“Got something to show you for your blog,” Duck Diamonds tells me as I settle into a booth at the Liquor & Rubber Balls Sports Emporium and Headlamp Fluid Repair Shoppe. He’s got this little grin on his face, but when I look over to Lu Senz, beside him, she gives me no indication what this all about.
Duck spins his tablet around where he has cut and pasted the following three quotes, which he subsequently emails to me:
“We believe in this core,” president of baseball operations Michael Hill said, per MLB.com. “I think we’re still positioned to take another step this year, and continue to build with [our] talented players.” — FoxSports, July 17, 2015
“When you have to trade pieces away instead of add pieces at this time of year, it’s because something has not gone according to plan,” said a somber Mike Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations. “This was not the plan as we put our club together in the offseason. It’s not anything I ever want to do again.” — Miami Hurled
Marlins’ Mike Hill: “I would hope our fans are educated enough to see what we’re doing here.” hrdballtalk, July 30, 2015
They’re both kind of snickering now, and I join them. Duck, a professional gambler, and Lu, retired baseball writer, were both loudly scornful of the Marlins’ pre-season claims about contention, expressing no faith in ownership and management to assemble a winning squad, and skeptical about the team’s overall talent and capacity to compete. The Marlins obliged them from Day One of the season.
“If anything, they underperformed even my low expectations,” says Lu. “I figured they’re good for .500 ball, maybe a game or two above.” She sips her beer, shakes her head. “I never believed even they thought this team could get anywhere this year. The song and dance was just to sell tickets.”
“That’s where I disagree,” asserts Duck. “I think they’re plenty goober enough to misjudge talent and make personnel mistakes. They assemble a mediocre squad and burden them with ridiculous expectations. Toss in a few injuries to complicate the adversity and you got a formula for catastrophe. Bingo!” He gives me an evil grin. “Wasn’t it for your godawful Phillies they’d be hanging off the ass end of the National League, worst record in baseball.”
Hey, my Phillies are the hottest team since the All-Star break. If the season started then and ended tomorrow, we’d be in first place.
“Yeah, and if my ass had WIFI I wouldn’t need an iPhone,” replies Lu.
“Hill’s crack about the fans being ‘educated enough’ would have got him roasted alive in a real baseball town,” Duck adds. “You say that in Chicago, Philly, New York, Boston — you’re toast. It’s not only really stupid and insulting, it’s just wrong. They have no fucking idea what the hell they’re doing — and that was before they replaced the manager with a front office stooge.”
“Good thing nobody in South Florida gives a rat’s ass about baseball,” Lu agrees. “Marlins baseball, anyway. There’s a lot of Yankees fans around.”
“I won’t speak for the fans — all three dozen of ‘em — but I can tell you I’m educated enough to know what they’re doing,” Duck tells us. “They’re adjusting their roster to make sure they don’t lose any money. That’s why they’re keeping Ozuna down in the minors — you remember, a key part of their ‘best young outfield in baseball’? — to make sure he doesn’t have enough major league service time to qualify for arbitration. Another real dick move by management to destroy morale.”
So are we in is Wait ‘til Next Year mode? Or are they rebuilding for their 5-Year Plan?
“There’s only one plan that makes any sense at all,” says Lu, “and that’s to get these creeps out of baseball entirely. They ran the Expos right out of the country, and they had to be reprimanded by MLB before opening their wallets and paying real salaries. They’re never ever going to be taken seriously until they act that way themselves. They’re like the Donald Trump of baseball, full of shit, unprepared, and self-promoting. Unlovable losers.”
Trouble with you, Lu, is you never say what you really think.
“What I really think is we need another round here,” says Duck, and heads off to the bar to score one.