While it’s challenging to find anything positive to say regarding the Giancarlo Stanton incident, at least it signals the end of the annoying prattle in the Miami Hurled and other local media about the team’s “legitimate” shot at a wild card slot. Shaddup, already.
From Day One, the team was a long-shot contender at best. There were too many weaknesses in the line-up, the personnel lacked depth and experience, and too many variables would need to break precisely right to make it likely. The sole factor in their favor was the division’s overall weakness, but even that unlikelihood was erased away when Jose Fernandez was lost for the year, depriving the team of their legitimate young Ace.
None of these real-world concerns negatively impacted the absurd cheerleading all year long, any more than the reality of a sub-.500 record in September shut them up. As late as this week — before the Stanton horrorshow — media goobers were still in their make-pretend Candyland, where seldom is heard a discouraging word, echoing the Marlins’ sales department directives to pump up hope to stimulate attendance.
“It’s not like you’ve ever really had baseball writers down there,” one retired scribe told me recently. “But then again, you never had any genuine fan base, either, for baseball or anything else. The rest of the country looks at Miami as a backwater when it comes to sports — at best a hick college-town kind of market, with whole herds of front-runners and fair-weather fans. They like winners, period. The game is less important than the off-field gossip.
“You’ll find out if the Heat breaks the mold, but I’m betting you’ll see next season it’s more of the same old same old.”
I understand why the players never surrender hope, and I get why ownership stays all smiley-face, but why is the sports press so adverse to analysis? Do they suspect that criticism or negative insights would get them banned from the clubhouse? Do they fear that they’ll lose their limited audience if they come on too tough? Maybe they’re just convinced, not without reason, that their readers (and viewers) simply don’t care enough, and don’t really want anything too chewy and bitter.
Well, they’re safe now. They can all shake their noggins sadly and resort to, “Any chance the Marlins still had to work their way into post-season contention got carried off the field in the stretcher next to Giancarlo Stanton on Thursday.”
Followed by blessed silence.