Monday, September 30, 2013

Can a fan see anything negative in a no-hitter? Yep

The braintrust in the late innings of another loss. They're still there.
     It was a fitting end to the Marlins 2013 season -- winning on a wild pitch, scoring their only run of the game, to give Henderson Alvarez a no-hit victory.
    The 2013 Marlins are arguably the worst-hitting team of the modern era. No wonder they couldn't get a hit to win a game. They finished dead last in the Major Leagues by a large margin in runs scored, batting average, doubles, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and total bases.
    WORST RUN PRODUCTION IN FOUR DECADES
 How bad was their batting? They scored 513 runs -- tying the 2010 Seattle Mariners as the worst full-season run production in the past four decades. ESPN.com labeled that Mariners team as "the worst hitting team of all time."  That team managed 101 home runs. The Marlins this year had 95.
     Marlins ended the season with 100 losses -- that's far better than the 127 that a buddy projected before the season began and better than the record-setting 1962 Mets' 120 -- a record the '13 Marlins seemed for a while in danger of breaking before their young pitching took hold.
    Marlins ended the year with a team 3.71 ERA -- 11th best in the Majors -- 7th best in National League. Five of the six teams with better pitching are headed to the playoffs.
    On Fox Sports television Sunday, Michael Hill, the new president of baseball operations, said, "the future is bright because of the gains we saw in 2013." Rebuilding after last year's debacle? The Marlins have been getting steadily worse each of the past four years in terms of wins and losses. They dumped Beinfest, the president of their baseball operations, but they promoted the two guys right below him.
    Hill's goal: "Win more games." Is that the kind of insight that gets a promotion?
    FIRST BOLD MOVE FOR 2014? 
     In fact, as an anonymous source told The Herald, Loria calls the shots and is the real general manager. Loria (by himself) made the first bold move for 2014, resigning Greg Dobbs for $1.7 million. Loria rushed to sign Dobbs, 35, before another team picked him up. For the year, he hit .228. In the last 30 games, his BA was a stellar .091.
    Michael Jong at Fishstripes.com wrote: "On the surface, it is a poor use of the $1.7 million, as Dobbs has been a terrible hitter for three years and has only stood out to the Marlins because of his propensity to make contact with runners on third base. Essentially, the Marlins signed him to make professional, productive outs."
    ALVAREZ: WORST DEAL OF THE YEAR?
    And speaking of dumb moves: Did this one sneak by you? The Tigers minor league pitcher of the year in 2013: Lefty Jose Alvarez, who had 115 strikeouts in 129 innings in AAA Toledo. Last year, Alvarez was with the Marlins in AA. How good were the trade picks Miami got for giving him up? Zilch. The Marlins granted him "free agency" last fall, and the Tigers, saying thank you again, gobbled him up.
     Maybe Loria demanded Jose Alvarez be dumped because he was getting confused by too many pitchers named Alvarez.
    This morning, Douglas Hanks had an upbeat (?) story in the Herald sports section: "As a rough season of the Marlins Park comes to a close, the team finds itself drawing about 1,000 fans more a game than it had at Sun Life."
    What Hanks doesn't know -- in fact no one does -- is how many of those tickets were sold at a discount or ultra-discount or given away. I attended 11 games -- five of them for free. And I had a free Sir Pizza coupon I could have used the last week and didn't. My record was 3-8 for the year.
    In fact, on Sunday I was on I-95 at midday and almost swerved off at the downtown exit on the spur of the moment to watch the final game in person. Alas, I went home to watch it on TV -- missing my third personal no hitter. (I saw Al Leiter and Anibal's in person.) So I missed a hell of a game -- with a wild, odd ending. Another frustration in a season filled with them.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oh Ye of Little Faith

     Some inattentive Marlins fans complain that we gave  up Anibal -- an ever-improving pitcher -- and Infante to the Tigers for a weak-hitting, bad-throwing catcher (Brantly) and Andrew Miller II (Turner, 4.97 ERA in the last 30 days). But no!
    We also got Brian Flynn -- a 6-7 23-year-old in the Miller mode who was just promoted. Surely, one of these three guys will prove to be an All-Star, right? (Also called the Miggy theory.)
    On Thursday -- free day for old farts -- Orlando, RF and I saw him pitch from Section 22. Flynn lasted four innings, gave up six runs and  now has an ERA over 10 -- contributing to a numbing 6-1 defeat before an announced crowd of 15,274. That was my 11th Marlins game of the year (and sixth free one). I have seen eight losses.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Remembering the Departed

    A friend of a friend couldn't use Monday night tickets, so RF and  I ended up in row three, section 10 -- between home and first base. Great seats. Usual game. Alvarez had an implosion second time through the league-leading Braves lineup, and Marlins lost 5-2.
    I've now seen 10 games this person -- a 3-7 record.
    Without Stanton, this weak-hitting lineup's first five hitters combine for 23 home runs -- less than half Chris Davis' 48 home runs. Even that 23 is a bit misleading, since part-timer Ruggiano accounts for 16 of them.
    Marlins remain dead last in MLB in runs, hits, doubles and home runs. They're a respectable 8th (out of 30) in one category -- grounded into double plays, which is kind of astonishing since they get so few runners on base.
    Anyway, I spotted a fan in the first row of section 10 with this baseball hat. Kind of wish I had one.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Good Hitting Beats Good Pitching and Vice Versa

    Since old farts get in for free on Thursdays, my friend RF and I went to the Thursday afternoon game against the Dodgers. We were given seats in Section 6, Row 10 -- just beyond first base in right field, not as good as the behind-the-plate freebies Orlando and I got the last Thursday we went to, but hey, the price was right and the tickets were not bad.
    And we got to see a Major League team, with an all-star pitcher (Kershaw) and an all-star of the future, Puig. Their 6-0 hammering of AA Marlins was a bit numbing, and so RF and I spent considerable time arguing about baseball.
    He insists I'm wrong in claiming that it was Yogi Berra came up with "Good hitting beats good pitching, and vice versa."  His smartphone search was inconclusive.
    French also expressed amazement when I said that the free seniors tickets deal might cease after this year. He said that the Marlins make money on the luxury tax before a single fan walks in the gate, so that there's no need for them to charge for tickets. I think of this as the newspaper theory: The more you give your product away, to "news partners" and on the web, the more prosperous your business with be.
    We also wondered if there is another current Major League park that has never had a sell-out. Marlins opening day last year had a crowd of 36,601 -- their highest attendance ever, according to BaseballReference.com. The park is listed as having 36,742 seats, with another 1,000 standing room (Budweiser sign). Both of us have tried various web searches and haven't had an answer whether there's another current park that has never sold out.
    The crowd Thursday was listed officially at 25,609, which must have included a ton of people who bought tickets and didn't show up, because attendance was far smaller than the 27,000 at Monday's Dodger's game. I wonder: Are we old farts included in the "paid" attendance?
    The good news: The hot dog guy across the street from the Clevelander was back, with his $3 sausage and $1 water, saving us a bunch of money. He wasn't there Monday, not sure why.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Feel Good Night, Kind of

    UPDATED ... SEE BELOW
    Last week, a Marlins rep called me up and noted that I had bought tickets online to a recent game. Marlins wanted to thank me by inviting me and up to three friends to be the team's guests at an upcoming game. "Just let me know," he said.  I said I had been pissed off at the ownership and he said he understood my feelings and the team really wanted our continued support.
    On Monday, with a matchup of ML Cuban super rookies, Fernandez versus Puig, I emailed him early in the morning and followed up with a phone call that I wanted tickets for Monday's game.  No response. Reminds me of how Bill Clinton described George W.'s attitude at one point: "I feel your pain, I'm just not going to do anything about it."
    UPDATE: Later on Tuesday, rep sent me an email saying he was off on Monday and apologized for not responding in timely fashion. He said the offer still stood for later games. And in fact, I can't bitch about paying money to see such a matchup.
    What happened was my buddy RF and I sprung for $11 seats in far right field. We slipped into much better seats in section 26 in left field.
    And what a game for a decent crowd of 27,000. Fernandez was terrific. Marlins bats got hot, with Stanton hitting one of his scorching line-drive homers. RF was buoyed to remark that this team could be a contender next year, but the elation of a 6-2 victory wasn't enough for me to agree with him.
    To be a contender, this team needs a catcher and third baseman definitely. The slick-fielding shortstop could be an 8 hitter on a strong team (Mark Belanger of the Orioles came to RF's mind), but do we really have a competitive players at first and second?  And what about centerfield? Ozuna, maybe? Lot of holes to fill.
    And the feel-good victory was dulled by a report in this morning's Herald that Loria petulantly refused to allow the promotion of a hot hitting AAA infielder because the kid had said something against Loria's hand-picked hitting coach.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mike Lowell Bobblehead


    I write about this belatedly because my grandson was here for a visit and I didn't have time until he left.
    On Sunday, Aug. 4, he and I went to a Marlins game -- a very special game I told him. (He's 11.) It was a Mike Lowell bobblehead giveaway and the 2003 world champions were going to be honored in a pre-game ceremony. AND it was a Bark at the Park game.
    I really wanted him to have a bobblehead, and I had missed out on bobbleheads in the past. I was thinking that with the special ceremony and everything, there would be long lines early to get into the ball park. Because he was visiting from Denver and being a proud grandpa, I sprang for fancy $18 tickets -- second row, upper deck, right behind home plate, bought in advance online.
    Stupid me. We arrived more than an hour before game time. We walked right in, each with a bobblehead. We could have easily bought outfield tickets and sat behind home plate, my usual plan when Orlando and I go.
    Well, it was great seeing some of the glorious crew of 2003 -- Lowell, Pudge, Jack McKeon. There was such a feel-good time that Loria felt safe to come out and sit in his usual seat behind home plate and no fan dumped Coke on him.
    But here's the thing -- bobblehead, World Series reunion, bark in the park (400 dogs at $10 each), the paid attendance was only 25,077. (I'm assuming the dogs were counted as paid attendees, right?)
    Oh... and the bobblehead. My grandson wanted to see one during the listless 2-0 loss. We opened one up, and it fell out. Both of Lowell's arms cracked and fell off, and the little bat he was supposed to be holding vanished among the peanut shells on the floor.
    Kind of symbolic of this season.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Yet another Fish trade bust

