB job. The result was largely meaningless, except that it allows the Fins lockerroom and Dolfans a bit of feelgood, a hint of momentum, as the regular season moves in ..... Original post: Fourth and final preseason games mostly are about helping a head coach settle the close calls on roster decisions. MiaatlStarters don't play much, and avoiding injuries is seen as more important than winning. But tonight's PS4 in Atlanta is a bit different for Miami (0-3 in exhibitions) and coach Adam Gase. The Dolphins in 52 seasons have finished a preseason 0-4 only three times (in 1966, 1989 and 2012), and in none of those years did Miami make the playoffs or have a winning record. Small sample size, but it’s pretty clear that if you haven’t found a way to win in August, chances are you won’t find a magic light switch once the real games begin. That, and last week’s dispiriting 27-10 home spanking by Baltimore, means Gase is looking for a positive preseason-closing performance that will give his team (and its fans) something to feel good about. A puff of tailwind as the Sept. 9 season opener vs. Tennessee chugs into view. "We just didn’t have a very good game last week," as Gase put it. "We have to make sure that we play better." The ongoing duel between pessimism and doubt about the Dolphins and reasons to believe is the subject of my new column: Dolphins Must Make Us Believe.

UPOLL RESULT: CANES FOOTBALL 'OWNS THIS TOWN': We ran a poll (you may still vote in preceding blogpost) to accompany this recent column: Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town. Because I wondered if you all agreed. The poll asked, "If you could choose only one, which team currently 'owns this town,' by however you define the term?" Your results: Hurricanes football 56.85 percent, Heat 20.55%, Dolphins 19.18% and "other" 3.42%. These things are cyclical. The same poll five years ago and the Heat likely would have dominated. But right now? It's all about The U!

BecksDAVID BECKHAM AND 'UNCLE ELTON': The face of the new Miami franchise that will begin play in Major League Soccer in 2020, David Beckham, is pictured this week on a yacht in the French Riviera alongside wife Victoria and Elton John, a fellow Brit whom Becks has known for years.  Life is good for the Beckham clan. Do not fret that he is overworking himself. This is the fourth vacation this summer for the Beckhams and their four children: Brooklyn, 19, Romeo, 15, Cruz, 13, and Harper, 7. The French Riviera follows family forays to Croatia, Bali and Montenegro. "Uncle Elton. We have known each other now for 25 years. Fun times with each other," Beckham wrote on his Instagram page.

Other select recent columns: Finally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 04, 2018

The new Hot Button Top 10: Football in top spot, but see which team and what else falls where; plus our latest columns, your Dwyane Wade verdict, 4-Man Outfield (updated) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY-MONDAY, AUGUST 4-6. Posting Sunday's Hot Button Top 10 early this week because I'm-a takin' the long weekend off! 2) Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dwyane Wade's next move with poll, Frank Gore's perfect end run, NFL cluelessness on anthem protests, Zach Thomas and Canton & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: On NFL's quagmire, Gore's homecoming: Click on NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest Quagmire and Gore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End Run to read my most recent columns. The headlines are pretty self-explanatory. One's on Roger Goodell's cluelessness, the other's a feelgoodie on ex-Cane Frank Gore back in the 3-0-5 for first time in 14 years.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 5): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature (posted a bit early this week) 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: Let the (preseason) games begin!: Are you ready for some football? Better question: Are the Miami Dolphins ready for some football? After a little over a week of practice and then Saturday's midday scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami plays its first of four exhibition games Thursday August 9 vs. Tampa Bay at The Rock. It'll be a play-everybody dress rehearsal with early roster trims in mind, yes. Who wins won't count for much, no. But, still: Football's back, baby!

2. HURRICANES: UM football No. 8 in first big preseason poll: With the Sept. 2 season opener looming, the high hopes for Canes football got validation with The U's debut at No. 8 in the nation in the USA Today Coaches poll, the first major ranking out -- marking UM's first time in a preseason top 10 since 2005. The  bad news? Miami's ACC roadblock, Clemson, checks in No. 2, trailing only (of course) Alabama.

