Samson Speaks, Doesn't Do Much Better

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Yesterday, ESPN's Outside The Lines delved into the Marlins/Loria issue. I joked on Twitter that I wasn't going to watch because of troll Darren Rovell. I read some of the tweet responses and decided to give a listen this morning (It's available as a podcast), curious as to how David Samson would fare. Samson talks to the media and fans much more often than Jeffrey Loria. Despite the silliness of his movie-talk and other bullshit on local sports radio, I thought there's a slight chance he could rescue the Marlins PR efforts or provide a different outlook.

Nope. Samson is no sociopath, like Loria, but he's either completely brainwashed or extremely naive. He's basically just Loria's minion and for that, I can't really be mad at him. He's really in no position to stand up to him (pun intended, because he's tiny)

Host Bob Ley talked to Ketih Law, one of the most respected baseball analysts. Law explained how the Marlins didn't get appropriate value from the trade. The Fish surrendered Jose Reyes, a legit star, Josh Johnson of Cy Young Award caliber, and Mark Buehrle proven quality starting pitcher. In return you should be expecting championship prospects, wich the Marlins didn't get. Law said it's clear the motive of the trade was salary dumping, rather than receiving equal return.

Samson was eager to get in his rebuttal, but had to wait. When it was his turn he didn't offer much of an argument.

  • He first embarrasses himself by saying he didn't know those players names like the fans either (Law later stated despite not being blue chip prospects, their names are still well known in the industry). 
  • He then tries to make the point that you never truly know what you get in prospects and brings up Dontrelle Willis as an example. Again, just like Loria, harkening all the way back to something ten years ago trying to present an example of something they did right, in order to validate something now.
  • Samson also brought up the point the Josh Johnson is in the last year of his contract and that gives him less value since he isn't under club control. Again, Law countered with explaining that getting a year of his service on his current contract (well below his actual value) gives him great value in a trade.
Not that it would have mattered, or swayed anyone's opinion, but that's really not the right way to answer those challenges. Either confess that salary dumping was the number one objective of the trade (fat chance) or at least fib and explain that your scouting department has those prospects rated very highly and that you're certain you are getting equal value in the trade.

There's more goodies in the show, it's worth a listen. Rovell,who I despise actually makes a superb point about Loria not being able to speak to the common folk, probably as a result of his lofty art background. Unfortunately he also explains that Loria is pretty well liked amongst baseball owners, which is frightening, but old white guys gotta stick together, I guess.

Greg Cote mainly argues that the Marlins have betrayed fans by upping the payroll, but going right back to their same operation model a year later. Samson counters by saying it didn't work and the team stunk. True, but hey let's give up on that philosophy after just one year, and go back to our old ways, which produced nine mediocre to poor seasons in a row. Marlins baseball!


Loria's Smarm Offensive Continues

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jeff Loria's re-emergence from hiding continued Monday, when the team hosted beat reporters (and a blogger!) at Marlins Park for a chat with Loria. He continued to make the case that he is not, in fact, a villain sent from the future to destroy baseball in Montreal and Miami, but a competent manager with a totally sound strategy in place, if only you guys would give him a chance to explain it.

The Palm Beach Post has an entire transcript up, here are the highlights. First, the bad news:
The team is not for sale.
THANKS FOR NOTHING, OBAMA. Anyway, did Loria get a good sense of the bile spewed in his direction since last November? 
I haven't seen anything. I got a few silly phone calls. That was in November. It stopped.
No mention of the internet. Does this mean he's never seen the gifs I post??? Well, everyone we've talked to hated that fire sale, you know?
It's not a fire sale. You can call it a fire sale. It's called hit the re-start button because it didn't damn work.
Oh brother.
I understand the feeling but I have no interest in endless losing and we had two years of that, I want to us get back to our winning ways.

We didn't break up the 1927 Yankees. We broke up a losing ballclub that was going nowhere for two straight years.
We get it, they sucked. STOP REMINDING US.

Anyway, there's more, but you can read it here. Loria said he never told Jose Reyes to buy a house in South Florida, he had dinner with Giancarlo Stanton in Paris, but Stanton won't be offered a contract extension this year. Loria seems to think he can smooth this over with words, and that in two years everyone will "look back at what we did" and see that the team was building something.

Even if he is right, I doubt Loria will ever regain the fans' trust.