    Last week, when Rob Brantly was relegated to AAA, a buddy said crisply: "Yet another Fish trade bust."
    Brantly, as you recall, was part of the deal that last year sent Anibal to the Tigers, where he has 2.58 ERA in 20 starts this year.
    Perhaps worse from a fan's standpoint is that, by replacing Brantly with a medicore journeyman, Koyle Hill, 34, who's appeared in 313 ML games over nine seasons, there was no mention of Kyle  Skipworth, 23.
    Skipworth, the 6th pick overall in the 2008 draft, was supposed to be the superstar catcher of the future. He's sitting there now at AAA New Orleans -- languishing is more like it. For the year he's batting .179.  He's underperformed expectations all through the minors, though I can't help wondering now if he's in  a funk as he sees all these mediocre players (our starting catcher has been dubbed one of the hitters of the epoch) brought up to the Bigs while Skipworth waits in New Orleans.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Free Game


    The hot-dog guy is back! Well, he says he was never really away. He says he missed one game because of a doctor's appointment. I think it was more than that, but never mind: Across the street from the Clevelander entrance, you can get an excellent Italian sausage for $3, much bigger than a ballpark hot dog that costs twice as much. And cold bottled water is a buck. What a deal.
    So was the price the Marlins charged Orlando and me for the Thursday day game against the Mets. Old farts get in free on Thursdays. We figured we'd be stuck with tickets deep in the outfield and sneak around to better seats along the third base line. But no -- we were given Section 16, Row 21 -- right behind home plate, a great vantage point to watch the Marlins worst starter out-duel All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey for a 3-0 win.
    My contribution to the Marlins bank account: $8 for a rocky road ice cream cup. Orlando bought a Pepsi.
    Today, Doug Hanks has an excellent story in The Herald about sagging attendance at Marlins Park. A lot of fans -- including me -- are bitter about how the owners have flip-flopped on commitments.  I attended 20-plus games last year. This year it'll be more like 10.
    Hanks reports that the decline in Marlins attendance this year is 37 percent -- 10,000 fans a game -- compared to last year. Only Tampa Bay reported a bigger decline of first-versus-second year attendance -- 38 percent.
    In fact, Florida is just a lousy place for baseball attendance. the last-place Marlins are drawing 17,976 this year -- second worst in the league, according to ESPN. Worst is Tampa, at 17,916 -- and Tampa is batting for first place in the super-tough American League East.
    But I'll bet that Tampa fans are probably paying full price for tickets or close to it. I wonder: Did Orlando and I count for official paid attendance of 25,916 on Thursday? Certainly those thousands of camp kids did, probably getting in at a tiny fraction of full ticket price.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Great Matchup, Great Game

    On Sunday, with the promise of Marlins phenom Jose Fernandez versus Pirates phenom Gerrit Cole, I attended my fifth Marlins game of the season. A lot of folks must have liked this match-up, because 15 minutes before first pitch, several hundred were standing in line to buy tickets. (I had become accustomed to just walking up to window and buying.) By first pitch, as I headed toward the ticket entrance, clutching my Legends Silver ticket, several hundred were still waiting to get tickets. And then there was a long line to get into the ballpark itself.
    I missed the first inning before I got up to the Legends (second) level. My ticket was Section 226, third row -- far down the left field line -- but I settled into a seat closer to home plate. In 20-some games last year and this, I had never sat on this level and was curious what it was like. Online, I thought I saw a Legends Silver (second level, outfield) was $20, but I ended up paying $25 at the gate.
    The old Club Level a the stadium formerly known as Joe Robbie had some premium food choices, likely freshly sliced roast beef sandwiches, but after the second inning, I wandered around and found that the new ballpark has slim pickings on Legends level -- hamburger, hot dog, chicken tenders, slice of pizza. I settled for a double cheeseburger, but had to wait almost 10 minutes while it was cooked fresh.  $20 for burger and large Diet Coke. First level has many more food choices and I doubt I'll go to second level again.
    But ... what a game. Both pitchers were great. The difference was Stanton, who hit one of those line drive shots that was still going up when it hit the home run sculpture. And Cishek has been Mr. Consistency lately in the ninth.
    And so the crowd of 24,000 -- largest I've seen in person since opening night -- went home happy, or most of us did, since there were a sizable number of Pirate fans (pathetic characters, who haven't seen a winning season in two decades).
    It was such a large crowd, they had the upper deck open Sunday -- first time I've seen that since opening game.
    Just for the record: The Marlins on Monday morning are 40-63, achieving in July the total that the hapless Mets won for the whole season in 1962. At this point, those Mets were 26-77.
    Even so, the Marlins still have the worst record in the National League. We fans are back to where we've been for most of the last decade, looking at some promising young players -- some of them VERY promising this time -- and hoping management doesn't screw things up.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Header, New Hope

    What a month June turned out to be. I went off to visit the grandkids in Colorado, and the Marlins surged. My buddy DC, who last winter predicted the Marlins would get only 39 wins this season, texted me last week: "Young fish growing up. Nice."
    Orlando emailed me: "Jeff Mathis for president." That was after his game-winning grand slam last week.
    Now, this grumbling fan needs to point out that earlier this season Mathis was called "one of the worst hitters of this generation" by fishstripes.com. He is currently batting .154 -- well below the Mendoza line, but perhaps we should say that he's .054 above the Mathis line. He's been in the majors for more than a decade, and his career BA is below Mendoza.
    But the catcher was a star in June, and the Marlins went 15-10. The batting was still mediocre at best. For the month, the Marlins were 17th in runs scored, 26th in HRs, 22 in on-base percentage among the 30 ML teams. The Marlins were carried by its young pitchers. Team ERA for the month was 3.51, eighth best in the ML.
    As a veteran fan, there is still this little voice whispering: "How will the front office screw this up?" That's why I've put a new header on this blog, and included the word "dread."
    Just to keep things in perspective: For the year, the Marlins are still dead last among the 30 ML teams in runs scored, HR, on-base percentage and total bases. They are among the leaders, however, in fewest grounded-into-double-plays -- ranking fourth. Of course, you need to get a runner on base before you can ground into a DP.
    Still, here I am, a fan being sucked into a new branch of hope. Hey, the Pirates might have a winning season! The Cubs pray for their GM's magic. And I watch young Marlins improving. Of course, I feel some trepidation, like someone who has been dumped by a lover, only to see the lover return, cooing apologies and promises that everything will be better this time.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Herald Makes It Official: Not Worst Team Ever

    The Marlins have won their first two over the World Champ San Francisco Giants. Logan Morrison is showing power (!). Pitching is looking decent. Stanton is healthy. Ozuna showing promise again after rookie slump. And they've won 6 of their last 10.
    The Herald's Clark Spencer, a top-notch pro, summed up the 2013 Marlins this way: "The Marlins didn’t blossom miraculously into the 1927 New York Yankees during the Heat’s title run in the NBA playoffs. Neither did they continue wilting into the 1962 New York Mets.
    "Theey are neither historically good, nor historically bad," Spencer wrote.
    "The Marlins still own the worst record in the majors. But historians can probably stop making daily comparisons to the ’62 Mets, who went 40-120. The Marlins would have to go 17-71 over their next 88 games to match the modern-day mark for futility," Spencer concluded.
    Well, I must confess that at the beginning of this season, this disgruntled fan found some kind of solace in the idea that the team wasn't just bad, but really really really bad. Why watch a miserable team when you can bask in the thought you are witnessing history? And so I (a history major in college) started comparing them to the '62 New York Mets.
    Now, now ... well, now we're just back in heartbreak city, looking for glimmers of hope, potential in the young guys, rejoining the fans of all the other lousy teams of all time, the Cubs, the Pirates, the Padres, the Washington Senators.  Once again, we're back to praying that the front office doesn't find a new way to screw things up.
    Will more fans be attracted to the super-expensive ballpark where the Marlins are desperately giving away free seats? My friend Orlando has another free Sir Pizza coupon and we still haven't take advantage of those free tickets on Thursdays for old farts.
    And maybe, just maybe, the Cuban guy who used to sell hot dogs outside the Clevelander entrance will be able to resume earning a living. Or maybe Miami fans will just gloat in the Heat victory and sit around watching LeBron inteviews.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Feeling Positive II

