April 12, 2021

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 08, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Wade's farewell is king. See what follows; plus predict Dolphins' starting QB in 2020. Poll. Vote now! With column; also, Heat Playoff Watch (updated), Panthers change coaches, over/under on NFL wins (ouch) & more


1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 8. Visit Breakfast! for the new Back In My Day that debuted last week on Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. 2) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): ESPN's latest Dolphins-draft guesses, playoff-chase drama adds to Wade's farewell, glory of an unexpected Final Four with polls, response to slam on Marlins fans, latest NBA/NHL odds & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: On Dolphins' next quarterback: I consider all of the players and all of the options through the next two drafts and handicap who'll be the Fins' starting QB in 2020 and beyond. To read, please visit Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB to read. There's a poll below awaiting your vote.

Heat Playoff Watch (updated entering Monday): Heat (9th place/38-42) after losing Sunday at Toronto; chasing Pistons (8th/39-41) after losing Sunday at Charlotte. Nets and Magic both won Sunday to clinch playoffs spots. Heat, Pistons and Hornets (also 38-42) are alive for final East playoff ticket. Remaining Heat games: Tuesday vs. Philadelphia and Wednesday at Brooklyn. Today: No games scheduled. Outlook: Heat, after an ill-timed fourth straight loss, are in trouble. Miami must win both of its final two games and get help, because both Detroit and Charlotte own the tiebreaker over Miami.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 7): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday 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:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: The end is near for Dwyane Wade's farewell: What started in June of 2003 is coming to an end a sweet 16 years later. Dwyane Wade's final regular-season home game of his final year in the NBA will be Tuesday in a downtown arena packed with emotion and gratitude. There could be a curtain call of at least two additional home games -- but only if Miami makes the playoffs, which now seems unlikely after Sunday's loss at Toronto. Miami is home vs. Philly Tuesday, then at Brooklyn Wednesday, needing to win both and get help.

2. MARCH MADNESS (MEN): It's Virginia vs. Texas Tech for NCAA title: After Virginia edged Auburn by one point (on a lucky late call) and Texas Tech handled Michigan State more comfortably in Saturday's Final Four, the two winners will meet Monday night in Minneapolis for the national championship. No.1-seed Cavaliers and No. 3 Red Raiders both are playing for the first national title, with Virginia a narrow 1 1/2-point favorite. 

3. PANTHERS: Cats end disappointing season, change coaches: Panthers will watch Stanley Cup playoffs on TV after finishing 36-46 with Saturday's appropriately fitting 4-3 overtime home loss to New jersey. Cats started season 0-4 and 2-8, and 7- and 6-game losing streaks along the way and just never really made a run. Wasted talent. Again. Sunday, team announced coach Bob Boughner was out after two seasons and Monday announced the hiring of 3-time Stanley Cup champion coach Joel Quenneville. Justified move. Solid hire.

4. MARLINS: Alfaro sparks Fish on first road trip: After Saturday's 4-2 win in Atlanta behind Jorge Alfaro's two homers ended a 4-game losing skid, Miami fell to 3-7 with Sunday's loss. Fish remain last in NL East in midst of young season's first road trip.

5. DOLPHINS: Countdown to NFL Draft: 17 days: Draft on April 25-27 finds Dolphins with so many needs it's anybody's guess what position will be targeted 13th overall. Why so many needs? Hint: New betting odds put Miami's over/under at 5 wins, lowest in league. Before the draft, team will hold a  "voluntary" mini-camp April 16-18. That's "voluntary" in quotes because if a player doesn't show up they look at him funny and call him names.

6. GOLF: It's Masters Week. Let us pray: The Masters is this Thursday through Sunday at Augusta, maybe the holiest-feeling annual event in sports. You can't even talk about it without hearing soft violins and tinkling pianos. Rory McIlroy is the betting fave at 7-1, then it's Dustin Johnson 10-1. At 12-1 are Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and some guy named Tiger Woods.

7. MARCH MADNESS (WOMEN): Baylor wins women's crown: After Baylor beat Oregon and Notre Dame bested UConn in Final Four semis Friday night, the two winners met Sunday in Tampa, with Baylor beating the Irish 82-81 for the national title.

8. HURRICANES: UM holds first spring scrimmage (supposedly): Coach Manny Diaz's Canes have six spring football practice days left, through April 20, after holding the first of three scrimmage games on Saturday. Well, we think so. The alleged super-secret stealth scrimmage was closed to fans and media, so do we reeeaaallly know it happened?

