April 18, 2021

The new Hot Button Top 10: Dolphins draft, slumping Heat, Inter Miami opener battle for the top. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus Greg Cote Show podcast, links to recent columns & more

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

Mecane1) It's SUNDAY, APRIL 18. We were back on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this past Tuesday. Find that day's show podcasts, including a new Back In My Day. One of the reasons I love being on Dan's show is the fans. They are super loyal, engaged and talented. Example: Dan jokes on-air that I should adopt a royal persona and walk into press boxes carrying a scepter. So a bunch of stuff related to that turns up online including the photo shown. So sublimely ridiculous. Love it. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Why Dolphins should trade up in draft and go all-in for Kyle Pitts, Masuyama's Masters win lifts Japan in time of anti-Asian hate, Greg Cote Show podcast with Dave Parker and Roy Bellamy & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Song of the Week: "Chosen Family," Rina Sawayama with Elton John.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: LATEST EPISODE WITH DAVE PARKER, ROY BELLAMY OUT NOW!: Our 15th podcast of 2021 (57th overall) is out now! A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. However the pod is taking this Monday off with a new episode returning on Monday, April 26. So it's perfect time to catch up on our full catalog! You can find all 57 we've done HERE for free. In our latest Ep15 we welcome in two special guests: Former Pittsburgh Pirates star Dave Parker 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. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our most recent columns: What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts / and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

Personal note: I'm on holiday for a few days. The podcast has the week off but will return with a new episode Monday, April 26. I'll miss this Tuesday's Le Batard Show but will be back on April 27. This week's Hot Button was written Saturday morning. We'll return with a blog update and a new column on Wednesday.

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

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Countdown 11 days until NFL Draft: The April 29 start of the NFL Draft is coming like a locomotive, with Miami weighing what to do with the No. 6 overall pick, or whether to trade up or down. This week's latest mock draft by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. guessed the Fins will trade up to No. 4 and take Gators tight end Kyle Pitts. (In my dreams ... or in Brian Flores'). Meantime new Vegas over/unders on wins have Miami at 9 for the new 17-game seasons, or likely wild-card contention.

2. HEAT: Playoffs no given as slumping Miami hosts Brooklyn Sunday: An NBA Finals runnerup last season, the Heat is at risk of not making the playoffs this year after falling to seventh in the East at 28-28 after a third straight loss Friday night at Minnesota. Miami has 16 games left in the abbreviated 72-game regular season starting Sunday at home vs. star-laden Brooklyn.

3. INTER MIAMI: Year 2 in MLS unfurls Sunday for Beckham, new coach: David Beckham's Inter Miami hosts the L.A. Galaxy Sunday at it's-still-Inter Miami Stadium-to-me in Fort Lauderdale, with limited fans allowed. It's the debut for new coach Phil Neville. Miami's second match is the following Saturday at the Philadelphia Union.

4. PANTHERS: Cats remain in three-way fight for Central lead: Florida is 27-12-5 after Thursday's 3-2 OT loss at rival Tampa Bay, third in NHL Central but only a point off the lead entering Saturday's rematch at the Lightning. Cats bolstered for the stretch run with a flurry of minor deals ahead of the league trade deadline.

5. MARLINS: Fish shake off rough start, get hot: Miami shook off 1-5 start at home with a 4-2 road trip that including taking three of four in Atlanta, then won the first of three back home over the Giants Friday night with strong relief pitching and homers by Starling Marte and Jazz Chisholm. Marlins were 6-7 heading into Satrday and Sunday games vs. San Fran.

6. POLITICS: Florida House passes controversial transender bill: Florida's state Hour this week passed a bill that would ban transgender female athletes from joining women’s public high school and college sports teams. If signed into law the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act would require athlete eligibility to be based on one's biological (at-birth) sex. The NCAA reiterated support for transgender athletes and announced it would not host college championships in states where discriminatory laws exist.

7. AUTO RACING: Formula One in Miami moves closer to reality: A Formula One Miami Grand Prix race in 2022 in the area of Hard Rock Stadium moved a step closer to reality this week when the Miami Gardens city commission approved a resolution to support the race, angering some residents.

8. HURRICANES: Team Diaz wraps up spring football practice: Offseason work wrapped up Saturday with the annual Spring Game at The Rock. Coach Manny Diaz's Canes open the season September 4 with the toughest possible game -- vs. reigning champion Alabama in Atlanta. Home-game individual tickets go on sale this Wednesday.

9. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League semifinals set: Results last week fashioned a heavyweight Champions League final four, with semifinals matching Real Madrid vs. Chelsea and Paris-Saint Germain vs. Manchester City. First-leg matches are set for April 27-28.

10. OLYMPICS: Are the Summer Games in jeopardy again?: A senior Japanese ruling party official said canceling this summer's Tokyo Olympics remains an option if the pandemic crisis becomes too dire, with Japan experiencing a fourth wave of infections less than 100 days from the Games' scheduled start.

Missing the HB10 cut: Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade is now a part owner of the Utah Jazz. A piece of the Heat or even the Bulls would-a made more sense, but when opportunity knocks you let it in, right? ..... The Basketball Hall of Fame announced Michael Jordan would present the late Kobe Bryant at the May 15 ceremony ..... Twenty women who have alleged inappropriate behavior or sexual assault against Texans QB Deshaun Watson have now disclosed their names. This is getting serious-real, folks ..... Two no-hitters in MLB the past week. When did that stop being a big deal? ..... WWE releases nine wrestlers in a budget cut, and this is where I pretend I've heard of or will miss any of them ..... The Florida Panthers' privately financed $65 million renovation of Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium is underway with construction of a new team practice and community ice facility. It is scheduled to open in Summer 2022...... The NCAA loosened its transfer rule. Starting next season major college football and basketball players may transfer one time before graduating without being required to sit out a year of competition ..... ESPN is mad at Alex Rodriguez because its own MLB analyst gave the scoop to The Athletic, not to his own network, that he and a billionaire partner were buying the Minnedosta Timberwolves. Hilarious! ..... Hurricanes baseball had dropped out of the Top 25 entering its weekend home series vs. Clemson ..... Patriots receiver Julian Edelman retired. Five words: Not a Hall of Famer ..... Browns snared edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney with a one-year deal ..... Texas center Charlie Collier went No. 1 overall in this week's WNBA Draft. League's 25th season tips off May 14 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is off this week -- a perfect time to catch up on any of the 57 episodes you may have missed! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,898 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Our most recent other 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.

Select other 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 / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / 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 / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / 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 / 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 / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me / and Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic.