    So Cody Ross, pinch hitter, did in the Marlins Wednesday afternoon with a three-run homer. I've always loved Cody -- a scrappy player with limited natural skills that always seemed to do a little more than he should have to help a team win.
    I was sorry to see him go in 2010 to the San Francisco Giants, where he quickly became MVP of the National League Championship Series. But hey, we got a lot in return for him -- the draft pick that led to Jose Fernandez. Or was it Steve Cishek? Oh gosh, my memory's failing. I better look it up ...
    Yipes... the Marlins put Ross on waivers in 2010. They got nothing for him. But I'll bet you knew that already.
    On another positive note, I see Publix is still selling peanuts in a Marlins insignia bag for $1.69. I hadn't been able to find these this season, but I spotted them in an odd corner Wednesday. I like to take one of those to the ballpark, because it's a lot cheaper than the $3 or $4 bag the Marlins sell, which has a lot fewer peanuts.
    On a downer note, the Marlins have sunk so low that their Miami radio station didn't carry the Wednesday afternoon game from Arizona, preferring instead to have a couple guys blabber several hours about the Heat winning game six. I like to listen to baseball on the radio as I putter around on my errands. I tried a West Palm station that was carrying the game, but reception wasn't good. The game was on Radio Mambi, so I ended up practicing my Spanish.
    The Marlins are now 22-49. The 1962 Mets were 19-52 at this point.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Still Grumbling

      Stanton hits two homers Monday night, the Marlins win to go 6-4 in their last 10, and still, being a disgruntled Marlins fan, I want to point out that the Marlin front office paid a lot of money for Stanton's second homer last night, which came off Heath Bell.
    Last year, the Marlins paid $27 million for three years of Bell -- one of several major mistakes the front office made in the 2012 season. Fed up with his blown saves, the team traded him to Arizona in the off-season -- but only after agreeing to pay the Dbacks $8 million toward the remainder of his contract.
    Only Nolasco is costing the Marlins more -- $11.5 million, according to ESPN. The next highest paid members in Marlins uniforms are Placido Polanco and Adeiny Hechavarria, at $2.75 million each.
    The Marlins are now 22-47, a .319 win percentage, meaning they have elevated themselves (temporarily?) out of the 50 worst won-loss percentages in Major League history.




Monday, June 17, 2013

Hail the Victors

    After winning two of three from the NL-best Cardinals, the Marlins are now 21-47 -- two wins ahead of the of the pace of the losing-est team ever, the 1962 New York Mets, who were 19-49 at this point.
    The Marlins are now on track for 112 losses for the year -- that would tie them with the 1952 Pirates and 1965 Mets for the sixth-most losses in a single season. (That's for the modern era. I don't count teams like the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, which lost 134 in a time that's not really comparable to today's professional baseball.)
    Hey, if the 2013 Marlins keep improving, they might do better than the team tied for 22nd most losses -- the 1998 Florida Marlins, who had 108, after the first infamous sell-off.
    Last year's poorly conceived team of Bell and Co., by the way, suffered 93 losses in what was supposed to be a breakout season -- that was three losses more than the 2011 Florida Marlins, playing their last season at the stadium formerly known as Joe Robbie.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Feeling Positive

    Stanton is back! LoMo is back! Turner is looking like a real prospective and not the next Andrew Miller. So my buddy and Orlando headed off to the Brewers game Wednesday night feeling positive. Of course, we didn't spend real money. Orlando's grandson loves Sir Pizza and the box came with a coupon for two free tickets.
    The first bummer of the evening is that the hot dog guy has vanished. I usually get a huge $3 sausage from him at his stand across from the Clevelander entrance. He wasn't there -- a little-guy casualty of the Marlins' dismal year.
    Our tickets were for section 23, row 8 -- just a little outside the infield down the third base line. There were a lot of folks in our section -- many of them Sir Pizza customers, I guessed. The announced attendance was a pathetic 13,400 -- and I'll bet just a fraction of them (probably ignorant Brewer fans) paid full price for a ticket.
    We've now attended four games this year -- $20-something for opening night, $9 outfield tickets but we moved around to good seats, a freebie because we went opening night and now a Sir Pizza freebie. And we haven't even done the seniors-free Thursdays yet.
    Well, Slowey gave up three runs in the first and it was all downhill from there in a 10-1 massacre. In a bitter irony, the one run the Marlins scored came off Badenhop, one of the disasters the Marlins received in the Tiger trade, now serving as a third-string reliever with the Brewers.
    The good news: Orlando, who generally attends about 20 games a year (less this year) got a foul ball, his first ever. It landed in his coat in the seat in front of him and he just fished it out.
    For the year, the Marlins are now 19-46. The worst-ever 1962 Mets were 18-47 at this point.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Why Baseball's Fun

    Two extra-inning victories over the weekend involving two pathetic teams -- but hey, it made for fun baseball.
    The NY Times put it in perspective for Saturday's marathon: "Inning after inning, the Mets and Miami Marlins -- the major league's two worst clubs in batting average -- looked incapable of summoning just one more run to break a 1-1 deadlock.
    "The Marlins finally did, but only after 20 excruciating and increasingly absurd innings. Through their own ineptitude the teams produced the longest game at Citi Field."
    I was listening on an off via radio and TV. Most memorable moment came in the eighth. Marlins had two on, nobody out, with Juan Pierre at the plate. Hechavarria gets picked off second. Juan Pierre, 35, batting .206 with runners in scoring position, then hits into a double play.
    We went out to eat with friends and I followed the last several innings on my phone. My friend, Richard French, said, "The Mets have an awful bullpen. The Marlins are bound to score a run." Of course, the Marlins bullpen is no great shakes either. Man of man.
    Thanks to the hapless Mets, the 2013 Marlins are now 18-44, having won an astonishing 5 of their last 10. And the miserable Brewers, as bad as the Mets and with a drug scandal brewing, are coming to town. At this point, the worst-ever 1962 Mets were 17-45.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Drafty

     North Carolina 3B Colin Moran, drafted Thursday in the first round (sixth overall) by the Marlins, joins a special team of Jeff Allison, Taylor Tankersley, Chris Volstad, Aaron Thompson, Jacob Marceaux, Ryan Tucker, Sean West, Gregg Sinkeil, Chris Coghlan, Matt Dominguez, Kyle Skipworth, Chad James, Christopher Yelich, Jose Fernandez and Andrew Heaney.
    All have been first round picks during the Loria era. Allison is considered by some to be among the top 10 busts of all time. Coghlan and Fernandez are the only ones now on the ML squad, although many have hope for Yelich (currently injured in AA). The last time the Marlins had a pick this high, they selected catcher Skipworth (6th overall in 2008), who is languishing in mediocrity at AAA as the Marlins desperately trade for catchers.
     Thanks to an off-day, the Marlins remain at 16-44, the same record as the worst-ever '62 Mets.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Drifting Along

    So there was Joe Boyd, "one of the grimly devoted followers" of the Washington Senators, sitting on his front porch on hot summer nights in 1958 listening to radio broadcasts. One night, "when the Senators failed to score in the seventh, Joe muttered, 'What's wrong with you guys anyway?' "
    Well, I've been thinking of myself as Joe Boyd. From 1955 through '59, the Senators finished seventh or eighth in the American League before going off to Minnesota. The Marlins don't have nearly as long a stretch of frustration as those Senators or the Pirates, and I guess I'm no Joe Boyd. On Wednesday, I was puttering around with this and that and completely forgot that the Marlins had an afternoon game. By the time I tuned in, it was another loss -- the typical scenario of good starting pitching, bad relief and one run from the batters.
    This morning's Herald is filled with hope. "Marlins going back to roots in approach," says the headline, meaning the team will again be counting on its skills in the draft, which many of us find kind of laughable.
    The Marlins have the sixth overall pick and are looking at third basemen. Not a word in the article about Matt Dominguez, drafted 12th overall in the 2007 draft. Marlins billed him as the super-star third baseman of the future before they dumped off to the Astros last year, another draft failure. How many third basemen and catchers have the Marlins drafted or traded for or gotten through agency? And none of them  have worked out.
    Marlins are now 16-44 -- same record the 1962 Mets had at this point. But sports writers point out that help is on the way -- LoMo and Eovaldi are close to returning. Can't wait.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Marlins attendance -- a rant against pols, fans and an owner

    Sports Illustrated is blaming the Marlins for being responsible for 44 percent of the drop in Major League ticket sales this year. The Herald's Doug Hanks, an expert numbers cruncher, says it's more like 21 percent.
    In fact, there's been a huge drop this year -- and last year's ticket sales were disappointing. Loria says the poor attendance last year was a reason that he had to dump his recently acquired stars, which has led to even worse attendance this  year.
    So blame the fans? Yes and no. Attendance last year was 2.2 million -- a huge increase for Marlins but disappointing for a brand new ballpark. Many teams sell out their first year in a new park, buoyed by a wave of excitement.
      Truth is, Florida is a tough state for sports teams. The Tampa Bay Rays draw mediocre crowds and they have smart management and a competitive team in a tough division. Miamians like to show up for superstars and winners -- the Heat playoff tickets are going for huge amounts, we're told. But during the regular season, it was easy to buy seats for the world champ Heat and the game's MVP.
    Contrary to many voters in Miami, I believe governments have a role to play in building sports arenas -- a creation of civic pride in a big-league city.
    That being said, just about everything else in the Marlins Park deal was utterly stupid -- like so many things in this city. Fumbling, compromising politicians were dealing with a carpetbagger owner who didn't understand the city or its logistics.
    Major League Baseball wanted a ballpark downtown. They had picked out a spot near Metrorail and the Government Center. Pols nixed that deal. The Marlins looked at Bicentennial Park -- walled off by fences so that the homeless (and the public) couldn't use it. A ballpark on that site let to a big uproar in the media because the green space was much needed  -- an uproar not heard later when it was decided to take away the green space for two museums.
    So the pols and Marlins compromised on the Orange Bowl site. That was a huge mistake. It wasn't near public transportation. It was an awkward drive from the Interstate. There were big parking problems. But the land was available. So it was one of those compromises -- like Metrorail, which has a route designed by pols in the 1980s to appeal to voters, not on what was best for people's commutes and transit needs.
    I hear Broward residents talk about going to the Orange Bowl site as if they were entering an Iraq war zone. Some people in Dade consider it "inner city." Well, that's a stupid impresssion, best left for another time. Let me just say that I park on the street (for free) about four, five blocks from the park and haven't had any security issues.
    Contrast Marlins Park with Target Field in Minneapolis -- put together with various government funds. With careful urban planning, it  was shoe-horned into the heart of the city. There's a very close connection to the Interstate for those who drive, and at night and on weekends, there is a large supply of nearby parking used by office buildings during weekdays. What's more, there's a light rail that goes right past the ballpark.
    And in the Upper Midwest, people love their baseball -- even a poor performing Twins. They essentially sold out the 39,000-seat park the first year and a half (I tried to get tickets on a Thursday night late in first season and couldn't.) They flood downtown restaurants and help accentuate an already vibrant downtown (something Miami still struggles with).
    Camden Yards is another great park in a great location. I went to a late Saturday afternoon game there, and afterward thousands flooded out into the shops and restaurants of the downtown harbor area.
    The Marlins location shows no coordinated urban planning, no strong will to make the city a better place -- and baseball fans (and team owners) are stuck with it for decades to come. My only hope is that over time, like Wrigleyville, the area will grow up around the ball park.
    Last year, Marlins attendance had dipped to 23,539 (in a 36,742-seat park) by the fourth game, according to Baseball-reference.com. And  attendance got worse as the team stumbled. Loria, who had spent a ton of money last year putting together a mediocre team, was enraged -- and sold off the stars. And attendance this year is abysmal.
    After Tuesday's losss to the Phillies, the 2013 Marlins are now 16-43. The 1962 Mets, who set the record for losses in a season, had that same record.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