3. MLS MIAMI: Team takes shape as new GM is hired: Paul McDonough was Atlanta United's VP of soccer operations. Now he is Miami's new general manager who'll start putting together the Major League Soccer expansion team's roster. (Although McDonough's official title here will be "Sporting Director." Which is sooo soccer). The Jorge Mas/David Beckham's group's team is to begin play in 2020 and be in its new stadium by 2021, presuming a November referendum green-lights the Melreese site.

4. MARLINS: Two small trades, one special callup top week: Fish beat the MLB trade deadline by dealing middle reliever Brad Ziegler and outfielder Cameron Maybin for prospects. It's who they didn't trade (J.T. Realmuto) that mattered. And this: Outfielder Isaac Galloway finally earning his promotion from Triple A and getting his first big league at-bat after 947 games in the minors. That's the kind of feelgood story baseball does best.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Trouble for Urban Meyer at Ohio State: Preseason No. 3 Ohio State got gut-punched when the university placed coach Urban Meyer on paid "administrative leave" pending an investigation whether Meyer knew of a 2015 domestic violence allegation against an assistant but did nothing. That's d-i-s-t-r-a-c-t-i-o-n. With a capital D.

6. GOLF: Tiger, Phil agree to mega-match: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson agreed to play a head-to-head match for a reported $10 million payout over the Thanksgiving weekend in (where else?) Las Vegas. Tiger is 42, Phil is 48, both are past their prime and this will be the biggest thing in golf. Not sure if that says more about the state of the sport or the enduring appeal and popularity of Tiger and Phil. But I'll watch.

7. LEGAL SYSTEM: Jose Fernandez estate settles suit: The estate of former Marlins ace pitcher Jose Fernandez settled a wrongful-death suit brought by the families of the two men killed in the September 2016 boat crash that killed all three men. The agreement was reached on what would have been Fernandez's 26th birthday, bringing closer to closure one of the worst tragedies in South Florida sports history.

8. SOCCER: Brits rule ICC's swing through Miami: English Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City prevailed in the two International Champions Cup men's matches at Hard Rock Stadium. Man U defeated Spain's Real Madrid 2-1, after Man City beat Germany's Bayern Munich 3-2. The Real Madrid match drew a sellout of 64,000. Maybe they hadn't hard Cristiano Ronaldo was no longer with the team?

9. NFL: Ex-Cane Ray Lewis leads Hall inductees in Canton: After Thursday's Bears-Ravens game kicked off the preseason in Canton, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher and no-show Terrell Owens led the Saturday parade of latest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dear T.O.: Nobody missed you and you'll regret not going the rest of your life. Dear Hall voters: Compare Urlacher's career to Zach Thomas' and tell me why one was a first-ballot inductee and the other gets no love?

10. GOLF: Year's final major on deck: The 100th PGA Championship, the season's final major, is this coming Thursday through Sunday in Missouri. Will this be Tiger's breakthrough for his first career major win since 2008? And what's the over/under on how many times I've asked that since 2008?

Missing the HB10 cut: WWDD. What would Dwyane do? Free agent Dwyane Wade soon will decide either to play another season in Miami, retire, play in China or play elsewhere in the NBA. That's in order of likelihood, with one more Heat season the betting -- and sentimental -- favorite ..... NFL announced the 2019 Pro Bowl would be returning to Orlando, and nobody cared ..... Patriots sign Eric Decker. Evidently he was the last small white receiver available ...... Yankees at Red Sox on Sunday night. Still the best rivalry in sports. And getting better? ..... An Italian football team hired Art Briles. Um, did they not Google his name first!? ..... Juventus beats MLS All-Stars on penalties after a 1-1 draw.  Anything in sports worse than deciding soccer games on penalty-kick tiebreaker? ..... Dear young athletes who used to be dumb bigots: Erase those old Tweets! ..... Update. Countdown now 2,878 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

POLL RESULT: STRONG MAJORITY SEE D-WADE RETURNING TO HEAT: With Dwyane Wade a free agent at age 36 and expected to announce his intentions sometime this month, we asked, "What do you predict Dwyane Wade will do?" and offered four choices. "Play another season with the Heat" won easily with 69.95 percent, while "Follow money, play in China" drew 16.75%. Another 10.34% voted "Retire from basketball," and only 2.96% said "Sign with different NBA team."