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).

April 17, 2021

What would Jackie Robinson think of race in America today? New column; plus case for Dolphins trading up for Pitts, Matsuyama's Masters win lifts Japan in time of anti-Asian hate, latest Greg Cote Show podcast with Dave Parker and Roy Bellamy & more

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

Mecane1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 17. We were back on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on Tuesday. Find that day's show podcasts, including a new Back In My Day. One of the reasons I love being on Dan's show is the fans. They are super loyal, engaged and talented. Example: Dan jokes on-air that I should adopt a royal persona and walk into press boxes carrying a scepter. So a bunch of stuff related to that turns up online including the photo shown. So sublimely ridiculous. Love it. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top10, Greg Cote Show podcast with Dave Parker and Roy Bellamy & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Song of the Week: "Chosen Family," Rina Sawayama with Elton John.

Coteshow DavepGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH DAVE PARKER, ROY BELLAMY OUT NOW!: 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).

JackieSOMBER SURROUNDINGS FOR JACKIE ROBINSON DAY '21. NEW COLUMNJackie Robinson would be 102 years old today, had fate given him a longevity of life to approach the importance and magnitude of the one he led. Instead he died much too soon, at 53, of a heart attack in his home in 1972. Heart disease and diabetes had left him barely able to see by middle age. Tens of thousands of mourners, fans and admirers lined the streets of his funeral procession in Brooklyn. And the mind wonders, on this day of all days: What would this American hero, the man who broke the color line in Major League Baseball and died nearly blind — what would he be thinking if he could see what was happening now? In the America he worked to change by being on the front lines against racism and prejudice? In the America that still hasn’t changed nearly enough 74 years after this man endured the death threats aimed at the first Black man allowed into baseball’s highest level. Thursday is Jackie Robinson Day in MLB, the annual day of reflection when baseball honors his legacy on the anniversary of his MLB debut. When throughout the majors, so many players who had it a little easier because of him wear his number 42 to say thanks. What would Jackie Robinson be thinking as a jury verdict neared in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin? For our full latest column, visit Progress? Or heartache? What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?

KpittsMIAMI DOLPHINS NEED TO MAKE ONE MORE BOLD DRAFT TRADE AND GO ALL-IN FOR THIS PLAYER: The Miami Dolphins have been the most interesting, active player in the buildup to the NFL Draft, trading down from the third overall pick to the 12th and then moving back up to the sixth. But their work shouldn’t be done. The Fins’ aggressiveness and daring have one bold move left before they are on the clock in the first round come April 29. Miami should do what it must to get in the Atlanta Falcons’ ear and trade up two spots to the fourth pick, and there should be a determined urgency for one reason: Kyle Pitts. There is no one in this draft who would be a greater difference-maker for the Dolphins over the next 10-plus years because there is no one else in this draft who would be a greater difference-maker in what quarterback Tua Tagovailoa becomes. His Florida Gators coach, Dan Mullen, called Pitts a “unicorn.” I’d call him a generational talent who had to have been created in the laboratory or imagination of some day-dreaming offensive coordinator. For our full recent column, visit The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts.

WON'T FIX THE WORLD, BUT MATSUYAMA'S MASTERS WIN LIFTS JAPAN IN A TIME OF ANTI-ASIAN HATE: Sometimes sports delivers us a result that just feels right, like there is a heart behind the hand of fate. The Masters golf tournament did that for us Sunday. Hideki Matsuyama did that. You couldn’t help but feel good, for Hidekithe player, for the Japanese people — and for more than that — as he wrapped himself into the most beautiful ugly green jacket in the history of men’s wear. No event in sports means to tug at the heartstrings or does it better than the Masters, an air of history and reverence within golf’s singular cathedral, the gentle description of CBS’ Jim Nantz the perfect soundtrack. The troika of treachery called Amen Corner. The riotous bloom of azaleas. The impossible quaintness of Butler Cabin. The Masters unfurls as a visually stunning tableau, an oil painting come to life. An infamous past is a part of the portrait. For too many decades Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club was a society open only white men. Blacks and women need not have applied. The Masters deserves little praise for being goaded reluctantly to join the 21st Century. That is why this particular Masters felt special. Different. It felt that way in Thursday’s annual ceremonial start, when old-timers Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were joined on the first tee by Lee Elder, who 46 years earlier had become the first Black man permitted to play this tournament. Now 86, Elder was not up to hitting a tee shot but rose elegantly from his chair, with help, to acknowledge the applause of onlookers. The ceremonial honor given Elder, better late than never, was book-ended Sunday when Matsuyama became the first Japanese man to win the Masters — the first man from golf-mad Japan to win any major. In a time of anti-Asian racism and hate, this victory lifted the spirits of a nation. And that felt right. For our full recent column, visit It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

Our most recent other 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.

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ARCHIVES:

Other 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 / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / 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).

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

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

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.

Coteshow DavepGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!:
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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ARCHIVES:

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).

April 10, 2021

Talk of U.S. Olympic boycott reminds us sports, politics mix -- but that's good. New column; plus how Kawhi Leonard-to-Heat could happen, Dolphins' 6 options for great No. 6 pick in draft, new Greg Cote Show podcast (is that Dick Stockton singing?) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 10. I was back in my regular Tuesday spot this past week on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Check it out on the show's 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): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast with broadcasting legend Dick Stockton & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow DickstocktonGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: TV LEGEND DICK STOCKTON IN LATEST EPISODE OUT NOW!:
Our 14th podcast of 2021 (56th 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 56 we've done right HERE for free. In our new Ep14 we welcome in special guest Dick Stockton (pictured), the newly retired sports broadcasting legend. In a fun chat, he talks about his career and most famous call and does play-by-play on Chris eating a bowl of cereal. And he sings! Also: A new 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies,' the Mount Gregmore of all-time best sitcom casts, plus loanDepot park and MLB moving its All-Star Game. Almost forgot: Will Greg's toenail soon be for sale? Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

BeijingolysTALK OF U.S. OLYMPIC BOYCOTT REMINDS US SPORTS, POLITICS ARE ENTTWINED. AND THAT'S GOODThe United States and allies weigh boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics n China. Megan Rapinoe rips Draymond Green’s pay-gap comments. Major League Baseball moves its All-Star Game from Atlanta because of a new voting law. Remember when sports stuck to sports and didn’t mess with politics? Yeah, me neither. Those simpler times, a.k.a. good old days, are a fallacy, a figment. In my lifetime, at least. (And chances are pretty good I’m older than you). They are snapshot memories in black and white. Cassius Clay becoming Muhammad Ali in 1964 and later refusing military induction to object to the Vietnam War. Tommie Smith and John Carlos with black-gloved fists raised from the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics. Billie Jean King’s 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match a shot fired for gender equality. The inseparability of sports and politics always has existed; it only seems magnified now because ESPN and social media and the rest make it all instant and amplified. The latest example of the intermingling: Talk that the U.S. and allies may consider boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over China's human rights record. For our full latest column, visit Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good.

Kawhi LeonardIT'S WHALE SEASON AGAIN, AND HERE'S WHY MIAMI HEAT LANDING KAWHI LEONARD COULD HAPPEN: Kawhi Leonard to the Miami Heat. How’s that for getting right to the point? Kawhi Leonard to Miami demands a question mark at the moment, but that could turn to an exclamation point by this summer if the smoke we’re seeing becomes a fire involving the Heat. This is what sports has become. How it has evolved through the years for both fans and media. It’s less and less about what is and more and more about what’s next. The result of a given game is seldom as big or important as where your team is headed. In the draft. In trades. In free agency. What’s next? As players broker increasing power, and more so in the NBA than in other sports, the landscape is in constant flux. Smart teams (or lucky ones) are one seismic move from instant relevance and championship contention. So: Leonard (pictured) to the Heat. It exists for now in that murky world where rumor and speculation are in a Petri dish and might or might not grow into eventual truth. But the possibility of it, the plausibility of it, is so tantalizing as to demand a public airing. It is the whim of one player from happening. From giving Miami a Big 3 era 2.0 with Kawhi, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. It feels like there could be a legit chance this time. Heat president Pat Riley, at 76, is cast in this drama as Santiago, the fisherman in Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” Santiago was obsessed with a giant marlin. Riley prefers whales.We have seen in recent years his lines cast in expeditions involving Kevin Durant and then James Harden and then (until he signed an extension with Milwaukee) Giannis Antetokounmpo. But Miami landing those whales never seemed likely. Now feels different. For our full recent column: How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen

THE MIAMI DOLPHINS' 6 CAN'T-LOSE OPTIONS FOR A GREAT NO. 6 PICK IN THE NFL DRAFT: Quietly, the Miami Dolphins in the buildup to this month’s NFL Draft have reminded anyone paying attention how confident this front office is in its plan and direction. This is a franchise that sees itself close to being playoff-good and sustaining that level — with a vision Kylepittsthat smartly isn’t all about right now. We saw that with the two recent aggressive trades that shook up the first round. The result was Miami bumping down slightly from the third to the sixth overall pick this year but gaining an extra 2023 first-round selection. That was brilliant because A) it showed a vision to think beyond this year, or next, and B) it was tailored to April 29 in particular. Unless all of the Mel Kipers and other draftniks have it wrong, the first three players chosen — maybe the first four — will be quarterbacks. That means the Dolphins knew they would get a player they covet and need even with the dip from third to sixth. The teams wishing to trade up made it a ripe market for the Fins to move down, and they took advantage. The first-round maneuvering also verified that coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier have been truthful in their publicly stated he’s-our-guy faith in second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Deshaun Watson megatrade speculation that flared earlier this spring has cooled to near nonexistence (the spate of sexual misconduct allegations against Watson part of that). And the willingness to move down from three to six shouts loud that the Dolphins have zero intention of spending a second consecutive No. 1 pick on a QB. The aim with the sixth pick should and will be help for Tagovailoa, building around the faith in him. With the top pick certain to be Trevor Lawrence to Jaguars and the next two all-but-certain to be Zach Wilson to Jets and Mac Jones to 49ers, the draft will get interesting for Dolfans starting at four. The Falcons at four and Bengals at five might poach players that interest Miami, but with a little luck at least one might not. Atlanta really likes North Dakota State QB Trey Lance, and if like turns to love the Falcons drafting him to groom as Matt Ryan’s replacement would make sense. Cincy is expected to select a wide receiver for Joe Burrow, but a trade-down could be tempting if, say, New England or Denver are desperate to move up and select a QB such as Lance or Justin Fields. Here is our “Six at Six” list of players at the top of Fins’ radar for their first pick (Kyle Pitts, pictured, is one of them), ranked in order. For our full recent column, visit: The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft.

 

Other most recent columns: Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect (off Opening Day loss) / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope (season preview) / and In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time (tribute column).

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ARCHIVES:

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).

April 05, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Marlins, March Madness, red-hot Heat and Panthers, Masters Week battle for top. See who's No.1 and what else lands where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast with Dick Stockton out now & more

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

Eeaster1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 5. Hope ya'll had a Happy Easter Sunday and, to our Jewish friends, a celebratory 'chag Pasach sameach' to end Passover! 2) I was back in my regular Tuesday spot last week on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Check out that day's podcasts, including my latest Back In My Day. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Opening Week with columns off opener and season preview, Greg Cote Show podcast with Guinness Record-setting hot pepper eater & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

MarlinsOur most recent columns: Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect (off Opening Day loss) / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope (season preview) / and In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time (tribute column).

CoteshowDickstocktonGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: TV LEGEND DICK STOCKTON IN NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 14th podcast of 2021 (56th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 56 we've done right HERE for free. In our most recent Ep14 we welcome in special guest Dick Stockton (pictured), the newly retired sports broadcasting legend. In a fun chat, he talks about his career and most famous call and does play-by-play on Chris eating a bowl of cereal. Also, he sings! Also on the new pod, a new 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies,' the Mount Gregmore of all-time best sitcom casts, plus loanDepot park and MLB moving its All-Star Game. Almost forgot: Will Greg's toenail soon be for sale? Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 4-5): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MARLINS: Play ball! Fans (partly) back as Fish open season: Marlins' season-opening six-game homestand continues with games Monday through Wednesday vs. St. Louis after Easter Sunday off. Fish opened 1-2 vs. Tampa Bay, with bats coming alive in Saturday's 12-7 win. Miami is allowing crowds up to 27 percent capacity this season (about 9,700 per game), although the first three games have averaged only about 6,500 or 18 percent capacity. Almost forgot: The ballpark's gruesome new corporate name is "loanDepot park." (It's still Marlins Park  to me).

2. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Men's title game set as Gonzaga, Baylor advance: Unbeaten Gonzaga goes for a wire-to-wire perfect season and Baylor stands in the way in its first title game since 1948 in the men's NCAA Tournament championship game Monday night in Indianapolis. Baylor routed Houston 78-59 in Saturday's semifinal while the Zags survived UCLA 93-90 on a buzzer-beating 3 by Jalen Suggs in OT.