If the Marlins aren't the worst ...

    OK, let's say the pundits are right and the Marlins are not going to be the worst team in baseball history. Are they still among the worst of all time?
    Here's a list of the worst five from Yahoo.com, by William Browning:
    5-- Pittsburgh Pirates, 1952. Baseball Reference states in 1952, the Pirates finished with a 42-112 record. They finished 54 ½ games back of the Brooklyn Dodgers who won twice as many games. The Pirates once went 18 years without a winning season. Ouch.
    4 -- Detroit Tigers, 2003. In 2003, they finished the season 43-119, a full 47 games back . They had a winning record against only one team, the San Diego Padres with interleague play in which the Tigers took two out of three games. Detroit started the year 1-17 and finally won their 10th game of the year May 22, 2003.
    3 --  New York Mets, 1962. They were no better than ninth place out of 10 in the first seven years of their existence. Their inaugural season was the worst as the Mets won just 25 percent of their games. New York finished 60 ½ games back in the National League going 40-120. They never won a season series against a team, but the did split with the Chicago Cubs.
    2 -- Boston Braves, 1935. They won only 38 games in the 1935 season. Amazingly, they started out in first place in the National League when they won their season opener against the New York Giants by a scored of 4-2. The season would go downhill from there, very quickly. Their 10th win came June 2, 1935. The Braves were involved in 38 one-run games, of which they only won seven. They finished the season 38-115, 61 ½ games back of the division leaders.
    1 -- Philadelphia Athletics, 1916. They were the worst team since the World Series began to be played. They won only 36 games coupled with 117 losses. In one stretch from June 2 to August 8 , the Athletics were 4-56 including a 20-game losing streak. The A's finished 54 ½ games behind the front of the pack.
    Remember the lossing-est team in ML history was an expansion team, the 1962 Mets. In a first year, fans are always loose and hopeful, and Casey was giving his comic observations. That could be fun. No one is saying this year is fun to be a Marlins fan.
    After Monday night's loss to the Phils, the Marlins are now 16-42, the same record that the '62 Mets had at this point.

Monday, June 3, 2013

SO WHO'S BATTING FIFTH?

    Thanks to those woeful Mets and the upcoming hapless Phillies, things are suddenly looking up for the Marlins, and pundits are now talking about them as simply awful team and not the worst ever. Does that make you feel better?
    Marlins remain dead last in home runs and slugging, but they're now scoring three whole runs a game, on average. That's ahead of the worst-ever modern era performance -- 2.85 runs per game posted by the 1968 White Sox.   
    And after sweeping the Mets, the 2013 Marlins are now 16-41, the same record as the worst-ever 1962 Mets.
    The big-time experts at FishStripes.com are saying that this team is likely to get better -- with Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, Nathan Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez coming off the DL. That's LoMo (.230 in 2012), Eovaldi (4.43 ERA) and Alvarez (4.85). Anyways, Michael Jong says Fangraphs is projecting Marlins will be .406 won-loss rest of the way, meaning that they will have a mere 104 losses this season -- far behind the '62 Mets 120.
    Lucas is certainly a feel good story, struggling for a decade in the minors and now batting .625 (so why wasn't he called up earlier, ask we grumpy fans). But I think a major difference in the Marlins recent surge is Chris Coghlan. A no-power guy batting .140 in 2012 (not a typo) and .230 in 2011, this year team is so weak that he's been batting fifth. And surprise! He's started to come around. In the last 10 games, he's been batting .415 and he went 4 for 5 Sunday with two RBI.
    So is there hope? One of the commentators at Fishstripes.com prays this: "Let's just hope Loria doesn't live as long as Fidel, and that one day in the not too distant future real baseball will be played by two teams simultaneously in that nice new taxpayer funded stadium."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Standing Up for the Marlins

So my youngest son and I went to the Indy 500 (and heard the Archbishop of Indianapolis pray for a Pacer victory that Sunday night). After the race, we hung around the parking lot for a while waiting for the traffic (300,000 people) to clear, and a guy with a Pacer T-shirt and a Cubs cap spotted my Marlins cap.

"Going to the Heat game tonight?" he asked.

"No," I said, "My team is a Double A baseball team."

"Aw, they're not even that," he said.

"Yes, they are," I said. "They're a pretty decent AA team." I paused, looked at his smug expression, and added: "But you have to feel sorry for us Marlins fans. It's been 10 years since we won a World Series."

That shut him up.

As of Wednesday morning, the Marlins are 13-39. The losing-est team in baseball history, the 1962 New York Mets, who lost 120, at this point were 15-37.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gone Fishin'

Going to be in Midwest till June 2 ... Probably won't be posting much. ...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

PLAYING CATCH UP


    In last year's trades, the Marlins picked up not one but two catchers -- Rob Brantly from Detroit and Jeff Mathis from Toronto. The Marlins also picked up Jake Jefferies in 2011 from Tampa
    Brantly, 23, shows some promise, probably would be in minors with most teams. Like most people the Marlins go after, he has a power deficit -- 3 HR in 222 plate appearances in the majors over two seasons, with a batting average of .265.
    Mathis, 30, is special. He has spent nine seasons in the majors and is below the Mendoza line for his career at .197.
    Michael Yong at fishstripes.com has a devastating analysis of Mathis, calling him "one of the most interestingly bad players in baseball today. ... Mathis is ... one of the worst hitters of this generation."
    Jefferies, now 25, he's in AAA batting .222 and on the DL.
    Why the fascination with catchers? There's one name you don't hear much. That's Kyle Skipworth, 23, now batting .121 in AAA. Last year he hit .217 in AA.
    Skipworth was the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft, one pick after Buster Posey. While Posey has soared to super-star status among catchers, Skipworth has languished. The Marlins front office still talks about him as "developing" but their trades for catchers show they've pretty much given up on him. Another huge front office disaster.
    After Tuesday's loss to the Phillies, wasting another great Fernandez outing, the Marlins are 13-33. The '62 worst-ever Mets were 12-34 at this point.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WHO WOULD HAVE THUNK IT?

    The sad Phillies make the Marlins look great. Their payroll is $170 million according to ESPN, third after Dodgers and Yankees; their average home attendance even in this dismal season is 38,081 -- more than Marlins Park sits. But they're an aging team in decline that the youthful Marlins can knock over.
    Going back to the 2012 debacle, check out jigokusabre's lengthy comment at fishstripes.com on what went wrong: He says it wasn't the high-priced players but a supporting cast -- including worst first and third base in ML -- that doomed the team. And then bad management misidentified the problems. (You need to scroll down to see his comment; it's below a Loria defense.)
    For the year, the Marlins are now 13-32 -- finally ahead of the worst-ever Mets of 1962, who were 12-33 at this point.
   

