There was a neat little juxtaposition on the top tier of South Florida sports the other day. We welcomed back the Kid. We kept the Old Man. Each made the heart feel glad. Both were worth celebrating.
Dwyane Wade and Jose Fernandez are at opposite ends of their careers, Wade at 33 after his 12th Heat season, Fernandez at 22 in is third Marlins year.
One is mostly past now and the other mostly future, but it felt so good to have both firmly in the present on a very special Thursday. That’s when Fernandez triumphed in his emotional comeback game after a year sidelined by Tommy John surgery, as more than 32,000 Marlins fans cheered him on. Hours later, the news popped like champagne that the beloved franchise icon Wade, a free agent, had agreed to stay in Miami for at least another season.
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Mostly, Miami did.
▪ Hope y’all had a safe and wonderful Fourth of July as America marked its 239th birthday. July 4, 1776, seems like yesterday. I still remember mocking showoff John Hancock over that big signature.
▪ Let’s see. Wade re-signed and then celebrated with buddy LeBron James and their wives in the Bahamas. Goran Dragic agreed to a deal. Luol Deng said he’d stay. Top draftee Justise Winslow began summer-league play. Michael Beasley quietly left the building. Oh, and Pat Riley met with top free agent LaMarcus Aldridge. Otherwise, a slow news week for the Heat.
▪ ESPN The Magazine’s annual “Body” issue, in which athletes pose nude but artfully covered, comes out Monday. Which answers the question: What can someone who makes millions, is all over TV and is worshiped and fawned over do to appear even more narcissistic?
▪ One of the new “Body” nudies is Nationals star Bryce Harper, who notes, “My body feels pretty unbelievable.” What’s amazing is that Harper is able to hit 95-mph fastballs while simultaneously staring admiringly into a mirror.
▪ Still going despite all of its doping scandals, the latest Tour de France has begun. It must be so difficult for those cyclists to peddle up mountains while simultaneously providing urine samples.
▪ The Florida Panthers’ four-day developmental camp for their recent draftees and other first-year players included “team building” activities such as a beach outing and a Marlins game. Hmm. I’d rather have a team that wins but doesn’t get along than a team that loses but sings Kumbaya.
▪ Answer: I would sooner watch vultures disemboweling maggot-covered carrion in a roadside ditch. Question: Did you watch Saturday’s annual competitive-eating hot dog contest in Coney Island?
▪ I am told Sunday night’s third episode of HBO’s Miami-based Ballers will include a cameo by ESPN’s Dan LeBatard. Please consider watching anyway.
▪ Recent NBA and NHL drafts reminded how fun it would be to give coaches truth serum. All you get is, “We’re thrilled so-and-so fell to us.” Would love the occasional, “We really wanted Jackson but had to settle for Jones.”
▪ Bumper sticker: “Honk If You’ve Been Insulted by Donald Trump.”
▪ Answer: The National Enquirer reported that Tiger Woods and Lindsay Vonn’s recent breakup happened because she caught him having an affair with the ex-wife of fellow golfer Jason Dufner. Question: Tiger, how’d that sex-addiction therapy work out?
▪ Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was suspended four games for PEDs. I used to fault athletes like that for the cheating. Now I shake my head more over their stupidity to think they wouldn’t be caught.
▪ Cuban MMA fighter Yoel Romero went on a tirade after a recent fight in Hollywood, saying, “Wake up, America! Go for Jesus, not for gay Jesus!” Ah, yes. Tips on tolerance from a man who makes his living violently punching and kicking other people.
▪ The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who open their NASL fall season this week, lost 3-0 to Argentina’s famed Boca Juniors in an exhibition here. Imagine how badly they’d have lost to the Boca Seniors!
▪ Brett Favre, now 45, says he could still play in the NFL. Sounds like the concussions talking.
▪ Spanish champion Imanol Lopez retired from Miami Jai-Alai, surprising analysts who had forgotten that jai-alai still existed.
▪ Paraguay eliminated Brazil in the Copa America, which is only good because Brazilian soccer fans lead the league in needing humbling.
▪ The U.S. Track & Field Championships went on in Eugene, Oregon, despite the fact Americans only care about that sport for two weeks every four years during the Olympics.
▪ It has now been 29 days since a horse last won the Triple Crown.
▪ Aaron Rodgers appeared on a recent Celebrity Jeopardy. The fix might have been in. Rodgers: “I’ll take Sports for $100.” Host Alex Trebek: “This NFL star is currently dating actress Olivia Munn.”
▪ Parting thought: I’ll be watching Sunday’s U.S.-Japan match without the slightest pretense of journalistic neutrality. Ready? On my count: 3-2-1 … “Let’s gooooo States!”
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
Today: Jose Fernandez. His victory at home in Thursday’s comeback game from Tommy John surgery marked his 25th career decision and gave him the best career winning percentage of any Marlins pitcher with at least that many starts. The top five:
Wade re-signs with Miami, but for only one year: Call it drama, delayed. Won’t the Heat and Dwyane Wade be doing this same contract dance a year from now? That’s what a one-year deal gives you. No complaint, though. A starting lineup of Hassan Whiteside, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Goran Dragic and Wade can win. Had better, anyway!
Fernandez makes winning return after year’s absence: It had been more than a year — 419 days to be exact — since Jose Fernandez last pitched before his triumphant comeback Thursday. He improved to 13-0 with a 1.23 ERA at Marlins Park. Isn’t there some way to convince him that every time he pitches it’s a home game? Hypnosis, perhaps?
It’s U.S.-Japan in Women’s World Cup final: Four years ago, Japan beat the United States on penalty kicks in the championship match. On Sunday evening, the U.S. seeks its revenge in a WWC final rematch in Canada. This is where I’d drop in a quick Pearl Harbor reference, but that might be seen as politically incorrect.
Serena survives scare as Wimbledon reaches midpoint: Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams seemed championship-bound entering the weekend after Serena survived an upset bid by Heather Watson on Friday. This was the fourth Wimbledon in a row in which Rafael Nadal has left early. Might be time to bring back the Capri pants.
Fins set training camp schedule: The Dolphins announced their historic 50th anniversary season would begin July 30 with the official start of preseason training camp, two weeks of practices segueing into the first exhibition game. Anniversaries less impressive than the 50th include this being the 42nd season since their last Super Bowl.