3. HEAT: Topsy-turvy team is hot again as Oladipo joins the flow: Heat has won four in a row and risen to a tie for fourth place in the East after Saturday's win over Cleveland -- after previously losing six straight. Newly acquired shooting guard Victor Oladipo, the trade-deadline prize, made his Heat debut Thursday. In other news, Jimmy Butler appeared shirtless at a postgame news conference, drawing playful derision from Bam Adebayo. Team's back in play Tuesday vs. Memphis.

4. PANTHERS: Fire-on-ice Cats win sixth in a row!: Florida is 26-9-4, alone in first place in the NHL Central and on a season-best six-game win streak after the weekend's 5-2 and 3-0 home dominations of Columbus. Florida now sets out on a six-game road trip starting Tuesday at Carolina. Also last week, Florida signed goalkeeper Spencer Knight, the team's 2019 top draft pick, to a three-year contract.

5. GOLF: It's the week of The Masters at Augusta: With Tiger Woods watching on TV as he recovers from severe leg injuries suffered in his recent car accident, The Masters goes on without him this week at Augusta starting Thursday. Betting favorites are led by Dustin Johnson, Bryson Dechambeau and Justin Thomas. As for Woods? L.A. detectives have determined the cause of his wreck, but thus far are refusing to reveal their finings. Hmm. 

6. NFL: Fans cheer, players gripe as league OKs 17-game season: After 43 seasons with a 16-game regular season, the NFL is increasing it to 17 games beginning this year. Fans love it. More football. TV loves it. More revenue and ratings. Players don't love it and can't believe their union let it happen.   

7. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Stanford tops Arizona in women's championship game: Women's NCAA Tournament got an all-Pac 12 title game in which Stanford edged Arizona 54-53 on Sunday for the Cardinal's first national title since 1992. No. 1 seed Stanford had advanced by beating South Carolina 66-65 while No. 3 Arizona had stunned No. 1 UConn, 69-65. Results deprived America of a championship-stage look at UConn freshman sensation and AP Player of the Year Paige Bueckers, who was held to 18 points on 5-for-13 shooting Friday.

8. TENNIS: Ash Barty leads championship weekend at Miami Open: Defending Miami Open champ Ash Barty won again on Saturday, with ease when underdog opponent Bianca Andreescu retired injured in the second set outside of Hard Rock Stadium. A no-name, who's-that men's final four advanced 19-year-old Italian Jannik Skinner and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland to Sunday's men's championship match, won by Hurkacz. This year's Miami Open was back after taking 2020 off but was decimated by star withdrawals and gutted prize money.

9. MLB: Baseball moves All-Star Game to punish Georgia voting laws: Baseball announced it's 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft would be moved from Atlanta in response to Georgia's recently passed voter suppression law. Bravo baseball!

10. INTER MIAMI: Teams cancels preseason scrimmages over COVID concerns: Inter Miami canceled three scheduled exhibition games in Bradenton ahead of its second MLS season on account of COVID-19 concerns. David Beckham's outfit and new coach Phil Neville are prioritizing full health as team preps for its April 18 season opener.

Missing the HB10 cut: Countdown: 24 days 'til Dolphins draft ..... Houston police have now begun an investigation of Deshaun Watson as 21 women have now alleged inappropriate sexual behavior during massages ..... North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams is retiring after 18 years with the Tar Heels and 33 years in the sport overall ..... Also retiring: Veteran TV sports broadcaster Dick Stockton ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 15-8 off four straight wins and goes for home sweep of Duke today ..... North Macedonia stunned Germany in a World Cup qualifying match ..... UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches commence Tuesday with Manchester City-Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid-Liverpool ..... Oh, and Miami FC, the second-tier USL team, prepares to open its new season May 2 ..... Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey, you embarrassed everyone on Earth by saying COVID testing should be done away with so as not to disrupt the Final Four ..... If anybody cares, Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 next weekend ..... Hurricanes spring football practuce continues through April 17 ..... xxxxx ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 14th episode of 2021 and 56th overall drops Monday morning on all major podcast platforms. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,912 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

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).

April 03, 2021

Miami Marlins Opening Week! 'Bottom Feeders' still after respect, lose opener 1-0 as fans return. My column from stadium; plus Greg Cote Show podcast has man who set Guinness record for eating hot peppers, our Schnellenberger tribute column & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 3. Welcome, April! Did you have an April Foolish Thursday? 2) I was back in my regular Tuesday spot this week on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Check out that day's podcasts, including my new Back In My Day. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Howard Schnellenberger tribute column, Greg Cote Show podcast with Guinness Record-setting hot pepper eater & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, 1934-2021: OUR TRIBUTE COLUMN: In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.


Coteshow MikejackGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW AND IT'S CHILI PEPPER HOT!:
Our 13th podcast of 2021 (55th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 55 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep13 we offer a tribute to the late great Howard Schnellenberger and welcome in two special guests. Meet Mike Jack (pictured), who just a Guinness World Record for eating the hottest pepper ever grown -- a ball of fire some 400 times hotter than a jalapeno. And Jeremy Tache' of Bally (nee Fox) Sports Florida is on to discuss Heat, Marlins and Schitt's Creek. Greg and Chris also chew over Dolphins' big draft trades. And Mount Gregmore is back! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (And remember: Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Sandy'BOTTOM FEEDER' MARLINS, STILL FIGHTING FOR RESPECT, DROP OPENER 1-0 AS FANS RETURN [Column from Opening Day]: Baseball began to dig itself out from under a pandemic on Thursday and carry America with it. This is the sport wrapped in symbolism, and there was plenty of that on Opening Day at still-Marlins Park-to-me and at ballparks around the country. There were more face coverings than ballcaps in the crowd, but there were fans watching, and cheering, wearing Marlins colors, moms, dads and kids remembering what normal used to feel like. After a 2020 marked by somberly empty MLB stadiums as COIVD-19 raged, fans are returning this spring, though in limited numbers such as Miami’s 27 percent capacity. There were Marlins T-shirts that read, WELCOME HOME. They marked the return of fans as the club began its 29th franchise season and 10th at what most of us still think of as “the new ballpark.” Red, white and blue bunting hung in the stands A salsa band played in the concourse beyond left field. Not since September 2019 had this place felt this alive, this itself. Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays players lined up on the first- and third-base baselines for pregame introductions, an Opening Day tradition, and applause met them, not the silence of one year earlier. The defending AL champion Rays would win the game, 1-0, on an eighth-inning Austin Meadows home run off Miami reliever Yimi Garcia, though the result of this first of 162 games was less the story of this day-into-night as the return of fans and all that symbolized. The outcome, though, did nothing to alter the season’s narrative about Miami: A team that will need to win on the strength of its starting pitching, not with a batting lineup that strikes little fear. It was only the third shutout loss in 29 Marlins season openers. Starter Sandy Alcantara was strong in six shutout innings, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out seven, but got scant help offensively. A crowd of 7,062 attended, only about 19 percent of capacity and below the max allowed because many fans remain wary. But it was an impressively spread-out, masked-up, happy-to-be-there throng. For our full latest column, visit Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect.
 

