I had just woken up from one of those “I’m about to collapse, I’ve been awake for 28 hours” naps. After working in the morning and attending two afternoon classes, I was ready to start my homework. ESPN.com was open on the computer screen. The headline on the right corner: “Source: Jays set to acquire Reyes, 4 others.”
After serving a five-game suspension for protesting his love for Fidel Castro, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen will return to the dugout Tuesday night for the team’s home opener against the Chicago Cubs. Though the suspension came amid calls for Guillen’s ouster by some affronted anti-Castroites, the lack of widespread outrage to the notoriously big-mouthed manager’s comments — not to mention the lack of terrorist bombings — signals a profound change in attitude among Cubans in Miami, according to a piece by ESPN writer Wright Thompson. “This is a very, very faint echo of what used to be,” Thompson quotes a Cuban-American friend as saying. “Back in the ’70s, they would have blown up Marlins Park. If you understand that the Watergate burglars were trying to overthrow Fidel, and that people used to blow each other up in the ’70s and ’80s, then the Guillen thing gets more interesting, both because of what he said — and because of what didn’t happen.”
Thompson’s piece is a poignant and fascinating portrait of Miami and the dying Bay of Pigs generation. To read it in full, visit ESPN.com. Here’s the video that accompanies the article.
I attended the second game of the Marlins’ inaugural season. We played the Dodgers and lost, 2 to 4, behind pitcher Jack Armstrong. Despite getting off to a bad start, I kept going to Marlins games and, in the last 18 years, I have sat in the stands at the stadium now called Sun Life (that I never stopped calling Joe Robbie) hundreds of times. Only for Marlins games — you wouldn’t catch me dead among the hollering horde at a Dolphins game. In fact, I’m not much of a sports fan. But I am a Marlins fan, and I always will be. I’ll attend many a game at the new Miami Ballpark, but I’ll probably never go back to Sun Life. For this reason, I decided to attend yesterday’s game, the last ever at the stadium where I watched us win the ’97 Series. It was the last of a three-game home stand against the Nationals. We won.
Poetry and baseball have long been good friends. “I see great things in baseball,” Walt Whitman said of America’s pastime to be. Ernest Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” is as ubiquitous as the game itself. Ogden Nash wrote “A Lineup for Yesterday”, a poem paying tribute to his favorite players in alphabetical order. I’m partial to the Dizzy Dean entry: “D is for Dean/The grammatical Diz/When they asked, Who’s the tops?/Said correctly, I is.”
In honor of fertile spring’s most sacred pitch and O, Miami’s righteous resolve to confront the masses with poetry in April, I’m bringing verse and baseball together once again in a preview of the Marlins and the rest of National League East before the 2011 season starts on Thursday. In addition to a brief team summary and projected record, I’ve assigned each team a verse (taken out of context, of course) befitting its place in the league. Batter up.
1. Philadelphia Phillies (101 – 61) – By reacquiring Cliff Lee, the Phillies put together a pitching rotation that is arguably (hardly) the greatest in baseball history. Will it be enough to compensate for an aging and oft-injured lineup? Methinks yes.
Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender –
it’s worse if you fights or you runs:
You may hide in the caves, they’ll be only your graves,
but you can’t get away from the guns!
— Rudyard Kipling, Screw-Guns
As the Florida Marlins season once again ended without a trip to the playoffs, Beached Miami called upon 18-year season-ticket-holder Bill Campbell to take a look back at 2010 and ahead to 2011.
The Marlins’ players and coaches hugged each other after the season-ending victory against Pittsburg, all now wondering who will be back next year to tie up the spikes in a Marlins uni. The team had promise at the beginning of the year, but like all but two of the previous 17 seasons, that promise was not honored.
Fittingly, Manager Edwin Rodriguez, who probably will be shown the door before next year by Marlins’ brass, got an early start to his offseason by getting thrown out of the final game by umpire Joe West.
When the 2011 season kicks off April 1 at home against the Mets, the Marlins will almost certainly have a few new faces on the field. Topping the shopping list for the Fish will be a good catcher with some pop in his bat and experience handling the pitching staff. The team will also have to fill the centerfield position in order to contend next year. Cameron Maybin has just not panned out in the field, nor as a lead-off or second place hitter. I’d be surprised to see him with the team come spring training.