Train Wreck Mode: Activated

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, upset that none of the other kids on the playground want to play with him, told the team yesterday that interim manager Edwin Rodriguez will remain at the helm through the remainder of the season. "Edwin deserves a chance to see what he can do, and I want to give him a chance," Loria told the media without a hint of irony. He also added,"I haven't given up on the team, and neither have the players." To quote Matt Foley, la-de-fricking-da.

The decision came after talks with former Mets manager Bobby Valentine reached an impasse. Depending on which reports you believe, either Valentine grew weary of the Marlins' front office, or the front office got frustrated with Valentine's insistence of autonomy. Though we give Valentine a hard time around these parts, he's no fool. With the exception of whichever Steinbrenner spawn is running the Yankees these days, Loria has become the most overbearing owner in baseball, so if the money isn't right (and there's no reason to believe the Marlins would ever make a manager an offer he couldn't refuse), why bother?

If there is one silver lining to the whole episode (and I can only find one), at least Rodriguez, a baseball lifer who has been a player, scout, and minor league manager, will get a shot managing at the big league level. I'm relatively sure he won't be managing the team in 2011 (unless the team makes a miraculous recovery), but at least he'll get a cup of coffee.


Week In Review

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Overview: The Marlins fired manager Fredi Gonzalez and two other coaches on Wednesday. Saturday, first base coach Dave Collins resigned. As of Sunday evening, the team still has no permanent manager. Oh yeah, the team also took just two of three from the Orioles, and were swept by the Padres.
Positives: Not applicable
Negatives: A lot. The team has no permanent manager. Bobby Valentine, obviously viewed as the successor by illustrious Mr. Loria is apparently no longer a candidate. They are a season low five games under .500% and 8.5 games behind first place Atlanta.
Line of the Week: 0 - Managers hired
Highlight of the Week: It's not too often you see Emilio Bonifacio get a base hit AND an RBI.
Looking Ahead: The marlins hit the road air to Puerto Rico to play three against the Mets. Next weekend they play three in Atlanta.


An Immodest Proposal

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Now that the Marlins have begun their search for a permanent manager (and I for one think interim skipper Edwin Rodriguez has zero chance of getting the job), allow me to make a suggestion to Team Loria: don't hire a manager.

My reasoning is simple. Managers in baseball are worth only a few wins (or losses) a year, so why bother with the whole charade? Let Wes Helms take the lineup card to the home plate umpire before every game, and pitching coach Randy St. Clair can handle pitching changes. Whoever the new bench coach is can take care of pinch hitters and defensive substitutions, and just like that, the Marlins have cut $650,000 (Fredi Gonzalez' salary) from their payroll (Mr. Loria can send me a ten percent commission for the savings). 

It's time we as a society stop projecting so much agency onto our baseball managers. This could be Jeffrey Loria's second most important legacy (besides killing baseball in Montreal, obvs.). There's a reason so many managers in the early twentieth century were also ballplayers at the time, you know? Plus, Loria, the millionaire art dealer, can spin this as a dadaist lampooning of the absurd, so win-win, right?


About Fredi

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I was preparing to write an indignant post about the Marlins' firing of manager Fredi Gonzalez, but as the day went on, I felt more and more meh about the whole thing. To wit:

  • We are talking about baseball, a sport in which a manager contributes maybe one or two wins a year out of 162 games. Firing a manager is kind of like firing the mail clerk at your office. Someone new will deliver the mail/lineup card to everyone/the umpire, but the contents of the mail/lineup card won't change.
  • While firing Fredi does not really solve any of the Marlins' problems (namely the atrocious bullpen), I don't expect it will have much of a negative effect either. The team seemed to back him in the Hanley Ramirez dust-up last month, but that seems like ancient history at this point. Besides, I can't think that the team would go into shutdown mode just to spite the owner.
  • And if you're feeling too sorry for Fredi, just remember: He is a protege of Bobby Cox, who just happens to be retiring this year. Fredi is already the front-runner for the Atlanta job. So instead of sweating it out with Jeffrey Loria (who I remind you is simply George Steinbrenner with less money), he'll probably get hired to manage a team that believes in things like paying for high-quality free agents. He could do worse.
So instead of giving my condolences, I'm going to go ahead and congratulate in advance the newest manager of the (division rival) Atlanta Braves, Fredi Gonzalez.

On a related note, he's coming:

UPDATE: Rob Neyer cuts through the bs:
... but if he's the reason for the Marlins underperforming their run differential by four wins this year, doesn't it follow that he was the reason for the Marlins outperforming their run differential by five wins last year?
You have to give the Marlins their due; they make a lot of smart moves and play respectably every year despite their payroll. But I can't help wondering if management might need a little work on its people skills.



The Marlins have fired Fredi Gonzalez. I'll write something about it after the USA-Algeria match. Spoiler alert: I don't think this is the solution to the Marlins' problems.


Required Reading

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Looks like Josh Johnson is beginning to get noticed outside of South Florida, despite being overshadowed by Ubaldo Jimenez in the National League and both Roy Halladay and Stephen Strasburg in the NL East. Today at Deadspin, Barry Petchesky takes a look at Johnson and Jimenez while debunking the "pitching resurgence" meme:
Here's where we've got to be "that guy" and point out that Johnson and Jiménez have had great numbers since they came up, but their performances so far this year are unbelievable statistical outliers. Their respective seasons are just as out of line with their career numbers as Brady Anderson hitting 50 home runs, or Luis Gonzalez's 57.
Then he gives a plausibly deniable "What about steroids?" routine, without saying anything too outlandish.

Meanwhile, ESPN's Rob Neyer responds to Greg Cote, and points out that the big difference in Johnson this year is his lower-than-usual home run rate (I think someone else alluded to that the other day). He concludes,
And he's only 26 years old. We'll probably never see another streak like this [eight consecutive starts giving up zero runs or one run] from Johnson again. But that doesn't necessarily mean that we've seen his best.
I think it's time to consider cloning, Mr. Loria.


Off-Day TV Guide: June 21st

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice. The Marlins have an off day in Baltimore today so here is tonight's TV guide.
  • 6:00pm EDT, World Cup tape delays (ESPN Classic): Tune in to see what a real chorus of vuvuzelas should sound like. Also featuring the world's best most popular player.
  • 8:00pm EDT, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, etc. (CBS): The CBS Monday night lineup is usually a good sequence of sitcoms to watch every now and then for a few laughs.
  • 8:00pm EDT College World Series (ESPN): UCLA and TCU face off with the winner moving to 2-0, and one victory away from the final series.
  • 9:00pm EDT, The Pixar Story (CNBC): From the show page:
    The Pixar Story takes audiences inside the company that transformed the animated film industry. Using never-before-seen footage from the Pixar library, along with historic archival animation and first hand accounts by animators, studio executives, directors, producers, and voice performers, Academy Award nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks tells the riveting story of the Bay Area start-up that revolutionized Hollywood.
Now to Dave with the book recommendation:
On my to-do list is Christopher Hitchens' Hitch-22: A Memoir. You can read some excerpts at Slate.


Week in Review

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Overview: After getting swept in Texas, the Marlins took two of three from Tampa Bay.
Positives: Those knock-off vuvuzelas were great, I don't care what this guy says about it.
Negatives: July is drawing near and the Marlins are 3 games under .500 and 8 games behind first-place Atlanta (as of this writing at 3:45 on Sunday). They need to go on a run soon or else morale may begin to sag.
Line of the Week: Since we took a break from awarding Josh Johnson with Line of the Week last week, this week's award goes to the big right-hander for another high-quality start earlier today during which, apart from a mistake to Carl Crawford, he was pretty flawless.

8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 117 Pitches

Highlight of the Week: You may have heard us talk about this kid Mike Stanton. The man hit his first career tater tot, and it was a tetra tot to boot. Hopefully the first of many. Honorable Mention goes to Dan Uggla and Cody Ross for the double-team shaving cream pie after the game. Well done, guys.
Looking Ahead: The Marlins have a three-game set in Baltimore on Tuesday followed by three at home against San Diego.


That Didn't Take Long At All

The anti-vuvuzela backlash is here, and it is being led by Marlins players. Via Joe Capozzi:
"It was awful, awful. I can't tell you how awful it was," said outfielder Cody Ross.

"That was the worst handout or giveaway I've ever been a part of in baseball," said Dan Uggla, who wore earplugs. "This isn’t soccer. I know the World Cup is going on but this is baseball."
Even the easygoing Chris Coghlan complained that he couldn't sleep last night due to the ringing in his ears.Of course, the worst case of sour grapes came from Rays manager Joe Maddon, who otherwise seems like a nice guy. "I really believe the horns should be banned from Major League Baseball," he said after the game. Someone has been spending too much time around Yankee Stadium, if you ask me.

In fact, the only real legitimate criticism of the vuvuzela-like horns given out at last night's game came from local radio host Jorge Sedano, who noted in successive tweets, "The Marlins Vuvuzela's sound like party favors.... like horns from new years eve..." and "Need more bass in my vuvuzela." 

He's right. At game seven of the 1997 World Series, we sat in front of a man with a vuvuzela at Joe Robbie Stadium (we thought it was pretty annoying, until the Marlins won the game and the series, at which point we hugged the dude and he let us take the vuvuzela for a test drive. Honestly, at that moment we would have been hugging Saddam Hussein if he was sitting behind us). A true vuvuzela has a trumpet-like mouthpiece on the front end. Last night's horns appear to be more like a large kazoo. The two sound completely different, as Sedano noted. So instead of getting a loud drone with a solid bottom as we have been hearing at World Cup matches, last night's game sounded like it was being played in the midst of a swarm of bees.

Regardless, I dug it. The problem with Marlins games is that the usually small crowds create a relatively sedate atmosphere even during the more exciting moments. Last night was different. Every beat writer I follow on Twitter noticed the difference, and even though they were for the most part annoyed by the horns, they appreciated the energy at the park, it seemed. So here's my rebuttal to the players' protests after the game:
  1. I have a feeling there would be less grousing about the horns had the Marlins not lost in extra innings despite scoring 8 runs. Fredi Gonzalez admitted as much, saying, "I think 11 walks from the bullpen that puts a dagger in your heart."
  2. About twice a year we have to listen to one Marlins player lamenting the fact that they play 81 home games a year at a mostly empty stadium where the visiting team's fans will occasionally drown out the handful of Marlins' fans. Now that the fans have a device that amps up the in-stadium noise and energy, they hate it. Get over it, dudes. Sun Life Stadium will never be Busch Stadium, so take what you can get. 
  3. I alluded to it earlier, but will mention it again: Do you really want the Marlins to be like the Yankees when it comes to fan relations? The correct answer is no.
Rant concluded. If you need me, I'll be looking for vuvuzelas on eBay.

Update: Once again, via Igor, this is a vuvuzela. Sounds great, but Igor needs to do some breathing exercises to build up that lung capacity.

Image via Palm Beach Post


Vuvuzelas: The View from Right Field

Saturday, June 19, 2010

From friend of the site Igor Mello, here's the video. I am so looking for one of these on eBay tomorrow morning.

Image via



Franchise Savior Mike Stanton hit his first home run this evening, a grand slam. Joe Frisaro informs us that Stanton joins an illustrious club:

Here are the Marlins to have connected on a grand slam for their first MLB homer:
1) Jeff Conine, 5/1/93
2) Chuck Carr, 5/12/93
3) Quilvio Veras, 5/5/95
4) Craig Counsell, 8/24/97
5) Jeremy Hermida, 8/31/05
6) Mike Stanton, 6/18/10
Wow. Quilvio Veras and Chuck Carr?


Birthday Wishes

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today is my birthday, and I thought it'd be nice if I lay out my wishes that pertain to the Marlins, and perhaps they can oblige.
  • DFA Renyel Pinto: Wish granted!
  • Send down Emilio Bonifacio: Again.
  • Listen to this idea from @placidhill: "I'm pretty sure if you get to the stadium 3 hours before game time, you can try out for a spot in the marlins bullpen."
  • Sell vuvuzelas at our home games: I don't expect to get full support on this, but what other way can you raise money, double the amount of noise at your games, and annoy opposing teams fans and hopefully drive them out of the park? Bonus points when the Marlins score less runs than some teams are scoring goals at the World Cup.


Update: [Dave:What about vuvuzela-like horns?]


Off-Day TV Guide

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Marlins are off today before starting an interleague set at home. Here are your options:
  • 7:00 pm EDT, MLB Seattle at St. Louis (ESPN): Pujols! Ichiro! Some other dudes!
  • 8:00 pm EDT, World Cup Cameroon vs. Japan (ESPN Classic, tape delay): Cameroon has one of the better kits in this year's World Cup.
  • 9:00 pm EDT, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Comedy Central): Four episodes of one of the best comedies on television, including "The Gang Exploits a Miracle," on of the series' high marks.
  • 9:00 pm EDT, MLB Tonight (MLB Network): It makes Baseball Tonight look like the Best Damn Sports Show Period.
  • 10:00 pm EDT, The Soup Presents (E!): Girl fights! I don't watch The Soup enough. Probably because I have a hard time convincing myself anything worthwhile is on E!.
Tonight's book recommendation: I'm just about finished with Philip Roth's The Human Stain, and holy hell is Roth brilliant. He creates characters with incredible depth, even someone who only shows up for a page or two gets a complex backstory which reveals a ton about his/her motives and emotional baggage, and you can tell Roth spent a good amount of energy creating these characters. Additionally, I can think of very few male writers better at writing in the female voice. It's a crime that Roth hasn't won the Nobel prize.


Week In Review

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Overview: The Marlins split two games with Philadelphia, with a rainout in between. This weekend they won two of three in Tampa Bay.
Positives: A winning week! Finally Mike Stanton was called up and he has performed quite well. The offense has produced more since his introduction into the lineup.
Negatives: The first game in Philly was a tough one to lose, with the bullpen blowing a late after the Fish offense scored 8 runs
Line of the Week: Honorable mention to Josh Johnson for yet another epic performance (8 IP, 0 ER, 3 H), this time in the rematch with Perfect Gamer Roy Halladay. This week's honor though will go to Gaby Sanchez, who notched his first multi-homer game, and a career high 6-RBI night Friday.

4-5, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R

Highlight of the Week: Honorable mention for a Cody Ross diving catch, but yet again Gaby Sanchez will take the honors, because his first home run of Friday night was an absolute bomb.
Looking Ahead: The club returns home to continue interleague play beginning Tuesday against the Rangers. This weekend the Rays come to town looking for revenge.

(image via



Jonah Keri tried to jinx the Marlins today. My response:

You started it, Jonah. Also, I love your work. So this hurts me just as much as it hurts you ;)

Update: Canadians are nice.


They Will Have To Rename the Cheap Seats

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The new Marlins stadium will have two fish tanks behind home plate:

I have three words for you: Bonifacio shark attack.

Image via @marlins4life


The Marlins Drafted Someone Yesterday

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

But I won't even bother to learn his name for another two years (priorities, people). For details, I refer you to Craig at Fish Stripes.

UPDATE: Of course, if I were to print the draft pick's name on the blog, I would spell it correctly, unlike the Miami Herald (click to enlarge):

Keep in mind that I pulled up this story at 10:30 on Tuesday morning, a full 12 hours after the pick was made. Read those comments, Herald moderators.


Off Day TV Guide: June 7th

Monday, June 7, 2010

Your late, or just in time guide:
  • 7:05pm EDT, MLB San Diego Padres at Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN): For those that want to stick to baseball.
  • 7:00pm EDT, MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Network): For those want to stick to baseball but can't stomach the Phillies.
  • 8:00 EDT, Last Comic Standing (NBC): I haven't seen this show since the first season, but now Craig Robinson is hosting it which may make it more intriguing.
  • 10:00pm EDT, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Comedy Central): Something about Philly that doesn't suck! Dave is more of an expert on this show but I have seen it and definitely approve. I was surprised to see it's syndicated on Comedy Central this soon.
For the book recommendation, Dave suggests Tortilla Flat, which instantly made him a fan of John Steinbeck upon reading it in the 9th grade. He plans to crack it open again this summer, and we should join him.


Week In Review

This week's review will be brief since it's late and I'm in a hurry.

Overview: After taking 3 of 4 from the Brewers, the Marlins got swept by the Mets at Citi Field.
Positives: There's a new prospect joining the club this week.
Negatives: Like I said, the Marlins were swept by the Mets, how much worse can it get?
Line of the Week:  Last week Michael at Marlin Maniac pointed out that Josh Johnson is quietly putting together a wonderful season, only to be overshadowed by Ubaldo Jimenez and Roy Halladay. His line from Thursday's win over the Brewers:

7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8K, 115 pitches

Highlight of the Week: Sunday's bullpen meltdown was all the more disappointing since it wasted a pretty 3-run home run from Cody Ross.
Looking Ahead: The Marlins open a 3-game set in Philly before spending the weekend in Tampa.