Marlins opdayMIAMI MARLINS WELCOME BACK CHEERING CROWD, FEELING OF HOPE [Season-preview column]: Baseball fans will flock to watch the Miami Marlins play a home game Thursday. They will cheer and buy hot dogs. The ballpark will be decorated in red, white and blue bunting. The umpire will shout “Play ball!” and Sandy Alcantara will begin his windup on the pitcher’s mound. All of the little stuff, the normal stuff we took for granted and missed, is coming back to us by degrees. Crowds at games. Sweet noise. The communal of fans. It is Opening Day in America. It will feel a little like a re-opening. The Marlins’ 29th season of Major League Baseball unfurls with a six-game homestand starting Thursday vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, and it will be the semblance of a real Opening Day for the first time in two years, after last season was delayed, truncated and tossed upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans were last at the former Marlins Park on September 22, 2019. They will return to find it newly renamed “loanDepot Park” now because the Marlins this week, like most franchises across sports, agreed to sell a little bit of their soul for the added revenue stream of corporate naming rights. For the full column, visit Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope.

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ARCHIVES:

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? / and 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 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: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / 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 / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And 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? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

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

March 29, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Huge week as Riley magic, Fins draft trades, Marlins Opening Week, R.I.P. Howard, Elite Eight fight for first; plus our Schnellenberger tribute column, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 29. Thanks to the Paul Castronovo Show for having us on this morning to talk Dolphins and Schnellenberger. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat and Riley steal Oladipo at trade deadline, Beckham keeps name-dropping Messi and Ronaldo for Inter Miami, Deshaun Watson's escalating off-field mess, Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow MikejackGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 13th podcast of 2021 (55th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 55 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep13 we offer a tribute to the late great Howard Schnellenberger and welcome in two special guests. Meet Mike Jack (pictured), who just a Guinness World Record for eating the hottest pepper ever grown. And Jeremy Tache' of Bally (nee Fox) Sports Florida is on to discuss Heat, Marlins and Schitt's Creek. Greg and Chris also chew over Dolphins' big draft trades. And hear the return of Mount Gregmore! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (And remember: Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HowardripHOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, 1934-2021: MY TRIBUTE COLUMN: Like grown children do with aging parents, sports fans know the day is coming for beloved old coaches who have faded from sidelines and headlines but never from our hearts. We have so long to prepare for the day, so many years, yet somehow we always feel unprepared when the news hits. Howard Schnellenberger -- father of the Miami Hurricanes football dynasty but with an impact so much greater -- passed away early Saturday. He had turned 87 two weeks earlier. We forgive hyperbole in eulogies, but sometimes what might seem like a statement too big is just right: “Without him there is no Miami football,” the Hurricanes program tweeted simply. For my full tribute column, visit In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.

Riley's magic, Beckham's optimism, Watson's mess. Our three othre 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? / and Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? Other most recent columns: 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 Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness.

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

HButton1. HEAT: Slump deepens, but Miami, Riley win big at draft deadline: Bad news? Heat has lost a season-high six straight games and fallen below .500 (22-24) and tumbled from fourth place to eighth in the East after Friday's loss at Charlotte. Good news? Miami and Pat Riley killed it on NBA trade deadline day. Couldn't pry Kyle Lowry from Toronto, but acquired 20-point scorer Victor Oladipo and forward Nemanja Bjelica without having to part with valued pieces like Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson. No Lowry? No problem! Miami is back in play Monday at Knicks.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami trades down in first round, gets draft windfall in return: The Fins on Friday shook up the NFL draft's April 29 first round by trading down from the No. 3 overall pick. Miami in return got San Francisco's No. 12 overall pick, its third rounder this year and two future first-round picks -- one in 2022 and one in 23. Then, Miami got the No. 6 overall pick this year and a '21 fifth-round pick from Philadelphia in exchange for the '21 12th overall pick, a '21 fourth-round pick and a '22 first-round pick. Got all that? Bottom line: By moving down third to sixth in this year's first round, Fins gained a 3rd-round pick in '21 and a first-rounder in '23. Smart.

3. MARLINS: It's Opening Week for Miami's 29th MLB season!: Marlins open the regular season with a six-game homestand vs. Tampa Bay and St. Louis starting this Thursday vs. the Rays, with Sandy Alcantara on the mound for Miami. Low expectations for Fish in tough NL East, based on betting numbers, though Miami snapped a 17-year playoff drought last year. Season comes after a successful spring that saw Fish finish atop the Grapefruit League standings at 14-5 (not counting five ties) after Sunday's closing win.

4. HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: R.I.P. to Canes' first champion football coach: Howard Schnellenberger passed away Saturday at age 87. His leading the Miami Hurricanes' 1983 national championship touched off a dynasty that would lead to four titles more over the next 18 seasons. He later built FAU's program from scratch.  A true South Florida sports legend. R.I.P. 

5. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: March Madness' Sweet 16 turns to Elite Eight: The original 68 teams in the men's NCAA Tournament are down to the surviving Elite Eight after weekend results. Saturday, No. 1 Baylor advanced along with Houston, Arkansas and Oregon State. (Notably eliminated: Cinderella-designate Oral Roberts and Sister Jean's Loyola). Sunday, No. 1s Gonzaga and Michigan moved on along with USC and, in an upset, UCLA. Elite Eight games are tonight and Tuesday.

6. BOXING: Tyson-Holyfield III set for Miami in May ... or is it?: The third and last fight in the Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson trilogy is set for May 29 at a socially distanced Hard Rock Stadium. But only if it ends up happening. It seemed set. Then Holyfield's camp announced Tyson had rejected the $25 million guarantee. Then, a day after Tyson proclaimed the fight was on, his reps told TMZ the boxer misspoke and wasn't aware how far apart the two sides are in negotiations. So stay tuned. Quick aside: Tyson is 54 and Holyfield 58. Tick tock, fellas!

