March 2009

Splitting Hairs

BadHaircut.jpgSo I’ve been spending the last few days trying to wrap my mind around the Marlin’s bizarre new grooming policy. Yes, this is old news. But I have a point. Bear with me. Some of our favorite Fish are up in arms over the military-like rules the organization has imposed on its players, but that’s nothing compared to the backlash among fans. Forget about Hanley’s fury, people. There’s more at stake here than corn rows. Think of six long months without Josh Johnson’s boyish blonde ringlets. Alfredo Amezaga’s fauxhawk. Andrew Miller’s mullet. Oh, the pain is too much to bear.

At first I just shrugged off the point of the new Fish fashion. It’s like I always say: when in doubt, blame David Samson. But then I got to thinking. What if there’s more to this than we think? What if the Marlins are grasping at straws to make one last desperate attempt at improving defense? Yes, I did just suggest that the Marlins are hoping to improve the team’s fielding through haircuts. I know it’s far-fetched, but geez, they’ve tried everything else. Could neat appearance equal neat baseball??? Maybe that’s what the Marlins are banking on. 
So I got an idea. Even if I’m totally wrong in my assessment of the new hair policy, I think I may be on to something here. Why not go ahead and reward the Fish for games well played? Come on, it works in kindergarten. Say Hanley can go so many games without an error. Then the FO can reward him with another half-inch of hair growth. Maybe one-quarter of a corn row. Or a five o-clock shadow. I’ll let somebody else worry about the specifics, but I’m thinking a good clubhouse slogan along the lines of “play good D, grow a gotee.” Or “Field real well. Your hair will look swell.”
Since personal style is involved here, people, maybe we could actually improve the team’s fielding this way, when nothing else seems to be working. I mean, maybe pride in their performance isn’t enough, but pride in their ability to grow snarled dreadlocks or six-inch bushy sideburns will do the trick. Maybe what they learn on the field can’t prevent errors, but what they learn in the barber shop can
It’s just a theory. One I just shared with my dad, who was a little less sold on the idea. 
“Hair for good defense? Great. Our entire team will be bald.”

Victory.

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When I look back at my life as a Fish fan, yesterday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting just might stand out in my mind as one of the the greatest moments in Marlins history.
Sure, a boring old county meeting may not be as sexy as a walk-off hit in game 7 of a World Series. It may not seem as victorious as defeating the almighty Yankees in their own house in game 6 of a World Series, or watching a rookie toss a no-hitter. But for me right now, old dudes in suits, pie charts, boring speeches and hours of debating are right up there with walk-off grand slams in terms of baseball excitement.
Yesterday, 13 months after their original vote of approval, the Miami-Dade Board of county commissioners voted 9-4 in favor of the Marlins retractable-roof baseball stadium. Holy cow.
If you’ve never spent any time rooting for the Marlins, it’s tough to explain what this means. I took a stab at it a year ago, and I think my words then still sum up how I feel right now:

Since becoming a Marlins fan in 1997, I have been longing for the day the Fish could stop living out of a suitcase at the Huizenga Hotel, and have a home to call their own. To be honest, I could care less about the comforts of a new stadium. I would be willing to suffer the heat, the rain, the bad sight lines, etc., so long as I was guaranteed the Marlins would stay in South Florida. Obviously, I’m one of very few who feel that way, and since a new stadium is the only way to ensure a future for the Marlins, it has been at the top of my wish list for years… No matter what I write, if you’ve never rooted for the men in teal, there’s just no way for you to fully comprehend the plethora of emotions coursing through Fish fans right now. With the exception of former Expos fans, most people never have to consider the possibility that their favorite team won’t exist in a year or two. While the average baseball fan worries about reversing stupid curses next season, Marlins fans are busy biting their nails over whether or not there will even be a next season. Instability makes each and every trade, fire sale, payroll cut, and cracker jack price-hike a stressful situation. A stadium isn’t about comfort at this point– it’s about the difference between having a team to cheer for, and having memories of a team that I used to cheer for before they skipped town.


There you have it, folks. The stadium is approved at last. That means the Florida Marlins are on the brink of stability, and right now that word means worlds more to me than any other term in the baseball dictionary.

{Victory Dance}

The Vote.

The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners meeting is in progress, and boy is it some riveting stuff. Today could be the day that the Marlins stadium finally gets approved, or alternatively, it could be the day that I throw myself off of the seven mile bridge in protest of the cruel injustice of life. If you want to follow along, find the webcast HERE.

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I really don’t have time to put in my thoughts on the stadium deal or the politicians miscreants who are doing everything in their power to take one of life’s greatest joys away from me, but I will say this: It is AWESOME that every citizen who speaks must first make his/her home address public record.
I’m off to buy 7,000 rolls of toilet paper and 100 dozen eggs. It’s going to be a busy night.

Everybody act natural…

shhhhh.JPGDo not make any sudden movements. Do not make a sound. And whatever you do, do not display any speck of emotion that may be even remotely construed as happiness… we are not out of the woods yet, folks.

