Our Sunday notes column is part week-in-review and part look ahead, and so today we celebrate the big Miami sports week in store while lamenting two local stories that made us shake our head with a mixture of sadness and anger.
The good stuff first.
This week the hot Dolphins play twice in five days, Sunday and Thursday, while the hot Hurricanes prepare to host No.2 Florida State on Saturday and Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts the NASCAR season finale next Sunday. Two Heat and Panthers home games are interspersed, and college basketball tips off, too. A big, fun week!
Now the bad stuff, a double dose of sad courtesy of baseball fallen-star Alex Rodriguez and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
One continued to give away what’s left of his reputation.
The other gave away a home game his team can’t afford to lose and his fans shouldn’t have to.
The Miami Herald reported Rodriguez, given immunity and under oath, spilled the truth to DEA agents about his PED use in late January, even though since then he has continued to publicly and indignantly lie by denying any wrongdoing, accusing MLB of a “witch hunt.” So now we don’t know whether to change A-Rod’s nickname to “A-Roid” or “A-Fraud.” Both fit.
The Yankees can’t possibly want back a fading, almost 40-year-old player with an irreparably ruined reputation, except they would owe him $61 million if they cut him.
Likewise, UM can’t possibly want to keep Rodriguez’s sullied name attached to its campus baseball stadium, except his $3.9 million donation to renovate it bought the renaming in his now-dubious honor.
Money also motivated Ross to agree that next year’s Dolphins-Jets game at Wembley Stadium would be a Miami “home” game.
The NFL strong arms teams to agree to sacrifice a home date to its London obsession if they wish to be considered to host a future Super Bowl, and Ross agreed to that devil’s deal.
He put business above football, costing Miami one of only eight home games and denying Dolfans the chance to boo their most hated rival.
He agreed that his team would be the first ever to give up a division home game, and neither Dolphins players, coaches nor fans are happy.
It’s going to be a fun week ahead, but that’s no thanks to the two-faced gall of Rodriguez and the misguided move by Ross. New York to London, both men had a regrettable week.
▪ FIU and FAU entered their Saturday games needing to win out to become bowl-eligible. (Let’s not tell them that, at 6-6 with lousy fan support, each would have about the same chance at a bowl invitation that I have of winning a Nobel prize in physics.)
▪ Panthers entered Saturday’s game last in NHL with 16 goals in 11 games, and they’d only scored more than two once. I know Pavel Bure is 43 now and retired 11 years, but I say they give him a call.
▪ Giancarlo Stanton, a finalist for the NL MVP award to be announced Thursday, is in early talks with the Marlins over a long-term contract. I hope penurious owner Jeffrey Loria is not involved. The idea of signing a check with that many commas must make him nauseous.
▪ That reminds me. Christian Yelich, 22, became only the sixth Marlin ever, and first outfielder, to win a Gold Glove award. At 22, my greatest accomplishment was finally being rid of acne.
▪ The Fort Lauderdale Strikers made the four-team NASL soccer playoffs and had a semifinal at Minnesota on Saturday. I’d like to congratulate [note to self: look up name of coach] on a good season!
▪ Pressure is on Jets general manager as “Fire John Idzik” banners fly over team’s practices. That reminds me. How dumb does the guy feel who bought that “Fire Al Golden” flyover last month?
▪ Looks like Dallas QB Tony Romo will be able to start Sunday, according to Dr. Jerry Jones.
▪ Mark Sanchez starts for the Eagles on Monday, the best test yet for the theory that even a trained chimp, if taught to take a snap, could move the ball in a Chip Kelly offense.
▪ Still doubt who’s King Sport? Ten NFL regular-season games this season (and counting) have drawn more viewers than World Series Game7.
▪ Charles Barkley said he wouldn’t eat another meal until the L.A. Lakers finally win a game. Like you needed another reason to root against that team?
▪ The 34th annual Key West World Powerboat Championships wrapped up. That sport would only be more dangerous if participants were armed and allowed to shoot each other.
▪ NASCAR driver Kurt Busch is being investigated for domestic assault, and PGA Tour golfer Patrick Reed was heard cursing himself with a gay slur. Both men have been suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
▪ Goodell weighs whether to reinstate or continue the suspensions of Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. I hear he’s waiting for new public opinion polls to tell him what he thinks.
▪ Parting thought: Boxer Bernard Hopkins, about to turn 50, fought again Saturday night in Atlantic City. People keep telling Hopkins to retire. He keeps beating them up.
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.
Today: Ryan Tannehill’s legs. He already has the fourth most rushing yards by a quarterback and is on pace to shatter the Dolphins’ season record. The franchise leaders:
*Through eight games
Note: Dolphins career QB rushing leaders are Griese (994 yards), Fiedler (834) and Woodley (771). Tannehill already is fourth with 694 in 21/2 seasons.
What South Florida sports fans are talking about:
Miami carries three-game win streak to Detroit: Here is your early holiday gift, Dolfans: Two games in five days. First, Sunday at Detroit in a duel of two teams on three-game winning streaks, and then, Bills at Dolphins on Thursday night to see which AFC East rival has the ready for prime-time players and a playoff shot.
Six days until showdown with FSU: Canes, on three-game win streak, are off this week before hosting unbeaten, No.2-ranked rival FSU at 8 p.m. Saturday. Meantime Jameis Winston’s lawyer wants his student conduct code hearing delayed. UM lawyers counter-propose that the hearing be scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday.
Back down to earth, but at least LeBron is struggling: Miami had lost two in a row after being 3-0, but there was solace in the Cleveland homecoming continuing rocky for departed star LeBron James. Cavs started 1-3 amid bickering as it dawned on LeBron that Kyrie Irving is a ball-hog point guard who does not like to pass.
4. COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Canes open Friday at home: NCAA hoops season tips off in five days, including at Miami, where Jim Larrañaga’s men host Howard on Friday after Katie Meier’s women face Oakland. Both UM teams are judged mid-pack in the ACC, suggesting March Madness might be closer to March Mildness in the 305.
One week until season crescendo at Homestead: Sunday in Phoenix will determine the four drivers eligible for NASCAR’s season title seven days later at Homestead. Winner will be whichever of those four has either the fastest car or the most luck avoiding the vindictive nonqualifiers hell-bent on running them into a wall.