May 18, 2017

NBA Draft projections for Heat at 14th include a tantalizing risk: My latest column; plus R.I.P. Chris Cornell, Csonka's open letter on plight of teammates, the NBA Finals matchup you want (poll), hip-hop Jimmy-J, Hot Button Daily (Thu) & more


1) It is THURSDAY, May 18. R.I.P., Chris Cornell. See video at bottom of this post. 2) Latest Back in My Day video: Click on BIMD: Gas Jockeys to watch. 3) Know any Dolfans? Thrill them with our book on club's first half-century, Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Sunday column, HB Daily & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Newest column: The Heat, the draft and Harry Giles: Click on Big Risk For Big Upside to see how a top-five talent could fall to Miami at 14th, and why the Heat, with proper assurances, should pounce if the get the chance.

HarrygilesMOCK-DRAFT FORECASTS FOR HEAT WITH 14TH OVERALL PICK: The June 22 NBA Draft looms after last night's lottery saw no miracle for the Heat, who'll select 14th overall. Miami had a 0.5 chance at the No.1 pick and 1.8% to get in the top three. Instead the Heat will pick mid-round as the odds forecast, and's post-lottery mock draft predicts Miami will end up with Duke freshman forward Harry Giles (pictured right). Sayeth the mock: "It might be a few weeks before we know what NBA doctors think of Giles' knee. If he's red-flagged medically, he could drop up to 10 spots on our board, depending on the diagnosis. However, if doctors are satisfied that his knees are Johncollinsin good shape, the Heat will get a steal at No. 14. Many scouts feel Giles has the most raw talent of any player in the draft. And the Heat can afford to bring him along slowly, getting him fully healthy and explosive again before unleashing a Hassan Whiteside-Giles frontcourt from hell." My take: See my column, linked above. Always like the Duke pedigree, agree on the big upside, and power forward should be a pretty obvious target priority for Miami. Giles is a red-flag risk because of two ACL knee surgeries. But if Miami had medical assurances this would be a tantalizing, dynamic risk-pick if the opportunity arose. (ESPN has only one state player-college player going in its mock first round: Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac to Minnesota seventh overall). Another mock draft, by CBS Sports today, has Giles and his knees falling to 20th and Miami at 14 taking Wake Forest forward John Collins (pictured left). A third mock, by Sports Illustrated, has Heat selecting Indiana forward OG Anunoby. Well, at least everybody agrees it'll be a forward.

LARRY CSONKA SPEAKS OF HIS TEAMMATES' HEALTH STRUGGLES: In his blog at, under the headline, My Teammates Battles (and we forgive him the missing apostrophe), the great former Dolphins running back speaks of the brain-injury issues affecting Nick Buoniconti and Jim Kiick, a plight that inspired this column by me. The photo shown, of Zonk with Kiick, is from Csonka's article, which we reprint here fully:

"Last Tuesday, my teammate, Nick Buoniconti, went public regarding his current health challenges in an article with Sports Illustrated online.  Subsequently, stories have been published on my running mate, Jim Kiick, as well. I usually see my teammates at the Dolphins alumni event each year so I was aware of some issues with both men.  However, I wasn’t aware of the extensive Zonkproblems both have been dealing with, especially with Nick.  Learning this, of course, saddens me a great deal. I’ve seen Jim the past few years at games.  In fact, I was at a game last fall with both Jim and Mercury [Morris] and had a great visit. I always ask how his health is and how he’s doing with the rest of his life.  We might discuss typical health issues a lot of us experience at our age but he always assures me that he’s, basically, doing fine in all aspects. When Jim and Mercury Morris joined me in Alaska a few years ago to tape an episode for NFL Films, "A Football Life," I noticed Jim was grumpier than usual and worrying more about small details. That wasn’t like the Jim Kiick I knew and played along side of. When I asked him about it, he joked and said he liked being a grumpy old man! As the media has written, Jim is in an assisted living facility in South Florida. I’m glad he’s there. He needs part-time care. However, he’s not as bad off, at this point, as the media has depicted.  At times he requires more attention than others but I know he and Mercury visit, go out for subs and hang out fairly often without any issues. Jim can still function in that capacity and enjoy life with his friends. What the future holds?  We don’t know. Jim has been diagnosed with dementia/early onset Alzheimer’s and suspected CTE. After a multitude of testing, Nick’s exact diagnosis is still ongoing. Each are dealing with different challenges. Football was a much more dangerous sport when we played than it is today. Unfortunately, many of us from that era are now paying the price. I’ve been lucky so far and count my blessings daily. However, I realize I have some of the same risk factors as others who played on the gridiron. I continue to exercise, eat right and take supplements for good brain health. I have several aches and pains but I, basically, feel good and try to maintain a positive outlook on my future. I believe football is a safer game now.  On one hand, I don’t like how new rules have changed the game I knew and played but if the changes truly make the game safer, then it’s worth it! I’ve always maintained (and sometimes with great controversy) kids shouldn’t play tackle football until junior high for a few reasons. In many cases, they are not well coached and, more importantly, not properly equipped. A child running around on a Pop Warner field with a sloppy helmet isn’t cute to me … it’s an outrage! Also, recent research points to young brains being at the highest risk of lasting effects from trauma. Young, developing brains cannot withstand that kind of hit without some repercussions sometime in their life (according to research I’ve read). Jim and Nick are great friends of mine.  Even though we only occasionally see each other, I think of them and my other teammates often. We shared a unique bond for an extraordinary period of time in our lives and still share in the historic success of our team. I hope better times come for both of them and I look forward to another visit this fall."


WHAT IS THE NBA FINALS MATCHUP YOU'RE MOST HOPING TO SEE?: San Antonio and Golden State are one game into their NBA Western finals, with the Warriors up 1-0 after what was (depending on your view) either than epic comeback by the Warriors or an epic choke by the Spurs. Now, we get a Boston-Cleveland Eastern finals after the Celtics Game 7 home win over Washington last night. That presents four possible combinations of NBA Finals we might see. I prefer a Warriors-Cavaliers rematch (click LeBron And Steph To the Rescue for my column why). You may or may not agree. Take a dip in our poll and say which NBA Finals you prefer to see:

Foxhiphop FoxhiphopFOX-TV NFL CREW DRESSES UP AS HIP-HOP POSSE FOR NO GOOD REASON WHATSOEVER: Yes, that's right, LeBron. I said posse. Sue me. The network's Charissa Thompson tweeted this out for some damned reason. Is it Halloween already? It continues a trend of younger-demographic-seeking sports entities pandering to hip-hip fans. We have seen it with Stephen A. SMith in promos on ESPN and with others. Ordinarily the prize for most-ridiculous in a pandering Fox photo shoot such as this would by default go to Terry Bradshaw -- every time. But I must give the dubious 'honor' here to Jimmy Johnson, our own esteemed former Canes and Dolphins coach. At far right you see the group photo. To the left I have isolated the shot of Jimmy looking like a Harry Caray impersonator auditioning for an old white Run DMC cover act.

HOT BUTTON DAILY / THU 5-18-17: Up to five events on today's sports calendar that interest SoFla most:

1. Marlins at L.A. Dodgers, 10 p.m.: The 1-8 homestand sucked. Maybe 6-game roadie will bring luck.

2. Virginia Tech at Hurricanes, noon: UM baseball 3-game set ends regular season, precedes ACC tourney.

3. NHL playoffs, 8 p.m.: Nashville up 2-1 and home vs. Anaheim in Game 4 of Western finals.

[Note: NBA playoffs are off today].

Select recent other columns: NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. LeBron And Steph To the Rescue: How a third straight Warriors-Cavs Finals will save a lopsided postseason. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for a Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. Not In Our Stadium: N-word at Fenway and fans' responsibility. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Right Pick For Right Reasons: Fins' first-round choice Charles Harris. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. History Breathes at UM Sports Hall: Tour of a little-known campus gem. Spo's Greatest Challenge -- And Triumph: strangest of Heat seasons. Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?: A curiously unemployed QB. Thank You, Mae Riback: My oldest fan. Also: A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City and Thank You, Edwin Pope.


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

Twitter @gregcote

June 08, 2016

Hear a 21-year-old Cassius Clay sing "Stand By Me" (it isn't bad!); plus where does Ali rank among past century's greatest American athletes? Poll. Vote now; also, in bed with D-Wade, R.I.P. Kimbo, magic of Jose, Games of Thrones & more


Kimboslice1) It is WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8. R.I.P., fighter Kimbo Slice (pictured), gone suddenly at 42. We spent much of yesterday's LeBatard Show discussing his life. He was a Miami original who started so low and rose from the streets thanks to strength and ingenuity. 2) Bulletin: Roger Goodell is not dead. Somebody hacked the NFL's Twitter site and reported commissioner Roger Goodell had died. I wonder. Does Tom Brady have an alibi? 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 led by Muhammad Ali, our Ali and Richard Bleier columns, bipartisan political insult & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVinePeriscope and Snapchat.

