Tag Archives: franchise

The Pursuit Of Baseball In Tampa

The State of Florida has been the home of Spring Training since the early part of the 1900s. Up until 1993 Florida never had a professional baseball team to call their own.  The Florida Marlins who were based in the Miami area were the first.  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were soon to follow in 1998.  But Florida has a deep history of pursuing Major League Baseball before they received their teams in the 1990s.
It started in 1983 in the Tampa Bay area when local city officials considered building a baseball stadium to house a pro team.  Construction began in 1986 on what is now known as Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.  It was completed in 1990.  At the time there were no expansion franchises being granted for any city.  So they sought a team the best way they could, trying to lure a team from their current city.
Tropicana Filed,  The stadium that would bring baseball to the Tampa Bay area. (Getty Images)

Tropicana Filed, The stadium that would bring baseball to the Tampa Bay area. (Getty Images)

The Chicago White Sox were the first team that Tampa pursued.  In 1989 The White Sox were not happy in the old Comiskey Park and wanted a new stadium.  They flirted with Tampa for a while before ultimately getting their new stadium and staying in Chicago.
The next team that was rumored was the Seattle Mariners.  The talks did not go very far and the Mariners remained in Washington.
Tampa had their hearts broken in 1991 when they were denied an expansion franchise.  The Miami area won out instead of Tampa and the Florida Marlins came into existence.  The Marlins played the first ever regular season game in Florida in April of 1993.
The closest that Tampa ever came to stealing a team away from a city was in 1993.  The San Francisco Giants owners were looking to sell and a group of investors from Tampa were looking to buy them.   The deal was almost done.  The local baseball fans were already celebrating and then the bad news came.  The sale was vetoed by the National League Owners.  The Giants remained in San Francisco and Tampa was still without a team.
That was until in 1995 when they were granted an expansion franchise.  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays played their first regular season game in 1998.
The past does make one wonder how different things would be if the White Sox, Mariners or Giants would have relocated to Tampa.  If the White Sox or Mariners would have moved would there have been a team in Miami in 1993?  Probably not, there more than likely would have been years later though.  The Giants move would have been interesting.  The city of San Francisco would probably have a different team right now.  There is no way that City would be without a team for too long, not with their tradition and history.

It’s really incredible how things turned out for Tampa.  They took a huge risk by building a stadium without having a team for it.  For many years they looked like failures.  Many in the city thought they would never have a team to call their own.  But Tampa proved to be very persistent and got what they wanted in the end.

Red Sox Ready To Dump $262.5 Million In Contracts

The Red Sox are finally ready to face reality.  That reality is that they need an overhaul to rebuild the team into a contender.  The Red Sox had been ridding the spending train for a long time now.  They won 2 world series titles in the last 8 years while spending crazy money.  This year will be the 3rd year in a row the Sox will not make the playoffs.  The Red Sox currently have a record of 60-66 and are 13.5 games back in the American League East.

The Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers are set to make a blockbuster trade at a time of the season you usually never see trades happen.  The deal would have the Dodgers receiving Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto.  While the Red Sox would receive the Dodgers top pitching prospects Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, offensive prospects Jerry Sands and Ivan DeJesus and current Major Leaguer James Loney.  The deal would free up a tremendous amount of money for the Red Sox, $262.5 million to be exact.  It would be a record contract dump trade.  It has been rumored as of Saturday that the Red Sox might be reconsidering giving up Adrian Gonzalez in the deal.  Gonzalez has been the best performing of the players that could go to L.A.  The Dodgers will be more accepting of a trade that includes Gonzalez.

The Red Sox would have no problem letting go of Carl Crawford who the team sign right before the start of the 2011 season.  Crawford had been a great star in Tampa Bay and the Sox gave him a 7 year $142 million contract.  Crawford had career low numbers in the 2011 season and has only played 31 games this year due to injury.  Josh Beckett is another star who’s time has come to go for Boston.  Beckett once was the best pitchers in the Majors but has now become a pitcher who might get you a win if your lucky.  Beckett has only won 1 game in his last 13 starts and appears to be on the decline in his career.  Its surprising but that is how things appear for Beckett still not at the dreaded 38 years of age where most pitchers fall off.

The Dodgers are ready to play big money ball and do it like other teams in their market have.  The Dodgers are a really good team and are only 3 games back from 1st in the National League West.  The Dodgers will be hoping that the change of scenery will benefit the players they will acquire from the Red Sox.  It likely could, it has worked for Hanley Ramirez who they recently required from the Miami Marlins.  The Dodgers are getting ready for September and a chase for the playoffs.  They look like a team that is going to be a strong contender if they make the playoffs.

Where do the Red Sox go from here?  That is an easy question to answer,  they go for the free agents available in the off season and develop their prospects.  With all of the freed up money they can pursue impact players that can start their franchise back on track towards the playoffs.  The team has a recent history of signing top free agents and this deal allows them to do it again in a way that has brought them success.  It is time for a fresh start for the Sox.  The prospects they would land in this deal would help their future just as much if not more than possible free agents.

Both teams have until the early afternoon on Sunday to finalize this deal.  It is very likely this deal will go down and when it does it will make history.  How much this deal will effect both franchises is the most interesting part of this deal. While the Dodgers could get a boost now while the Sox might be setting up a bright future in this trade.  Only time will tell how this story of the August blockbuster trade will end up.

The Marlins Part Ways With Hanley Ramirez

This season has been very disappointing for the Miami Marlins.  They showed that they are essentially giving up on hopes for the playoffs this season by trading some of their top stars.  Rebuilding mode has already started when this team was supposed to be ready to contend this year.  They have a strong focus on pitching in their trades this week, that is a spot they definitely need help in.

The first trade came on Tuesday when the Marlins sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers.  Infante has had a decent season thus far and had led the team to numerous victories.  Sanchez has been with the club for a few years and been a reliable starter at times. Sanchez had a rough start to the season but leveled out towards the summer.  The Marlins received top-rated pitching prospect Jacob Turner from the Tigers in the deal.

Hanley Ramirez
(Getty Images)

On Wednesday the Marlins traded away a star they coveted very heavily just a couple of years ago.  Going into this season no one suspected that the Marlins would not finish the season with Hanley Ramirez.  The rumors started floating around last week that the team was looking at offers for the former N.L. batting champion and multiple time All Star.  The Marlins made a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers to send Ramirez and pitcher Randy Choate to California.  The Marlins received pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and a minor leaguer in the deal.

Hanley Ramirez will never be forgotten by the franchise.  He was acquired from the Boston Redsox in the 2005 trade that sent Josh Beckett to Boston.  The Marlins had coveted and groomed Ramirez as their big star of the future.  He had a few season where he played really well and even one a batting title.  But the last couple of years has seen Ramirez numbers drop significantly.  The Marlins owe a lot of credit to Ramirez for helping them get a new stadium built in Miami for the club.  The team signed Ramirez to a 6 year deal a few years ago to show the city of Miami tax payers that they were committed to building a contender.  A lot has changed in the last few years and Ramirez is no longer a Miami Marlin.

The Marlins have got to start building a team built for the future.  The team has been out of contention for too long.  A lot of the blame falls on pitching but really its everything.  The Marlins franchise should have been contenders this year but have shown themselves not to be a team that can contend.  The decision to trade some of their top talent is questionable
but at least they are receiving top young pitching talent for the future.  The city of Miami will lose their patience with the team really quickly if they don’t get a team on the field that not only looks like contenders but play like contenders.

Dream Match Up: 1997 Marlins VS 2003 Marlins

The Florida Marlins have been one of the most unusual franchises in the history of baseball.  They have only been in existence for 19 years and have had really highs and dramatic lows.  They have captured 2 World Series Championships, the first in 1997 and 2003.  They have also had some of the worst teams in recent memory.  Their 1998 squad was the first team to lose over 100 games after winning the World Series.  The Marlins have been up and down since their last title.  I have decided to use the technology available today with sports simulators like Whatifsports.com to find out what Marlins team was the greatest.  Before that I will give you an idea what we have here in each team, so let’s take a look.

