October 2007

As the Stadium Turns

What I meant to type was Sox in four. Stupid keyboard.

And so the baseball season has reached its official end. Fortunately for me, that isn’t stopping Marlins news from rolling in at a record pace. Mikey Lowell is the World Series MVP, Joey G could be the next Yankees skipper, Eddy Renteria becomes a Tiger… while some blogs will have to resort to covering national knitting competitions to fill the void until Spring training, it appears Hook, Line Drive & Sinker is set for the winter (thank goodness 94% of major league ball players are former Marlins).

This past weekend the Miami Herald reported the Marlins may be backing away from the $207 million the team promised to contribute to the construction of a long-sought-after retractable roof stadium. Apparently the team is under the impression the Orange Bowl site (which the city seems quite intent on forcing onto the Fish) will prove less profitable than a stadium built downtown. I am a little surprised at this latest development in season 15 of Stadium: A Fish Drama. I can only deduce from this news that Jeffery Loria and company have never visited the Orange Bowl, leastwise on a game day. I am shocked that anyone who has encountered the regal edifice–after a tour of the surrounding OB ‘hood, and trying to locate a parking space for less than a grand–would not immediately sign upon the dotted line. It is truly baffling.

Personally, I am sick of the entire ordeal. I have long championed Dolphin Stadium as the perfect, permanent home for the Florida Marlins, and I am truly confused as to why the team feels the need to leave at all. With the Hurricanes moving in next season, game scheduling could prove tricky, but otherwise, I cannot understand the team’s greedy insistence on a shiny new retractable roof stadium. Does Yankee Stadium retract? No. What a frivolous waste of taxpayer dollars. Aside from the small matter of the lease expiration in 2010, I see no reason why the Fish can’t just stay put. Especially if South Florida will admit the Dolphins should just stay in England, in which case the matter of the lease will be null and void anyway.

On a more pleasant note, I leave you with a pictorial collage of fond memories from the 2007 Marlins season at Dolphin Stadium:

Here is cozy, practical, perfect Dolphin Stadium during rain delays 12 & 43 (please note the stellar sight lines in photo 1. Will we get this in a fancy new stadium? I think not.)

Rain_delay1 Rain_delay4

…and rain delays 19 & 57

Rain_delay2 Rain_delay5

…and 36 & 81

Rain_delay7 Rain_delay8

And here a fan models the ever-fashionable rain poncho during delay #68

Rain_delay6

…and another fan sleeps on the highly comfortable wooden benches during 86-minute rain delay #29

Rain_delay3

And here is where I run out of photos. My apologies, but it seems digital cameras cannot survive a deluge the likes of which I encountered during Dolphin Stadium rain delay #79…

Clean-up on Aisle Six

Grocery_shopper_1First of all, I have been commanded by the MLBlogs main page (and by Todd Helton’s formidable beard) to blog my predictions about the upcoming World Series. I was going to skip the games entirely since Taco Bell has decided to award a far less deserving customer the World Series Experience of a Lifetime, but I don’t want to anger the powers that be. And so my prediction is Rocks in six. I might as well root for the the Purple Mountaineers, seeing as Rockies scout Mark Wiley could very well be the next Marlins pitching coach. And seeing as the Red Sox share team colors with the Philadelphia Phillies. And because I’m scared of what Todd Helton’s facial hair will do to me if I pick the Sox.

Now that my thorough scouting report of the World Series is out of the way, I will divulge a juicy tidbit of Fish insider info that you will only read on Hook, Line Drive, & Sinker (I am assuming that–as the most trusted source of Marlins news on the web–this is the only site you visit. Otherwise, you can read about it in about 10,000 different places). The Palm Beach Post is reporting that Dontrelle Willis’ agent Matt Sosnick is almost certain the D-Train will be a Florida Marlin next season. That is, if Larry Beinfest wasn’t just trying to get rid of Matt when the agent cornered him and his wife in a local supermarket this weekend and demanded to know when they could discuss Willis’ contract. Well, I have no reason to believe that Larry would hesitate to conduct serious team business as he shops for his dinner, so let the heavens rejoice! Dontrelle will be a Marlin next season. It’s like I always say, if it’s said in the supermarket, especially in produce aisle (though I have been unable to verify that is where the Beinfest/Sosnick meeting occurred), you can bet the life of your firstborn on the certainty of it.