Jeffrey Loria, PR Amateur

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria placed a full-page ad in all three South Florida daily newspapers this morning, and there is only one proper thing to do with it: An FJM-style annotation and commentary. Let's get to it (text courtesy of the Miami Herald).
This is an accurate title, though you could argue that the letter is to the team's fans, as Loria himself has no fans.
It's no secret that last season was not our best -- actually it was one of our worst. In large part, our performance on the field stunk and something needed to be done. As a result of some bold moves, many grabbed hold of our tough yet necessary decision only to unleash a vicious cycle of negativity.
Right, Our genius moves would be appreciated if only it weren't for you sourpusses in the media! Why would the media cover a fire sale in such a negative light? WHO COULD HAVE FORSEEN THIS? (Other than perhaps Jeffrey Loria, having gone through a similar experience after the 2005 season and with full knowledge of the fan backlash to the post-1997 fire sale).
As the owner of the ballclub, the buck stops with me and I take my share of the blame where it's due.
Could he actually hold himself accountable???
However, many of the things being said about us are simply not true.
SYKE! Loria would never do such a thing.
I've sat by quietly and allowed this to continue.
"Jeff Loria: martyr," said no one, ever.
Now it's time for me to respond to our most important constituents, the fans who love the game of baseball.
Will he say he's sorry for making necessary baseball moves in such a ham-fisted manner? I think we all know the answer to that

Losing is unacceptable to me. It's incumbant [sic] upon us to take swift action and make bold moves when there are glaring problems.
Unacceptable yet so profitable... Seriously, the fact that Loria must state that he wants his team to win tells you how deep a hole he has dug for himself.
The controversial trade we made with the Toronto Blue Jays was approved by Commissioner Bud Selig and has been almost universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value.
Celebrate is a huge overstatement (Even positive coverage includes a ton of caveats: See exhibits A, B, C). Also, earlier he writes about a vicious cycle of negativity surrounding the trade, now he says it has been "universally celebrated by baseball experts." You can't have it both ways.
We hope, with an open mind, our community can reflect on the fact that we had one of the worst records in baseball. Acquiring high-profile players just didn't work, and nearly everyone on our team underperformed as compared to their career numbers. Our plan for the year ahead is to leverage our young talent and create a homegrown roster of long-term players who can win.
Not much to criticize here. The problem is not that the Marlins broke up a juggernaut; last year's team lost 93 games. Loria promised to field a winning ballclub every year in the new stadium, then totally gave up on winning in 2013. It is quite difficult to justify trading three of the players who clearly were not to blame for the team's struggles (Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle, who combined for 10.5 WAR). Loria threw the baby out with the bathwater, that's why Marlins fans are still angry.
In fact, objective experts have credited us with going from the 28th ranked Minor League system in baseball to the 5th best during this period. Of the Top 100 Minor Leaguers rated by MLB Network, we have six -- tied for the most of any team in the league.
In sports, you either sell wins or sell hope. Loria is selling hope, good luck with that.
We'll evaluate this roster and possibly bring in additional talent based on our assessment of what we need. The very same naysayers who are currently skeptical once attacked us for bringing Pudge Rodriguez to the Marlins in 2003.
You may think we don't know what we're doing, but remember that one time we made the playoffs a decade ago using Dave Dombrowski's roster?
More than any other, that move contributed to our World Series Championship.

The ballpark issue has been repeatedly reported incorrectly and there are some very negative accustations being thrown around. It ain't true, folks. Those who have attacked us are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.
This should be good.
The majority of public funding came from hotel taxes, the burden of which is incurred by tourists who are visiting our city, NOT the resident taxpayers.
Once the tourists pay those taxes, they belong to the public. Just because it did not come directly from taxpayers' pockets does not mean there are not a bunch more productive uses for that money than Loria's gleaming boondoggle in Little Havana.
The Marlins organization also agreed to contribute $161.2 million toward the ballpark, plus the cost of the garage complex.
Total stadium costs came out to $634 million. Loria won't tell you, but that means the public paid more than $450 million (not including escalating financing costs).
In addition, the Marlins receive no operating subsidy from local government funding. The ballpark required that all debt service is paid by existing revenue.
That's the team's debt service, not the county's (see the above link for more).
Furthermore, many are attacking the County's method of financing for its contribution, but the Marlins had nothing at all to do with that.
The fact is, with your help, we built Marlins Park, a crown jewel in our beautiful Miami skyline, which has won over twenty design and architecture awards and will help make us a premiere ballclub moving forward.
Monetary value of architecture awards: $0.