9. WWE: Pow! Boom! WrestleMania 35 takes place!: WrestleMania 35, Sunday in New Jersey and on pay-per view, made history with a first-ever women's main match: Becky Lynch taking the belt over Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair. The card also featured Brock Lesnar, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio and a long parade of other people in tights whom Greg Cote has never heard of. 

10. FOOTBALL: R.I.P. to the (incredibly short-lived) A.A.F.: The latest spring football tombstone shall read: Here lies the Alliance of American Football, 2019 to 2019. The league flopped like a dying fish on a pier after only eight weeks. Back to the golf course, Steve Spurrier!

Missing the HB10 cut: Canes baseball failed to complete a home sweep over Florida State today after shutout wins Friday and Saturday. UM is now 20-12; 'Noles are 19-12 after a 12-0 start ..... Duke's Zion Williamson is AP's college basketball player of the year. He also won in the more obscure category, Best Shoe Explosion ..... Bengals RB Mark Walton, the ex-Cane, was arrested for the third time this year. The year just entered its fourth month ..... Answer: Paul Westphal, Al Attles and Jack Sikman are among the latest inductees. Question: "What makes you say they Basketball Hall of Fame lets in too many people?" ..... Texas won men's NIT. Has anybody ever actually worn an "NIT Champions" T-shirt? Do they even make them? ..... Tennis' Miami Open set attendance records its first year at Hard Rock Stadium. Which is good. But, sorry, a stadium parking lot, even all dressed up, still cannot match the ambiance they had to leave behind on Key Biscayne ..... Stoking a future rivalry MLS with Inter Miami, Orlando FC put out a video making fun of the weeds at ramshackle Lockhart Stadium. Love it. Spot on ..... Update: Countdown now 2,631 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

JherbertCRYSTAL (FOOT)BALL: HANDICAPPING DOLPHINS' LIKELIEST STARTING QB IN 2020: Looking at all of the players, all of the possibilities and what's most realistically likely to happen, we handicap who'll be the Dolphins' starting quarterback in 2020 and beyond, after one season of stopgap bridge Ryan Fitzpatrick replacing the departed Ryan Tannehill. And the answer may surprise you. That is our newest column. Please visit Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB to read. I describe and rank the 10 possibilities, with percentage likelihoods of that player being the guy. Only the top three QBs score in double-digits percents. One of those top three, Oregon star Justin Herbert, is pictured. Here, in this poll, I list the seven most likely candidates alphabetically. Please vote for the QB you realistically think will be next -- the one you'd bet on! -- not who you hope. Vote now!

Our other most recent columns: Playoff Chase Drama Enriches Wade's Swansong and An Intriguing Final Four Despite What's Missing. Also: Maximum Security, Maximum Results (from the Florida Derby) and The Marlins Will Be Better Than You Think.

BETTING OVER/UNDER WIN TOTALS FOR NFL (OUCH!): Via BetOnline.ag, your Miami Dolphins are dead-last in the NFL with a betting over/under of 5 wins. Also among early leaders in the Tua Tagovailoa Derby are the Cardinals at 5 1/2 wins and Redskins, Giants and Bengals all at 6. On the high end are the Patriots (of course!) at 11 wins and the Chiefs, Rams and Saints all 10 1/2. Elsewhere in the AFC East, Jets are at 7 wins and Bills at 6 1/2.

POLL RESULTS: WHO YOU WANT TO WIN NCAA TITLE, WHO YOU THINK WILL WIN: We asked, "Which Final Four team do you bet WILL win the NCAA Tournament men's championship?" You answered 42.53 percent Michigan State, 36.78% Virginia, 16.09% Texas Tech and 4.60% Auburn. We also asked, "Which Final Four team do you (or your bracket) WANT to win the NCAA Tournament men's championship?" There it was 38.23% Virginia, 26.47% Texas Tech, 20.59% Michigan State and 14.71% Auburn. 

Final Four preferences by state: Based on geotagged Twitter data, Michigan State enjoys the most support in 27 U.S. states, Texas Tech in 10, Auburn in eight (including Florida) and Virginia in five.

My bracket's title-game needs: My bracket in the Le Batard & Friends group through ESPN.com and remains buoyant with Virginia my pick to win it all. Including Final Four results I leaped from 82nd place to 34th place among 215 players in the show pool. Ten of the teams ahead of me also have Virginia, so if the Cavaliers cut the net I'll have a chance for a great finish. Go Wahoos!

Other select recent columns: Growing Pains Commence For Rebuilding Marlins / Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / Jeter Gets Reminder Why Marlins Boss Is His Toughest Position Yet / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote