Stinking Fish

It’s pretty well established that sports fans in south Florida are among the nation’s most ignorant, although there is a significant exception to be made for relocated Northeasterners and Midwesterners with their home town loyalties intact.  But Dolphins fans, for example, are imbeciles — just listen to the sportsholes on the radio, or read the local columns.

fresh carp fish closeupAll that aside, Marlins fans deserve pity.  A long-time Phillies fan myself, I know what losing and bad management are all about. I happen to remember the Great Collapse of 1964 like it was fucking yesterday (as we Fluffyans say, usually with our mouths full) .  Uniquely, the franchise has lost over 10,000 games in its storied career.  But any team can have a bad century.  The Marlins have had a bad century in one quarter the time.

This is preamble to a discussion of Marlins owner Jeff Loria’s nauseating full-page ad, ostensibly designed to counter the ghastly reputation he and his failed franchise have earned for themselves.  Read it here (thanks for the link, Random Pixels).

There are any number of howlers in Luria’s extraordinarily poor presentation, but the one that fried my buns hottest is this statement:

“The controversial trade we made with the Toronto Blue Jays was approved by Commissioner Bud Selig and has been almost universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value.”

I guess those experts exist — just as there are experts who deny evolution, climate change, Keynesian economics, and that the Lord made little green apples.  But damned if I could find them.  An expert myself, I can safely assure you that this trade blew donk.  But don’t take my word.  Here:

The overwhelming opinion is that the Marlins didn’t get enough back for the package they traded, but the team would argue it cleared a lot of salary and got some talented prospects. — Tim Daniels, 11/16/12

In a normal world, a team would use the cost savings freed up to make smart, targeted acquisitions of major-league talent to now round out the franchise. The Marlins, who have cut their payroll by about 300% from 2012, could theoretically do this and add a boatload of free agents or trade for (new) bloated contracts. But in the meantime, this is a team that should be AWFUL in 2013. And despite some promising young talents (like Marisnick, Nicolino and Christian Yelich), they probably won’t be very good in 2014 or 2015 either. It’s hard to see that this trade is representative of any plan other than “save lots of money,” but the team certainly has undone the wild spending of the 2012 offseason. It’s possible the team could be better for it in the long run, but we’ll have to see what other moves are made going forward to see if the Marlins are really interested in fielding a competitive baseball team.  — Bryan Grosnick, 11/14

Miami got prospects in return in this blockbuster, but not Toronto’s top prospect. For now, it is a blockbuster for only the much-improved Blue Jays. It is a travesty for the Marlins, the kind of decision that should prompt commissioner Bud Selig to take a long look at Loria’s business practices.

If Selig fails to do so, Frank McCourt probably will wish he had held on to the Los Angeles Dodgers a little longer because what Loria has done is arguably worse than what McCourt did.

Responding to a text message asking for his reaction to the Marlins-Jays trade, an American League executive replied, “SMH”—as in shaking my head in disgust. — Anthony Witrado, 11/13/12

Grading the trade, this guy gave the Blue Jays an A, the Marlins a D.

Houston Astros v Florida MarlinsAnd there’s much much more.  Who did Luria think he was fooling?

The Marlins’ ownership group is the world’s worst.  They clearly fail to understand the game of baseball, how to create, manage, and run a team, and how to market it.  They don’t understand public relations, as this full-page ad demonstrates again, and they have no sense of operating a high-profile business in a media-intense urban environment.  In a word, they know: Nothing.

I had high hopes for the Marlins when they started out.  It’s not every baseball fan who is granted the thrill of a front row sear for the birth of a franchise, and as a born baseball fan, I felt and embraced the moment.  But this pack of devious asshats has poisoned the pond beyond redemption, turning it into yet another sordid tale of Miami bungling and failure.

When I go to a game – if I go — I’ll wear my Phillies shirt.  Nobody in the stands will bat an eye, just as nobody in the 2013 Marlins line-up of Triple-A prospects will bat over .250.

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9 Responses to Stinking Fish

  1. ya' gotta' guessit says:

    Hey – the first photo’s of “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero, but who’s the guy in the shades?

  2. Barbara Ganousch says:

    There’s no defending this team’s owners and actions, and they managed to work themselves into a situation where nothing they do will help, and even worse, everything they do only hurts more. Reading that letter, it also appears that another thing they’re no good at is selecting a PR agency. It reads like a high school girl’s text to the guy she just broke up with and feels a little bad for.

  3. Hose B says:

    Bad trade, worse spin. What I’ll miss most is reading the brilliance of Jose Reyes This is still my favorite: “The triple has become a big part of my game. It does a lot of things. If you triple with less than two outs, it puts a man at third with less than two outs.” Pure gold. Like his teeth.

  4. Piles says:

    It took ’em 2 days but the Miami Herald’s staff finally weighed in. Even Greg Cote, whose lame columns have enhanced the paper’s reputation for mediocrity over the decades, managed to get this one right. I guess they had to wait for the owner’s check to clear.

  5. Lu Senz says:

    There’s not much to add. In my career I’ve met many owners of professional sports franchises, some good some awful, but I’ve not met Luria so I’m not prepared to diagnose the problem. It may simply be his isolation from critics, the echo chamber effect where nobody close to him will tell him anything he doesn’t want to hear. Remember Mitt Romney’s “shock” at the election results? Same phenomenon.

    Insofar as this owner makes very bad choices, for the sake of the team he should stay out of personnel matters. He paid a lot of money to bring in some bad actors — most people said so at the time, but we don’t have ownership’s attention — however, dumping them all the way he did was not the right solution from either a baseball or PR perspective.

    His mumbling about growing a team from the farm system up would make sense only if he hadn’t pulled this trick several times before, only to trade away those young prospects when they became eligible for major league salaries and prime time playing. The way to deploy this strategy properly is to blend home-grown youngsters with veteran players, creating a stable nucleus that encapsulates the values, style, and strategies of a legitimate franchise, which carry players age and the cycle is repeated. That way there’s always a competitive squad on the field, with hopes for the future as well as pride in the past.

    Sound like the Marlins? No, not even close. Sadly, under this guy’s guidance, it never will be.

    • Moose and Squirrel says:

      I think you nailed it, Lu. As for this guy, somebody needs to tell him that the first step to getting yourself out of a hole is to stop digging. But as you say, he probably doesn’t have anybody close enough to listen to.

  6. Borkon says:

    Funny you should mention the Collapse of 1964. A bunch of us were just talking about that. It was probably responsible for 3 generations’ worth of nastiness that spread all over the city, particularly about sports teams. It took the WS victory of 1980 to bury that beast, and even so, the stench lingers. But what this putz down in Miami just did, given everything else that’s wrong with that team and that city, might be worse. Any chance he’ll walk away from the team? That’s your only hope.

  7. cap peterson says:

    I gotta new girlfriend, where can we go to be alone? Take her to a Marlins game!

  8. cap peterson says:

    I forgot to mention Clay Dalrymple rocks!

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