Florida Marlins

NL East Division3rd4th4th4th
National League 9th10th9th10th
Power Rankings
2011 eulogy: There's the right way and the wrong way, then there's the Marlins way (the wrong way, but on a budget and with contempt for the First Amendment). Off-season to-do list: Start laying the groundwork for a Hanley Ramirez move off shortstop (to third base? left/right field?) ... Figure out who the hell Leo Nunez really is, even if it means violating the Dominican Republic's sovereignty over such matters ... Remind everyone that they are the Miami Marlins and not the Florida Marlins. Threaten to take civil action against anyone who misses the memo. Odds of achieving Cardinals-like glory in 2012: There's talent here, plus Ozzie will provide a spark. Just to be safe, the team should get a mediator on the payroll in advance of his first from-the-hip comments about ownership.
What went right: Mike Stanton at 21 years of age: .263/.358/.540 ... After his demotion for "poor performance," Logan Morrison no longer takes the rights and privileges afforded by the First Amendment for granted ... Amid much manufactured fanfare, they bid a fond adieu to Rainout.com Stadium. There were plenty of dry eyes in the house, because the cost-conscious Marlins went against type and sprung for the double-ply tissues. What went wrong: Hanley Ramirez looked slow and indifferent even when he was healthy ... "Rest and Advil" is a prescription for Larry Dobrow's recovery from a sore shoulder, not Josh Johnson's ... Another midseason managerial firing? Steinbrenner much? Regular-season epilogue: What's done is done. Bring on the Ozzman.
On Sunday afternoon, the pitching matchup was Wang/Hand. Huh-huh. He said "Wang Hands." Huh-huh-huh. ... Apparently Mike Cameron's mentoring of Mike Stanton extended to tutoring him in the verbal abuse of flight attendants. Good thing the Marlins pulled the plug on the Big Brother/Little Brother experiment before Cameron started passing along his wisdom about massage therapists. ... A week from tomorrow, they'll say goodbye to Stadium Whose Corporate Parentage I've Lost Track Of. The farewell ceremony promises to be a star-studded affair; the press release promises appearances by Marlin lifers Josias Manzanillo, Rickey [sic] Bones and Mike Piazza. Tix are priced to sell at $10. Like you have something better to do that night?
Maybe Jack McKeon will stick around, maybe he won't. Maybe the Loria and Samson boys will take a more active role in personnel decisions, maybe they won't. What the Marlins lack in skill, effort, dedication, intelligence and balls, they more than make up for in mystery. ... I'm not among the hordes who believe these late-season Marlin games have no redeeming value. In fact, last week I watched one of the Marlins/Mets contests with my 18-month-old nephew and counting the fans in the stands proved a wonderful learning moment for him. The little bugger got all the way up to 173, but that's only because he included the umpires and the ushers. Smart kid.
Two wins against the Phillies is enough to send the Marlins soaring up the Power Rankings and into the sky, just like the talented fish-birds that are their namesake ... Of course, they played crappy in the wins -- especially on Sunday, when they left something like 35 guys on base against an opponent that just wanted to get on the damn plane and crack open a beer ... At least the Marlins finally acknowledged the obvious and announced that neither Josh Johnson nor Hanley Ramirez will be returning this season. The first step towards healing is acceptance ... Along those lines, the guy in front of me in my roto-league draft took Hanley Ramirez. I took Troy Tulowitzki. In your FACE, person I barely know.
Based on the non-attendance at the first game of the Reds-Marlins doubleheader last Wednesday, I'm guessing they're not going to reschedule the one that was flooded out last Thursday. Some games are better left unplayed ... Following a we-own-you punitive assignment by his bosses -- a week-long sojourn in New Orleans, which is quite lovely this time of year if you can get past the Belliard-sized mosquitoes -- Logan Morrison has totally learned his lesson. His Twitter feed now mostly traffics in OMGs and Jay-oncé baby names ... This week's Marlin PR email touted the self-explanatory "Take Josh Johnson to School Contest, presented by MetroPCS and Samsung." I sure hope somebody captures the appearances on film, as Johnson is basically a baseball unicorn at this point in time. Don't make any sudden movements; you'll scare him off.
Are they trying? I don't think they're trying. ... Wise Jack McKeon seems to agree, based on some of his quotes after the Marlins were swept away by the Padres: "Some of these guys had better wake up. This is the time of the year where you'd better be a salesman and show your wares and how good you are. How bad do you want to be a major league player? This is not a picnic. You're not on scholarship. Sometimes we treat them that way." Using my old-person-to-slightly-less-old-person translation dictionary, I interpreted that to mean: "I have been hired to issue reality checks. I will do this with a clear head and a pure heart. I expect to be paid in fine cigars."
On one hand, if your boss says don't do something and then you do it, you can't be too surprised when he loses his crap. On the other, OMG @LoMoMarlins is awesome and witty and cool and I want him to be my friend ... Actual Jack McKeon quote, following the semi-brushback of Ryan Vogelsong in yet another Marlins loss: "If we were going to drill anybody, we should have drilled the big guy [Brandon Belt]. Vogelsong, Volkswagen, whatever his name is -- he's lucky he didn't have to face [Don] Drysdale or [Bob] Gibson. He would have gotten a shave and a haircut real quick." Every time McKeon opens his mouth, he says something that prompts me to reconsider my policy of avoiding cheap jokes at the expense of a distinct population (in this case, old people). It's getting harder to resist. I remain strong.
My quest for a vaguely interesting piece of Marlins-related news started and ended in my own e-mail inbox. This morning, "more than 100" team employees did some kind of cleanification/beautification thing at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial campus. They were charged with "painting curbs" and "improving landscaping." David Samson himself was scheduled to show for a full hour. It's a fitting epitaph for the 2011 Marlins, really: Bad at baseball, good at curb-painting. Hey, that's more than the Astros can say about themselves.
By my accounting, the Florida Marlins have been baseball's 19th-best team for three weeks running. Ever since Jack McKeon took over and restored order, they've been unexceptional in just about every way ... Seriously, what's there to discuss? The Jeff Conine/Hanley Ramirez contretemps over the title of "Mr. Marlin"? Gaby Sanchez's Met-killing ways? Meh. Maybe I should open up the Marlins' cubbyhole within the Power Rankings matrix to discussion of non-baseball topics -- Breaking Bad, celebrity gossip, that kind of stuff. It's not like there's anything baseball-related with which to busy ourselves.
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