Ozzie Guillen: Animal Lover

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No comment. Via.


No Comment

Billy the Marlin has received his wardrobe change

photo via @ByTimReynolds


What are we thankful for?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

  • Sr. #MONSTERDONG himself, Giancarlo Cruz Mike Stanton.
  • Larry Beinfest, Michael Hill and Dan Jennings, who somehow keep Team Loria from trading Hanley Ramirez for a bucket of D-batteries every season.
  • Dr. James Andrews, who keeps Josh Johnson's throwing arm from falling off.
  • Whatever deal with the devil Emilio Bonifacio made that turned him into a competent baseball player this year.
  • The end of baseball at Joe Robbie Pro Player Dolphin Landshark Sun Life Stadium.
  • Team Loria's crazy-ass design choices, including the psychedelic arcade display in centerfield of the new stadium and the impending ruination of Billy the Marlin. It is better to be ugly than bland.
  • Luis Castillo.
  • Kevin Millar.
  • Kurt Abbot.
  • Alex Arias.
  • Charles Johnson.
  • Cody Ross.
  • Carl Pavano (the Marlins version).
  • Seinfeld reruns.
  • Readers who indulge our obsession with Earl Weaver and let us slide for ending the title of this post with a preposition.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Image via Fins Nation. We're also thankful those dudes haven't started a Marlins blog and made us obsolete.


So Long, @manbearwolf

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Marlins announced Tuesday that C John Baker has been shipped to the San Diego Padres in return for LHP Wade LeBlanc. Baker missed most of the 2010 and 2011 seasons due to Tommy John surgery (his series of posts about coming back from the surgery for BLS are a must-read). But with John Buck firmly entrenched as the Marlins' starting catcher, Baker is the odd man out (not coincidentally, he is up for arbitration this offseason).

I'm pretty sure that Baker was the first Marlin on Twitter, so you can imagine that Ted and I are sad to see such a media-savvy player leave the team. It's been grand, @manbearwolf.

It's hard to tell what LeBlanc has to offer the Fish, other than a back-of-the-rotation option should some of the team's free agent targets not sign. LeBlanc made 14 starts for San Diego last season, but his 3.16 BB/9 and home-road splits are cause for concern (San Diego's Petco Field is decidedly a pitcher's park). Let's just call LeBlanc Miami's Plan B and hope the team can land one of the free agents it is honing in on and convince Javy Vazquez to come back for one more go-around.


Realignment and Expanded Playoffs Update

Friday, November 18, 2011

Baseball will be making major changes in the next two years -- adding two teams to the playoffs, moving the Houston Astros to the American League and extending interleague play to September.

The expanded playoffs could come as early as next year. That will put 10 teams in the postseason, requiring a new wild-card playoff round that probably will be one game, winner take all.

As a condition for approving the sale of the Astros from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane, the Astros agreed to shift from the NL Central to the AL West as soon as 2013, giving each league 15 teams. It's baseball's first realignment since the Milwaukee Brewers went to the NL after the 1997 season.

If I were an Astros fan, I'd be a bit bummed. Alas, I am not an Astros fan. Therefore, I'm okay and borderline happy with the future realignment. I like balance, and having 15 teams in each league, with each division having exactly five teams is nice. I also don't mind the perpetual interleague play that will be required with an odd number of teams in each league.

As for the expanded playoffs with another wild card team? I'm for that too. Hell, the Marlins seem like they never want to win a division title, so having more wild card entries improves our chances of making the playoffs.

Dave and I discussed this before, when this was just a rumor (here and here) and pretty much the same holds true now. In brief:
  1. Rewards division winners
  2. Punishes wild card teams, subjecting them to luck of a one game playoff and wasting their best pitcher before the division series
  3. Pennant races better, more incentive to get higher seed and win division
  4. One game playoffs are fun and uber-exciting.