The Last 5: My five most recent columns, ICYMI or thought them so wonderful they deserved another look:Ali Legacy Should Include Other Athletes' Thanks, the latest, on how Ali set the template for individuality in sports. A Baseball Odyssey Finds Its Mountaintop, also new, on Richard Bleier's long climb to the Yankees. Nobody Wins When a 55-Year Marriage Ends In Divorce, on the PGA Tour leaving Doral. Morris Vs. 'Almost Impossible' Expectations, as Jim Morris and UM baseball host NCAA Regional. The Under Pressure 12, listing the dozen South Florida sports figures most under pressure.

DwadegabyInto the bedroom -- and the bed -- with D-Wade and Gaby: Well, this is too much information! Black Sports Online relays that Heat star Dwyane Wade has, on Snapchat, provided fans with a glimpse of himself and wife/actress Gabrielle Union in bed (apparently) just before and after, um, ah, I guess i can say "marital relations" in a family blog. Click here for the item via BSO. At right is an "after" screengrab from the Snapchat. This may be taking the social media concept of "total access" a smidge too far. I'm no prude, but this is wandering too close for my liking to Kim Kardashian-nude-in-a-bathroom-mirror-selfie territory. Remember when celebrities used to bemoan their lack of privacy? Now it seems they're the first to give it away.

"A Democrat running for Congress put a flyer on my door that states proudly, 'Meet Tim Canova. He's not a politician.' Only in politics does this outsider-ism seem to work. If I'm hiring a salesman, I'd sort of like him to have done the job before in much the same way I'd prefer someone about to perform surgery on me to be an actual doctor. And yet it's no-experience-necessary to be in Congress? Bizarre."  --Greg Cote

Clay albumCASSIUS CLAY SINGS 'STAND BY ME' ... AND IT ISN'T BAD!: The video below is 21-year Cassius Clay singing "Stand By Me" in 1963. The video lists him as Muhammad Ali, but '63 was before the first Sonny Liston fight in Miami Beach and a year before before Clay had converted to his Muslim name. "Stand By Me" was the only proper song included on the album (pictured right) that Clay recorded in '63; all of the other "songs" were monologues, poetry and other spoken-word material by Clay. The single heard here was released in 1964 and nearly reached the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at 102 weeks after his stunning upset of Liston. Clay-turned-Ali was a big fan of soul music and friends with tghe legendary Sam Cooke. As for Clay's version of this classic song? He's no Ben E. King, but his rendition actually is pretty solid. Floats like a butterfly, sings like a bee?


RANKING ALI AMONG AMERICA'S GREATEST ATHLETES OF THE 20TH CENTURY: The death of Muhammad Ali over the weekend is the impetus for this poll. The 15 athletes presented here are Espncenturynot of my choosing, although I can't disagree with much. These are the top 15 of ESPN's 100 greatest American athletes of the 20th Century list from the network's SportsCentury project. I present them alphabetically, not in order, so as not to prejudice the jury (that's you), although you'd find the complete list here. Limited it to 15 simply so the poll wouldn't get too unwieldy. If you can't believe so-and-so didn't make the top 15 and our poll, blame ESPN, not me. Or cast one of your votes for "somebody else" and say who you were thinking of. But please note this is American athletes only, which is why you don't find soccer god Pele on the list, for example. Also note it is athletes of the past century only, which is why you won't see LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady or anybody else whose career has all or substantively occurred since 2000. As for what constitutes "greatest," that's entirely for you to decide. Select your top three (3) athletes, and from that consensus we'll arrive at the greatest American athlete of the 20th Century. Vote and check back often to monitor evolving results.

Vote for your top three (3):

JosefTHE WONDER OF JOSE, CONTINUED: Marlins ace Jose Fernandez's statistics in his past eight startst: 8-0 records, 1.38 ERA, 78 strikeouts and 14 walks in 52 innings. The ERA is 0.66 over his past six starts. He still might be third on most NL Cy Young ballots right now behind Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta, but he'll continue to contend for the award if his performance keeps up and if Miami hangs in the playoff chase. Jose is a surreal 23-1 with a 1.53 ERA at home in his career vs. a mortal 8-10 and 3.54 on the road. But he's scheduled for only one start (June 11) on the current nine-game road trip.

Dragonlady GameofthronesON 'GAME OF THRONES': An admission. Five years late, I have joined the lowing herd. I have recently adopted and embraced HBO's Game of Thrones as a guilty viewing pleasure. I am not an aficionado-bordering-cultist who prays to the show or wishes to over-analyze every nuance of every episode in a like-minded online community of zealots. But I enjoy GOT and have elevated it to the my uncrowded pantheon of must-see TV. I like it visually first, for the stunning look of it, before I even get to the expansive, complicated storyline I am still trying to slowly decipher with the not always patient help of my wife, a longer-time fan. Also I must make a confession: One reason I like the show is my embarrassing schoolboy crush on the character Daenerys Targaryen, "Dany," the Mother of Dragons (pictured), portrayed by actress Emilia Clarke. The show's description of her character: "Princess of House Targaryen, Daenerys lives in exile in Essos with her advisors and dragons. Dany rallied the Unsullied of Astapor to her cause and continues to grow the army she needs to take back the throne." Greg Cote's description: "You know, the hot blond with the dragons."

ON 'CRISIS OF CHARACTER': A forthcoming book very critical of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton White House has been written by former Secret Service agent Gary J. Byrne Garyjbyrne(pictured). Coming out a month before the Democratic convention, the book -- timing and content -- fall straight from Republican heaven. If you didn't know better, you might even think the RNC was behind it. I find particularly interesting the book's title: Crisis of Character. Hmm. The title means to suggest the character issue is Hillary's. I wonder if it isn't the author's instead. A tell-all book by a former Secret Service agent!? So much for the secret part of the job title, huh. How unseemly. How unprofessional. How against-code. How against every expectation of discretion for a Secret Service agent to betray confidences in this manner. I'd feel similarly, by the way, if one of Donald Trump's former loyal lieutenant's suddenly came out with a sleazy tell-all timed to sell books. A back-stabbing snitch is a back-stabbing snitch. But I certainly hold Secret Service agents to a higher standard than I do corporate suits. Gary J. Byrne should be embarrassed. Except perhaps to Republicans to whom he is undoubtedly a hero, this man should be ashamed of himself.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

August 30, 2015

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) with Dolphins, Canes, Marlins, FIU, LLWS, tennis, horses, Scully; plus latest 'Weighing The Fish,' Fins fantasy ranks, escaping Cone of Doom & more


1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 31. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with onset of college football. 2) Backup Kirk Cousins reportedly will start for Redskins in Sept. 13 season opener vs. Dolphins. That doesn't help Miami. Such is the state of Robert Griffin III. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Twitter study finds Heat dominating local teams on social media, Gronkowskis = Kardashians, Serena wins pole position & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

1aa1afiuronturnerFIU football: Turner's tall task: I probably don't write about FIU enough but for me it's a chicken-or-egg thing; unless you're a Kardashian, you have to earn the attention you get. Anyway, in my latest column I write why FIU's Ron Turner (pictured) has the toughest coaching job in South Florida. Click on Attitude Adjustment, Culture Makeover to read.

1aa1afinsat50Herald's 'Fins at 50' special section: ICYMI, the Miami Herald's massive "Fins at 50"

coverage, commemorating
the Dolphins' upcoming 50th season, arrived in the Old Classic print version
yesterday and remains available online. Click FINS AT 50 to access entire project. My contributions: COACHING LEGEND, my main column on Don Shula. 50 GREATEST, my list of the 50 top figures (not just players!) in franchise history. ALL-TIME TEAM, my picks for that honor. And VIDEO INTERVIEWS, my conversations with Shula, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. I also have an added Shula-by-the-numbers column not in the original package; click TOP 10 NUMBERS to read.

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: Reminding you our Dolphins postgame DSM polls will be back in the blog again this year, but starting with the regular season on Sept. 13.

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

1aa1ahotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Tannehill, starting D sharp again as Fins win preseason home debut: Miami is only 1-2 in exhibitions after Saturday's 13-9 win over Atlanta (game blog and postgame thoughts below), but the starting units look season-ready entering this coming Thursday's preseason finale vs. Tampa Bay. Based on August, Tannehill may be fast-climbing fantasy draft boards. (But the whisper remains: Can we trust August?)

