In a few hours, 2012 will be nothing but a memory shrouded by the mists of the past. To close the year in grand fashion, I’ll apply an idea that I saw on a 31 Minutos episode to our beloved Marlins.
So, without further delay, here we go. Ladies and gentlemen, kiddies, mascots and every other living organism who bothers to read this blog, welcome to the first edition of the Marlins Awards, where we review the good, the bad and the ugly of the recent season!
Thank you, thank you. I love you all. You’re the best crowd ever. So, let’s get right to the point with our very first category, Best Position Player. And the winner is… (drumroll) Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton!
(More applause. Some people start screaming like crazy, while others faint)
How could we forget the amazing season he had in 2012? His 37 homers were second-most in team history, as well as setting a new career-high for the young right fielder and face of the franchise. He also led the National League in slugging percentage, the first Marlin ever to achieve that milestone. And even though it was frustrating as hell seeing him strike out with two runners on during the late innings, his majestic blasts gave us fans many reasons to be happy. Among his brightest moments were the 12 roundtrippers he blasted in May, his Mother’s Day walk-off Grand Slam and his six straight games with at least one homer at Coors Field. Hey, Loria, if you and your sociopathic cronies are reading this, get moving and offer him a long-term contract with a full no-trade clause, with special emphasis on the latter part.
(Even more applause)
That’s one item in the books. Now, for the other side of the coin, we’ll give the award for the Best Pitcher. Let’s give a big round of applause to our undisputed winner: Mark Buehrle!
(The crowd cheers)
Even though he’s no longer with us, the crafty veteran was his usual self in 2012, taking over the role of ace from a Josh Johnson who just couldn’t recover his top game despite pitching his first full season since 2010. Buehrle reached 12 consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins and 200 innings pitched, a mark only a select few can show on their resumés. Age didn’t seem to do a dent on him, as he kept working at the quick pace he’s known for. He even won the fourth Gold Glove of his career, becoming just the third pitcher ever to win one in both leagues. That award also broke a streak of seven seasons without a Marlin among the winners.
I’d like to give recognition to the honorable mention for this category, Steve Cishek, who showed that he has the stuff and poise to close games despite his youth, and who will head into 2013 slotted into the stopper’s role.
(More cheers. Soft music sounds for a few seconds, then stops)
The third category we’ll review tonight is Biggest Surprise of the Season. For this one, the winner is… Folks, you’re not going to believe this: we have a tie!
(The crowd mumbles)
Yes, we have a tie. The winners are Donovan Solano and Justin Ruggiano!
(Applause and whistles)
Donovan Solano was thrown into the fire from the very moment he was promoted from Triple-A and always responded. He played second, third and even left field, and always found out the way to get on base, move runners and show his defensive skills. His power may be low, but the ability to make contact is definitely there. As for Ruggiano, the former Tampa Bay prospect was buried in the Astros’ minor league system when the Marlins acquired him by surrendering a Class-A catcher. He took his first NL at-bat and didn’t look back. His scrappy, old-fashioned playing style was an instant hit with the fan base, who loved to see a guy playing the game the right way. Speed, power, clutch hitting, defense, you name it. Ruggiano had it in his arsenal. He even made the highlight reels with some outstanding catches, showing the whole world that the Fish still have the power of reviving the careers of players neglected by everyone else.
(More cheers, whistles and screams. The crowd is pumped up)
Okay, for the final note on the positive side, we’ll reveal the Best Moment of the Season. The award goes to… the month of May, the best in franchise history!
(Even more applause, cheers, screams and people fainting)
That month was the only enduring highlight for Miami during the 2012 season. Ozzie’s squad inked a 21-8 record, had the best road trip ever (8-1 to start the month) and closed the book only 1/2 game away from the first-place and eventual division champions, the Washington Nationals. The Marlins won eight series, including three sweeps, and split the remaining three.
For the honorable mention, we have the team’s first official game ever as the Miami Marlins, with the grand inauguration of the new stadium in Little Havana. Even though we lost 4-1, the memories will never go away.
We’ll go for a break now. Stay tuned for the second and final part of this special broadcast, where we’ll review the other side of the token.