A year and two days ago, the team formerly known as the Florida Marlins officially began the rebranding of itself by formally changing its name to the Miami Marlins. Out were the old colors of teal, silver and white and in came flashy new uniforms doused in orange with yellow and blue. They left their digs at Sun Life Stadium or as I knew it, Pro Player Stadium, to the Dolphins and they moved into the new Marlins Park, equipped with an aquarium, nightclub and an interesting home run sculpture in left center.
The rebranded Miami Marlins were supposed to be more conducive to the South Beach lifestyle and the hope was they could finally establish themselves as a bonafide Major League Baseball team.
The fact that they still needed to establish themselves as a bonafide professional baseball franchise is a problem in itself. There’s no reason that a franchise that has won two World Series titles in the last 16 years should even be in this situation. The Marlins’ two championships are only rivaled by the Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants – each of whom have won two titles each in the same span – and the Yankees, who have won four. And nobody is questioning the legitimacy of those four franchises.
Ok maybe the Red Sox at the moment, but they have Bobby V to blame.
Yet despite the championship success, let’s just say the Marlins weren’t a star attraction. Prior to moving to Marlins Park, the previous Florida Marlins ranked dead-last among all National League teams in home attendance every year from 2006-2011. Even in 2003, the year they won their most recent World Series title, they were 15th out of 16 NL teams.
Hence, all of this led to the rebranding – the Miami Marlins era. Along with the new stadium, the frugal ownership made a splash at the Winter Meetings just week after they unveiled their new home. In came Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle and Heath Bell all for a total price tag of $193 million. Reyes received the longest and most lucrative contract in franchise history. Ozzie Guillen was brought in to manage a ball club with high expectations all of a sudden. (more…)
I don’t know what’s it like to be an Oakland Athletics fan, but I can imagine it would be full of guessing and second guessing every decision general manager Billy Beane makes. The best part is that you can never get comfortable and settle down with the roster because he’s always making a deal with someone somewhere for unknown utility infielders, undervalued relief pitchers, and Manny Ramirez.
Beane gets a lot of criticism for the way he’s always changing the look of his team, but it’s the hand he’s been dealt with since day one i.e. a small market team trying to compete with the big boys. I don’t need to rehash Moneyball or anything, but his forward thinking has helped further statistical analysis of the game and I like GMs who never settle for what they have and always tweak with their team’s roster.
Of course it’s easy to praise Beane from afar which might be because I’m not a casualty of his wheelings and dealings, and other fans might feel the same way about Kenny Williams (who I love) and Kevin Towers.
Towers is a hard one for me to fairly judge because he is after all the GM of my Arizona Diamondbacks, and fans scrutinize their own harder than others do. One of the first things he did when he took over in 2011 was sign a veteran group of players like Willie Bloomquist, Geoff Blum, J.J. Putz, and Russell Branyan, with only Putz being a worthwhile investment. Right away that told the fan base that he wasn’t F-in around and wasn’t afraid to make a polarizing moves. (more…)