Beinfest Promoted; Mike Hill New GM

The Marlins took a big step to lLock up some of its most valuable assets — Larry Beinfest and his staff.

Larry is promoted to President of Baseball Operations which gives him a bigger title, probably higher pay, but generally the same responsibilities. Mike Hill is now your new General Manager while Dan Jennings and Jim Flemmings were named Assistant General Managers. All signed deals until 2015(!). Continue reading Beinfest Promoted; Mike Hill New GM

How Not to Cover the Marlins

The Marlins three ownership groups deserve the marjority of the blame for the problems with the franchise. Despite two World Series, the team has seen two major fire sales and for a few years fielded terrible teams. But nothing irks me more than reading the hatchet-jobs coming out of the local South Florida media. Today’s useless drivel comes from Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel.

Entitled “Brace for departure of Marlins’ star duo”, this meaningless entry leads off with:

Miguel Cabrera or Dontrelle Willis? Who goes this winter? Who stays? Can we start a pool on whether both will be traded?

Yes, it looks serious this time. And before you raise a voice in protest, understand you don’t have a voice. Nor do I.

It then goes into a stupid anecdote about Bill Murray getting free seats from scalpers. Well, Mr. Hyde, thank you for finally discovering what we’ve known for years — our attendance sucks. As you point out, we’ve drawn more fans this season than we did in the 2003 World Series season. I’m not sure what you are trying to tell us. No one expects the Marlins to average 25,000 fans per game right now with this stadium. That is one of the many reasons (and you may have read about this in your own paper) that the team is trying to get a new ballpark.

Next, Mr. Hyde goes on to suggest that since ticket sales don’t matter, the Marlins don’t care what the fans think and will get rid of players no matter how damaging it is. To be fair, this ownership has invested quite a bit of money in PR, marketing, and community relations. No matter what happens, I do think they care. You are just regurgitating anti-Loria baggage that unfairly stuck to him with the dying franchise in Montreal (note to Expos fans: the franchise died long before Loria, get over it).

But that’s not what gets to me.

What bothers me is that Mr. Hyde is essentially making all this up. He may be 100% right or 100% wrong and it doesn’t matter because he actually doesn’t know. His commentary is speculation at best. In fact, he uses question marks twelve times in this article. This kind of useless writing simply tarnishes people’s reputation and creates a negative aura around the team even though they just completed an enjoyable 3-game sweep of the Cubs who are in the midst of a pennant race. Unlike you or me (I don’t really have that many readers), Mr. Hyde’s voice matters. He has hundreds of thousands of readers who rely on him for news, even if he thinks all he’s giving is opinion. It is his responsibility, just like those covering politics or the war, to actually write responsibly. If you have definite information from reliable sources in the Marlins organization — please tell us. We expect that from you and will praise you for it. But this stuff comes across as facts when it’s not.

I don’t know what will happen to Dontrelle, Miguel, or the Marlins. But neither does Mr. Hyde.

Play Like You’re In the Playoffs

Watching the last three games against the Cubs, I couldn’t help but notice the playoff-like atmosphere both on the field and in the stands. Clearly, having all those annoying Cubs fans yelling and screaming helped and the Cubs players were celebrating every key play, but you can clearly tell that Fredi and the gang were playing like we were in the race. Fredi’s use of the bullpen and the focus of our hitters showed what we’re all about. We even saw some big smiles after huge plays and after final outs. This should give us insight into what this team can really do. Now lets continue this in New York (and into next season). Nothing would make any Marlins fan happier than finishing off the Mets collapse.

Kranitz is Gone

Rick Kranitz is out as the Marlins pitching coach, but not because of management or our futile calls for his head.

The official story is that the Marlins offered new deals to all their coaches and all but Kranitz have accepted. The Marlins, looking to waste no time, told Kranitz they need to move on.

“The bottom line for me is either you are in or you’re out,” [GM Larry] Beinfest said. “Kranny was not able to make that decision, and we’re moving on.”

The Palm Beach Post adds some more color claiming:

a source said the Marlins offered him a $5,000 raise. Kranitz thought he deserved more, the source said.

Bullpen coach Steve Foster will take over as interim pitching coach.

Photo by Flickr user deepfruit

Mr. Marlin Plays His Final Game at “Home”

Today will mark the end of an era for the Florida Marlins.

At some point today, Jeff Conine’s name will be announced for the last time as a player in Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphin Stadium. If you haven’t heard already, Niner announced that he will retire at the end of this season.

He is the only player to have played for the inaugural team and the two World Series Championship teams. In his seven years (1993-97 and 2003-05) Conine hit .290 with 120 home runs and 553 RBIs. Statistically, his name appears in the top-10 of many career lists including batting average (5th), games (2nd), at bats (3rd), runs (3rd), Hits (2nd), total bases (2nd), doubles (4th), triples (7th), home runs (5th), RBI (2nd), and singles (2nd). He was even named the MVP of the 1995 All-Star game, wearing that great teal hat (photo on right).

