Looking Back: Predictions from the Geniuses at ESPN

I’ve always thought ESPN was full of itself and overly obsessed with their own importance and insight, so I was very excited to look back at their predictions for the 2008 Florida Marlins. Now, I know that the Marlins performed better than we expected (81 wins with 6 games to go) but ESPN’s predictions were so dire that I want us all to read and laugh.

First, here is the view from Bob Klapisch:

The bigger problem is the bottom half of the batting order, which is filled with question marks and experiments. It’s no stretch projecting the Marlins in the last third of the NL in runs scored. (Bob Klapisch)

Next, let’s see the actual win/loss projections:

  • Jayson Stark: 70-92, 5th in NL East
  • Tim Kurkjian: 64-98, 5th in NL East
  • Buster Olney: 68-94, 5th in NL East
  • Keith Law: 68-94, 5th in NL East
  • Steve Phillips: 66-96, 5th in NL East

You have to give Jayson Stark some credit. He’s only off by 11+ wins.

Continue reading “Looking Back: Predictions from the Geniuses at ESPN”

Johnson Throws a Gem!

Josh Johnson was incredible tonight, throwing the Marlins second complete game of the season holding the Braves to one run and striking out eight. I know the Fish have a long way to go to catchup to the Phillies and we’ve all heard about the 18 arbitration eligible players but when you look at Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Scott Olsen and even Andrew Miller you have to believe that this team is going to do really well very soon.

Much Needed Day Off

The Marlins have another day off today — perhaps a chance for the Marlins offense to regroup. Thankfully, Ricky Nolasco saved the team on Sunday (on the mound and at the plate).

If We Ever Get a Stadium, It Will Look Like a UFO

Fish Chunks found an interesting interview with Geoff Cheong who is part of the team designing the Marlins ballpark at HOK. Here are the key passages:

At work he has been busy helping design the exterior of the Florida Marlins’ 38,000-seat stadium.

“It’s bound to be controversial, which is not a bad thing because it gets people talking,” Cheong says. “Some people may think it looks like a spaceship, while others will see it as a piece of art. The Marlins’ owner is an art collector and he’s made it known he wants the stadium to be a ball park as well as piece of sculpture.”

Part of the expected controversy is the stadium’s location—amid a number of single-storey homes.

The building is also being designed to be environmentally friendly by adhering to the silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard. Achieving that will rest—in part—to the building’s retractable roof which will allow it to be air conditioned during the hot and humid Florida weather.

One unique feature will be the movable outfield wall which when removed will provide good views of the city’s skyline, and permit a natural flow of air across the grass field.

That’s important for the natural grass to adequately dry out, says Cheong, adding great consideration was also given to the building’s orientation so the grass could receive a daily minimum of four hours of exposure to sunlight to keep it healthy.

“It was important to have a real grass field,” Cheong says. “The players prefer it. You even get some players using that as a way deciding which team they want to play for.”

Innovative and “green” design is a new trend in downtown construction but is unfamiliar in the baseball universe. The Marlins ballpark is clearly going to be different from every ballpark built since 1990 in that it will look more like modern art (think of the Birds Nest and Aquatic Center in Beijing) rather than the nth new retro ballpark. The risk here is that you end up another Skydome — cool and space age at first, but ultimately out of date — but then again you could also end up with another US Cellular Field where retro can feel like a fake shopping center.

Note: I personally prefer modern although I always assumed some form of Art Deco or Cuban-inspired design would work well. That being said, I just want a new ballpark and a roof so the Marlins can survive and compete.

Lo Duca Up; Miller Down

The Marlins wasted no time in bringing up newly signed Paul Lo Duca. The Fish have been carrying 13 pitchers and they desperately needed another bench player. Justin Miller was the unlucky DFA and will head to AAA.

I’ve been wondering why Lo Duca and not Dallas McPherson and my only guess is that the Fish felt that having another veteran presence (and a catcher at that) would be better than a high-strike out power hitter. But, as I’ve said before, “In Beinfest We Trust”.

Meanwhile, the team found a new way to lose: offense is back but bullpen blew it. 3.5 games out is not the end of the world, but it’s mid-August and momentum is head in the wrong direction.

Marlins Bring Back Paul Lo Duca

Word from the the Miami Herald is that the Marlins are about to sign Paul Lo Duca and send him to AAA. The 36 year old Lo Duca‘s performance has diminished significantly this year (age? no steroids?) and he was recently cut by the Nationals after hitting .230.

This is a low risk move for the Fish as he will start off in AAA and if somehow he figures out how to hit or if Matt Treanor‘s condition worsens, Lo Duca will be be a nice fit.