The Apocalyptic Miami Marlins season somehow started with an international controversy involving Fidel Castro.
Then things got bad.
The team gave up on this Season From Hell months ago, sending out a lineup in Washington with five players hitting .173 or worse. That seems like an impossible math riddle until you consider that this is also the squad that had seven walks and seven stolen bases in five innings once while producing all of one run. The entire unholy mess came to a merciful, put-it-out-of-its-misery close symbolically last week when, far away from here, in a different league, in a different stratosphere, former Marlin Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown for another team as the Marlins started someone at third base named Gil Velazquez.
Given that Babe Ruth was sold, not traded, that Marlins trade of Cabrera is the single worst trade in the history of our most historic game, and Marlins management hasnt done a great deal right since making it. Velazquez, meanwhile, is 32 years old (older than Cabrera, in other words) and entered this season with all of 16 career big-league at-bats. Cant imagine why no new ballpark ever has drawn as poorly as the one our poor city built here at considerable expense. There arent a lot of ways this season could have been more of a disaster than it was, not even if you were trying to find ways from fiction. Fidel Castro? A shaking Muhammad Ali? Thats where were going to start?
All those back-loaded contracts management gave while spilling money all over the bar last offseason were meant to create a three-year experiment to see if baseball could indeed work in South Florida with no rain and heat. Three years? They gave up inside of three months, and in a season when 18 of baseballs teams were within five games of the playoffs in the last month, no less. So, attendance was crushing for a new park and will result in a reduced payroll next year because the Marlins didnt make nearly as much money as they hoped off the ballpark novelty.
And now, as they did with Hanley Ramirez, sending away a bad contract for pennies on the dollar, theyll likely try to staple Heath Bells bloated contract to Josh Johnsons in a trade that will bring back diminished value for Johnson, the teams ace. This isnt much of a plan for moving up or forward, obviously, sending away the few prospects you do hit on to scrub away the scent of your misses. Thats running backward on a treadmill. Doesnt help that the art-collector owner thinks he sees value where others dont and personally anchored this team with Bell and John Buck for reasons he ought to be forced to explain when he isnt busy calling the media over to make statements about how much of a failure Fredi Gonzalez was.
Alas, it is difficult to fire owners, so you know what happens now. People scurry beneath him to protect their jobs because the blame for this has to go somewhere, losing exacerbating a dysfunction atop the organization that existed even before the epic fail. Boston just fired manager Bobby Valentine after one year, even though the Red Sox put more players on the disabled list than any team in a quarter century, because a failure to meet large expectations tends to get people unemployed in worlds with scoreboards.
And there is plenty of blame to go around here in management, from an owner who is insecure and meddlesome to a look-at-me president who doesnt act very presidential to a general manager who has missed on a decade worth of first-round picks to a loudmouth manager who wouldnt get along even with management teams that didnt run off company men such as Fredi Gonzalez and Joe Girardi.