Greg Cote

Disappearing act: Spurs’ Ginobili missing in action

There are certain advantages to actually being here while covering the Heat in the NBA Finals. For example, if I were not here, I would not have seen all of those “MISSING PERSON” posters plastered across town bearing the likeness of Spurs guard Manu Ginobili.

Manu’s bad series is one reason the Finals are tied 2-2 entering Sunday night’s Game 5 here. A bigger reason is that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh magically turned from the Smallish 3 back into the Big 3 just in time for that crucial, perhaps season-saving Game 4 victory that assured the Finals will end back in Miami on the Heat’s home court.

Bosh, by the way, was fined $5,000 by the league for flopping in Game 4. Can only imagine what Ginobili should be fined for being a flop this entire series.

Being in San Antonio this past week also has allowed me to enjoy the pregame national anthem as performed by 11-year-old Latino mariachi singer Sebastien De La Cruz. He has become sort of a Spurs good-luck charm, just like young Julia Dale is at Heat home games.

I hear the two clubs are working out details of a duets album, preparatory to an arranged marriage.

• Happy Father’s Day to all my fellow padres. I can’t wait to open the gifts my sons bought me with the money they borrowed that I’ll never get back.

• Reports are that pending NBA free agents

Chris Paul


Dwight Howard

want to play together. Trying “the Big 5” on for size. Welcome to Miami, fellas!

Chicago vs. Boston is NHL’s first “Original Six” matchup in a Stanley Cup Finals since 1979, and Game 1 drew the highest TV ratings for a Finals opener since 1997. Hockey is about as hot as a sport played on a block of ice can get.

The Marlins won a 6 1/2-hour, 20-inning game at the Mets. The way Miami’s season has gone, shouldn’t that count for two wins?

• Marlins rookie second baseman

Derek Dietrich

got to meet actor

Daniel Day-Lewis

while on the recent road trip in New York. Day-Lewis subsequently won an Oscar for best chance encounter.

• There are rumors the Marlins might deal starter

Ricky Nolasco

before the trade deadline. No surprise the Marlins might be sellers. It’s just too bad club owner

Jeffrey Loria

won’t be a seller.


Rafael Nadal


Serena Williams

won French Open titles. Also, twins



Mike Bryan

won the doubles title, but nobody cared, because it was doubles.

• Palace Malice won the Belmont Stakes to end another Triple Crown racing season without a Triple Crown. We may now go about our business of ignoring horse racing for the next 10 months.


Tim Tebow

signed with the Patriots. “Belichick owed me a favor,” explained Jesus.

• Facing a suspension in the Biogenesis clinic mess,

Alex Rodriguez

has hired the same lawyer who helped get

Ryan Braun’s

test-positive overturned on a technicality. The attorney? Al Loophole.


Don Shula

finished third behind

Vince Lombardi


Bill Walsh

on an ESPN list of greatest NFL coaches. I guess winning more games than anybody else and having the only Perfect Season are overrated.


Brett Favre

has accepted his share of blame for his ugly breakup with the Packers. In other news, Favre is expected to decide soon whether he is retiring.

• Blaming violence and concussions, Hall of Famer

Lem Barney

predicted the NFL would not exist in 10 to 20 years. So it’s true, then. Concussions really


addle the brain and make you say silly things.

• Sentences I Never Imagined Writing (one in a series):

Chad Johnson

was given 30-day jail sentence for probation violation after the judge became angered that he collegially butt-slapped his attorney in court.

Jets coach Rex Ryan


Adam “Pacman” Jones

got arrested again. Or, did that go without saying?

• New NFL security rules will prohibit fans from bringing purses larger than small clutch bags to games. Many fans are upset. Hey. Get over it, guys.

• Answer: Mavericks owner

Mark Cuban

is paying Southern Methodist $100,000 for a scientific study of “flopping” in NBA. Question: When I say “wasted grant money,” anything come to mind?

• President

Barack Obama


Ray Lewis

and the champion Ravens at the White House, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to say the words, “squirrel dance.”

• NFL suspended Rams RB

Isaiah Pead

for a drug violation. So, if I have this straight a guy named Pead failed a urine test?

• The world water polo championships were held in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Over there, instead of water, do they play in a pool of vodka?


Grant Hill

retired from the NBA after 19 seasons, surprising analysts who thought he had retired years earlier.

• Somebody check on

Floyd Mayweather

. Make sure he’s OK. It’s been several days since he has been reported to have spent ridiculous amounts of money on anything.


Mickey Mantle’s

family issued a statement strongly denying allegations that Mantle used a corked bat, even though at this point nobody else really cares either way.

The Association of Nigerian Prostitutes has offered free sex to the national soccer team for winning the African Cup. I feel like that association would have interesting board meetings.

• The Steelers unveiled a monument to mark the 40th anniversary of the “Immaculate Reception.” You can’t do it, Pittsburgh. You can try, but you’ll never equal the Dolphins’ obsession with their distant past.


Parting thought

: Indians closer

Chris Perez

and his wife pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor possession charges after marijuana was mailed to their home in the name of their dog, Brody. Cannot confirm the defense strategy is to claim Brody has been smoking pot ever since he was a puppy.


Parting thought: Greg Raymer

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