When he comes to bat today (and hopefully, he will) Marlins fans should stand up and give the loudest and longest ovation ever seen at a home game. With all do respect to other Marlins “legends” (Miguel Cabrera, Luis Castillo, and Mike Lowell) no player meant more to this franchise. He helped build this franchise we all love so much and was there to guide it through the early years and through its two championships.

There will always be only one Mr. Marlin. Now batting, Jeff Conine.

Marlins Insist that Kranitz Will Stay

This is not my life’s mission or anything like that, but I do believe the Marlins would benefit from replacing their pitching coach.

I’m not going to go into the details as I did that a few weeks ago, but our pitching situation has been a disaster this year and even healthy experienced pitchers like Dontrelle Willis and Scott Olsen are having terrible seasons possibly due Rick Kranitz having changed their delivery. Continue reading Marlins Insist that Kranitz Will Stay

Fun with Marlins Silhouettes

Apparently having nothing left to say about the Marlins this season, the Sun-Sentinel decided to write about batting stances and offered a little graphical quiz.

This little game shows you silhouette of Marlins players and asks you to guess who it is. Now most of us hardcore fans can quickly recognize the stance of body shape, but even the less committed can simply look closely at the screen and clearly identify the players face and number (nice job guys!).

Anyway, if you’re interested in taking this quiz, make sure you squint and stay far away from the screen (no cheating!) and click the link here.

You Won’t Have the Dutch Kid to Kick Around Anymore

Well, at least not for this season.

The Marlins have decided to shutdown Rick VandenHurk for the rest of the season. After combining over 147 innings in the majors and minors, management felt that it’s best to not overextend him, especially as he only pitched 26 innings last year (he, like every other Marlins pitcher, had undergone Tommy John Surgery).

At times, VandenHurk showed great potential, but often he looked like an over-matched AA pitcher. He finishes the season with a 6-8 record and with an ERA of 6.83.

Chris Seddon is now on the roster and will take over the Hurk‘s spot in the rotation.

“Let’s just say the stars are all aligned”

The Miami Herald puts out a teaser article about the Marlins ballpark situation leading off with the suggestion that D-Day is coming:

The time may be nearing for the Florida Marlins to say whether they will accept the Orange Bowl site as their future home.

After much speculation, it now appears as if key leaders in Miami are willing to allocate some of the former Orange Bowl renovation money to building a ballpark for your Florida Marlins. Of the $85 million, $50 million came from a county bond while $35 million came for tourist bed taxes and therefore belong to the the city of Miami. I don’t know if both the county and the city will allocate the money but you can imagine that just $35 million, which Miami can approve for the ballpark by a simple vote, would help close that pesky funding gap. In fact:

… both Miami-Dade governments said recently they had no problem targeting it to help the financially struggling franchise build a ballpark.

Now, we’ve discussed the team’s interest in downtown (vs. the Orange Bowl) but Miami officials are willing to tell us what the Marlins told them:

Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez said team owner Jeffrey Loria indicated he was ”open-minded” about the Orange Bowl site. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro said Loria had told him the property was “acceptable.”

Acceptable? Doesn’t sound enthusiastic but this is probably the Marlins best and last chance so I assume they will take it and smile (all the way to the bank).

We’ll end with a very optimistic and hopefully real statement from co-chairman of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission Jose ”Pepe” Diaz

“That money was specified for the Orange Bowl. . . . Let’s just say the stars are all aligned.”

Photo by Flickr user daita

Where Are They Now: Encarnacion’s Career May Be Over

Juan EncarnacionIt is often easy to overlook the role Juan Encarnacion played for the 2003 Marlins. Always a quiet presence, Encarnacion batted .270 with 19 home runs and an important 94 RBI. He also committed 0 errors in 653 putout attempts. He struggled in the playoffs, making way for the veteran Jeff Conine and the emerging superstar Miguel Cabrera. After being traded away and coming back, Juan once again took over right field as the starter for the 2005 team. He is currently a member of the St. Louis Cardinals (where he won another World Series in 2006).

We write about Encarnacion because, the other day, he was hit in the eye by a foul ball. His career is likely over.

Dr. George Paletta was not optimistic Sunday that the outfielder will regain full vision after his frightening injury and resume his career.

“It’s the worst trauma I’ve seen. Absolutely,” Paletta said, adding that the future holds no guarantees. “You hope the best for Juan, but he suffered a severe injury with a very guarded prognosis.

What happened?

Paletta said the eye socket was essentially crushed on impact, comparing the injured area to the disintegration of an egg shell or ice cream cone, and that the optic nerve had sustained severe trauma. Reconstructive surgery may not take place for several days while doctors wait for swelling to subside.

I’m sure all Marlins fan with Juan the best. His a good guy and good ball player and will always be remembered positivly as part of that 2003 gang.