Monday, May 20, 2013

THE 2012 FAILURE

        My buddy Orlando sent me one of his regular missives on Sunday -- not celebrating a rare Marlins win, but a player progress report: "Miguel went 4-4, hits 3 homers and had 5 rbi."
    Here's the thing: I never get updates from embittered friends on JJ, Reyes or Buehrle are doing in Toronto, or how Hanley is doing in LA.
    Fans -- including me -- were bitter when the Marlins dumped their high-paid players last year, but the truth is that Loria and Company spent a lot of money putting together a bad team of expensive guys who were bad last year and who this year are mostly mediocre or have produced little.
    Last year's team was not a great one. When the Marlins dumped Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante on July 23, the Marlins were 44-51 and in fourth place. Hanley went three days later.
    Technically, USA Today lists the Marlins as having a payroll of $118 million at the start of last year, but $19 million of that was for Zambrano, and most of that salary was paid for by the Cubs, who were all too happy to dump him.
    But here's a list of dumped players, their salaries last year and what they did last year and are doing this year.
    * Hanley Ramirez -- $15 million, 14 HR 48 RBI .246 in 2012 while in 2013 has .455 in a mere four games for Dodgers.
    * Josh Johnson -- $13.7 million, 8-14 with 3.81 ERA last year, this year a mere 19 innings with Blue Jays and 0-1, 6.86.
    * Jose Reyes -- $10 million, a solid 11-57-.287 with 40 SB in 2012, this year injured appearing only in 10 games with Blue Jays.
    * Anibal Sanchez -- an exception. He was 5-7 3.94 last year with Marlins but at a hefty $8 million, this year a solid 4-4 2.77 with Tigers.
    * Heath Bell -- $7 million, 4-5 with 5.09 ERA last year, this year 4.50 with eight saves with Diamondbacks.
    * Mark Buehrle -- $7 million last year with 13-13 3.74 ERA (not bad), this year struggling at 1-3 6.33 with Blue Jays.
    * John Buck -- $6.5 million. He never got above the Mendoza line last year, batting .192. This year he started hot with Mets, but has been cooling off -- 10 HR, .228 BA.
    * Emilio Bonifacio -- $2.2 million last year, now batting .196 with Blue Jays.
    *Carlos Zambrano -- Marlins paid about $2.5 million of his salary, according to USA Today. He was 7-10 4.49 last year, losing his starting role> This year, last I heard, he was trying to come back in Phillies farm system.
    Last year's team also saw considerably playing time by Gabby Sanchez (.202 before being traded), Bryan Petersen (.195), Chris Coghlan (.140) and Scott Cousins (.163).
    In other words, the most recent dumping of players was not like what followed 1997 and 2003, those bitter events still throb in fans' memories.
    For the year, the 2013 Marlins are now 12-32, the exact record of the hapless 1962 Mets at this point.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

PAYING customers?

    First, the good news. Hechavarria remains above the Mendoza line even after going 0-4 in another loss before 13,444 announced customers.
    Placido Estevez has pointed out at Marlinmaniac.com (no relation) that Marlins are NOT dead last in one category -- attendance.
    The latest stats at espn.com show the Marlins with 18,076 average home attendance, ahead of Tampa Bay at 17,936 and Cleveland 15,649.
    That Tampa Bay number shows how listless baseball fans are in the  Sunshine State, since TB fields an interesting team in a tough division and does so by making smart front-office decisions (locking in young players early, among other things).
    But here's the thing: I'll bet you that in ticket revenue, the Rays and Indians are far ahead of the Marlins. My buddy Orlando and I purchased upper deck outfield seats for opening night for $25.50, including various online handling fees. For that we got a free extra game, which we claimed Thursday night, sitting in the sixth row in section 14, which is behind home plate. If we hadn't had that deal, we could have taken advantage of seniors Thursday (seniors being anyone 55 over over), which would have also gotten us free tickets. My friend JS, with ex-husband, her ex-husband's other ex-wife and the other ex-wife's fiance, also attended Thursday night -- all on free tickets.
    Our hot dog guy (great $3 sausages east of the ballpark) told Orlando that he and many people in the neighborhood have been approached by a Marlins rep and offered free tickets.
    You can also get 2-1 deals on Tuesdays, kids eating free on Wednesdays, etc. So the number of customers paying full value for a seat must be astonishingly low.
    After Friday's 9-2 loss to the Diamondbacks, the Marlins are 11-31. The worst team of the modern era, the 40-120 1962 Mets, were 12-30 at this point.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Got My Money's Worth

    I attended my third game of the year on Thursday, and boy was it a great game. I got my money's worth -- more than that, really, since I didn't pay anything for the ticket and was sitting in the sixth row behind home plate. (More on that at a later date.)
    In the first, Juan Pierre hit a ball that barely cleared the right-field wall -- his first homer of the year. In 8100 plate appearances, he has 18 HRs -- one per every 450 at bat. Since he's 35, last night's "blast" may have been his last.
    Fernandez did another spectacular pitching job, especially considering he was going against the hard-hitting Reds, but there were two defining moments.
    In the ninth inning, the Marlins down 2-1 with a runner on third, the Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman, enters the game and immediately strikes out Placido Polanco, the vet, with pitches at 100, 101, 100 mph. Up comes Marcell Ozuna, 22, who is only a few days removed from AA ball. Pressure situation, All-Star pitcher on the mound, and the kid stepped up to the challenge, blasting a triple and giving Chapman his first blown save of the year. Ozuna showed right there that he's up to Big League pressure and can get around on 100 mph heat. A bright ray of hope for us struggling Marlins fans.
    More telling of the grim reality of the present was a situation in the seventh inning -- one that shows how awful is the team this year. Adeiny Hechavarria singled, Derek Dietrich (just promoted from AA and hitting third) was hit by pitch. Runners on first and second, nobody out. And up comes the cleanup hitter, Ozuna, 22.
    And... he squares to bunt. I was groaning right away. Marlins were down to 2-1 and their cleanup hitter gives them a chance for a big inning. What's more, the on-deck hitter is Coghlan, batting .220. 
    "Maybe he'll hit a deep fly ball," says the guy sitting behind me of Coghlan. Not a chance, I say. No power.
    Even worse, the guy hitting behind Coghlan is Mathis, just off the injury list and hasn't had a hit this year.
    Ozuna "does his job" -- bunts, sends runners to second and third with one out. The Reds intentionally walk (?!?) the weak-hitting Coghlan to get to the green Mathis, who grounds into a double play, ending the inning.
    With such a weak-hitting lineup, you're not going to score many runs, a point proved again Thursday night as the Marlins lost 5-3 in 10 innings.
    For the year, the Marlins are 11-20. The '62 Mets were 12-19 at this point.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Comparing Astros and Marlins

    Michael Jong at fishstripes.com has a brilliant analysis of two rebuilding teams -- the Astros and Marlins. The Astros have put their project in the hands of the former scout director of the Cards, a team with a fabulous farm system. The Marlins continue to put their system in the hands of a guy who has been failing for a decade while Loria fires managers for not performing.
    Jong writes: "Beinfest has an unfortunately shoddy history in the draft over the last ten years and was in part responsible for the dearth of talent that was promoted in the late 2000's and early 2010's. The Marlins' minor league system ranked near last in each of the three years before this past off-season, and it was due to a series of poor drafts that were finally rectified by recent picks. Also, Beinfest and company have shown no inkling of interest in statistics and have proven they have very little knowledge on the matter based on the comments they have made in the past."
    Read  his full report here.
    After Sanabia's loss Wednesday night, the Marlins are 11-29. The '62 Mets at this point were 12-28.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Oh, Lucy!

    A day after I posted that maybe we should enjoy watching an AA team, the one big-time Major League salary comes into focus. Ricky Nolasco, who gave up six runs in the first two innings last night, is listed by ESPN as getting $11.5 million this year.
    There were rumors in the off-season that the Marlins wanted to dump Ricky too, but MLB stopped that because they didn't want the Marlins to become (more?) of a laughingstock. He earns far more than anyone else on the team -- and more than the entire rest of Tuesday's starting lineup. In second place are Polanco and Hechavarria (?!) at $2.75 million each.
    He is tied for the team lead in losses -- with five -- but at least he soaks up the innings, leading the team with 53.1.
    Confirming their AA status, the Marlins had Dietrich and Ozuna batting three and four last night.
    For the season the Marlins are 11-28. The 1962 Mets at this point were 12-27, but they were about to lose another nine straight games, so this may be the point where the Marlins can separate themselves from the losing-est team in ML history.
   

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

STARTING A DIET

    Analysts now love the Marlins farm system. Last year, fangraphs.com ranked it 26th in the majors. This year, SB Nation says they're eighth, Bleacher Report 5, Scouting Book 6.
    Bleacher Report put it this way: "Over the last year, the Marlins’ farm system endured a 180-degree swing. However, it came at the cost of essentially all their premier big-league talent. Through trades with the Blue Jays, Dodgers and Tigers, respectively, the organization bolstered their prospect pool at nearly every position."
    That's kind of like starting a diet by shooting yourself in the stomach.
    The other thing is that the prospects, who would mostly be in AA at this point in a class organization like the Cards, are already playing in a big league park.
    Here's the rankings from ScoutingBook.com of players listed as prospects but already in Miami, big leaguers, no longer really "prospects": Jose Fernandez (ranked 1 prospect), Rob Brantly (5), Marcell Ozuna (6), Adeiny Hechavarria (8), Derek Dietrich (14). Brantly and Hechavarria were starters from the get-go this year.
    So, maybe the attitude to take is to enjoy watching a AA team in Miami this year.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Remembering Matt D

    Well, it's a pretty good AA club, with Ozuna, in A ball last year, hitting cleanup.  And the guy has an arm! So some hope there.    
    Still, after losing two of three with the Dodgers, the Marlins are heading home last in the ML in runs scored, home runs, batting average, slugging average and of course OBS.
    Which of course makes me think of Matt Dominguez. He was supposed to be the great third baseman, the phenom drafted in the first round (12th overall) in 2007. Last year he was dumped to the Astros in return for Carlos Lee because ... because for a brief moment the leadership was dreaming of a World Series. Carlos is gone and Dominguez, while not the phenom once boasted about, is a regular player with the Astros batting .264 with 2 HR and 15 RBI.
    Dominguez, 23, is getting paid $492,000. The dysfunctional Marlins dumped him and now have a free-agent, Polanco, 37, with zero HR and six RBI, batting .242 and getting paid $2.75 million.
    The Marlins are now 11-27. The '62 Mets at this point were 12-26.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Where's Waldo?