2. HURRICANES: College football arrives! UM loses top RB with opener less than a week away: Coach Al Golden's Hurricanes, who open the season this coming Saturday vs. Bethune-Cookman, suffered a big blow with the news that expected starting running back Gus Edwards would miss the season with a foot injury. It's one more reason to doubt the Canes. If doubt is fuel, UM has a full tank in '15.

3. MARLINS: Stanton return from injury now on horizon: Fish have lost nine of past 12 to continue The Lost Season, but at least slugger Giancarlo Stanton is close. Marlins begin an extended homestand on Friday and Stanton figures to return sometime during it. Meantime, the club gives indications it might move the fences in next year. Giving Stanton shorter fences is like giving Bill Gates a raise.

4. FIU: Panthers open football season on road in three days: FIU begins its 14th season of football and third under coach Ron Turner on Thursday at UCF. Turner seems to be making progress in turning around the Panthers program. The question now is whether hair-trigger FIU athletic director Pete Garcia will give him time to finish the job.

5. LITTLE LEAGUE: Japan beats U.S. for world title: The U.S. champion (Pennsylvania) squandered a 10-2 lead and lost to Japan on Sunday in the International final of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. By the way, a boy named Alex Edmondson pitched two no-hitters during the LLWS but you probably didn’t hear about it because, unfortunately for him, his name wasn’t Mo’Ne Davis.

6. TENNIS: U.S. Open starts today with all eyes on Serena: For the first time ever the women’s final has sold out before the men’s as fans anticipate Serena Williams completing the sport’s first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. Now Serena's path is even easier with the withdrawal of Maria Sharapova. It almost isn't unfair. They should make Serena use a badminton racket.

7. HORSES: American Pharoah shocking loser at Travers: Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, a 1-5 favorite, lost to longshot Keen Ice at the historic Travers at Saratoga on Saturday. (Note to most of America: Yes, there are horse races other than the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont). 

8. VIN SCULLY: Dodgers broadcaster says he isn't done yet: Scully, who'll be 88 in November, said he would return next season for a 67th and final year broadcasting the Dodgers games. Put it this way: When last somebody else called Dodgers games, the president was Franklin D. Roosevelt.  

9. LEBRON JAMES: Ex-Heater sells Coconut Grove home: LeBron sold his 12,178-square-foot Coconut Grove waterfront mansion (including a theater and wine cellar) for $13.4 million. The question now: Do I redecorate?

10. DARRYL DAWKINS: Beloved ex-NBA stars dies: R.I.P. to the dunk specialist they called "Chocolate Thunder," who died at 58. The good news? I won big. As soon as I heard the news, I immediately invested in lame media references to "dunking in heaven."

Missing the HB10 cut: Tropical storm Erika turned out to be no threat to South Florida, despite local meteorologists' best efforts to scare us into panic mode. ..... Refurbished Dolphins stadium debuts. It looks good. If only it weren't 11,000 seats smaller. ..... Lawyers for NFL and Tom Brady are due back Monday for latest round of arguments. If this “Deflategate” morass were any more ridiculous, they’d move it from federal court to Vaudeville. ..... Marlins honor Dontrelle Willis but he's a no-show. Club president David Samson calls himself "flummoxed," becoming first sports figure since 1959 to use word "flummoxed." ..... Southern Cal football coach Steve Sarkisian profanely addresses boosters and fans while drunk. ..... Cris Carter apologizes for telling players at NFL Rookie Symposium they should have a “fall guy” to help them avoid trouble. An alternate piece of advice he might have been: Stay out of trouble so you don’t need a “fall guy.” ..... Now-retired former Dolphins bullying victim Jonathan Martin revealed he has contemplated suicide, seriously impinging my ability to make fun of him.

DOLPHINS 13, ATLANTA 9 (FAUX-GAME 3): THIS ONE COUNTED! (OK, NOT REALLY. BUT SORT OF): FINAL: Encouragingly, this was the third game in a row Miami's offensive and defensive starters outplayed the other team and performed very well. These units look season-ready. This time a win resulted for a 1-2 exhibition record, but it's the play of the main units that should have Dolfans nearly giddy. Tannehill tonight was 15-for-19 for 145 yards and a TD, Jarvis Landry looked good, and the defense was terrific, including six sacks. All of ATL's points came off Miami miscues. More importantly, coach Joe Philbin indicated after the game he did not think center Mike Pouncey's knee injury was a concern. In terms of roster spots last tonight, rookie kicker Andrew Franks may have drawn even with Caleb Sturgis. And I'd no longer be surprised if Josh Freeman edged Matt Moore for the backup QB role. ..... Fourth Quarter: MIA fumble recovery with 1:21 left at own 18 preserves win. ... Four-point late lead on rookie Franks' 51-yard FG. ... MIA recovers fumble with 4:13 left. ... More rain; not many fans still at Joe's Place. ... Third-string QB Josh Freeman looking pretty good, at wheel for 10-9 lead finished by 32Y FG by rookie Andrew Franks with 7 minutes to play. Longshot Franks stays in the competition with incumbent Caleb Sturgis for the PK job. ... ATL up 9-7. All Falcons points have followed Dolphins miscues. ... Matt Moore intercepted and 43Y return have Falcons poised to take lead. ..... Third Quarter: Goalline stand by backup defense preserves lead in scoreless third. ... Looks like second half will be reserves. Once again, for third game preseason game in a row, starters performed wel. ..... Half: Modest 7-6 lead but Dolphins very impressive overall. Tannehill 15-19 for 145 yards and a TD before giving way to Moore, Jarvis Landry 6 catches for 84 yards, and defense keeping Falcons punter busy. ATL's only points set up by a muffed Miami punt snap and a turnover. ..... Second quarter: ATL within 7-6 on 50Y field goal after late turnover. ... Matt Moore replaces Tannehill late in half. ... Center Mike Pouncey out with knee injury but does not seem serious. Questionable return but doubt he does as a precaution. ... MIA 7-0 on Rishard Matthews short TD pass from Tannehill. ..... First Quarter: Jarvis Landry 45-yard catch and run wakes up crowd. ... Late 1Q but Miami already subbing on defense, several starters already out.  ... Falcs parlay field position into 43-yard FG and 3-0 lead, but Fins defense looking good. ... Rain starts. Bad snap leads to muffed Dolphins pun after a couple of dropped passes. ... Quick ATL punt. DT Earl Mitchell playing like, "Suh, who?" ... Miami punt to open game. ... Pregame: Sparse crowd. Stadium improvements look good but fans aren't dumb. It's still a glorified practice game ... Hullo? Is this mic on? We'll be live-blogging the game here tonight and then have a postgame mini-column. ..... Original post: Atlanta Falcons here tonight in Miami's third exhibition game and, yes, it matters a little bit. A few reasons why and 1aa1abigdealother thoughts entering tonight: 1) Home debut, like-new stadium: It's the 2015 home debut of a Dolphins team that has a buzz about it, and in a refurbished stadium that also will look and feel new. A fall-flat performance would be a letdown. Especially because... 2) Playing to win: After two earlier losses in which the starters played well, but briefly, Miami will actually play to win for the first time, in a "dress rehearsal" game that figures to see the starters play much more. Atlanta has been 4-12 and 6-10 the past two seasons, so, yes, a loss tonight to go 0-3 would hurt in a way the past two did not. 3) Can't play scared: They'll balance the want to win with staying healthy. Since Ryan Tannehill and most other starters likely won't even play in next week's preseason finale, a key injury tonight is the worst fear. However! Reject the scared notion that Tannehill shouldn't play at all because of that 1aa1ahelmet testfear. He needs the added work behind his line, with his mostly new receivers, and against a live defense. You don't approach a game with your tail between your legs. 4) The offensive line: Seeking progress from an offensive line in flux due to both injuries and the questions at guard. Tonight guard Dallas Thomas likely will start at left tackle ... so be alert and nimble, Tannehill! 5) Position battles: In addition to the guard play, Walt Aikens is the heir to injured Louis Delmas' safety job. Is he up to the task? We may see tonight, as the Falcons' Matt Ryan will offer the best passing attack Miami has yet faced. Kicker Caleb Sturgis also must button-down his role tonight or risk still losing it. Bonuses: Interesting piece on coach Joe Philbin this week on Sports Illustrated's Monday Morning Quarterback site; click here to read). Finally, pictured left, apropos of nothing, a prototype football helmet being tested as the wearer heaves himself into a wall, circa 1912. Evidently no concussion concerns back then.

