Friday, June 14, 2024

Lend Me a Tanner

 Here is how dire the situation is in Miami currently. Recently, the Marlins had a promotion that advertised that before the game, there would be an onfield celebration of Miami as the setting for the Bad Boys movies, led by Bad Boys: Ride or Die stars Will Smith, no not the pitcher for the Royals nor the catcher for the Dodgers, and Martin Lawrence. Additionally, Lawrence and Smith would partake in the ceremonial first pitch, clad in modern Marlins jerseys adorned with the surnames of their Bad Boys characters.

Let's think about this. The plan to get Marlins fans in the seats is not by, say, putting money into the team or making it an entertaining product, but doing a promotional appearance by two people who are not Marlins fans, one of which infamously defied SNL censors by making derogatory jokes about feminine hygiene, the other whom committed a sin so heinous that he shouldn't even be allowed into LoanDepot Park...that being growing up as a Philadelphia sports fan. 

That's not a great advertising hook! 'Come, Marlins fans, and see our special guest, a Phillies fan! And if you don't, there's a non-zero percent chance he will punch you!'

The thing is, Miami has been a great hub for the modern cultural conversation. One of the current ambassadors for hispanic presence in baseball is Marcello Hernandez, an SNL player who's getting positively huge right now. Hernandez is a Miami native and Marlins fan, and features prominently in promotional material for MLB's Beisbol initiative, alongside ballplayers from spanish-speaking countries. The rebranding the Marlins had in 2019 was successful in staying true to the Miami area's Cuban and hispanic roots, as have the City Connect uniforms. The Marlins are very much a great symbol of the rise of Miami as an American culture point. You're seeing way more modern Marlins caps than you did Rainbow Fish caps in the 2010s, because it means something to be a Marlins fan, or from Miami, now.

Now...if only the team didn't suck. 

I haven't had this much trouble finding players to customize from a team, THIS EARLY, in years. Nobody is playing well. The people who were, like Ryan Weathers and Bryan Hoeing, are hurt. There are multiple players who have succeeded in the majors that the Marlins are keeping in Jacksonville for no reason, while Nick Fortes, Christian Bethancourt and Tim Anderson get to remain on the roster. The team's best hitter, Jazz Chisholm Jr., has a 1.0 WAR. And the team's best pitcher, Tanner Scott, a reliever with a 1.30 ERA, looks to be getting the hell out of Miami. This team was not this dire in 2023, but they're extremely dire now, and just don't have any starters with an ERA lower than 5 or any starting lineup pieces hitting more than .250. 

The White Sox are a worse team, but at least they have Erick Fedde, Garrett Crochet and Luis Robert, at least for the moment. The Marlins have nobody like that, and they're struggling to get by without any people who can consistently be the hero. And it's really depressing to watch.

I want the Marlins to improve solely to meet the demands of Miami's burgeoning moment. But I don't know how long it'll take for them to get there.

Coming Tonight: A hitter for, somehow, a worse team. 

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