Judge Loses Control of Braman Trial

The circus surrounding the Norm Braman trial continued today when Judge Jeri Beth Cohen postponed a decision on one of the two remaining issues for at least 5 weeks. The issue in question is whether money can be reallocated for a different purpose without a referendum. The Judge wants to wait for a Florida Supreme Court reconsideration of case concerning reallocation of bond funds.

Frankly, this seems like the only real legal issue left in this case so everything else that happened is irrelevant (hence the term “circus” in this post). The issue of whether the stadium is a good public use of money is not an issue for a court to decide, that’s why we have elected officials. Now, if Braman wanted to challenge the elected official’s authority to make such decisions, that’s a legal challenge. But in this case, debating whether the Marlins will leave town without a stadium or whether they cannot afford to pay more is not an issue for the court to decide.

Anyway, Judge Cohen is scared to make a decision because she doesn’t want her ruling overturned but the end result of her decision is to give the Braman a big victory.

Will an Appeal by Braman Delay the Ballpark?

It looks like Braman’s lawsuit is going down in flames (as expected) but a big concern may be his decision to continue wasting his money by appealing the decision.

We are not happy with the prospect, but we are not concerned. One thing to keep in mind is that Braman did not obtain an injunction (and no court has issued an injunction) against the projects. Absent that, the county, the city, and the Marlins are going ahead full steam. Even if Braman ultimately prevails in some sort of appeal (keep in mind that appeals can’t just be a disagreement with the ruling, there has to be an obvious error), the city/county will have to find a way to pay for the ballpark or else they would have to pay the Marlins for all costs incurred as well as damages.

Our Long National Nightmare is Over

Most of you on the East Coast (we’re out west) were probably sleeping and had a nightmare involving Dan Uggla make three errors and striking out three times (including twice with runners in scoring position). I can tell you that it never happened, the game never happened, this one did not count.

Dan, if you’re reading this, and I’m sure you’re not — stop worrying about it and move on. Thanks to the magic of HDTV it was clear from 3,000 miles away that you were freaking out in your own calm way. Real baseball returns on Friday and you can continue your great season in a critical battle against the first-place Phillies.

Update: To all the non-Marlins fans who are hitting our site today looking for everything and anything about Dan Uggla: He’s ours, he’s great, get over it!

All-Star Game Tonight

Don’t forget to watch our very own Hanley Ramirez lead-off tonight’s game. Let’s hope that Dan Uggla gets a chance to play too.

Note: Photo above is of Hanley at bat, the last time he and the Marlins played at Yankee Stadium (2006)

Breaking: Judge Orders Settlement Talks in Braman Suit

At the opening of today’s trial involving Norman Braman’s attempt to stop the Miami Megaplan (which includes the Marlin’s Ballpark), the following happened:

”At this time I am ordering all the parties back in mediation,” Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jeri Beth Cohen told a packed courtroom just before 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Her order may indicate that the parties — which had scrambled Tuesday and Wednesday to broker an agreement — may in reality be close to reaching such an accord.

This move apparently surprised the parties but is actually common in today’s busy court systems where busy Judges prefer to force sides into a settlement, especially if one is possible as is suggested above.

The proposed compromise seems to conflict with Norman Braman’s holier-than-thou arguments:

Those familiar with the proceedings said the last minute negotiations centered around an offer to build a community center next to the stadium and more public use of what will be a county-owned ballpark. But no closure was reached — at least not yet.

I think Greg Cote captured the double-standard/hypocrisy in his editorial today.

Assuming nothing changes in the next few days, the parties will meet again with the Judge on Monday.

Hanley Ramirez Voted Starting Shortstop for NL All-Star Team

Hanley Ramirez became the second Marlin every voted into a starting position for an All-Star game. Joining Hanley, who will start at shortstop in his first ever All-Star game, is Dan Uggla who will be part of his second All-Star game and is one of a few candidates for the starting DH position. Uggla is also likely to participate in the Home Run Derby.

The New Look 2008 Florida Marlins

Despite being 45-43 and only 2.5 games out of first in early July, the Marlins are about to undergo major changes. The pitching staff, most desperately needing help right now, is changing radically as both Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad are moving into the starting rotation this week. With Anibal Sanchez beginning his rehab starts, the Fish suddenly have 5 really good pitchers (assuming the newly healthy can remain that way). Mark Hendrickson and Ryan Tucker will move to the bullpen where they can help eat innings from an injured and overworked pen.

Have The Marlins Called Up Volstad?

MVN is reporting that the Marlins called up Chris Volstad to make his major league debut on Sunday against he Rockies. Scheduled started Mark Hendrickson is allegedly being demote to the bullpen. While Albuquerque is not terribly far from Denver, it’s a bit surprising, if true, to have Volstad start on 3-days rest. Plus, the Marlins would have to add him to the 40-man roster. If true, it shows the Fish are serious about the season and willing to risk bringing up a top prospect to turn the ship around.

We’ll see.

Update: He’s up but not starting today.

Hanley Ramirez Named NL Player of the Month

Rich and Tommy just reported that Hanley Ramirez has been named the National League Player of the Month for June. He is the first Marlin to win this award since Jeff Conine in 1995. More details to follow.

Update: Here is the official announcement.

Ramirez, who leads all NL shortstops in votes for the All-Star Game, hit .298 (34-114), with six doubles, a triple, 10 home runs, 13 RBIs and 27 runs scored in June. Ramirez, who added 13 walks and was 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts, led the NL in home runs, runs scored and total bases (72) over the month.

Another Dramatic Ending for the Fish

Heading to the bottom of the ninth, you know we were all thinking the same thing — once again Wes Helms is coming up, followed by Hanley Ramirez, down a run. Hmm…

Wes went first, and just like the night before, struck out. Then came Hanley, and just like the night before, he hit a monster shot to tie the game. Jeremy Hermida broke the script, but Josh Willingham ended the game with his second home run of the night in the bottom of the 10th.

Development Ideas Stir Around Ballpark

The Marlins ballpark plans on the Orange Bowl site still face some hurdles (a law suit, another vote) but that hasn’t stopped the city and private firms from working on new development projects around the ballpark. If these ideas materialize, it will only strengthen the notion that the ballpark is anchoring the redevelopment of the area.

Here are some of the latest developments:

  • If you haven’t seen it yet, the Orange Bowl is now completely gone (at a cost of $2,348,050)
  • Plans for an MLS stadium are on hold as the City cannot commit in time to meet deadlines. The city is reserving the right to build one on site at a future date.
  • The city is now focusing on planning and building a 6,000 spot parking garage for the ballpark.
  • The developers of Midtown Miami contacted the city to pitch redevelopment ideas for the area.
  • Ballpark construction and and management contracts should be done by the end of this month.

The Long Road to Oaktown

The Marlins visit the lovely East Bay city of Oakland this weekend and the Fish@Bat crew will be there too document this historic meeting. We’ll be somewhere in the lower deck — just look for the guys in the Fish@Bat shirts.

Of course, since at least one of us is a photographer in his spare time, we will be posting some photos soon thereafter.

Random Trivia: Did you know that Oakland is the 8th largest city in the US and claims to have the best weather in the US?