WEIGHING THE FISH (130 GAMES): We throw an occasional bell 'n whistle into the blog, and this year 1aa1afishweighwe debuted a new Miami Marlins feature. "Weighing The Fish" -- WTF! -- is a once-every-10-games cumulative ranking of every Marlins batter who is averaging at least one at-bat per game. Eleven qualify for our latest ranking (we eliminated the departed Michael Morse but included Cole Gillespie even though he is one at-bat shy at 129). WTF factors six offensive categories, serving as an ongoing de facto team MVP race -- a race Stanton led comfortably before his injury absence. The numbers below might not mean much by themselves, but, relative to each other, it gives an idea who is having the best overall season or is hot/cold. Here's the WTF after 130 games (at 52-78):

Rank Player                   WTF#  @120

1  Dee Gordon                  430.9    1

2  Giancarlo Stanton     362.5    2

3  Adeiny Hechevarria   358.0   3

4  Martin Prado              308.1    6

5  Christian Yelich         286.3   4

6  Jacob Realmuto         286.1   5

7  Marcell Ozuna            264.2   8

8  Justin Bour                 260.6    7

9  Ichiro Suzuki              228.6   9

10  Derek Dietrich          195.1   10

11  Cole Gillespie            140.1   --

Note: Season WTFs leader-count is now Stanton 8, Gordon 4.

1aa1alamarmillerDOLPHINS' IN FANTASY RANKINGS:'s official and final Top 300 fantasy rankings (click here for full list) includes 11 Dolphins, though none are pegged higher than what would be the third round in most drafts. The Fins listed, in order: 29th--RB Lamar Miller (pictured); 65th--WR Jarvis Landry; 87th--TE Jordan Cameron; 113th--WR DeVante Parker; 136th--RB Jay Ajayi; 142nd--Dolphins defense; 148th--QB Ryan Tannehill; 181st--RB Damien Williams; 191st--PK Caleb Sturgis; 197th--WR Kenny Stills; and 232nd--WR Greg Jennings. Quick thought: I think Tannehill, the 11th-ranked QB, could be somebody's draft steal. 

METEROLOGISTS SECRETLY DOWNTRODDEN AS SOUTH FLORIDA EVADES ERIKA'S CONE OF DOOM: Erika, the tropical storm, evidently not only won't become a hurricane but will be downgraded to a depression, or perhaps even a stiff breeze. This is good 1aa1acanestvfor South Florida, but bad of course for the people who sell plywood, ice, batteries and such. It's also bad for local TV meteorologists, who sell panic and at every opportunity foment an anxiety that leads to comically premature preparation. We'll probably get some rain and maybe some barely strong winds late Sunday into Monday. That's it. Am I making fun of hurricanes or the preparation for them. No! Certainly not on the 10-year anniversary of Katrina. Real hurricanes must be taken seriously. I am making fun of local TV weather people over-dramatizing every threat. I am picturing disappointed meteorologists downtrodden today, likely drinking heavily as they wistfully picture themselves beachside filming heroically in front of wind-whipped Stop signs.

Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

November 19, 2014

Is your opinion of Jeffrey Loria changing for better? Poll. Vote!; plus how Giancarlo $tanton celebrated (with pix); also Larranaga's Angel, new SOPY rank, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, Schitt's Creek & more

1AA1ACADC1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20. I'm at Friday Page Headquarters today creating my Week 12 NFL predictions. Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's call. 2) AC/DC have a newe song out, "Rock Or Bust," from a forthcoming new album. Listen. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NASCAR dodges bullet at Homestead, Dolphins/NFL playoff picture, Kim Kardashian as a horse, Gary Shelton & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Click on Now, The Pressure for today's latest column, off the Marlins press conference making official Giancarlo Stanton's megadeal.

1aa1amoetgs 1aa1amoet3How $tanton celebrated his new megadeal:
(Yes, we've made the S in $tanton a dollar sign): Giancarlo $tanton's new 13-year, $325 million Marlins contract is being announced officially today, but $tanton celebrated late Monday, at the trendy FDR nightclub at Miami's tragically hip Delano hotel. He has officially entered the orbit of self-celebration that we saw the Heat's Big 3 perfect the past four years. According to TMZ, and seen here, $tanton was partying at 3 a.m. Tuesday with friends "and some very attractive ladies" and a $20,000 bottle of champagne that had been "gifted" him by a Miami party queen named "Julz." Yes, I said a $20,000 bottle of champagne. It was Moet Nectar Imperial Rose' Leopard Luxury Edition Methuselah, one of only 60 made, a 6-liter bottle coated in 22-carat gold leaf. Top that, D-Wade!


 In my most recent column I write about the impact of the Giancarlo Stanton megadeal on the popularity of owner Jeffrey Loria. Click on Image Makeover to read the column in full. Will locking up Stanton for at least six more seasons (and as many as 13 more) do the trick for Loria? It can't hurt. Loria's unpopularity has run deep, rooted in years of gross underspending on payrolls and product. But now Mr. Cheap has OK'd a contract that would be a record $325 million over the full 13 years. How has that impacted the general opinion of Loria? There's only one way to find out. Ask. So I'm asking. Take a dip in our poll and vote what best reflects your attitude, right now, about Jeffrey Loria.

1aa1aangelrA HEAVEN-SENT ANGEL FOR CANES HOOPS: Miami Hurricanes stunned No. 8 Florida 69-67 in basketball Monday night ending the Gators' 33-game home winning streak, thanks to 24 points including a game-winning prayer 3 from guard Angel Rodriguez, a transfer from Kansas State. Jim Larranaga's guys are now 2-0 and likely to bomb into the Top 25 now.

SOPY: CANE VS. NOLE FOR STATE TITLE DOWN THE STRETCH: Looking like Miami's Duke Johnson vs. Florida State's Jameis Winston, each with two games to play, vying for season honors in our blog-1aa1asopyexclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 13:


Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk12    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         173     1,725

2 (2)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb         161     1,611

3 (3)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      BYE    1,399.5 

4 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            175     1,247.5

5 (5)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb          179.5    1,240.5

6 (6)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        53       1,070

7 (8)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb           141.5    1,055.5

8 (7)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            98       1,055

9 (9)       Matt Jones, Florida-rb              69        868

10 (10)     Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb      BYE      780

Bubble: Karlos Williams, FSU-rb, 769. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Florida and UCF have played 9 games; Miami, FSU, FAU and USF have played 10; and FIU has played 11.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 10: 1. FSU (10-0); 2. Miami (6-4); 3. UCF (6-3); 4. Florida (5-4); 5. SoFla (4-6); 6. FIU (4-7); 7. FAU (3-7).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: SLUMPING PICKS, SURGING LOBOS IN WEEK 11: We update you briefly every 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixTuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: Still lagging. Having a strong season, but our lull continues. Went 8-6 overall and 7-7 vs. the spread. Did hit our Upset of the Week call with Pats over Colts ("Aawwk!") and also had 'dog Texans, Rams and Raiders with points. Fantasy: Surge continues. Greg's Lobos won a third straight to make it 5-6 and move within one game of playoff pace with three to go. Won ugly, 88-76, my top scorer the 49ers defense with 15 points. But won. Go 'Bos!

1aa1aschittscreekCAN I SAY 'SCHITT'S CREEK' IN A BLOG? YES, I THINK SO: Cable's TV Guide Network, rebranding to the Pop network in January, has signed it's first scripted series: Schitt's Creek, a Canadian comedy starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara. (Schitt, of course, is a legitimate if unfortunate German surname). I'll give the show a try. Have liked Levy and O'Hara since their SCTV days; loved them in the movie Best Of Show. Also look forward to hearing a television announcer intone, "Coming up next ... Schitt's Creek!"

Check back often because we're constantly updating and adding to our latest blogposts...

July 25, 2012

Good riddance, Hanley Ramirez! Agree or no? Vote now (with poll); plus a new video from me, Ricky Williams' odd journey turns odder & more

1aa1gregnewNEW VIDEO! THIS IS NOT A FIRE SALE-*   Visit YouTube/TheGregCote for my latest The View From Miami video, on why this week's two Marlins trades were smart (with an asterisk). All six videos I've done so far are posted.

[1) It is THURSDAY, JULY 26. Join us on Twitter @gregcote. 2) Happy for ex-Canes coach Randy Shannon catching on as linebackers coach at Texas Christian. 3) A belated R.I.P. to Sherman Hemsley, whose George character (left) in 'The Jeffersons' could strut a pimp-walk better than anybody not wearing a purple felt hat]

Juicy!: The Dodgers visit Miami for three games August 10-12 and the crowd reaction to Hanley Ramirez will be interesting. Mostly cheers? Mostly boos? Maybe the poll results below will offer a hint. Click on Good Riddance for my newest column, on the departure of Hanley. and on Train Wreck for my previous column, on the Marlins' nightmare season.