7. HURRICANES: Spring football practice breaks for UM's NFL Pro Day: Midway through its 15 spring practices, UM pauses on Monday to welcome in scouts for its annual Pro Day in advance of the NFL Draft. Two ex-Cnes -- defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau -- are seen as certain first-rounders, though likely mid-round. Spring practice concludes April 17.

8. PANTHERS: Ekblad injured in Florida win: Florida is 22-9-4, third in NHL Central and only two points off the lead after a pair of wins in Dallas. Sunday's was was costly, though, as defenseman Aaron Ekblad left the ice on a stretcher with a serious left leg injury that will keep him out "an extensive time," said coach Joel Quenneville. Ekblad is a Norris Trophy finalist for NHL defenseman of the year award.

9. TENNIS: What's left of Miami Open reaches midpoint: Rocked by major late withdrawals including Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokvic and Rafael Nadal and with its prize fund gutted, the remains of the Miami Open -- back with limited crowds after being erased by the pandemic last spring -- reached its midway point this weekend outside Hard Rock Stadium.

10. HORSE RACING: Known Agenda wins Florida Derby: Todd Pletcher-trained Known Agenda won Saturday's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, a major prep race for Triple Crown season. Win qualified the horse for the Kentucky Derby. Known Agenda's owner? Vinnie Viola, who also owns the Florida Panthers.

Missing the HB10 cut: U.S. men's soccer failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after Sunday's 2-1 loss to Honduras in Guadalajara, Mexico. It's the U.S. men's third straight missed Olympics ..... Year 2 for David Beckham's Inter Miami opened with a practice game vs. the USL Tampa Bay Rowdies Sunday, a 1-0 loss in St. Pete. After five friendlies will come the MLS regular season opener April 18. Meantime Beckham keeps name-dropping Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as among stars who could end their careers with Miami. We'll hold you to that, Becks! ..... Attrition clobbers Canes hoops. UM men's season ended at 10-17, worst in 27 years, and the hits keep coming. Guard Chris Lykes announced he's turning pro as expected, although at 5-7 it's unlikely he'll draw NBA Draft attention. Now leading scorer Isaiah Wong also is pondering an early departure, and shooting guard Kameron McGusty also is gauging NBA interest. Oh, and two others, Elijah Olaniyi and Earl Timberlake, have entered the transfer portal. Tough times for Jim Larranaga ..... Yeah, innocent until proven guilty. OK. But 16 civil suits against Deshaun Watson for sexual impropriety or assault? At what point might teams negotiating a trade with Houston have second thoughts? ..... Francis Ngannou KO'd Stip Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title Saturday ..... A Miami Heat arena name change is at hand. It's going from AmericanAirlines Arena to FTX Arena, after a cryptocurrency exchange. Will players now be paid in Bitcoin? ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 11-8 entering Sunday's series rubber game at Virginia ..... Upcoming: UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches are next week on April 6; The Masters at Augusta is April 8-11; Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11; and the Kentucky Derby is in one month, on May 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 13th episode of 2021 and 55th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,919 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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

ARCHIVES:

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: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / 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 / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And 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? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

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

March 26, 2021

No Lowry, but stealing Oladipo, keeping Herro a big win-win for Riley, Heat. New column; plus On Beckham name-dropping Messi and Ronaldo for Inter Miami, Deshaun Watson's colossal mess, latest Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more

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

Ej1) It's FRIDAY, MARCH 26. Happy Birthday, Elton John! Hard to believe you turned 74 Thursday. You have been a soundtrack of my  life and a continuing inspiration. Thank you. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow PabloGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH PABLO TORRE OUT NOW!: Our 12th podcast of 2021 (54th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 54 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep12 ESPN's Pablo Torre joins us to discuss the impact and pain of Asian-American hate crimes such as the recent mass killing in Atlanta. We pivot to light and fun  stuff, too, of course, including his 'Con of Mammals' theory and his never-before-told revelation about his real name -- what his Mom calls him. Also on the menu: We record before a live studio audience, discuss pigs learning to play video games and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Dolphins, Phil 'n Tiger, March Madness. Other latest columns: 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 Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness.

VicolaNO LOWRY? NO PROBLEM. MIAMI HEAT STEALING OLADIPO, KEEPING HERRO A BIG WIN FOR RILEY: Patience, as a virtue, can be profoundly overrated. Pat Riley has known that well in the 25-plus years he has been one of the best things ever to happen to sports in Miami. And Heat fans have almost always benefited from that lack of patience. The Heat team president quietly turned 76 a few days ago. Sometimes a man gets to feeling he doesn’t have all the time in the world to sit around crossing fingers on the status quo when there are dominoes to tip, deals to be made. Chances to take. And so Riley’s Heat was in the mix again Thursday, NBA draft-deadline day, working phones in the midst of a four-game losing streak that saw Miami fall to 22-22 and a tie for fifth place in the East. Getting through the conference and back to the NBA Finals this season has seemed a steep climb — hence, the interest Thursday in a deadline-day roster infusion. This happened: Miami acquired guard Victor Oladipo, a two-time all-star averaging 20.8 points this season, from Houston for Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk. The Heat also obtained power forward Nemanja Bjelica from Sacramento in exchange for Moe Harkless and Chris Silva. (Miami had earlier acquired forward Trevor Ariza from Oklahoma City for Meyers Leonard and a 2027 second-round pick). That’s a beefed-up rotation, added depth at forward and a 20-point scorer without giving up anybody they would truly miss, such as a Duncan Robinson. (And LaMarcus Aldridge might yet be added). Not bad. Now here is what did not happen Thursday: Kyle Lowry-to-Miami didn’t happen. Not for a lack of effort or desire, but because Riley, uncharacteristically, showed patience. For our full latest column, visit No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley.

BecksBECKHAM KEEPS NAME-DROPPING MESSI, RONALDO FOR INTER MIAMI. CAN HE DELIVER?: David Beckham is dreaming out loud again. Putting his grandest, most high-reaching vision for his Inter Miami CF soccer club out there for all to see. It’s almost as if he is challenging himself — daring himself — to reach the bar he is setting. As they await the club’s second season in Major League Soccer (first match is April 18), South Florida fans are again being tempted and teased by Beckham to expect the best, to consider no player out of reach. Now all he has to do is deliver. When you whet the appetite for lobster, steak and caviar, what you actually serve will be under fair scrutiny, after all. So Beckham this week tells ESPN’s Taylor Twellman: “When we announced [a team in] Miami, there was always going to be talk about players we were going to bring in, whether it was Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar. There was always going to be those discussions. I actually don’t think it’s a tough one for players to decide, to be honest, because it’s a great place. Miami is a city that has that pull on players who have been playing in Europe that are big stars.” There are big stars, and then there are Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar, who are of a galaxy far beyond. “It’s not a difficult [sales] pitch,” added Beckham. “You say Miami and they’re, like, OK. There were reasons I chose Miami.” There has always been the assumption that the glamour and sizzle of Miami and the sexy international cache’ of the Beckham brand would be an intoxicating perfume to lure star power. For our full recent column, visit Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver?

