Im not sure if the Marlins first season in their new ballpark could be going any worse short of the stadiums retractable roof sliding off its tracks during a game and crashing onto the field with an earth-quaking thud.
(I almost wrote, short of the new manager praising Fidel Castro, but I figured the roof collapsing was slightly less preposterous.)
So much excitement last winter as the team hired star manager Ozzie Guillen and signed star shortstop Jose Reyes among others in an uncommon spending spree that positioned Miami as a sure playoff contender.
So much anticipation this spring as the long-awaited new Marlins Park magically replaced interminable rain delays with air-conditioned comfort.
So much excitement, replaced by disappointment.
So much anticipation, unfulfilled.
Now, barely past the All-Star break in Year One of this Grand New Era, the flag flying above the new stadium might as well be a white towel, the kind you wave in surrender with one concession trade already made and now the team shopping falling star Hanley Ramirez.
The producers of Showtimes The Franchise series thought they would be chronicling something exciting and fun; instead, theyre televising a train wreck.
The Marlins extreme makeover needs a do-over.
The club admitted as much Monday in trading starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and starting second baseman Omar Infante to contending Detroit in exchange for three highly regarded prospects who like the Marlins are not quite major-league-ready.
Fire sale! shout disgruntled fans who have seen this movie before, bracing for a small parade out the door marked Exit.
It could happen. When other teams scouts are in your park clocking Josh Johnson, it means trade talks have taken place. Johnson in Red Sox clothes before the July 31 trade deadline would not shock, although I would bet against that.
Hanley, though? He is a riskier bet to stay. Hes a walking trade rumor, but, because hes a walking trade rumor batting .246 with attitude issues, hes a tougher sell. At least a handful of teams are said to be interested, but Miami must take care to not let it be so much a buyers market that they dont get big value (and hopefully not just prospects) in return. Ramirezs contract also could make dealing him a problem if the other team expects Miami to absorb too much of the $37 million remaining on it.
The Marlins willingness to part with Ramirez for the right price is understandable, though. He has showed three years of diminishing returns. They built this team around Hanley Guillen reiterated that this spring but with what to show for it?
The latest Hanley Being Hanley headache invited one to wonder which was more stupefying: That Ramirez would miss games because he cut his hand shoving a dugout fan in anger. Or that he would then miss more games because of an infection because he didnt take his antibiotics.
Maybe its time to untether Hanley, fashion a lineup around Giancarlo Stanton and Reyes and hope that the Grand New Era 2.0 works better than the first version.
Meantime, dont wring hands too much over Mondays trade, which made sense for Miami on two levels.
First, it is time to concede this season isnt playoff-bound and think more of retooling. The wild card is a speck on the horizon. The Marlins just dont score enough, a malady only accentuated with bright spot Stanton out recovering from knee surgery. This team in fact has been awful save for the aberration of May. Subtract that one shining month and Miami would have lugged a 24-43 record into Tuesdays game.