Random evidence of a cluttered mind

AC fixed, LeBron fixed, NBA Finals seek normalcy

 

Hot list

Today: World Cup champions. As the soccer World Cup begins this week in Brazil, eight former champions representing 19 titles are represented in the 32-country field. The golden club:

Titles Country Years
5 Brazil1958, ’62, ’70, ’94, 2002
4 Italy 1934, ’38, ’82, 2006
3 Germany1954, ’74, ’90
2 Argentina1978, ’86
2 Uruguay1930, ’50
1 Spain2010
1 France1998
1 England1966

Note: The only non-champion in the field in Brazil that has been a runner-up is the Netherlands, with three second-place finishes (1974, ’78, 2010).


What South Florida sports fans are talking about:

1. HEAT

LeBron, Miami seek rebound from bizarre Game 1 loss: Heat must win Sunday in San Antonio to avoid carrying 2-0 NBA Finals deficit back to Miami. Hopefully there won’t be repeat of Game 1 air-conditioning outage that led to LeBron James’ early exit. Just to be safe, I’m bringing to the arena an emergency generator I picked up at Home Depot.

2. WORLD CUP

Global interest is riveted as soccer quadrennial begins: Thirty-two nations are after perhaps the biggest prize in sports, and it all begins in four days. That’s when host Brazil pretends its infrastructure is all set, and when Americans pretend Team USA has caught up to the rest of the world
and might win its first World Cup.

3. HORSE RACING

California Chrome bids to end Triple Crown drought: In Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, California Chrome was running to become the first thoroughbred to win the sport’s first ultimate trifecta since 1978. His owners signed an endorsement deal with Skechers, so if the bid fell short, blame the fact they had the horse running in sneakers.

4. MARLINS

Hot Fish enjoy solid week, but weird draft: Miami won four in a row and caught Atlanta for first in the NL East entering the weekend. But many were questioning the club’s decition to take right-handed prep pitcher Tyler Kolek over more highly touted Cuban-American left-hander Carlos Rodon. Smart decision? We’ll see. For now, not smart PR.

5. DAN MARINO

Dolphins icon flip-flops on concussion suit: It was announced Dan Marino would be the highest-profile ex-player to join a suit against the NFL over head injuries. Then it was announced that was a mix-up. Hmm. He is negotiating to join Miami’s front office. The club probably figured it shouldn’t hire someone who admits he’s a bit fuzzy in the head.

gcote@miamiherald.com

And you thought the Pacers’ Lance Stephenson blowing sweet nothings into LeBron James’ ear made for bizarrely eventful playoff basketball.

So did I, until Game 1 of the NBA Finals topped it. Until an air-conditioning outage turned the Spurs’ arena into a sauna and turned LeBron’s muscles into cramping rods that refused to cooperate. The cramps truncated LeBron’s fourth quarter and led to Miami’s loss, but the fascination, for me, was in the twofold reaction Thursday night has caused.

First, the conspiracy theorists were out. Many envisioned a modern-day Zapruder film, with a grainy figure on the grassy knoll who appeared to be Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, furtively flipping a power switch with a villainous cackle. (Why was there a power switch on the grassy knoll? Hmm.)

Simultaneously came a barrage from the ever-ready anti-LeBron crowd — the lunatic wing of the Twitterverse out in full force, acting as if James’ so-called cramps were just his lame excuse for not being man enough to suck it up.

Game 2 on Sunday night can’t arrive fast enough, and the arena air conditioning supposedly is fixed.

Now here’s hoping there are no other surprises such as exploding lights, a flash flood, falling scoreboard, backed-up plumbing, sinkholes at midcourt or armadillo infestations.

• LeBron was named all-NBA first team on 124 of 125 ballots, all except that of one Chris Sheridan of sheridanhoops.com. In an unrelated story, estimates are that one in every 125 people vote while drunk.

• As the Dolphins continue their offseason practices this week, a new Pro Football Focus ranking rates Miami’s overall roster a credible 13th best in the NFL and says the Patriots’ Tom Brady no longer is a top-five quarterback. DOLPHINS ARE WINNING JUNE! WOOO!