DeshaunWOMEN KEEP ACCUSING DESHAUN WATSON OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT. BUT WILL IT MATTER TO NFL TEAMS?: The narrowing of possibilities for Deshaun Watson’s football future plays out in lockstep with the gradual disintegration of his reputation. The NFL has never seen anything quite like it. We watch in fascination, as we would a train wreck unfolding in slow motion. As free agency plods on and players change uniforms, the league‘s most coveted perhaps-available superstar quarterback continues the subject of pursuit by both teams and women alleging sexual misconduct. The women now outnumber the teams, which may or may not be related. It’s a mess from every angle. Watson signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension with the Houston Texans just months ago, but now is adamantly estranged from the club to the degree he is demanding a trade. The Texans are flummoxed on how to play this unexpected hand, continuing to say “Deshaun’s our guy” as if calling the bluff of a man who isn’t bluffing. They could have declared the trade window open and reaped the riches of a multi-team bidding war. Instead they have watched potential suitors sign other quarterbacks and come to realize Watson holds all the cards on where he might agree to be traded. The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi reported Watson has narrowed his choices to the Denver Broncos or San Francisco 49ers. Meaning he has eliminated reported, rumored or potential suitors notably including the Miami Dolphins, along with the New York Jets, Carolina Panthers and several others. Now, though, fans who might once have been devastated to see their team out of the Watson sweepstakes might now consider themselves lucky. For our full recent column, please visit Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams?

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

ARCHIVES:

Other most 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: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / 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 / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

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

March 22, 2021

New Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre out now. Discussing Asian-American hate crimes but managing to pivot to fun stuff, too (including Pablo's revelation about his real name); plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), links to newest columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 22. Find last Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for my weekly appearance, including a new Back In My Day. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' no-splash free agency suggests team all-in on draft and Tua, Mickelson reflects on 25 years of Tiger as Honda begins, NCAA Tournament preview, Greg Cote Show podcast with Sarah Spain & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH PABLO TORRE OUT NOW!: Our 12th podcast of 2021 (54th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 54 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep12 ESPN's Pablo Torre joins us to discuss the impact and pain of Asian-American hate crimes such as the recent mass killing in Atlanta. We pivot to light and fun  stuff, too, of course, including his 'Con of Mammals' theory and his never-before-told revelation about his real name -- what his Mom calls him. Also on the menu: We record before a live studio audience, discuss pigs learning to play video games and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Dolphins, Phil 'n Tiger, March Madness. Our latest columns: 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 Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness. 

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

HButton1. DOLPHINS: No huge splash, but busy first week of free agency for Miami: Miami was active with ripple-type moves but no big-splash gets through the first week of free agency, suggesting the club is relying on the upcoming NFL Draft -- and its faith in Tua Tagovailoa -- to elevate from last season's 10 wins to the playoffs and AFC East contention. As of Friday the Fins the Fins had gained eight free agents, lost six and re-signed one. Notable adds: WR Will Fuller and backup QB Jacoby Brissett. Notable departures: Ryan Fitzpatrick and defenders Davon Godchaux and Kyle Van Noy.  

2. HEAT: Miami swaps Leonard for Ariza ahead of trade deadline: Miami shipped suspended Meyers (Anti-Semitic Slur) Leonard and a 2027 second-round pick to Oklahoma City for veteran forward Trevor Ariza, who'll fight for minutes off bench here. Divesting of Leonard puts Heat in better financial position to perhaps deal for, say, LaMarcus Aldridge ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline? Meantime Heat were on an 11-1 run but have now dropped three straight, and fallen to fifth place in East, entering Tuesday's game vs. Phoenix.

3. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Upsets galore as March Madness nears Sweet 16: March Madness is back after a one-year pandemic pause and reaches the Sweet 16 with Monday's results. Fifteen of the first 41 games (or 36.7 percent) have been by-seed upsets including No. 7 Oregon ousting No. 2 Iowa today/Monday. Biggest upsets so far: No. 15 Oral Roberts eliminating No. 2 Ohio State (and then No. 7 Florida), and No. 8 Loyola-Chicago ousting No. 1 Illinois.

4. PANTHERS: Florida's midseason grade a solid 'A': Florida is 20-7-4 and four points off Tampa's Central lead entering Tuesday and Thursday games at Chicago. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and a hugely improved play from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky have led the way.

5. GOLF: Little-known Matt Jones wins Honda Classic in Palm Beach: Aussie Matt Jones, 40 won his first PGA Tour event in seven years with a comfy five-shot triumph in the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. Fan favorite Phil Mickelson tied for 25th place. It was an otherwise low-watt field with only six of the top 50 ranked players and none higher than 15th. Meanwhile Tiger Woods is back home in nearby Jupiter Island as he continues rehabbing from last month's car wreck that left him with traumatic right leg injuries.

6. TENNIS: Severely depleted Miami Open underway at Hard Rock: Fan favorite Rafael Nadal was a late withdrawal, and top stars Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer canceled even later. Then Sunday, Serena Williams withdrew. What's left of the two-week Miami Open commenced Monday outside Hard Rock Stadium.

7. INTER MIAMI: MLS team adds prominent defender as preseason underway: Former Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs, 31, has agreed to join Inter Miami this summer, when his contract with West Bromwich Albion expires. Year 2 for David Beckham's MLS team was to get underway with the first preseason match Saturday vs. USL club Miami FC. Inter Miami, but that game was canceled due to COV-19 precautions. Season opens April 18.

8. MARLINS: Spring dreaming. Are Fish better than skeptics think?: Miami, lightly regarded in the stacked NL East despite ending a 17-year playoff drought last season, were 9-4 (not counting five ties) and near the top of the Grapefruit League standings entering the final week of spring training this week. Season opens April 1.

9. UM BASEBALL: Canes tumble with home embarrassment vs. Florida State: The No. 6-ranked Canes fell to No. 19 and are 9-7 after  being swept at home by ACC rival rival Florida State -- and by a combined three game score of 34-2. Ouch. 

