The Florida Marlins: What the 2007 Season Holds
by Jennifer Jordan
With opening day knocking on the door of baseball lovers everywhere, fans of the game scratch their heads in wonderment, pondering just how good their favorite team will be this year. Some fans are all but assured their team will have a winning record while others know they will be lucky to get anywhere near five hundred. Many fans, however, simply have no idea what this season will bring. For Florida Marlin fans, this notion holds true: the season could be a great catch or something they’ll want to throw back into the water.
The Florida Marlins began as an organization in 1993. Though young, they have managed to win two World Series, once in 1997 and once in 2003. The 2006 season, however, saw them without a championship to call their own. This set the ball rolling for many off season changes.
After the 2006 season came to a close, Joe Girardi, the manager of the Marlins, was fired and Fredi Gonzalez, upon signing a three year contract, was named manager. Soon after, players began filing for free agency. These included first baseman Wes Helms and pitchers Joe Borowski, Matt Herges, and Brian Moehler. Acquisitions, including infielder Aaron Boone, Matt Lindstrom, Jorge Julio and Henry Owens, were also made. These acquisitions will help to restore some of the infield and pitching forces lost.
The off season also saw many Marlins receive accolades. Dan Uggla, the second baseman, won the Player’s Choice Award for the leagues best rookie. He was also named The Sporting News Rookie of the year. Following in rookie rewards, shortstop Hanley Ramirez received the award for 2006 National League Rookie of the Year. This was an award greatly coveted, particularly by the Marlins. In fact, half of the twelve nominations for Rookie of the Year were Marlins. This was the first time in league history where so many nominees hailed from the same team.
Miguel Cabrera, the Marlin’s third baseman, won the 2006 Silver Slugger Award for the National League after finishing with a batting average that was second highest. Even Girardi, despite his firing, received the highest of managerial accolades, He was named the National League Manager of the Year for commanding a very young and low paid team to a 78-84 record, a record that, though below five hundred, was much better than many expected; they were wild card contenders in an always tough National League East.
During the 2006 off season, the Marlins also saw the idea of potential relocation surface once more. Among the places the Marlins were said to be moving were Portland, Oregon; Monterrey, Mexico; New Jersey; Las Vegas, Nevada; Charlotte, North Carolina; and San Antonio, Texas.
However, on the last day of February 2007, it looked as though the Marlins were staying in the Miami area. Miami-Dade County proposed the idea of a stadium with a retractable dome. It is a stadium that will cost nearly 500 million dollars and be one of the best for years to come. Though the deal is not finished, it should be final in April of this year. According to city officials, this is the best bet Florida has at making sure the Marlins don’t turn into the “one that got away.”