An Aside

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Via Harball Talk, the Baltimore Orioles will erect statues at Camden Yards of all the team's Hall of Famers, including MDH demigods Earl Weaver, Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray. Two things:
  1. If the Earl Weaver statue ever goes missing, you've never heard of us and have no idea why we would ever pinch a statue of a former Orioles manager.
  2. If the Eddie Murray statue does not feature his epic Afro/mutton chop combination, then it should be destroyed and the sculptor should be jailed for crimes against art.
So dope.


Can Loria Be Trusted?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It is still hard to fathom, but Team Loria wants to spend some serious cash this winter. But even reports of substantial offers to Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols are not enough to convince some observers that Loria is serious about loosening the purse strings. From Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:
Many in the industry are skeptical of the Marlins’ sincerity, believing that the club will make offers that are competitive, but not good enough to accept — and that the players will sign with teams that have better chances to win.
First, it's good to know that people inside baseball trust Jeffrey Loria just as much as Marlins fans do (which is to say, not at all). Regardless, I think Loria is totally serious about signing at least one (if not more) of the big three free agents the Marlins have targeted (Pujols, Reyes and Buehrle). Here is why.

When discussing anything Loria does, there are two critical points to remember:
  1. Loria has terrible PR instincts, and generally cares more about his own ego than he should. Pretty much everyone who follows baseball will agree with those assertions.
  2. Regardless, he is a shrewd businessman (the sweetheart deal he engineered to sell the Expos to MLB and buy the Marlins is all the proof necessary to prove that point).
Point 2 is important, because Loria knows that the momentum gained from opening the new stadium will fade fast in Miami if he fields an uninspiring team in 2012. You may recall that when the Heat opened the American Airlines Arena during the 1999-2000 season, there were plenty of empty seats at times. That year's Heat team had little going for it, and the oft-fickle Miami fans could not be bothered to show up to games.

This is all to say that the buzz about the Marlins trying to land a big free agent is not buzz for its own sake. If the Marlins whiff on Pujols, Reyes, and Buehrle, then the effort to sign them will not translate into any real gain in ticket sales. And ticket sales drives all of Loria's moves right now. He has sunk a lot of money into the stadium, even though the city and county have picked up a lot of the tab. Loria needs ticket sales to make his investment worth it, and teaming up Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton with someone like Pujols or Reyes would go a long way towards achieving that goal.

It is also worth mentioning that the Marlins' stadium-related cash flows will improve significantly in the new stadium, even if they do not get a bump in attendance. The owners of Sun Life Stadium (i.e. Stephen Ross and his Miami Dolphins partners) got a substantial cut of the gate (This Forbes piece notes that the Marlins got no luxury box revenue and only 37% of parking). Besides that, proceeds from food and drink sales went to the stadium owners, not the team. So the Marlins do have cash to spend, making these offers to Reyes and Pujols seem like less of a buzz-generating move and more of a realistic acquisition attempt.



While just about all of his teammates were in Miami modeling the new Marlins uniforms Friday night, pitcher Chris Volstad was in Tallahassee getting ready to attend a college football game.

Volstad, the Marlins' top draft pick in 2005 out of Palm Beach Gardens High, said he wasn't invited to the rebranding ceremony, which makes him wonder if he might've thrown his last pitch for the Marlins.


Latest on Jose Reyes

Monday, November 14, 2011

Buster Olney says to expect Jose Reyes to be wearing the teal sky blue and international orange in 2012.

