Well, as much of an apology as you could get from someone like Wayne H. (is for bomb) Huizenga in a situation like this. At a press conference detailing the sell off of his majority sale of the Dolphins, Huizenga admitted to regretting selling off the Marlins championship team.
That would be putting it mildly. More like ax-murdering it and tossing the dismembered pieces into a ditch is more like it.
Sure, it has been 11 years since that group of “underachievers” turned it around. They had one of the highest payrolls in baseball at the time and were just treading water. We all know the story, they turned it around and delivered on the promise of the greenbacks invested in them. It was exciting because there was a lot of architecture in that team that witnessed the expansion team blossom into a real force. A lot of home grown talent went into its composition – what gets overlooked is the fact that several key free agents of the day were brought in to fill in the gaps. The team clicked.
Yet, just as Huizenga showed real gusto dealing out paychecks to the best talent around, he showed an equal amount of haste in how he ordered for its execution. I have longed maintained that this was not a smart business decision – something now Huizenga himself seems to suggest. What was really troubling is the intent behind his move – it seemed childish and was based on the ’94 strike and how thing were handled by MLB.
It really set things up for the current Marlins franchise and how they are perceived. When you have a fan base that was so badly stung by the firesale, and the strike just previous to that, it is almost just as miraculous that there is a professional team here in Miami as it is that they have won two titles.
The ’97 team never got the credit it was due. Right after the final run was scored, and the city went into euphoric pandemonium, the call was made to chop things up. We will never know how good that team really was, but instead can only gauge it by the parts that were shuffled around the league years later, having monumental success in other uniforms. This stung Marlin fans, especially while having to watch the rebuild and the talk of contraction.
It is for this very reason that Huizenga should be chastised as much as he is eulogized for what he has done to the south Florida sports scene. He brought in two franchises but pretty much ran one into the ground and when he purchased the Dolphins, he almost did the same despite the best of intentions. That is one of the reasons I haven’t supported the Dolphins fiscally – their owner, in my opinion, is a scumbag for what he did with the Marlins. That he actually murmured some regret publicly only steels my perception of that situation 11 years ago – it just smelled and you knew something was wrong. Frankly, I don’t have time to get into it, but at least it is being talked about again.