    Er, Hanley. One trade (one of the very few) you're not going to hear me bitch about was sending Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers last year. Hanley is a five-tool underperformer. It's always something.
    At the moment, he's batting .455 (!) ... in 12 plate appearances and is on the DL with his $15.5 million salary -- one of the many non-performers on the expensive Dodger staff.
    Last year, Marlins traded him for Scott McGough, a 23-year-old pitcher who is now 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA at Jacksonville, and Nathan Eovaldi, who was 4-13 last year with a 4.30 ERA and is now injured. Eovaldi is showing Andrew Miller type potential.
    Oh, of course, the Marlins needed to give the Dodgers a little extra something besides Hanley -- and they did. Randy Choate, who is now with the Cards showing 1.93 ERA in 4.2 innings.
    On Friday night, none of that mattered. Fernandez got his second victory, despite giving up three runs in the first, Dietrich got his first HR and Juan Pierre showed more signs of life with two hits.
    The Marlins are now 11-25. The '62 Mets were 12-24 at this point.

Friday, May 10, 2013

LA!

    The Dodgers -- upcoming foes for a weekend series -- are in some important ways are more pathetic than the Fish. The Marlins are now 10-25, with the Dodgers at 13-20.
    According to USA Today, the Marlins have a payroll of $36.3 million and the Dodgers, with the second highest payroll (after the Yankees) are at $216.6 million. If  you extrapolate their present win percentage to end of season, that means the Fish are spending $789,130 per victory, the Dodgers $3.4 million per victory. Those Dodger owners must be steaming.
    Meanwhile, the Marlins have three players -- Fernandez, Ozuna and now Dietrich -- who were in A ball last year. They're now AA players promoted by a desperate franchise. If they develop, the Marlins might be able to give the AAA Yankees a run for their money later in the year. 
    BTW, the Marlins present pace would give them 46 wins for the season, better than the 40 achieved by the worst-ever '62 Mets.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

DISMAL DAYS



    After losing three to the Padres, the Marlins are grasping for new lows.
    They have announced formally what we already experienced last week -- the upper bowl is closed for some games. In a small ballpark like the Marlins, that's really pathetic. As my buddy OA said: "We didn't need to build a new park for that. We already had a lot of practice doing it at Sun Life."
    Meanwhile revisiting the Trade that Will Live in Infamy, another buddy reminds me that the Tigers picked the Marlins' pocket again last year by picking up Anibel Sanchez and Omar Infante.
    Sanchez is doing great -- 3-3 with a 1.97 ERA -- and Infante is a solid .287 infielder. The Marlins got Brantly, who may some day might be a fine catcher but probably belongs in minors now; Jacob Turner (5.20 ERA at AAA and looking like another Andrew Miller) and Brian Flynn, a 23-year-old pitcher recently promoted to AAA and showing a bit of promise.
    Meanwhile the Marlins have promoted another AA prospect, Derek Dietrich. He's 23, shows some promise. We know that because a smart organization, Tampa Bay, drafted him in the second round of 2010. He was obtained by the Marlins as a spin-off of the Blue Jays give-away, in which Yunel Escobar was flipped to the Rays. Escobar is doing even worse than Hechavarria, so that deal at least wasn't a disaster.
    The Marlins are now 10-25, compared to 1962 Mets 12-21. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

That Damn Tigers Trade


    Back to the future: Another one-run game in San Diego, another loss. Disappointed in JP's lead-off performance, they put Hechavarria (.188) there and he goes 0-3 with a walk.
    Which of course brings me back as a sour fan to that damned 2007 Tigers trade and what might have been.
    Back in October, after Miggy won the first triple crown since 1967, Sportspickle.com quoted Marlins GM Michael Hill as saying that he's still confident the Marlins got the better of the deal. "Miguel Cabrera likely peaked this year. Whereas the guys we got in return have yet to do anything. You could say they're full of potential."
        Oh yeah? Of the six guys the Tigers sent the Marlins, three -- Dallas Trahern, Mike Rabelo and Eulogio De La Cruz – -- got dumped without any compensation.
    Let's look at  the others:
    Andrew Miller – traded to Boston Red Sox in 2010 in return for Dustin Richardson, who was claimed off waivers by the Braves the following year. So zero benefit there.
    Burke Badenhop – traded in 2011 to Tampa Bay for Jake Jefferies, who's now with AAA New Orleans. In six minor league seasons, Jefferies has  batted .250, with 10 stolen bases and 15  homers.
    Cameron Maybin – traded in 2010 to Padres for Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb.  Mujica, who showed considerable promise, was dumped last year to the Cards for Zack Cox, who is now playing third base at AA Jacksonville batting .328 with no homers. Ryan Webb is a run-of-the-mill bullpen guy with Marlins.
        So six years after giving away Cabrera, we have ... Ryan Webb.
        Still, of those still in the minor leagues as spin-offs of the trade, Hill said:  Now, you may say: 'Those guys you got in return suck major ass' or 'I never heard of any of them.' And that's fine. But maybe we'll somehow trade one of those guys for a future Hall of Famer."
        Wanna bet?
        After Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Padres, the Marlins are now 10-24. The '62 Mets were 12-22 at this point, the 2003 Tigers 7-27.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bring back the Phillies

    Monday night was back to reality with the Padres, a 5-0 loss, cementing the team's last-place ML stance for runs scored. The crowd was 14,156.
    My guess is most of those San Diego fans paid full price for their tickets. Not here in Miami, where the Marlins are literally giving away tickets to try to win back disgusted fans.
    My buddy OA says: "We are babysitting our grandson tonight and he's raised on Sir Pizza. So with the order, the box came with a kind of post-it coupon that'll give you two tickets to any April-May game, Monday-Thursday, up to baseline reserved, for free. So I kept it. (On the back, it has a little calendar that tells you which games it's good for.) Redeemable at the stadium. And I just saw that with an empty can of Pepsi, you can get almost any seat (even some of the prime ones) for $5."
    Plus on Thursdays old farts like OA and I get in for free. And we still have unused free coupons that we got by purchasing our opening day tickets.
     Last month, I paid $31 apiece for four upper deck outfield seats at Yankees Stadium. With my most recent Marlins visit, I paid $9 and got a much better seat.
    For the season, Marlins are now 10-23. The '62 Mets at this point were 12-21, the 2003 Tigers were 7-26. Thanks to their Phillies cheese steaks, the Marlins are now averaging 2.97 runs a game -- ahead of the worst-ever 2.85 posted by the 1968 White Sox.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What a weekend

    Fernandez and Slowey pick up their first victories, Ozuna is batting .478 in his first six games, and Hechavarria goes 2-4 Sunday with seven RBIs, putting him closer to the Mendoza line with a .190 average.
    Fun games to watch. But, in this season of our discontent, I have to point out that Marlins are still last in ML in runs, and they gained two victories against the declining Phillies.
    If there is anything more pathetic than the Astros (payroll $22 million) and Marlins (payroll $36.3 million), it's the aging Phillies with a payroll of $165 million, behind only the Yankees and Dodgers. The Phillies are paying Cliff Lee $25 million, Howard, Halladay and Hamels $20 million each.
    Halladay was way over-the-hill on Sunday, and the Marlins youngsters had a great day. The Phillies have gotten 14 victories for their $165 million so far, the Marlins 10 for their $36 million. Still, Philadelphia loves its team -- 45,276 showed up on Sunday. The Marlins are hard pressed to get 20,000, even with deeply discounted tickets.
    For the year, the Marlins are now 10-22. The '62 Mets were 12-20 at this point, the 2003 Tigers 7-25.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

DIE-az

    Shortly after I wrote yesterday that the Marlins seem to specialize "in picking up free agents for low pay that no one else wants" -- I learned they had called up Matt Diaz, 35, released by the Yankees in spring training.
    Announcers happily say that Diaz has really beaten up Marlins pitchers over the years, but in Philadelphia, he wasn't facing a Marlins pitcher. He steps to the plate last night with the bases loaded and strikes out.
    Diaz -- he pronounces it DIE-az -- may have been picked up just to give Spanish broadcasters something to talk about for the rest of the season.
    After Friday night's lost, the Marlins are 8-22. The 2003 Tigers were 5-25 at this point, the 1962 Mets were 11-19.

Friday, May 3, 2013

FROM THE HALLS OF MARCELL OZUNA

    Phenom Marcell Ozuna had two hits Thursday night against Phillies, and he could be the real deal. Or he could be another Jeremy Hermida, who hit a grand slam in his first ML at bat and has been sliding downhill ever since. 
    Were my bad thoughts about the Marlins farm system wrong? Well, Ozuna was signed by the Marlins as an undrafted free agent in 2008. Sanabia, last night's pitcher, was drafted in the 32nd round in 2006; he's starting to show signs of true mediocrity. The other seven starters on Thursday all came from elsewhere.
    As a small market team, the Marlins need to build from within, but what they seem to specialize in is picking up free agents for low pay that no one else wants -- Dobbs, Solano, Polanco, Juan Pierre (who miraculously walked again Thursday night, making for his third walk of the season).
    Where are the great draft picks that the Marlins boasted about in the past? Like Kyle Skipworth and Matt Dominguez?
    The Marlins are now 8-21. The 1962 Mets were 10-19, the 2003 Tigers were 4-25.
    After Thursday night's two-run outing, the Marlins have now scored 81 runs in 29 games -- 2.79 per game. The record low for a 162-game season comes from the 1968 Chicago White Sox, which scored 2.85 a game.
    The Marlins are also close to the worst-fielding team in baseball this year. Only the Nats have more errors, for what it's worth.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A QUIET MIRACLE

