Bradford Applin

I’m itching: itching to talk about the Florida Marlins and their supposed “seafood sale.”  Itching to explain how the Florida Marlins have arguably the shrewdest front office in Major League Baseball.  Even itching to finally get my long awaited revenge on Mike Lowell.  But most of all I’m just itching; I seem to have come in contact with urushiol oil (better known as poison ivy).  We won’t discuss how this writer happened to come across said oil.  Hindsight is 20/20 in these matters, and it is hindsight that will reveal the true savvy of the Marlins management. 

 

To fill you in on the Marlin’s trades, let’s try this in a “going out of business” tone.  Why you ask?  Because it’s hilarious to imagine their owner Jeffrey Loria screaming at the camera in a cheap local commercial, and because I’ve always wanted to be the guy screaming at the camera in a cheap local commercial.  “Come on down to South Florida where we are practically giving away players!  Do you want Carlos Delgado, one of the premiere hitters in baseball?!?!  Well he can be yours for the low-low price of Mike Jacobs and two minor leaguers!  I’m talking to you, New York Mets!!!  Still not interested you say?  I’ll even throw in a cool $7 million to help pay the remaining $48 million on Delgado’s contract!  That’s right, if you’re looking for talent, we’ve got it!  Hey you, Red Sox!  Still down about not repeating as World Series champs?  No worries, we’ll trade you Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota for four of those puny little prospects in your farm system!  Why take a risk on them when you can win now!  Our players are begging to leave!  Don’t forget our lease expires in 2010, so everything must go!!!  At these prices we must be crazy!”

 

But that’s only what the Marlins want everyone in baseball to think.  They want every team in baseball coming to their elaborate auction. There are two generally accepted theories in the sports community.  One side believes Jeffrey Loria, after being shot down repeatedly by the city of Miami in his attempts to build a new baseball stadium, is trying to sabotage the team.  That he is cutting costs to make the team more appealing to a perspective buyer, and is preparing to sell the team once he has doomed it to years of obscurity through insane trades.  The other side believes he’s trying to make the team so horrible that its fan base will desert the Marlins, allowing for an easy move into another city.  I’m here to shed some light on the issue and prove his intentions lie somewhere in-between.

 

Poison ivy update: While simultaneously researching the details of the Florida Marlin’s trades and remedies for poison oak, I have discovered the following.  Apparently pouring gasoline on the infected areas, rubbing cement on the lesions, and spraying pepper mace on the infection are all methods of treatment.  I guess they forgot to mention pouring liquid hot magma on your skin as an option-I think I’ll stick with the poison oak. 

 

Undoubtedly, the Marlins are relocating.  There is no way around it, even if the current management wanted to stay.  Their lease at Dolphins Stadium (formerly Pro Players Stadium) expires in 2007, and they have a series of contract options that could extend they stay through 2010, but from 2011 on they are officially homeless.  Not to mention the fact that the Marlins have been unable to attract a fan following since arriving in Miami, just ask John Henry, owner of the team from 1999 to 2002 who was unable to turn a profit.  Or ask Wayne Huizenga who was forced to have an auction of his own after winning the 1997 World Series.  Only two years removed from their 2003 world championship, the Marlins are once again losing money and looking for answers.  Owners of sports teams are not running charities, they are running businesses, and they didn’t become wealthy enough to own a team by losing money in their investments.  The fans in Miami have failed to support their team, even after 2 world championships in 9 years, and it is time another city got a chance to appreciate this ball club.  Both Portland and Las Vegas have shown interest in the team.

 

However, I’ll prove that Loria plans on not only keeping – but competing for championships – with this team.  The trades are not as lopsided as they appear to be; the Delgado trade to the Mets may have robbed them of their best power hitter, but losing has followed Delgado wherever he goes (see Blue Jays and Marlins).  Delgado would hold the title of “best statistical player who handicaps his team with his contract and who does his best when his team is doing its worst,” if it wasn’t for the reigning American League MVP, Alex “Blue Lips” Rodriguez.  The Marlins freed up money to spend on free agents in the future and are better off in the long run (ie. 2008) without him.  Even the Beckett trade can be seen as an improvement.  Beckett has a lifetime record of 41-34 (barely over .500) and an ERA of 3.46 (add an extra run now that he is in the American League).  The Red Sox were giggling like little school girls to trade for Beckett because he was the 2003 World Series MVP that slew the dragon known as the Yankees.  In Boston, it is now more about beating the Yankees than it is about winning the championship, so they were willing to give up 4 solid prospects just to shove it in George Steinbrenner’s face.  Of course I can’t miss this opportunity to mention the other key part of the trade, Mike Lowell.

 

Not to pick on Mike Lowell (there are several sluggers who mysteriously lost their “power” the exact same time that the MLB finally got around to testing for steroids) but Mike and I have a history.  What kind of a history you ask?  His downright abysmal performance at 3rd base last season single-handedly ran my fantasy team into the ground.   He deflated my dreams of a fantasy baseball title almost as fast as his own biceps.  My outrage can be summed up in one number ” 8.  Not only is that the number of times I sustained a concussion while banging my head against the wall after another 0-4 with 3 strikeouts performance from Mr. Lowell, but it is also the number of homeruns he hit in 2005.  Compare that to the 28 HR he hit in 2004, along with a 57-point drop in his batting average from .293 to .236, and you’ll see why I was slightly displeased with his offensive production.  Essentially the Red Sox picked up a $18 million dollar player whose a few B-12 shots short of a real hitter.  Plus, he may be listed as 31 years old, but he hails from Puerto Rico, so you can easily tack on another 5-10 years for his real age.

 

Demonic plant update: If I don’t think about scratching it, then it won’t itch.  Yeah, that makes sense-*scratches feverishly*

 

Side note: next time you’re bored, try playing the, “Latin American Baseball Player Age Game.”  First guess the “age” they are listed at, than spend countless hours debating how old they really are.  The best part is, no one will ever know (except the sports agent who shredded the birth certificate) so the fun never ends!  I’ll even help you to get started, check out some pictures of: Edgar Renteria (listed as 30), Alfonso Soriano (listed as 29), and Julio Franco (listed as 47, but carbon dating has puts him somewhere between the Jurassic and Triassic periods).

 

Before you rush off to count the number of rings inside Edgar Renteria’s bat, don’t forget my original point.  The Marlins gave up an overrated pitcher in Josh Beckett, and they managed to rid themselves of their worst contract.  In return they received cheap talent that can produce for the club in the future much like Dontrelle “D-Train” Willis and Miguel Cabrera are now.  In fact, it is the news surrounding these two players (or lack there of) that truly hints at the Marlins owner’s intentions.  If he truly wanted to drive this team into the ground, he would be getting rid of their best talent, not preserving it.  As any good investor, Jeffrey Loria is timing his investments so that they mature at exactly the right time.  Right as the Marlins depart Florida in 2007 will be when its current crop of talent is ready to perform. 

 

Plant “that shall not be named” update: What was that treatment involving bleach again-?

 

Congratulations in advance to Mr. Loria, who is already making room in his trophy case.  Allow me to be the first to introduce you to the 2008 World Series Champions, the Las Vegas Marlins!  Only in Vegas-            

 

Bradford Applin is a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering.  If he does not find his calamine lotion soon he may have to resort to using his roommate’s giant tub of Quaker Oatmeal for relief.  He hopes his roommate understands-.  He can be reached at bapplin@calpoly.edu with comments on this article or observations on sports in general.

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