Sep 9, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcherRicky Nolasco
(47) is congratulated by catcherRob Brantly
(19) after recording a shutout against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit:Brad Mills
How many of you remember the days when news of knee problems for an athlete meant the end of a sometimes promising career and brought on shaking heads and tongue-clucking at the barber shop? I find it miraculous that a player like Giancarlo Stanton can have his knee surgically repaired during the all-star break and go on to knock 14 balls out of the park before mid-September.
My last article drew comparisons between Jeffrey Loria and Dan Snyder. My fond wish is that Mr. Loria uses Ted Lerner as a role model instead of Snyder. There has been zero executive interference with Mike Rizzo’s decision to rest Strasburg. The ability to select the right GM and subsequently avoid overriding his decisions is one Mr. Loria and Mr. Samson could cultivate.
Where to play Emilio Bonifacio? He’s got the speed to cover the acreage in center field, but maybe not the arm. His supremacy on the bases makes the Marlins a serious threat when combined with a classic small-ball manager like Ozzie Guillen. One of the few and largely ignored bright spots this year is that the Marlins lead all of baseball in stolen bases, at 137. He’s done well at second base, and arguments have been made to keep him there, but I think the better course of action is to send the cutoff men out a little further and take advantage of his wheels. Leave him in center.
In the season opener, Nick Sundberg, the long-snapper for the Redskins, broke his arm in the first half when he was nailed by a helmet. The halftime X-ray confirmed the break. He had the arm taped up and snapped the ball for six punts in the second half. That is the kind of commitment the Redskins are showing this year, and I think that if the Marlins do the same, next year could be exciting indeed. The term “all in” has been heavily diluted since the appearance of poker on ESPN, but not for Sundberg. The biggest impediment to the Marlins coming together and deciding to commit to winning got traded to Los Angeles. The ignominy of this season could well be the catalyst that lights the fuse in Miami.
The 2012 season is winding down for the Marlins, but they still have a spoiler role to play, and since they seem to be surging (despite the two-for-one sale on strikeouts in Philly last night), it is still possible for them to affect the wild card race. The tail end of a losing season is always tough for stubborn fans, and there are still 20 games to go. The pennant is out of reach, but the Mets aren’t. Let’s claw our way out of the cellar.