As long as the baseball season is, it's hard to make definitive judgments about what's going to happen in October based on what happens in the first week of April.
Still, we've known all offseason that the 2013 Marlins are going to be awful.
The Nationals' sweep of them in the season's first three games was not surprising, nor was the Marlins scoring one run over those three games. Sadly, what's also not surprising is how out of touch their owner Jeffery Loria, remains.
Prior to his team's loss 6-1 loss to Washington on Thursday, Loria had this to say about his team (per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald):
It’s great baseball. It’s the beginning of a new era for us and it’s exciting...People will look back in two years from now and say, ‘They did the right thing.’ Period. Give these guys a chance. Give us a chance. Watch them mature because they’re quality.
I'm sure the fans of Miami are furious with the Marlins and I'm sure that their attendance will reflect that fact, but Loria saying "Give these guys a chance," is ignoring the fact that the issue is with Loria, not the players.
I can't get into the minds of the Marlins fans, but when I saw their fire-sale this past offseason, I had one thought—if I were a fan of that team, I wouldn't go to a single game until he sells the team. I don't even care if they go 162-0.
None of this is new information, but just take a look at some of the facts.
- The citizens of Miami are financing the Marlins' new stadium.
- These were the same people who were told that the franchise's penny-pinching ways were due to the poor attendance at Sun Life Stadium and that a new stadium would change that.
- In the 2011-2012 offseason, the Marlins signed Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and Heath Bell.
- Within a year, all of those players, including stalwarts Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson, were traded.
- Even if those trades work out well, it won't realistically begin to show on the field until 2015 or even later.
- In 2011 and 2012, Miami's Opening Day 3-4 hitters were Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton. In 2013, the 3-4 combo was Stanton and Placido Polanco, a 37-year-old who hit a combined 13 home runs from 2010-2012.
This is all Loria's fault and there's something else that's his fault.
Let's say that at some point in the next few years, Loria decides to go out and try to sign some big-name free agents. Seeing what happened to those signed last year, what free agents would possibly go to Miami with Loria as the owner?
Also, seeing what just happened, how could Miami fans have any confidence that these prospects won't be instantly traded when and if they become stars?
What the Marlins' fans should do, and what I suspect they will do, is to leave that park virtually empty until Loria sells the team.
The problem is not with the players. None of this is their fault. If Loria decided to call me tomorrow and asked me to go play first base, I'd give the team my best effort, but it wouldn't be any good.
Fans can be mad at a player when he fails to perform, but even the craziest of fans can step back to realize that the players are doing their best, but their best just isn't that good. They're not the ones to blame. The man most responsible for putting them on the field is to blame.
I've talked to a lot of people about the Marlins over the last few months. They all seem to realize that the blame here is on Loria. The empty stadiums that Miami will suffer through this season are because of Loria, not the players and not the fans not giving them a fair chance.
Now, I am not suggesting that Loria should come out and publicly acknowledge blame here. While that would actually be an ideal scenario, it's not realistic. No, I am suggesting that Loria do the simplest thing he can do from this point on—shut up.
The more Loria talks, the more he distances himself from reality. The more he talks, the more he angers any fans out there who are paying attention.
Every year, there will be some teams that aren't any good. For the most part, if one team wins 100 games, it probably means another will lose 100 games.
Heck, the Giants have won two out of the last three World Series after not coming close to a winning record between 2005 and 2008. , As a fan of the Giants, if you had told me that they would have even won one World Series by 2012, let alone two, I would have laughed in your face.
I was wrong. That's how quickly things change in baseball, or sports in general. That could even happen to a team like the Marlins in a few years. Fans understand all of that.
What fans don't understand is an owner who has blatantly lied to them and continues to act indignantly (at least in public comments) when anyone asks him about it.
Let's put it this way. Throughout the country, there are plenty of places that lean very heavily towards either Republicans or Democrats. If any politician did what Loria did, there is a not a district in this country that would re-elect them, regardless of their political allegiances.
So, I'll guess that the fans will be more than willing to give these players a chance. It's the owner that they're done giving chances to.
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