If we survived Richie Incognito, we can survive Miami’s March sports calendar

03/02/2014 12:01 AM

03/02/2014 12:19 AM

Miami in its history has survived all sorts of challenges and trying times, from race riots to massive hurricanes to Richie Incognito.

Every March brings a somewhat more pleasant challenge, but a hectic challenge nonetheless. This is when we face the sensory overload of our most crowded month for sports. I’d present March in South Florida to anybody still peddling the myth about how Miami is such a lousy sports town.

I don’t know many better for the breadth of stuff we see this month. Consider:

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and their fellow PGA Tourists are among us these days for the Honda Classic and then Doral on deck.

Soon, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and the racket crowd will be in Key Biscayne for tennis’ annual “fifth major” in our most gorgeous setting for sports.

Baseball spring training is a short hop to the north in Palm Beach.

The Heat is blasting toward the NBA playoffs.

The Panthers are still on the ice.

The Hurricanes and college basketball wrap up their regular seasons and chug toward March Madness as conference tournaments and NCAA bracketology near.

The baseball Canes play at No. 2 Florida State this week, while down in Coral Gables, UM opens spring football practice.

The Dolphins delve into free agency this month and prepare for the NFL Draft.

Oh, and Gulfstream hosts the pageantry of the upcoming Florida Derby, kickoff to horse racing’s Triple Crown season.

That about enough for ya?

• The Dolphins’ estranged bully-guard Richie Incognito continues in the news, entering rehab in Arizona for stress one day after using a baseball bat to vandalize his own car, an expensive Ferrari. Cannot confirm Incognito’s explanation was that he mistook the car for a waist-high fastball.
• The fading Florida Panthers could be sellers as the NHL’s Wednesday trade deadline approaches. The good news: Panthers fire-sale speculation is not quite as depressing as the actual games.
• The Heat lost out on signing two potential free agents, Caron Butler (to the Thunder) and Danny Granger (Clippers). It’s good that the Heat loses sometimes just so the rest of the league doesn’t feel so sad.
• San Diego State running back Adam Muema left the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis early because he said God told him to. It’s OK, Adam. That’s perfectly reasonable and won’t send up red flags with NFL teams or anything.
• Golfer Steve Elkington wrote on Twitter that Michael Sam, set to be the NFL’s first openly gay player, led the Combine in the “handbag throw.” First, that sounds homophobic. Second, aren’t the only people who still call purses “handbags” women in their 80s?
• This past week marked the 50th anniversary of the famed Cassius Clay- Sonny Liston fight in Miami Beach just before Clay became Muhammad Ali, somewhat of a greater highlight in Ali’s Miami history than being sadly wheeled out by Jeffrey Loria before the Marlins’ 2012 opener.
• Answer: Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko said his back surgery would be televised live. Question: Can you think of anything on TV you’d like to watch even less than Marlins president David Samson on Survivor?
• Turns out Samson missed two months of the 2013 season filming Survivor in the Philippines. Well, it’s good he takes his job seriously and has his priorities straight!
• Things are going from bad to worse for the poor New York Knicks. Raymond Felton was arrested on gun charges. Now Carmelo Anthony has been cited for playing defense like it’s an all-star game.
• Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500, the perfect scenario. Surprised NASCAR doesn’t call it a season and just declare Junior champion.
•  Duck Dynasty is the new name sponsor of the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. Because it wasn’t bad enough your team was relegated to playing in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport.
• The Oklahoma football program self-reported that three football players ate one helping of pasta too many at a graduation banquet. Seriously. What an ingenious anarchy: Flooding the NCAA with trivial admissions. This just in: The Miami Hurricanes are self-reporting that two divers took an excessive bounce on the three-meter board.
• The WNBA and its players union entered into a new labor agreement, a relief to the estimated dozen fans worried about a strike.
• NASCAR legend Richard Petty, 76, who criticized Danica Patrick’s driving, said he would be happy to race her. Love that to start a trend. You really want attention, UFC? Put Ronda Rousey in the octagon against a man. I’m serious.
• Sports Illustrated’s 50th anniversary swimsuit issue came out. The highlight for me? Seeing the original models, now in their 70s, wearing only body paint.
•  Parting thought: Fisherman Randy Howell just collected $300,000 for winning the annual Bassmaster Classic. Parents, forget putting a ball in baby’s crib. Put a baited hook in there!

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.

About Greg Cote

Greg Cote

@gregcote

Greg Cote has been a Miami Herald sports columnist since 1995 and also writes the Random Evidence blog and NFL predictions along with his notorious sidekick the Upset Bird. He has covered Hurricanes football (1984-88), the Dolphins (1990-91) and major events including Super Bowls, NBA Finals, World Series, Stanley Cup, Olympics and World Cup.

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