December 2007

Merry Fishmas.

Fishmas_tree

All I Want for Christmas…

02santaDear Santa,

I realize that there is a pretty good chance I’m on the naughty list this year. Yes, I made a few less-than-generous comments about a certain Philadelphia team and a certain second baseman which may have earned me a lump of coal. And I guess that little matter of suggesting the Marlins off Armando Benitez with the aid of several poisonous substances could have done me in as well.

But really, Santa, are you going to hold those tiny little indiscretions against me? I mean, Philadelphia fans boo-ed you! As much as your red and white uni may suggest otherwise, I seriously doubt you’re much of a Phils fan after that escapade. And as for our good ol’ 8th-inning man, well, as jolly as you may be, even you would have visions of arsenic dancing in your head if you’d had to watch the guy blow leads all season long. Cut me some slack.

I guess what I’m saying is…if you can find it in your heart to overlook the teensy little moments of naughtiness (that I was clearly forced into) this year, my wish list is as follows:

Marlins

Merry Christmas to me. Pretty please.

“YOU GOTTA BE HERE____________!”

Fla_logobanner_primary

The Marlins finally decided to act upon my several uh, encouraging emails, and have redesigned the floridamarlins.com banner. Thank God. Now, instead of the images of Cabrera and Willis mocking us as we peruse the site, we’re greeted by Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla, along with the inspiring phrase "YOU GOTTA BE HERE!"

I have already expressed my feelings on the 2008 slogan. Personally, I thought that with the departure of our franchise players, "YOU MAY WANT TO BRIEFLY CONSIDER BEING HERE!" would be a better fit for the ad campaign. Clearly, someone is not thinking.

Then again, perhaps the slogan is just the beginning of a phrase, and the Marlins organization is leaving it up to us to fill in the blanks. For instance, "YOU GOTTA BE HERE Or We Won’t Even Be Able To Afford Brett Carroll!" or "YOU GOTTA BE HERE If You Are A Paid Employee Of The Florida Marlins!"

The possibilities are endless. Fans are encouraged to submit their suggestions to jloria@floridamarlins.com.

Back in the Saddle

Gamefish

So I stopped being a Marlins fan this week. That lasted about 15 minutes. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for not caving in sooner, since my previous record for most minutes as a non-fan was 9 1/2. I call this progress. The way I figure–if things keep going the way they’re going–by the time I’m 107 I may be able to retire from Marlins fanhood for an entire day.

I am the Roger Clemens of Fish fanatics. I just keep coming back.

At least Roger has millions of crisp, green reasons to return. Me? I’ve got a team minus its franchise players, a 50% increase in the cost of parking, a 15% increase in ticket prices, a bunch of jerseys that mean precisely jack as of Tuesday, and the promise that the torture will continue until Selig caves and lets the Marlins skip town for greener pastures. When you add it all up, my loyalty makes around zero sense.

I can’t even count the number of times I have sworn off of this franchise in the last ten years. The latest blow to the team is always going to be the last straw–the one that breaks the proverbial camel’s back. And it always is…until ten minutes later, when it isn’t.

Unfortunately (and boy, do I mean unfortunately), I am hooked.

So here I sit, fully intending to be in the stands next season, rooting my heart out for what’s left of the Fish. I’ll do it knowing full well that in a few years I will probably be tearing my hair out over Hanley Ramirez. Then Andrew Miller. Then Cameron Maybin. Then whoever else the organization dangles in front of us just long enough to get us emotionally invested, before tearing them away in some heinous trade.

This is what being a Marlins fan is all about. Or not, but that’s the only thing I can come up with when I think about the last ten years.

ePanic

Marlinsemail_2I received an email this morning from floridamarlins.com, and the subject line has sent a bone-chilling fear to my very core: Holiday Hits – Week 2!

Oh dear God, no. The Marlins Week 1 hits were enough to keep us knocked out flat on the ground for months to come. Now you’re telling me there’s MORE??? I am at a loss for what else the Fish could possibly hit us with. What, are you going to name Jorge Julio and Armando Benitez next season’s 8th-inning man and closer? Merge clubs with the Phillies? March our bullpen out into a field and open fire?!?!

Sorry, Marlins. I have had enough of your yuletide offerings. Ho ho ho. Makes me real excited for April, when we can probably expect Billy the Marlin to open the season’s in-game entertainment by spearing the Easter Bunny.

Please, Mr. Loria…South Florida is officially crying “uncle.”

EDIT: Just crawled out from under my desk to brave the email…turns out Marlins caps are on sale this week. Oh.

Mourning. Period.

Desperate_heartSouth Floridians flew their Marlins car flags (courtesy of Maroone) at half-mast today in honor of our dearly departed Fish.

OK, OK, just give me 48 hours or so to continue wallowing in the utter misery that is Marlin Fanaticism, and I will be back to my usual self (with maybe just a touch more bitterness). All part and parcel of cheering for Florida, right? What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Or possibly a member of RedSox Nation.

