Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Into the Heat void, Dolphins stepping up while Marlins stepping in it

Miami had grown accustomed to the Heat making the splash headlines as May pushed to June, pounding toward another NBA Finals.

Into the void stepped the Dolphins and Marlins last week for wildly different reasons — one team high-stepping impressively, stepping up, and the other team stepping into it in a malodorous context.

The Dolphins stepped up, investing $96 million to keep quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the next six seasons, a major commitment toward stability at the most important position.

In a related story, ESPN’s annual Global Sports Salary Survey named the Dolphins as the NFL’s highest-paying team in 2015 with an average player salary of $2.3 million.

If my calculations are right, that works out to an average of $17.5 million each for Ndamukong Suh and Tannehill, while the rest of the roster is averaging the Florida minimum wage of $8.05 an hour.

I don’t wanna say the Dolphins payroll is top heavy, but I think I just saw John Denney at an intersection with a cardboard sign reading, “Will Long-Snap For Spare Change.” The top two salaries make it tougher on the proletariat. Put it this way: Most lesser Dolphins players now carry tip jars.

While the Dolphins were stepping up with Tannehill, the Marlins were stepping in it with their bizarre managerial change.

Bad enough they panicked and fired Mike Redmond after 38 games. Weirder still, they replaced him with their general manager, Dan Jennings, who hadn’t managed since he was in the high school ranks. They were 0-5 under Jennings and had lost eight in a row overall, all at home, entering Saturday’s game.

The good news for Marlins fans: A return to normalcy in terms of regard for owner Jeffrey Loria.

The club’s promising offseason, including the huge contract for Giancarlo Stanton, put fans in the uncomfortable, unfamiliar position of having to grudgingly consider a thawing opinion of Loria.

The knee-jerk, ham-handed, widely ridiculed managerial change returns fans to the welcoming comfort zone of hating Loria.

So there’s that, anyway.

▪ Random Evidence is happy to be back after a week off. Do me a favor. Ask anyone who wishes you a “happy Memorial Day” if they have any idea what the occasion is about.

▪ Anyone else watch the Golden State-Houston game Saturday night? I thought Curry was the player of the game. Not Steph. I mean Riley, his 2-year-old daughter with 14 points off the bench.

▪ David Beckham wanted a Miami waterfront home for Major League Soccer but couldn’t get one. The Miami Hurricanes need a campus football stadium but couldn’t get one. Now the sides are discussing sharing a new venue near Marlins Park. What will it be called? Consolation Stadium?

▪ That reminds me. Miami FC will be our second NASL soccer team. Will the Fort Lauderdale Strikers change their marketing slogan from “Florida’s Official Other Team” to “Florida’s Official Other Team Other Than That Other One”?

▪ Colts punter Pat McAfee ripped Ryan Tannehill by saying if Tannehill is worth $96 million then Andrew Luck will “own the team.” Somebody please tell McAfee that punters are not supposed to speak.

▪ Bumper sticker: “Honk If You’ve Caught the New England Patriots Cheating.”

▪ The NFL is moving extra-point kicks from the 2-yard line to the 15. That means the most boring play in football will still be boring, only longer.

▪ First openly gay NFL player Michael Sam has signed with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes. Are we going to follow this poor guy his whole life? Media report, 2041: “Michael Sam dines at Denny’s.”

▪ The Redskins, Texans and Bills are finalists to appear on this year’s HBO Hard Knocks, which answers the question, “Is that show still on?”

▪ The pass/fail criterion for UM in the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament was simple. If the Canes were playing Sunday for their first ACC title since 2008, it would have been a success. But they were not, so it wasn’t.

▪ The French Open has begun. Betting favorites are Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, sort of like in every other tournament.

▪ Reality: Indiana-born NASCAR star Jeff Gordon drives the pace car in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. In my dreams: Gordon refuses to leave track, drives pace car to Indy 500 victory.

▪ Tough week for Heat fans. Watching LeBron James in the playoffs. Pretending to be thrilled over keeping the 10th pick in the NBA Draft. Then seeing no Miami player make the All-NBA first, second or third team for the first time since 2008.

▪ ESPN speculated the Marlins might look to trade for starting pitchers Yovani Gallardo or Jeff Samardzija and closers Jonathan Papelbon or Francisco Rodriguez. Dear ESPN: Barring a dramatic turnaround, the Marlins are much likelier to put up a For Sale sign, not Help Wanted.

▪ Chris Berman closed the Broward Center for the Performing Arts’ speakers’ series. I wonder if dissatisfied customers demanded their money back-back-back-back-back?

▪ Parting thought: R.I.P. to one of the great players and most colorful characters in Miami sports history. Thanks for the memories, Garo Yepremian.

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Hot list

Today: The Heat this week was awarded the 10th overall pick in the June NBA Draft. The only times in club history that Miami has had a higher pick:

Year/Pick

Player/School

Heat career

2008/2nd

Michael Beasley/Kansas State

D: For a No. 2? A bust

2003/5th

Dwyane Wade/

Marquette

A+: Heat’s greatest ever

1991/5th

Steve Smith/

Michigan State

C: Never star team hoped for

1990/9th

Willie Burton/

Minnesota

D: Not much to show

1989/4th

Glen Rice/Michigan

B: Averaged 19.3 ppg

1988/9th

Rony Seikaly/Syracuse

B: Great rebounder

1. MARLINS

Stinking Fish make bizarre manager change: The slumping Marlins surprised baseball by prematurely firing manager Mike Redmond and then stunned baseball by replacing him with Dan Jennings, who was the general manager and began 0-5 in his new role. Jennings last managed at the high school level in 1980s. No, seriously.

2. DOLPHINS

Fins lock up QB Tannehill with long-term deal: The Dolphins will pay quarterback Ryan Tannehill $96 million over the next six seasons in the hopes he makes them a perennial playoff team and even a Super Bowl contender. I think Dolfans are generally happy about the deal, but probably not nearly as happy as Tannehill’s wife, Lauren.

3. NBA

Can anything stop a Golden State-Cleveland NBA Finals? All of America outside of Atlanta, Houston and Miami is rooting for a Golden State-Cleveland NBA Finals — Steph Curry vs. LeBron James. Take solace, Heat fans. Even if that happens, it would be first time in five or six years that LeBron would enter a playoff series expected to lose.

4. AUTO RACING

Indy 500 owns racing stage Sunday: The 99th running of “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” is the one day IndyCars steal the spotlight from NASCAR. I’m betting on Will Power. Not because I think he’ll win, but because I have a soft spot for guys with ridiculous names that sound like alter-ego pseudonyms of comic-book superheroes.

5. DAVID LETTERMAN

Late-night TV legend says farewell: Letterman didn’t supplant Johnny Carson as the all-time late-night king, never got to host “The Tonight Show” and didn’t often beat Jay Leno in ratings, yet wound up a legend. Proves you can be beloved even if you don’t win the ultimate prize. Just ask Dan Marino. Ouch! Too soon?

  Comments