Anarchists' Brunch: Cynicism On Display

I’m pretty happy the Miami series is over at the earliest possible point this year. Though Opening Days in Miami in the past have usually forecast doom (0-14 in neon lights), these days it’s just a sign of the most cynical aspects of the sports world.

The current iteration of the Miami Marlins might be the most embarrassing of their tenure, and that’s saying something. I’m sure the new ownership group, which only got away with this larceny because they chose Derek Jeter as its face, would probably tell me they’re “rebuilding.” Except they’re barely acquiring any future pieces to make a run in a few years, and secondly the pieces they jettisoned weren’t exactly old and didn’t exactly need all that much added to it to be competitive the past two or three years. The owners, whether it was that evil twit Jeffrey Loria (who honestly should be in prison for this stadium deal) or the new ones, didn’t want to.

What’s clear is that the new group simply didn’t have the money to actually purchase this team. But again, because Derek Jeter was attached the rest of MLB didn’t really care. This is after Loria simply held up the city of Miami for this stadium to house a team he then turned into something no one wanted to watch and pocketed all the tax breaks and free rent and whatever else he could. And then he moseyed off with a billion dollars or so and goes on about his life, a life you and I can’t even imagine.

I don’t know if a Marlins team run the right way from the start or at some point for more than two years in a row would have gained hold in the city. Miami has always been a weird sports town where only Don Shula seems to have any traction (we see enough empty seats at Dolphins games to wonder if anything would ever work completely there). It’s a city of transients, of course. But what we can say is that MLB and the various owners of the Marlins have broken it as a baseball market. It’s no more functional as a market than Montreal was, which is how Loria ended up with the Marlins in the first place. Except that they have the shiny new stadium that the Expos never got, one that the citizens of Miami will be paying off until the Earth spins off its orbit and collides with Venus.

You have to ignore a lot of things as a sports fan, have a willful ignorance. Hell, even here we do. If you’re like me, you know the money you spend on tickets going to the Ricketts family will probably go toward causes and candidates that make you sick. While I don’t really have a huge connection to the Wrigleyville neighborhood outside of the park, Gman, and the Metro and don’t really care about all the things the Cubs have now erected, you know it’s become a high-end cash cow to make the obscenely wealthy even more so and catering to basically only the slightly less wealthy. And I can’t fool myself into thinking all the money goes to Laura. Hell, we know the kids don’t even really have that much money on their own.

But we put aside all that. The ballpark is basically the same one we grew up with, certainly the sightlines. The team is really good and will be, and well-run. And we love the Cubs, and whatever I may think about the Rickettses away from baseball, you can’t argue that they truly do love the team. No owner, and barely any fans, have ever even liked the Marlins.

It will probably always be like this. Maybe one day a city will stand firm and realize it doesn’t have to build these billionaires their stadium for them. We’re actually seeing it in Calgary, where the NHL and local hockey writers tried and failed to influence the election of a mayor who would be friendlier toward the Flames’ new arena. Leave it to the NHL to fail at something no other league has yet. They’re rumored to be off to Houston soon.

And you know what? No one in Calgary will die because of it. With streaming and the packages if you’re a die hard Flames fan you can still watch every one of their games. Maybe bars will still be dedicated to them in Calgary, and they can still have that communal feel. They will feel a loss at first, but life will go on and they might not notice after too long. Or they can find an owner who will build the Flames new arena himself. And an arena is far more useful to a city than a stadium.

It’s less likely to happen in MLB, because everyone basically got a new stadium lately. Bud Selig will point to that as one of his major successes, though one wonders how many communities he injured to do so. Who’s going to demand a new one soon? We’ve been dealing with the A’s and Rays for years, but they basically remain the only ones. The Rangers got a new one and their building still has the stickers on it.

You can’t help but wonder if a real commissioner would have stopped some of the Marlins’ trades or really taken a hard look at this sale. But those days are so far in the past it’s not even worth being wistful for. Anyway, today’s the last day we have to look at it all, before we can take all the ugly stuff and put it back down in the chest to not have to look at it anymore.

Follow me on Twitter @FelsGate. That’s where I house all the baseball, hockey, and whatever else I come up with. 

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  • Javy Baez will take 200 walks in a season before Sam learns to leave his politics out of his SPORTS writing. He doesn't like the causes that the Ricketts support, but apparently can't fathom that half of his readers support those same causes. He's probably having an awful day today, after learning that the Ricketts support Easter Sunday. If he refuses to follow the same rules as everyone else, why is he still on the writing staff?

  • Spam filter, again.

  • Why all the animosity towards the Ricketts. From my understanding the children grew up in a rented apartment with plastic curtains until Joe came with a good idea with Ameritrade. The Ricketts are an American success story and exceptionally good Cubs owners. Sounds political. You can't help yourself can you, Sam?

  • Great article. Every family has a drunken uncle.

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