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): HOT YELICH GROWS LEADThroughout 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 (though injured) Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the most highly regarded 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 base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog. The latest:

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

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers           .921   97 380 77 122   59  23-4-17     .321

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees       .849  107  419 67 116   66  20-1-25    .277

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals           .704  106 415  44 111   59  11-1-13     .267

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins               .570   84  290  22  54   30   6-4-10     .186

Other recent columnsDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy One, on start of training camp, and To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades, on the death of Tony Sparano. Also: Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 30, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Dolphins camp takes on soccer at The Rock for No. 1. See who wins and what else falls where; plus your verdict on Fins win total and Tannehill, 4-Man Outfield & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 30. Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins open training camp with two polls and my Tannehill column, R.I.P. Tony Sparano, Heat seen as seventh seed, The List & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

On Tannehill as Dolphins open training camp: I write in my latest column that Miami needs a new and improved Ryan Tannehill as he begins his comeback season with the start of training camp. The Dolphins need him to be what he hasn't been thus far: A difference-maker able to lift a team and put it on his shoulders. To read that latest column, click Dolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy One.

Other recent columnsTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades, on the death of Tony Sparano. Also: Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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. SOCCER: Top-tier soccer back Hard Rock with ICC matches: The Stephen Ross-invented annual International Champions Cup global soccer tournament is back at Hard Rock Stadium, bringing top-tier futbol to town -- although years like this when it immediately follows the World Cup don't bring quite the same sizzle. Manchester City beat Bayern Munich 3-2 Saturday before 29,195 in the first of two games in Miami, with Real Madrid vs. Manchester United coming Tuesday night. Consider it free ad for the November referendum vote for David Beckham's new MLS stadium. man 3-2 29,195 

2. DOLPHINS: Rose-colored glasses on as training camp begins: Miami Dolphins training camp began Thursday at Davie headquarters and so today/Monday is Day 5 of the Optimist Festival. Early indications are that Adam Gase is thrilled, everybody looks great, Ryan Tannehill is dominating early practices and the 6-10 team with about the same wins over/under for 2018 could be the surprise of the NFL. Training camps should come with a warning label: Caution! Whatever you see and especially whatever you are told means nada until real games begin Sept. 9.

3. HURRICANES: UM football's 'Paradise Camp' returns to campus: Mark Richt's third annual Paradise Camp returned to campus on Saturday, the yearly one-day Family Love-In in which past, current and future Canes gather to celebrate what's special about being in the football fraternity known as The U. A brilliant tool for brand-growing as fall practice nears.

4. MARLINS: Fish break out the 'MVP Chain': Miami is now 5-4 after the break with Saturday's win on J.T. Realmuto's walk-off hit then Sunday's gem by Jose Urena to wraps the homestand. Now it's on to seven straight on the road. Meanwhile the team has created an "MVP Chain" that the player of the game is given to wear following wins. Um, does UM's Turnover Chain get royalties?

5. HEAT: Team, Riley expect Wade decision soon: Heat godfather Pat Riley told reporters this week he expects free agents Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem to decide in the next few weeks whether to re-up with the Heat. Wade has a lucrative offer waiting in the Chinese Basketball League. Meanwhile Riley said he is "not frustrated at all" by the club's offseason inactivity, as if any team executive in any sport is prone to publicly admitting frustration.

6. TONY SPARANO: Ex-Dolphins coach dies suddenly: The Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach, who led the Dolphins in 2008-11, died unexpectedly of a heart ailment at 56. Sparano inherited a team that had gone 1-15 the year before and led it to an 11-5 record in his first season. A genuine good guy. R.I.P. 