10. HURRICANES: Spring football practice underway at UM: Miami and coach Manny Diaz are underway with their slate of 15 spring football practices. Quarterback D'Eriq King will miss spring work recovers from his knee injury in the December bowl game, but Diaz says King should be ready for fall camp and the September 4 season opener vs. (uh oh) reigning national champion Alabama in Atlanta.

Missing the HB10 cut: UEFA Champions League is down to its final eight, with first- and second-leg quarterfinal matches set for April 6 and 13-14. The pairings: Bayern Munich vs. Paris-Saint Germain, GC Porto-Chelsea, Manchester City-Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid-Liverpool ..... WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan and WWE star Titus O’Neil will host WrestleMania 37 in Tampa Bay April 10-11 ..... Former MLB and Canes baseball player Aubrey Huff, whose hobby now seems to be embarrassing himself on social media, falsely claimed both Hank Aaron and and Marvin Hagler had died related to taking the COVID vaccine. Facebook flagged the post as misinformation as gullible conspiracy theorists undoubtedly nodded vigorously in agreement with Huff ..... New Zealand defeated Italy in the final of America's Cup sailing in Auckland. Home-water advantage? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 12th episode of 2021 and 54th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,926 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Other most 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.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / 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 / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

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

March 19, 2021

Small-splash free agency says Dolphins going all-in on draft -- and Tua. New column; plus Phil reflects on 25-year rivalry/friendship with Tiger as Honda Classic begins, New Greg Cote Show podcast with ESPN's Sarah Spain, NCAA Tournament column & more

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

Pat1) It's FRIDAY, MARCH 19. Hope y'all had a Happy St. Patrick's Day! 2) Check out Tuesday's Le Batard Show podcasts for my weekly appearance, including a new Back In My Day. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast, links to recent columns & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow SpainGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH SARAH SPAIN OUT NOW!: Our 11th podcast of 2021 (53rd overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 53 we've done so far HERE for free. In our new  Ep11 we welcome in ESPN star Sarah Spain for a fun chat about her new part-ownership in the Chicago Red Stars women's pro soccer team, Chicagio's Secret Door, dinner with Charles Barkley, her future and more. Also on the menu: A-Rod and J-Lo, March Madness, Marlins Park drones, a Mount Gregmore cameo by Patrick Ewing and more. Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Also, our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

FinsfloresNO BIG SPLASH IN FREE AGENCY MAKES IT CLEAR DOLPHINS GOING ALL IN ON DRAFT -- AND TUA: Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores tried to warn us. After his team led the NFL in free agency spending a year ago, owner Stephen Ross throwing around Monopoly money, this figured as a quieter offseason building to the draft in six weeks. “I’m going to be playing the song, ‘You can’t always get what you want’,” Flores said. “We may get priced out on some guys we’re looking at that we’d like to have.” And so they have in a first wave of free agency that has been active for Miami but without big-splash moves. Signing still-available wide receiver Kenny Golladay or Juju Smith-Schuster — that would make a splash. Bringing in a starting tackle the likes of Mitchell Schwartz or Alejandro Villanueva would be a sizable ripple. Signing edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney? Cannonball. Instead salary cap-limited Miami so far is making strategic little moves aimed at shoring up depth more than instant impact. Flores referenced a Rolling Stones song that follows you-can’t-always-get-what-you-want with, “But if you try sometime, you might find you get what you need.” Are the Dolphins doing that, at least, as they try to improve on a 10-win season that narrowly missed the playoffs? We size up the notable changes thus far to Miami’s roster in our newest column. To read that latest column in full, visit No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua.

TigerphilPHIL MICKELSON REFLECTS ON 25-YEAR RIVALRY/FRIENDSHIP WITH TIGER AS HONDA CLASSIC TEES OFF: The Honda Classic this week marks its 50th year as a mainstay on the PGA Tour, and as it does so the biggest thing in golf -- still, after all these years, even when he isn’t playing -- looms over the tournament, his presence felt. The absence of him felt. Tiger Woods revealed Tuesday night he is back home on Jupiter Island, just 20 miles north of Palm Beach Gardens, where the Honda tees off Thursday at PGA National and will divvy its $7.2 million prize purse on Sunday. “I will be recovering at home and working on getting stronger every day,” Tiger wrote on Twitter. On February 23 near Los Angeles, Woods’ car careened down an embankment in an accident that could have cost him his life. He sustained traumatic injuries to his lower right leg that will require at least a full year’s rehabilitation and put in some doubt whether his game will ever be the same. An old friend playing in the Honda this week has been reflecting a lot on the gut punch to golf. Phil Mickelson is the old rival who became the dear friend through the decades of he and Woods jousting on the course and jabbing off it. The sheriff on the crash scene called Woods “lucky to be alive.” Woods’ hope is to be ready to play in the 2022 Masters in 13 months, but that almost seems secondary now. “We’re just lucky and appreciative that his kids didn’t lose their father,” Mickelson said in the buildup to the Honda. “All the guys here understand and appreciate what he has meant to the game of golf and for us and the PGA Tour. But right now that’s so far from our minds. We’re thankful he’s still with us.” For our full recent column, visit Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off.

MadnessNCAA TOURNAMENT: WHY MEN'S FIELD HAS A NEEDED FRESH FEEL AS WE WELCOME BACK MARCH MADNESS: It is 1974 in America. Richard Nixon resigned. Ali and Foreman fought in the “Rumble in the Jungle.” The Towering Inferno and Blazing Saddles tore up the box office. Greg Cote went through a brief but unfortunate sartorial phase that included bell bottoms and four-inch platform heels. And North Carolina and Duke both missed the men’s NCAA Tournament in college basketball. Forty-seven years later, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils once again are sitting out March Madness for the first time since ‘74. Ain’t it grand! Wait. This column should come with a disclaimer, like you see on packs of cigarettes. WARNING: Hoops fans in the state of North Carolina who continue reading this may experience discomfort and anger. They’re weeping along Tobacco Road. Duke finished a mediocre 13-11 as the celebrated Mike Krzyzewski was demoted to Coach Just-OK — his team derailed by COVID-19 in the ACC Tournament. UNC was a bit better but not good enough for their own legendary coach, Roy Williams. These giants in the sport were not alone in their uncharacteristic disappointment this season. Kentucky and Louisville are out of the Big Dance, too. For our full recent column previewing the NCAA Tournament, visit Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness

1yearOur three other most 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 / and Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season.

CardsAdditional most recent columns: 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 / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

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

ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / 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 / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

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