July yielding to August means football season is rolling in fast, so let’s quickly summarize prospects for Miami’s three biggest teams, the Dolphins, UM and FIU.
DOLPHINS: What we have mostly learned so far in coach Joe Philbin’s second training camp is that center Mike “Free Hernandez” Pouncey has questionable taste in friends — and hats. What we have not yet learned is whether Ryan Tannehill will make the leap to stardom and lift his team from its recent mediocrity. Hopes seem high, but with Dolfans, that’s always relatively speaking.
HURRICANES: The good news is coach Al Golden in his third season appears to have a very strong team capable of winning the Atlantic Coast Conference, playing in a sizable bowl and returning UM closer to the once-accustomed perch of national prominence. The bad news is the dastardly NCAA still looms in the spoil-sport role it plays so well.
FIU: Tough times for first-year coach Ron Turner as the Panthers transition to Conference USA. The dismissal of top running back Kedrick Rhodes, arrested for “discharging a firearm” on campus, accentuated a betting over/under of three wins. Embarrassment took a different turn when several players disrobed at a public beach (Crandon Park), begetting a public apology from Turner.
Sadly, it remains a truism for FIU in the deep local football shadow of the Dolphins and Canes:
If your success on the field isn’t gaining you any attention, well, shooting a gun and public nudity remain reliable fallback options.
• Random Evidence is thrilled to be back after a one-week hiatus spent on vacation in Alaska, where activities included halibut fishing. I caught several fish prior to being thrown overboard by the captain for continually saying things like “that’s the halibut” and “just for the halibut.”
• The Marlins’ brighter future became evident as Jose Fernandez pitched a perfect inning in the All-Star Game and top outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick were called up. What? What’s that? You say you prefer I poke fun at the club? Oh, OK.
• The Marlins recently wore 1956-era uniforms in a game. I found that appropriate, because the team usually has 1956-era player payrolls.
• The Marlins had a magician, Michael Grandinetti, performing during a recent game. Fans were disappointed, though, when he failed to make owner Jeffrey Loria disappear.
• Baseball’s Hall of Fame weekend culminates Sunday with the induction of three new members. Cooperstown visitors be warned, though: Not a great autograph opportunity, as all three inductees have been dead at least 70 years.
• The Heat opens its regular season Oct. 29 at home against Chicago. Um, you think you’ll be ready by then, Derrick Rose, or still not sure?
• Heat star LeBron James, newly named the NBA’s most popular player in a poll, will be on the cover of NBA 2K14 and also served as “music curator” for the video game. I’d guess the soundtrack will feature a lot of standards heavy on Sinatra, no?
• That reminds me. LeBron, in China this week on Nike business, had with him 24/7 a house DJ to spin music. Sure, because when one gets up at 3:42 a.m. to use the bathroom, one likes the accompaniment of strobe lights and a thumping bass line.