The 1997 Florida Marlins (92-70 record, entered the N.L. Playoffs by way of the Wild Card)

The 1997 Florida Marlins
(Getty Images)

The Marlins entered their 5th season with high hopes.  The field was full of great players of that time.  Bobby Bonilla came in as the big free agent acquisition from the previous off season.  The squad also had the hard hitting Gary Sheffield, “Mr. Marlin” Jeff Conine and the best fielding catchers of that season in Charles Johnson to name a few.  This Marlins team was assembled by then owner Wayne Huizenga to turn the tax payers of Miami onto the idea of funding a baseball only stadium.  That did not happen but the team did accomplish the unbelievable.  The Marlins swept the San Fansisco Giants in the N.L. Divisional round and headed into the N.L.C.S. versus a very dominant Atlanta Braves team.  The Marlins won that series in 6 games.  The most memorable game of that series was when the rookie Cuban defector Livan Hernandez throw for 15 strike outs in game 5 and defeated one of the best pitchers of the day in Greg Maddux with a 2-1 victory.  The Marlins charged into the World Series against the Cleveland Indians.  The Marlins won the first game which was played in Miami in the state of Florida’s 1st World Series Game.  The teams kept switching off wins the entire  World Series.  In game 7 of the 1997 World Series the Marlins came out on top when Edgar Renteria batted in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th, which was the mid season acquisition of Craig Counsell.  This team was a great on e and will go down as the state of Florida’s 1st World Series Champions.

The 2003 Florida Marlins (91-71 record, entered the N.L. Playoffs by way of the Wild Card)

The 2003 Florida Marlins
(Getty Images)

This Marlins squad was built a lot in part to the 1998 fire sale.  One of the players received during the sale would end up being the 1st baseman from the 2003 championship team Derek Lee.  Many of the draft picks acquired during that time drafted many of the players on this championship team.  When the season started the team did not have very high expectations but was expected to fair better than they did in the first two months of the season.  The Marlins had a record of 16-22 when manager Jeff Torborg was fired and replaced by 72 year old Jack McKeon in May.  The season was about to turn around in large part to mid season call ups Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera.  The team which also acquired veteran Jeff Conine back during the middle of the season made it into the playoffs through a wild card bid.  Like the team did in 1997 this team beat the Giants in the Divisional Playoff Series to advance to the N.L.C.S. to face the Chicago Cubs.  The Marlins won the N.L.C.S. against the Cubs in 7 games.  The team was almost eliminated in game 6 but had a miracle in the late innings of the game and were able to stay alive until game 7.  The World Series had the Marlins in the usual spot as the underdog against the New York Yankees. The Marlins rode the incredible pitching of Josh Beckett to beat the Yanks in 6 games.  This team shocked the world more than the 1997 team.  This squad was also younger and more inexperienced than the 1997 squad but proved themselves to be just a great.

The Simulation via Whatifsports.com – 1997 Marlins VS 2003 Marlins

I decided to go with a one game championship to determine which World Series team was the best.  The 2003 squad got the 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  The 1997 team came up with 1 run in the bottom of the first to trail by only 1 run.  The next and only additional runs of the game came in the 5th inning when the 1997 team put 2 runs on the board which would seal the victory. The 1997 team had 10 hits while the 2003 team had just 7 hits total.  Kevin Brown won the game with 8 innings pitched and Rob Nen got the save.  Gary Sheffield had a home run and 2 RBI’s in the winning effort.  The losing pitcher was Carl Pavano and the 2003 team had runs scored by Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo the only RBI came from Derek Lee.  This was a very tight game and had some good pitching from both teams.  The offense of both teams was toned down a bit by both Kevin Brown and Carl Pavano.

Champions: 1997 Florida Marlins

The Ultimate Marlins team the 1997 Florida Marlins
(Getty Images)

My thoughts

This was a dream match up that all Marlins fans would love to see but unfortunately we have only simulation.  I feel that if we could see these two great teams face off this is the likely outcome.  The 1997 team was more experienced and would have handled the game much better than the 2003 team.  The offensive power was greater and the bats were better on the 1997 team.  Both teams were great but on this night the 1997 Florida Marlins proved themselves to be the ultimate champions.