MARLINS TRADE HANLEY RAMIREZ (THAT'S GOOD), BUT DON'T GET MUCH FOR HIM (THAT'S BAD): Hanley Ramirez (right) became the Dodgers' problem just past 3 a.m. in the East yesterday when the 1aa1hanlanews began to break that the Marlins had sent to Ramirez and reliever Randy Choate packing for Los Angeles. What's headed out doesn't bother me. Hanley has shown three years of diminishing returns and a continuing attitude issue. He was hitting .246. They tried to build a team around Ramirez but he wasn't up to the role. It was time to move on, as I say in this video on my YouTube channel, filmed early last evening prior to the trade. As for Choate leaving? He was a spot-role mid-relief guy with  an expiring contract. No biggie. The problem with this trade is that, with about six teams reportedly interested in Ramirez, one would think the Marlins could have gotten more in return 1aa1nathanethan what they did: 22-year-old rookie starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (1-6, 4.15 ERA) and 22-year-old minor-league pitcher Scott McGough, both righties. Eovaldi is pictured at left. As with any trade involving prospects, this deal will look much better if either incoming young pitcher turns out great, of course. For now, though, it sort of seems like the Marlins just gave Hanley Ramirez away. L.A. agreed to assume his remaining contract, so it's a salary-dump for Miami. But does it make the team better? L.A. was the only interested team that would pick up Hanley's entire remaining salary, so the presumption is Miami might have gotten more in return from another team but opted for the financial relief instead. Piggybacked onto the earlier trade of pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to Detroit for three young prospects, the Marlins definitely are retooling. Fire sale? Not yet, but it could begin to feel like that if, say, Josh Johnson is the next to go. Certain players ike Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Reyes should be off-limits and the club should make that clear to clam fans. Meantime, weigh in on the departure of Hanley Ramirez. Poll open. Votes welcome.

Shame on Showtime: How ridiculously lame and lazy of Showtime's The Franchise to not re-tool last night's episode to center around the Hanley Ramirez trade. They had time. The show could have been fresh and right-now topical; instead, the episode was full of fluff 'n filler: Ozzie Guillen's family, Edwards Mujica's family ... yawn! The only memorable quote for me was owner Jeffrey Loria lamenting of his team, "I don't think these guys have any sense of urgency."

RICKY WILLIAMS KEEPS PUTTING THE 'ODD' IN ODYSSEY: The life story of Ricky Williams gets stranger 1aa1garydouglas 1aa1garydrwmsjust when you thought that impossible. The latest: The retired Dolphin and his Ricky Williams Foundation are now heavily involved (spiritually and also financially) with a controversial organization -- many would say cult -- called Access Consciousness. Williams is a "facilitator" for the group and teaches classes for it. Its founder, Gary Douglas, is on record saying he believes he can heal wounds with his bare hands and read minds among other claims. The Austin (Tex.) Chronicle just did an interesting piece on all this. Click on Ricky's New Chapter for that story, which includes audio of an extensive interview with Williams and Douglas. Williams' ongoing search for enlightenment is admirable on some level, and I won't judge the motives or legitimacy of Douglas beyond suggesting they seem questionable. I wish Ricky and his bank account well on this venture, and hope he has trusted advisers in his life who are doing their job.

Poll result: Penn State punishment about right: We asked in the prior blogpost how you felt about Penn State's punishment over the Jerry Sandusky scandal (you can still vote), and 52.1 percent said it was about right. Another 26.8% called it too harsh and 21.1% too lenient.

Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this latest blogpost...

May 29, 2012

Extreme makeover: How HBO's Hard Knocks is part of Dolphins master plan; plus D-Wade's girl in bikini 'n cowboy hat, rock-climbing, Elvis' crypt & more

[1) It is Wednesday, May 30. Stunningly Serena Williams is out in first round of French Open, her earliest exit in 47 career Grand Slam events. 2) Rihanna's new signature perfume is called Nude. Or, did that go without saying? 3) Find main Heat-Celtics Game 1 blogpost directly below this newest one. 4) Stan Van Gundy claims he'll take a year off from coaching. Which means he'll listen only to lucrative offers from big teams. 5) Thanks again to ESPN's Outside The Lines for having us on yesterday to talk LeBron James. Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1hardknocksRESTORING THE BRAND: DOLPHINS AGREE TO BE FEATURED ON 'HARD KNOCKS': The Dolphins are trying to reestablish themselves as a prominent, national franchise -- and also reinvigorate their once-dominant status in South Florida -- and that planned brand-rebuilding is the major reason why the club has agreed to be featured this year on HBO's Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Miami Dolphins. The reality series will consist of five one-hour episodes debuting August 7 and running weekly through Sept. 4. Training camp begins July 26. (The Marlins are being similarly featured this year, on Showtime's baseball reality series, The Franchise). A 24-person crew from HBO and NFL Films will be in South Florida to produce the (nearly) all-access documentary. "We are looking forward to connecting with our fans across the country," said Joe Philbin, who'll be the first rookie head coach featured. After today's practice Philbin added, "It’s a chance for us to show the new direction and identity of this football team." The show has been critically acclaimed but not always welcomed by NFL teams because of the intrusiveness and potential distraction. Several teams turned down HBO before the Dolphins said yes. The series began with the Ravens in 2001 and Cowboys in 2002, and returned with the Chiefs in 2007, Cowboys in 2008, Bengals in 2009 and Jets in 2010 before skipping last year. The Dolphins are not as prominent, recently successful or star-driven as HBO would like, although best bets for lots of face time figure to include Philbin, running back Reggie Bush and the quarterback battle featuring top draftee Ryan Tannehill. (I suspect Ryan's blond, telegenic, aspiring-model wife Lauren might sneak in there a bit, too). A club source told me Monday another reason for the Dolphins agreeing to Hard Knocks is an attempt to steer the focus and conversation back onto the football field and away from front-office notoriety. Small example: The club's representative in an HBO/NFL Films/Dolphins joint news conference tomorrow will be Philbin -- conspicuously not owner Stephen Ross or general manager Jeff Ireland. The club sees Hard Knocks as a platform to showcase Philbin leading a storied franchise out of its dark days, and presenting this coach and city as enticing for future free agents and also for wayward fans.

On Reggie Bush and the team's response: Running back Reggie Bush -- arguably the Dolphins' biggest star from a national standpoint -- missed yesterday's offseason practice day, to which coach Joe Philbin said, "I don't want to comment." Huh? Really? The terse no-comment leaves the impression Bush was AWOL, his absence unexcused. Fans are owed the simple truth. Not every detail, but the essence. Philbin's reaction runs jarringly counter to the franchise's supposed new era of openness.

1aa1gabreilleuHERE'S DWYANE WADE'S GIRLFRIEND IN A WHITE BIKINI AND A COWBOY HAT: Guess that headline about says it all. Click here for a video of actress Gabrielle Union enjoying the surf off Miami Beach on Monday. It's worth abiding the 15-second ad. (Somebody told me the friend with her is LeBron James' lady, Savannah Brinson). Life is good for D-Wade on and off the court, judging by this photo. 

MARLINS AND ROCK CLIMBING: So an 11-year-old girl falls 18 feet onto concrete (she's OK) while on the rock-climbing wall at the new Marlins ballpark. My first thought: Why the hell is there a rock-climbing wall at the new Marlins ballpark!? When did sports franchises become so desperate to attract and amuse fans that the team and game were seen as insufficient? Rule of thumb: The only wall that should be climbed at a ballpark is the outfield wall, by outfielders.

HEADLINES YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU'D SEE: Click here. Spoiler alert: Skip this if you find unappealing the thought of eating testicles in a fancy restaurant. If your first thought was, "Depends on how they're prepared," then go ahead and click on the link.

1aa1sashaandradeTHE PHILADELPHIA 69ERS: This is a few days old but too delicious to ignore: WPLG anchor Sasha Andrade (pictured in screen-grab), saying on air the Heat were waiting to see if they'd next play the Boston Celtics or "the Philadelphia 69ers" instead of 76ers. Oops, sorry, Dr. Freud! Click here for the inevitable YouTube vid. Hey she was only off by seven!

WHAT AM I BID FOR ELVIS PRESLEY'S CRYPT?: This is a weird and macabre story. It is not as weird or macabre as a story about a deranged naked man eating the flesh off another man's face. But it is weird and macabre nevertheless. I suppose the crypt would be pricier if Elvis were still entombed.

