The best of the Pat Riley press conference

Not much of an introduction necessary here…

The most important things Pat Riley said today, tweet by tweet….

First, this, in response to our question…


And now, the rest, on the team..





















Jorge Alfaro’s production determines winner of JT Realmuto trade

Philadelphia Phillies catcher JT Realmuto made his return to Miami on Friday for a three-game series with the Marlins. Like former members of the fightin’ fish last year, he came, said how much he loves the Marlins organization (despite asking for a trade in back-to-back offseasons) and how happy he is now.

What makes this year different is now he got to voice his approval of the new changes to Marlins Park. Like a former fling who leaves only to return and see how everything has changed since.

“It’s great — a lot better than the sculpture,” Realmuto said. “I wasn’t a huge fan of it.”

The Marlins traded Realmuto to Philadelphia for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, and $250,000 in international bonus money. Even though MLB Pipeline named Sanchez Miami’s top prospect and Stewart flirted with a no-hitter in his most recent start at Single-A Jupiter, Alfaro’s production is what will determine whether or not the Realmuto trade is a winner. 

Both catchers were on display in the Phillies 9-1 victory. Realmuto went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a couple runs scored. Alfaro went 2-for-4 with a run scored as well, thanks to sac fly by right fielder Austin Dean.

Alfaro has been the lone bright spot in the Marlins’ lackluster lineup. The 25-year-old Colombian catcher leads the team with a .286 batting average, a .342 on-base percentage and .543 slugging percentage.

“If he will stay with the approach and the plan, he’s going to be dangerous,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Alfaro. “He will swing at way more strikes, and hit a lot more pitches. He just has to stick with it daily, and stay with his work. I think he understands what we’re trying to get to. I honestly think, if he sticks with it — and he’s not a kid who is afraid of anything at all. You can see it. He’s not afraid of the ball in any way, shape or form. He’s going to be dangerous, if he will stay with the plan and the approach on a daily basis.”

Realmuto made the All-Star Game last year by hitting .310 in the first half of the season and finishing with 21 home runs. Mattingly has said repeatedly since the trade that Alfaro’s power is off the charts. After hitting 10 home runs in 108 games as a rookie last year, clearing the 20 homer benchmark this season seems realistic.

That alone will make the trade a winner for the Marlins.

Tony Capobianco is the lead photographer for 

JT Realmuto knows comeback to Miami will be quiet

JT Realmuto will play for the first time in his career against the Miami Marlins.

However, he doesn’t expect much of a revolution in Marlins Park’s stands today when he steps up to the plate.

The All-Star catcher knows it will be a quiet atmosphere.

The best hitting catcher in baseball, along with Buster Posey and Willson Contreras, who crushed two balls out of Wrigley Field today, knows Miami and the fans here.

Will he get a big ovation? Probably not.

And not because he doesn’t deserve it, because he does, but because as usual, Marlins Park will look like an empty mall (which doesn’t happen here in Miami).

“It will be just like any other at-bat. I don’t expect too much out there for me,” were Realmuto’s words before the first of the three-game series between the Marlins and Phillies.

Miami struggled a lot swinging the bats during the road trip, scoring only eight runs in six games, getting swept by the Cincinnati Reds.

But for Realmuto, life is beautiful right now. He forgot about playing for the losing Miami Marlins and is finally playing for a competitive team.

There, with Bryce Harper and company, he is having the opportunity to play in a pennant race.

Harper wanted him in Washington, as he publicly confessed, and he even whispered a couple of times in Realmuto’s ear when he was a member of the Washington Nationals.

Now, they can both be happy slugging for a city that loves baseball and supports their team.


JT Realmuto’s comeback to Little Havana will get most of the headlines, but we will come back to reality soon  to realize this team had the best catcher in baseball, the best outfielders in baseball and the best pitcher in baseball at some point, and the stands were empty.

Good luck to Sandy Alcántara tonight, by the way.