He's Finally Here

The Marlins announced a flurry of roster moves yesterday, including the callup of a prospect we have been waiting for all season:

What, you're not excited for ol' Henricus? Do you not tremble in anticipation of the Holland Hammer?

Okay, so the real reason everyone is excited is the callup of uberprospect Mike Stanton, the 20-year-old phenom who could be the next Dave Winfield, so long as he isn't the next Jeremy Hermida (not that you should be worried that he's wearing Hermida's old number... that's just some superstitious bs). Stanton will officially join the team tomorrow, with Mike Lamb being sent down to make room.

Today, however, ol' Henricus will return to the big club, as reliever Tim Wood is sent down. VandenHurk will likely start out in the bullpen, but he could be a potential replacement as a lefty starter if current starter Nate Robertson struggles.

And just to screw with our heads, the Marlins sent everyone's favorite defensive replacement Brett Carroll down to the minors and called up public enemy number one, Emilio Bonifacio. I have no idea how they will justify this move. The team probably wants another infielder on the bench since Lamb is being sent down. Even so, I disapprove. Bonifacio has proven himself to be a replacement-level player at best, I don't know why he is considered to be a better option than anyone else in the Marlins minor league system. He can run real fast, but that skill is negated by his inability to get on base. Is it wrong to hope a Mike Stanton batting practice foul ball hits Bonifacio in the kneecap?


Trade Pool 2.0

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's that time again, the heat of trade rumor season which Marlins fans know all to well. Just like last year, we are running a trade pool at Marlins Diehards. Also like last year, we are inviting all our readers and friends of the site to play with us. Winner gets a case of beer courtesy of Ted and me. But first, the rules:
  • All competitors will pick five Marlins (all players in organization are eligible, including minor-leaguers) who they feel will be traded before the July 31st deadline.
  • Competitors will rank those five players, one to five, in order of most likely to least likely to be traded.
  • Points will be awarded based on where the player is in each competitor's list. Number one selections who get traded will get five points, number twos get four and so on down to number five selections receiving one point.
  • Whoever has the most points immediately following the trade deadline wins.
Leave your lists in the comments, contest entry closes on June 30. Good luck!


About Last Night

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I feel compelled to give my two cents. Actually, it's more of a summation of portions of other people's two cents. First, the call. Jim Joyce missed it entirely, but that happens more often than you'd like to think, only usually it does so on plays that are not the last out of a perfect game. Armando Gallaraga should be commended for his level-headedness about the entire thing, he deserves all the praise he has received for that. Joyce, to his credit, owned up to his mistake, and that's enough for me. He's not the first umpire to make a mistake, and he shouldn't be penalized for an unavoidable (in the abstract) human error (regardless of what the Wikipedia trolls think). In fact, the most surprising aspect of Joyce's gaffe to me was that it has only happened once before in such a high-leverage situation (I am of course referring to Don Denkinger's blown call at first base in the 1985 World Series, which was much more high-leverage than last night's error since it came in the playoffs). Denkinger continued to work after the incident.

As for what MLB should do, retroactively changing the call to an out seems a bit much, since it sets an unwieldy precedent. Also, as Dan LeBatard noted, "Commissioner Bud Selig can overturn the ruling, as he may, but it doesn't bring back the joy. The moment has been forever stolen by human error." However, someone else (I forget who) suggested on Twitter that MLB change the single on the play to an error (under the aussumption - an incorrect one, but whatevs - that if Gallaraga missed the bag with his foot). This would preserve the no-hitter, which doesn't seem like much of a consolation, but it's better than nothing, right? [UPDATE - MLB will not reverse the call.]

On the plus side, it appears this incident could lead to the implementation of expanded use of instant replay. While this won't solve everything, it would certainly be a step in the right direction.

That's all for now, back to our usual Marlins hand-wringing shortly...


Make Sure Not To Drool On Your Laptop

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

via joecapMARLINS


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