If talking the talk had any bearing on outcomes in baseball, the Miami Marlins would be atop the standings year in and year out. Unfortunately, it’s the walking the walk part that matters most, and that’s what always gives them trouble as their confident — perhaps arrogant — words become contradictory with each passing fire sale and 90-plus loss season.
Of course, that doesn’t stop owner Jeffrey Loria or team president David Samson from offering a quote or two every offseason that is sure to get everyone’s attention, followed by an eye roll. And that’s exactly what happened again on Thursday when Samson appeared in front of the media to help announce the Miami Beach Bowl — yes, another new college football bowl — would be coming to Marlins Park beginning in 2014.
Naturally, with Samson among the speakers the talk quickly turned to the Marlins coming off their second worst season in franchise history — 100 losses. And it didn't take him long to feed them a gem.
“I promise you this: We’re not going to lose 100 games next year, not close,” Samson said. “Look what the Red Sox did. They had the same record we did in ’12 (69-93). They turned it around to be in the World Series in ’13. It’s time for us to do the same. That’s why we didn’t book that concert in October (2014). Why would we ever book something when we should be and will be playing playoff games?”
If Samson had stopped after the first sentence, he probably would have been met with a few shrugs, because odds are the Marlins won't lose 100 games again in 2014. It's tough to be that awful two years in a row, and with guys like Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez leading their rotation, they're going to be competitive 3-4 times a week at least. Of course, that's pending their offseason moves this winter, which could go in any direction.
But a direct comparison to the Boston Red Sox, followed by a virtual guarantee the Marlins would make the postseason next season? Who does Samson think he's fooling with those comments? It's almost an insult to Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington for the remarkable work he's put in over the last 15 months. Samson's comments suggest moving on from bad contracts and rebuilding Boston into World Series favorites was a simple process, and all it will take for Miami to do the same is putting their minds to it.
First of all, when is the last time the Marlins put their minds to anything? And no, throwing money at free agents every six or seven years doesn't count.
And second, how out of touch with reality could they possibly be?
“With our new core, I expect we’ll have several appearances as one of 10 [playoff] teams.”
Well, apparently a comfortable distance.
Of course, that's not to say a quick turnaround can't be orchestrated in Miami. We've seen it time and time again with teams that were in pretty rough shape. But the Marlins have a lot of work to do to reach contender status, and they have to commit to a method of rebuilding and stick with it before a postseason appearance will be in their future again. Once they do, and once they've achieved some consistency as an organization, then they can confidently address they're almost non-existent fan base.
Until then, lose the smugness and leave the guarantees for those who can back it up.
BLS H/N: Eye on Baseball
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