7. MLB: Flurry of deals as trade deadline nears: Manny Machado and Cole Hamels were among big names changing uniforms ahead of this Tuesday's MLB trade deadline. Hoping Marlins, potential sellers, will be quiet and not move, say, J.T. Realmuto. 

8. COOPERSTOWN: Baseball Hall inducts 6 more Sunday: Chipper Jones and Vladimir Guerrero headed a 2018 Hall of Fame class that also included Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris. Which of course begs the question, "Alan Trammell and Jack Morris!?" 

9. CYCLING: Welshman wins Tour de France: Geraint Thomas of Wales, former support rider for the great Chris Froomes, clinched the Tour de France championship on Sunday along the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

10. LEGAL SYSTEM: Nasser assaulted in jail: Disgraced Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser, doing life for sexually abusing dozens of gymnasts, was assaulted in prison and is now asking for a new trial. The national group, People Who Feel Sorry For Larry, will be meeting Monday in that phone booth over at Fifth & Vine.   

Missing the HB10 cut: Former Hurricanes running back Tyrone Moss, gone too soon at 33. R.I.P. ..... An intentionally set fire destroyed dozens of gold carts at Melreese. Was a hooded figure resembling David Beckham seen running from the blaze? ..... Fox New reporter Britt McHenry bashed Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill in a series of Tweets, begging the question, "Britt McHenry!?" ..... Dez Bryant, continuing to be Dez Bryant, went on a Twitter rant blasting former Cowboys teammates and the team's play calling ..... Florida's two-day lobster mini-season was this past week. That's a lot of effort to catch something I can buy at Publix ..... The WNBA All-Star Game was held Saturday in Minnesota, and I have no idea who won, or who played ..... Update. Countdown now 2,885 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

POLL RESULTS: CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM FOR BOTH DOLPHINS SEASON, TANNEHILL: We asked, "As training camp begins what are your honest expectations for this Dolphins season?" and it  was 34.01 percent for 9 wins and 17.01% for 10-plus. That's 51.02% thinking playoffs or at least in the hunt. After that it was 19.73% 8 wins, 9.52% for both 6 and 7 wins, and 10.20% for 5 or fewer. The betting over/under for Miami wins is commonly 6 1/2, so voters in our poll definitely were thinking "over." We also asked, "As he begins his 7th NFL season, how confident are you in quarterback Ryan Tannehill?" and Very beat Somewhat by 41.13% to 35.46%, with the other 23.40% voting Not Very. That's a split vote, but generally conveys at least modest support.

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): YELICH OVERTAKES STANTONThroughout 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 (though injured) 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 base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog. The latest:

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

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers           .911   92 359  70 115   57  21-4-15     .320

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees       .854  103  404  64 113   64  19-1-24    .280

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals           .701  101 395  41 106   57  10-1-12     .268

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins               .570   84  290  22  54   30   6-4-10     .186

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 23, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Dolphins training camp? Wade to China? Soccer? See what's No. 1 and who else falls where; plus our latest column (Fins), your Dolphins anthem-policy verdict, 4-Man Outfield & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 23. R.I.P., Tony Sparano, former Dolphins head coach, dead suddenly and unexpectedly at age 56. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins anthem policy poll, Miami MLS stadium wins to get on ballot, Time's Trump/Putin cover, your ASG vs. HRD verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Dolphins poised to exceed expectations as camp opens: The offseason segues into the preseason for the Dolphins and 31 other NFL teams with the full start of training camps this week. For Miami it's been a brutal offseason in terms of media criticism and low public perception. But fans should expect better as camp opens. I explore why in my latest column. Click Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal Offseason to read.

Other recent columnsSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootWhy 'Melo To Miami Would Be Strange MarriageLeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth ApplaudingTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursTannehill's Defining Season.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Training camp opens under (more) anthem cloud: Offseason turns to preseason with Thursday's first full Dolphins practice of training camp. Meantime the NFL firestorm over national-anthem protests enters its third year with Miami in the middle. Dolphins instituted a policy threatening four-game suspensions for on-field protests, then walked that back as NFL put on hold its new go-hide policy mandating that any protests be off the field and out of view.