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Heat to Dion Waiters: Time to Shape Up or….

It was the open secret of the Miami Heat season.

The proverbial elephant in the room.

Dion Weighte- (er, Waiters) was overweight.

And the Heat, behind the scenes, weren’t happy about it.

Very not happy about it.

Heat fans, on the other hand, were equal parts amused and annoyed, until Waiters went on a three-point shooting spree to salvage his season somewhat.

This has been going on forever, actually.

Look at the date on this one:

We all know how Pat Riley feels about conditioning. Miami Heat shape. World class shape. He forced Tim Hardaway to meet a certain weight, even after Hardaway was a multi-time All-Star. He briefly banished Antoine Walker and James Posey after the 2006 championship, after Walker promised to keep drinking all offseason and seemed to diligently fulfill his promise. He has nearly killed men in practice; just ask them.

So it was a matter of time before the team snapped. The Heat tried to put on a good face about this, as they typically do, when there’s something they’d like to not make a public issue — particularly when they’re paying a player $52 million guaranteed over four years to overeat and underperform.

For instance…

Recently, roughly two weeks ago, Spoelstra said that Waiters was getting into better condition and that’s why he was playing better. There wasn’t much of the season left.

It is not like Spoelstra to call players out publicly. That’s a Riley thing. That’s what made Friday’s Spoelstra press conference so remarkable. He basically spoke for both of them, with more pointed words for Waiters than anyone else on the roster. Actually, Waiters was the only player targeted with even a tinge of negativity, as Spoelstra waxed poetic about Dwyane Wade, gushed over the Heat’s kids (especially the clearly beloved Bam Adebayo) and even said he believed in Hassan Whiteside.



Here are some tweets.

And this…

And this was the money quote…

Just in case no one understood…..

“Pat and I are on the same page on this.”

That’s a message they meant to deliver. Together.

This time, there’s no Good Cop.

Just Bad Cop and Worse Cop.

Expect Riley, if he ever speaks to the assembled media again — we’re expecting next week — to deliver it even more sternly. They have two years left on Waiters’ contract and he has been difficult if not impossible to deal. They need to try to make something work.

So it will be interesting to see what happens if he can’t make weight.

Bam Adebayo wants the burden

There will be no playoffs this season for the Miami Heat, so Clean Out Day came early. Some players and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra are meeting with the media and, as of this writing, big men Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo have already done so.

Adebayo, in particular, is interesting because he had a bit of a breakout this season, especially in the 28 games he started, while being the only player on the team to play in all 82. He developed his ballhandling and his defensive versatility, and has shown glimpses of a jumper if he’ll just be more aggressive.

But here’s what is most promising about Adebayo, who is mature for his age (22 in July):

He facilitates.

This is something, of course, that the other Heat center is loathe to do.

And Adebayo wants to do more of it.

Adebayo averaged 2.2 in just 23.3 minutes this season.

That’s solid for a center, and as he develops more chemistry with his teammates, that should improve. As Erik Spoelstra noted, Adebayo had at least five assists in 14 games.

He also says he can play with the guy he calls “H.” They played only 14 minutes together this season, with Spoelstra preferring to pair either with Olynyk or James Johnson.

One of our guys isn’t thrilled with that idea…

But this is the way Adebayo speaks, and this is what is so encouraging. Miami’s Kids are all quality people, but the question is whether they are players to build around, or just build with.

Jeffrey Loria: Your worst person in Miami sports history

We probably didn’t need to do this.

It was kind of a foregone conclusion, when we selected 52 of the least popular sports figures in South Florida history — split into Sports Figures and Athletes brackets — that the frugal, former owner of the Miami Marlins would eventually tear down the nets like he tore down baseball in this market.

Still, we went through it anyway, and Jeffrey Loria was the big winner… or loser.

(We won’t show his face because, well, why?)