I’ll admit, my heart leapt ever-so-slightly at the news yesterday that Miami Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of approving the Marlins 500 bazillion dollar ballpark. But as soon as that tiny flicker of joy bubbled up within me, it was squelched by the realization that we still have to get through the county vote next week. That, coupled with the fact that nothing ever comes easy for the Marlins on the stadium front (16 years of sorrow, people), has me holding my applause.
I guess we’ll see how things unfold soon enough. Until then, for purposes of self-preservation, I remain calm and indifferent. Stadium, schmadium. 

For unto us an Uggla is born…

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Happy Birthday to you! 
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, Dan Uggla
Happy Birthday to you!

Danny turns 29 today, and in honor of this momentous occasion, I will not be raking him over the coals about the team’s defense. Happy birthday

Call me harsh, people, but after I posted my panicked rant about our lousy d, the Fish managed to go two straight games with no errors. See? Sometimes a little tough love is necessary. When our entire infield wins gold gloves this season, you will have me to thank. You’re welcome.
You would think after his stint in the All-Star game last year (sorry to bring that up on your birthday, Dan), people would know how to say this dude’s name. Not so. This morning on my show I did a little Danny birthday trivia, and a caller actually corrected my pronunciation of his name– “It’s Ooooogla.” 
Sigh. Looks like Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton will need to keep up their “and his name is DAN UGGLA!!!” tradition for at least another season.
Some day they’ll get it, Dan. Just apparently not after a mere three seasons in the bigs, being a ROY runner up, 2 All-Star games and a Home Run Derby. 

Fish, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Panic. Panic, this is Fish.

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In the “Underreaction of the Week” category:


The Marlins’ fielding has been less than stellar this spring, but the players said they are far from panicking and will turn it around. – Clark Spencer, Miami Herald

To get the full effect of the above sentence, you really need to read the player’s quotes in Clark Spencer’s article. Especially Dan Uggla’s. I think the only thing that could put the cherry on top of Dan’s attitude would be a Mike Jacobs brilliant interjection of “it is what it is.” (Gosh, I’m going to miss reading and hearing that 20,000 times this season.)

Honestly, I can understand a little frustration at all the talk about poor defense. But seriously, Dan. Nobody would need to harp on it if it ever got better. And may I remind you that while yes, it is spring training, the same is true for all of baseball. Everybody is rusty, but the vast majority are playing much better defense than the Fish.
So you’re far from panicking? News flash, Marlins: Your defense blows. It has blown for a long while now, and you have yet to play an error-free game this spring (OK, so yesterday’s game might have technically been error-free, but anybody who watched it knows better). 
Call me a skeptic, but nothing about the last three seasons of Marlins baseball has done anything to convince me that this “aw, shucks, we’ll turn it around” attitude is the key to good defense. So maybe you guys shouldn’t be so far from panicking. In fact, maybe you and panic should be doing a little snuggling up right about now.  Getting nice and cozy-like as the season approaches.
The Fish may not be getting their panties in a wad about their putrid fielding, but for the love of gold gloves, somebody needs to! I don’t want a repeat of last season. I don’t want to watch game after beautiful game marred by defensive miscues. So go ahead and chill if you really think that’s the ticket. But this fan is officially panicking… JOIN ME, WON’T YOU?!?!

EDIT 3.6.09: AFTER THIS QUOTE FROM UGGLA: “When have spring training stats ever mattered? Listen, you all can make whatever deal you want to make over [errors]. We’re going to be fine,” HE COMMITTED TWO ERRORS ON ROUTINE PLAYS IN THE FOLLOWING GAME.  You’re right, Dan. Spring stats don’t matter… uh, but the fact that you can’t field kind of does.

Now Showing


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[typed in deep, dramatic
movie-trailer-guy tone] 

In a world where
nauseating politicians get voted into office because lazy people like
me Christmas tree their ballots… where so much politicking and grandstanding
goes on that I want to explode my own eardrums and gouge my own eyes out to
avoid having to hear or read about it… One team sits on the verge of
extinction…

This Spring… the Florida Marlins
retractable roof baseball stadium is held hostage by greedy, indecisive city and county
commissioners… The ransom is high… The team is cheap… And one man must
fight or risk losing them forever… 

HOSTAGE: FLORIDA MARLINS… non-stop drama from beginning to
end (er, or it would be if there ever actually was an ending to this dramatic
masterpiece). 

Starring: Post-Partum Hormonally Unsound Commish… Greedy Last-Minute Waffler
Comish… A Bunch of other Politicians that I’m Not Real Fond Of… And David
The Iron Man Samson.

NOW PLAYING
AT A COMMISSIONER’S MEETING NEAR YOU…

Hear what critics are saying about HOSTAGE: FLORIDA MARLINS!

I’m appalled as a citizen of Miami-Dade County… And quite frankly if that’s the way some of our elected officials are going to do business then we will never get any major project done in this community.” 

The art of negotiations has been made a mockery of. Thoughtful and serious negotiations have been hijacked. Good intentions have been morphed into unreasonable demands. The politicking has become a distraction. It’s nonsense.” – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez

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