The simple fact is that we don't have unlimited funds, nor does any baseball team or business. Fans didn't turn out last season as much as we'd like, even with the high-profile players the columnists decry us having traded. The main ingredient to a successful ball club is putting together a winning team, including a ncecessary core of young talent. Are we fiscally capable and responsible enough to fill the roster with talented players, invest in the daily demands of running a world-class organization and bring a World Series back to Miami?
Is it sound business sense to witness an expensive roster with a terrible record and sit idly by doing nothing? No.
Your Nobel Prize is in the mail.
I can and will invest in building a winner, but last season wasn't sustainable and we needed to start from scratch quickly to build this team from the ground up.
Again, the problem is not what you did, but how you did it (using public financing to build a new stadium that increases the team's accounting profits while not even pretending to care about your fans).

An organization is only as good as its connection with the community. We know we can do a better job communicating with our fans.
That starts now. From this point forward we can ensure fans and the entire community that we will keep you abreast of our plan, rationale and motivations. Amidst the current news coverage, it an be easy to forget how far we went together not so long ago. In 2003, I helped bring a second World Series Title to South Florida.
Jeffrey Loria's WAR in 2003: 0.0. And I cannot mention this enough, but the core of that 2003 was built by Dave Dombrowski, not Loria or Larry Beinfest (Beinfest gets credit for turning Antonio Alfonseca into Dontrelle Willis, though).
We know how to build a winning team, and have every intention of doing so again.
I have every intention of getting Alison Brie to fall in love with me, but intent only gets you so far...
I know you share my passion for great Marlins baseball, my love of Miami and my desire to win again. We're in this together and I humbly ask that we start fresh, watch us mature quickly as a ball club, and root for the home team in 2013.

Jeffrey Loria
To recap: Nothing is Loria's fault, that stadium sure is pretty, he totally knows what he's doing, and the Marlins will be good at some point, just you wait.

Excuse me while I vomit.


Children of the Marlins Diaspora: 18

Saturday, February 23, 2013

[Celebrating a 50th birthday we actually care about.]

Bobby Bonilla, 1B/3B

Played for Marlins: 1997
Other Teams: Chicago White Sox (1986), Pittsburgh (1986-91), New York Mets (1992-95, 1999), Baltimore (1995-96), Los Angeles Dodgers (1998), Atlanta (2000), St. Louis (2001)
Marlins fans know him because: Bobby Bo was an integral part of the 1997 championship campaign. Signed in the offseason as a free agent, he was the team's everyday third basemen and provided some much needed offensive production in the middle of the order. He slashed .297/.378/.468, hitting largely in the cleanup spot. His playoff performance was nothing to write home about but he had two crucial plays in the magical deciding game of the World Series.

First, in the 7th inning with the Fish down 2-0 and the crowd mostly out of it, Bobby crushed a first pitch high change-up deep into the right field seats. The stadium exploded with life. Bonilla pointed to in the stands as he crossed home plate. Supposedly he received some advice from a former big leaguer on what to look for from Jaret Wright. It worked.

Bonilla's bottom of the 11th was an adventure. He lead off with a single, but then was lucky not to be doubled off on a failed bunt. Then Counsell hit the infamous bouncer to 2B Tony Fernandez's left. Bonilla, consciously or not, shielded the ball before it went under Fernandez's glove. He chugged his way from first to third. Bobby was forced out at home but we all know what happened next.
Everyone else knows him because: There was a time when the Pirates were very good at baseball (strange, we know). Bobby was a big star alongside Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and co. He made four consecutive All Star Games (1988-91), six in total. He basically became a journeyman, but parlayed his early success into a huge contract with New York. He's now the epitome of Mets schadenfreude because he receives over $1 million a year until 2035 from them as part of a deferred payment plan that was in his buyout.

Other people also might remember the great cameo in Rookie of the Year, seen above.


Be Still, My Beating Heart

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Asked about the ball that hit him, Stanton joked: "I don't know. I think it's like half of a baseball now." 
Giancarlo Stanton had an x-ray taken after getting hit in the head yesterday, it came back negative. He expects to play in the Marlins spring opener on Saturday. All is well.


