[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: How 'Bout Those Marlins?!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

How 'Bout Those Marlins?!

Yes, the Florida Marlins...with their $15 million payroll and their cast of rookies, are seriously challenging for a spot in the playoffs.

It's arguably the best sports story in the country right now. I must admit, although I have been a fan since the beginning of the franchise, that I have been somewhat detached from the team this season. Most of this (actually ALL of this) has to do with the team's ownership and their lack of loyalty to the true fans of the team. Their failed but sneaky attempts to court other cities and their ineptitude at arriving at a local stadium deal speaks volumes as to the way they've treated their most loyal fans (God knows there's too few of them...wonder why?). Add to this the annoying micromanaging of owner Jeff Loria (he almost fired manager Joe Girardi a few weeks back just because of a disagreement), and I've had to hold my nose a little while I cheer the team on.

Simply put, Loria and his ex-stepson David Samson don't deserve the success the team has had this season.

I will tell you who does deserve it: General Manager Larry Beinfest. His mastery in acquiring talented but unproven players and having them excel is nothing short of marvelous. He helped orchestrate the 2003 championship, and he's fully in control of this season's impressive run.

Girardi deserves huge praise as well for managing a team of inexperienced players and for having to put up with his bosses.

The players deserve our praise too, of course.

So despite ownership's obnoxious behavior, despite their previous intentions to leave town, baseball fans in South Florida must support this team. Good TV ratings aren't enough, we need to show up at the stadium and let the players know that there really are fans out there. 11,000 a game is just not right.

Is it raining right before game time? Grab a poncho or umbrella. South Florida rain is warm so you won't catch a cold.

Too much traffic? That's OK. For the stretch run, go to one game during the week, and one on weekends when there's less traffic. Arrive late if you must, but at least show up.

Yankees or Red Sox fan? : Let go of your foreign allegiances for one month and support your hometown team for a change.

The Florida Marlins deserve our support. They have surprised us once again. It's time for us to step up.

(This message NOT brought to you by Jeff Loria or MLB).


Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Read this column by Dave Hyde about the "great" Joe Girardi.

10:23 AM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...


I read Hyde's column and your post, and you're both correct. The coaching staff, just like in 2003, doesn't get as much credit as they deserve. Still, I do have to give Girardi a lot of credit because a baseball manager's job as much as anything is to make the right moves during the game and when NOT to make moves, as well as keeping the team morale at a good level. That's what leadership is about, it's not about sticking your nose in all the time, it's about letting your people do their job and giving them the freedom to do it. Loria should take a couple of leadership classes.

Girardi's ideas at the beginning of the season were pretty dumb in hindsight. As Hyde said, he's a rookie manager and he's going to make mistakes. Just like McKeon in 2003 when even his boneheaded moves worked, there's an intangible attitude that a manager gives to a ballclub that's hard to measure except in the standings.

12:58 PM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

What would the difference in wins have been if they had hired Jim Leyland instead of Girardi? Or Larry Bowa? Or Grady Little. The reality is that these guys pretty much all make the same moves. Tony La Russa doesn't even have to show up at the games his "book" is so well known that I could manage his team and make the same exact moves.

And perhaps Loria did make an ass of himself but so does Mark Cuban. I'd rather have him be passionate than indifferent. The fact is the Marlins pitcher was getting squeezed and the manager didn't do anything about it. You have to get yourself thrown out of the game sometimes.

All I'm saying is that we can't get caught up in the idea that without Girardi this team would be nothing. I mean we all thought that without Beckett, Lowell, Castillo, Gonzalez, et al that they would be no good. The lesson is everyone is replaceable.

3:45 PM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger Srcohiba said...

did you see Sanchez' no hitter? amazing! what a fun season!

10:46 PM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger Steve ("Klotz" As In "Blood") said...

"The reality is that these guys pretty much all make the same moves." That's just wrong. While there are certain situations that call for the same moves, there are various styles and approaches that impact managerial decisions, everything from bunting runners over and matching batters to pitchers, from playing infielders close to the line in late innings and pulling pitchers when they hit a certain pitch-count. And there's the intangible "chemistry" factor. E.g., Bobby Cox in Atlanta is a master of clubhouse morale, and a virtual strategic moron who gets out-thought every season. LaRussa meddles too damn much, an overmanager. Joe Torre has it about right every time. And I never saw a better field manager than Jim Leyland, unless it was Sparky Anderson.

Give Girardi plenty of credit for his efforts on all fronts this year, and read that Hyde article, which makes a lot of undocumented statements, with mucho NaCl.

I'm a big fan, but Loria and his pet midget turned me off as week-old potato salad. They have no business owning a team, and despite the Cinderella story these Marlins are, ultimately what's happening is very bad for baseball.

9:20 AM, September 07, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

I don't think Girardi is the difference. He has done his job well, but obviously the players make the plays.

The game that Loria blew up with Girardi came the day after Girardi got tossed from the game for arguing balls and strikes. I was at the game Girardi got thrown out of, and the home plate umpires basically screwed the Marlins that whole series. The problem was, Girardi didn't want to get thrown out for the second game in a row, which I understand totally. He should have just let Loria say what he wanted to say and just leave it at that, but he was pretty emotional and upset about it, and things like that happen.

Loria was the one that ultimately overreacted by wanting to fire Girardi. I like passion in owners, but POSITIVE passion, not negative.

6:24 PM, September 07, 2006  
Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

I might be wrong but I thought GIrardi got thrown out the game after the blow up with Loria.

And if we're going to give credit to Bobby Cox for clubhouse morale then we should note that he is the leader among active Managers for ejections. You can't be afraid to get tossed.

1:46 PM, September 08, 2006  
Blogger Steve ("Klotz" As In "Blood") said...

Most fans (and many players) enjoy watching the manager blow a fuse and get run. My favorite was Larry Bowa. Earl Weaver was good, too, for a needling little shrimp. And anybody remember Leo (the Lip) Durocher?

From out here, I think Girardi has done as good a job as anybody possibly could under the circumstances. IMHO he deserves at least consideration for Manager of the Year award, which would be a delicious irony when Luria cooks up a cover story to justify firing his ass at the end of the season.

Then again, Luria might be forced to choose between keeping him and paying the salaries of two managers (Girardi has a 3-year contract). More delicious irony.

I say make Raul Martinez the next manager.

2:52 PM, September 08, 2006  

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