You might remember, from back at the beginning of the NFL season, when we previewed each team by having a writer we liked write about their favorite team.
Well, we're less than a month away from the start of baseball — spring training is here! — so it's time to do the same thing in the baseball world. Every weekday until the start of the season, a different writer will preview his/her team. We asked a gaggle of writers, from the Web, from print, from books, to tell us, in as many or as little words as they need, Where Their Team Stands. This is not meant to be factual, or dispassionate, or even logical: We just asked them to riff on why they love their team so much, or what their team means to them, or whatever.
Today: The Florida Marlins. Your author is Dan Lewis.
Dan Lewis is one of the people who run Sports.Wikia. Sports.Wikia is basically a place where people with crappy sports blogs come together and blog in one place, creating one not-so-crappy sports blog. He says you should write there. Like, now. Skip his article and go there instead. His words are after the jump (but he asks that you not read them).
Okay ... Why my team is better than your team ... Let's see.
Well, first off, my team is the Mets, but the Marlins have two fans, and they're both too busy finishing off their suicide pact. I asked Will if I could write about the Royals, but they were taken, so I asked for either the Orioles or Padres. They were taken, too, so I took the Marlins. Those last two sentences are 100 percent true; I have the emails to prove it. That's how difficult it is to be a Marlins fan.
So, this should really be called "Why no one's team is better than my team." Or something like that.
The President of the Marlins is a guy named David Samson. David Samson graduated from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, New York. I know that because I did too. He spoke one day at Cardozo, and when I asked him why the Marlins weren't really Moneyball aficionados — you know, they seem to have ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING CLUE what they're doing — he basically replied that as an outsider, I have no idea how the business of baseball is run, and I'm a certifiable moron, and I'm devaluing his law degree with every passing breath.
At that point, one of the other panelists — some economist who probably sat on his pocket protector, because he had this half-grin, half-constipated look on his face — chimed in, "well, open your books."
And Samson, calling forth the hammer of the gods, basically replied that as an outsider, this economist has no idea how the business of baseball is run, and that the econ guy is a certifiable moron, and he is devaluing the dollar with every passing breath.
Samson, whose team was fresh off a World Series victory, was riding the wave of invincibility. He knew all. We knew nothing. He could turn water into wine (at a Yeshiva law school), spin wheat into gold and turn Josh Beckett into something resembling a World Series MVP. He was a god amongst men; a man amongst sheep; Tim Hardaway at a "Hey, I'm so clearly in the closet" convention.
That is, he was a total moron who really had nothing better to say that "hey, you, you're stupid and your mom is ugly and I did her and did I mention that you're stupid?" Or, in other words, he's that snotty little kid from your first grade class that ate ants off the windowsill and thought they gave him super powers. (I'm from Connecticut. That's pretty much the epitome of weird there.)
A few months ago, the Sports Business News (it's real) had a nice little ditty on the guy:
Samson appeared on 790 The Ticket (WAXY-AM), with The Miami Herald's Dan LeBatard. According to The South Sentinel columnist David Hyde, the Marlins' team president gave another supposedly comic discourse on that touched all the bases of women, sex and pornography. This isn't uncommon for Samson. In the past, he has "joked" of having Porn Night at the stadium. He's "joked" of having a sex toy in his car. He's "joked" which players looked like porn stars. Do you see the thread here? And are you laughing yet? Is this a personality you'd entrust with a business that has a value well in excess of $100 million? On this particular show, a male caller who said he otherwise enjoyed Samson's segment asked him to, "Please try not to be so derogatory toward women and lustful when you do the interview. I try to enjoy the show with my girl, and she's like, `Oh, that Dave Samson, he's a real creep.'" "Don't be lecherous, Samson," show host Dan LeBatard said. "I will try to be slightly less lecherous for his girlfriend," Samson said. "And if he would like to bring her to my office, we could definitely talk about my lechery."
What a mensch, huh? You can't even get divorced in New York without being run through the shredder. Just ask Paul Lo Duca. But this Samson guy — who is so secure about his manhood that you'd think Tim Hardaway was his next door neighbor or something (actually, Hardaway did play for the Heat....) — well, he's a Major League Baseball executive.
So it should come to no surprise that Jeffrey Loria, the guy who owns the Marlins, is also David Samson's stepdad.
Nice work if you can get it.
Loria probably didn't hire Samson because he's doing David's mom, though. More likely, Loria hired Samson because while it's hard to find someone less qualified to run a baseball team than Jeffrey Loria himself - and because Peter Angelos is taken - Samson fills that role. You know, it's like the kinda/sorta/almost attractive girl from the slutty sorority; she always hangs out with the ugly chick who so clearly needs to lay off the Mickey D's. Why? Because by comparison, giddy-up.
Loria's claim to fame is thus:
Step 1: Buy Montreal Expos when they're worth about as much as a used chesterfield covered in Labatt - and we're talking Canadian dollars, which is to say, only worthwhile if you can trick the vending machine or that blind kid at 7-11 that it's real money.
Step 2: Cry like a little girl about how your dirt-cheap team is worth only slightly more than you paid for it, acting surprised that a bunch of French-Canadians aren't into a game where le stick hits le ball into a guy named Hoppi or something.
Step 3: Realize that Bud Selig was formerly a used-car dealer.
Step 4: Work out some
two-bit scam sweet-heart deal where you effectively trade the worst franchise in Major League Baseball history in, get a similarly lackluster but, hey, it's warm, it's Miami, etc. team, and the Marlins owner somehow ends up with the Red Sox.
Step 5: Accidentally win the World Series.
Step 6: Sell lots of tickets, promising that you'll not be as bad as the former owner, the Devil (also known as Wayne Huizenga), and will keep your team competitive instead of trading virtually all your valuable players.
Step 7: Instead, claim you can't make money in South Florida, and hold up city for ransom until they build you a new stadium - and trade virtually all of your valuable players other than DUI Willis and Miguel "You're a superstar, but you're going to have to earn that extra $700,000 in arbitration, thereby guaranteeing that you're going to walk once you hit free agency, but hey, we're morons!" Cabrera, albeit over two years instead of one like that Huizenga guy.
Or something like that.
The moral of the story: The Marlins are probably going to suck, but could accidentally make the playoffs. Dontrelle will be good, if he's not in jail, which he probably won't be because he's not a Bengal (yet). Miguel Cabrera will be good, but he'll probably be a Yankee by July. That Josh Willingham guy could be good too, but he's 28, so - I'm not really sure, but man, did he kill the Mets last year. Dan Uggla has a great name. Hanley Ramirez may be better than Jose Reyes, but I'll not admit it publicly. And Joe Girardi is a great manager, did incredible things last year, totally deserved the Manager of the Year award, and he may be able to actually bring this team to ... wait, what? Fredi who?
So, why are the Marlins better than your team?
Because they're run by a bunch of self-important, holier-than-thou pricks — yet they've won more World Series titles in my lifetime than the Mets. I fucking hate that.