He was never really challenged, not against another former Marlins owner (John Henry), not against former Dolphins GM Mike Tannenbaum, not against the destroyer of the University of Miami football program Nevin Shapiro, not in the Futile Four against former Dolphins coach Nick Saban — who upset Loria’s son-in-law David Samson in the Awful Eight — and certainly not in the Final against the person you oddly deemed the worst athlete (former Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin).

This was a rout.

And why not?

Loria did win a World Series as owner, but he also made decision after decision to destroy the Marlins franchise. (Oh, and he called me a “piece of crap columnist” once, so I’ll acknowledge some bias.

He’ll probably take this condemnation as a compliment.

What was strange was the other side of the bracket, where four former Dolphins (Martin, Dion Jordan, Mike Wallace, Jay Cutler) were the last four left, not exactly the quartet we expected. In fact, Dolphins kept beating Heat, Marlins, Panthers and Hurricanes players in terms of how much you disliked them.

But no one beats Loria, not at this game.

Broward native Jonathan India’s baseball career circles home

On the winding road of the minor league journey, Jonathan India has found his way back home.

While Daytona Beach, the Florida State League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, is about a four hour drive from where he played high school ball, the trips to Jupiter to play the Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals will have to do for now.

The Reds drafted India with the fifth overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft and MLB pipeline has him listed as their No. 4 prospect. In the midsts of the JT Realmuto trade sweepstakes, the Reds made India a key part of their proposed trade package before the Marlins decided to trade their star catcher to the Philadelphia Phillies.

India, who grew up a New York Met fan, was well aware of the trade rumors thanks the Twitter, but was told by the Reds’ management not to worry about it and so he did.

“You never know what can happen in this sport,” India said. “It’s a business. One day you can be Red, one day you can be a Marlin. It almost happened to me. I try to honestly not think about that stuff and just play the game. There’s no point in digging into that and worrying about it because it just puts more pressure on yourself. Why think about that when you have the game right in front of you?”

India played high school ball American Heritage-Delray. There’s a lot of players currently in the minor leagues or big leagues who were once high schoolers in South Florida. In fact, in the same draft where the Reds took India with the fifth overall pick, the Boston Red Sox drafted third baseman Triston Casas — who played third base at the American Heritage School in Plantation — with the 26th pick.

“There are plenty of kids who I played against and have played with who have a shot of making it,” India said.

While Casas was taken out of high school India was drafted out of the University of Florida. You may be able to spot as many Gators in a baseball field somewhere in America as you would on Alligator Alley. India’s teammate at Single-A Daytona, catcher Mark Kolozsvary, was also a teammate with him at UF.

“Going through there for three years taught me how to be not only a baseball player but also a professional on and off the field,” India said. “It helped me a lot going into minor league ball.”

The Gators have been in the College World Series in each of India’s three seasons. The ecstasy of championship triumph was sandwiched in-between the agony of defeat. India called winning the 2017 College World Series, “A dream come true for me and one of the best feelings I ever had.”

“I think it’s the best baseball experience a kid can dream of,” India said. “Like they say, It’s the greatest show on dirt. That’s their slogan.”

After the 2018 College World Series, India quickly went from the greatest show on dirt to just a show on dirt. His professional career began just as soon as his collegiate career ended, split among Tennessee, Montana and Ohio. While he was a Mustang for three days, he found the city of Billings, MT to be quite pleasant.

“It didn’t feel like we were at Montana,” India said. “I actually felt Montana was a beautiful state, with all the mountains and everything. Being from Florida, you don’t see mountains. I enjoyed it there. It was fun.”

Life as minor leaguer is like a traveling road show. Nevertheless, India considers this endeavor, “a fun experience.” The most grueling part of it is the long bus rides. While it may be a bit mitigated in the Single-A Advanced Florida State League, it was still a nearly three hour drive from Daytona to Jupiter. If they’re not catching up on sleep, the team is at least trying to have some fun on the bus.

“We’ve had some funny bus rides,” India said, “singing karaoke, just messing around as a team, hanging out but nothing too crazy.”

