Halloween is as wonderful as it is odd. As co-workers dress up as coke-snorting Dolphins coaches and smokin' Jay Cutler, the imaginary line of acceptable behavior moves so far beyond the norm that it barely exists. It's also the day when we decide what's a trick and what's a treat. Candy corn? Some hate it; some love it. Cinnamon hot candy? Gross to some; addictive to others. Black licorice? OK, nobody likes that.
On this extremely spooky day, it's a perfect time to assess the South Florida sports scene and decide what's been an absolute treat and what's been a filthy black licorice trick.
Trick: "Offensive guru" Adam Gase
The Miami Dolphins sold coach Adam Gase to fans as an offensive savant, a quarterback whisperer, the man who would move the Dolphins offense into the 21st Century. Three strikes and you're out, Gase.
The Dolphins have the worst offense in the NFL, and on a weekly basis, Gase blames everyone but himself. Gase came to the Dolphins with a reputation for turning chicken shit into chicken salad. So far this season, the Fins offense is a shit salad.
Treat: Erik Spoelstra
Not enough is said about the job Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra does, so we're doing that right here. On Halloween. Because Spo might one day go down as the greatest coach in South Florida sports history. Whaaaaat? Yeah. We said it. His two titles already match Don Shula's record, and he might end up coaching just as long. When it's all said and done, Spo's resumé with the Heat could end up dwarfing Pat Riley's.
Spo continues to turn average rosters into fun, intriguing seasons since the Big Three broke up, and the mix-and-match team the Heat put together this season can make some noise pretty much only because the team's coach is a genius and the Heat culture is an incubator for success.
Trick: "Up-and-coming star" Justise Winslow
It's year three of the Justise Winslow era, yet it seems as if not much has changed since the day he joined the Heat. So far, Winslow's Heat career has peaked at providing good-to-great defensive efforts, "things that don't show up in the box score," and three to five baskets a game. Winslow had 12 rebounds the other night, and observers were referring to it as his best game in Miami.
Winslow is just another solid player off the Heat bench these days. Maybe in year five, he'll finally become what some fans want and score 20 points a game more often than twice a season.
Trick: David Beckham and MLS coming to Miami
"David Beckham moves closer to finalizing MLS move to Miami." How many times have you read that headline over the past three years? We'll believe it when we see it. We've lost count of the number of news conferences in which Beckham and random apparently rich/powerful people have held a soccer ball while wearing suits and talking about soccer coming to Miami.
Stop telling us about the labor pains and show us the baby already. We could have started our own soccer league filled with just Miami teams by now.
Treat: Hassan Whiteside being pretty damn fun
Remember when people were worried that Whiteside's social media accounts couldn't coexist within Heat culture and that his overall attitude was a ticking time bomb? Yeah, turns out we need to loosen up a bit. All Whiteside has done in a Heat uniform is ball out. He'll go down as one of the greatest finds the Heat has ever plucked out of nowhere and turned into an All-Star. To top it off, he's damn fun too.
With all the new faces on the team these days, Whiteside actually feels like a safe Heat veteran we're glad plays for our team. And he's pretty awesome on social media too.
Trick: Happiness after Jeffrey Loria's sale of the Marlins
Once upon a time, the thought of Loria selling the Marlins seemed like a dream that would never come to fruition. Then he sold it to the greatest New York Yankee of all time, and it was barely a blip on the local sports news radar. Why was it such a letdown? Because all reports are that Derek Jeter and the men behind him who hold all the money are hellbent on slicing the Marlins payroll in half, which almost assuredly will include flipping Giancarlo Stanton for a bag full of unknown prospects.
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Different owner, same shit. At least now the Marlins will compete in five years. Maybe.
Treat: Giancarlo Stanton doing peak Giancarlo Stanton things
Stanton was already one of the best things going in South Florida sports, but his past season took him from a fun baseball player to, holy shit, maybe the best player in the National League. Stanton's ridiculous 59-homer, 132-RBI season was just what the doctor ordered for a fan base with so little to cheer for. His season was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise run-of-the-mill-crappy Marlins campaign that ended at the 162-game mark for the 14th straight season.
Do the Marlins suck? Yes, they suck. But watching Stanton launch baseballs into the abyss doesn't suck. Sadly, we might have seen the last of that nonsucky thing happening for our baseball team.