Friday, February 29, 2008

 

Weekend Games

This weekend the Marlins are playing the Cardinals in Roger Dean - I think the Marlins are the home team on Saturday and the away team on Sunday. There's a good chance that I will miss the introduction of the Geffner experience to South Florida ears. I may be able to pick it up on the radio where I'm going but I don't know if one will be nearby. Oh well...

QUIK-CAPS: The Marlins beat the Cardinals by the scores of 3-2 on Saturday and 5-4 on Sunday.

 

Ya Win One, Ya Lose One

Fish beat the Nationals and lose to the Orioles.

 

Welcome to the Marlins! Now Here's Your Injury

Maybin strains his hammy. Fredi says, "It didn't pop, so that's a good sign." (MLB)

 

Today's Games

Split squads today, both starting at 1:05. One squad plays the Orioles at Roger Dean, the other plays the Nats in Viera. The only radiocast seems to be for the Nats game, from 1500 AM in D.C.. I don't think XM is playing the game, but I could be wrong.

 

Injuries or Aches?

Mitre suddenly got elbow stiffness yesterday. And Dallas strained a strut, or something.

 

Marlins Beat Orioles 16-3

Here are recaps from the Baltimore Sun, Miami Herald, and FishStripes. (and MLB)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

 

Speaking Of New Building Projects In Miami...

...the Miami Commission will consider today a plan to build two 93-story twin towers directly in the flight path of Miami's airport (hmmmm...sounds too familiar). (MiamiHerald)

 

First Spring Game Ends in 3-3 Tie

Here's recaps from the Washington Times and the Miami Herald (I love it that the Herald is already getting down on the Marlins, headlining their story 'Marlins blow late lead...' as if they're in a playoff game - shows the Herald's angle on how they'll be treating the team for the rest of the year).

Today's game is at 1:05 against the O's in Ft. Lauderdale. It seems there'll be no local radio coverage, but it will be on 105.7 in Baltimore; don't know if XM will pick it up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

 

So Many Article Today - Here's a Few....

Oddsmakers have no faith in Fish. (CappersMall.com)

Says Mike Jacobs, "The only way you're going to get better in this game is to play games." (MLB)

Base-line coaches deal with the new helmet rule. (PalmBeachPost)

Israel Gutierrez thinks 'making up for (Cabrera) isn't that difficult a task'.(MiamiHerald)

Hermida's likely to hit third. (Rotowire)

Another longing look at Maybin, from the Detroit Free Press. (Freep.com)

Lee Gardner wants to replicate the way he pitched last year. (SunSentinel)

Gov. Crist has dinner with baseball. (SunSentinel)

Another 'Marlins concentrating on defense' article. (ChronicleHerald)

 

Fish Win Over Hurricanes 7-2

(MLB)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

 

Bobby's Shot

'"I've heard it so many times in my career - I have a good, young arm but there are guys with some more experience in front of you," Keppel said. "This is the first year I won't hear that. If guys beat me out, they beat me out, but I feel like I'm capable of earning a starting spot because there's not a lot guys with tenure here."

'Keppel, a non-roster invitee, is getting a shot to show what he can do in spring training and earned the start in today's exhibition opener vs. the University of Miami.

'Keppel, 25 and the veteran of eight spring trainings, said he is ready to start proving he can pitch at the major-league level even though he'll be facing college players today.

'"I hope to show I am capable of pitching and getting guys out," Keppel said.' (PalmBeachPost)

 

Maybin Impresses

'"The main thing is the athleticism and the bat speed," hitting coach Jim Presley said when asked what jumped out at him about Maybin. "He's a baseball player. He really is. I don't get too excited about intrasquad games, but those were two balls that were hit pretty good."' (MLB)

 

Miami and Winnipeg

'Geniusofdespair' says both cities have stadium (and wastewater) similarities . (EyeOnMiami)

Monday, February 25, 2008

 

Forget the Ball Team - The World Wants the Manatees!

The 'excitement' spreads like an enormous waistline. "Already, they've been mentioned in newspapers in China, and a radio station from Germany has called seeking an interview." The extraterrestrials may be calling tomorrow. (MLB)

 

JRS-ProPlayer-Dolphin(s) Stadium Becoming AL Park...

...at least for the 2 games the Yankees will be playing there on March 28-29, as the DH will be allowed. (StanfordAdvocate)

 

Marlin Catches Marlin

(PalmBeachPost)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

 

Keppel Gets It Going

Bobby's starting in the first of the 197 contests the Marlins are scheduled to participate in this year, on Tuesday against UM. Scott Olsen is starting the next day against the Nats.

ADDENDUM: You can consider it 198 contests if you include today's intrasquad game, in which Volstad and Barone will start. (PalmBeachPost)

 

Samson Wants New Ballpark "As Deep As Possible In The Alleys"...

...and no, he's not talking about possible parking spaces, but the dimensions of the playing field. Speaking of parking, "(a)lthough there will be 6,000 parking spaces on site, Miami city commissioner Joe Sanchez said, by design, some will need to park on private lawns because 'residents don't want to give up that income' collected at UM football games." (MiamiHerald)

WHICH-BRINGS-UP-THE-POINT-THAT: Nice as the retractable roof will be when you get inside of the stadium, you still somehow have to get inside of the stadium. If you are not a part of the Lucky 6,000, on rainy days you may have to park on somebody's muddy lawn, walk through rain, puddles, traffic, parking lots, people, gates and arepa vendors to get to that nice dry seat.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

 

Yay, Marli...Wait! What About the Dolphins?

Just like retired old dictator Fidel, who for decades has been a PR master in shifting the limelight away from the accusations of the Cuban exiles here in Miami, H. Wayne shows once again that he too knows "how to steal thunder from the Marlins and their new stadium" (as Greg Cote put it) by announcing, just one day after the Marlins ballpark agreement is approved, that he's selling 50% of the Dolphins and his stadium to Stephen M. Ross.

'jonnylons' of the MarlinsNation blog thinks that Huizenga was "basically forced" to make the sale because...

"...after 2010, that stadium will be losing its biggest tenant - the Florida Marlins - as they move into their new home.

"And you better believe that the Marlins are an integral part of the Dolphins franchise. Without the Marlins and their rent money, H-bomb would be losing lots of money as the facility went unused for almost 7 months out of the year. That is a lot of lost revenue."

If that's the case, then selling now is the "right" thing to do, while the price is the highest it can be considering the future earnings-reduction of the stadium property.

Once again (as we brutally discovered after the 1997 World Series win) H. Wayne will always do what is "right" (for his wallet). He said yesterday, "My heart does not want me to do this, but my head says it's the right thing to do..." That could be the theme of his life.

Friday, February 22, 2008

 

Shifting Tactics

While the front office hit home runs at the commission meetings yesterday, the team's coaches are attempting to get the players to deemphasize the home run on the field. (SunSentinel)

 

Two Opinions

Killjoy columnist Michael Cunningham points out, using dubious parameters such as 'logic' and 'history', that the ballpark deal just doesn't make any sense, while the Herald's Israel Gutierrez realizes perfectly well that it's all just a matter of faith.

 

Old Ways

They may have changed the traditions of segregation, speed, and steroids in Major-League Baseball, but not their tradition of stinginess, as once again no money seems to have been promised by MLB within the Marlins ballpark agreement. MLB's major contribution may have been yesterday, when Du Puy stood up and theatened that "if you decide not to make a decision tonight, that will be the death knell for baseball in Miami." (MLB)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

 

BINGO! County Commission Approves!

Granted it was a little rough going and a few issues remain but the vote went 9-3 for the agreement. (MiamiHerald)

 

Miami Commission Approves!

790-the-Ticket reports the vote was 4-1 for the agreement. Now to the County...

 

Tons of Stuff

Here, you write something about these articles. I'm going to work.

 

This Could Be It (New Stadium Edition)

Both Miami's and Miami-Dade County's Commissions meet today and may possibly vote on the stadiun agreement.

