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.