Everyone stop what you're doing right now.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SS1a Hanley Ramirez has a blog at mlb.com (zOMG!!1!). Prepare yourself for boilerplate!

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I want to thank the fans for supporting me through my first few years in the big leagues. You have been great to me. I look to play hard every day and try to help my team win. Right now, the team is playing good. We have a chance to play in October. If we stay focused and stay together, we can stay in the race. I think the second half can be exciting.
Hopefully things will get better from here. Though judging from the blog's banner, this could easily become less of a blog and more of an advertisement for Sharp.

UPDATE: I didn't notice at first, but there is no indication at all on this blog that Hanley plays for the Marlins. His banner, which is basically a Sharp ad, features Hanley in a uniform with all Marlins logos photoshopped out. Is it too much to ask to acknowledge that Hanley is a Marlin? He signed a long-term deal, so he'll be around a little while...


All is Well

Ted and the Parental Units were visiting me in Virginia this weekend, hence the absence of activity here on the blog. We had planned on banging out a week in review post, but then we ended up playing four kickball games on Sunday (playoffs!), so that didn't happen. Our bad.

And what happened once we ignored the blog? The Marlins got swept by the Rays. But fear not, for in the words of Chip Diller, all is well. The Fish began a three-game series with the Nationals last night, and won with the help of a Wes Helms double and an Emilio Bonifacio (!) sac fly.

Thanks, Nationals bullpen, for proving that anything is possible.


Morning In South Florida

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Marlins beat the O's last night, and now they are a game over .500 for the first time since May 12. Dan Meyer notched the 3-run save (which probably shouldn't count as a save, but let's just count our blessings here).

The Fish are 14-8 in June so far.

El Unidad Grandito will try to secure the sweep tonight.

Things are looking up.


Portrait of a Fanbase in Two Tweets

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


UPDATE: Be careful what you wish for.


A Miami Marlins Uniform Design Idea

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

While doing a Google image search for a Marlins-Orioles photo for a previous post, I stumbled across this photo of a Marlins hat made by Fitted Hawaii on the Strictly Fitteds blog. The hat, it appears, is no longer for sale on Fitted Hawaii's site (unfortunately), but it offers an interesting possibility for the Marlins' new uniforms when the team begins play in their new stadium (whereupon they will be known as the Miami Marlins).

The hat uses the template for the current batting-practice cap, but instead of the teal, silver, and black color scheme used now, this hat uses an orange and green scheme that is used by the University of Miami's athletic program. I always liked the orange and green combination (not just because I'm a fan of the U). As far as I can tell, Miami and Florida A&M University are the only major athletic teams to use the combination. The Marlins could make an interesting statement with these colors while also ditching the color teal, which has become an overused color choice in modern sports.

The major problem with these colors is that they do not resemble the colors found on an actual Marlin. Of course, teal and black don't necessarily match either, but they are a bit closer than orange and green. Additionally, there are plenty of examples of teams with animal mascots whose colors do not quite match up with that animal's colors (for instance, the Rays, Diamondbacks, Detroit Lions, and Atlanta Falcons, among others). So at the very least, while an orange and green Marlins uniform might not be entirely logical, it at least would be pretty original (for a baseball team, at least).

UPDATE: I recently discovered that this color scheme would also match the colors on the City of Miami flag. Check it out below, the more I think about this design, the more I like it.


Must Read

In case you think Marlins fans are the worst ever, take a look at Keith Olbermann's blog post this morning on the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Money quote:

The Spiders, filled with has-beens, reserves, and occasionally local amateurs signed for cameos, lost 20 of their first 23 games, and managed to draw a total of 3,179 fans for their first 16 home games (you not only read that right - less than 200 fans a game - but many contemporary reports suggested that those numbers were padded).
Well done, Keith. This serves to reiterate the fact that the city of Cleveland is the most snakebitten sports city in American history (Take that, Philly!).


Here Come the O's

Ted and I share one important characteristic with Adam Smoot. Before the Marlins came around, our baseball fandom began and ended with the Baltimore Orioles. Because we had cousins in Baltimore, we inherited their fandom. We loved Cal Ripken, reminisced about the days when he shared the infield with Eddie Murray, and considered Earl Weaver to be the greatest manager in the history of Major League Baseball. While our stance on the Orioles may have softened a bit in the intervening years (they've become more of a disappointment than a source of joy), I still get an added jolt from watching the Marlins play the Orioles. In 1997, when the Marlins won to the World Series, I almost got to see my dream World Series matchup until the Indians defeated the O's in the ALCS.