1aa1scullybobbleClick back. Will be updating and adding to this latest blogpost. Hey! How'd that floating Vin Scully Bobblehead get in this blogpost over there. Get out of here, floating Vin Scully Bobblehead!...

May 17, 2012

Defeat, anger, now silence: Heat cancel Friday practice, media session; plus rank of Dolphins' Ross among NFL owners, ESPN Hispanic strategy & more

[1) It is Saturday, May 19. Defrocked Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell signs with Jets, and Miami's best rivalry just got a shade better. 2) It's a perfect day to join us on Twitter @gregcote. Click Perfect Day to hear Lou Reed perform his magnificently sad song live. 3) R.I.P., Donna Summer, taken by cancer at 63. 4) Drinks on me if Ed Reed really retires].

Click Heat: Ice Cold & Wrong Kind Of Hot for my column from Indianapolis off Thursday's loss.  

PLOT THICKENS: HEAT CANCEL FRIDAY PRACTICE, MEDIA SESSION: The Heat canceled a scheduled early-afternoon practice yesterday in Indianapolis and subsequent media availability. It might not mean too much. After all, the pacers had the day off, too. But it is tempting to read a lot into it considering Miami is coming off a huge Game 3 loss that clearly showed signs of internal strife including Dwyane Wade (in the midst of a 5-point game) having heated words with coach Erik Spoelstra. Other media reports also indicate Udonis Haslem is upset with his diminished role in this postseason. 

G3: PACERS DOMINATE SECOND HALF, CRUSH HEAT: Indiana wins 94-75 for as 2-1 series lead as Miami is held to 32 second-half points. Mario Chalmers big with 25 points and LeBron James adds 22 but Dwyane Wade a ghost with five points on 2-for-13 shooting. ..... It's 43-43 at halftime despite Dwyane Wade with 0 points. (And despite Dexter Pittman starting at center). ..... Pregame: Coach Erik Spoelstra just said: "As we get into the game that's when we have to do reads [on lineup changes]. We have to do that more than ever now. With Chris [Bosh] out, everything is on the table. The game will dictate. We don't have a history or a long blueprint with this dynamic." There is a fine line, is there not, between adapting-as-we-go and flying by the seat of one's pants? Original post: I have just arrived in Indianapolis for tonight's Game 3 of Heat-Pacers in the NBA playoffs' second round, the teams square at 1-1. It feels 1aa1heatpacerslike (doesn't mean it is) the fulcrum game that will determine the favorite to win this best-of-7 and advance. A lot of extraneous noise followed Miami's home loss the other night, such as who took the last shot (Mario Chalmers!?) and how LeBron James and Dwyane Wade -- despite their combined 52 points -- failed to come up huge in the closing minutes. Of course the more telling bottom line is that, without injured Chris Bosh, Miami looked like a two-man team with no No. 3 raising his hand and stepping forward. Chalmers? Udonis Haslem? Mike Miller? Shane Battier? Anybody? Somebody other than LeBron or Dwyane will stand up tonight or the Heat's grand championship plan will seem in jeopardy.

LEBRON AMONG 17 ATHLETES ON 100-MOST-POWERFUL-CELEBS LIST: Remember when Forbes was a serious business magazine? Now Forbes puts out lists like its latest: the 100 Most Powerful Celebrities. No. 1 overall is Dolphins-ownership-favorite Jennifer Lopez, calling into question the entire list. The slew of athletes on the list are: 12. Tiger Woods, 15. LeBron James, 27. Kobe Bryant, 31. Roger Federer, 32. David Beckham, 33. Manny Pacquiao, 40. Peyton Manning, 44. Cristiano Ronaldo, 47. Rafael Nadal, 48. Phil Mickelson, 50. Lionel Messi, 52. Floyd Mayweather, 60. Tom Brady, 63. Alex Rodriguez, 71. Maria Sharapova, 77. Serena Williams, and 87. Li Na.

DOLPHINS' ROSS LAGS 25TH AMONG NFL OWNERS: That's via but the estimation seems reasonable, with a mention of the botched Jim Harbaugh non-hiring and the appraisal, "[Ross] seems willing to spend big, but not necessarily how to spend it." Bookending the rankings: Patriots' Robert Kraft predictably No. 1 and Browns' Randy Lerner dead last.

LE BATARD FRONTS ESPN'S HISPANIC STRATEGY:  ESPN president John Skipper in a new interview portrays Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable as a key to the network's very targeted efforts at increasing 1aa1dlhqits footprint among Hispanic viewers. Pictured: an and his father, "Papi," on the unqieu fake-kitchen set.  "We as a company need to get a higher participation by Latino viewers in the U.S.," Skipper said. "We under-index with Hispanic viewers. They are 12 to 14 percent of the population and our average show is more like 6 to 8 percent Hispanic. The LeBatard show immediately has the highest composition of any show we have among Hispanic Americans. So that show has the purpose of beginning to help Latinos understand that ESPN is for them, which is also why we are hiring more Hispanic talent. We have commercials in Spanish. We are doing a lot of La Liga games in Spanish. Given the importance of that portion of our population over the next few years, we have to embrace that, and that is what LeBatard is about."

SAINTS CONTINUE SPIRALING DOWN COMMODE: Wasn't enough that head coach Sean Payton is suspended for the year. Wasn't enough that several players are serving Bountygate suspensions. Wasn't enough that star Drew Brees is upset (very) over his contract status. No, that isn't enough turmoil. So now Jonathan Vilma (the ex-Cane) is suing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for defamation! Paper-bag time? Aints redux?    

LATEST NUDES ON BEACHES: Expedia commissioned a Harris Poll to determine which of 21 countries has the most nude-beach-friendly people. Germany led with 15 percent saying they had nudied at the beach. The U.S. tied for seventh at 2%. Most of those were probably vacationing German tourists.

1aa1gretzypaulinaWAYNE GRETZKY'S DAUGHTER: It has come to my attention that Wayne Gretzky's daughter, Paulina, is the person pictured at right in the middle, and so I pass it along for your edification on the off chance you might find yourself on Jeopardy and hear Alex Trebek reveal the category "Athletes' Hot Daughters." I would imagine that Wayne's pride over the dissemination of this photo is all but indescribable.

Click back. Will updating and adding to this latest blogpost...

September 14, 2011

On Dan Le Batard's new TV show (with poll); plus Sarah Palin/Glen Rice, why Marlins cut Cameron, Tweeting, semi-nude rugby & more

[Thanks to all who tapped into our live chat today. Do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click RIGHT HERE to join us then, read transcripts or post questions any time. Note: Results of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll may be found directly below this in blog. Question: Is the unlovably violent temper "Just Manny Being Manny" too? Join on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1dlhq ON "DAN LE BATARD IS HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE": Our Miami Herald colleague's new TV show, Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable, already taking on the obligatory acronym DLHQ, debuted this week on ESPN 2 (weekdays, 4 p.m.), and I'd like to say I like it a lot, both for what it is and also for what it isn't. It isn't like anything else on ESPN, certainly not visually, with Dan and his father sitting at a table in a charmingly ridiculous fake '60s kitchen. I keep expecting Desi to walk onto the set and start yelling at Lucy about her bad coffee. The very idea Dan is doing a show with his Papi as a sidekick is obviously different, maybe a risk, but helping give the show a kinder, gentler vibe. It isn't standard fare. It isn't ranting Jim Rome, intoning holier than thou. It isn't the incessant, repetitive overanalysis ESPN feeds us with SportsCenter. I guess its kindred ESPN spirit would be Pardon The Interruption, which succeeds largely on the chemistry between Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. My one concern for Dan's new show is how the Miami-centric feel will play in middle America. The show's Cuban accent (literal and figurative) is familiar-as-family and second nature to we in South Florida but less so in other places. In any case I can't be impartial about Dan's show. We have been friends since the early '90s. I know and like his father. When I say the show feels fresh and is good, I can't separate whatever weight friendship plays in that thinking. That's where you come in. Take a dip in our poll and give us an honest opinion. I understand only three shows have aired, but if you've caught any of them chances are you have a feel for whether you like it or not, and why.

1aa1tweeting I TWEET, THEREFORE I AM...: ... in a shaky position to criticize the social-media phenomenon, and yet I find it amusing that commentary on one's own life has come to intrude on the actual living of one's own life. I say if you're at a parade, enjoy the damned parade, don't Tweet about how much you're enjoying it. This isn't art imitating life, it's a self-imbedded GPS. And so the lampoon-sign at right makes me smile, that's all. Truth in humor, almost always.