Apparently Matt Sosnick isn’t the only one relying on grocery store gab for pivotal sports information. Similar news gathering tactics must have been employed recently by Buster Olney, who announced on ESPN that the Marlins may go after A-Rod if he opts out of his contract with the Yankees. I believe Olney was tipped off by Vinnie, a trusted stock boy in the processed luncheon meats aisle of a South Miami Winn-Dixie. Or was it Raul in the bakery? Either way, I think we have just solved all of the Marlins financial woes– pay one player next year what you have payed 40 players the last two years. Positively brilliant.

Seriously, is there no one who holds The O accountable for the occasionally moronic less-than-thought-out things he blurts on national television? I wouldn’t go as far as to call for his job, but at the very least those statements deserve a public flogging. No?

Go Rockies!

I Want My Father Back, You…

Indigo_montoya_1Folks, the League Championship Series is upon us, and with it comes the stirring reminder that there is–indeed–only one October (my deepest thanks to Dane Cook for clearing that up for me; I had been under the rather embarrassing misconception that there were at least three).

When I turned on my television this evening and flipped to TBS, I could feel the excitement thick in the air, sizzling like high voltage electricity. Or, uh… not so much. It dawned on me today that every single evil organization in baseball has been eliminated from the post-season, and I have nothing left to cheer for. There is no New York team whose demise I can root on, no NL East villain whose mistakes I can mock–what is left for me? I feel like Indigo Montoya in the Princess Bride. You know, after he’s avenged his father’s death by offing the six-fingered man. Having been in the revenge business for so long, I am at a loss as to how I should approach the remainder of the post-season.

Before they kick me off of the mlblogs website for suggesting that I am not dancing a jig from the thrill of October, let me say that is not the case at all. I assure you I’m hanging on each and every pitch. Let’s face it, friendly baseball is far better than no baseball at all, so I will watch in spite of the fact that I don’t care to see any of the four remaining teams destroyed. I am simply coming to the realization that baseball is much more exciting when hatred and violence is involved.

The way I see it, unless I can invent a rivalry very swiftly, I have several options. I can a) root for all the former Marlins in the ALCS, b) blur my eyes, mute the TV and pretend that the Sox are the Phillies, c) adopt the Philly-sweeping Rocks as my newest heroes and cheer them to victory, or d) watch reruns of Law & Order every night for the next few weeks.

Let’s go Colorizonaveland!!! (How many minutes until Opening Day?)

Oneoctober

Three-and-Out?

Rocks_of_love
Well, Jimmy said they were the team to beat, and it turns out he was right. Because that’s exactly what the Rockies are doing to the Phillies: beating them.

Colorado took the first two games of the series in Philadelphia, and now the teams will square off tonight at Coors field in what could be the final game of the series. There is still, of course, the possibility of a storybook comeback for Philadelphia…wait, scratch that–a horror film comeback. You know, where the villain is repeatedly shot, stabbed, blown up, and run over by a semi, and still manages to come back to life to ruin the end of the movie.

My original prediction for the series was Colorado in four, but what the heck. Let’s spoil the party a game early and just take care of things tonight, especially since Marlins nemesis Jamie Moyer will take the ball for the Phillies. My personal feelings aside (aren’t they always?), it’s a good thing Moyer is on, what with the game beginning at 10:00 and all. His agility on the mound should make certain the game ends by 5:00 AM, so I can get a good night’s rest. Hopefully TBS has plenty of operators standing by to assure viewers that they are not airing the game in slow motion.

GO ROCKIES!!!

2007: A Recrap

Thankgoditsover_2Most of my readers have come to know HLD&S as a bevy of statistical information, analytical genius, and–dare I say–superior baseball knowledge. If you are looking for frivolous editorializing of the Marlins season, please look to other Marlins ML…blog (uh, you may have to read a 2006 review, as it has been at least that long since anything has been updated). Here at HLD&S, you will find the cold, hard facts and numbers, which I firmly believe are all that is necessary for true baseball coverage. Creativity is for the weak of mind. And for those who have not fully memorized the complete library of Exhaustive Baseball Almanac & Concordance Encyclopedias (Did I mention unabridged?).

