The Florida Marlins, over the past year, have experienced more turnovers than a fast food restaurant. 20 games under .500 early in the season, the Marlins are poised to defeat all odds and return to the playoffs for only the third time in team history.Why is this so significant? Well for starters, since the Marlins became a franchise in 1993, they have only reached the playoffs twice. Both times these teams captured the Wild Card during the regular season, and then went on to win the World Series during the playoffs.
For most teams, capturing the World Series automatically gives next year’s team the title “the team to beat.” Not the Florida Marlins.
Instead, after their World Series triumphs in 1997 and 2003, the team produced professional sports first and only two “fire sales.”
The term should really be referred to as “fired sale” because that is the key to the process of the recent Marlins sales; getting fired.
We are talking about some high quality players here that have come through the Marlins system to produce World Series winning teams. Most people or organizations give out raises to individuals whom produce such success. Not the Florida Marlins.
Either a player takes a serious pay cut to wear those Marlins pinstripes, or they are told to hit the road and find another place to play.
Don’t like it? Well too bad, because until someone starts producing money for the Florida franchise, this could very well becoming a reoccurring event.
The Marlins only have close to $11.80 to work with. No, I’m really just kidding. But compare that to the Yankees payroll of over $200 million, and that’s exactly what the Marlins $15 million payroll looks like.
Plain and simple the Marlins can’t afford to keep all their young and rising stars. It’s a sad reality because nobody in Major League Baseball even comes close to producing the kind of talent the Marlins have produced since 1993.
But once a player becomes exposed and shows he can win not only in the regular season, but win a World Series by beating the Yankees… these kids are going to be looking for serious money.
So heading into 2006, even though the Marlins did not win the World Series in 2005, they still had to produce another “mini” fire sale, just to keep the team intact. When the season started, many experts and analysts had picked the Marlins to lose close to 125 games.
That number is out of 162. So for everyone who’s not going to be a math major after highschool, losing that many games would have meant the Marlins were expected to lose ¾ of the games they played throughout the entire season.
Oh those poor 326 Florida fans that actually shows up for the games. For those 35,000 other fans that don’t, well they have missed out on all the Fish have accomplished so far this season. The sun is always shinning in Miami, yet these fans still don’t understand what they are missing!
I’m talking about Dan Uggla here! If you don’t like him, what about Anibal Sanchez? Still can’t get enough and I guess fans could watch the underappreciated Miguel Cabrera, or superstar pitcher Dontrelle Willis (who is really only the third best starter on the team this season)?
Or they could just turn on the boob tube and watch the Yankees, which I’m sure is what most of the Florida faithful are doing anyways.
But you’ve been warned. Watch the Yankees and you will miss out on great pitching gems like the one tossed by Sanchez in early September. Sanchez, who is only 22 years old, threw a no-hitter vs. the Diamondbacks.
Then there is that Uggla kid. Not only is he only 26, but he is also a serious contender for NL Rookie of the Year. Ask him what he was doing a little over two years ago, he will tell you he was bagging groceries at a local store.
Add in the fact that the Fish became the first team ever to be 20 games under .500 at any point in the season, and then return to the .500 mark, this is some serious business we have to talk about.
But that is ridiculous. It is impossible for a team so untalented and so young to be producing so well.
Oh yeah, their manager, Joe Girardi, has exactly zero year of experience prior to 2006. So including Girardi, the Marlins boast 22 rookies, on a roster consisting of only 25 players.
Again math majors, that’s more than ¾ of the entire roster. These kids aren’t supposed to know how to win.
In reality, it’s kind of like watching a modern day version of the hit movie, “Major League.” It was like the Florida front office just didn’t want the Marlins to win. But just as in the movie, the Marlins are doing just that, and leaving people to scratch their heads in amazement.
Ask the Marlins their serious, realistic goal at the start of the season, and they will say it was to actually win the World Series. Turns out all those rookies and their has-been catcher, now manager, weren’t kidding even a tiny bit.
Still, you would need a roster to know which player was actually on the field playing for the Marlins. But these same kids, and wash-ups, and “supposed to be life-long minor leaguers”, they have put themselves into a position to win the Wild Card, yet again.
Maybe these fire sales, although slow in the process, aren’t such a bad thing after all.
Get hooked, the Fish are back!
Copyright ©2006 Colin Cerniglia. All Rights Reserved.