The Miami Marlins have done it again.
Unfortunately, this is not in reference to the Marlins having made the playoffs. Or having wildly surpassed expectations. Or having just benefited from a season that should net their skipper a Manager of the Year award.
No, this is in reference to the Miami Marlins once again firmly grasping defeat from the jaws of victory, firmly sticking their foot in the mouths, and putting themselves in a position to be the laughingstock of the sport. Because that's just where the club finds themselves in light of Monday morning's confoundingly predictable news that Kim Ng won't be returning as general manager.
The news bears repeating. Despite the fact that the Miami Marlins made the playoffs, despite a series of highly successful trades, despite crucially nailing her first managerial hire ... Kim Ng is out as Miami's GM.
Monday's move regarding Kim Ng is one that only the most jaded of Miami Marlins fans could have seen coming.
Of course, the word jaded is an apt description for roughly half the Marlins fanbase. It's a natural and understandable consequence of supporting a team that finds a way to take at least two steps back whenever they manage to take one step forward. Win a World Series? How about a firesale? After that last full-season playoff trip in 2003? The club cut payroll and moved on from two of their best players. Overachieve in 2006? Time to fire the manager. Move into a new stadium at last? Blow the team up before the season ends. Finally sell to a new owner? Rebuild time ... with a core of All-Stars shipped out. After their most recent playoff trip, during the 2020 short season? The team cut ties with then GM Michael Hill despite his commendable efforts in navigating a massive Covid outbreak and injuries to get Miami to the postseason.
And those follies are just the tip of one very sad iceberg that the Miami Marlins have kept managing to drive themselves into throughout their history.
Which brings us up to the present, and the approach of the 2024 season. One where arguably the most reassuring thing about the Miami Marlins franchise was the stability provided by manager Skip Schumaker and Ng as GM. Between the two of them, the popular sentiment was that the baseball decision making in Miami was probably as sound as it had been in two decades.
Half of that equation now goes out the window with Ng's departure, and the spotlight is now fully back on Miami Marlins owner Bruce Sherman. Sadly for him, it's for all the wrong reasons. Even before Monday's news, the sentiment surrounding the Marlins owner was lukewarm at best — a mood that actually reflected a significant improvement between fans and ownership. Now once again all the questions that have long haunted this franchise come back to the surface. Is ownership fully committed to winning? Will enough spending take place? Is there a real plan in place for long-term success? Will the players Marlins fans have just spent a season falling in love with stick around, or will the new GM come in and churn through the roster? Will this negatively impact Miami's chances to improve the team in 2024?
None of those questions are ones Miami Marlins fans should have to be pondering right now. But thanks to Bruce Sherman, it's currently the only thing fans of his franchise can think about.
One step forward, two steps back. It didn't have to be this way, Marlins.