The two big events that bookend this sports week — the All-Star break and the opening of NFL training camps — are as disparate as baseball and football and would seem to have nothing in common. They do, though. In Miami, at least, both are a mix of anticipation and apprehension.
Baseball’s festivities begin Sunday and culminate with Tuesday’s 84th All-Star Game, but I wonder if “All-Star Shame” would be a better description. We’re the epicenter of it, with Coral Gables’ now-closed Biogenesis clinic the reason some 20 players face PED-related suspensions, including Miami-raised Alex Rodriguez, former Hurricane Ryan Braun and four current All-Stars.
The sport tries to celebrate its best while holding its breath over its worst: a reminder the Steroids Era is not yet past.
A different sort of apprehension visits Dolfans as the new football season begins to unfurl with Miami’s first training camp practice next Sunday.
Anticipation and optimism are unusually high, but is it the big tease? Does a fandom that has waited so long for the good old days to renew themselves dare believe Miami is ready to be an NFL power again? New Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said he thinks the Patriots are vulnerable and that Miami can be the new AFC East leader. The finding out begins with baby steps in a week.
Baseball fans wait for the hammer to drop.
Dolfans wait to hold that hammer and feel the power again.• I have been remiss in not mentioning that the Miami Spice have begun their season and are now 2-0 in the Bikini Basketball Association. I don’t know much about the BBA. I just pray it’s a women’s league.
• I’d imagine the Bikini Basketball Association is for male fans who think the Lingerie Football League is over the top and prefer a classier, more refined sexism.
• I don’t wanna say the war between rival tracks Gulfstream and Calder is escalating, but, with a battle looming, both have temporarily suspended racing to use their horses as cavalry units.
By the way, have you noticed that the Miami Herald quietly dropped the “The” from its name and is now simply, Miami Herald? Cannot confirm the “The” is suing the newspaper for wrongful termination.• Seems the Cavaliers will feature Andrew Bynum and his shaky knees in their master plan to lure LeBron James back to Cleveland next year. (That sound you hear is Heat fans breathing a sigh of relief.)
• Sentences I Never Imagined Writing (one in a series): Chris Bosh is promoting the NBA this week on a tour of Mumbai, India.
• My favorite player on the Heat’s summer-league roster is Myck Kabongo. Love the panache of spelling Mick with a “y,” but he had me at Kabongo.
• The Heat has begun the Las Vegas half of its summer-league season after ending the Orlando half by winning a fifth-place game Friday. “We’re No. 5!” In lieu of a championship parade, I believe that earns an imperceptible nod.
• Can I go one day without hearing anything about Yasiel Puig? Please? Just one?
• UFC legend Anderson Silva lost to underdog Chris Weidman, and there was fast talk of a profitable rematch. You might say Silva losing was a good thing, wink, wink. Hey, I didn’t say it. I said you might!
• Four teams competed in Gold Cup soccer Friday at Dolphins stadium: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago. Wait. Isn’t that five teams? (I’d be upset if I were Tobago, relegated to second billing despite the alphabetical advantage.)
• Kevin Durant is marrying WNBA player Monica Wright. I just placed a bet that their first child will lead the nursery in scoring.
• NCAA is close to announcing sanctions in the UM/ Nevin Shapiro matter. One source indicated any additional penalties would be minor. However, a second source accused that first source of being drunk.
• Good news: The Panthers held their postdraft developmental camp in Coral Springs. Better news: One of the Cats’ big NHL rivals got weaker fast with Ilya Kovalchuk’s abrupt retirement from New Jersey.
• Chicagoans were outraged to see a photo of Justin Bieber in the Blackhawks locker room posing with the Stanley Cup. What that tells us is, except for adolescent girls who haven’t defected to One Direction yet, just about everybody hates Justin Bieber.
• As the seemingly endless Tour de France continues, a crazed spectator doused British cyclist Mark Cavendish with urine. I was never caught.
• Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, who coached accused murderer Aaron Hernandez at Florida, wants to wash his hands of all responsibility for the man Hernandez became. Ain’t enough soap in the world, Urb.
Florida State lineman Menelik Watson received his Atlantic Coast Conference championship ring, but it was engraved “SEC champion” instead. Hmm. Not sure if I’d complain or even tell anybody.• Giancarlo Stanton appeared nude in ESPN The Magazine’s Body issue, holding the Earth on his shoulders like Atlas. That’s about what the Marlins will have to offer Stanton for him to re-sign: the world.
• Parting thought: Jets coach Rex Ryan found himself in Spain last week during the annual Running of the Bulls, scrambling to avoid being gored. It was the first time I’ve ever rooted for the bulls.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote, on Instagram/upsetbird and on Vine/Greg Cote.