SARAH PALIN AND GLEN RICE: WHAT A HOOT!: A forthcoming book about Sarah Palin reveals that she and former Heat star Glen Rice had a one-night 1aa1glensarah stand in 1987. And of course by one-night stand I mean boom-chicka-boom-boom! Of course extreme right-wingers and Tea Baggers will immediately dismiss the story because The National Enquirer first reported it, even though in the book Rice confirms it happened. It happened when Palin was a single sports reporter for an Anchorage TV station and Rice, then a Michigan junior, was there for a tournament she covered. The two are pictured from that era, with Sarah's dreamy, far-off gaze perhaps conjuring memories of Glen's long jumper. Of course for this to come out decades later is a real embarrassment to ... Glen Rice! Dude. Please.   

WHY MARLINS CUT MIKE CAMERON: There were other reasons I'm sure. Baseball reasons such as Cameron's age, injuries and production. But a team source tells me the scale tipped against Cameron when he got into a "verbal altercation" with a flight attendant this week on the team's Pittsburgh-to-Atlanta trip. Stars who are producing get away with that. Mike Cameron, evidently, does not.

ME, FANTASY: Greg's Lobos won their opener, 142-113, led by a combined 51 points from Aaron Rodgers (30) to Greg Jennings (21). Also got an unexpected 22 from the Ravens D/ST. Getting that many points from your defense feels like Christmas morning. Won-and-oh, baby!

ME, NFL PIX: Um, not good. I might have had a better week than the Dolphins' pass defense, but even that's arguable. Went 7-9 overall, my face shamed to the shade of a beefsteak tomato, and an even more embarrassing 3-11-2 against the spread (Jags and Cards pushed). Highlights: Had a rare exact score on Jets' 27-24 win over Dallas, and Bills with points at KC. That's it. Will I bounce back? Bank it.

1aa1nuderugby DEAR GREG...: ...your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you'd show a photo from an International Nude Rugby match in which clothed women attempt to tackle an unpleasantly large naked man. Thank you.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE: Our latest updated weekly ranking of the seven FBS teams in our state, with previous week's rank in parentheses. Entering Week 3:

1aa1fla 1. FSU Seminoles (1) 2-0, 0-0 ACC

2. Florida Gators (2) 2-0, 0-0 SEC

3. S. Fla. Bulls (3) 2-0, 0-0 Big East

4. C. Fla. Knights (4) 2-0, 0-0 C-USA

5. Miami Hurricanes (5) 0-1, 0-1 ACC

6. FIU G-P's (6) 2-0, 1-0 Sun Belt

7. FAU Owls (7) 0-2, 0-0 Sun Belt

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a combination of the three major polls: Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN. Points based on 30 for a No. 1 ranking, 29 for No. 2, etc. The combined ranking entering Week 3:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Oklahoma   270   (1)

2   Alabama   259   (2)

3   Louisiana State   253   (3)

4   Boise State   236   (5)

5   FLORIDA STATE   234   (4)

6   Stanford   223   (6)

7t   Oklahoma State   205   (9)

7t   Texas A&M   205   (7t)

9   Wisconsin   200   (10)

10   Oregon   194   (7t)

11   Nebraska   179   (11)

12   South Carolina   172   (12t)

13   Virginia Tech   166   (12t)

14   Arkansas   165   (14)

15   Michigan State   134   (16)

16   Ohio State   133   (15)

17   FLORIDA   103   (19)

18   West Virginia   91   (21)

19   Mississippi State   90   (17)

20   Texas Christian   88   (18)

21   Arizona State   77   (24)

22t   Auburn   70   (25)

22t   Texas   70   (22)

24   Missouri   58   (20)

25t   SOUTH FLORIDA   54   (29)

25t   Baylor   54   (28)

27   Notre Dame   44   (23)

28   Penn State   37   (26)

29   Georgia   35   (27)

30   Southern Cal   31   (30)

33t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   6   (--)

35t   MIAMI   4   (32t)

Click back. Adding more stuff to this latest blogpost later...

July 18, 2011

Should college athletes be paid? (with poll); plus Bosh's $300K wedding (with photos), singing coaches, sleeping Marlin, T.Y. Hilton, zaftig Serena & more

1aa1hopecover 1aa1twohalfmen [It's LIVE CHAT WEDNESDAY! Doing it 1-2 p.m. today. Click HERE to join us then or to post questions early. Happy to report U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo adorns the cover (left) of the new Sports Illustrated on newsstands today/ Wednesday. At right, the new ad campaign for Two And a Half Men as it moves from Charlie Sheen to Ashton Kutcher. Also, join us at Or, you could just follow Justin Bieber like everybody else].

1aa1pay COLLEGE ATHLETES GETTING ALL THEY DESERVE: Whether to pay college athletes in the revenue sports of football and men's basketball resurfaces as a hot topic, splashed across and debated nationally. I weigh in with this column, online now and in Tuesday's pulp editions. Proponents of pay-for-play see college sports making millions in TV revenue alone and athletes deserving their piece of the pie. I make the two-pronged argument that athletes are being well paid as is, with scholarships and other benefits, and that they don't deserve more because college sports isn't about the individual athlete. When CBS/Turner Sports pay billions in NCAA men's basketball tournament rights, they are paying for the franchise called "March Madness," for conferences and marquee teams, for Cinderella. In the big picture, the college athletes who happen to be wearing the uniforms are incidental. Interchangeable. Then again, I am occasionally wrong. How do you feel? Do big-time college athletes deserve money beyond the value of their scholarships? Why or why not? Vote now.

1aa1boshkiss HEAT CELEBRATE BOSH-TASTIC $300K WEDDING: Heat forward Chris Bosh celebrated his marriage to Adrienne Williams (they'd been legally knotted in April) with a lavish ceremony/party at Miami's Fontainebleau hotel over the weekend. Cost: Almost $300,000, including 100 rooms reserved for guests. My invitation evidently got lost in the mail but that doesn't stop me from passing along these photos of the happy couple kissing near the cake and dancing. Guests included LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra also attended -- but only after getting special 1aa1boshdance clearance from the NBA 1aa1big3wedding because execs and coaches are not supposed to meet or fraternize with players during the lockout. Bosh had spent a recent week-long bachelor party in Las Vegas. Adrienne's bachelorette party was a week-long blowout in the Bahamas that included Kelly Rowland among guests. Meantime, LeBron is back playing in Cleveland. Oy! But relax, it's only in a City League summer tournament to keep in shape during the lockout. LeBron's website posted this video of LBJ just outside Cleveland.

DWYANE WADE: "WHY YOU HACKIN' ME!?": Wade has filed suit in federal court in Texas against someone he says has hacked into his personal email and Twitter accounts. Click here for a 3-minute YouTube video Wade posted. Starts off as nonsense before he addresses the hacking, and the hacker, about midway through. Quic aside: The shirt he's wearing bears his new Nike logo.

TREND? SINGING COACHES!: U.S. women's soccer coach Pia Sundhage, worth celebrating even with 1aa1tonysinging 1aa1pia Sunday's World Cup finals loss to Japan, is a singer. Click here to see and hear her channeling Simon & Garfunkel during a World Cup press conference last week. Click here for a YouTube video of her performing an entire song in Swedish before a live audience. They're rockin' in Goteborg! That's Pia pictured at left (unless it's actually Seahawks coach Pete Carroll). Imagining how fun it would be if Pia instigated a trend that reached America, and suddenly Jack McKeon broke into Sinatra to lament a Marlins loss; if UM's Al Golden announced his quarterback decision in song; or if Dolphins coach Tony Sparano on occasion busted out the unexpected falsetto as his alter ego: Tony, Soprano. I can dream, can't I? (Pictured at right, Sparano croons a play selection).

1aa1mujica EDWARD MUJICA, SLEEPING MARLIN: Marlins are one of the hottest teams in baseball but it wasn't enough to keep reliever Edward Mujica awake over the weekend in Chicago. Cubs broadcasters were letting him have it ("That is embarrassing") on the telecast. Click here for the video of Mujica (as my Dad used to say) checking his eyelids for holes. My message to Marlins players: If your 80-year-old manager is staying awake, you'd damn well better, too!

HILTON4HEISMAN: FIU has launched a Twitter site pumping receiver/returner T.Y. Hilton for the Heisman Trophy. It is Hilton4Heisman, which I am happy to relay in parochial support. Smart publicity avenue for the school and football program. Of course the odds are beyond long for a Sun Belt player. It would take truly spectacular individual stats chased by another bowl season to even get on the national radar, but, in the social-media era, this is the natural start.