"There is an expectation they will work something out with Reyes for something in the range of five years, $18-20M a year. They are seen as the team that's going to be most aggressive and he certainly fits the style that Ozzie Guillen loves to play. He loves to have a team that runs the bases aggressively, puts pressure on opposing defenses. Reyes would be a centerpiece for that with Hanley Ramirez moving to another position." 
Meanwhile at FanGraphs, Paul Swydan has written a very intelligent piece (with many numbers to back it up) on what a Jose Reyes signing would mean and why it's smart to move Hanley Ramirez to 3B. Some highlights:
If you did leave Ramirez alone though, you would probably move Reyes to second base, where he played some in 2004 during the great Kaz Matsui experiment, but that seems silly. You would still have a subpar shortstop, and Reyes couldn’t be expected to play any better than Omar Infante does at the keystone. Moving Ramirez is the better strategy.
Third base is not only the best place for Ramirez from a lineup hole perspective, it also fits his game best. One of the main benefits of sliding from shortstop to third base is that generally speaking, you don’t need as much range to handle third. Sure, you have to charge on bunts, but by and large, it’s a reaction position, there isn’t nearly as much running involved as there is at short (or in center).
So let’s tally this up. Conservatively speaking, Reyes figures to upgrade shortstop by about a win, and Ramirez figures to upgrade third base by about four. In case you’re having trouble adding that up, that’s a five-win upgrade for the Fish, and it could be even better than that. Last season, the Marlins finished in last place for the first time since 2007, but if they are successful in bringing Jose Reyes into the fold — no matter how they shift their currently rostered players to accommodate him — it will probably be their last trip to the basement for a few more years.
I'm in huge favor of this potential move, but now we wait. It should only be about another 48 minutes before some obscure Twitter user with 300 followers claims the Marlins' capturing of Jose Reyes signature is a done deal.


The Wait is Over, I Kind of Liked the Waiting Better Than This

Ted has a review of the new kit on Fish Stripes (SPOILER ALERT: he's somewhat ambivalent!), with a good conversation going in the comments.

Okay, I don't hate the new Marlins' uniform set, but I think the team botched a good design. The Marlins have a clean typeface that is distinctive and vaguely reminiscent of art deco, but oh, the colors. It is too busy, pick an accent and stick with it. It could use two or three fewer colors. I would have preferred gray-outlined orange. I like the Marlin the more I see it.

And the hat logo... just, you know, why yellow? Ted says "There either needs to be more of it, or none at all." I choose none at all. And Marlins aren't orange, so there's that.

I've got more small- to medium-sized quibbles (city name should not go on home jerseys, and there is no need for a black and an orange alternate jersey), but I like the overall look of the uniform. It's just that because of the overdose on accent colors, I can't say it fully does it for me. My favorite uniforms have one or two colors besides white or black, not 4.

There is something about this uniform set that seems like will not age well. I have a feeling that in twenty years, this uniform will look the same as this Miami Heat's garish throwback kit: we will wonder how it could have ever seemed like a good idea.

I'll buy an orange hat, though.

Images via Colorwerx



Friday, November 11, 2011

It's all but official, via Fish Stripes:

Could be better, could have been a lot worse. I like this set, even with the ridiculous yellow V on the M. More to come (including, hopefully, the home whites and road grays) when the uniforms are officially unveiled tonight.


Hot Stove Miscellany

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free agency is under way, and lo and behold, the Marlins are seemingly major players for more than a few big names. For real! This is not satire! I swear!! ...!!!

First, there's Mets shortstop/speedster Jose Reyes:
The Miami Herald reported Monday that at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the precise moment when teams were allowed to begin free agent negotiations, the Marlins contacted New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. According to the Herald, a team of front office higher-ups traveled to New York last week, ostensibly to speak with Reyes' agent.
Signing Reyes would kill two birds with one stone. Hanley Ramirez could move to third base, where he is less prone to injure himself, and the Marlins gaping vacuum at the hot corner would be filled in the process. Plus, the Fish would essentially replace Emilio Bonifacio - an extremely destitute man's version of Reyes - with Reyes himself.

Reyes is 28, so he still has plenty of productive years ahead of him. At Fish Stripes, Michael Jong estimates Reyes being worth 5 wins a year, which would be worth the hefty contract he will surely demand.

We discussed Yoennis Cespedes yesterday, but it bears repeating: insiders are saying the Marlins have the inside track in signing him. When's the last time we heard that about someone who is also drawing interest from the Yankees?

Finally, reports are swirling that the Fish are meeting today with Mark Buehrle, formerly of the White Sox. I'm less excited about him than I am about Reyes or Cespedes, but each starting pitcher signed reduces the likelihood of Chris Volstad staying in the rotation, so there's that's a plus.

Anyway, I know it is disorienting to hear about the Marlins becoming big spenders, but that could be the new normal (so long as the team sells plenty of tickets to that shiny new stadium in Little Havana). Enjoy it! Prepare your Nelson Muntz laughs if Florida manages to outbid the Yankees for Cespedes.