Obligatory Meme Recognition

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Via Fish@Bat, the Marlins have filmed a Harlem Shake video.

SPOILER ALERT: Halfway through the video, the Harlem Shake is traded for a Call Me Maybe lip dub and a meme to be named later.



This happened today:

Via Joe Capozzi, Giancarlo Stanton got hit in the dome in this morning's simulated game. He should be okay, but we're watching you, Jose Fernandez (/shakes fist).


Update: You Also Don't Know The Marlins

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Last Friday I wrote that I was only able to name 14 Marlins, and challenged anyone to best me. According to the results from Sporcle, looks like many of you are in the same boat as me. To the stats!

3.8% achieved a perfect score cheated.
7.6% were able to name at least 25. These are true diehards.
34.6% scored between 10-14 correct.
46.2% scored 9 or fewer.

The players most often forgotten (only guessed 3.8% of the time) were Evan Reed, Sam Dyson and Arquimedez Caminero.

The player least forgotten was of course Giancarlo Stanton, but it does appear he was left off on a couple testers' lists (96.2% success).


Can You Best The Diehards? (Probably)

Friday, February 15, 2013

There's been a lot of joking about the anonymous Fish and not being able to name players on the team, so what better way to illustrate that than putting yourself to the test. I gave myself five minute and tried to name as much of the 40-man roster is possible. Result? 14 correct. Joking aside, I thought I'd at least be able to nail 50%. Nope. I'd say that I'd print out the roster and study it vigorously to get to know the team, but shit, that's what spring training is for.

If you'd like to take the test, I've made it in Sporcle form at the link below. Let us know how you do.


Shorter Day One Recap

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

\unfollows @Elboni_1

You don't know how much satisfaction that gave me.

The text in quotes below is taking from the imitable Joe Frisaro's first blog recap of Spring Training. I don't envy the beat writers who have to somehow put hundreds or words together about these largely meaningless days in February. They do get paid though, that's nice.

Body language is being observed at Marlins camp.

Manager Mike Redmond noticed it, and was looking for it, during the first day of Spring Training workouts at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.


The first few days, Redmond and his staff are watching players ease into things.
“I’m just watching to see how guys react,” Redmond said. “How they go about their business. How they work. That’s about it. How they throw. Energy levels. It’s a long spring. We’re here a long time. So we’re easing into it. But I can feel a good energy out there. A lot of young guys. I think they understand what’s at stake, and the opportunity, and kind of the sense of urgency. That’s a good thing.”
This is the most tired and overplayed storyline of every single team for the first few days of camp. "There's a good energy, buzz about the team." "Guys are excited and ready to work hard." It's all a load of crap. Here's the shorter Spring Training recap for day one: Players arrived, stretched and played catch. Nothing else to read into. Rinse and repeat for the entire first week.
Non-roster invitee catcher Craig Tatum has decided to retire. The 29-year-old, who last played in the big leagues in 2011, decided on Monday that he is ready to walk away as a player. The Marlins now have six catchers in camp and 73 players overall.
Love this. Dude probably spent the entire offseason trying to get in shape and gear up for one last go at playing ball and perhaps making it to the show. There's probably no better chance than with the anonymous, unproven Marlins (Astros?) and literally minutes into the journey he says, "Fuck this, I'm done." Dude would rather work a shitty 9-5 like us.

Onwards towards day two. Perhaps a game of pepper will break out and we can analyze some players' will to win from it.


Pitchers and Catchers Report! Very First Season Preview

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

We still have no fucking clue who these guys are.


It Begins

Spring Training officially started yesterday, but the first workouts are this morning. Above, BFFs and disgruntled Marlins Ricky Nolasco and Giancarlo Stanton arrive for their physicals on Monday. The pair will certainly not survive the season (with Nolasco due to be a free agent at the end of the season, the Marlins are almost certain to trade him before the July 31 trade deadline).

We imagine this song playing while they enter Marlins HQ in Jupiter, FL:

Photo via Joe Capozzi's Twitter


Where are the TRUE fan protesters?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Meanwhile, at Marlins Park...

Obviously, these dudes are just fair-weather Loria/Samson haterzzzz. Legit anti-Samsonites wouldn't make such a blunder.

Look, we share the sentiment, but if you're not even going to spell David Samson's name correctly, then just GTFO. We're grammarians first, Fish fans second.

Original photo via Joe Capozzi


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