The 2007 season ended on Sunday afternoon, and it is my duty as an MLBlogger to provide my readers with an in-depth analysis of all 162 games, culminating with a dissertation on each and every move that must be made in the off-season to ensure a victorious 2008. And so I give you the Hook, Line Drive & Sinker Marlins Year in Review:

Miggyerrors_3Overall:
The season just ****** really bad.
From the get-go, the marlins were had.
When your pitchers are jacked,
stuff falls out of whack,
and you spend 90 games going mad.

Offense:
The Fish hit a lot of home runs.
As for scoring, they did that a ton.
But we struck out like mad,
were situationally bad,
and that wasn’t a whole lot of fun.

Defense:
Our defense was heinous at best.
We committed more E‘s than the rest.
We’d throw it away
‘stead of making the play,
so I give us an "F" on this test.

Starting Pitching:
Most of our starters were hurt,
and a few that were not pitched like dirt.
When Kim is your star
you may not go far,
even with Olsen, Mitre and Hurk.

Hanley_kiss_it_5Bullpen:
The dudes from the ‘pen did real well.
Their arms in relief were quite swell.
But Benitez blew leads
which made our hearts bleed.
He and Jorge did oft’ make me yell.

Our Shortstop Can Beat Up Your Shortstop:
You all know that Hanley’s the best,
so J-Roll should give it a rest.
Han’s D will improve,
down the list you’ll both move,
so shut it or Livo will punch you in the chest.

OK, that last one is admittedly not my best work. But that ends my season review. Stay tuned for my next post, where I intend to share a detailed list of every off-season move that must be made if the Fish want to win more than 23 games next season. As a little sneak preview, it will go something along the lines of "change everything."

Disclaimer: Before you go writing me a scathing email about the unfairness of the above season review, let me remind you that it is extremely difficult to fit enough words into a limerick to sufficiently recap an entire season. For example:

The defense $ucked–except for Amezaga (most of the time)
and Josh Willingham (who greatly improved from last year),
and my apologies to Hermida for all the criticism,
because he has actually turned things around here of late…

See? It may be friendlier, but it is limerickally unacceptable.

And So it Ends

BillylovesrockiesA season that offered Marlins fans little to celebrate came to a fairly satisfying end yesterday at Shea stadium. Well, as satisfying an end as possible, considering the Fish finish the year a ******** 20 games under .500 and in the NL East basement.

Disappointing season aside, I can’t really think of a better way to close things out than by crushing the playoff hopes of the Mets and winning big on the final day of the season. We may not be able to drown them out at Dolphin Stadium, but the Marlins certainly shut up Mets fans for a few glorious innings yesterday. I consider that sweet recompense for the thousands of loud, drunk and extremely detestable Mets fans I have had to endure all year.

All decade, really.

Um, on second thought, two little games and one tiny squelching of playoff hopes couldn’t make up for even .01% of the abuse Fish fans have had to endure from abhorrent misplaced New Yorkers for the last 15 years. But for this season at least, I feel we’re even (subject to change on April first, when the Marlins open their season at home vs. the Mets, and the first inebriated New Yorker obnoxiously declares–at full volume–the superiority of his team and the pond scummage of all others).

And now I am finished with publicly reveling in the the heartache of thousands. At least for tonight. Yesterday is gone, and that brings us to the matter at hand. The matter that, for this month alone, will unite Fish and Mets fans in brotherly unity:

Reveling in the heartache of Philadelphia.

The beauty of the post season is that it affords fans the opportunity to try on other teams for size. October is the one time that jumping the bandwagon is perfectly acceptable, provided  your team has been properly eliminated. I for one intend to take full advantage of this loophole in baseball fan etiquette, adopting a team I care nothing about, and cheering them with the gusto of a lifelong fanatic.

Marlins and Mets fans will have no trouble at all deciding the bandwagon on which to alight. Our new favorite team? Whoever plays the Phillies. Go that team! Hopefully Philadelphia’s stint in the post season will require only one opponent, and last a mere three games. For now, I’m ordering Rockies gear in preparation for Wednesday… Colorado is about to inherit their craziest cheerleader in franchise history.

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