Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Eyes of March are on Miami’s grand sports parade

This is a Jan. 4, 2015, file photo showing Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh smiling as he walks across the field during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Ndamukong Suh can test the open market when free agency begins March 10 after the Lions decided not to use the franchise tag on the star defensive tackle, according to a report on the team's website.
This is a Jan. 4, 2015, file photo showing Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh smiling as he walks across the field during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Ndamukong Suh can test the open market when free agency begins March 10 after the Lions decided not to use the franchise tag on the star defensive tackle, according to a report on the team's website. AP

The Ides of March refers to the notorious time on the Roman calendar when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C., according to acknowledged history.

The Eyes of March refers to attention riveted to the joyous time on the South Florida sports calendar, according to a phrase I just made up.

If you are living in or around Miami and can’t get excited about March, check your pulse.

It is the one month that best refutes any lunatic notion about this being a “lousy sports town.”

The Marlins and spring training have sprung like flower buds from fresh soil.

The Heat and young phenom Hassan Whiteside chase the playoffs.

The Panthers and old treasure Jaromir Jagr do the same.

The Dolphins seem poised to make an offseason cannonball-sized splash with Ndamukong Suh.

The Hurricanes gun to make the NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball.

Doral’s Blue Monster just hosted the world’s best golfers, and Key Biscayne will soon do the same in tennis.

Miami Sailing Week just ended, race cars are six days from thundering through downtown streets, and soon after, top thoroughbreds will chase the Florida Derby finish line at Gulfstream.

Good stuff, everywhere you look, in the one month that most fills our sports palette and canvas.

March, like a parade.

▪ Random Evidence is thrilled to be back after a week’s holiday attending the Cricket World Cup. Oh how I love watching India’s Umesh Yadav attack the stumps!

▪ Marlins spring training games have begun amid high hopes. The team not only spent big to keep Giancarlo Stanton and bolster the roster but also will have a private jet and personal chef for players this year. Makes it tough now to make fun of owner Jeffrey Loria for being cheap. Damn him ruining my hobby!

▪ Man, Donald Trump’s name and fingerprints are all over Doral and that golf tournament since he bought the place in 2011. Just looked at the leaderboard and saw Ivanka Trump on top by three strokes.

▪ Are you in the mood to help start an unfounded rumor? Packers just released inside linebacker A.J. Hawk. Dolphins have a need. GO!

▪ Bad week in the NFL for old ex-Canes as the Patriots released Vince Wilfork and then the Colts cut Reggie Wayne. Disgruntled UM football fans blamed Al Golden.

▪ What the Bills’ trade for running back LeSean McCoy means most is that Rex Ryan will have one less excuse to explain his inevitable latest underperforming team.

▪ Oh, and the Jets traded for receiver Brandon Marshall but still have no decent quarterback. That’s like someone who can’t cook buying a great set of pots and pans.

▪ Cannot confirm the Jets offered Rory McIlroy a quarterback contract after watching him throw his club into a lake Friday at Doral. “Strong arm, but technique needs work,” said Mel Kiper Jr.

▪ The 88th Bacardi Sailing Week ended Saturday on Biscayne Bay, a weeklong sun-splashed regatta held this time each year expressly to make folks in the snow-buried Northeast feel even worse than normal.

▪ They’ve set up barricades downtown for Saturday’s “Miami ePrix,” in which the world’s fastest electric race cars will barrel down Biscayne Boulevard. Miamians have a phrase to describe that kind of crazy speed, chaos and danger on the road: “I-95.”

▪ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra channeled Michael Jackson by singing Billie Jean during a karaoke event in South Beach last week. Ever notice how fun stuff like that seems a lot more amusing when you’re headed back to the NBA Finals than when you’re struggling under .500?

▪ The NBA just got a lot louder and more colorful. Welcome back to TNT’s Craig Sager and the sartorial splendor of his singularly awful jackets and pants.

▪ Uh oh. I just Googled “damaged goods” and up popped a picture of Derrick Rose.

▪ Major League Soccer has begun its 20th season. I don’t wanna say David Beckham’s search for a Miami stadium site is going badly, but I hear he’s down to a warehouse district in Hialeah.

▪ Countdown: 55 days until May 2, the Greatest Day in Sports, featuring Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather, the Kentucky Derby, a full schedule of baseball and NBA and NHL playoffs. Las Vegas has a phrase for something like that: “Christmas.”

▪ The 43rd Iditarod race starts Monday in Alaska. I suggest they switch it up this year. Strap people into harnesses and let them pull to the point of exhaustion while the dogs ride in the sleds.

▪ U.S. women’s soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo was reinstated after a 30-day suspension pending her next embarrassing police involvement, tentatively scheduled for mid-June.

▪ Parting thought: Baylor’s spring football practice includes a tight end who reportedly weighs 410 pounds. Cannot confirm that whenever he hears the quarterback yell “hut!” his stomach growls and he heads to Pizza Hut.

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.

Hot list

Today: Hassan Whiteside’s rebounds compared with the Heat’s all-time best. How Whiteside’s rebounds-per-game average this season ranks among the club’s all-time career top 10:

Player

Average

Seasons

Rony Seikaly

10.35

1988-94

Hassan Whiteside

*10.06

2014-current

Kevin Willis

9.96

1994-96

Shaquille O’Neal

9.05

2004-08

Brian Grant

8.51

2000-04

Alonzo Mourning

8.11

1995-2008

P.J. Brown

7.93

1996-2000

LeBron James

7.57

2010-14

Chris Bosh

7.33

2010-current

Udonis Haslem

7.23

2003-current

Billy Owens

7.16

1994-96

*Whiteside’s average is 13.52 in 21 games in which he has started or played at least 20 minutes. Note: Averages, excluding Whiteside, are based on minimum 100 regular-season career games for Miami.

WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT:

1. DOLPHINS

Pursuit of Ndamukong Suh intensifies: Cutting Brian Hartline and deciding whether to keep Mike Wallace became secondary with the news Miami is seen as a front-runner to sign defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the ex-Lion known for his excellence but also his dirty play and fines. Admit it: You hated Suh. But you’d love him on your team.

2. HEAT

Miami hanging on to edge of playoff contention: The Heat entered the weekend clinging to the No. 7 seed in the East. I’m lucking out, though. Before the season, on a hunch, I bet big that the players leading Miami’s stretch run would include Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, Tyler Johnson and Bill-turned-Henry Walker.

3. HURRICANES

UM men need big showing in ACC tourney: The regular season over, Jim Larrañaga’s Canes need a big Atlantic Coast Conference tournament starting Tuesday. UM might need to win two to maybe get into the NCAA Tournament. Teenage girls and bubble teams know it: It’s tough waiting to see if you’ll be asked to the Big Dance.

4. PANTHERS

Jagr lends spark in fight for playoffs: Newly acquired future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr added a spark, but Florida entered the weekend still trailing in the race for the final playoff spot. Injuries have the team thin at goaltender. I don’t wanna say the Cats are desperate, but if you have a stick and a glove, you might be starting the next game.

5. GOLF

It’s Championship Sunday at Doral: The PGA Tour event ends Sunday on Doral’s Blue Monster. Sentences I Had Never Before Written: “The early leader at Doral, J.B. Holmes, survived two brain surgeries and adopted his initials nickname to not be confused with famous former porn star John Holmes.”

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