India may have not ended up as a Marlin but at least he will get to play in Florida and learn under a former Marlins in Daytona hitting coach and 2003 World Series champion Lenny Harris.


Tony Capobianco is the lead photographer for 

Key 2019 Miami Heat Offseason Dates and Deadlines

With the 2018-19 NBA regular season wrapped up, the Miami Heat have begun shifting their focus onto the offseason after falling out of playoff contention. Here’s a breakdown of the many key dates and deadlines over the next few months leading up until the tip-off of the 2019-20 season.

May 14

  • NBA Draft Lottery 2019 (Chicago)

May 14-19

  • NBA Draft Combine 2019 (Chicago)

June 10

  • Deadline for all early entrants (including international players) to withdraw from the NBA Draft (5 p.m. ET)

June 20

  • 2019 NBA Draft (Barclays Center, NY)

June 29

  • Deadline for all player and team options, unless individual contracts specify otherwise.

July 30

  • NBA Free Agency (negotiations) and July Moratorium Begins (6:00 p.m ET)

July 5-15

  • 2019 MGM Resorts NBA Summer League (Las Vegas, Nevada)

July 10

  • Ryan Anderson’s $21.26M salary for 2019-20 becomes fully guaranteed. Salary reduced to $15.6M if waived by deadline.

August 31

  • Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to 2019-20 salaries.

Late September (specific dates TBA)

  • Training camp opens.

October 22

  • Start of the 2018-19 NBA Regular Season (NBA Tip-Off 2019)

The Marlins offense is worse than we thought

No one expected the Miami Marlins to be an offensive juggernaut.

Not after dealing their five best offensive players in the past 18 months. Not with only a trio of major league qualified hitters in the lineup. Not when Starlin Castro is probably the best of them.

But this?

This is ridiculous.

Miami was shut out 5-0 by the Reds on Thursday, so at least it was early enough in the day for no one to pay attention. That dropped the Marlins to a 3-10 record on the season which, again, was expected.

But 34 total runs?

Just 2.6 per game?

Outscored 21-1 in three games by Cincy?

Jorge Alfaro leading with just six RBI?

Lewis Brinson is hitting .234, which is actually an improvement. But Brian Anderson, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker and JT Riddle are under .200. And while Martin Prado is performing well, he’s likely gone by midseason. So this will get worse.

This would be a good time for the guy in the photo above, spreading his arms at a distance greater than any of his players can hit a baseball, to lace them up again.

You can’t tell me that Jeets, even at his age, wouldn’t hit third on this team.

With the manager, Don Mattingly, hitting fourth.

The Glorious Birth of a Ryan Fitzpatrick Meme

Nowadays, the internet will take a picture of anything and turn it into the next great “meme”.

So when the Dolphins released a video of their off-season workouts–which looked very similar to my high school gym class–I had to watch.  After all, this is year one of the Brian Flores Era and I’m anxious to see what the next regime has to offer.  And so you watch intently, as the players run from one end of the indoor practice facility to the other.  The montage is giving me goosebumps. And then I see the man, the myth, and the legend.  The Dolphins 2019 starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

See, I like Ryan Fitzpatrick.  In fact, I spent way too much of my life writing an article about it last week.   He’s going to bring the good and definitely the bad.  There will be some 400-yard games and then some stinkers. That is who he is.  But today, I saw a guy that like me, has enjoyed one too many IPAs in his lifetime. No one expects these guys to look as chiseled as Cameron Wake, but have a little respect for yourself. *As I stare blankly into the mirror*

And so I snapped a picture with my phone, of the Dolphins’ 36-year old quarterback along with the clever words.

Twitter did exactly what you would expect and responded perfectly.  Here are some of the best tweets and memes from today’s events.











Josh Houtz (@Houtz) cooks in his spare time, when he’s not working on 65 things for Five Reasons Sports Network and Dolphin Maven.