I'm rambling here, but my point is I like watching these two teams play each other, even if one of the two usually is terrible (but hey, at least the Orioles got rid of Corey Patterson and Daniel Cabrera...). Plus, the series allows me to wear one of my favorite hats: the 1980s-era Orioles hat:
I will also use the occasion to repost the Earl Weaver freakout:

Give 'em hell, Earl.


Children of the Marlins Diaspora 8

Monday, June 22, 2009

AJ Burnett, P

Played for Marlins: 1999-2005
Other Teams: Toronto (2006-2008), New York Yankees (2009-present)
Marlins fans know him because: Burnett came to the Marlins in the post-1997 World Series Al Leiter trade. He no-hit the Padres on May 12, 2001, the third no-hitter in team history. He also held the team records for wins and strikeouts for a brief period, and shares the record for career shutouts (8) with Dontrelle Willis. Burnett was one of the heralded young starters on the 2003 World Series team, but missed most of that season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. At the end of the 2005 season, Burnett successfully burned all bridges with the team, being dismissed by the team after criticizing Jack McKeon in the press for killing all joy in the clubhouse and not letting younger players get any playing time. He signed with the Blue Jays shortly thereafter, though the Marlins were not expected to attempt to sign him after the season, anyway.
Everyone else knows him because: Burnett pitched three servicable years with the Blue Jays (leading the AL in strikeouts in 2008), and parlayed himself into a 5-year, $82.5 million deal with the Evil Empire.
Best Marlins moment: His 2001 no-hitter, in which Burnett earned the added distinction of holding the record for most walks in a no-hitter (nine). He also hit a batter, it was probably the wildest no-hitter ever pitched.


Week in Review

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hanley does the stanky leg Saturday vs. New York.

Overview: The Marlins dropped 2 of 3 at Fenway before taking 2 of 3 from the Yankees in Miami.
Positives: Josh Johnson continues to deal, going 7 innings while giving up one run to the Yankees. Hanley Ramirez broke a 101-at-bat homerless drought on Sunday afternoon. Matt Lindstrom put forth the Platonic ideal of an Alfonseca save against the Yankees the same day. A timely rainstorm in Boston impelled the umpiring crew to call a Marlins victory in the sixth inning.
Negatives: All of the Marlins' victories this week have been of the one-run variety, which is not a very comforting sign. One-run games are often a circumstance of chance, and you do not want to depend on them. For some reason, Emilio Bonifacio is still an everyday starter despite OBPing .288.
Highlight of the Week: Clearly the trash talk given to Yankees fans outside Land Shark Stadium following Sunday's series-clinching victory. Sometimes you have to put an annoying fan base in its place.
Line of the Week: Josh Johnson's line on Saturday night:
7 IP, 3H, 1ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 103 Pitches
Looking Ahead: The Fish host a three-game set with Baltimore starting Tuesday then spend the weekend in Tampa.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky via ESPN


And I Thought We Were Bad

Here at Marlins Die-Hards, we have done a few things to highlight the fact that we don't believe that our team will keep it's best players. We have the Future Former Marlins series1. We also have the Marlins Trade Pool. But, as semi-serious as each of those is, it is still mainly a joke because let's face it, we have no clue when it comes to how to manage a ball club or what the real men in suits will choose to do.

So last night as I'm scrolling through my RSS feeds around 11:00pm after a pleasant and uplifiting Marlins victory, I find a new post from the Marlins blog at the Miami Herald. The title? "Where Will Josh Johnson Be In 2012?" Really? Are we starting that already? I opened the the full article to see if it was just a misleading headline or if the writer chose to elaborate in five paragraphs on his point. The latter.

Don't think the New York Yankees weren't watching Josh Johnson with great interest tonight. I'm not talking about the befuddled Yankees' hitters, who squeezed out a run during the seven innings Johnson was on the hill. I'm talking about the big boys upstairs, the Hank Steinbrenners and Brian Cashmans. They know that unless the Marlins lock up Johnson before his arbitration years expire after the 2011 season, he probably won't be around to make the Opening Day start for the Marlins when their new ballpark opens in '12. He'll be gone, either through free agency or via a trade as the Marlins look to recoup value for him.
Look, I understand that JJ, like any Marlin, will be the subject of trade/free agency rumors, because he is very good. But, can't we just enjoy his nastiness and not worry about long term things that we have no control over. He is still under total team control for his final two years of arbitration eligibility. I know he could become a free agent in 2012. Talk to me about that in 2011. Either that or just step in the box and have JJ launch a 98mph heater at your neck. Your choice.

