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Back in September I still had hope for 2013
Everyone’s thinking “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” right about now, but I still can’t help but feel so betrayed.
You don’t really get to pick the teams you love. I mean, you do, obviously, but at the same time what rational human being would continue to love a team like the Marlins? Two World Series titles are rather nice, but every other year in the team’s history has been fairly miserable thanks to fire sales and borderline duplicitous frugality.
When you’re a kid and you love baseball and a team finally starts operating in your town, that’s a huge event. The Marlins have held a special place in my heart since 1993, but the trade…oh, that huge trade with Toronto. We’re sending them Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck and getting Yunel Escobar plus prospects/cheap players in return. Thanks for ruining the 20th anniversary of the team, Jeffrey Loria. Thanks for lying and tricking us into thinking the team had changed last year. Thanks for nothing.
I can no more change my favorite team or favorite sport than I could choose to stop breathing oxygen, but you’ve gone and taken 2013 from me, Jeffrey Loria. The thing I look forward to the most every year, baseball season, just feels so empty right now.
When your favorite baseball team is in its final year of its current incarnation and ready to change its name, stadium, logo, and identity, you want to pay attention. When they’re the dark horse contender for the wild card in the pre-season, it thrills you to your core. Then June happens.
For a little more background, the Florida Marlins were holding a strong second place in the NL East going into June. That’s about two months into the season, or about a third of the way done, and things were looking good. Then disaster struck.
The first of June was the beginning of an eight game losing streak to start the month. Seven of those losses were by one run. Over the entire month of June, a month containing 28 games, the Marlins only managed to win five.
They dropped from a competitive second place to fifth, last in the division. Their manager retired and they dug up an ancient fossil to lead the team. Nothing. The season was essentially over. They were able to pull up to fourth place for a short spell, but they quickly lapsed back into last place for the last ⅔ of the season.
It killed the season for me. I entered the 2011 baseball season with high hopes, savagely devouring all kinds of baseball information through the off-season to prep for the 162-game marathon and I was maintaining that interest all the way to June. It’s not like I stopped paying attention to baseball, but I wasn’t able to muster the same enthusiasm. I still enjoyed watching the games, but I no longer looked forward to catching them each night.
Maybe that means I’m not a real fan, but it wasn’t easy to swallow the bitter pill of the 2011 season. I didn’t want the Florida Marlins to enter their off-season cocoon on such a down note. This is a team that I love and, although the spirit of the team remains and I’m firmly in the Miami Marlins camp, I know that it’ll never be the same. They have new colors, new uniforms, and new swag, but that came at the cost of being the scrappy underdogs. No one likes the Miami Heat. Will everyone hate the new-look Marlins? I mean, it’s not like we had much of an identity before. It was more of a, “Oh yeah, the Marlins are in the NL East too, huh,” kind of vibe for a long time (aside from the aberrant 1997 and 2003 seasons where we kicked ass). Now things aren’t the same and I didn’t get to love them on their way out.
I think that’s for the best. Despite my nostalgia and love, I’m ready to see that old team reborn into something new. I’m tired of being a fan of the laughing stock of baseball. Considering the population in the area, Miami should have an interesting, successful baseball team. Let’s hope the new year brings legitimacy and success for the Fish.
Hanley Ramirez, our former short stop and soon-to-be 3rd baseman
I'm not actually as happy as I look in this photograph at all. Actually, I'm kind of bummed about the end of the Rays season (Photo courtesy DJOtaku)
It’s not completely over, since I will still watch games in the playoffs and the World Series, but for the teams that I truly care about the season is over.
The Rays lost to Texas 4-3 this afternoon, but I’m not gonna mope. Instead I’m gonna talk about what this season meant to me.
As the last season for the Florida Marlins, my hopes were high in April. The Fish were the edgy pick to sneak into the playoffs and dominate. Then things got kind of bad quick. Chris Coghlan was supposedly better, but then he wasn’t performing, got hurt again, and was sent down to the minors. Our third base prospect, Matt Dominguez, had his elbow shattered by a pitch and hit the DL as well. Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez both had extended DL stints and, worst of all, Florida went 5-23 for the month of June. Five wins in the entire month.
I don’t quite know what I was expecting, but I didn’t want Florida to limp into the gate in dead last, four games behind the Mets. Before June, Florida flirted with first place! Now that’s over. The Florida Marlins, as I knew them, are no more. Two World Series wins (1997 and 2003), countless frustrating, but fun seasons and, despite how great the stadium looks, I’m supposed to be getting excited to see this godawful logo representing the team next year?
Florida has always been a controversial team. Their attendance is low, their budget is low, they pocket revenue sharing, and they sell off their talent when it gets old and expensive. Owner Jeffrey Loria plans to change a lot of that now that the new stadium is secured. The Marlins were never Florida’s team. Despite their success and a population that adores baseball everywhere but in Florida, they just didn’t capture the state’s imagination. I hope that narrowing the focus to Miami can fix that. I hope that the Miami Marlins are not the black sheep of the National League because they are my team, I love them, and they have shaped me as a person and a sports fan.
As for my AL team, the Rays had themselves quite the season. Started out 1-8 and finished the season with 91 wins. 91 wins! Their fairy tale win against the Yankees propelled them into a killer first game against Texas, but they just couldn’t get those bats going hard enough from Game 2 onward. These guys have money issues, but they are so intelligently run that it’s truly impressive. If Tampa Bay can keep this up they will have a World Series title one day. I just hope they know that if they end up challenging Miami for it I will hope that they get swept.
