In its Spring Training baseball preview, Deadspin has decided to take shots at every team and of course the Marlins were fish in a barrel. Will Leitch looks at some of the best players in team history and suggests that he doesn’t remember them as Marlins.
Here are the five humans who have started the most games on the mound for the Marlins, in order: Willis, A.J. Burnett, Brad Penny, Ryan Dempster, Pat Rapp.
When you conjure up images of those players, not a single one of them is wearing a Marlins uniform. (With the possible exception of Pat Rapp, whom I’m impressed you remember at all.) The only Florida Marlin historical figure — as historical as anything that started in 1993 can be — who comes to my mind is Jeff Conine, for some reason. Maybe that weird mascot. Actually, it’s just the Manatees. In case you forgot what state the Marlins play in.
Yes, he ignored the years and accomplishments that Luis Castillo, Mike Lowell, Brad Penny and Dontrelle Willis saw as Marlins.
Baseball is always trying to whitewash the history it doesn’t like and bronze the history it does, so it’s not a surprise that the team that has won the second-most World Series in the last 30 years rarely shows up in retrospective packages. (How cruel that the most crushing moment for the Cubs, a team so desperate for a World Series, happened against a team that history has already forgotten, a team barely even noticed at the time.) The Florida Marlins are a nowhere team, an anomaly, an unfortunate wart that keeps popping up every few years, long after you thought you’d taken care of it already.
I know this writing is meant to elicit such a response, but at some point the world of baseball does not revolve around the Yankees and Red Sox. But as part of the Marlins “Nation” (did the Red Sox “trademark” that?) I must stand up for our brethren at FishStripes.
FishStripes, a nice little Marlins blog for the SB Nation network, dutifully updated fans with five posts yesterday. These were posts from Spring Training, the most lush, hopeful time of the season, the time when even casual fans stretch their arms out and shake off the cobwebs for a new year. Not a single one of those posts elicited so much as one comment. They’re fine posts, hearty posts, sturdy posts. And nothing.
Looking at a few quiet posts doesn’t tell the complete story. Perhaps we’re not spending the entire off-season debating who Alex Rodriguez is dating or which team Manny Ramirez doesn’t want to lazily play for anymore. But when things start rolling, we’re a loud active bunch who care about our team no matter who owns it, what stadium the play in, which former player is an All-Star and how many incredibly talented players we have in the system. I would argue that it’s easy to be a Yankees fan – you can buy whichever player you want, you expect to contend every year, you play in a billion dollar stadium, your merchandise is everywhere and your highlights lead off SportsCenter. That’s what makes us Marlins better because we have to deal with so much more and have to work much harder for it, but we still love the Fish.