1 Stay tuned for the resumption of this series.


Public Service Announcement

Friday, June 19, 2009

Everyone's favorite situational lefty Renyel Pinto has been reactivated from the disabled list. If he pitches tonight, please consult the Renyel Pinto flow chart.


Prepare Yourself

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Yankees are in town, meaning a scourge worse than almost anything imaginable is about to hit Joe Robbie Land Shark Stadium, Yankees fans.

Not pictured: His dignity. Because it doesn't exist.

There are a few teams whose fans often overrun visiting stadia (Red Sox, Cubs, etc.), but Yankees fans in Miami are an acute problem, seeing as there are so many New York transplants that some people still call Miami the Sixth Borough (as an aside, if someone you know calls Miami the Sixth Borough, kindly slap that person about the head and note that New York is nowhere near crazy enough to be associated with Miami. South Florida, after all, is where you can find homeless sex offenders living under a bridge, pythons fighting alligators, and Jose Canseco Street). According to Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are expecting over 100,000 fans this weekend. Guess how many of them will be Yankees fans.

Most Marlins fans would take this opportunity to call out other "fans" (I'm using the word lightly, here), hoping they could guilt the community into showing up and drowning out the Yankees contingent.

I'm not that optimistic. Instead, let me give one piece of advice to any Marlins fans going to the ballpark this weekend: When approached by a Yankee fan, simply stop moving and avoid eye contact. Like the T-Rex, Yankees fans will assume you are not a living creature if you do not sheepishly defend your favorite team against their poorly-conceived insults (Too bad Cantu isn't a gamer like Scotty Brocious!). This may seem too passive a response for most of our readers, but trust me, once you begin speaking to one Yankees fan, you will attract more, until you become engulfed like Jim Brown at the end of Mars Attacks. If that fails, tell them you can't wait for LeBron James to sign with the Heat in 2010 and join Dwyane Wade. You'll likely blow their minds.


Bring Back Bobby

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Nationals look ready to fire Manny Acta (because he's the problem), and speculation as to who his replacement will be is growing. Today, SI's Jon Heyman reports that among those being considered is former Mets manager and Groucho Marx enthusiast Bobby Valentine.

One of those candidates to replace Acta, according to National League sources, is Bobby Valentine, who is currently in his seventh season as manager of the Chiba Lotte Mariners in Japan.

No outside candidates have surfaced for Acta's job to date, but word is that interim GM Mike Rizzo will consider Valentine, who would seem on the surface to be the perfect fit for a young, rebuilding team with public relations and attendance issues.
I really really really really want to see this happen. Perhaps the Nats could also reunite him with former Mets GM Steve Phillips? It's not like things can get any worse, right? Right?


Week in Review

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Overview: The Fish took the finale from the Giants on Monday and wrapped up the home stand by dropping two of three to the Cardinals. This weekend the club swept the Blue Jays in Toronto to finish off a 5-2 week.
Positives: The starting pitching continues to improve. Josh Johnson totaled 16 innings in two Marlins wins while Sean West, Andrew Miller, and Ricky Nolasco each had a quality start. Several hitters are starting to get hot. Chris Coghlan has been excellent in the leadoff spot with Jeremy Hermida, Hanley Ramirez, and Cody Ross driving in many runs.
Negatives: The club blew one in the finale against the Cardinals, ruining the chance to win the series. A two run lead vanished with some base hits and a costly error by Cody Ross. Chris Volstad also posted his worst start in his young career, allowing six runs and ten hits.
Highlight of the Week: Jeremy Hermida provide the team with it's first walkoff homer of the season and his first of his career to take the opener against the Cardinals.
Line of the Week: Sean West's night to remember, his first career victory

W, 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

Looking Ahead: The team travels to Boston for three against the Red Sox starting Tuesday. Hopefully the pitching will be better than the last visit. Fathers' Day weekend there will be massive crowds expected as the Marlins host the Yankees.

(Unfrozen cavemen catcher photo credit AP via ESPN.com)


Cody Ross Cannot Be Stopped

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cody likes Canada - not just for the free healthcare

A day after hitting his third grand slam of the year, Cody Ross unloaded on the Blue Jays again, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a tater tot. For the month of June, Cody is 14-for-44 (.318) and OPSing .975 with 4 doubles, 3 home runs, and 11 RBI.

Florida has quietly gone 8-4 so far in June. Tomorrow, they go for the Canadian sweep behind Tall, Dark & Mormon Josh Johnson.

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese via ESPN



Not much more to say about last night's Mets game, but I will add that Luis Castillo is karmically even for his role in the Steve Bartman incident. Also, the Mets still suck at life...

Video h/t: WOW


It's Official: The Real George Steinbrenner Has Become Larry David's Caricature of George Steinbrenner

Friday, June 12, 2009

Things keep getting weirder at Camp Steinbrenner. In the 48th round of the MLB Draft, the Yankees selected West Virginia quarterback Pat White. There's only one problem with this selection, the Miami Dolphins drafted White in the 2nd round of the NFL draft. This is the third time White has been drafted. In 2005, the Dodgers selected White in the fourth round when he was a high school senior. The Angels took White in the 24th round of the 2007 draft. If neither team could convince White to quit football then, I doubt the Yankees can pry him away from an NFL contract without giving him Sabathia money.

While it is not uncommon for baseball teams to take a late-round flier on iffy prospects on White, this has George Steinbrenner's fingerprints all over it. My guess: he would like the Yankees to try out "this Wildcat pitcher everyone has been talking about."

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Not to be outdone, the Cubs drafted University of Miami middle linebacker Glen Cook in the 46th round. Cook has not played baseball since he was in the 11th grade. This has been your This Week in Schadenfreude.

As for the Marlins draft, who knows? If you want some analysis, head over to Fish Stripes. Craig can tell you more about the Marlins' draft picks than I can...


Just a touch of the dizzies...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ladies and gentleman, the starting first baseman for your Florida Marlins:


The Nationals Reward the Marlins Yet Again

How much worse would things be for the Marlins if it weren't for the Washington Nationals? Not only do they give the Fish easy victories, they also take some of the heat off the team for their poor attendance! Take a look at this story on Deadspin this morning:

Looks like they just took the usual Marlins attendance template and ran a quick Find+Replace, doesn't it? Thanks for distracting everyone, Nationals, just in time for a Thursday afternoon game that will probably draw 4,000 fans.


Introducing Sean West

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sean West introduced himself to the baseball world last night, notching his first career W against the Giants while pitching eight scoreless innings. Sure, he was facing the Giants, who think it's a good idea to bat Bengie Molina (!) cleanup,1 but how many shutouts have you thrown lately? Anyway, since Sean is clearly in need of a nickname (as is everyone else named Sean), we will now refer to him as El Unidad Grandito.

Why El Unidad Grandito? Ted said one of West's pitching coaches used to call him Little Unit, after Randy Johnson, who happened to be his counterpart last night (Sean is 6'8", two inches shorter than the Big Unit). So we Hispanicized the name, since he plays in Miami and everything. Besides, I'm pretty sure he doesn't want share a name with a euphemism for a small penis. Why is he superimposed over some fire, you ask? Well, because fire is awesome, of course.

Honorable mention goes to Brett Carroll, who picked up his fellow rookie by hitting his first career ding dong off the Unit in the second inning. Hitting your first home run is awesome, doing it against one of the five best LHPs to ever play the game is icing on the cake. Nice job, rook. Now go pick up Dan Uggla's drycleaning.

1Molina's OPS+ so far this year: 75


Week in Review

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Overview: The Fish did well to win three of four from the Milwaukee Brewers during the week. Over the weekend they dropped two of three to the Giants but will have an opportunity to split the four game set tomorrow.
Positives: The starting pitchers have been much better as this week they all allowed no more than three runs in each start. Hanley Ramirez has also gotten real hot as he went 10-25 and raised his batting average to .335. The bullpen also remains mostly good, with Leo Nunez and Kiko Calero consistently getting their jobs done (and Lindstrom's too!).
Negatives: While the offense has started scoring more runs, there are still games of a very little offense and subsequently, some of those great starting pitching performances have been wasted. In the last two weeks, the Marlins have lost four games in which the opposition scored only two or three runs. Oh, and Matt Lindstrom continues to struggle and there is a mild closer controversy.
Highlight of the Week: Josh Johnson provided his own run support on Thursday, blasting a three-run homer, that helped him and the club win 4-3 in the series finale. Honorable mention to Dan Uggla though, for reaching 100 career home runs quicker than any second baseman in MLB history.
Line of the Week: Again, JJ the ace takes the cake, from that same Brewers game.

W, 7 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 1BB, 8 Ks
Looking Ahead: As mentioned earlier, the Marlins look to split the four game set with Giants in the finale today. The homestand wraps up midweek with three games against the Cardinals before going on the road and starting interleague play north of the border in Toronto.


Stadium Giveaway Night Just Got a Little Creepier

You are not hallucinating, the above image is a photo of Marlins second-baseman/Rich Waltz man-crush Dan Uggla with today's Joe Robbie Pro Player Dolphin Land Shark Stadium giveaway, a piggy bank shaped like his head. Because a bunch of bodyless heads make the perfect trinket to give to children at a baseball game. To paraphrase Charles Mingus, don't be afraid, the disembodied Dan Uggla head's afraid too...

