Time to load up on cafecitos, Miami: Things are about to get superboring around here for sports fans. With the Dolphins draft in the rear-view mirror, the Heat and the Panthers missing the playoffs, and the Marlins, well, being the Marlins, there just isn't much to speak of when it comes to South Florida sports right now. We're a long way removed from "Seven Nation Army"
Eventually, sports will return to our lives. Really! But as you sweat through the summer and another day of mediocre Marlins box scores, here are five dates to mark on your calendar to get you through the dry season.
1. NBA Draft: June 22
Back when the Heat played basketball until the middle week of June, it felt like the NBA draft was too soon. But when your team misses the playoffs like the Heat did this season, the end of June might as well be a couple of days before Halloween. When the Heat was 11-30, the team was slotted to grab the number two pick in the draft, but a 30-11 finish to the season dropped Miami to the 14th slot, which comes with the
2. The MLB All-Star Game: July 11
The Marlins aren't likely to play any important games in Marlins Park this season. They just aren't very good. If you're wondering what they might do to get you through the summer beyond providing a solid excuse for day drinking, the answer is this: Other, very good players are coming to Miami in July to play a baseball game with a decidedly lower percentage of Marlins on the field. It will be like Christmas in July!
3. El Clásico in Miami: July 29
David Beckham is spending his 47th consecutive summer (or at least that's what it feels like) totally failing to bring an Major League Soccer team to Miami, but that doesn't mean we can't get a world-class fútbol fix anyway. In fact, the big one is coming to Hard Rock Stadium: a real-life El Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, just the second time the legendary rivals have ever met outside of Spain. Though it's a preseason friendly, reports suggest almost all the big names will be there. You'll want to wedge yourself into that old Ronaldo or Messi kit for this one.
4. Miami Dolphins Training Camp: August
We could include the Dolphins rookie camp in this list, but those practices are even less interesting than the glorified underwear Olympics that the regular training camp amounts to. This season, though, Fins fans have reason to be stoked. Coming off their first playoff appearance since 2008, the Dolphins plugged many holes on defense through the draft and now sit in a position to not only make the playoffs but also do something once they get there. Highlighting this year's camp will be the return of a healthy Ryan Tannehill and a glimpse at the improvements the team made on defense this offseason in an attempt to improve against the run.
5. Miami Hurricanes Season Opener: September 2
Yup, Miami Hurricanes football is still five months away. Unlike pro ball, college football practices aren't open to the public, and outside of a few token reports from the media, they aren't worth a damn anyway. This season, the Canes have a lot of moving parts, including at quarterback, where they will look to replace Brad Kaaya, but the positivity around the program is at a five-year high. They'll open their campaign against Bethune-Cookman — the perfect cupcake matchup to welcome college football back into your life after a long, tedious hurricane season.
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