    I witnessed a quiet miracle Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park. Juan Pierre walked. In the first inning of his 25th game this season, the leadoff hitter drew a walk -- his mere second of the season.
    For the day, he also got two hits, raising his batting average to .222 and his on-base percentage to .260. Maybe he's got some life left yet. Stil, the team batting average from the leadoff spot is a miserable .191, second worst to the Twins' astonishing .173.
    I don't know why I pick on Juan Pierre, since the 2-9 hitters are also pretty bad.
    Still, we cling to slivers of hope. Phenom Ozuma goes 2-4 Wednesday, as does Nick Green, who ups his batting average to .321. Green also makes a couple of nice fielding plays, and my buddy OA says, "He's looking pretty good."
    Then I open the Herald this morning to see that Green will be released on waivers today because Adeiny Hechavarria is coming off the DL. You remember Adeiny, a key piece in the Bluejays give-away, who's batting .184.
    Wednesday was the second game of the season I attended in person. OA and I also went to opening day, buying cheap upper deck seats in which we got four free seats for a later game.  On Wednesday, we bought $9 seats (cheapest available in the home run porch, section 134, far center field), and then plopped ourselves down in about the 10th row of section 26 (lower deck, left field).
    Our favorite food (the Cuban guy whose stand is outside the east side of ball park) wasn't there, figuring the day game wasn't worth his time. He sells sausages for $3 that are twice the size of a Marlins Park $6 hot dog.  So we settled for the pork sandwich in the food court, a pretty good deal at $7.
    The upper deck was closed, and I'd say that 90 percent of those sitting in the lower deck were kids in school groups, admitted for free or vastly reduced prices. The announced crowd was 16,188, and I'd guess that only a couple of thousand of those were paying customers like us.
    The Marlins are now 8-20. The '62 Mets were 9-19 at this point, the 2003 Tigers were 3-25.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WHOA

    I leave town for a few days, and Marlins explode. They were 5-17 when I left. Now they're a roaring 8-19, having won three in a row, thanks to a 15-inning battle and an  ump's blown call at third.
    Still, the '62 Mets, losing-est team in baseball history, went on a streak about this time too, and they were 9-18 at this point. The 2003 Tigers, worst non-expansion team in history, were 3-24.
    The Marlins remain last in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage and runs scored. They are averaging 2.7 runs a game, still putting them on track for worst-ever run production over a 162-game season, the 1968 Chicago White Sox, which scored 2.85 a game.
    Stanton finds his home run swing. Stanton finds DL. But phenom Ozuma comes up and gets a hit. A sprig of hope in a dismal season -- even if the past two victories were against the lowly Mets.
   

Friday, April 26, 2013

When the going gets tough ...

Clutch hitting? Well, no. The Marlins don't have ANY kind of hitting, so why should there be clutch? They're down a run last night to the miserable Cubs in the bottom of the ninth, get two runners on with no out and can't score -- a botched bunt by JP, a whiff by Stanton. Of course.

Marlins are now 5-17, same record as the '62 record Mets, and ahead of the 2003 Tigers, who were 3-19.

NOTE: I'm off fishing till Tuesday. Or more exactly, going to NY, where I'll see the 2012 Marlins play the Yankees on Saturday night. 


Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Protecting" Stanton

    At the beginning of the year, all the sports writers were talking about "protecting" Stanton by having a good hitter behind him.
    Well, guess what. The main problem concerns the batters in front of Stanton. They're not getting on base, and so there's no reason to give him a good pitch.
    As of Wednesday afternoon, the Marlins' lead off spot is batting .176, with an on-base percentage of .213 -- worst in the majors. No. 2 spot has an OB of .264, 27th in majors. Third spot (Stanton, mostly) is 29th, with an OB of .344. The cleanup hitter has an OB of .341, not great, but his OPS (on-base plus slugging, the main measure for a No. 4 batter) is a respectable .746, 14th -- in the top half of the 30 teams.
    JP, is your career over? 
    NOTE: I have been comparing Marlins' pathetic run production -- which has now climbed to 2.57 runs per game -- with the worst-ever 1908 Cards, which averaged 2.42 for the season. But that was during the "dead ball" era and I knew that the pathetic 2013 Fish couldn't do worse than that. 
    Clark Spencer in today's Herald points to a better comparison, the 1968 White Sox, which set the record for fewest runs in a 162-game season, with 463, or 2.85 a game.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

OH MY JOSH

    In the first game against the Twins Tuesday, the radio announcers mentioned one of the less-remembered bad moves of the Marlins, the dumping of Josh Willingham in 2008. Management's thinking was that Willingham's back was problematic, and the Marlins had a new phenom, Jeremy Hermida, to take his place. That's what the announcers said.
    Well, Willingham, now the Twins left fielder, has hit about 30 HR each of the last two years, with 100 RBI. Hermida has basically vanished from the big leagues, with one homer and eight RBI, total, in the past two years.
    But wait! We got some players when we traded Willingham and Scott Olsen to the Washington Nats in 2008. What happened to them? We got Jake  Smolinski, now 24, a weak-hitting outfielder with no power and career minor league average of .263 who is now in AA; P.J. Dean, a pitcher who apparently has been out of organized ball for several years, and Emilio Bonifacio, dumped in the Blue Jays trade last fall.
    After splitting with the Twins on Tuesday, the Marlins are now 5-16. The '62 Mets were 5-16 also at this point, the 2003 Tigers were 2-19.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

HELLO, TWINS!

    We're  playing a doubleheader today against a team that is as bad or worse than the Marlins in some hitting categories. Marlins are second to last in total bases, with 178. Twins are last with 177. Marlins have six homers, Twins a mere 9. Could make for some close games, but consider: Twins have 64 walks, Marlins a mere 47, helping Twins score 63 runs to Marlins 43.
    Oh, maybe I should point out that the Marlins have played 19 games, the Twins 15.



Monday, April 22, 2013

WORST TEAM IN MLB IN 2013

    I was feeling sorry for Sanabia on Sunday afternoon. He had a "quality start" after six innings, holding the power-hitting Reds to two runs. In the seventh it was obvious Sanabia had run out of gas, but the bullpen had pitched eight innings on Saturday, and Redmond left him danging out there in the seventh, as he put one, then two and then three runners on base.
    With a good team, Sanabia would have had a solid start that would have helped his stats. With the Marlins, his numbers for the day showed five runs in six innings on 109 pitches.
    As of Monday, Marlins are last in ML in runs, home runs and batting average. Their slugging average is a horrendous .286 -- far below the next worst, the Mariners at .346.
    Their record is 4-15. The '62 Mets at this point were 3-16, the Tigers 2-17. Thanks to scoring four meaningless runs in the ninth on Sunday, the Marlins increased their run average to 2.26 per game, still below the 2.42 of the worst-ever 1908 Cards.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

JUST PLAIN BAD?

    So at the start of play Friday night, R wisecracks that the Marlins have put a guy in cleanup that has never had a big league hit. Which is true.
    Joe Mahoney, who was 0-4 last year with the Orioles, was plunked down in No. 4 spot Friday as the "protection" for Stanton, who by the end of the night was hitting .162. Mahoney went 0-3.
    And still -- this is what makes baseball wondrous -- the Marlins scored two whole runs and won the game.
    Marlins are now 4-13, compared with 2003 Tigers' 1-16 and '62 Mets 3-14 at this point.
    When I suggested several days ago on Fishstripes.com that Marlins could be in hunt for worst team ever, Michael Jong shot back: "Everyone needs to calm down. This team is just bad, not some sort of historic awful."
    I find that kind of depressing. If your team is the worst ever, that's a reason to pay attention. To be "just bad" is ... well, that makes it rough to keep paying attention.
    Marlins have now scored 35 runs in 17 games -- 2.05 per game. That's well below the average of 2.42 runs by the the 1908 Cards, the lowest-scoring team in ML history.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Day that Will Live in Infamy

    Oh, now it's really getting bad. On Thursday night, our phenom Jose Fernandez gets hammered and the Marlins score their typical one run. Hechavarria goes on DL and our brooding All-Star, Stanton, is well below the Mendoza line.
    After Thursday night, the Marlins are 3-13. The '62 expansion Mets were 3-13. The 2003 non-expansion Tigers were 1-15 at this point.
    Remember 2003? The Marlins were on their way to a world championship. The Tigers were setting a record for most losses ever (119) by a non-expansion team.
    Since then the Marlins have become a laughing-stock while the Tigers have gone to the playoffs the last two years, boosted by their MVP Miguel Cabrera.
    One big reason for the change in fortunes:
    On Dec. 4, 2007, the Marlins traded Cabrera to the Tigers for a bunch of "can't miss" prospects:
    Andrew Miller – a pitcher who flopped with the Marlins and is now in the Boston Red Sox bullpen.
    Dallas Trahern – a pitcher who never made it to the majors. He apparently last pitched in the minors in 2011.
    Eulogio De La Cruz – another miserable pitcher, who was sold (?!) to the San Diego Padres, who quickly released him. He was signed by Brewers organzation last winter.
    Burke Badenhop – another pitcher, who did some mediocre relieving with the Marlins, was traded to the Rays and is now with the Brewers.
    Cameron Maybin – an outfielder who in his “breakout” season with the Marlins, 2010, played 82 games, batting .234, with 8 HR and 9 SB, before being traded to the Padres.
    Mike Rabelo – a catcher who appeared in 34 games with 2008 Marlins, batting .202. He was granted free agency in 2009 and has not appeared in the majors since then. 
    Those are the six names of the apocalypse.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Los Tres Triste Tigres


    So maybe it's unfair to compare the 2013 Marlins, a team that has been developing (?!) for 20 years with the 1962 Mets, an expansion team just getting their feet on the ground with ol' Casey as their character-manager.
 
