Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind

Big weekend: Soccer! Racing! Almost forgot Dolphins

 

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Today: NASCAR main-series championships. Frontrunner Jimmie Johnson chases his sixth title and history Sunday at Homestead. Most season championships:

Titles Driver Span
7Richard Petty1964-79
7Dale Earnhardt1980-94
5Jimmie Johnson2006-10
4Jeff Gordon1995-2001

Note: Five drivers have three each. Chronologically they are Lee Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and Tony Stewart. Six other drivers have two championships each. Fourteen drivers have one.


What South Florida sports fans are talking about:

1. DOLPHINS

Distracted Fins attempt to beat visiting Chargers: Bullygate won’t go away. This week, suspended bully Richie Incognito filed a grievance to collect back pay and departed victim Jonathan Martin met with an NFL investigator. Meantime, the Dolphins struggle to put the scandal behind them. Aside to Dolphins: Wanna know how? Win. Make it about cheering.

2. NASCAR

Johnson out front on Championship Sunday in Homestead: Jimmie Johnson’s Chase for the Cup points lead is such that he only needs to finish no worse than 23rd at Homestead-Miami Speedway to win his sixth NASCAR Cup series season title in the past eight years. If I’m running things, to inject drama, I make Johnson compete driving a 1997 Toyota Tercel.

3. HURRICANES

UM plays at Duke, tries to keep ACC hopes alive: I remember when Duke (the football team) was lousy. I remember when Duke (Johnson, the Canes running back) was healthy. Because neither was the case Saturday night in Durham, N.C., UM fans had their fingers crossed as the team tried to stay alive to reach the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

4. SOCCER

Brazil fills Dolphins stadium for exhibition match: Here is what’s amazing about a sold-out stadium full of excitement for Brazil-Honduras on Saturday. It was a “friendly” — what soccer calls a game that is just for show and doesn’t count for anything. Fathom that in the context of how little you care about baseball spring training or NFL preseason games.

5. HEAT

Are the champions “going through the motions”? Miami was 6-3 entering Saturday and “playing like [expletive]” defensively, said LeBron James, who added it’s as if the Heat is “going through the motions.” LeBron cited a lack of motivation. Sure, because, other than becoming only the fifth franchise in 67 NBA years to win at least three titles in a row, what’s the incentive!?

gcote@miamiherald.com

Three major South Florida weekend sporting events — the Brazil-Honduras soccer game, the NASCAR season finale at Homestead and the Dolphins-Chargers game — were expected to draw some 200,000 distinctly different spectators in an area too often mistaken as a bad sports town.

The soccer (a practice game, no less) and the race both were safe bets to easily outdraw the Dolphins, and Miami might be the only NFL city where that would happen.

I’m not sure, though, if that says more about our wonderfully diverse interests, or about the state of the local NFL team.

A Dolphins official I spoke with called it “embarrassing” that Sunday’s home crowd would be considerably less than the stadium held for exhibition soccer the night before.

I suggested our sagging football club try to capture some of the magic of Brazilian soccer by having Dolphins players compete Sunday wearing bright yellow and green jerseys and short pants.

There was no immediate indication my suggested uniform tweak had been taken seriously.

• Social media was abuzz that Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill supposedly tips off defenders by shouting “go” for passes and “go-go” for runs. It could be worse. The old pre-snap cadence had him shouting, “Hey, I’m about to throw to Hartline in the right flat!”

• Anybody catch the interview Dolphins bully Richie Incognito Icognito gave to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, the muscle-bound mixed-martial arts trainer? There was so much testosterone in the room that a woman working one of the cameras started growing facial hair.

•  Jose Fernandez deservedly won National League Rookie of the Year. I called Jose “the only good thing about the Marlins last season.” Granted, it wasn’t the catchiest of nicknames.

• NHL Panthers lost nine in a row before giving new coach Peter Horachek his first win. Rebuilding Cats then dealt wing Kris Versteeg to Blackhawks. Congrats, Kris. You’ve been traded from purgatory to the playoffs.

• The Heat’s Michael Beasley, of the marijuana-checkered past, has a tattoo of and says he is inspired by Bob Marley. Things I Don’t Find Surprising, one in a series.

•  Michael Jordan said his “unbeatable” pickup team would be himself, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Hakeem Olajuwon. Wonder how much Pippen and Worthy paid MJ to include them?

• Answer: The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook signed an endorsement deal that will have him modeling underwear. Question: What makes you say most athletes are money-obsessed?

• The Heat’s Shane Battier revealed his real surname was “Battle” but was changed because of incorrect spelling on his birth certificate. I hear the same thing happened to the suspended Dolphins guard, Richie Incogidiot.

• For those who don’t believe there have been a lot of NFL quarterback injuries lately, ladies and gentlemen please welcome to the stage Scott Tolzien, Jeff Tuel and Matt McGloin!

