Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Marlins Organization Faces Turning Point Season

Travesty is perhaps the proper word to describe it. The Miami Marlins enter yet another season with a cast of mostly fresh faces, unknown names and a dejected fan base. Owner Jeffrey Loria did his best to frame yet another fire sale as a "business decision" that would benefit the team in the long run. Loria even hired a new PR firm to spearhead his campaign to revamp the organization's image, as well as his own.

Guess that effort hasn't entirely worked with the team taking to Groupon to sell Opening Day tickets. The general sentiment in Miami is one of anger, frustration and utter disappointment toward South Florida's pro baseball organization (which some don't even consider at the professional tier anymore).

Despite all this negativity surrounding the Marlins, this season will be a turning point for the team and the league. The result of this season will have league-wide implications that extend way beyond the Miami city limits.

A miserable, losing season will drive Loria's reputation deeper into the ground than he can even fathom. It would make his proclamation of not selling the team much more difficult to stand by. Simply put, it'll be one nail short of firmly sealing his coffin shut.

However, what if the Marlins manage to muster a miraculous winning season? A seemingly insane and highly unlikely scenario but in the wild world of sports nothing is impossible. Perhaps, newly hired skipper Mike Redmond proves to be a masterful manager; motivating his young troops to compete above and beyond expectations.

Wishful thinking? That's an understatement. Impossible? Not really.

The point here is that if, for whatever reason, the Fish have a winning season and actually compete for a playoff spot, Miami will set a new league standard for building winning teams. Let's not forget about the way the Marlins' 2003 World Series team was built: with a young, talented core that nobody expected to win a title.

The youthful faces of Miguel Cabrera, Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis come to mind. Sure, you had the veteran presence of players like Jeff Conine and Luis Castillo but the team makeup was overwhelmingly unseasoned.

So, while many anticipate a failing year filled with poor performances and growing pains, there's still a grander implication underneath it all. Needless to say, it'll be entertaining to see what direction this team's fate heads in. Whether that be racing straight to an eventual crash and burn or soaring out the ashes like a newborn phoenix.

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