Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Miami Heat-Dwyane Wade drama gives sports’ dog days some bite

These are supposed to be the doggiest of sports’ dog days, with basketball and hockey now done, baseball droning through summer and the NFL napping until training camps start.

The down time is partly why these two stories were getting an inordinate amount of media attention recently:

▪ The shocking revelation that a 74-year-old man, Pete Rose, might have bet on his baseball team to win as a player more than 30 years earlier — reported with profundity yet about as surprising as sunrise.

▪ And a quarterback, Tom Brady, appealing the punishment given him because he might or might not have known the football he threw in a 45-8 game might have been infinitesimally underinflated.

These dog days do not apply to us, however. We’re apparently immune.

Winning or losing, sports in Miami are seldom dull.

The disappointing Marlins haven’t had a winning season since 2009 and now star slugger Giancarlo Stanton is out injured, yet at least Jose Fernandez’s return to the mound rivets anticipation.

The Panthers last won a playoff series in 1996 yet are seen as on the upswing and were the epicenter of hockey this weekend by hosting the NHL Draft.

The Dolphins have made the playoffs only once in the past 13 seasons yet the buzz around the team and the money being bet on it have seen Miami’s Super Bowl odds go from 50-to-1 to 20-to-1.

And then there’s the Heat, our Drama Kings.

LeBron James left but the intrigue around this franchise didn’t.

Miami hit big in Thursday’s NBA Draft with Duke swingman Justise Winslow 10th overall, a steal.

Now comes free agency, starring the soap opera surrounding whether Miami will spend to re-sign Dwyane Wade or see him go elsewhere — once unthinkable. There are hints of acrimony, of Wade feeling disrespected.

Wade and Pat Riley in a room together this week could feel as much like marriage counseling as contract negotiations.

Can’t know where this is headed.

Only that it will be compelling.

We don’t always win down here in Miami.

We know how to keep things interesting, though.

▪ Random Evidence is thrilled to be back in the Sunday saddle after past two weeks off, some of it vacationing in Paris. Came back with a little advice for Riley in the Wade contract matter: “Passez le garder!” That’s French for, “Spend to keep him.”

▪ Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has partnered with Qatari investors bidding to buy the Formula One racing circuit. Dolfans would rather he focus attention on trying to own a Super Bowl champion.

▪ Yankee Alex Rodriguez recorded his 3,000th career hit amid a storybook comeback season. Alas, what he’s coming back from is the story, and it’s sad.

▪ ESPN The Magazine announced the 24 sports figures who are to appear nude (though artfully covered) in its latest “Body” issue due out July 6, and they include Bryce Harper, Kevin Love and Dan LeBatard. OK, I made up that last one.

▪ Ballers, the new HBO drama about football starring Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson and based in Miami, premiered last Sunday and included athletes behaving badly and getting in trouble. The show is true to life, in other words.

▪ Sean “Diddy” Combs was arrested for allegedly swinging a kettlebell in self defense during a confrontation with a UCLA assistant coach who supposedly mistreated Combs’ son, a freshman defensive back. But the rap mogul’s reps deny any wrongdoing. So we’re left to wonder: Diddy? Or didn’t he?

▪ Jordan Spieth won the U.S. Open after also winning the Masters, while players who did not win griped nonstop about the Open greens. Dear golfers, unless the greens have hidden landmines or the holes are surrounded by alligator-filled moats, shut up, please.

▪ Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the betting favorites as Wimbledon gets under way. Or, did that go without saying?

▪ The NHL voted to have only three skaters per team on the ice during overtime to encourage quicker scores. They rejected my idea: No goalies.

▪ The FBI investigates allegations the Cardinals front office hacked into the computer database of the Astros. Hmm. Houston has missed the playoffs the past nine years. Can’t you at least steal from a winner?

▪ Bumper sticker: “Things Could Always Be Worse. You Could Be Warren Sapp.”

▪ Analysts called Marlins first-round draft pick Josh Naylor, a prep first baseman, “a Prince Fielder type.” (Don’t tell Naylor that’s baseball-speak for “a guy who looks heavy.”)

▪ That reminds me. Miami’s St. Thomas University reached (but lost) the NAIA baseball title game led by 300-pound pitcher Ben Ancheff. I heard his go-to was the slider, but wasn’t sure if that referred to his favorite pitch or preferred dugout snack.

▪ Answer: Probably not, no. Question: Is there anything duller than a Virginia-Vanderbilt College World Series final?

▪ FIFA president Sepp Blatter now claims he did not resign after all. Time for the rest of the world to say, “Yes you did.” Inept and corrupt compounded by delusional is a scary thing.

▪ The CFL season started, and even folks in Canada barely noticed or cared.

▪ Parting thought: I’ve been waiting a long time to say this: It has now been 22 days since a horse last won the Triple Crown.

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

Hot list

Today: Heat draft. The only six times in franchise history that Miami had a higher first-round pick than 10th overall, where it picked this year. Points indicate career regular-season points scored for Heat:

Pick

Year

Player, School

Points

2nd

2008

Michael Beasley, Kansas State

2,927

4th

1989

Glen Rice, Michigan

9,248

5th

1991

Steve Smith, Michigan State

2,905

5th

2003

Dwyane Wade, Marquette

18,812

9th

1988

Rony Seikaly, Syracuse

6,742

9th

1990

Willie Burton, Minnesota

2,252

Note: Players drafted 10th overall prior to Justise Winslow in 2015 were Kurt Thomas in 1995 and Caron Butler in 2002.

1. HEAT

Miami drafts Duke’s Winslow amid Wade uncertainty: The Heat drafted Justise Winslow 10th overall and Tennessee’s Josh Richardson in the second round of the NBA Draft on Thursday night — both potential replacements for Dwyane Wade, who is expected to opt out and could be a free agent soon. Even losing, this team is seldom dull.

2. MARLINS

Stanton injured, Jose return set for reeling Fish: MLB home-run leader Giancarlo Stanton is out with a broken hand, adding injury to the insult of a disappointing season that included five losses in a row entering Saturday. I’d say there is no more reason to watch, except Jose Fernandez’s long-awaited return is set for Thursday against the Giants.

3. PANTHERS

NHL Draft tops big week for Cats: The Panthers hosted the NHL Draft and took Lawson Crouse 11th overall after earlier celebrating Aaron Ekblad’s NHL rookie of the year honor. But stop reading here if you believe in bad omens: After Florida hosted the draft for the first time in 2001, it missed the playoffs the next nine seasons.

4. SOCCER

U.S. beats China in Women’s World Cup quarters: Turns out U.S.-China is intriguing in soccer too, not just in world politics. The U.S. beat China 1-0 on Friday to advance to the semifinals against Germany on Tuesday. Fans would be thrilled (and surprised) if the U.S. men got this far, but it’s championship or bust for the women’s team.

5. DOLPHINS

Fins win offseason, now off until training camp: In late July, the preseason will start with Dolphins training camp. For now, thanks to signing Ndamukong Suh and extending Ryan Tannehill’s contract, I declare Miami to be NFL Offseason Champion! No rings for that. No parade. The reward is the heavier expectations you lug into August.

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