Monday Marlins Miscellany
Yesterday afternoon, as the shadows began to overtake Dolphin Stadium on the Dade-Broward line, one of the best stories in baseball over the 2006 season came to a dramatic close. A team that at the beginning of the year started 6 people who had never played at this level before concluded their surprisingly-overachieving season with a game winning hit in the 11th inning. The team that was supposed to be one of the worst in major league history came within a few games of making the playoffs and achieved more rookie records than any team I can remember. I think in 5 or 10 years we will look back at a lot of the players on this team and say “Man, ALL those guys were on the ’06 Marlins? How did they not make the playoffs?” The point is, while I am not a guy to get too involved in a team, this year’s Fish were one great exception. Nobody had a huge ego, nobody was an overpaid superstar, Hell, nobody even had a name anyone outside of the most hardcore Marlin fan knew. They were a team you could actually relate to who had success, which is almost unheard of in professional sports today.
But the end of baseball season (at least here in South
The Special is usually either Ropa Vieja or Picadillo, white rice, black beans, plantains and chips and salsa (not sure why they throw that in, but I never complain). The plate easily weighs at least four pounds and it is a mission carrying it back to your seat if you are not on the first base line. And what would you expect a money-sharking baseball team to charge for a meal that could EASILY feed two people who are not gluttonous pigs like myself? $12? Well, that’s about what you’d pay at a restaurant. $10? Okay, that may still be reasonable. But the good people at Una Mezcla Buena (most of whom are not Hispanic) serve up The Special for a mere $8. Throw in a large soda and you have enough food to last you all day for twelve bucks. The only catch is they usually only serve it on weekends, and eating four pounds of hot Cuban food in 90 degree sun is not as easy as one would think. Thank God the games are long.
The other part of the Marlins experience that many who attend overlook is the extremely clever and creative Organ guy. Since he has more or less mastered “Lets go Marlins” and “Charge” Organ Guy takes the time to go down each opponents roster and think up clever little things to play for each player in their lineup. Or who MAY be in their lineup. And it is not obvious stuff like playing “Hound Dog” for a guy named Presley. No, it is often two or three degrees of pop-culture-reference separation that you have to think for a minute to get. A good example was when Pat Burrell came to bat yesterday, he played “Holly, Jolly Christmas.” Now, Pat Burrell has absolutely nothing to so with Christmas nor is he very Holly or Jolly. But who sang that particular song? Burl Ives. I’m sure no one in the stadium under about 60 even came close to getting that, but it makes you think. Sometimes it is a reference to the lyrics of a song, like when he played “Footloose” for Hector Ruiz. I’ll let you figure that one out. Either way, Organ guy provides a fun little game to play with your friends while at the stadium.
So, sadly, I will miss the 2006 Marlins. And, most likely, Joe Girardi as well. But next year I still have The Special and the Clever Organ guy to look forward too. Unless, in typical Marlins fashion, they get rid of everything good about the team in the off season up to and including Cuban food and Organists. Adios, Marlins! Thanks for a surprisingly entertaining and inspiring 2006.