(Applause, cheers and the like)
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the second part of this special program. Join us as we dig into the 2012 Marlins season to review the good, the bad and the ugly.
I know you’re not going to like this, but it’s time to look at the less appeasing side of things. We’ve already reviewed the good to a great extent, and it’d be most unfair to leave the reverse unattended. After all, you can’t wear those pink-colored glasses all the time.
(An uncomfortable silence fills the set)
Okay, let’s get going quickly so this torture can be over. To start the second half of the show we have the Worst Position Player category. And the receiver of this dubious distinction is… Excuse me, I should say “are”, because there’s a tie.
(The crowd mumbles. Some people start booing, but shut up quickly)
Ahem, the winners of the WVP are John Buck and Logan Morrison.
(The boos are much louder now. Some LoMo fangirls start throwing beer cans at the stage, but are taken out of the premises)
How could we forget these two players who didn’t contribute anything to our season but a lot of frustration? Buck was a liability on both sides of the diamond: his numbers declined even more at the plate, hitting just .192 with 11 homers and scoring a meager 29 runs. I started calling him Mr. Automatic Out later in the year, and I’m glad to see I wasn’t mistaken. On the defensive side, his inability to throw runners out didn’t change at all. Even if he improved 9% from 2011 at this category, he was exactly at the league average with his 27%. And seeing him allow those freaking passed balls was enough to make even Billy the Marlin cringe with desperation.
Speaking of desperation, Morrison, the self-proclaimed Twitter King, kept going downhill. Since his debut in the second half of 2010, he turned from a reliable on-base guy with gap power into a low-contact, high-power slugger, and then into a lump of dead weight. He couldn’t hit, field or run the bases consistently, and sometimes he looked so overmatched at the plate that it was like seeing the late Eiji Sawamura blowing 95-mph fastballs against a toddler. Pure and simple torture. And he couldn’t hit with RISP at all in 2012, with a meager .167 BA in these situations. Mr. Chance -3 was a major disappointment, and it’s very surprising that he’ll get another chance in 2013 as a first baseman. I would’ve traded him for a bucket of KFC without thinking it twice.
(Major round of applause. Apparently most of the people agree with the descriptions of the ill-fated players)
Okay, thanks. Let’s move on to the next distinction, known as the Worst Pitcher…
(The crowd starts booing again, to the point of completely muting other sounds. The wave lasts a full five minutes before subsiding)
Well, I see you already know the winner. Who is it?
(The crowd screams “Heath F***ing Bell!”. Their tone is of pure rage, mixed with fury and disappointment. A lethal combination, if you ask me)
Well, this one is a no-brainer, ladies and gentlemen. Heath Bell, the second most-loathed man in Miami, was one of the biggest signings of the 2011 offseason. He was supposed to close games and make us forget the bitter Leocoaster rides we endured in 2009 and 2010. Not even the most pessimistic Marlins fan could’ve foreseen what Mr. Incompetent would bring to the table. In his very first regular season appearance, he blew the save. He closed the first half the same way, having costed us six wins, with an ERA over 6 and stuff so predictable that even the opponent’s most pathetic hitters feasted on it. His intimidation factor gone, Bell became another dead weight in the Marlins bullpen, being used as a set-up pitcher for most of the second half and seeing young Steve Cishek take his place as closer.
But what was worse lied in his cocky attitude. He was given every single change to improve his decayed game, but instead opted to take the coward’s path and place the blame for his suckiness on manager Ozzie Guillén, his fellow teammates and even the Showtime crew. When he ripped O.G. on a radio interview, the bomb exploded, destroying anything nearby. You should’ve seen the reactions on Twitter. Every single Marlins fan called for his head. Bloggers like myself chimed in, and even national baseball writers slammed the fatass for his little circus act. He paid dearly for it, when Ozzie counterattacked with another interview that was aired at full volume in the locker room. Sweet, sweet revenge.
(Applause, cheers and the like. The crowd starts chanting “Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie!” for another five full minutes, raising their hands and jumping)
After this little catharsis, we now head for the third category on this tour through the things we’d rather forget. It’s called Biggest Disappointment of the Season. And we have… a triple tie!
(The crowd groans)
Don’t worry, this won’t take long. The winners are Heath Bell, Logan Morrison and Ricky Nolasco!
(Even more boos. The glass panels start to vibrate, and it seems the whole facility will come down from the noise)
You’ve already heard about Bell and Morrison, so let’s focus on Nolasco. The only player remaining from the 2006 era still hasn’t been able to recover the form that made him a 15-game winner in 2008. Instead, he still showed the inconsistency that has marred him for the last three seasons. Mr Yo-Yo’s peripherals have sharply declined, with more hits, runs and homers allowed and less strikeouts. He always had the knack of following a good/decent/passable start with two or three bad/horrendous/nightmarish ones, always haunted by the big inning. Barring a trade on the next few weeks -which he requested himself not long ago-, he’ll open 2013 as the default -and undeserved- ace of a very young, talented and inexperienced rotation.
(Another groan. Some people throw their drinks to each other in frustration)
Yeah, I know what you’re feeling right now. Okay, we only have one category left, and I predict you’re not going to like this one, either. Ladies and gentlemen, here comes the Worst Moment of the Season.
Well, since we had so many terrible moments during the 2012 season, I can say that every single one could’ve been given the award. So I’ll read an abbreviated list.
1.- The month of June, which sent the Fish plummeting to the bottom of the NL East standings after going 8-18, with no player escaping the dreaded virus of underperforming. Sure, we didn’t repeat the 5-23 mark set in 2011 for the same month, but the huge fall -without a parachute or safety nets- made Loria and his cronies throw in the towel early and focus on trading away any players worth something.
(More boos. Torches and pitchforks appear from nowhere. On the back row, puppets of Loria, Samson and Beinfest are burned at the stake)
2.- The infamous blockbuster deal with Toronto, which sent José Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, Buck and Josh Johnson to the north side of the border in exchange for a mediocre shortstop with homophobic issues, a backup catcher, and five prospects that might or might not pan out as expected. The worst -and inexcusable- part is that our moronic Front Office couldn’t find a way to snare the best young players from the Blue Jays system -Syndergaard, D’Arnaud- for all the players we gave up. I bet that even a drunk monkey could do a better job than Loria and Co. when it comes to making baseball decisions.
(More booing, whistling and swearing. Some laugh at the monkey reference)
3.- Ozzie’s stupid -and unnecessary- praising of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, considered nothing less than a capital sin if you live in South Florida. The exiles are very powerful in Miami, and they mobilized immediately, calling for a boycott of the team and the immediate dismissal of Guillén. The manager served a five-game suspension, but the damage to the franchise’s reputation had already been done.
(Even more boos, curses, and the like)
I’ll leave it up to you to determine which of these was the worst moment.
Okay, we’ve run out of time, so this puts an end to the 2012 Marlins Awards. It’s been a pleasure blogging with you in 2012, and I hope that next year’s ceremony will have much more positive things. I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year, and see you in 2013 with much more Marlins news, analysis, and utter nonsense. Thank you and good-bye!
(Applause and music. Screen fades to black)