Greg Cote’s Hot Button Top 10: Oh my Ohtani! Plus Dolphins back on MNF, Lakers, return of Manny Diaz

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GREG COTE’S HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 10): WHAT IN SPORTS HAS GRABBED US LATELY: Our Sunday Hot Button Top 10 had been blog-only but when our blog retired it moved, re-imagined, to online-only. HB10 means what’s on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective and accentuating stuff that’s big, weird, damnable, funny or otherwise worth needling as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. Welcome to the 41st edition of your Sunday sports-potpourri notes column, the new HB10:

1. MLB: Oh my! Ohtani’s record Dodgers deal raises bar for next mega-deal: The Dodgers’ record 10-year, $700 million deal to sign two-way star and reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani is on record as the biggest deal ijn global sports history. Lionel held the mark at $674 million with FC Barcelona in 2017-21 (although Kylian Mbappe would nudge ahead at $679M if he stays with Paris-Saint Germain through 2025). The North American team sport record was Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year, $450 million extension. The next frontier now in sight: A contract topping $1 billion.

2. DOLPHINS: Tua, Tyreek preen into club’s first Monday night home game in six years: Miami was slogging through a 6-10 season under Adam Gase and Jay Cutler when last the club hosted the Monday Night Football stage in 2017, with the two Fins MNF games since in 2019 and ‘21 both on the road. This time Miami earns the spotlight as a Super Bowl-contending team expected to crush Tennessee. This is the Fins’ 87th all-time Monday game and will break a won-lost deadlock at 43-43.

3. GOLF: Traitor Jon Rahm gets rich quick with jump to LIV Golf, but at what cost?: Reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm has become the biggest player to abandon the PGA Tour for LIV Golf, the crown jewel of Saudi Arabia’s sportswashing. He gets his money. And loses everything else. Rahm’s name is trash now, and it will be for all-time. He should be made to Google the name Jamal Khashoggi as he cashes his first big check. And to see how human-rights organizations see how the Saudis treat women and the LGBTQ community. Shame on you, Jon Rahm. Enjoy the blood money as you disappear into the oblivion of The CW.

4. NBA: Lakers win In-Season Tournament. But where will the banner go?: L.A. Lakers beat Pacers 123-109 Saturday night behind Anthony Davis’ 41 points and 20 rebounds, while LeBron James was named tournament MVP. The “NBA Cup” would have been a nice trophy for the Indiana franchise. But for a Lakers club that has won a record-tying 17 NBA championships? The banner for a made-up in-season gimmick ought not be nearly as big or as prominent as the ones representing actual titles.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: LSU’s Daniels stiff-arms the competition, wins Heisman: Jayden Daniels on Saturday became only the 15th player awarded the Heisman Trophy for a season that included at least three losses, with his Tigers 9-3. The most recent was Lamar Jackson in 2016. Washington QB Michael Penix will play for a championship at 13-0 but with numbers inferior to Daniels’. It is an award for individual excellence. An arguable choice, perhaps -- but solid.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ACC rival Duke hires ex-Canes coach Manny Diaz: The coach Miami fired to bring in Mario Cristobal is now running ACC rival Duke. The Blue Devils hired Penn State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who led the Hurricanes to a 21-15 record and three bowl-eligible season in 2019-21. Cristobal is 12-12 over his first two seasons. Meanwhile the Hurricanes have dropped from a 3 1/2- to a 2-point favorite over Rutgers in the December 23 Bowl Named After A Lawn Mower. The Diaz hiring adds one more reason UM and Cristobal need a bowl win to put a shine on an improved but not wholly uplifting 7-5 season.

7. HEAT: Losing out on Lillard echoes as Miami sags: The injury-marred Heat are 12-10 and on a 2-5 skid entering Monday’s game at Charlotte, a pace that would have them scrambling just to make the NBA playoffs. Failing to close the deal to sign Damian Lillard in the offseason will continue to haunt unless results begin to prove they’re fine without him. (Meanwhile the Florida Panthers sit prettier at 16-8-2 after two straight wins and are third in the East entering today’s matinee at Columbus.)

8. INTER MIAMI: MLS club begins to unveil plans for YOM ‘24 -- the Year Of Messi: The milking of Lionel Messi’s first and likely only full season in MLS won’t wait long to start. Miami and Messi will head to Hong Kong for a February 4 match in its first international tour as part of its preseason. Previously revealed was a January 19 match in El Salvador. Miami was set to play in China last month but plans for the two-game trip fell through. The ’24 MLS regular season begins in late February.

9. GAMBLING: Sports betting at Hard Rock Casino welcomed with vintage bombast: The Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Casino just south of Miami in Hollywood welcomed the onset of sports gambling with starpower guests including Dwyane Wade, Gloria Estefan, Mike Tyson and rappers Fat Joe, Ja Rule and Rick Ross. Seminole Nation celebrates its Native American heritage in lavish style as its revenue deal with Hard Rock Casino and the state of Florida guarantees that all get rich ... except the majority of gamblers oft-reminded the hard way that the house (almost) always wins.

10. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Cheaters never prosper? Looks like Harbaugh will: The sign-stealing scandal shadows Michigan’s spot in the College Football Playoff. An NCAA investigation continues. The Big Ten already suspended coach Jim Harbaugh three games related to the cheating mess. Yet Michigan and Harbaugh are negotiating a five-year, $55 million contract extension. The sticking point is that Michigan insists Harbaugh put in writing that he won’t pursue an NFL job for the duration of the new contract as he has done in the past.

Other most recent stuff from me: NFL Week 14 picks / Updated Herald NFL QB rankings / A WR has never won NFL MVP, but Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill builds case in win at Washington / Quit blaming CFP. Florida State had terrible luck but it’d a great, legit final four / Previous HB10 / And my latest podcast: