I’d like to briefly recap the first half of the Marlins season and get you caught up since I know most of you have been too obsessed with the Heat’s championship run to pay any attention:
Muhammad Ali in a golf cart, Ozzie Guillen praising Fidel Castro, Heath Bell blowing a save, groundout with runners in scoring position, overall disappointment. Seen as a playoff team, the Marlins were 35-40 and last in the National League East entering the weekend home series against Philadelphia, after a 5-23 mark in June that bizarrely followed a club-record for wins in May.
Now, thankfully, it’s a new month. (We’re telling Marlins players it’s May again.)
The problem has been too many guys not hitting. For example, Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez and John Buck are struggling to hit their weight and have taken drastic steps toward a remedy. Each has gone on a crash diet and now looks like a Calder jockey standing in the batter’s box.
Shortstop Jose Reyes recently said, “We look like we’re dead,” which, given recent results, seemed overly optimistic.
Guillen, the manager, even shaved his mustache as the slump deepened, saying it was so no one would recognize him. He was kidding. Maybe.
Now, with the Heat done and football a ways off, the Marlins have the local stage and spotlight to themselves. People will be paying attention.
They’ll let us know soon enough whether that’s a good thing.• Fourth of July is in three days, marking 236 years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Coincidentally, that’s also how long it’s been since the Cubs last won a World Series.
• Dolphins have started a Fin Club in which fans can earn “loyalty points” by attending games and spending money. I am starting a Win Club in which the Dolphins can earn fan loyalty by winning games.
• Dolphins receiver Chad Ochocinco is to marry trash-TV’s Evelyn Lozada this week in what might have been a small, private wedding if it wasn’t to be broadcast on their new VHI reality show, Ev & and Ocho. The publicity-shy couple met on Twitter. Or, did that go without saying?
• Athletes (heard LeBron James say it this week) are forever saying their championship is “something they can’t ever take away from me.” Who are they? And why would they be trying?
• Thousands of Thunder fans waited at the airport to greet their losing team returning from the NBA Finals. Being the middle of Oklahoma, there was absolutely nothing else to do.
• Been meaning to ask Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Dan, that promise two years ago that Cleveland would win an NBA title before Miami how’d that work out for you?
• LeBron is committed to the U.S. Olympic team but fellow Heat Big 3’ers Dwyane Wade (knee surgery) and Chris Bosh (rest and rehab) will skip London. No worry, though. The American team is loaded. When they put Dexter Pittman on call, then we worry.
• Wimbledon is going on. From an American’s perspective, I like to call it Serena Williams or bust.
• Boston traded fan favorite Kevin Youkilis to Chicago. I’ve never seen so much attention paid to a man changing sox.
• The lawyer for convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky said his client “wants people to know that he’s not guilty.” Dear Jerry: Rest assured nobody believes you.
• All five of the Panthers’ picks in last week’s NHL draft are 18 years old. Hockey’s trainers are the only ones in sports whose supplies include acne medicine.
• Pittsburgh Penguins risked signing Sidney Crosby to a 12-year, $104 million contract extension. The good news? If his serious concussion problems continue, maybe he’ll forget he’s owed all that money.
• Colorful soccer voice Ray Hudson on Lionel Messi’s Dolphins stadium exhibition: “The people of Miami should crawl on broken glass just to inhale the exhaust fumes from the bus Messi is traveling on.” A week later, and I still have cut-up knees and the aftereffect of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Poll by infidelity website AshleyMadison.com named David Beckham the man for whom most women would cheat on their husbands. If only the men choosing England’s Olympic soccer team thought as highly of Beckham.
• Much was made last week of the 40th anniversary of TitleIX, the landmark sports-gender-equity legislation. Billie Jean King will now go back into seclusion until the 50th anniversary.
• A former Baylor basketball player was arrested for trying to extort quarterback Robert Griffin III. Someone tried to extort me once, but all they had were flattering photos.
• Major League Lacrosse, though it has no team within 700 miles, played its all-star game at FAU’s football stadium in Boca Raton on Saturday to test the waters for possible future expansion here. The good news? The sparse crowd looked perfectly normal for that stadium.
• A new USFL is targeting a March 2013 startup with eight teams. Future announcements are expected to include a postponement of the original startup date, followed by the disbanding of the league.
• President Barack Obama and several prominent athletes filmed a public-service announcement that violence against women is wrong. Cannot confirm Republicans have demanded equal time for an opposing view.
• Formal doping charges were filed against seven-time champ Lance Armstrong as the latest scandal-plagued Tour de France got under way. Who will win? I’m on pins and steroid needles.
• The X Games have begun in Los Angeles are underway in L.A. This is where ESPN keeps trying to convince us that adults skateboarding isn’t the least bit pathetic.
• UCLA has given a football scholarship to the son of rapper Snoop Dogg Sean “Diddy” Combs
• South African runner Oscar Pistorius failed in attempts to be the first amputee athlete to qualify for the Olympics. I’d have liked his chances better if he’d succeeded with his lawsuit to require other runners to also replace their feet with blades.
• Parting thought: The London Olympics are now only 27 days away. That reminds me, I read that bikinis are now optional in Olympic women’s beach volleyball, and I got all excited. Then I found out they meant shorts could be worn instead.
Visit Greg Cote’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com, and follow on Twitter @gregcote.