11.24.05

Will The Last Florida Marlin With Trade Value Please Turn Out The Lights?

Posted in Baseball at 2:56 am by

Chicago’s WSCR Radio is reporting that the Cubs are on the brink of acquiring Marlins OF Juan Pierre in exchange for LHP Renyel Pinto (presumably he’s got better stuff than his brother David) and two other prospects, soon to be determined.

The Miami Herald’s Dan Le Batard — presumably a Marlins season ticket holder who bought his own seats — holds his readership responsible for the clear-out.

The worst is over. The past two days will be as terrible as local baseball fans (both of them) feel until the day the franchise does finally decide to leave. Trading Paul Lo Duca and Luis Castillo and Pierre won’t cripple as much as losing Josh Beckett and Carlos Delgado, the former a young link to the glorious past, the latter the symbolic bridge to a competitive future.

You should see how excited Boston, a real sports town, is about the acquisition of Beckett. The Red Sox know how hard it is to groom a talent of his pedigree, so they’ll happily borrow his nine disabled-list stints and zero career 200-inning seasons in exchange for their best prospect. Beckett immediately steps to the front of a 95-victory rotation as the single best pitching talent in the entire Red-Sox-Yankee rivalry now that Randy Johnson and Schilling have aged. He’s going to be great for the next decade, elsewhere.

But we have zero appreciation for baseball excellence. The Mets know what they are getting in Delgado as we yawn. We’ve been so baseball blessed that we lose sight of the fact that Florida, for example, has had three pitchers throw no-hitters while the Mets, born in 1962, are still waiting for their first.

We’re a banana republic for baseball, and anyone who cares about sports in this market should be alternately embarrassed and ashamed as fans throughout the country marvel and laugh at our incompetence and indifference while scavenging at the skeletal remains of our former champion like sharks lured to chum. We should get the commissioner’s approval to change the name of the team — The Florida Chum.

This is only the most underappreciated team in modern-sports history. That’s all. And there’s plenty of blame to go around, stretching from a wretched fan base to politicians who couldn’t get a stadium done even with the Marlins paying for so much of it. Hispanic fans — or alleged fans — should be especially ashamed because we claim this to be the sport of our people, and we’ve never done anything to support this team even as it has pandered to our interests by signing the likes of Livan Hernandez and Alex Fernandez in search of such a spike.

I’m sure Livian Hernandez looks at his ’97 World Series ring every day and fondly remembers how his signing was designed to pander to Hispanic fans.

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