2. SOCCER: Miami MLS stadium gets onto ballot: By the perfect soccer score of 3-2 the Miami City Commission voted to allow the Miami Freedom Park soccer stadium initiative onto the November ballot. Public approval of a stadium at the Melreese site would then lead to lease negotiations between the Beckham group and city. Meantime the team set to begin play in 2020 has targeted Atlanta United VP Paul McDonough as its new general manager.

3. HEAT: No 'Melo. Now can Miami keep Wade from China?: Heat and Houston were after Carmelo Anthony, but he was traded to Atlanta in a three-team deal instead, continuing a quiet free agency period for Miami. When your biggest move is re-signing Wayne Ellington for one year, your offseason has been a Lollopa-snoozer. But that could change for the worse if Dwyane Wade, a free agent, actually leaves Miami for the Chinese league's Xinjiang Flying Tigers, who reportedly are offering a monster contract. "Qing buyao zou, Dwyane!" (That means please don't go).

4. MARLINS: Fish back at it after break, stay hot: Miami is now 23-19 since June 5 including 2-1 after the All-Star break after winning the series in Tampa Bay today before now playing six straight at home vs. NL East rivals Atlanta and Washington. With the July 29 trade deadline looming, let's see if Derek Jeter does right and holds onto all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto and ace closer Kyle Barraclough.

5. SOCCER: Hard Rock poised to host ICC soccer: The annual International Champions Cup, a brainchild of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, is coming to Hard Rock Stadium, with Manchester City facing Bayern Munich this coming Saturday and then Manchester United vs. Real Madrid July 31. No more Ronaldo for Real, alas. Still, these club giants figure to deliver a level of futbol comparable to or even exceeding what we just saw in the World Cup.

6. GOLF: Tiger falters, Molinari wins British Open: Tiger Woods shot 66 at Carnoustie in Scotland Saturday, his best major round in seven years, and briefly held the lead Sunday before faltering in the British Open. Tiger in the hunt in a major was all we can ask for. Wait. Check that. I guess all we can ask for would have been his first major win since 2008. Instead Francesco Molinari became the first Italian to win a major. Quick aside: British Open courses are the ugliest on Earth, and those painted-green greens surrounded by brown look ridiculous.

7. HURRICANES: ACC Media Days means football is near: As Mark Richt plans for his Paradise Camp this coming Saturday, ACC Media Day were held in Charlotte. The consensus? Miami should be really good in 2018, and with eight returning starters on defense that Turnover Chain should be flyin'. Canes should win the Coastal Division and have a rematch with Clemson for the conference crown. Wait, we had to fly to Charlotte for that

8. NBA: Kawhi Leonard trade tops the week: San Antonio Spurs traded disgruntled star Kawhi Leonard to Toronto even-up for DeMar DeRozan n a deal that didn't seem to please either player but likely helped both teams. It was NBA's biggest offseason move; well, other than that guy whatshisname going from Cleveland to the Lakers.

9. MLB: It was an especially wild All-Star break: The AL beat the NL 8-6 in a homerfest, one night after hometown hero Bryce Harper won the Home Run Derby. Oh, and Hialeah-born Manny Machado was being traded from the Orioles to the Dodgers during the game. And, oh yeah, it blew up on social media in the middle of the ASG -- while he was on the mound -- that Brewers pitcher Josh Hader had a teenage history of racist, homophobic tweets. Oy!

10. ESPN: ESPY Awards go heavy on emotion: Nobody will remember who won the top individual awards, but few will forget the emotional chords struck as ESPN (appropriately) honored the sexual abuse survivors of disgraced Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser and the three coaches who were among the mass shooting victims at Parkland's Stoneman Douglas High.