• The NFL is skipping Roman numerals for its Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season. Rome wept.

• England trained in South Florida for the World Cup and played friendlies here against Ecuador and Honduras. What we learned: Wayne Rooney leads all the world in hair transplants.

• And in other World Cup news, a Ghana witch doctor has put a spell on Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

• It’s Novak Djokovic against Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s French Open men’s final after Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep met for the women’s crown Saturday. Reminds us that when Serena Williams has a rare bad tournament, American tennis is a hopeless wasteland.

• The Rangers host Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on Monday against the Kings. Meantime, there are signs the traditional political bet might be running out of ideas. If the Rangers win, Los Angeles politicos will send “organic brown rice cakes.” Hmm. Sounds awful. Also, what, they don’t sell those in New York?

• Golf’s U.S. Open starts Thursday, and, with Tiger Woods not competing, all eyes will be on Phil Mickelson as he tries again to end his jinx. Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open but has been runner-up six times. He is expected to finish second again this week when a sinkhole swallows his winning putt.

• The Hurricanes failed to advance out of their own NCAA baseball regional, falling short of reaching the College World Series again. Omaha, for UM, is now pronounced Omah-awww.

• The X Games are going on an hour from here in Austin, Texas. If you are unfamiliar with the X Games, that’s where a bunch of 30-year-old slackers do tricks on skateboards and small bikes.

• ESPN ranked Miami’s Jim Larrañaga as college basketball’s 28th-best men’s coach. Cue halfhearted applause?

• Sentences That Make Me Sad (one in a series): Terry Bradshaw is touring with a live one-man show and the advertisement for it touts him as “America’s favorite dumb blond.”

• Fifty U.S. senators are urging the NFL to abolish the Redskins nickname. The other half of the Senate presumably enjoys gratis suites at Redskins games and would rather not jeopardize the perks.

• Oregon State’s new men’s basketball coach is Wayne Tinkle. If I were him I’d hand out business cards that read: “Yes I have endured a lifetime of teasing. Whatever you’re thinking, I’ve heard it.”

• There has been a spate of Tommy John surgeries 40 years after the first one. It must be so weird having a major surgery named after you. “Don’t I know it,” said Al Triplebypass.

• The NFL plans to place cameras in locker rooms and air video to fans in stadiums. It will be a good idea until the moment a horrified crowd is accidentally shown a 365-pound guard with no pants.

•  Parting thought: The 49ers gave quarterback Colin Kaepernick a $126 million contract extension. Until he starts being known for championships — and not tattoos — it sounds like overspending.

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

Read more Greg Cote stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
In this May 5, 2013 photo, Miami Heat team president Pat Riley, left, coach Erik Spoelstra, and LeBron James, right, poses in Miami after James won the NBA Most Valuable Player award.

    IN MY OPINION

    Greg Cote: LeBron-Heat saga unfolds, and it’s stranger than first thought

    It is three weeks later, and LeBron James’ departure from the Heat and Miami continues to occupy a murky space somewhere in the gray between amicable parting and bitter divorce. There is rancor unspoken, bad blood wrapped in outward civility. Everyone is trying to play nice, maintain the high road, but it feels disingenuous.

  •  
Washington Nationals pinch runner Nate McLouth is safe at home plate in the eighth inning as Miami Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis applies the tag at Marlins Park on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

    In My Opinion

    Greg Cote: Just call the Miami Marlins the Merlins because they’re magic

    It’s funny how in sports there are varying ways to see Fortune .500. The Dolphins go 8-8 and it’s unfortunate. It gets the general manager gone and leaves fans empty. It feels like losing. But the Marlins get back up to even and fans feel as if they’ve hit the lottery. The climb is fulfilling. It feels like winning.

  •  
Head Coach Joe Philbin, at center, during Miami Dolphins practice at Dolphin Camp on Saturday, July 26, 2014.

    In My Opinion

    Greg Cote: Signs suggest Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin is on the hot seat

    There are new windscreens on the fences surrounding the Dolphins’ practice facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. They bear a new message this season, one written unmistakably in 6-foot tall white, block letters against a turquoise background:

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