This analysis points out that the agreement "does not address a critical issue: how to pay for millions of dollars of infrastructure improvements to move utilities and improve roadways", and that "(d)espite being on the hook for one-fourth of the $619 million construction job, the Marlins receive all stadium-generated revenue", and that "the $94 million estimate to build the parking garage may be low."

One of Mr. Braman's attorneys pipes in.

Ethan J. Skolnick says, "If the Marlins accept this show of public good will, they accept the challenge to make a good faith effort to become and remain competitive. That means retaining and extending core players like Ramirez, and not waiting until the next decade to do so. They bear a responsibility to keep reinvesting in the product, especially because Loria now stands to reap even more millions in franchise appreciation."

The County's mayor says, "If both the city and county commissions sign off (Thursday), this public-private partnership is one we can all put in the 'win' column."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

 

Braman Piles on More Claims, Wants Case Decided Quickly

'With both the city and county having the chance to vote Thursday to help the team finance the stadium, Braman also said one of his attorneys will ask commissioners to cooperate in asking a judge to move the proceedings along as quickly as possible.

'That way, Braman says, even if the judge rules against his case, it would give the team enough time to build the stadium for Opening Day 2011 -- the ballclub's stated goal.

'But all that can be avoided, and the lawsuit dropped, if the city and county agree to a single stipulation, he said: "I said from the very beginning, if they allow voters to make the decision -- as they should -- I'm prepared to drop the lawsuit."' (How nice of him.) (MiamiHerald)

The Herald's Greg Cote says, 'Enough. It's time to stop.

'The day final approval makes this long-stalled stadium effort a reality -- followed by a November groundbreaking and a new ballpark ready for Opening Day 2011 -- will be the day the various critics should muster the decency to admit their side has lost a fair fight, and move on in an adult-like manner.

'Anyone who cares even a little bit about South Florida having big-league baseball long-term needs to see this presumed stadium approval for what it is:

'Something positive, good and long overdue.' (MiamiHerald)

 

No Frick-in' Award for Van Horne

Oh well, even Graham MacNamee, who practically invented radio sportscasting, hasn't won one either. (MLB)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

 

Rabelo Is Two-Hitters-In-One

ALSO: Anibal's setback is "part of the recovery process". (SunSentinel)

Monday, February 18, 2008

 

Earth-Shaking News

I'm not sure if the inauguration of the new 'Marlins Manatees' 'dance' team was mandated somewhere in the fine print of the new stadium agreement, or else is something the Commissioners will use to cancel the whole deal. Either way it has already made an impression...

(AOLSports)...(Deadspin)...(StateOfMiami)...(Sporkfu)...(HotFootBlog)

 

Anibal Goes To Birmingham, Suffers Setback

(MiamiHerald)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

 

Stadium Agreement Has Been Reached (Wait a Couple More Days)

They had the copier working overtime printing out 94-page documents, just in time for many commissioners in Miami-Dade county to have their 'late Saturday night' interrupted by couriers knocking on their doors. (Good timing.)

The Herald and Sun-Sentinel at the moment still disagree on the final tally: is it $525 million or $515 million? Does it matter? - no; these are more-than-likely fantasy numbers anyway.

Based on the newspapers' recaps, here's what the participants have to do....


The City of Miami has to...

1.) "contribute the land"
2.) contribute "$13 million in hotel bed taxes"
3.) "spend $10 million for demolition of the Orange Bowl and preparation of the site"
4.) "spend $94 million on a 6,000-car parking garage"


Miami-Dade County has to...

1.) pay "$347 million that includes a $50 million general obligation bond approved by voters in 2004 to renovate the Orange Bowl that will instead be moved to the ballpark project, and hotel bed and sports facilities taxes. The reason the county's contribution has ballooned from earlier proposals is that it now counts $88 million in tourist development taxes that it would otherwise pass through to the city, the document shows."
2.) "help identify" downtown office space for the Marlins
3.) "own the stadium"

The Marlins have to...

1.) "pay $120 million upfront"
2.) pay "$35 million...in the form of annual rent payments" "of $2.3 million"
3.) make "annual payments of $750,000 toward capital improvements -- one of the major sticking points during the two-month negotiations."
4.) "cover cost overruns, unless delays are caused by the city or county."
5.) "buy most of the parking spaces annually as a way to cover debt service on the (parking garage), and then re-sell the spots."
6.) "not relocate for 35 years"
7.) "change its name to the Miami Marlins"

"All three have agreed to fund the venue's $2 million annual maintenance and operations costs." (I'm guessing the $750,000 annual Marlins payment is their part of this $2 million.)

Also no word in the recaps about the fate of Homestead, and whether they'll be considered for a minor-league or some other team for their mostly-unused stadium.

Now it's time to wait till Thursday, where both commissions will meet to discuss the agreement.

MORE: The agreement (downloadable here) still hopes the State will give a sales-tax break on construction materials for the ballpark. And the City and County is allowed to hold only eight community events at the stadium, down from the previously discussed twelve. And, if a seperate resolution is approved on the 18th, the parties will "study the feasibility" of reinvigorating the Homestead ballpark.

STILL-MORE: Commissioners get crabby about the agreement, think it will still pass anyway.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

 

Stadium Agreement Has Been Reach....Wait a Minute

Last night the SunSentinel reported that the City, County, Marlins and MLB have finalized a deal for the stadium. But last night CBS4 said that a source called it a "foundation" that could be moved "up or down". This morning the Palm Beach Post said that "Officials worked late into the night Friday without finalizing an agreement" and that "City Manager Pete Hernandez said early today that he was hoping to iron out a deal later in the day."

UPDATE: "Victoria Mallette, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, said there is ''no deal yet,'' in an email around noon Saturday." (MiamiHerald)

 

Ups-And-Downs

As NESN, the Red Sox network, this morning presents gravel-to-gravel coverage of the pitchers and catchers' workouts (and will air repeats at 1:30, 4 and 11 PM), Fish fans can bask in the knowledge that the Marlins have decided they will not be doing that, nor will they be telecasting any spring games this year.

You can get mad, or you can visualize the Marlins as the Red Sox of olden days, destined for bigger things. As the above article remembers, "Curt Gowdy must be rolling in his grave. Same with anyone who was around the Red Sox in the 1950s and early 1960s. Those were the days of fewer than 10,000 fans showing up for the home opener. The days when you could roll out of your dorm room in the third inning, walk to Fenway, and get into the bleachers for a buck. There were no Monster Seats, no lotteries, no waiting lists for ticket purchases. The idea of a spring training game being sold out was preposterous."

"Now the Red Sox are more popular than Hannah Montana. They are more popular than free food. Their Nation has gone global and the Sox are going to televise spring training workouts."

Now ain't the future, but it may be, one of these days.

Friday, February 15, 2008

 

Conine Notes

Jeff's name appears on the Palm Beach Post's list of "South Florida favorites who gave everything they had".

In other Conine news, the restaurant formerly referred to as Conine's is now known only as 'Clubhouse Grill'.

And he's still a free agent.

 

Radio 'Update'

Last week someone announced on the Radio-Info boards that Joel Feinberg has indeed relinquished his role in running the Marlins flagship station 790theTicket and that Lincoln Financial is running things now. The website is back up as of last night. In the near future it looks like business as usual.

 

Today's Maturity/Leadership Article

Jim Presley on Luis Gonzalez: "He's not afraid if he sees one of those young guys get out of line to step up and say, 'Hey, we don't do it that way.' He's not going to be overbearing with it, but he'll let you know that isn't the way you do it in the big leagues." (SunSentinel)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

 

Hammer Aims Towards Quiet Leadership

"I know I am going to have to step up and be more vocal than I probably am comfortable with. I try to lead more by example, but I'm probably going to have to be more vocal this year. So are some other guys. But I think it will take care of itself."

ALSO: Sean West won't be rushed. (MLB)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

 

It's Maturity Time!

Kevin Gregg: "It's the understanding of the seriousness of what we're doing here. They're having a good time, and that's what we want to do, but there's a fine line that has to be drawn, and sometimes, we went under that line of where we needed to be -- before, during and after games".

Matt Treanor: "If you give a half-hearted effort because you'd rather be joking around in the clubhouse or worried what's going on after or before the game, you're not here doing your job. Maybe this year, I'm going to assume more of a leadership role . . . if I see stuff like that. This year, our clubhouse is going to be about business."

Fredi Gonzalez: "We are going to emphasize defense more to the players, and make it a pride thing. Nobody is going to get lined up and shot. [But] you make a dumb error, we're going to look at you and go, `Come on' or even guys among themselves. Our pitching staff made [an MLB-high] 20 errors. Some of our young guys, this is their third year, they're not young anymore." (MiamiHerald)

 

John B. Double-Shot

In honor of Mr.Samson's recent snippiness at FanFest, here's is Mr. Brattain's revelation of the infamous Ironman/Joyce De Witt video. (Careful, some parts may be Not Safe For Puppies.)

And, as almost a public service, in these two articles Brattain explains for all of us, in a step-by-step way, how team owners can rake in millions in profits while still claiming an operating loss on the balance sheet.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

 

At Home With Barone

(HollisterFreelance)

Monday, February 11, 2008

 

"BK Faces Murky Future"

"The situation seems to be going against Kim, who prefers to remain a starter, when several big names, like Livan Hernandez, Bartolo Colon, Jeff Weaver and Freddy Garcia, have not been signed yet." (KoreaTimes)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

 

Fan Fest Frolics

We tried to get to Fan Fest early, but the lady at the main entrance to the stadium said that we had to drive up to another gate and wait until 10:00 to get in. As that gate already had a line of cars stretched out into the main road, we said to heck with this and drove off to get some gas. When we got back, the gate was already open and there was a line at the ticket windows big enough that you knew you weren't going to get the exact seat you wanted but small enough that it wasn't a bother to do the standing. Rich Waltz, Taylor Tankersley and Mike Jacobs handed out doughnuts to us line-standers, who were dressed in mixtures of shirts from different teams. A loud guy was yelling up and down for people to join the Marlins Fan Club. When my friend noticed his accent, the guy blurted out, I'm a Yankees fan from the Bronx, to which my friend gave his condolencses.

I'm wondering why the ticket booths, which look to be portable, have been positioned off to the side and exposed to the elements. I guess sales diminished after the huge rain storms started past 2 PM.

There were kiddie rides and pitching and batting cages, and a dunk tank where a guy with a Mets jersey was taunting fans to hit the target. There were music groups and long lines for autographs and company displays and radio stations. There was even more free food - popcorn, lemonade and coffee. But the most impressive thing to me was the just-finished new addition to the stadium. The Huizenga project, partially paid for with the Marlins sales-tax subsidy he happily receives, is spectacular. The new club concourse is huge and classy, the new gift shop the same. Seeing the whole thing from outside, like some huge goiter bulging from one side of the building, is funny-looking, but inside it feels top-notch.

The field had been resodded and the sprinklers were on in recovery mode from last week's Monster Truck Jam. All activities were either outside or in the tunnels. We saw Josh Johnson (geez he's big) and Logan Kensing signing stuff in the sort-of-foyer to the stadium. Robert Andino was getting his picture taken with fans. We stayed away from the autograph lines.

We went to the 12:00 Town Meeting, with Jacobs, Tankersley, Fredi, Ironman, Matt Treanor, and Mike Hill at the dais, and Dave Van Horne and the infamous Glenn Geffner presiding. Geffner was taking a back seat to Van Horne, and did not seem to be horrible.

I didn't ask anything this time, but a few things struck me. First, as has been noted elsewhere, was Samson's mentioning that all-but-one of the Marlins' players attended - he didn't mention who at this occasion, but his pissed-off-ness was noted.

Next was the continuing presentation of Fredi's habits of mind. The way he presents himself makes me believe he thinks in a sort of a scattered way. At one point, Jacobs had to remind Fredi exactly how long he was out with his injury last year. Fredi don't seem to be a stickler for exactitude.

The interesting thing from Samson to me was the concepts he presented for what the team is planning to do about the parking problem at the new stadium, stuff I hadn' heard before. He said that beyond the parking garage, specific parking areas designed for cars coming from different areas of South Florida will be near the most convienent exits, with shuttles going back-and-forth from those parking areas to the stadium. Good to know they're thinking about solutions to that problem.

Friday, February 08, 2008

 

'Experience' is Here!

Luis Gonzales finally puts ink to paper and signs with the Marlins. "In finalizing their one-year deal with outfielder Luis Gonzalez, the Marlins added a player with almost 2,000 more at-bats than the projected Opening Day lineup combined."

He and fellow Tampa native Carlos Tosca go way back (Tosca's father was Gonzalez's pediatrician!). Our bench coach says, ""Whether you want to call him the rudder or the mainsail, or whatever, I think guys like Luis are huge contributors to young teams. We're very fortunate to have him."

To make room on the 40-man-roster Marcos Carvajal was designated for assignment, who this blogger hopes the Mets will pick up again.

 

Sanchez Rehabbing

Anibal is feeling fine and taking it slow, but he'll be still seeing the Birmingham Chop Doctor for (hopefully just) a check-up visit.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

 

Ballpark Agreement Stalled by Parking Problems

'A preliminary agreement in December gave Miami the responsibility to build a 6,000-space garage near the stadium at the Orange Bowl site and find 6,000 more spaces nearby. But city officials, including Manager Pete Hernandez, have maintained since last month they plan to provide only the 6,000 garage spots...

'Miami commission Chairman Joe Sanchez, whose district includes the Orange Bowl, said last month area residents depend on income from selling game-day lawn parking.

"I am OK with 6,000 (spaces)," he said. "Twelve thousand I may not be OK with."

'On Tuesday, County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz decried negotiation delays, saying "every day that goes by it means more money."' (MiamiToday)

MORE: County Commissioner Souto and the cruise-line industry questions the Plan. (FishStripes)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

 

Revenue Sharing's Biggest Winners?... Former Marlins!

"The Marlins will pay more to former Marlins in '08 (a combined $4 million-plus to Carlos Delgado, Al Leiter, Luis Castillo and incarcerated Ugueth Urbina) than to any one current Marlin ( Kevin Gregg is tops at $2.5 million). Florida must pay Delgado $2 million in '09, too." (MiamiHerald)

Monday, February 04, 2008

 

Braman's Background

Those of us with bad memories are being reminded that Norman Braman, the fighter of what in these parts is now being called the 'Mega-Plan', is not only an old new-car dealer, but was at one time the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles football team.

And it's also being pointed out, in this case through this blog post, that Norman once suggested to the powers that be (or were) in Philly that he be given for free some taxpayer-owned land so that he could build a new stadium for the Eagles.

Braman finally sold the team to a guy named Jeffery Lurie, but that doesn't mean the Marlins' owner's name gives him flashbacks. According to this article, Loria and Braman have been acquainted each other for 35 years. (The plot thickens?)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

 

Schedules

The Marlins' 2007 promotions schedule has been released. (What, no Ukrainian Apprieciation Day this year?)

The Marlins Caravan starts tomorrow, the schedule of which includes 'a Marlins Free Gas Event, starting at 12:30 p.m. at the Chevron gas station in Hialeah.' (Hmmm, the question 'How free Is free? comes to mind. If truly free, expect a wait.)

And the schedule for the Marlins spring radio broadcasts has been released, allowing us to hear the Geffner experience for the first time.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

 

"The Flip"

Hope yoy enjoy Gamefish's latest like I did.

Friday, February 01, 2008

 

Signing Frenzy

Just as soon as I thought the Marlins gave up on acquiring Luis Gonzalez, he ups-and-agrees to join the club, pending a physical. He says the delay was because of his father's recent death, but it's also reported that he wanted additional incentives in his deal, which he got.

Gonzo, who got his career 2000th hit against Florida in 2004, will be this year's designated 'veteran presence', along with being Hammer's 'back'-up in left (if Willingham's disc flares up again).

Another recovering spine patient is Dallas McPherson, signed up yesterday to compete in the battle royale for third base.

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