Two quick things for this Tuesday PM, neither involving the rumors the Marlins will sign Jose Reyes, Yoennis Cespedes, Mark Buehrle, Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, and Jesus Christ.

  1. Happy Birthday to one Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton. Mr. Monsterdong turns 22 today.
  2. My first piece at Fish Stripes just posted. It asks what we will remember most about the 2011 Marlins season?
Carry on.


Commence Swoon

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meet Yoennis Cespedes. He's 26-year-old outfielder from Cuba who defected this summer and is looking to sign on with an MLB club this winter. He's looking for a deal similar to the $30 million contract Aroldis Chapman signed with the Cincinnati Reds last year. If he joins the Marlins outfield with Mike Stanton, our buddy SCWS might have a #MONSTERDONG-induced heart attack in the first week of the 2012 season.

For more on Cespedes, check Baseball Prospectus.


Stay Calm, Everyone

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Miami Marlins will unveil their new logo and uniform sets a week from tomorrow, but uniform watchers were subject to some subpar trolling from another Marlins blog today. James Etzbach of Marlin Maniac posted the uni sets below this morning (and there is no link to the source - Michael Jong hasn't been gone for a month and the standards have fallen). Ted did some digging and found the source, where the artist commented, "Here's my take on the new unis, stictly based on what we know for sure about them so far." Nice try, dude.

Click to enlarge either image

As Etzbach notes, placing "Miami" on the home jersey goes against normal protocol (typically place names go on the away jersey, while team names or logos are on the home jersey). Further, the teal cap makes little sense, since teal has been relegated to an accent color. (Sidebar: I still don't understand how there is a significant faction of Marlins fans that long for the original teal uniform set, but hate the leaked new cap logo. Both are ugly, and it's pretty clear they are letting misplaced nostalgia cloud their judgment...)

Regardless, I must say I like the white and grey sets (the black and orange alts are just kinda meh). Etzbach compares the set to something worn by a minor league club, but methinks the gentleman doth protest too much. Miami is a garish place, if our sports teams decide to reflect that garishness in their uniforms, that is just fine with me. Plus, there is something to be said for embracing the aesthetics of ugliness (both Ted and I listen to avant garde jazz, so you can probably guess where we stand on the issue of ugliness).

I will give the final word to Ted, since he put it best: "But fear not, the real unis should be equally or more appalling."


Huge . . meh . . Minor Announcement

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You may have noticed some interesting activity in the Marlins blogging community yesterday. First Michael Jong posted a goodbye on his site Marlin Maniac1. Later in the day, Craig announced he and GameFish were leaving Fish Stripes.

Don't worry, neither Dave or I are moving, being traded, or retiring. Marlins Diehards will remain 100% the same. However, I will be doing some of the work over at the new Fish Stripes. Mike has assembled a blogging team with a small budget2 that the real Florida Miami Marlins would be proud of. For more on that, pay attention to Fish Stripes later today.

But to continue the spoiler alert, I will be writing a weekly piece along with doing a game recap every five days or so. The weekly piece will appear on Tuesdays (except today) and will be focused on Marlins history/culture. It will essentially be an extension of Marlins Diehards. In fact you may even see a Diaspora post every now and then when I get writers block.

I will post a blurb here on this site with a link for those weekly articles, but I urge you to follow Fish Stripes all the time now (if you weren't already) with your preferred medium, links below.

RSS Feed
Facebook: FishStripes
Twitter: @fishstripes
SBNation iPhone App

Also, I know we have been pretty lame here at MDH since the season ended. There are some reasons why that's the case, but partly it's just how we do things. We will pick things up shortly, of course with the new logos/uniforms announcement coming up in 10 days. Other than that stay tuned but expect lots of radio silence. Dave and I will have our own winter meetings soon and will announce some improvements nothing after the new year.

1Seriously? Leaving a Marlins blog to go to different blog is sooooooooo meta. Tip o' the cap to Mike.
2 No budget. Repeat: No. Budget.


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