    Maybe the 2013 Marlins should be compared with the losing-est team in baseball that was NOT an expansion team. That would be the 2003 Detroit Tigers, which lost 119 games, one fewer than the '62 Mets.
   
     In an article on the worst teams in baseball history, Bleacher Report notes of the '03 Tigers: “Only designated hitter Dmitri Young had a good season with the bat as this team … were last in the American League in every batting category. Their pitching was slightly better being only near the bottom in every category, but having the last 20 game loser over the last 30 years in Mike Moroth. Ironically, Maroth led the 2003 Tigers starters in wins (9) and winning percentage (.300)!”
    
     Worse, the Tigers farm system was developing a pattern of with what we might call “just-miss” prospects.
    
     Only a miracle – a savior coming out of nowhere – could resurrect the Tigers system. And that's what they got, several years later, starting them down the road to the highly competitive team they are today. More about that later.

    After Wednesday night's loss to the Nats, again managing only one run, the 2013 Marlins are 3-12. The 2003 Tigers at this point were 1-14, the '62 Mets were 3-12.

      As of Thursday morning, Marlins have scored 32 runs in 15 games, or 2.13 runs a game. The record for lowest number of runs/season is held by the 1908 St. Louis Cards, during the “dead ball era.” Those Cards average 2.42 runs per game.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A glimmer of hope or a mirage?



Hechavarria, the weak-hittting shortstop, slams a homer, the Marlins score eight runs and win on Tuesday night. He's batting below the Mendoza line, he has hit one homer per 58 at bats in the Major Leagues, but hey, he's young, turning 24 on Monday, so maybe he can develop some power. Or maybe not.

Remember the biggest losers in baseball history, the '62 Mets, managed to win one out of every four games.

A lot of fans aren't wildly enthusiastic. Rage against the Marlins – http://www.ratmarlins.com – continues its petition drive through whitehouse.gov: “To Create Legislation That Would Force Jeff Loria to Sell the Miami Marlins & Leave Town. We call upon congress to create legislation that requires any major league sports franchise that operates within the United States, who take public tax money to help build a stadium or arena, must maintain a competitive payroll at all times, of at least 90% of the entire leagues average opening day payroll for the previous five years, for the first ten years after taking said money, and the failure to do so would invoke proceedings upon which the governing body of the league, in which the franchise in question resides, would be forced to immediately buy said franchise for fair market value, and the ownership group in question would be forced to sell it to them without dispute.”
 
So far, they have 848 signatures and need 99,152 in next couple weeks to get the White House attention.

Perhaps a free-market approach would be better, like the relegation system in European soccer, in which the worst performing teams are demoted to the minors and the best performing minor league teams are promoted. Maybe that way the Marlins could get some decent competition against AAA – AA? – opponents.

On this Wednesday morning, the 2013 Marlins are 3-11. The '62 Mets were 2-12.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On track for worst team ever

After Monday's numbing loss to the Nats, the miserable Marlins have me searching the record books. They're still a game ahead of the worst performance in baseball history, the '62 Mets, who lost 120 games. At this point, the Mets were 1-12, the 2013 Marlins are 2-11. Of course, the Mets were a young expansion team that got better as the year went along.

The Marlins have scored 23 runs – including an astonishing three on Monday night. That means they're scoring 1.9 runs a game. The lowest total for a team/season in ML history is the 1908 St. Louis Cards, during the “dead ball era.” Those Cards scored 372 runs in 154 games – 2.42 runs per game.

At least the Marlins aren't likely to break the home run record. The 1908 Chicago White Sox had three homers for the year. The Marlins already have two – and it's only April. So that's the good news, right?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shake Things Up


After another loss Sunday, with Marlins again eking out a mere one run, let me make this modest proposal: Completely restructure the starting lineup. Once again, Sunday the Marlins were 0-8 in the first two positions, and that's no surprise because they put Pierre and Coghlan in the 1-2 spots – two of the worst on-base guys on the team.

Let's say you had a lineup based on on-base percentage. It would be
1 – Polanco .378
2 – Stanton .342
3 – Solano .318
4 – Dobbs .300
5 – Ruggiano .289
6 – Brantly .257
7 – Hechevarria .250
8 – Kearns .231

They couldn't do any worse than the Marlins have been doing.

Now, Stanton and Kearns were injured yesterday. It'd be better to replace either with Valaika, .455 OBP in 10 at bats. Pierre's OBP is .224, Coghlan's .190.

For the season, Marlins are 2-10, still ahead of the worst team in history, the '62 Mets, which were 1-11 at this point.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Where are the homers?

Thanks to the stellar performance of phenom Jose Fernandez, the Marlins are 2-9 after Saturday night, on a pace to win 31 games for the year. The worst team in baseball history, the '62 Mets, were 1-10 at this point. They won 40 games.

Fernandez, 20, is certainly a huge bright spot in this dismal year – perhaps our only ray of hope – but we grumpy Marlins fans are still seeing glasses that are 90 percent empty.
Note Fernandez has not gotten a win with two stellar performances.

Earl Weaver created his Oriole teams on good starting pitching and three-run homers. The Marlins flat out don't believe in homers. Their two major off-season acquisitions were

Juan Pierre, who has 17 homers in his 14-year career, including one last year.
Placido Polanco, who had no homers last year and 32 in 16 years.

What's particularly troubling is that these two play two positions – left field and third base – that are often spots for big power hitters.
Another power hitting position is first base, now occupied by Gregg Dobbs, who had five homers last year.

Question: Is it possible that power hitters cost too much, even in their declining years, for Marlins to afford? Or maybe even to draft? Marlins minor league is filled with weak-hitting outfielders, like Cousins and Petersen.







Saturday, April 13, 2013

MARLINS TIED WITH METS


2013 Marlins are now 1-9, the same record as the historic losers, the Mets, had in 1962. They're on a pace to win 16 games for the season.

After Friday night's miracle – a run scored – Marlins are batting .208, worst in the Major Leagues, with an on-base percentage of .281, 27th of 30 teams. With Stanton now injured, the team's performance is beyond laughable. Twenty-five players have more home runs than do the Marlins as a team. Three players have more RBI than do the Marlins squad.

The Marlins 17 runs scored in 10 games is by far the worst in Majors, trailing the next worst, Pirates and Dodgers (!), who have 27 runs scored. (Boy, those Dodger owners must be grumbling.)

Announcers talk about someone hitting behind Stanton, to “protect” the slugger. But in fact, it'd probably be better if there were runners on base in front of Stanton, so that pitchers were forced to pitch to him.

Juan Pierre, 35,still has a great work ethic, but his aging body is struggling. He's never taken a lot of walks, and this year he's gotten only one, though he has gotten hit by pitches twice, and I assume he's leaning in. His on-base percentage is .268. Not getting the leadoff hitter on base is a major part of Marlins not being able to score runs.



Friday, April 12, 2013

Buck is better than entire Marlins team

So far this year, they've hit two home runs and driven in 15 runs. John Buck, thrown into the Blue Jays giveaway last year, has five home runs and 15 RBI with the Mets as of Friday morning. Thanks to an off-day, Marlins kept their record at 1-8. The '62 Mets, worst team ever, were 0-9 at this point. The '93 Marlins, in their first year (like the '62 Mets), were 3-6 at the start. My buddy R says, “It will only get worse. The 'prospects' now masquerading as big league players show no signs of being players. The shortstop -- the centerpiece of a trade that unloaded four All-Stars -- will be lucky to hit .160 this year.” H observes: "If we break the Mets' record, will the Fish be the ultimate dysfunctional franchise through 20 years? 2 championships, 0 division titles, all-time single-season loss record.” Take that, Cubs.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A fan speaks

Marlins Diehards: A Miami Marlins Blog: Help Us, Barack Obama, You're Our Only Hope

Marlins Diehards: A Miami Marlins Blog: Help Us, Barack Obama, You're Our Only Hope: Sure, the president has a flagging economy, belligerent North Korea, and other pressing issues to deal with, but that hasn't stopped a...

Are the 2013 Marlins the Worst Team in Baseball History?

Their record is now 1-8, putting them on path for an 18 victory season, meaning they would lose 144 games, far beyond the present record holder, the hapless 1962 Mets, which lost an astonishing 120 games. My buddy R predicted last December the 2013 Marlins would win 39 and lose 123 – a prediction that now seems highly optimistic. But note this: Game by game, they're still doing better than the '62 Mets, a spanking new expansion team. The Mets went 0-9 before they won a game.

Friday, April 5, 2013

And now comes the bad news ...

My buddy, H, commented this morning: "Give it up for the only 0-3 team in baseball. This is inept franchise management at its worst. No long-term plan. This isn't rebuilding. With rebuilding, you develop young players over a period of time. And you don't look this hopeless. Only one player on this team would scare any pitcher. And none of our pitchers scares anyone." My response: "I agree completely. Tampa and Washington methodically built up solid teams. Upper management for Marlins is just clueless: Bad drafts, bad plans or no plans, bad trades. The scary thing is that the Washington series showed the Marlins at their best. In NY, we are going to see two pitchers who are the minor league subs for two pretty awful pitchers who are injured. Now things could get really bad. I am thinking of myself as Joe Boyd, the hero of The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, who listened to the Washington Senators year after year on his radio in the 1950s. The Senators finished first in the AL in 1933. They finished second in 1945. But for most of the rest of the time until they left Wash in 1960, they were at the bottom of the AL. But, uh, Joe had a dream as he listened to those games ... And they can't take 1997 and 2003 away from us. So take that, Cub fans."