In My Opinion

Broken nose no pain compared to broken franchise

 

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Today: History of baseball spring training in South Florida. Most consecutive years a South Florida city has hosted an MLB team in the spring:

Years City/team Span
35West Palm Beach/Atlanta Braves*1963-97
34 Fort Lauderdale/New York Yankees 1962-95
30 Miami/Baltimore Orioles 1959-88
26 Pompano Beach/Texas Rangers*1961-86
17 Jupiter/St. Louis Cardinals 1998-present
17 West Palm Beach/Montreal Expos 1981-97
14 Fort Lauderdale/Baltimore Orioles 1996-2009
12 Jupiter/Miami Marlins 2003-present

*Braves were based in Milwaukee first three years in WPB. Rangers were Washington Senators until 1972.


What South Florida sports fans are talking about:

1. HEAT

Champs back home as LeBron nurses broken nose: Miami hosts Chicago on Sunday in its first home game in 20 days. LeBron James’ nose was brokenduring Thursday’s impressive win at Oklahoma City, but a source close to LeBron’s nose — a source reported but not confirmed to be his left ear — indicated he still might play Sunday.

2. DOLPHINS

Philbin feels heat as Bullygate repercussions continue: Miami fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and trainer Kevin O’Neill related to Bullygate, and coach Joe Philbin received a harsh interrogation when facing the media at the NFL Scouting Combine. Cannot confirm Philbin in turn has hired a lawyer and plans to sue the media for bullying.

3. SOCHI OLYMPICS

Sunday’s Closing Ceremonies wrap so-so Winter Games for U.S.: Team USA losing to Canada and denied gold in men’s and women’s hockey epitomized a Sochi Games filled with as much disappointment as exultation for the Americans. (Quick reality check for crowing Canadian fans: Y’all haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1993, eh?)

4. MARLINS

Hopes modest as team launches spring training in Jupiter: Miami boasts one of the top young pitchers in Jose Fernandez and one of the best young sluggers in Giancarlo Stanton. With that as a foundation, the Marlins would be considered among World Series favorites if only this were the distant future and cloning had been perfected.

5. NASCAR

Daytona 500 begins racing season with return of No. 3 car: Sunday’s race will feature the return of a No.3 car, Dale Earnhardt’s famed number, now driven by Austin Dillon, car owner Richard Childress’ grandson. I’d be more impressed if an angry Earnhardt himself rose from the dead and grabbed the wheel, and if anybody could, it’s the Intimidator!

gcote@MiamiHerald.com

I think the Dolphins would manage to look bad on their own, with no outside help, don’t get me wrong on that. But being juxtaposed against the regal stature of the Heat just down the road only adds to the football club’s misery.

How can you not compare and contrast Miami’s two biggest sports brands when one suffers its embarrassed nadir at the same time the other enjoys its preening zenith?

A ramshackle double-wide is what it is, but never looking quite so forlorn as when sagging outside the tall gates of a palace.

Over here, the two-time defending NBA champion Heat, led by the incomparable LeBron James, have attained an excellence so locked in and established it may be counted on, like sunrise.

Over there, the nationally embarrassed Dolphins are forced to fire offensive line coach Jim Turner as a fallout of Bullygate because he bought blow-up sex dolls for his players.

(Hopefully, based on the attrition on that offensive line, the Dolphins still have at least five of those dolls left over to use as Week 1 starters if needed.)

LeBron sustained a busted nose Thursday night and jokingly referred to himself as “Bane James,” after the Batman villain who wears a mask on his face. James might need facial protection for a while but the Bane nickname couldn’t be more fitting, considering he’s the bane of every opponent.

I guess Miami’s two biggest teams do have one thing in common, after all.

The Heat’s star has a broken nose.

The Dolphins have broken franchise.

• And in Olympic women’s figure skating, 17-year-old Russian Adelina Sotnikova won gold in a case of outrageous scoring skullduggery and blatant judging malfeasance, according to Greg Cote, who was by that hour barely awake on his TV-room sofa.

• The U.S. suffered a disappointing performance in the speedskating events in Sochi. Team USA dumped its high-tech, aeronautically designed suits for other race wear, then even tried competing in flowing Biblical robes — but nothing worked!

• On a brighter note, the United States won its first gold since 1964 in Nordic pairs snowman building, and swept the podium in a new Olympic event, freestyle chillin’ out.

•  Hank Aaron, 80, is recovering from a partial hip replacement after falling on the ice. Even worse, the spill ruined his medal chances.

• Florida returns to the NHL ice here Thursday. The Olympics break has caused the unheard-of: the Panthers going almost three weeks without losing!

• The PGA Tour’s South Florida swing opens with a strong field in the Honda Classic this week. The field includes Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, which means I get to act as if they’re the only two men in it.

• Want to know why the UM men’s and women’s basketball teams both are mediocre this season? Because home is where the hurt is. They were a combined 2-11 in Atlantic Coast conference home games entering the weekend.

• The baseball Hurricanes, hosting the Gators this weekend, are off to a rough start. UM is making errors in the field nearly on a pace with Richie Incognito’s errors in judgment.

• [The following is an inside joke for longtime readers.] CBS fired NFL analyst Dan Marino. In an upcoming column, I’ll recommend the network replace him with Scott Mitchell. [Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.]

• The History Miami museum plans events next week marking the 50th anniversary of the famed Cassius Clay- Sonny Liston fight in Miami Beach. There should be a ceremony at the original 5th Street Gym, if only they hadn’t torn it down and put up a drug store.

•  Mike Ditka is imploring NFL stars to respect the game by not wearing their ball caps backward, in a continuing effort to appear about a thousand years old.

• An ESPN.com headline asked, “When will Durant surpass James as NBA’s best player?” The only pertinent answer at the moment: “Not yet.”

• Basketballinsiders.com reported the Heat could re-sign its Big 3 and free agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony if all four would play for $14 million, or 50 percent under market value. I am now reporting the Heat could sign every great player in the league if everybody would agree to a barter system and play for two tickets on one of Micky Arison’s cruise ships.

• The Heat dealt Roger Mason Jr. for a draft pick before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, surprising analysts who were unaware Roger Mason Jr. was even on the team.

•  Johnny Manziel’s height was measured at slightly under 6 feet at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. However, his ego was measured at 7-6 1/2.

• Tax returns show NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made $44.2 million last year, inviting the logical question: “Why!?”

•  Parting thought: FIU’s baseball team had a registered sex offender throw out the first pitch at its home opener. Evidently none if its other invitees could make bail.

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

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