The Miami Marlins were born on 11/11/11. Despite the elephantine gestation period, I watched the birth online with nothing but feelings of pride. Both for my city of Miami and the neighborhood of my youth and preferred locale for cultural identification, Little Havana. For perhaps only a few brief moments, it will be home to one of the most modern sports facilities in the world. The unlikeliness of the previous sentence is comparable to a sentence involving Joe Paterno and violent pedophiles would have been back in the old days.
As a MLB fan, and one who now lives a 5 minute drive from the stadium, I couldn’t help heading over after the official event ended despite no desire to purchase anything. I just needed to be there. To be among other like-minded, unconnected and socially inept stragglers. To put this in perspective, aside from being a Friday evening, the weather was spectacular, breezy and in the low 70’s [you could have slept with your windows opened and not have sweated, although likely been robbed]. Instead of souvenirs, we probably deserved branding irons featuring giant L’s.
When I arrived, a line was forming to my surprise. There ended up being about 200 nomads there. We quietly queued up like loyal British subjects awaiting a new entitlement for about 60 to 90 minutes. If it would have been an NFL crowd, it would likely have descended into an OWS-type anger, with fans trying to pull down concrete beams [football fans are notoriously stupid] after 10 minutes. I hoped not to see anyone I knew [ugh … why am I here?] especially those who might have been invitees. This caused me to behave like a fugitive when the obligatory local news cameras panned us serfs in line for over-priced merchandise which would be available less than 12 hours later at convenient retail stores.
And yet, I got exactly what I came for. Met the nice young couple behind me who drove from Homestead. The three amigos in front of me, whose wives had approved this outing, but not the sports bar afterwards, were more comprehensive than an expanded edition of Sports Center. Their opinions soon drew in the next set of three friends immediately ahead of them. It was on like donkey kong. The conversation was informed, polite [only voices were raised, not fingers] and conclusive. The thought of signing Albert Pujols was not something a respectable MLB fan should be repeating in public. Joe Paterno looked the other way. No one was excited about the latest Communist-bred can’t-miss Cuban prospect, Yoenis Cespedes. [Failure and anything emerging from today’s Cuba are synonymous]. Mark Buehrle would be a good sign. But Jose Reyes, he’s the key.
If the Marlins sign Reyes, it is tangible proof that they are willing to do more than talk about spending money. If not, if it turns out that the Marlins made offers only designed to generate publicity, then we will know that the endoparasitoid [hoarding revenue sharing monies] was not eradicated in the move from the dreaded Broward County line and likely still survives. It would be irresponsible to speculate who among management is most likely to be the living host.
One last example of the difference between baseball and football fans. Jeffrey Loria was standing around [on Felo Ramirez Drive to be exact] casually chatting with invitees and any fans who wished to approach. He was right across from the concessions area, the one we had queued up to enter. No incidents, nothing thrown, not even heckling were evident. On this evening, Loria’s and the Marlins “Hola Miami” message did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. In my case, the appreciation did not include making any purchase, as I quietly slipped away from my new MLB friends empty-handed after a 90 minute wait. Some things are just hard to explain.