A beginning and an end.
As the Dolphins begin their 50th franchise season Sunday at Washington, we end the long run of Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind, the Miami Herald’s Sunday sports notes column.
We hope we’ve made you laugh, chuckle, smile or even groan or shake your head over the years with our sarcasm-leaning and occasionally irreverent take on local and national sports.
The notes compilation is being retired so I can begin to write more general sports columns on Sundays. This change coincides with a Miami Herald makeover to a new style format that readers will see (and hopefully like a lot) starting Wednesday.
Random Evidence won’t go away completely, though. In the newspaper and online starting next Sunday, we’ll keep and reintroduce the weekly Top 5 list you see below.
And items I used to save up for the Sunday notes column will now appear regularly throughout the week on my Twitter account @gregcote as well as in my Miami Herald blog, which is called Random Evidence. We’ll also continue our every-Sunday blog feature, the Hot Button Top 10.
Follow me on Twitter and join my blog family and you won’t miss a thing. Meantime, Random Evidence the notes column leaves you with three words that I hope readers have felt as much as I have:
It’s been fun.
▪ LeBron James is in Miami with Cavs teammates for pre-training camp workouts. Heat fans aren’t sure whether to chase LeBron outta town with torches and pitchforks or kidnap him and beg him to stay.
▪ The NFL investigated after Steelers coaches’ headsets mysteriously stopped working during Thursday’s opener at the Patriots. On the bright side, all the footballs seemed properly plump.
▪ NFL extra-point attempts this season are 10 yards farther out. The extra point used to be the dullest play in football. Now it’s the dullest play in football, only longer.
▪ I’m not sure how good UM is going to be in football this year, but it has the most fantastic player names. I’m all in with Corn Elder and Gray Crow. Top that!
▪ Alex Rodriguez tied Hank Aaron with a 15th 30-homer season. A-Rod’s steroids-free comeback year has been a marvel. The downside: Much tougher for me to make fun of him.
▪ Speculation on the Marlins’ next manager heats up, with Ron Gardenhire and soon-to-be former Tigers boss Brad Ausmus among names you hear. The front-runner: Anybody But Dan Jennings.
▪ The NBA will henceforth seed playoff teams by their records, not by division finish. The NFL would do that, too, but it makes too much sense.
▪ Miamian Andre Berto fought Floyd Mayweather on Saturday in Las Vegas. Mayweather says it was his last fight. The national group, People Who Believe Him, meets tonight at Waffle House. Corner booth.
▪ NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup begins next Sunday in Chicago, a nine-race tournament leading to the Nov. 22 championship race here. This is 14th year we’ve hosted the grand finale, and I still can’t believe they have it in Homestead. It’s like the NFL putting a Super Bowl in Fargo, North Dakota.
▪ Just read about something called a trumpetfish. My first reaction? Donald Trump bought a species and named it after himself.
▪ The Reds had a Pete Rose Bobblehead Night on Saturday. The Rose figurine bobbles its head and then places 100 large in the fifth race.
▪ Texas A&M is offering an “Aggie Dog,” a four-foot-long, 12-pound hot dog, at its games this season. It comes with a side of cardiologist.
▪ Eleven new members were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame: Dikembe Mutombo, John Calipari and nine people I care about even less.
▪ The Rugby World Cup begins Thursday in England, but since the United States never wins, it’s like it barely exists.
▪ Good times for golf, with Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day all chasing the year-end No. 1 ranking. Tiger who?
▪ Brazil beat the United States 4-1 in a men’s soccer friendly, led by a player named Hulk. No, seriously.
▪ Heat fans David and Evelyn Adams spent $75,000 in an ESPN/V Foundation auction to watch a Heat game this season with radio star Dan Le Batard. The cost to watch a game with me is 20 bucks, although if I have to go a little higher and pay you more to sit with me, I probably would.
▪ Parting thought: Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind, the Sunday notes column, bids you farewell. And remember: Make Fun, Not War.
Today: Dolphins season openers. Top three individual passing, rushing and receiving performances by Miami players in Week 1 games:
1994 vs. Patriots
2011 vs. Patriots
1969 at Bengals
1990 at Patriots
1967 vs. Broncos
1991 at Bills
1994 vs. Patriots
1984 at Redskins
1971 at Broncos
Fins open season Sunday at Washington: Miami’s season of unusually high hopes and uncommonly buoyant fan optimism opens Sunday against a Redskins team not seen as very good. We’ve seen the Dolphins live down to low expectations a lot since their last playoff win in 2000. Now we see if they can live up to expectations for a change.
UM visits FAU in Howard Bowl II: The program Howard Schnellenberger built from scratch played host Friday to the program he rescued and made a national champion. Schnellenberger, now 81, said he doesn’t see much difference in the two teams’ talent. Thank heavens for UM coach Al Golden that Friday didn’t prove him right.
Serena falls short of Grand Slam at U.S. Open: Serena Williams lost to Roberta Vinci in the U.S. Open semifinals Friday, falling short of her bid to win the sport’s first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. Now we go from watching history being made to watching Vinci vs. Flavia Pennetta — a veritable who’s-that of women’s tennis.
Fernandez is back, but looks like they’re shutting down Stanton: The Marlins wrap up their homestand Sunday and then hit the road relegated to playing spoilers in a spoiled season. The good news: Jose Fernandez returned to the mound Saturday. The bad news: It looks like we won’t see Giancarlo Stanton again until Opening Day 2016.
5. TRAINING CAMPS
Heat, Panthers are right around corner: The Panthers open training camp Thursday and play their first exhibition Sunday, and the Heat opens camp Sept. 29. Pat Riley said the Heat has “all the elements of a championship team” — somewhat of a surprise to Las Vegas oddsmakers, who list Miami as the NBA’s ninth favorite at 40-1.