Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Random Evidence: Rescue us from the doldrums, Marlins. Save us, Loria!

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria looks on before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Marlin Park.
Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria looks on before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Marlin Park. AP

We have an odd circumstance on Miami’s sports plate as winter segues to spring.

Everything is going wrong.

The reliably successful Heat is struggling, loser of five of the past six games, under .500 and barely hanging on to playoff contention as the All-Star break approaches. As LeBron James’ Cavaliers surge, there is a real possibility Miami could miss the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2008 even though the East is softer than Charmin — an unfortunately fitting reference for a crappy conference.

The hockey Panthers could be sweeping heroically into the void but are not. As usual, the Cats are under. 500 and off playoff pace, though not by much. A franchise’s sad state could be measured by how thrilled fans are to even be fairly close to contention.

The Hurricanes offer little solace at the moment, with the men’s basketball team squandering an 8-0 start to the season and now fighting to still be considered an NCAA Tournament team, and the football program coming off a National Signing Day regarded as closer to OK than great.

So where does this all leave us?

I mentioned an odd circumstance, right? Here it is:

In the absence of the Heat’s usual maraud into the summer NBA Finals, we are counting on the improved, buzz-worthy Marlins like seldom before as baseball spring training nears.

Save us, Jeffrey Loria!

(Lord, did I really just say that?)

▪ NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams fights for his reputation after it came out he falsely claimed his helicopter was hit by enemy fire while covering the Iraq invasion in 2003. It gets worse. Williams now says he misspoke when claiming to have been the first man on the moon.

▪ I sympathize with Williams. Like that time I claimed I’d won a Pulitzer Prize for poetry — hey, some things slip your mind!

▪ The Dolphins’ renovated stadium will offer 16 four-seat “living rooms” with personal TVs and unlimited food and drink including liquor. Cost will be $1,500 per seat and up, or some $70,000 per season per “living room.” For that money, accoutrements had better include a playoff team.

▪ The Dolphins Cycling Challenge, a fundraiser for cancer research, ends Sunday. It is thought to be the only thing associated with the current Dolphins not subject to criticism.

▪ New Dolphins vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum has now been on the job an entire week and with what to show for it? Tick tock!

▪ The Dolphins introduced new defensive line coach Terrell Williams. I’d be more excited if he’d brought Ndamukong Suh with him.

▪ Somebody check on Miko Grimes. It has been more than a week since Brent Grimes’ wife last sent out an embarrassing, profane Tweet.

▪ The Atlanta Falcons admitted to piping in fake crowd noise to bother opponents. Decibelgate?

▪ This just in: Brian Williams, saying he misremembered, now admits it was not him who delivered that famous “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963.

▪ Answer: The 50-and-over Champions Tour event in Boca Raton ends Sunday. Question: And you thought watching golfers in their prime was dull!?

▪ Answer: Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi will sit out the 2015 season to rest at the request of the Russian club that pays her more. Question: As if you needed another reason to not like the WNBA?

▪ Answer: The NFL Network fired Warren Sapp after his arrest for solicitation. Question: You know how sometimes a person’s surname sort of fits what they’ve done?

▪ Anderson Silva is back in UFC action. Thirteen months after breaking his leg, he’s back trying to break other people’s legs.

▪ Kentucky remains the last unbeaten team in men’s basketball. Which explains the pins in Mercury Morris’ new John Calipari voodoo doll.

▪ The Clippers’ Chris Paul blasted female NBA referee Laren Holtkamp, saying, “This might not be for her.” Dear Chris: This might not be for you to say.

▪ Looks like Tiger Woods, still the biggest draw in golf despite his struggles, won’t qualify to play next month at Doral, an event that has no exemptions. Dear Doral: Invent exemptions, pronto.

▪ The Donn Handicap was Saturday at Gulfstream. Soon the Kentucky Derby will be here. Almost time to start hopelessly pretending we might see a Triple Crown winner this year.

▪ This just in: Brian Williams is now recanting a claim that it was he, not Charlie Sifford, who broke the PGA Tour’s color line.

▪ Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong was involved in a hit-and-run and tried to have his girlfriend take the blame after a night of partying in Aspen, Colorado. If you do an image search on Google for “train wreck,” you see a picture of what Armstrong’s life has become.

▪ The Miami International Boat Show starts in four days. I wonder if they’ve invented a boat that Rob Konrad can’t fall out of? (Ouch. Too soon?)

▪ Some facts require no punch line. Example: An LPGA golfer named Brooke Pancake just signed an endorsement deal with Waffle House.

▪ Looked up the word “hypocrite” and saw a picture of Jerry Rice, who called the Patriots cheaters. Same Jerry Rice who admitted using illegal “stickum” spray on his gloves to help him catch passes.

▪ Coral Springs High won the state title in competitive cheerleading. Question: Do cheerleading teams have cheerleaders?

▪ Parting thought: This just in: Brian Williams, blaming a memory lapse, now admits it was not him who guaranteed and then quarterbacked the Jets’ 1968 Super Bowl victory.

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.

Hot list

Today: Hurricanes vs. Gators vs. Seminoles in football recruiting the past 10 seasons (2006-15), based on average national ranking via ESPN final top-25 rankings:

School

Avg. ranking

High/low

Florida

5.71

1st (2010, ’06)/20th (2015)

Florida State

7.41

1st (2011)/25th (2007)

Miami

12.91

1st (2008)/unranked (2011)

Note: For purposes of averaging, UM’s non-ranking in the Top 25 in 2011 was counted as a 26.

What South Florida sports fans are talking about:

1. COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Mixed reviews for UM recruiting class: ESPN rated Miami’s National Signing Day class No. 23 in the country, with other outlets ranking it a bit lower. Perpetually disgruntled Canes fans face the usual dilemma: Wishing the best for UM but at the same time wanting coach Al Golden gone. What to do!? Oh, the conundrum!

2. HEAT

Once-proud team sputtering into All-Star break: The darlings of the LeBron James Era are looking for answers, with Dwyane Wade still out injured, the guard play abysmal and Hassan Whiteside the bright spot. Chris Bosh said the season is “slipping away.” Volunteers to stop the slide are encouraged to raise their hand.

3. HURRICANES

Moment of truth for “bubble” Canes: Coach Jim Larrañaga’s UM men have been mostly mediocre since that 8-0 start. Now they’re 14-8 after three losses in a row entering Sunday’s key home date with Clemson. Canes are down to “bubble” status on NCAA Tournament watch lists. Many more losses and that bubble bursts.

4. NFL

Super Bowl, dramatic ending draw record numbers: The Patriots’ 28-24 win over Seattle was the most-watched TV telecast in U.S. history with a record 114.4 million viewers and was the highest-rated Super Bowl in 30 years. Um, what was that you were saying about how Ray Rice et al would damage the NFL’s popularity?

5. GOLF

Woods is unraveling for all to see: In the past two weeks, Tiger Woods — who last won a major in 2008 — lost a front tooth, missed the cut of his PGA Tour season debut after a career-worst 82, and then withdrew from another tournament with a back injury. He’s unraveling! On the bright side: Tiger made $55 million on 2014.

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