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In another example of Baseball as business, The Miami Marlins seem to have woken up from their spending spree spring and are doing whatever they can to get some of their money back. For the first time in years, the Marlins front office opened up their checkbooks and went after big-name, high –priced, high-profile players. With a new stadium, new name and new logo, they wanted to show everyone they were serious about putting together a competitive team this year. So after picking up all-star shortstop, Jose Reyes, they added Mark Buehrle and closer Heath Bell to their already above average bullpen. On top of that, they brought in Ozzie Guillen, a fiery, loud, competitive manager to try to mold all of the pieces together into a playoff worthy team.

At first, it seemed to work. The Marlins spent most of the first 2 ½ months in contention for the division lead. And then reality set-in, in the form of a 17 out of 20 game losing streak in July. And it seems that now the management has decided they no longer want to be on the hook for some of the money they put out earlier, knowing that they aren’t going to be heading into the playoffs, and watching the attendance in the new ballpark start to dwindle.

First they let go of Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez. Two of the top contributors to the little success the team has had this year. Next came the release of Hanley Ramirez. A $15 million/year, .240 hitter. But he has been the face of the Marlins for the past 5 years. Yes, he hasn’t been playing like the rookie of the year, batting title, base stealing all-star he was in the past, but he was still a big part of the franchise. But business is business, and the Marlins were able to unload him, and his huge salary to the Dodgers. Now it looks like Josh Johnson is on the block to be sold off next. This is even harder to explain to my kids because he’s been an all-around good guy. A top-notch pitcher. Never one to be questioned on his dedication to the team. Yet the Marlins seem eager to unload him, and his big money contract.

Once they let go of Giancarlo Stanton, the team that my boys have grown-up with will be gone. Even my wife, who is a good sport about watching games with us and talking baseball at the dinner table, has a hard time understanding why all the players we have been talking about are getting shipped off so quickly these days. She had finally gotten to know all of the players names. I hope the Marlins feel good about saving a few bucks now, even if it means losing some of the fans they were hoping would buy tickets to fill that new stadium up. After all, if they don’t want to spend money on the team they put out on the field, why should we spend money to watch them?


 





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