Lots going on in Miami sports these days, with the Marlins starting spring training, Panthers fighting for an NHL playoff ticket, Hurricanes in spring football practice, Dolphins at the scouting combine, college basketball getting down to crunch time and the PGA Tour here for its annual swing.
And we shoved all of that on to the back burner because somehow a Heat team with a losing record and struggling to make the playoffs commanded attention in a two-day span Thursday and Friday like no other in franchise history.
Give the Heat this. The team isn’t nearly as good since LeBron James left, but it might be more interesting. It certainly is lately.
Fans were flying high Thursday as Miami beat the NBA trade deadline by acquiring star point guard Goran Dragic to solve the team’s biggest weakness. Suddenly, with Dwyane Wade back from injury and Hassan Whiteside’s emergence, fans were thinking big again.
Just as suddenly, though, came word that Chris Bosh had been hospitalized with blood clots in his lung and would miss the rest of the season while undergoing blood-thinning treatments.
The ticker tape celebrating Dragic was still falling when the gut punch hit us over Bosh.
How dare real life interfere with our games!
How dare what’s serious interrupt our fun!
The rest of this Heat season and where it ends up no longer mean much relative to this:
Get well, Chris Bosh.
▪ MLB instituted speed-up rules effective this year. Example: Hitters must remain in the batter’s box after asking for time, and pitching changes will be on the clock. Good! I don’t wanna say baseball got much too slow, but the sport fell so far behind it is just now about to begin the 2009 season.
▪ The much-anticipated, oft-postponed Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight has been set for May 2 in Las Vegas, pending one side bowing out and blaming the other and the fight being tentatively rescheduled for 2021.
▪ The PGA Tour’s Honda Classic starts in four days in Palm Beach Gardens, but sans Tiger Woods, who is taking an indefinite break from golf. Jack Nicklaus says Tiger’s struggles are “between his ears.” NBC analyst Johnny Miller said, “He must have demons in his head.” On the other hand, Sigmund Freud thinks Tiger’s problem is just a hitch in his backswing.
▪ New Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has 10 Pilates machines for various parts of his body. One is designed specifically to strengthen muscles that get strained lifting and moving Pilates machines.
▪ You know how baseball loves Bobblehead promotions? There should be a Bobblehead representing baseball fans in the Steroids Era. Instead of bobbing up and down, the frowning head would shake slowly from side to side in disgust.
▪ That reminds me. Many handwriting analysts thought Alex Rodriguez’s handwritten apology to fans was impersonal, vague and not heartfelt. On the bright side, his penmanship was pretty good.
▪ The Yankees announced they would retire the numbers of Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams. Hmm. Who else remembers when only all-time greats got their numbers retired?
▪ The NFL Scouting Combine is about to wrap up in Indianapolis. And, really, other than questions about his weight problem, shoulder weakness and the baggage of his immaturity-fueled college shenanigans, it was a great combine for Jameis Winston.
▪ Roger Federer announced he’d be skipping next month’s Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne. Federer has won 17 majors but sadly never led the tour in personality.
▪ The Chinese New Year was last week, commencing the year of the sheep. I’d make a comment here, but it would probably be really ba-a-aad.
▪ A beagle won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club event in New York. It was so unusual. I don’t mean that a beagle won. I mean to hear cheering at Madison Square Garden.
▪ Carmelo Anthony had season-ending knee surgery. So it’s now official. There is absolutely zero reason to attend or watch a Knicks game.
▪ UFC star Anderson Silva said he is not a cheater despite his failed drug test. The national group, People Who Believe Him, is meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth.
▪ Bumper sticker: “Honk If You’ve Rejected a Proposed David Beckham Soccer Stadium Site.”
▪ This just in from the Cricket World Cup, via England’s The Guardian newspaper: “At one stage in the 26th over, England were 104 for three: eight overs later they had bowled out for 123.” Damn!
▪ They had a “jockey poster signing” event Saturday at Gulfstream, and I don’t know which is more surprising: That jockeys have posters, or that anybody had one and wanted it signed.
▪ There was a WNBA trade: Epiphany Prince for Cappie Pondexter. You know how they keep records for everything? This was first sports trade in history involving two players named Epiphany and Cappie.
▪ A FIFA ethics judge exonerated Russia and Qatar of bribery in their winning bids to host the 2018 and ’22 World Cups. Wait. “FIFA ethics judge.” Isn’t that an oxymoron?
▪ Parting thought: Breaking news. Because of a domestic-violence incident, NASCAR star Kurt Busch has been suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
Today: Daytona 500. With the 62nd edition of NASCAR’s season-opening race happening Sunday, drivers who have won the most times in the race’s history:
Note: Two-time winners are Bill Elliott, Sterling Marlin,
Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and
defending champion Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Bosh’s health, Dragic trade top wild week: In the span of about 30 hours late in the week, Miami NBA fans were cheering the trade for Goran Dragic, fretting the reported blood clots that eventually ended Chris Bosh’s season, and watching Dwyane Wade back in the lineup as the second half of the season began. Otherwise, a slow week for the Heat.
Play ball! Spring training opens in Jupiter: First spring game against a big-league opponent isn’t until March 5, but practice for the practice games has begun. Excitement in South Florida and national media buzz suggest Miami will be a playoff contender, but the Las Vegas over/under betting line of a modest 811/2 wins says, “Whoa now, big fella!”
Playoff spot close enough to touch for Cats: Florida entering the weekend had pulled within one point of the Boston Bruins for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Hey, when your team last won a postseason series in 1996, this qualifies as Playoff Fever. Heard a bunch of joyous Cats fans jubilantly chanting, “We’re No.9!”
Golden convenes UM spring football practice: Offseason football practice is under way in Coral Gables and will culminate with UM’s annual offense vs. defense intrasquad Spring Game on March 28. Spring traditionally is a time of optimism, except among brooding Canes fans, who complain UM is only .500 in spring games under Al Golden.
Sunday’s Daytona 500 kicks off racing season: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will attempt to become only the fourth back-to-back champ in the event’s 62 years and first since Sterling Marlin in 1994-95 as the Daytona 500 begins Jeff Gordon’s farewell season. NASCAR’s first race will begin with the traditional call: “Gentlemen, start your feuding and backbiting!”