Missing the HB10 cut: Big3 basketball, a league of unretired former NBA players, came to the Heat's arena with a tripleheader Friday night. Somewhere, the guy running the Harlem Globetrotters, once the sport's reigning novelty act, is softly weeping ..... Baseball Hall of Fame inductions are next Sunday in Cooperstown. Terrell Owens is boycotting that one, too ..... The Tour de France ends next Sunday. It will be won by somebody I've never heard of and whose name I'll immediately forget ..... Update. Countdown now 2,892 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

POLL RESULTS: POLARIZING, BUT MAJORITY AGAINST NEW DOLPHINS ANTHEM POLICY: We asked, "What do you think of the Miami Dolphins' new national anthem policy threatening players who protest on the field with four-game suspensions or fines?" The response was voluminous (you may still vote), and last we checked it was 60.61 percent against, 36.60% for and 2.79% undecided. Of note, it opened around 70% percent against, but the "for" votes gained traction.

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): YELICH PUSHING STANTONThroughout 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 base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog. The latest:

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

1. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees       .859   96  378  59 105   57  18-1-23    .278

2. Christian Yelich, Brewers           .856   85 330  62 100   47  18-3-12     .303

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals           .685   95 370  39  98   51   9-1-10      .265

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins               .570   84  290  22  54   30   6-4-10     .186

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 21, 2018

What do you think of Dolphins' controversial new anthem policy? Poll. Last day to vote!: plus our latest columns on Dolphins, MLS Miami soccer; also, Time's Trump/Putin cover, your ASG vs. HRD verdict & more

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

Cotefrench1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 21. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from this week's LeBatard Show. Got a kick out of the artwork pictured at right, courtesy loyal show fan @oigomusic. It was inspired by a World Cup conversation that included me mentioning that the Cote family has partly French ancestry. Chris wears that jaunty beret quite well! 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins at the break and Jeter's plan, All-Star Game vs. Home Run Derby poll & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Why Dolphins are poised to exceed expectations: Estimations by the national NFL media and resulting public opinion have been brutal to the Dolphins this offseason. But fans should expect better as training camp begins this coming week. I explore in my latest column. Click Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal Offseason to read.

DolkneelPOLL: FOR OR AGAINST DOLPHINS' NEW ANTHEM POLICY?: The NFL and its players association agreed Thursday to suspend implementation of its new national anthem policy -- requiring players who wish not to stand to stay off the field -- pending further negotiations. while the two sides work on a resolution. That was in reaction to broad criticism after an Associated Press report that the Dolphins' new team policy threatens players who protest on the field with  up to a four-game suspension and fine. The Dolphins later clarified that "all options are open," and that kneeling players wouldn't necessarily be suspended or fined. In other words, for the NFL and the Dolphins, this whole issue remains a holy, unwinnable  and unsettled mess entering its third season clouding the NFL. I'm a freedom-of-expression guy who also believes the cause of the kneeling -- social justice and prejudice against blacks -- is a righteous one. Now have your say on the Dolphins' new policy:

MIAMI MLS SOCCER STADIUM: IT STILL WON'T COME EASY: Wednesday was a big day along the road to fruition for Miami's Major League Soccer expansion team being shepherded by the Masgroup headed by David Beckham and Jorge Mas. Mas is pictured. He's the one with the relieved smile. The 3-2 Miami City Commission vote to put the proposed Miami Freedom Park at Melreese measure on the November ballot was significant. I'd be shocked if it didn't pass, with strong support from Miami mayor Francis Suarez and with all the advertising money one envisions coming from the Beckham group as the vote nears. But hurdles remain even presuming the voters say yay, as I write in my latest column. Click on Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work Left to read in full. As commissioner Ken Russell said, "There's so many places this could [still] die along the way." Negotiations on the lease will be complicated, and tough. The city will be very demanding. That's the Loria Lesson. The city and county were played for fools in the Marlins Park deal, and so the due diligence on getting the best deal from Beckham/Mas will be painstaking. That will make difficult the October 2019 deadline for breaking ground on the new stadium. Missing that deadline could jeopardize the entire project and future of MLS in Miami or, at best, mean the stadium wouldn't be ready by the 2021 season (after the inaugural 2020-season home games are played at Hard Rock Stadium or Marlins Park or a combination). Wednesday was a significant step, but there remains a long way to go.

