welcome to

Wed Mar 27 2002
More -> baseball

"Unless you're leading the Dog, the view never changes." - sign just outside the Yankees spring training clubhouse, Legends Field, Tampa, Florida



by modernerabaseball.com

They play before a measly crowd of 10,000 fans in their own yard, have played under two managers, dealt with “contraction” rumors, the Cliff Floyd All-Star Game circus, and managed to overcome key injuries, bad luck, and personal tragedy.

And yet, wouldn’t you know it, the unexpectedly contending Marlins continue to play more like the mosquitoes – Florida’s real native son – and refuse to give up on the wild card and National League East chase.

What’d think, they’d flop? Nah.

This article sponsored by:
Shop with the Big Dogs! Big Sale!
Buy 1 get one at 75% off- equal or lesser value, excluding graphic tees. www.BigDogs.com

Not the Marlins. Not the Tony Perez managed Marlins.

The fish may have a fan-based equal to or worse than the Angels or Tampa Bay, but that hasn’t stopped the bunch from remaining in the hunt. Even if nobody’s noticing.

“We know we’re a good team and we can compete with anybody in this league,” said shortstop Alex Gonzalez. “We’ve lost a lot of close games like by one run. We have to keep playing hard and we have a lot of games left.”

Losing one-run games and struggling on the road have been just one of the challenges the Marlins have faced all season. Not only was John Boles canned as manager of the team and replaced by Perez, but Dan Miceli (since traded) blasted Boles before his departure which certainly didn’t help matters.

Then there’s the contraction business. Marlins owner John Henry has been trying to secure a new ballpark for the club in downtown Miami next to the Heat’s new pad, but Governor Jeb Bush (DubYa’s bro) and the Florida legislature apparently aren’t in a big rush to assist with those plans. In fact, one wonders if anyone in South Florida actually gives a hoot, anyway. Why were they awarded a team in the first place?

Except when the Yankees come to town, do Floridiots in Miami-Dade and Broward counties get off their lazy duff and go to the ballpark. Sure, Pro Player Stadium is no Fenway Park, but it’s not the Orange Bowl either, which is notorious for being a dump and in a horrific part of town.

But fan apathy, managerial changes, and contraction concerns, can’t really quite compare to tragedy which the Marlins has also faced this year when Preston Wilson’s new born daughter died prematurely. To add insult to injury, Wilson has been on the disabled list along with Eric Owens, who when healthy has provided a spark to the pesky fish arsenal.

Still, there’s no mistaking that the Marlins need to start winning on the road and close games, then hope there still in it when Wilson and Owens return for the stretch run when Florida will play critical divisional games against the two teams they’re battling most - seven games against Atlanta and six against Philadelphia in the season’s final month.

“We haven’t been winning these one run games and we have to find a way to start doing it,” said first baseman Derrek Lee. “We can’t just expect that we’ve got some offense. We need to get more offense if that’s what it takes.”

Veteran Charles Johnson, in his second tour of duty with the fish, is also enjoying an All-Star campaign and taking the tough losses in stride.

“Losing a ballgame, regardless of whether it’s one run or four runs, it’s still a lose,” Johnson said. “You want to come out on top. You want to win ballgames, especially on the road. If you want to be there at the end of the year you have to win ballgames on the road but we still have games left. We have to just try to keep it going.”

And if the fish are to contend, they’ll need to do so riding Cliff Floyd on their back. One of the survivors of the 1997 post-World Series cue, Floyd is the Marlins straw that stirs the drink. When he’s going, so are the fish.

Said Gonzalez: “He’s a man who can help any team if he stays healthy, you know?”

Added Wilson: “He's fun to watch and he’s very hot. I’m glad I’ve got a first class seat, hitting behind him. I get to see it all.”

If Wilson and Owens return to form, the Marlins could indeed spell trouble for the Braves and Phillies, especially with a hot Floyd.

“Oh, it’s awesome to hit in front of him and behind (second baseman) Luis Castillo,” said Owens. “It’s where you want to be. Cliff has been swinging the bat really, really well and you know we just need to get some more guys going along with him so he can drive us in. I didn’t realize how good he was until I got over here and to me he’s one of the better hitters in baseball.”

1   2   next page->

Link to this articleSend this article to a friendView printable version
Subscribe to free e-mail updatesSearch for related articles
 Sponsored by:
Click here for ALL your Sports Gear!
Indoor, outdoor, hunting, camping, hiking, water sports and more! www.McSports.com

Click here for all your paper products & Fine Stationery.
We have creative gifts, photo albums, tissue paper, ribbons, cords and seasonal papers. www.FlaxArt.com

Attention HOME OWNERS! Get a Loan. Apply Today!
$2 Billion available. Poor Credit, 2nd Mortgages, Debt Consolidation. Low rates! www.FidelityCenters.com

Your text ad could be here! Click for details...

 Link to this site.   Feedback.
All contents copyright © 2001, all rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Mar 27 2002, 02:07:15
People who read this article also read:
See the full list of articles on this site.
 Related articles across the WebSeed network:
The Ideal Fish Community: Compatibility Issues
Fish Intelligence and Communication
Feeding Basics
See the full list of related articles.
  This site is part of the WebSeed network.