Week In Review

Monday, August 30, 2010


Overview: The Marlins took two of three from the Mets before dropping two of three to the Braves.
Positives: The Marlins are making money, though most of the profits are (allegedly) going toward debt reduction and new stadium construction. The team may be on the outside looking in on a playoff spot but Marlins Diehards has acquired the Photoshop wizardry of Adam Smoot, formerly of Bright Orange Seats (RIP).
Negatives: John Baker's rehab stint did not go so well, so it looks like he will be on the shelf until 2011. Josh Johnson can't buy a break, as the bullpen blew a save and Johnson win for the seventh time of the season on Sunday. If the bullpen had preserved five of those seven leads, JJ would be 16-5 on the year, giving him a leg up on the Cy Young (not to mention the pennant race). The bullpen has blow 23 saves this year, the most in MLB.
Line of the Week: Chris Volstad turned in his second best outing of 2010 on Friday against the Braves, helped by 14 grounders and 21 strikes-looking:
8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 109 pitches

Highlight of the Week: Not that I'm trying to rub it in, but this is the main reason the Marlins are likely out of the playoff hunt.
Looking Ahead:  The Fish play three at home against Washington followed by three against Atlanta, with an off day on Thursday. College football starts Thursday, and I for one am thankful for that. Not that we won't be here to share in the misery through October 3rd...

Image via Palm Beach Post


Easy Hanley

Hanley Ramirez had to leave yesterday's games due to a touch of the dizzies, which means I get to post one of my favorite Arrested Development clips:


Marlins Comment On Financial Statements

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Financial statements of the team were recently released and hey look at that new stadium that will open soon!"


Marlins Diehards Exclusive

Thursday, August 26, 2010

So that's what they've been doing with the extra money...

Special thanks to Smoot


Some Final Thoughts on the Marlins' Finances

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It seems like everyone in South Florida is mad that the Marlins (a business franchise) are making profits while doing everything in their power to minimize costs (including player salaries) during a historic economic downturn. You know things are turned upside down when Craig of FishStripes is forced to defend Jeffrey Loria (sorry dude). I'm already tired of the uproar, so I'm going to just post some bullet points and call it a day.

  • We have only seen financial documents for 2008 and 2009. According to Jeff Loria (whose words should be accompanied by many grains of salt), the team accrued a lot of debt between 2002 and 2005, when their Opening Day payrolls totaled $41 million, $45 million, $42 million, and $60 million, respectively (with much of that money deferred in the cases of high-salary guys like Pudge Rodriguez). Additionally, the team is also deducting some expenses for the new stadium, as Craig pointed out yesterday. When (if) the Marlins' revenue streams move towards the top half of Major League Baseball, they won't have to cut back after an extended period of (relative) overspending, but that is not the case now (as Maury Brown pointed out, the Marlins receive twice as much money from revenue sharing as they do from ticket sales and broadcasting rights).
  • David Samson told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that MLB "will seek legal recourse to find the source" who leaked the financial documents to Deadspin. This is dumb, and the only reason MLB should do this is if they think it will prevent more documents from being leaked. It might stop this particular source, but leaks happen, and MLB would be better served by getting in front of the story and contending with the documents head on, rather than trying to unscramble this egg.
  • Now the wizards who run the Miami city and county governments are mad that they didn't get to review the Marlins books before approving the massive public-private financing plan for the new stadium. I am of the Carl Hiaasen line of thinking concerning Miami politicians, i.e. they are all shady crooks who aren't all that concerned about the public good. This sounds like a bunch of lamenting that they were out-crooked by Loria and Samson, to which I say bummer. The exception in this case is Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, who demanded that the Marlins make their books available to lawmakers and voted against stadium funding when the Marlins refused.
  • Greg Cote is mad. But then again, he's also the guy who publicly lambasted Norman Braman's attempts to foil the financing plan that paid for the bulk of the stadium costs (I would link his column here, but the Miami Herald does not make much of its archives available on the web). The lesson for the rest of us: ignore most sportswriters when it comes to politics, economics, and the public good.
  • If you, as a fan, are mad that you are spending your own money on tickets and merchandise, and that the proceeds from those spending dollars are not going towards something useful, then stop buying tickets and merchandise. It's that simple. Jeff Loria does not care about your complaints on Twitter.
  • One question for the fans: Knowing what we do about the way Loria and company sold the Expos to MLB to finance the purchase of the Marlins, should we be surprised at any level of malfeasance by the Marlins ownership? It's not like we all thought Loria was George Bailey. As the old adage goes, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
  • As for my own feelings, I no longer live in South Florida, so my tax dollars are not going towards the new stadium, and I haven't attended a Marlins game since I left Miami in 2006. For that reason, it's difficult for me to get too exercised about the team fleecing the city and county, though I can certainly sympathize with those who do. Frankly, my political anger right now is reserved for Ken Cuccinelli, who thinks John Ashcroft is a good role model for Attorneys General.
Okay, we're all done with that for now.


Off Day TV Guide: August 23rd

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Marlins are off to collect Cameron Maybin and head to New York. I'll be watching Louie on Hulu, as Dave suggested three weeks ago. Here are the rest of tonight's viewing options:
  • 7pm EDT, Seinfeld (TBS): You can never go wrong. Tonight's episodes feature Jerry's and George's pitch to NBC for the show 'Jerry.'
  • 8pm EDT, NFL Preseason Cardinals at Titans (ESPN): Matt Leinart's team versus Vince Young's team. This will be a great matchup five years ago.
  • 8pm EDT, Bachelor Pad (ABC): If you like train wrecks, this is your show.
  • 8:15pm EDT, No Country For Old Men (SpikeTV): Dave would never let us pass up a chance to recommend a Coen brothers film.
  • 10pm EDT, MLB Reds at Giants (ESPN2): Late night baseball, and a chance to see Cody Ross (probably not).
And Dave's book recommendation: Having become thoroughly immersed in the fourth season of Mad Men, I'll recommend Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America, written by Natasha Vargas-Cooper, proprietor of the insightful Footnotes of Mad Men blog. It's history for people who don't like to read history. Pair it with the magisterial Age of Contradiction by Howard Brick, and you've got the 1960s covered, highbrow and lowbrow.


    What He Said

    Rob Neyer on the Cody Ross waiver claim:

    Anyway, the big winner here is the Marlins, who really should (finally) just let Maybin play. Maybin didn't hit much last year, and he's hit less than not much this year.

    In the majors, that is. Maybin's still only 23 and he's triple-slashed .325/.401/.477 in 115 Triple-A games. Before that, he was nearly as good in 114 Double-A games. His minor-league track record suggests that he'll eventually hit. Maybe he won't. But the Marlins need to quit fooling around and find out.


    Step 1: Become Laughingstock. Step 2: Profit

    2010 Balance Sheet Preview: $80,000 jewelry expense

    This morning Deadspin published leaked financial statements from a number of MLB teams, including the Florida Marlins. I haven't had much time to parse the documents yet, but in 2008 and 2009 the team reported consolidated net incomes of $29.4 million and $3.9 million, respectively. I'll be taking a look at the financial statements tonight, and Deadspin will also provide more analysis, which I will link here as everything develops. It all should make for an interesting start to the week.

    UPDATE: Maury Brown breaks down the numbers at Biz of Baseball. The Marlins pulled in over $90 million in revenue sharing money during 2008-2009, compared to a little over $30 million in broadcasting revenue over the same period. Suck on that, ghost of Steinbrenner. Also of note, the Fish spend about $30 million per year on player development, the most of any of the five teams whose records were posted by Deadspin.


    Week In Review

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Overview: The Marlins won three of four in Pittsburgh and two of three at home against the Astros.
    Positives: It was a good week on the field as the team posted it's first five game winning streak of the season. The pitching has been pretty good, especially the spot starts by Alex Sanabia and Andrew Miller.
    Negatives: Ronnie Paulino was suspended 50 games for a positive test of performance reducing drugs. Ricky Nolasco has a torn meniscus (from tying his shoe!) and may miss the rest of the season. At least he and Chris Coghlan can have a sleepover and share notes about the injury. Also, after today's game it was announced that Cody Ross was awarded to the Giants after they made a waiver claim on him. In return we received a couple of nice prospects nothing. Really Marlins? I would've paid at least a solid $20 to have Cody chill with me the rest of the year.
    Line of the Week: Alex Sanabia's spot start, a good one:

    W, 7 & 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

    Highlight of the Week: Amazingly it's Emilio Bonifacio again with two web gems. First gunning down a runner at the plate, then today with a nice diving catch.
    Looking Ahead: After an off day, the club hits the road again for three each against the Mets and Braves.


    Shouldn't Performance Enhancing Drugs Enhance Performance?

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    We are saved by a slow summer Friday by news that Unfrozen Caveman Catcher Ronny Paulino has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Allow me to be the 52nd person to say, huh? As Will Carroll put it in a tweet, "Does this finally prove they [PEDs] don't make a big difference? Will his 4 homers this year get *?" Amen, Will. Alternatively, Ted suggests that Krispy Kreme doughnuts have been added to the banned substance list. Either way, this is not the stat line you'd like to see if you found out your favorite team's catcher has been doping:

    .529/.311/.354, 18 2B, 4 HR, 37 RBI (344 PA)

    If PEDs up your OPS+ to 77, suffice it to say you're doing it wrong, Ronny. Confounding me further is the fact that he OPS+ed 99 last year, when he was (presumably) clean. Oy.

    UPDATE via FishStripes: Paulino released the following statement: 
    To control my weight this season, I used a dietary pill. Regretfully, I recently learned that the dietary pill contained a substance banned under Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

    I am ashamed and saddened for disappointing and distracting my family, my teammates, the entire Florida Marlins’ organization, and baseball fans. My heartfelt and most sincere apology.

    I accept full responsibility and all consequences for this mistake and therefore, choose not to challenge my suspension. I was irresponsible for failing to take all precautionary steps in confirming the approval of the dietary pill. Without a doubt, I have learned from my mistake.
    Well, at least his excuse is league average. Brett Hayes, the starting job is now yours.


    Say it ain't so...

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Cubs trade Derrek Lee to Braves.

    This is almost as bad as that time Jeff Conine played for the Phillies.


    Holy Schnikes! A Win!

    Must have been that team meeting Dan Uggla called.


    I don't blame Uggla for trying, but as the old saying goes, you're only as good as the next day's starter. In this case, that would be Ricky Nolasco, who delivered this line:

    6 IP, 5H, 0R. 1BB, 9K

    Let's not give credit for the victory to a meaningless meeting. They beat the Pirates, after all (current record: 40-79). Baseball team meetings are just as pointless as the meetings at your own job (though a Marlins team meeting probably has better food than the meetings at my office).


    Week in Review

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Overview: Yin and yang. Sweep the Nationals, get swept by the Reds.
    Positives: Emilio Bonifacio appears to have been devoured by a shark.
    Negatives: Has anyone seen Steve?
    Line of the Week: On Wednesday Mike Stanton tore up Washington, going 5 for 5 with 2 doubles, 1 home run, 4 RBI, and 9 total bases.
    Highlight of the Week: It pains me to share this home run-saving catch by Emilio Bonifacio.
    Looking Ahead: The Marlins begin a four-game set in Pittsburgh tomorrow (blerg), followed by a three-game set at home against Houston.

    Image via Ted's brain.


    On Washington and the Unbalanced Schedule

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Every once in awhile I will get into a discussion with someone about the MLB schedule, specifically the debate of balanced versus unbalanced schedules. I'm mostly agnostic on the issue, though I like the unbalanced schedule because it minimizes West coast road trips for the Marlins (which is important for my TV-viewing habits). However, I have noticed over the last few years that the scheduling of 18 to 20 games against the Washington Nationals every year seems to benefit the Marlins' performance in the standings. So I decided to figure out how much of a benefit they gain by playing the Nationals so much every year, and came up with this rough spreadsheet (if anyone wants to crunch the numbers further, feel free to use this as a jumping off point).

    While the Marlins have posted losing records against the Phillies, Braves, and Mets since 2006, they have gone 53-30 against Washington since 2006, good for a .639 winning percentage. This dominance of the Nationals helped give the Marlins a .510 winning percentage against the NL East since 2006, compared to a .485 winning percentage against the rest of MLB over the same period. This point was reiterated last night, as the Marlins finished off a three-game sweep of the Nationals to help pull the team back over .500 for the year.

    What does this all mean? Not much, except we should all thank the Nationals for boosting the Marlins' win count over the years. I haven't had a chance to see how the team has fared against other perennial cellar-dwellers in the NL, so it's not a guarantee that the team would do any worse if it had to play the Pirates or Diamondbacks twice as much each year (though we all know about the team's struggles against Pittsburgh). I think I'll be looking into this more closely over the next few weeks, just to see what I can find.

    Image via WaPo


    Reading Material

    This week at The Onion: Florida Marlins Delay Game Until Their Fan Shows Up. Obviously, if the subject is the Marlins fanbase, it's a slow week at Onion headquarters, but they managed to make it funny despite the obviousness of it all, so good on them.
    As the delay grew to an hour, dugout sources expressed increasing concern. Players discarded the possibility of Steve being stuck in traffic, as the streets around the ballpark are all but deserted on game days. They also said it was unlikely Steve had been called into the auto parts store where he works, because it is closed on Sundays unless they are doing inventory. Players noted that inventory, however, is always at the end of the month. A check of Steve's Facebook page revealed no family birthdays.

