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Thursday, April 26, 2012
When You Bedazzle A Fish
Purdy. Ain't it?
Some of you may find this odd but I’ve always had a special
fondness for the Florida Marlins. I
remember their inaugural year of 1993 as if it were yesterday, partly because I
lived in Florida
at the time and was caught up in the fanfare of finally having a Major League
Baseball team in my backyard. Partly
because it was the year my father passed away.
In fact we had planned on going to a few games that year, driving down
to Miami which was just a few hours from where
we lived in Orlando. He had planned it to be part of my high
school graduation gift. Dad and I never did get to see the Marlins together as he
passed away that March, just over a week into Spring Training.
I remember his excitement that we would finally be seeing a
meaningful Mets game nearby. One that wasn’t
some meaningless match up in March, with players who had jersey numbers
straight out of the NFL. It was a moment
that we shared that 19 years later I have never forgotten or wanted to, that is
until I saw the monstrosity that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria had assembled this
past off-season in south Florida.
Donned in their new tropical rainbow Skittled colored
uniforms with hues of blue, red, orange, green and yellow and black are the new
Marlins. Even Ozzie Guillen, their loose
lipped manager, implied on the current season of The Franchise which airs on
Showtime, that the new uniforms looked terrible. I swear if you look at those new uniforms long
enough, they could trigger seizures, especially in small children and the
elderly. On their opening day of the new stadium in Miami, the players were escorted onto the
field by Brazilian showgirls. I kid you
not. It was the most ridiculous thing I’ve even seen done by a Major League
Baseball team. I was waiting for Rip
Taylor to jump out of the dugout and start tossing confetti at everyone. They even carted out former Heavyweight
Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali to “throw” out the first pitch. Yeah, you can’t make this stuff up.
Loria this past off-season went on a spending spree, with
guaranteed contracts given to Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, and Mark Buehrle totaling
over $191 million dollars. The last time the Marlins doled out that much
cash, they won the World Series and like the great owner Loria is, he rewarded
his Florida fan base by selling off his expensive players as if he were trafficking
human body parts on the black market. I
shouldn’t be so hard on Loria; Wayne Huizenga did the very same thing in 1997 when
he owned the Marlins who also ironically won the World Series that year. Those
fickle Floridians; incidentally 57% of that original fanbase has passed away
since then leaving time shares in Boca available.
But that was then. Now Loria can boast his new tacky stadium
with its fish tank backstop. Again I kid
you not. And the piece de resistance,
the sculpture…thing that was built in left center. Designed by artist Red Grooms, this pyramid eyesore
twirls and whirls pastel colored Marlins in a circular motion each time Jose
Reyes flashes a smile or when the team hits a homerun. Somewhere Abner Doubleday is flipping in his
You mean I MAY not be here for my ENTIRE contract?
Look I get that the Marlins are a south Florida team, I’m not geographically
challenged. In fact when they debuted in
1993, and introduced the color teal to MLB, it was followed by many hems and
haws from old school types. I thought it
was a fitting color considering the locale. But with this new incarnation of
the Marlins, it seems they’ve adopted more of the SouthBeach
club persona than anything else. And speaking
as a Met fan, as much as it was enjoyable to watch Jose Reyes play, let’s not
try to make him out to be more than what he was. He personified the fast, exciting, and
energetic player but honestly not the smartest one ever to put on the
uniform. It seems quite appropriate for
Reyes to have been lured into the shallow lifestyle that is SouthBeach. Not that the Mets actually made him a real offer,
but that’s an argument for another day. The good thing though for Reyes, he’ll
never know just how big of a mistake he made leaving New York until he hangs up
his cleats and finds out that in Miami, he’s just a really small fish in a huge
pond. Probably by then he’ll be touring
with Pit Bull.
Baseball just ain’t what it used to be. Dad, you’re not missing anything although the
Mets did sweep the Marlins in Reyes’ return to New York.
Gotta love the silver or teal or yellow or red or black lining.