May 21, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria looks on during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Often times in comic books, the writers would create a story that was set in a different universe to see what kind of stories could occur with their superheroes. These stories are called else world stories and they often deal with “what ifs?”. Like what if Superman was never born and the Justice League was still formed but was in chaos because it did not have a rightful champion of Earth Ideals.
So I want to take a crack at this type of story and present an alternate universe. A universe where Marlins were fans didn’t boycott games, where fans don’t fear that in a few years the team will be fire-saled, and where fans don’t get robbed of their money by politicians that are controlled by the rule of one man.
A universe where Jeffrey Loria agreed to Jeb Bush’s offer to buy the Marlins.
Back in December, it was reported that Bush had sought out Loria and offered him a deal to buy the Marlins. It was reportedly a large amount of money and there was also a rumor that Jeb Bush got a group of wealthy investors to try and buy the team. Obviously Loria said no, because why leave a situation where you make so much money while screwing everyone over and laughing to your grave, and were stuck with him.
But lets take a moment and think. What would it be like to have a Bush as the owner of the Marlins.
If Jeb Bush became the owner, I think the situation in Miami would be similar but better. Let me explain.
Bush offered to buy the team just after the Great Purge of 2012, after they picked Mike Redmond as manager. So once he got to the front offices he obviously would take out all of Loria’s confidants like Larry Beinfest, David Samson, etc. It would be called the Great Purge of 2013, but this one to rid the team of all the problems of the past. I would believe that since Jeb has never owned a team before he would keep the scouts and some of the lower level guys just so he could get a sense of the players that in minors. After realizing that the Marlins have always had a good minor league system, Jeb Bush would tell his future GM to not go out spending for any expensive free agents. No Josh Hamilton, No Michael Bourn, No BJ Upton.
That would be a pretty smart call.
Bush is a smart man and he would realize that teams like the Cardinals build from within and gain free agents when they are sure that they will be needed. So opting to follow that style, Jeb decides to keep the rebuilding process going like normal however he does extensive scouting on the cuban defectors because of the big Cuban population in Miami. He pushes the Marlins into the race to bid for those very good Cuban players and eventually after a few years the Marlins become the dominant team to gain Cuban prospects like Yasiel Puig.
The team goes into Spring training and Jebb Bush sees the talent that is in front of him and he tells the public that they will stay in the rebuilding process only because the overall goal is to not repeat last years failures but win from within and that the only way the rebuilding could go faster would be to support the team and go to the games. Since he has never purged the team at any point, people will be less agitated and attendance would not be as bad.
Of course it wouldn’t be great because Miami fans don’t watch anything unless the team is winning. Ricky Nolasco understands that he will be traded by midseason but he doesn’t demand a trade like he did in the past. Giancarlo Stanton feels like he can now stay long term and they begin negotiations for a long term contract. The Marlins will finally keep one of their best players for more than the rookie contract.
So the season goes like usual except for the weird decision Loria made in Minnesota season where he decided that Nolasco should pitch in the night game and Fernandez in the day game. The team is losing badly and the prospects are being rushed but Jeb Bush doesn’t worry because he knows that when everyone comes back the team will start winning.
When Jeff Mathis and Rob Brantly get more playing team leaving Miguel Olivo with little to no playing time, the Marlins agree to his request to be released instead of putting him on the restricted list just to spite him. When Solano comes back from the DL, the Marlins move Solano to third base and they solidify their infield for the time being with Solano, Hechavarria, Dietrich, and Morrison. When the draft comes, they get the third baseman of the future in Colin Moran and eventually they sign all of their picks without much trouble because Jeb Bush doesn’t interfere with the process.
June comes around and the Marlins begin winning. Sure they still have the worst record but they have a bright future since the owner signs one of the Cuban pitching prospects to be the elusive fifth starter after Nolasco is traded. With a young but talented rotation, a still intact bullpen, a Stanton led offense that is hungry for runs, and a more than capable manager that doesn’t have the fear that he will be fired if he sneezes at the wrong time, the Marlins are able to finish the season on a strong note making the future brighter than it has ever been. They Stanton to big deal, eventually everybody gets good deals to stay with the team and the fans are no longer fearful that they won’t see their favorite players in a few years. With youth, talent, and good leadership, the Marlins are on their way to becoming a perennial contender in the NL East.
Now I could be completely wrong about all of this. Maybe Jeb Bush makes us worse or maybe he makes better, I don’t know. However I would love to see and find out.
You know whats the weird thing though about this? The foundation for a good team is there, its just that we have no faith because were afraid that Loria will blow it up. I wish that he could resist the urge to act on his Napoleon complex and just allow the team to do its best to win championships.
I just wish that Loria let the team play baseball.