What is it like to be a Florida Marlins fan? It’s not as bad you might think, even before the great Wild Card run of 2009 [which will come to be known as the ugliest Phillies collapse since 64]. You’ve heard all the negatives, here are just a few of the positives, which encompass some of the supposed negatives:
- World Championship every 5 or 6 years
- None of those spoiled and wealthy players just going through the motions
- A zero tolerance policy towards ‘can’t miss prospects.’ Yes they can miss and we are going to find out right now!
- Our unique attendance and home field dynamics, allow Miami fans to watch MLB while still observing CDC swine flu precaution guidelines.
- We Marlins fans can bond with great players before they enter the insufferably pompous stage of their career. There was a slight, but unavoidable, overlap with Miguel Cabrera.
The last item is the one which is the most constant source of fun for us Marlins fans. Every series seems to be another opportunity to re-live great memories or likable ball players. Let’s walk back across the recent schedule:
- Houston Astros in town. Pudge catching, J.T. Snow is out! But it’s not just the stars, Brian Moehler was here in 2005 & 2006.
- We just left Philadelphia. Paul Bakko did some time here in 2000. The dearth of ex-Marlins is the likely cause of the curse about to befall them.
- Washington Nationals? They are the Northern Marlins. Josh Willingham, Scot Olsen. Logan Kensing. Again it’s not just that they played here [Ron Villone 2005], those guys came up to the big leagues here. Marlins fans would root against Willingham in only the most extreme conditions.
- Cubs. Derek Lee. 2-run double off Mark Prior in THE INNING. Ryan Dempster was a starter here for 5 years. Kevin Gregg was the most recent in a long list of improbably good Florida Marlins relievers – see the list below.
- Atlanta Braves. Eric Gregg [click here for an ode to the greatest strike call ever] and Yunel Escobar. Escobar is from Cuba, which is the equivalent of spending 3 years with the Marlins in our community].
OK, the streak ended with Atlanta. The Boston Red Sox? Oh, you mean the place Lowell and Beckett went to cash out with our blessings. I scan the boxscores for R Andino, M Cabrera, L Castillo, R Castro, A Gonzalez, M Jacobs, D Lee, M Lowell, M Olivo, J Pierre, M Redmon, I Rodriguez, G Sheffield, M Treanor, etc. I don’t like to see our pitchers have to face each other, J Beckett, AJ Burnett, K Gregg, B Looper, J Miller, S Mitre, C Pavano, B Penny, J Vargas, D Willis, etc.
The Improbably Good Florida Marlins Closers
- 1993 – Bryan Harvey
- 1994 through 1997 – Robb Nen
- 1998 – *no saves were recorded
- 1999 through 2001 – Antonio Alfonseca [aka, El Pulpo, The Dragonslayer, and Six-Fingers]
- 2002 – Vladimir Nunez
- 2003 – Braden Looper – a personal favorite of mine – Marlins had a Saturday morning game-day promotion where kids were taken on a pitching, fielding and hitting sessions right on the field and under the stands, in the case of the hitting. Looper and Freddi Gonzalez were the pitching and batting instructors. In a highlight, my 7-year old daughter almost knocked Freddi over with a line drive. We’re talking 2000 or 2001.
- 2004 – Armando Benitez
- 2005 – Todd Jones
- 2006 – Joe Borowski
- 2007 through 2008 – Kevin Gregg
*-Just kidding – Matt Mantei