•  Miguel Cabrera won another MVP award. He’s first ballot in the Ex-Marlins Hall of Fame.

Cleveland’s Terry Francona edged Boston’s John Farrell for American League Manager of the Year, even though Farrell made a last-place team world champs. Baseball writers explained they were drunk when voting.

Baseball’s expanded instant replay will give managers two challenges each, more if they are right. Red Sox-Yankees games will now last 3 1/2 days.

• The Atlanta Braves are leaving downtown for an outlying stadium in 2017 and will be known as the Atlanta Burbs.

• The uniform Bill Mazeroski wore hitting his famous home run to win the 1960 World Series sold at auction for $633,000. Sounds a bit pricey, unless about $600,000 was in one of the pockets.

•  George Brett threatened bodily harm on an autograph seeker who’d approached him at least 35 times. So I promised to quit stalking him.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he can’t “fathom” NBA teams tanking for higher draft positioning. I can’t fathom Coach K being unable to fathom that.

• Welcome back, college basketball. We’ll check back after the first of the year when the schedule gets interesting and conference games start.

• It was reported Florida State quarterback and Heisman candidate Jameis Winston was implicated in a 2012 sexual assault. I’d mention he was not and has not been charged, but that would be too fair.

• There are indications Michael Phelps might come out of retirement to swim in the Rio Olympics. “We haven’t made up our mind,” said advisor Brett Favre.

• Mike Tyson reveals in a new book he was high on drugs during several fights. Thus substantiating a long-held belief of mine that no man bites off another man’s ear while sober.

• We enter the time of year when baseball teams start making major trades and spending big on top free agents. In some cities they call this “the hot stove league.” In Miami we call it “nap time.”

That reminds me. Marlins radio broadcasts switch from 790 The Ticket to WINZ 940 next year. Fans who listen to Marlins games on radio are split. One said he liked the change, the other isn’t sure.

Deposed FAU football coach Carl Pelini, ousted for drug use, wants reinstatement. Says he never used drugs. Says his resignation was “forced.” Carl, your record was 5-15. Don’t push it.

• And in other college football news, the Florida Gators fired Will Muschamp. I’m kidding! No they haven’t. Yet. Just wanted to get used to what that will look like in print.

• A Bears fan, John Grant, 42, won a bet with his Packers-fan wife and got to shoot her in the buttocks with a taser. Police reported both had been drinking. Some things go without saying.

• Heart transplant recipient Kathy Ritvo of Davie became the first female trainer to win horse racing’s Breeders Cup when Mucho Macho Man won. Otherwise, not much special about her.

• Gold-medal sprinter Usain Bolt in a new memoir credits his success to consuming up to 100 McDonald’s chicken McNuggets per day. Finally, a diet I can relate to!

• The Key West World Championship of offshore powerboat racing ended, for those of you who enjoy following a sport not the least bit conducive to spectators.

• WMEN 640 AM fired local radio host Dan Sileo after he offered a bounty on an FSU football player. It is not yet determined what station will be the next to hire and then fire Sileo.

•  Parting thought: A Japanese man, Kenichi Ito, broke the Guinness World Record for fastest 100-meter dash run on all fours. Two thoughts: 1) Guinness has WAY too many world records. 2) My dog could have run it faster.

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote, Instagram/upsetbird, Vine/Greg Cote and Facebook/Greg Cote.

Read more Greg Cote stories from the Miami Herald

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Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade signals a big three pointer in the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Miami Heat's NBA Playoff matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on April 20, 2014.

    In My Opinion

    Greg Cote: Miami Heat needs Dwyane Wade of Game 1 to three-peat

    The Heat this season put together feature videos on every player that are shown on the home arena’s giant scoreboard screen during games. The one on Dwyane Wade happened to air Sunday during a timeout in the second half of the playoff victory over Charlotte that opened Miami’s postseason bid for a third consecutive NBA championship.

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Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, left, and center Chris Bosh watch from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in Miami. The 76ers defeated the Heat 100-87.

    IN MY OPINION

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    A Heat playoff run is the annual gift we slowly unwrap together, our two-month emotional thrill ride ever since LeBron James grandly announced he was “taking my talents to South Beach” that summer night in 2010. Well, buckle up again, South Florida. Prepare for exhilarating highs and work-productivity lows. Prepare for late nights walking drained from the downtown bayside arena. Prepare for hearts to soar or plunge on whether a basketball swishes through a nylon net or bonks off a painted rim.

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Charlotte Bobcats' Al Jefferson, left, drives past Miami Heat's Shane Battier, right, to dunk during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.

    In My Opinion

    Miami Heat sweep would challenge rosy outlook by Bobcats’ Al Jefferson

    I think that Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson, not a star in the NBA but a good player, must lead the league in seeing the bright side, in trying to find the best in a bad situation. This talent figures to come in particularly handy in the next week-plus as his hopeless underdogs try to avert being swept in four games by the two-time, defending-champion Heat.

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