    h/t to JD


    Off-Day TV Guide: August 9

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Another Monday, another look through the TV listings. I'll probably be watching the first disc of Season 3 of The Wire. The Marlins might want to study some Stephen Strasburg tape, since their last outing against him did not go so well...
    • 7 pm EDT, MLB: Cardinals at Reds (ESPN): Real baseball, hopefully not rained out.
    • 7:30 pm EDT, College football: Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (ESPNU): A rebroadcast of last year's season kickoff. Spoiler alert: Alabama wins.
    • 8 pm EDT, Michael Clayton (AMC): George Clooney plays a burned-out fixer at a large corporate law firm who gets caught up in some shit. I recommend it.
    • 9 pm EDT, Last Comic Standing (NBC): Has anyone been watching this? 
    • 10 pm EDT, Curb Your Enthusiasm (TV Guide Network): "Chet's Shirt," one of my favorite episodes from Season 3, my choice for the top season of Curb.
    Tonight's book recommendation is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. I'll be starting this one tonight. We'll see how it goes.


    Two Weeks In Review

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Apologies for the absence of last week's review post.

    Overview: Results of the series

    • at San Francisco: 2-2
    • at San Diego: 2-1
    • Philadelphia: 0-3
    • St. Louis: 1-1 (and one rainout, pictured right)
    A two-week total of five wins and seven losses. And with that the Marlins are well and truly out of contention. The team is eight games out of a playoff spot. Chris Coghlan has also announced he will be having knee surgery and will not play anymore this year. This leads the club towards starting Bonifacio much more than recommended (zero).

    \bows head, buries it into hands

    Positives: Football season is almost here. The team did have a nice west coast road trip and looked to be heading back into contention. Other than that, not much.
    Negatives: The Fish were swept by the Phillies and Bob Davidson. Even worse, Davidson still won't admit he made the incorrect call. Even though the ball took bounces only in fair territory before and beyond the bag, he believes that in mid air the ball ventured into foul ground and came back. Awesome.

    Also, a bit overdue but a Marlins bloggers' favorite, Rick VandenHurk was traded to the Orioles for Will Ohman. And Oh man he hasn't been much of an improvement to the club. Not exactly the end to the #FreeHurk movement we wanted.
    Line of the Week: Anibal Sanchez ensured a Marlins victory by not allowing the bullpen to pitch.

    W, CG, 9 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 8 K's

    Highlight of the Week: Hustling Hanley delivered something I haven't seen before, a shortstop venturing out nearly to the warning track to retrieve a ball, and throw out a runner. If it was Derek Jeter, you would have already seen this play 547 times. Hat tip to Hanley for his walkoff hit Saturday night.
    Looking Ahead: The Marlins hit the road for three games in both Washington and Cincinnati

    image via Palm Beach Post Sports twitter feed


    Human Element?

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    One day, after Robot Chad Henne completes his conquest of human civilization, we will finally see Major League Baseball replace umpires with robots. When that happens, shit like this will cease.

    And anyone wishing to carp about the necessity of the human element in baseball officiating can eat a bag of dicks, as the kids were saying not too long ago.

    Rant over.


    Off-Day TV Guide: August 2

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    The Marlins are in transit to Philadelphia (or they're already there, I didn't get an itinerary), so here are tonight's viewing options.
    • 7 pm EDT, Tosh.0 (Comedy Central): If you haven't yet checked out Comedy Central's highest rated show, you can catch up on 4 episodes tonight. It's not exactly ground-breaking comedy, but very well executed and funny.
    • 7 pm EDT, Mets at Braves (ESPN): If you really need baseball, and can stand to watch one of the Marlins' rivals succeed.
    • 8 pm EDT, The Ladykillers (AMC): One of the Coen brothers' lesser films, it's still entertaining enough thanks to Tom Hanks' performance as a Southern colonel/swindler. Plus, the Coens know how to pull off a caper (see The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona, etc.), so even if they're off their game, I'll sill watch.
    • 9 pm EDT, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Comedy Central): Four episodes of one of my favorite shows, including "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life," an all-time classic.
    • Any time you want, Louie (Hulu): Since this show airs in the middle of the week, we can't cover it on an Off-Day TV Guide, so I'm cheating here. Louis CK is my absolute favorite comic of the moment (two years running), and he delivers the goods on this show. You can watch the first 5 episodes of the series on Hulu right now. Check out this clip below, in which Louis talks to a 26-year-old who likes dating older men:

    Tonight's book recommendation is Star Island, the latest novel by Carl Hiaasen. I haven't read any Hiaasen in few years, so I'll be picking this up at some point. Hiaasen's fiction is has long been among my favorites, both for Hiaasen's humor and his usage of the state of Florida as a character. This one is about a fictional pop starlet in the midst of a downward spiral.


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