The first thing you learn as a Fish fan is to recover from tragedy in record time, so tomorrow all heartache will be forgotten, and the excitement for 2008 will commence.  Be ready for a thorough analysis of every pitch and/or at-bat that each of the newbies has recorded, detailed scouting reports, projections, charts, graphs…yeah, you may want to check out some other Marlins blogger. Like one who actually bothers with that stuff.

Official HLD&S Statement:

"In light of recent events–namely the ones that have ripped the heart out of the Florida Marlins ball club and shipped it off to Detroit–the editors of Hook, Line Drive, & Sinker are observing a day of mourning. Please remove all caps as you peruse the site, and say a prayer for the devastated souls Miggy and Dontrelle leave behind. In lieu of flowers, HLD&S officials are requesting donations of large quantities of prescription antidepressants."

It is Finished. Almost.

Slogan_2As I type, I am sure some poor soul at floridamarlins.com is scampering to photoshop Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis out of the site’s header. Those two players–the last remaining pieces of the 2003 World Series team–are the only faces that grace the site at present. Not sure how they’ll replace the images of Miggy and Dontrelle, but I’m going to have to recommend Billy the Marlin. He is, after all, the one constant in the franchise. That is until the front office figures out a way to use him as a bargaining chip in their next blockbuster trade, which brings a chilling thought: I really don’t think any of us could stomach the Mermaids as Florida’s newest mascot.

While they’re at work with all the team deconstructions, the Marlins may also want to reconsider their 2008 slogan. GONNA BE HERE IN ’08! Uh, yeah. About that…I’m all for positive thinking, but even I have to be realistic when the occasion calls for it. Mr. Loria? The Occasion is on the line. It would like to speak with you.

Of course, I’ll be there. I seem to enjoy pain and heartache, so I’m basically the front office’s dream come true, as fans go. I’m even doing my best to search for the silver lining in this trade. Really, I am. I’m wholeheartedly attempting to be excited about another group of ball players that none of us could pick out of a lineup if we tried. I’ve been preparing myself for Cabrera, and fully expected to see him go. But Dontrelle too? As lackluster a show as he put on last season, there doesn’t seem to be a piece in this trade that will plug up the gaping hole his arm leaves behind. I’m going to have to disagree with a fellow MLBlogger who suggested that Andrew Miller will take the D-Train’s place in the rotation. Not that I don’t think the Marlins will attempt to wring 200+ innings out of the young pitcher, mind you. I’d just rather not see all of our new pitching prospects in line for a Dr. Andrews Special midway through 2008.

Oh well. I’m sure Mr. Beinfest has something up his sleeve, so I guess now we wait to see exactly what. And if that "what" will keep the Fish from bottom-dwelling again next season.

Guess what I’m trying to say is: I believe, Larry…help my unbelief.

And now I’m off to locate my emergency stash of emo tunes.

Time Waits for No One…Not Even Miggy

Clock_2I have this clock that I acquired in a moment of sheer…well, if I were given to the drink, I’d blame it on intoxication, but as it stands I can find no good reason why I willingly chose to purchase it. And I’m even more confused by the fact that I have somehow managed to work the hideous iron creation into the decor of an otherwise not-too-terribly-ugly office.

The Hand Clock (as I so cleverly refer to it) sits in front of me as I type, its usually gentle, lulling tick-tock now roaring menacingly in my ear. The sound which has gone unnoticed for several years–having long since faded into the white noise of the room–now mocks me sinisterly from its perch just a few feet away.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Monday looms ominously on the baseball horizon.

Try as I may to delay the inevitable, in just a few short hours the Winter Meetings will commence. And as is usually the case for Fish followers, this lovely convention–which holds such promise and excitement for so many baseball fans–means something entirely different to us. While we would all like to be able to focus on the potential trades that would give the Marlins some much-needed upgrades heading into ’08, all we can manage to conjure is the ghastly image of Miggy in Dodger blue. Or Angels red. Or any other color that is not a charming blend of white and gray and black with a hint of teal.

Miggy_3Logic tells us that the move may be necessary. That we’ll get the most for Cabrera now. That his salary alone would swallow nearly one-third of Florida’s payroll next season. That we need a catcher (so they say), a center fielder, some serious defensive upgrades, arms, arms, arms.

Sure, trading Cabrera makes sense from a business standpoint, and if anyone can get the moon (gift-wrapped and handed to the Marlins with a big red bow) in exchange for our star third baseman, Larry Beinfest can. But as clever and cunning as Larry may be, the one thing his shrewdness will never be able to accomplish is convincing Marlins fans to see baseball as a business.

Our astute business sense isn’t what propels us to SportsFanAttic for the latest Cabrera jersey each season. It isn’t what produces the loudest cheers I’ve ever heard for any Marlins player for as long as I’ve been going to games. And it sure as heck doesn’t fill the seats at Dolphin Stadium.

At the end of the day, no matter how logical the trade seems in the front office–or even on the field–to the folks who bleed teal and black, it’s "here we go again." Another slap in the face of Marlins fans as another famous Fish bites the dust.

Tick-tock, tick-tock. (Oh…I guess I could just remove the battery, huh?)

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