Goodnight, Sweet Prince: A Eulogy for the Miami Marlins

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November 17, 2012 by NowhereButPop

By Steve Secular

It’s better to burn out than to fade away. Neil Young wrote it, Kurt Cobain took it to heart, and now, Jeffrey Loria used it to gut a baseball team. But lo! the Miami Marlins were more than simply a baseball team. They embodied what baseball, or any sport, can be at its absolute best: art transcended into life. And the Miami Marlins were the best kind of art, pure and unadulterated absurdist comedy.

It’s not easy to stay at the top of the sports comedy ladder, and many aren’t able to cope with the day-to-day pressures of the stardom. Chuck Knoblauch outgrew his comedy prime, while others, like Steve Sax turned their back on comedy, eventually going back to the dramatic world of successful fielding. And there are still more that never even reached the pantheon of sports comedy greatness.[1]

The Miami Marlins showed what an organization can do if they set their mind to capturing the comedy crown, one of thehighest honors in sports. It all began on December 7, 2011, when it was announced that Jose Reyes, the 28-year old shortstop with Amare Stoudemire Knee Disease[2] was signed to a 6-year, $106 million contract. As he put on his sparkly orange, teal, and yellow hat, it felt like history had truly been made.

The season soon began as a thing of beauty: Hanley Ramirez’s pretending that he didn’t mind moving to third base, star Logan Morrison’s injury-of-the-day preventing him from starting consecutive days, the giant green stadium walls, and the Sculpture, that beautiful testament to some satanic postmodern artist-demonhead, with its flailing dolphins and flashing lights. There was even a fishtank in the backstop, for which they used future minor-league first baseman Gaby Sanchez to test its safety by throwing baseballs at it full strength. Sometimes the proper way to test items for the safety of living creatures comes inspired by carnival games. Doesn’t everyone know this? The Miami Marlins certainly did.

It continued throughout the season, as the projected playoff team slowly came to finish in last place, behind even the lowly New York Mets and the arthritic Phillies, along the way trading away Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, Anibal Sanchez, and Omar Infante. All four wept with sadness on their trade day. For they knew they were leaving mediocrity for the bright lights of the post-season. And really, who wants that when you can have a 24-7 laughfest at your own expense? These whippersnappers have a lot to learn, my Miami Marlins.

And Ozzie, my Ozzie. The sympathetic Fidel Castro remarks, the cursing and ejections, the postgame performances, the lost clubhouse, the firing after a mere season with three years remaining on your contract. For you Ozzie, no mere words can capture how much you meant to this team. How much they needed you, the one angry voice pushing them to try harder and harder, that maybe a last place finish could be possible. And you know what? Thanks to you, they succeeded.

Yet little did anyone know, gestating in the Miami Marlins’ little beating fish heart, was the plans for something greater. You knew, Miami Marlins, that sometimes this world can be too much with us. That it isn’t easy to stay at the top. So you traded away everyone, a 12-player deal. Reyes, Buehrle, Johnson, Buck, and Bonifiacio. All gone, like strangers passing in the street. You built up a team and traded them away in less than a year. Only two players remain from the opening day starting lineup. But not before bilking tax payers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Jeffrey Loria, you magnificent bastard.

You knew the gold you held in your hand. And sometimes, it’s better to burn out than to fade away. Goodnight, my sweet prince. You were ahead of your time, and yet we hardly knew ye.

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn”

-William Wordsworth

[1] Most notable is the NBA’s Bill “Spaceman” Walker, whose sideline popcorn-eating antics are now left without a team to even play for.

[2] The full name is “Amare Stoudemire Bad Knees Coupled With 100 Million Dollar Contract Disease”


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