By ALEX SMITH
The baseball season is still very young. At this point, win/loss records mean almost nothing. There have been less than 15 games played by each team, so there’s no reason to panic or give up if your team isn’t doing too hot to start. The season will get better, I promise, unless you are one of the select few who is a fan of the Miami Marlins. Just 12 games into the season, it is already clear that the Marlins are going nowhere. This has happened to this franchise before, and it’s time Major League Baseball did something about it. The Marlins need to be taken out of South Florida and given to a community and an owner who cares.
The Marlins are a fairly new organization. They started playing in 1993 and found success early on, winning the World Series in 1997 and then again in 2003. Two championships in 10 years isn’t too shabby. Whenever they build up these winning teams, though, they go on a winter fire sale and dump everyone because they can’t afford them. This wishy-washy style has caused many fans to lose interest, leading to some of the worst home attendance numbers in baseball.
Before last season started, there was a lot of excitement around the club. They brought in Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, and nearly reeled in Albert Pujols during free agency. With the pieces they already had in place and a brand new ballpark in Miami opening, it looked like they would be back to World Series form. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t mesh, and, once again, the roster was blown up and people stopped caring in South Beach. This season, the team has a payroll of around $40 million and their roster looks more like a Triple-A club.
There is one shining ray of hope still alive in the drudgery that the Marlins have become, and that ray is Giancarlo Stanton. For my money, Stanton is one of the best pure hitters in the game and will become a bona fide superstar. He’s only 23 years old and still learning how to play at the major league level, but he has amazing pop in his bat that we haven’t seen the likes of since the steroid era was halted. If you don’t believe me, check the video of the grand slam that he demolished off of Jamie Moyer, which took the left-field scoreboard as a casualty. There have been rumors lately that Stanton will be shipped out of town soon, and as much as I don’t want it to happen, I don’t see any way that they can keep him.
The Marlins have been toying with their scarce fan base for years and I believe the franchise needs to be moved to a city that has fans that will appreciate a pro team and an owner who has the money to create a winning team that lasts. Making the Marlins the first major sports team in Las Vegas doesn’t sound like a bad idea. It’s a gamble (pun intended), but it’s better than leaving the team out in the sun for too long in Miami and letting them fry in the South Florida heat.