The Marlins leave Houston with a 1-2 start to the season – which could just as easily be 3-0 if they had scored only a few more runs. Or used the amount of runs they scored (16) in a more sparing way.
And their young players are playing very tough baseball – Girardi called last night’s loss the best game of the season (so far) the Marlins played. They came back from a 6-0 deficit to make a stand in the 9th where Hermida and Cabrera both fought back from 0-2 counts to give their team a shot. Willingham’s broken bat squib out was the final out of the game and the last chance for the night. But it took Lidge – one of the best closers in baseball – a 28 pitch inning to get the job done.
There is no quit in the Marlins.
Despite this, the media has seemed to choose a negative stance with the Marlins – at least for the most part. Most pundits pick the Marlins to lose upwards of 100 games, choosing to overlook their talent in favor of experience. The same mistake was made in 2003 when no one picked the Marlins to go to the World Series (except yours truly…) and certainly when they got there, no one picked them to win anything at all.
Experience = wins? No, talent gives you the best opportunity to win games. And the Marlins have loads of it.
But it isn’t just about the on-field product the media seems to be attacking, but the Marlins front office and their off-field activities.
The Marlins meet with San Antonio’s mayor and staff on Opening Day in Houston and the media blasts them for it. Sure, this was not exactly tactful – they could have waited until the second game of the season at least – but the Marlins front office have an obligation to the franchise to secure its future, too.
And the South Florida media – by and large – neglects to be helpful at all in this process. Instead, they choose to bad mouth the Marlins. From characterizations of David Samson as some kind of annoying, inept pipsqueak (and admittedly, he does look suspiciously like a Big Boy statue come to life…), to Loria being cheap with some kind of hidden agenda to drive the Marlins franchise into the ground (whoops, winning a World Series in 2003 and re-investing money into the team’s payroll for the next 2 seasons seems to be just a fit).
It was Dan Le Batard’s now infamous bash of the Marlins in 2003 when they signed Ivan Rodriguez that serves as the perfect illustration for how the media has portrayed and viewed South Florida’s professional baseball franchise.
Disturbingly, Le Batard likened it to putting ‘breast implants on a rotting corpse’.
If that doesn’t ring of the greatest optimism, it is certainly extremely more satisfying that the biggest plate of crow had to be served up to Le Batard to partake of. Not to mention a huge ‘I told you so’ about 100 stories high.
Mea culpa? Don’t offend our Latin audience with such a trite gesture.
Hyde wrote an article spelling out why it would be more beneficial for the Marlins to trade Dontrelle Willis. He published it on Opening Day, 2006.
David J. Neal, who was more known for covering hockey for the Herald, has attempted to write about the Marlins on a couple of occasions. The most recent was a very negative look to the team’s immediate future and was published on March 31st. Click Here to see the article.
The media in South Florida has been historically unkind to the Marlins – ever since their savior Wayne Huizenga decided to nuke the team only 2 weeks after winning the World Series in 1997. Unlike H-bomb’s fat $2 million tax exemption, the media (unlike the government) decided to attach the actions to the franchise and not the person responsible.
No in-depth investigative report on Huizenga’s claims of $20 million losses came down the pike. No real substantial questioning of Huizenga’s agenda came into place. Instead, the media decided to bash the fans – who were only hesitant to come back to the game since suffering from a strike only 3 seasons prior (in 1994) and were only in the infantile stages of having a major league franchise that was just hatched in 1993.
Even Huizenga was pushing for a new ball-park in those days, remember Blockbuster park?
So ask yourselves, why is it still, now, when the situation hasn’t changed for the Marlins – only the franchise owners have – that the media instead bashes the franchise or the fans and not look at the real problem? (Like, I don’t know, the lease that was signed by Huizenga and John Henry – then owner of the Marlins who didn’t have the money to build a new stadium for the Marlins, but somehow could sling the bread together to buy the Red Sox franchise – a lease that should be reported as some sort of criminal lease which shackles the tenet)
This is not to say that criticism is not due for the Marlins franchise. But criticism without an agenda would be welcomed. Has Larry Beinfest made some questionable trades? Yes. Not every trade is going to work out though, right Mr. Billy Koch?
Things must maintain proper perspective. The Marlins are cash-strapped and even if they sold out every game this season, they still wouldn’t generate the revenue that they would need to run this franchise as, I am sure, Mr. Loria would like. That said, I don’t want to see the Marlins run cheaply like the Kansas City Royals or Pittsburgh Pirates. These franchises, due to the revenue sharing structure and economics of MLB, have no incentive to be winning teams but instead to be run as cheaply as possibly so that they can keep getting that slice of the pie for being on the bottom rung of MLB’s economic scale.
They want to get fat off the fat of the MLB’s properly run franchises. And that isn’t right – but that is where the game is now with Bud Selig.
Still, the Marlins deserve better. They deserve help to get a stadium built. They deserve the respect that a franchise who has brought them 2 world championships should get. The community deserves to have a tradition that is home grown, right here in South Florida, that is about winning baseball and a team that they can be proud of.
Let’s hope, as fans, that the media starts to realize its own wrongs and its responsibility to its community, too. Let’s hope that they embrace this team and help others to do the same. This is the only hope for the Marlins franchise and its fans for a future at all.