Other recent columnsReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes Root (on Marlins at the break). And Beckham Group's New Theme Song: It Don't Come Easy and Let The Voters Decide (our two previous columns on Miami MLS soccer stadium debate vs. Melreese golf). Also: Why 'Melo To Miami Would Be Strange MarriageLeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth Applauding7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallTannehill's Defining Season. And Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

ComboTIME MAGAZINE'S FRIGHTENING NEW COVER: It depicts a combination of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as one person. Click here for the story behind the cover, including a video that shows one man morphing into the other, and back. Eerie, especially in light of the Helsinki summit.

POLL RESULT: HOME RUN DERBY RULES: In a poll on our Twitter site we asked, "Which of MLB's two main midseason events do you prefer?" and, with nearly 1,000 votes cast, the Home Run Derby clobbered the All-Star Game by 71 percent to 29%. We asked the same question in a blog poll with very different results -- ASG beating HRD by 57.14% to 42.86% -- but that attracted fewer votes than any blog poll we've ever done.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 16, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who won week's pitched battle for No. 1 (surprise!) and what else lands where; plus Viva La France!, MLS Miami vs. Melreese (my column, your poll verdict), 4-Man Outfield (final first half) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 16. Thanks again to Ari Odzer and NBC6 for featuring us in this David Beckham/soccer report. Enjoyed it. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): MLS Miami soccer vs. Melreese golf drama and poll, Heat's interest in Carmelo Anthony, World Cup semifinals, Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

BeckhamDOS COLUMNAS EN BECKHAM/MLS MIAMI: We had two columns last week on the Beckham/Mas group's continuing bid to build a stadium in Miami for their Major League Soccer expansion team. The most recent: Beckham Group's New Theme Song: It Don't Come Easy, following Thursday night's postponement of a vote whether to allow the stadium referendum on the November ballot. (David Beckham and Jorge Mas are pictured at that meeting of the Miami City Commission). And prior: Let The Voters Decide, exhorting commissioners to approve the referendum. (We also had a blogpoll on this matter. Results are below).

Other recent columnsWhy 'Melo To Miami Would Be Strange MarriageLeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth ApplaudingLeBron's 1 Choice to Meet His Legacy Head-OnMLS Miami Says All Are Welcome7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. And Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDDATED): 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. SOCCER: Major Wednesday vote to steer MLS Miami future: David Beckham and Jorge Mas will have one last shot Wednesday to convince the Miami City Commission to place the Miami Freedom Park/soccer stadium item on the November ballot. Even if voters then approved it for the Melreese golf sight, the city would have to green-light the project. Beckham's stardom and Mas' billions vs. a bunch of golf moms hardly seems fair, but Beckham/Mas aren't out of it yet.

2. WORLD CUP: Viva La France! Viva La France!: France defeated Croatia 4-2 today in Russia for the 2018 World Cup championship, after Belgium beat England 2-nil Saturday in the Game Nobody Wants, a.k.a the third-place match. As a totally impartial journalist, I was wearing a jaunty beret and shouting "Viva la France!" today vs. the dirty, shoving Croatians who thugged their way past the Brits in the semifinals thanks to a cowardly referee afraid of yellow cards. 

3. MLB: Home Run Derby, All-Star Game on deck: All-Star Week festivities rolled out Sunday at Nationals Park in D.C. with the Futures Game and all-star softball. Tonight comes the Home Run Derby, albeit a low-watt version compared to last year's sizzler at Marlins Park. (When the star sluggers pass -- talking to you, Aaron Judge -- baseball is stuck with what the NBA's Slam-Dunk Contest has become). Then Tuesday is the 89th All-Star Game, featuring Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto and a bunch of other guys.

4. HEAT: Miami woos Carmelo Anthony: Miami reportedly is pursuing likely soon-to-be-free agent Carmelo Anthony, which sounds exciting until you remind yourself he's a 34-year-old defensive liability with fitness issues coming off the worst shooting season of his career. The good news? Most seem to think he'll sign with Houston. In other news, the Heat's youthful Summer League team finished 4-4 with Saturday's loss to Boston.

5. TENNIS: Joko's wild on Championship Weekend at Wimbledon:  In Sunday's men's final Novak Djokovic dispatched little-known Kevin Anderson, who may have been too tired to lift a racket after he beat American John Isner in a grueling 26-24 fifth set semifinal. It was Djokovic's fourth Wimbledon crown and first major title in just over two years. Angelique Kerber beat Serena Williams in straight sets in Saturday's women's finale. So, to summarize, within a few days, Serena was denied a record-tying 24th career major and missed her baby's first steps.

6. DOLPHINS: Finally! Training camp is upon us!: Fins rookies report this Wednesday and veterans report a week later, with the first full-squad practice scheduled for July 26. Then we begin to see on the field who's right: A confident team convinced it is playoff-bound. Or a skeptical national media that thinks a 6-10 team has had a tough offseason and is headed for more woe. Meantime the team may move its training camp to the main stadium site beginning in 2020.

7. MARLINS: Fish slide into break with strong first-half finish: Offering up a positive spin as the Fire-Sale Fish closed the first half of the schedule Sunday here vs. the Phillies with a rally-win on an 8-run fifth inning: After starting 20-39 Miami went 21-18, five teams have worse records at the break, and the Marlins are now on pace to lose only (!) 94 games. The slow ascent from abysmal to mediocre has seldom felt better!

8. SOCCER: Ronaldo changing uniforms: Portugese star Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the greatest active player on Earth (sorry, Messi), is taking his club-team talents from Real Madrid to Juventus on a crazy $117 million transfer fee. Juventus will pay Ronaldo $140 million over four seasons. (Um, they do realize h's 33 ... right?)

9. GOLF: Brkitish Open begins this week: Golf's next major begins this Thursday at Carnoustie. This is once again where we chew over whether Tiger Woods is finally "back" and ready to at last win his first major in 10 years, raising the volume when he shoots a solid early round, only to concede by the weekend it ain't-a gonna happen.

10. BIG3 BASKETBALL: BIG3 coming to Miami this week: Eager to see a  bunch of guys who retired from the NBA because they got too old or too slow but then decided to squeeze out that last ounce of octane in the tank? We got you covered! BIG3 basketball comes to the downtown Heat arena with four games this coming Friday night. This is where the joke goes about the Gatorade pail being filled with Geritol.

Missing the HB10 cut: John Cynn, 33, of Indianapolis, beat a field of 7,874 dreamers to win the $8.8 million grand prize in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys, but do put a deck of cards in the crib ..... Manny Pacquiao continued to not go away by knocking out WBA welterweight champ Lucas Matthysse last night ..... It's Miami Swim Week, where a bunch of models wearing almost nothing parade around. Wait, it isn't that every week in Miami? ..... The 26th ESPY Awards are this Wednesday night in L.A. Because there just are not nearly enough awards shows! ..... The Tour de France was a lot more interesting when every stage featured PED suspensions and spent needles all over the course ..... Update. Countdown now 2,899 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup ..... Thank goodness all 13 were safely rescued from that flooded Thai cave. Currently trapped even deeper in a flooded cave but with no hope of rescue: Papa John's stock.

POLL RESULT: MOST FAVOR MELREESE SITE FOR MLS SOCCER: We asked, "What best reflects your thought on the use of city-owned land near Miami International Airport?" Three choices were offered. Your verdict: 50.17 percent voted "Build Miami Freedom Park and the new MLS soccer stadium there"; 27.27% voted "Keep Melreese golf course there as it has been since 1961': and 22.56% voted "Let Miami voters decide with a ballot referendum in November."

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): STANTON ON TOP AT THE TURNThroughout 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 base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog. The latest:

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

1. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees       .864   94  371  58 103   55  18-1-23     .278

2. Christian Yelich, Brewers           .823   82  318  60  93   43  16-2-11     .292

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals           .693   90 351  38  94   49   9-1-10      .268

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins               .570   84  290  22  54   30   6-4-10     .186

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the 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.

Other select more recent columnsCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinTannehill's Defining SeasonHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote