Well for me this Major League Baseball (MLB) season has proven to be something of a disappointment. The Florida Marlins failed to meet my expectations this season . I expected them to contend in the NL East but with the Philadelphia Philllies seemingly not having skipped a beat from last year-basically having carried on from where they left off from last season. Not even the wild-card berth this season was within range for Marlins -when it’s finally said and done.
The only respite in all of this is the mere fact that we’ve seen the New York Mets basically underachieved once again. OK , so they’ve had more than their fair share of injuries. But what’s the use of having a roster and the vast financial means at your disposal , if you’re not going to make something of an effort to remain competitive ? Either the Wilpon family as owners of the club have implicit faith in team GM , Omar Minaya and manager , Jerry Manuel. Or they’re prepared to wait until the off-season to make any necessary changes as they’d deem fit.
As a fan of the Marlins I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this club win the World Series, twice. First with ambitious ownership of then owner , H D Wayne Huizenga , with Jim Leyland leading them off the field, as the manager. Albeit , that the team was viewed as one filled with a bunch of high priced renegades who happen to be aging stars. And with one or two young budding All Stars in the making, along for the ride . What a glorious one it was at the time ! The aftermath of this all , was that Huizenga in a cost cutting exercise imploded the team . Much to the disgust of the fans who cheered them all the way during that infamous and improbable postseason run.
Unfortunately the following season , 1998 saw the team come crashing back to back to earth with a 54-108 -won loss record. A far cry from the previous season. The second time around in 2003 the team seemingly once again went on another Cinderella ride on their way to another World Series. With an improbable win over the venerable and mighty New York Yankees in a 4-2 series win. The team was managed by then veteran manager Jack McKeon. The players at the time bought into what he was selling. And series MVP Josh Beckett from there , went on to bigger and better things.
Over the course of the time between those championships the team was sold twice. First to John Henry , who then sold the team to MLB. In a maneuver that left a great deal to be desired. And if you felt that deal was devious in terms of its modus-operandi . Then what took place next ought not to surprise you at all. In what amounts to collusion and some might say at the behest of Commissioner Bud Selig. A sweetheart deal was brokered between Jeffrey Loria,-then owner of the Montreal Expos and that of the league, itself. Loria was allowed to sell the team to the league at an over inflated price. And then in obtaining the Marlins he was effectively loaned the money to purchase the team by the league hierarchy. Subtle as this may well seem it smacks of a practice that you’d expect to be carried out by the wheelers and dealers of Wall St. Rather than that of a professional sports governing body. And as we all know it’s been determined that the guys on Wall St can do no wrong in the eyes of some. Or can they ? So what does that tell you about some of the practices of Major League Baseball ?
Well as the season now enters into its final stretch. One thing is assured in the NL East. The Phillies will successfully defend their divisional crown. And there won’t be a wild-card entrant from within the division. Seemingly that privilege will go to a team from within the NL West. Perhaps the worst division in all of baseball ? As to who that entrant will be , it’s anybody’s guess as of now. The Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants are each others’ throats. And while both continue to make a spirited effort to claim that final berth. It makes for an interesting climax within the National League.
As the season winds down for the Marlins , I hope that this season they’ve learned something from it. If nothing else they have the nucleus of a very good team that ought to be competitive in the future and quite possibly be viewed as serious contenders for a World Series title. In Fredi Gonzalez , they have a young manager who’s principled and seems to get his message across as to how he wants things done. And that’s something that the team seems to be willingly buying into. And it has certainly helped that the front office has been astute in acquiring some very good young talent that can serve this team well into the future.
With perennial All Star Hanley Ramirez now set as the lynch pin for the franchise. It bodes well as to their future. And with a roster that’s plentiful in pitching, defense and offense- there’s a great deal that a great many Marlins’ fans can feel good about in terms of the franchise’s future. They’ve crossed the hurdle as to the building of their very own facility. Having to play its entire existence at Land Shark Stadium , home to the NFL‘s Miami Dolphins. A sorry episode that finally has come to a close after the idiotic maneuvering by all of the parties concerned. If anything, this has been one of the primary reasons why the team hasn’t been more successful over the years. The arrangement with their current landlord was disadvantageous for the franchise. Absolutely everything was in the Dolphins’ favor. And how the commissioner’s office can have failed to have intervened is totally beyond me. But then again, this league is being ran by a bunch of completely mindless miscreants to begin with !
At (78-68) the Marlins are on the cusp of a winning season. Now ten games over .500 and with something to play for in terms of winning record. The days are now long gone whereby, the franchise was viewed as an amateurish organization in all of its very facets in trying resemble a major league franchise. A new stadium is online and the resources that it will bring , can further secure its very existence. Something that can’t easily be said for a number of franchises around the league at this juncture. If only the hierarchy of Major League Baseball would be entirely upfront for once. Then at least it’d would give the fans the belief that the game is heading in the right direction. It’s not enough that they’ve mishandled the steroid issue without the very financial health of the game now coming under the microscope.
So how has your team done this season ? Well for myself , I view the Marlins’ season as something of a success. It could well have been worse. But then again it’s a great deal better than that of a great many teams within the league.