Not the same at bat as last night, but you get the idea (Picture courtesy DJOtaku)
What an amazing night! Wow, that was fantastic! I was just on the edge of my seat all last night…
My evening began with the final Marlins game of the year against the Nats. It was the end of an era, really. The Florida Marlins are technically no more (they’re officially no more on 11 November) and I wish they closed out Joe Robbie Stadium with a bang, but instead they went out with a whimper. That happens when you face Stephen Strasburg, I guess. Still, listening to Mike Lowell reminisce about the old team and ballpark and just seeing it all finally come to an end is kind of heartbreaking. I hope that the new name reinvigorates Miami like it did for Tampa. I also really hope the “leaked logos” are not the official logos. We’ll see come November.
In bigger news, the Tampa Bay Rays locked a playoff spot in dramatic fashion. They scarily fell behind the Yankees 7-0 thanks to a grand slam by Teixeira and countless other home runs and they didn’t really make a dent until the 8th. Then things started to happen.
The bases loaded. Walk. 7-1. Hit by pitch. 7-2. Sacrifice fly. 7-3. THREE RUN HOME RUN BY LONGORIA! 7-6!
Finally it was bottom of the 9th. Two outs. Two strikes. Dan Johnson steps up and recreates the 2008 magic. Home run barely over the right field fence! Tie game!
Nothing much happens until the 12th. Minutes before his at-bat, the Red Sox manage to lose their rain delayed game to the Orioles in walk-off fashion. Longoria comes up to the plate. Works the count to 2-2. Fouls off a pitch…HOME RUN BARELY CLEARS THE LEFT FIELD WALL! The Rays are going to the playoffs!
It was a wild night with an added bonus: the Braves managed to blow their game too and were eliminated from the playoffs. What. A. Night.
Let’s go for the series win tonight and get one more for June!
Florida wins its second game in June.
I’m both super excited and super depressed about this.
The Marlins beat the Diamondbacks last night 6-4. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Also not hitting as well as he normally is
We are now at eight straight losses, seven of which were by one run. Two straight sweeps. I can’t deal with this right now.
Part of our woes come from this man hitting the DL (and his lack of performance)
The Marlins have dropped seven straight games, dropping them five games behind the Phillies and now two behind the Atlanta Braves and it’s been agony to experience. Losing Josh Johnson was a problem, but we’ve even had great pitching performances from our starters (including one of his replacements) that the Fish have botched. The loss of Hanley Ramirez also doesn’t help things, although his presence has yet to really be felt at the plate. I’m hoping that this DL stint will fix whatever’s been ailing him.
My frustration with the Fish has reached an all-time high. This is a team that CAN reach the postseason, especially with just a little more help at the back of the rotation. The skid has got to end. Do it for me, Florida. Destroy Atlanta today, I just can’t bear another loss to Los Bravos.
Fan-Created Poster of Source Code by Matt Needle
Source Code – Some defect in the genetic composition of my brothers has caused them to write off this movie as garbage. I assure everyone reading that the numbers obtained by Rotten Tomatoes assuring the public that 90% of movie reviewers liked this movie are worth listening to. The “thinking man’s action blockbuster” seems to have become a thing with Inception last year and Duncan Jones delivers. It’s not quite as deep as Nolan’s epic, but still the best option in theaters at the moment.
Sucker Punch – I can’t think of a movie that has missed its mark harder than Sucker Punch did. It’s almost depressing to watch knowing what Zack Snyder intended. Instead we got a movie whose parts don’t gel and whose concept overmatches its director. It makes me want to propose co-directed movies. Let Snyder do the action while someone else handles all the dialog, character interaction, story, etc. It’s worth mentioning that the action sequences are super-cool and easily the only successful parts of the flick, which means if you get bored during straight action scenes, this movie has nothing for you.
Tangled – Naysayers who think Pixar is the only CG talent within Disney, look out. This movie proves that the magic from our collective youths has yet to be extinguished. Marketing would have you believe that Rider (the thief) and Maximus (the horse) would be the focus of the movie a la Aladdin. Marketing is wrong. Fearing that young boys wouldn’t come to the theater to watch a movie about a girl, they hid the fact that it’s a coming-of-age story about the very sheltered Rapunzel. Funny, charming, and worth renting.
Justified – Continues to be my favorite show each week. Tensions are running high in Harlan County and Raylan is stuck right in the middle. I’m not caught up with this week’s episode yet, but I’m sure it’ll continue to be great.
Archer – Oh god, last week’s episode about Cheryl was a riot. The writers are definitely on a roll
Tremé – When I wasn’t watching baseball this week I was catching up on Tremé OnDemand. David Simon’s look at post-Katrina New Orleans lacks some of the focus, direction, and structure that police work gave The Wire, but Tremé is still chock full of fleshed out characters that I cared about. Every episode is full of fantastic music (some might say just a little too much music), great drama, and believable events. Season 2 starts this month and I’ll definitely be tuning in.
Baseball – Surprise, surprise, right? This season has started out with some mega-interesting storylines. The Red Sox and Rays have baffled sportswriters with their inability to win, Manny Ramirez has retired in the face of drug-related sanctions, and, most importantly, the Marlins are off to a solid 5-3 start good enough for second in the NL East.