Editor’s note: This is the second of our new authors, Ehsan Kassim, better known as @ehsank24 on Twitter. He’ll be contributing weekly here at Marlin Maniac on Fridays, writing both on fandom or on his own bits of analysis on the current happenings in the world of the Fish. Please welcome him to the MM family.
Since this is my first post over here at Marlin Maniac, I thought I would like to start off by giving a little background on myself, which will actually be relevant to this article.
I am 19-years old, born and raised in Coral Springs, Florida. I lived in Coral Springs for about most of my life. I became a big baseball fan during the now infamous 1998 MLB season. This was my first interest in any sort of sport. I was not a Marlins fan at the time. I was actually just watching to see if my favorite player, Ken Griffey Jr, would be able to catch Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire for the homerun chase. In 1999, I went to my first baseball game and first Marlins game ever. It was a 2-1 victory for the Fish over the Colorado Rockies. Ever since that hot July day, I have been a diehard Marlins fan. Now, if I weren’t not a diehard Marlins fan, I would still love baseball. I would just be a diehard Braves hater. I have never liked that franchise and I hate the city of Atlanta. I hate Atlanta mainly because I lived there for two years after moving there in 2008. My strong hatred for the Braves started when I became a Marlins fan. They were always the team I wanted the Marlins to beat the most. This continues to today.
Atlanta Former Marlins
Of course, it doesn’t help that the Braves GM, Frank Wren, actually has a fetish for former Marlins personal. The current Braves roster is compromised of five former Marlins. Those are World Series hero Alex Gonzalez, Cristhian Martinez, Scott Proctor, my least favorite former Marlin Dan Uggla, and the infamous Fredi Gonzalez as manager. I do not hate Alex Gonzalez and I don’t care one way or another about Martinez and Proctor. I do hate Dan Uggla, because I feel he treated the Marlins like crap during his contract negotiations. He was asking for five years and $71 million from the Marlins, which conveniently was one more million then Hanley Ramirez signed for. Uggla then resigned with the Braves for five years and $61 million, $10 million less then he was demanding from the Marlins. Fredi Gonzalez is the Marlins winningest manager of all-time, but he’s also probably the most hated. Marlins fans were never happy with his decision making. His bullpen management was dreadful and he never earned the respect of Marlins superstar Hanley Ramirez. It’s rumored that the Braves are now looking to add another former Marlin, Josh Willingham.
Why are the Braves so relevant to the Marlins?
The Braves are the key to the Marlins rest of the season. Every analyst at the onset of the season said that the Marlins would make the playoffs if they were able to beat the Braves and Phillies, as they were the teams the Marlins would most likely be competing with. Although the Marlins are a very longshot at making the playoffs still, the Braves are a key team to beat if the Marlins want to get back into the race. The Marlins are currently 8.5 games behind the Braves for the Wild Card lead with 12 games left against their NL East foes. This presents a tough challenge. If the Marlins are able to beat the Braves in all the series, they would take a severe cut into the Braves lead and be back in the race.
This Weekend Do or Die?
Not necessarily, but more then likely, yes. If the Marlins can sweep the Braves this weekend, a comeback into the Wild Card seems like a realistic option. They would trail the Braves by 5.5 games with two months to go. If they get swept, it would end all rational talk about any chance. Even if the Marlins take just one game, they will gain a valuable game on the Braves. It’s a very longshot, but if the Marlins can sweep the Braves, their chances look a lot.
Next week: I will take a look at the Marlins future rotation and what needs to be done to add depth.
PS: Please join MarlinManiac for it’s weekly Friday chat. I will not be able to join this week because I will be out of town. Michael will post a link soon. Thanks.