2012 MLB Season Preview: Miami Marlins

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The Florida Marlins had an interesting fix to their abysmal 2011:  Stop existing entirely.

Miami welcomes a new breed of fish this spring, but this time, they’re not interested in your delicious blood.  No, these fish may be a bit more colorful, a bit more aggressive, and have a few new faces, but they’re the same Marlins that have been playing ball in South Florida since 1993.

Except that they aren’t really.  But you already know that–the stadium with the Michele Gondry arts and crafts project; the gathering of the games’ more explosive tempers; and all the front office spending that put “Miami” in people’s mouths without adding “Heat,” “Lebron,” or “…threatened to kill the president.

The winter is over.  Dollars and names are forced into action as the grass goes from dead to green, and one of the most active front offices of flu season gets to see if the Fish are biting.

And you’d be amazed how lucky you can get with a few hundred million dollars.

2011 Season Recap

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Pictured here is a Washington Nationals-Florida Marlins baseball game.  Seriously, it’s underway.  It is a beautiful day.  Billy the Marlin is in rare form.  Look at him, clapping and everything.  Spectacular.

Meanwhile, where are Miami’s 5.5 million people?  At the beach, probably.  Or the club, though it’s a bit early.  Wherever they are, baseball isn’t.  And, if they’re baseball fans, that’s good news.  Because what happened in this stadium in 2011 was something else entirely.

“Putrid,” says Ehsan Kassim of Marlin Maniac.  “Encantador,” agrees I Want to Go to the Strip Club With Mike Stanton.   Or maybe he didn’ t agree.  I’m pretty sure he just used that word so that I’d have to look it up.

The point is, the seas were angry last year, my friends.

There was a promising April.  Josh Johnson led the Fish into 2011 with six innings of hitless baseball; John Buck punched a grand slam; Logan Morrison probably tweeted something charming.  Everyone thought for a second, “Hey, this could be all right.”  By the time the team was 30-20, they were among the best records in baseball, and everyone was thinking a bit louder.  “Hey–this is all right!”

It was May 25.  Hanley Ramirez was in the middle of a down year, but the supporting cast was setting the lineup cards on fire.  Josh Johnson was on the DL, but the young crowd–Morrison, Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton–was developing nicely.  Greg Dobbs and Emilio Bonifacio were performing well as “Team Hot Corner.”  Scott Cousins hadn’t killed anybody yet.  Edwin Rodriguez was still allowed in the dugout.  The Marlins were 2.5 games behind the surging Phillies.

Two point five games.

And then, when Scott Cousins exploded Buster Posey later that evening in a bang-bang moment, the aftershocks reverberated deep into the Marlins’ season.  Despite the cleanliness of the play, the Fish appeared ruined, and an implosion rattled South Florida to its very core.  The team went 42-70 the rest of the way, including a 5-24 June and a 7-20 August.   The epic downfall caused the exit of manager Edwin Rodriguez and required Jack McKeon to babysit the team for the rest of the year.  In Mid-August, Logan Morrison was demoted to Triple-A for his lagging batting average.

September became a death march to the finish line, where they collapsed in a gasping heap of crushed dreams and furious frustration.  When the dirt settled, 2.5 GB had turned into 14.5 GB.

The Fish were dead.

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Tags: Giancarlo Stanton Hanley Ramirez Heath Bell Jose Reyes Mark Buehrle Miami Marlins Ozzie Guillen

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