1aa1jenny GREG COTE'S WEEKEND: Spent Friday and Saturday on brief family holiday in Tampa/St. Pete, back in time to catch the U.S.-Japan Women's World Cup final on Sunday. Top 5 favorite things about my weekend: 1. Dinner at the fabulously garish Bern's with my wife. Delmonico for two and a delicioso Frias cabernet; 2. Golf with my son and brother at The Vinoy (although my 96 was best forgotten); 3. Red Sox-Rays game; 4. Jenny McCarthy (pictured) in Spandex, checking in Sunday as we were checking out; 5. Breakfast at Munch's.

1aa1eddycurry HEAT WILLING TO WEIGHT WAIT ON CURRY: If the NBA lockout ever ends, the Heat is interested in signing center Eddy Curry (pictured) and defense-oriented forward Shane Battier. Pat Riley has been enamored of Curry for years. I'm not sure why. But supposedly Miami will try to sign the frequently rotund Curry if he sheds about 40 pounds during the lockout. He's 7 feet tall. The bad news? He's 4 feet wide.

ADULT CONTEMPORARY MUSIC: I like to refer to Adult Contemporary Music as "Songs My Wife Likes," 1aa1eltonac 1aa1savagegarden but I'd be disingenuous to say some of the genre isn't appealing. Billboard marks the 50th anniversary of its AC charts this week. Click here for BB's top 100 AC songs and top 50 AC artists of all-time.To save you time, the top-10 artists: 10. Anne Murray, 9. Lionel Richie, 8. Carpenters, 7. Billy Joel, 6. Chicago, 5. Kenny Rogers, 4. Barry Manilow, 3. Barbra Streisand, 2. Neil Diamond, 1. Elton John. (In my iPod: #7-6-5-2-1). Top-10 AC songs: 10. "Lonely No More," Rob Thomas; 9. "Hero," Enrique Iglesias; 8. "Change The World," Eric Clapton; 7. "You Needed Me," Ann Murray; 6. "Hello Dolly!," Louis Armstrong; 5. "Born Free," Roger Williams; 4. "Heaven," Los Lonely Boys; 3. "Drift Away," Uncle Kracker with Dobie Gray; 2. "Lead Me On," Maxine Nightingale; 1. "Truly Madly Deeply," Savage Garden. (In my iPod: #3).

1aa1swms SERENA WILLIAMS UPDATE: Here is the tennis star spotted over the weekend on Miami Beach. Baby got back, as well as front. May I say that? I celebrate the splendor of Serena's zaftig pulchritude. (Yes, I said zaftig pulchritude!) The weird thing is, this bikini is not quite as revealing as what she wore 1aa1rubens to the ESPYs last week. Serena surely would have been the favorite athlete of Rubens (left), the Belgian Baroque artist who famously favored painting women of full figure. 

THE LIST: MOST POPULAR ATHLETES: Results of new Harris Poll on 2011 top-10 most popular male and female athletes:

Rank   Male/Female

1   Derek Jeter / Serena Williams

2   Peyton Manning / Venus Williams

3   Kobe Bryant / Danica Patrick

4   Michael Jordan / Maria Sharapova

5   Tiger Woods / Mia Hamm

6   Tom Brady / Anna Kournikova

7   Albert Pujols / Martina Navratilova

8   Hines Ward / Sue Bird

9   Derrick Rose / Kerri Walsh

10   Aaron Rodgers / Michelle Wie

Notable: Woods fell from 1st to 5th. LeBron James fell from 6th to out of top 10.

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...

April 14, 2011

On Heat's first-round playoff series, team MVP (with polls); plus Mayor Luther Campbell, Barry Bonds, heavy girls & more

[ I'm the Eddie House of journalism. Just when you think I'm lousy, I surprise you and do something good].

Heat-Sixers Game 1 blog will publish here in a separate post beginning at 2 p.m. sharp!

HEAT GOT BEST-POSSIBLE FIRST-ROUND MATCHUP: I've been listening to misguided fans and greedy media griping how they wish Miami was playing the Knicks in the NBA playoffs' first round instead of the 76ers. Baloney. From a media view at least it's arguable, I guess. We want drama wherever we can find it. (Although this whole season has been that, so what's wrong with a little break?) But from a fan view, don't you want an easier series? Maybe a sweep? Less stress? More rest before round two? That's why you play 82 games. Duh. That's the point of a higher seed. And that's Philly. Players say automatically who they play doesn't matter, but I guarantee you a nice calm, dull four or five-game rout of Philly is preferred to the wilder ride a Knicks series might have been. Then again I'm occasionally wrong. Tell me if I am or not. Take a dip in our poll. (Team MVP poll below this one...).

LEBRON WINS KING-O-METER. NOW YOU NAME THE MVP: Here are final season results for our 1aa1crown unpopular King-O-Meter, measuring which of Miami's would-be kings has had the better season based on a cumulative system using 10 statistical categories. I say unpopular because many e-mailers think it's divisive. Anyway, LeBron James wins our 2010-11 Heat King title over Dwyane Wade by 4,804.88 points to 4,174.00. (Wade missed six games to James' three, not enough to have bridged the difference). James led in games led, 43-38, including the last nine straight. (Total adds to 81 because both missed the finale). In 70-plus-point games, sort of a standard for extra good, James led, 17-13. Season high for either was James' 107.24 in Game 49 at Orlando. Wade's best was 92.10 in Game 72 vs. Philadelphia. So I say James was the regular-season team MVP. Do you? Vote.    

BOO, STEIGERWALD! YOU ARE RATIONALIZING A HEINOUS CRIME: John Steigerwald, a columnist for a small suburban Pittsburgh newspaper, has caused a firestorm by suggesting that Bryan Stow -- the Giants fan who got severely beaten after the Dodgers' opener in L.A. and remains in critical condition -- brought it on himself by wearing a Giants jersey to the game. Read the column here if you have the stomach. It is wrong on so many levels. The logic is about the same as blaming a rape victim because she wore a short skirt.

1aa1kevinna KEVIN NA'S MELTDOWN: Kevin Na (right) shot a 16 on a par 4 at yesterday's Texas Open, the worst par 4 score in PGA Tour history. Click here to watch the video. John Daly maintains the all-time worst hole on record, an 18 on a par 5 in 1998. It is unfathomable to me that any professional golfer has had a worse hole than I ever had, because I stink and do mental cartwheels and handsprings when lucking the occasional par.

SUMMARY OF BARRY BONDS TRIAL: Three years and millions of wasted dollars for a jury to dumbfoundingly conclude that Barry Bonds somehow obstructed justice without lying. That's quite a trick. Among Bonds, the prosecuting attorney and the jurors, there isn't a single soul in this mess who should be feeling proud or the least bit pleased right now.  

1aa1ashley AMERICAN IDOL AND FAT GIRLS: Oops I know "fat girls" is prejorative. My bad. Seam-stretching? Metabolistically challenged? Ashley Kauffman, 19, pictured, is making the rounds (Good Morning America earlier today) talking about how she was separated from her friends in the American Idol audience and told she was too heavy to sit in the front row. OMG! WWST!? (What Would [Ruben] Studdard Think). Idol denies this happened. Of course, anyone who has watched the show and how it packages pretty should believe the girl. Dear American Idol: This poor girl is barely heavy at all. Please restrict your blatant weight discrimination to the morbidly obese like the rest of us do.

1aa1luke MAYOR LUTHER "UNCLE LUKE" CAMPBELL?: Is it OK to admit the thought both terrifies and intrigues me? I see it as a possibility, especially with 11 people running post-recall for Miami-Dade mayor, when 15-18 percent of the vote might be enough and name-recognition will matter. Bottom line? It's nuts. Nuts! We'd be a national laughingstock. It would further cement Miami's well-earned reputation as an insane asylum politically. And yet, politically, is the election progression from actors to pro wrestlers to rappers really that outlandish? I think Luke has an outside shot. Seriously. And I like that if only because it delivers the [bleep]in' motherlode to colleagues Carl Hiassen and Leonard Pitts.

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost later...

THE LIST: HEAT PLAYOFF OPPONENTS: Miami's first-round series vs. Philadelphia starting Saturday will be the Heat's first playoff meeting with the 76ers. Miami's top five most common playoff opponents:

Opponent   Playoff Games   (Series; Most Recent)

New York   24   (4; 2000)

Chicago   21   (4; 2007)

Detroit   16   (3; 2006)

Atlanta   12   (2; 2009)

New Jersey   9   (2; 2006)

Others, all 1 series: New Orleans 7 games; Dallas 6; Indiana 6; Boston 5; Orlando 5; Washington 4; Charlotte 3.