Monday, July 20, 2009
Ted gave us 10 players to hate, but I'm a lover, not a fighter (Would you like a hug?). Additionally, I don't like boundaries, so I ditched Ted's plan of only listing current players, or people who are actually alive. My only restriction is on children of the Marlins Diaspora. We should love them all, and I don't need to defend them here. Here are 10 to love, in no particular order.
1. Jose Mesa. Jose blew a save in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, giving up a sac fly to Craig Counsell that pushed the game into extras, allowing the Marlins to score. Better yet, when Omar Vizquel blamed the Indians' World Series loss on Mesa in his autobiography, Mesa vowed to plunk Omar every time he faced him, and followed through for about five years. I likes. Mesa also blew a ton of saves against the Fish as a member of the Phillies from 2002-2003.
2-3. Jim Hendry and Andy MacPhail. As the general managers for the Chicago Cubs (MacPhail from 2000-2001, Hendry from 2002-present), these two men are responsible for a few of the best trades in Marlins history, including Dontrelle Willis et al for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement in 2002 and Ricky Nolasco et al for Juan Pierre in 2005. Thanks guys! I'll forgive them for the Derrek Lee for Hee Seop Choi trade in 2003.
4. Jeff Weaver. Weaver gave up a 12th-inning walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series to Alex Gonzalez, the last non-pitcher I would have expected to become a hero in that situation. Thanks Jeff. Did you not know that Alex will swing at anything?
5. Eric Gregg. It's become de rigueur for baseball scribes and historians to point to Gregg's performance in Game 5 of the NLCS as proof of the decline in officiating that necessitated measures like the Questec system. I don't dispute that, but still remember Gregg fondly as the man whose outlandishly large strike zone allowed Livan Hernandez to strike out 15 Braves. In his defense, he had a similarly large strike zone for the Marlins' hitters, but for some reason, Atlanta could not take advantage. Suckers.
6. Ichiro Suzuki. Not for any Marlins-related reason, but because he gives the best quotes in any sport. One favorite: "To tell the truth, I'm not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying."
7. Wayne Huizenga. Some (many) will hate this pick. But allow me to make my case. There would be no Marlins were it not for Wayne. And sure, he committed the worst fire sale since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, but let's not forget that it was his profligate spending before the 1997 season which allowed the Marlins to acquire Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla, and other key players. Time heals all wounds, and if Boston can forgive Bill Buckner, then we should cut Wayne some slack. Now put down the kitchen knives and take a deep breath.
8. Alex Gonzalez. Not that one. Yeah, that one. People forget that after Steve Bartman did his thing, Alex booted a sure double-play ball off the bat of Miguel Cabrera in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Instead of ending the inning with the Cubs up 3-1, well, I don't need to tell you what else happened...
9. Josh Byrnes. Josh has been the GM for the Arizona Diamondbacks since 2005. Thanks for leaving Dan Uggla unprotected in the 2006 Rule V Draft, Josh. We appreciate it.
10. Ozzie Guillen. Ozzie is nominally a member of the Marlins Diaspora, having served as the Marlins' third base coach in 2003. But the real reason we like him because he is not afraid to speak his mind, whether he is ridiculing Cubs fans, talking shit to Jay Mariotti, or making fun of A-Rod. He can even laugh at himself (sometimes). I wish more managers shot from the hip like Ozzie.