On a side note, is anyone else getting lost in Dan's eyes? Now I know why Rich can't stop thinking about him...

Photo via Sun Sentinal


What in the name of Vishnu...

Friday, June 5, 2009

This post has nothing to do with anything, but even so, after seeing this picture, how can we take Michael Jordan seriously as a human being anymore?

Image via Page 2


Josh Johnson: Still A Beast

Last night, the Tall, Dark and Mormon one, won a game all on his own. He chipped in with his usual dominance on the mound allowing just two runs in seven and two-thirds innings pitched, while striking out eight1. He also provided the offense for the evening with a huge three run shot to straightaway center field. The bullpen almost tried to blow it again, amazingly. Dan Meyer allowed a home run to Prince Fielder to cut the deficit to 4-3. Then Matt Lindstrom let the leadoff man reach in the 9th before notching the save.

He now has achieved ten quality starts in his twelve outings. Remarkably the team has only delivered him five victories2. With a 2.63 ERA and averaging right around seven innings per start, he deserves a better record. Baseball Prospectus took a look at some of his gems that have been wasted, namely, the eight shutout innings against the Phillies in April. Another strong performance not mentioned in the piece was a May date with the Reds. He went seven and a third innings and allowed just two runs, but the Marlin's offense could only match those two before finally winning 3-2 in the 14th inning3. Realistically Johnson could be 7-1 or 8-1 and dare I say, a contender to start the All-Star Game? Who knows, but if he keeps it up, he will definitely make it to St. Louis in July.

1 Including three of Mike Cameron's four punchouts on the night
2 The team is 9-3 in games started by Johnson
3 I realize the article is focusing on the bullpen blowing leads and in this game, the no decision was due to poor run support, as JJ was not in line to win when he exited the game. I think it deserves mention though as a game he should have won.


This Week in Schadenfreude

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not to beat a dead horse, but take a gander at Jorge Julio's pitching line from Monday night, when he got tagged with the loss:

IP H R ER BB SO HR Pitches/Strikes
0 2 5 4 1 0 0 20-12

Not shown are two HBPs (to Jorge Cantu and Brett Hayes). All told, he faced 6 batters, 5 of whom scored. Jorge still owes the Marlins about 6 or so games for his performance in early 2007, but at least he started paying them back. Alas, he will have to dupe another team into signing him, as the Brewers released him on Tuesday (not that you should feel sorry for Jorge; he will still receive his $950,000 salary from the Brewers). If they did not know what they were getting into when they signed Jorge Julio, then that is their own damn fault...


News & Notes

The Jorge Julio effect is spreading through the Brewers pitching staff. The latest one infected was starter Manny Parra. Last night he allowed 10 runs (all earned) in his four innings of work.

Dan Uggla made history as he reached 100 career home runs in the quickest time by a second baseman (502 games).

Pitcher Burke Badenhop, who saved the day with his five scoreless innings in relief, has made all of us here at MDH proud, as he continues to wear the classic stirrups and was featured in this morning's UniWatch post.


MLB: Where Jorge Julio Happened (Updated)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Marlins were in a tough spot last night, trailing 4-2 in the 6th inning, that is until the Brewers made a pitching change and taking the mound was the illustrious Jorge Julio. Of course we all know Julio from his brief stint as a Marlin in 2007. Let's just say that his time here was so bad that he doesn't warrant his own Marlins Diaspora post, even in jest. He appeared in ten games and racked up an ERA of 12.541 while blowing many saves/games. Back to last night, I think we could all see what was coming, especially after the first couple of hitters.

Cody Ross: Single
Brett Hayes: HBP on first pitch
Chris Coghlan: Walk
Emilio Bonifacio: Reached via error by Prince Fielder
Hanley Ramirez: Infield single
Jorge Cantu: HBP on first pitch

Final tally for Julio, 6 batters faced, 20 pitches thrown, 0 outs recorded, 5 runs allowed. That's great. Now if things stay true to form, this should propel the Fish to a sweep of this four game set (I'd accept three out of four though).

Bonus Thought: Thanks to Leo Nunez and Matt Lindstrom for refraining from Alfonseca-save performances.

1He also amassed an astonishing 3.107 WHIP for that time.

12:17 Update: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that those were Jorge Julio's final pitches for the Brewers as he has been released. The winner for money quote of the article is the following,

"I'm guessing the Brewers like the fact that Burns throws strikes, something Julio had trouble doing."
Yes, throwing strikes is a key component of being a successful pitcher.


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