Have we given up on big league ball in Miami yet? Or maybe Florida as a whole? It’s great for spring training, and the high school and college baseball scenes are top notch, but it just seems like the Rays and Marlins just aren’t hacking it. Sure, they’re newer teams, but they’ve been around for over ten years each now. It’s time they should really be putting down some roots.
You can’t complain about a lack of success. The Marlins have brought home two world championships in their short history,* and the Rays, after a rough first decade, have morphed into the model small-market franchise. Not to mention the Marlins’ shiny new ballpark.** But both teams typically draw flies.
*Although 1993 was almost twenty years ago. Gulp.
**The caption for picture four is a particularly good example of a mild funny aneurysm moment.
I don’t have an explanation for it, outside of Florida has consistently shown itself to be a poor host for professional sports. I complain about Indy being full of fair weather fans, but it’s nothing compared to what Florida teams deal with. And the Marlins seem to be the worst of the bunch.
It’s not as if the team didn’t try to make a splash. They bid on damn near every free agent, landing Carlos Zambrano, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes, amongst others. They brought in Ozzie Guillen, who seemed like he should have fit like a glove for a team desperate for attention and Latino fans.
But, well, we saw that glove fit more like OJ’s than, say, Hepburn's. This was not surprising. He had long worn out his welcome in Chicago and with Kenny Williams. He was just lucky enough that he had awfully good teams, too good to be shaking up with firing the manager. I honestly wonder if the White Sox might not have had a few more pennants with a different guy at the helm. But, finally, everybody had enough, and the newly-christened Miami Marlins were waiting with open arms.
In response, Guillen barely made it past opening day before sticking his foot in his mouth and creating a huge gulf between himself (and quite possibly the team as a whole, to their chagrin) and the Cubano community the team was so desperately trying to court.* Combine that with his other childish outburts** and losing 93 games with a team that management fully expected to win the division, and there really wasn’t any other way for this to end. Guillen, if you hadn’t heard, was shown the door yesterday. After how badly this year as flopped, he may never get another chance to manage a big league squad. Time to cozy up to wherever Bobby Valentine lands, I suppose.
*Not that I, or many others, necessarily disagreed with Guillen.
**That’s a clown argument, bro.
Has there been a bigger flop for a team that was opening a new stadium? I sure can’t think of any. Most teams at least have an okay year when they open a new place, and if not, the stadium itself is enough of a star to put butts in the seats. But, of course, not Miami, not the Marlins. I know they’re likely stuck there for a good while now after sinking $515,000,000 into that stadium.* But, really, the next time a city starts clamoring for a team, I think there’s one that could be had, and nobody would really care.
*I just wanted to type out that $515 million to emphasize that’s more zeroes than I’ll likely ever see in my life.
It was a noble experiment, but two decades and two rings later, can we say it was a failed one?