As the euphoria of the Miami Heat’s second straight NBA Championship wears off and the club lights come on, you’ll begin to wonder what it is you’re supposed to do now.
We’re still two months away from even fake Dolphins football and the lovable-slash-laughable Panthers don’t begin their season until October. But there is one more option: Marlins baseball!
Hey, wait, where are you going? I’m serious.
Now, I understand in terms of fan experience and enjoyment, this might very well be the most precipitous drop-off in the history of sports, going from Dwyane Wade to DeWayne Wise (he still on the team?), but hear me out.
If a 25-50 record makes it sound like the Marlins are a miserable team with the worst record in Major League Baseball, it’s because the Marlins are a miserable team with the worst record in Major League Baseball! However, 11 of those wins have come in the month of June (and there’s still another week to go), which means that if you’re just now stumbling upon the Marlins for the first time, you’re not watching the giant dumpster fire that was the first two months of the season. So that’s nice.
The other cool thing about the Marlins is you’re only as completely out of the loop as pretty much everyone else in South Florida.
One of the more difficult aspects of picking up a different sport, mid-season, is playing catch-up with the rest of the fan base. Nobody likes to be the person who has to Google a team’s roster to figure out who that guy playing first base is; it makes you look like a bad fan. But, that’s the thing about this team: we’re all bad fans! Nobody knows who anybody is! Only the die-hards of the die-hards of the die-hards will be able to tell you what Derek Dietrich is batting with runners in scoring position. The rest of us don’t even know what a Derek Dietrich is. And that’s great, because it means we’re all on a level playing field.
Following Marlins baseball today is like following Marlins baseball at the beginning of the season, which was like following Marlins baseball after the first two fire sales, which was like following Marlins baseball from the very first pitch in 1993. Down here, it’s always a new beginning.
Of course, this is still the Marlins—a Minor League ball club masquerading as a Major League franchise—so things aren’t all roses and Ale House chicken nachos.
For starters, Justin Ruggiano leads the team with 11 home runs. That’s cool. Giancarlo Stanton is second, with seven. That’s not. Why is this significant? Because Stanton missed half the season after suffering an injury earlier in the year.
Does it get worse? Of course it does! The fourth highest home run total on the Marlins belongs to Miguel Olivo (4)… who just last week QUIT THE TEAM. Let that marinate for a bit. A professional baseball player quit the Marlins the same way you would quit your job if you got fed up working the return counter at Wal-Mart.
The Marlins, however, won’t release Olivo, because they’re horrible people who hate happiness or something:
“I’m just praying to God they release me and don’t be selfish,” he said. “I’ve been very professional. I’ve done everything I could to help the team. They’re only hurting one person, and that’s me. I’m a nice person. I don’t want to hurt nobody.”
Yeesh. Are those not the words of a broken, defeated man? Miguel plays baseball for a living, the national pastime, a child’s game, and the Marlins have managed to do this to him.
The other rather obvious downside to watching and caring about the Marlins is knowingly supporting an art-dealing “terrorist” and his pink-shirted henchman. Baseball is an enjoyable sport to watch in person, especially when you can get the family great seats for super cheap on StubHub. Of course, that means helping to line the pockets of possibly the most abhorrent person in the world not named Dan Snyder. And even if you take the proper precautions—parking in a neighborhood lawn, bringing your own bagged lunch, etc., etc.—you’re still at the game. People can still see you on television.
You’re technically still supporting the organization that bent the city of Miami over the kitchen table.
From strictly a baseball standpoint, it’s not easy to convince someone who’s just gotten done watching LeBron James that the Miami Marlins are worth his/her time. However, what if I were to tell you that rookie Marcell Ozuna is a gluttonous cow who destroys hamburgers in his spare time? Or that reliever A.J. Ramos is a failed competitive eater? Got your attention now? Does that make this team more interesting?
(At least we’re not talking about Logan Morisson’s social media takeover anymore. Because that was awful and I’m glad we’ve all moved on. Let us never speak of those times again. RIP, Bryan Petersen.)
These are your Marlins. They’re not the most talented bunch of ballplayers you’ll see, but they’re all we’ve got from now until football season. I mean, you have to begin loving them again sometime, right? Who knows, maybe they’ll surprise you.
Welcome to life after the Heat.
Welcome to Marlins baseball.
Why are you crying?