This is what the Marlins do. It’s been their blueprint since their inception. Regardless of owner, the Marlins have become more adept than any team I’ve ever seen at dumping payroll. They take runs, accumulate prospects, and play in front of a disinterested fan base. In twenty years the Marlins have won two World Series (as many as the Phillies in about 120!) and have also fielded some of the worst teams, with the lowest payrolls ever assembled. So, the question is, why is everyone in such an uproar over this particular move? Why is trading Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes different from shipping off Miguel Cabrera, or Josh Beckett?
The displeasure comes from the deception. No one bats an eye when the Royals, the Padres or A’s shed payroll. That is their small market identity. But, “Miami” spent the 2011 off-season promising a departure from small market status. New stadium, new attitude and a load of high-priced talent. The Marlins were going to finally prove that baseball was viable in Miami. When the team fizzled and the fans stayed away, the Marlins did what they always do–held a fire sale. Baseball fans feel duped. Miami is stuck with a 1/2 billion dollar stadium that will now be mostly empty for at least the next couple of seasons.
We got to this point after a series of mistakes piled on top of each other. A sampling…
1. Miami was never a great choice for baseball.
2. They gave the expansion team to Wayne Huizenga, who owned the football stadium, thus dooming the Marlins to play in a terrible venue for nearly twenty years. Most expansion teams have the lure of a new stadium. Miami had the threat of nightly rain outs.
3. MLB allowed owners to swap teams as if they were trading Halloween candy. John Henry left Miami for Boston and the Marlins were left with Jeffrey Loria who fell into the ownership of the Expos and held Montreal hostage for a stadium. When he didn’t get his way, he left the Expos in the hands of MLB and pulled off his stadium heist in Miami.
I wonder what Bud Selig is thinking about all of this, because I know that Loria couldn’t care less. He’s built his stadium, shoved that asset into his pocket and can now cut all the corners he wants. But Selig is the reason this guy has a team. He’s part of the reason there is a team in Miami. When the Marlins draw 12,000 fans a night (if they’re lucky) and lose 100 games next year in their brand new ballpark, what kind of black eye does that give the commissioner’s office?
What else is going on? Since I’m here, maybe hit a few topics…
The Eagles are currently in line for a top-5 pick. Is their any chance they could end up as the worst team in the league? Jacksonville and Kansas City may make that impossible, but I think the Eagles could stay in the top-5. If they do get a high pick, they’ll have to contemplate taking a QB. Birds fans haven’t been in that situation for quite some time.
The Phillies have yet to do anything during the “hot stove” season. Unless you count locking up Kevin Frandsen–which I don’t. Giving Frandsen $850,000 is not a big deal, but what the deal tells me is that the Phillies are still kind of fumbling through the dark. They have to sign Frandsen (a guy with a marginal long-term track record at best) because unfortunately, they might need him to play almost every day. They could end up being stuck with Frandsen at third. Or god forbid, second base. I imagine the Phillies will be players for the outfielders on the market, but the infield is probably going to be spare parts and athletic tape. I am a bit surprised that Amaro hasn’t overpaid someone in a trigger happy panic fit.
How does someone like John Calipari become slightly less hated? Pick on someone who is even more despised–like Duke. Calipari claimed Duke was flopping like crazy in the first half of their game last night, and even though I saw 0 minutes, I’m sure this was the case, because that is ALL DUKE DOES EVER. Of course, Duke knocked off Kentucky in the end, making you wonder if Coach Cal’s super freshman don’t quite live up to last year’s historic crop. Does Nerlens Noel have enough help?
Anyone want to talk Homeland? What is the deal with Max? Nobody? One thing I do find interesting is how aggressively people debate the best show on TV. Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Dexter, Homeland–did I miss one? Walking Dead is about zombies, so it doesn’t count, but Dexter is a show that many people love and I gave only a one episode chance long ago. I saw it again last Sunday and was thrown off by how soap opera like it felt. The zoom in camera shots, the feeble dialog, is this Dexter? I suppose centering around serial killers is an inherent advantage in terms of action and suspense, but as far as an overall judgement, we’re not really comparing Dexter to these other shows, are we? I didn’t think so.