Mariners Musings

Musings about, um... well, the Seattle Mariners as well as a love affair with this game baseball. By Peter J. White

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

What stork?

Pardon me a moment while I pull a Gleeman and quote myself at some length, from my very first ever blog post, February 23:

Last year the Marlins finished the season ranked 20 out of 30. The offense scored 699 runs, good for 23rd, while the pitching allowed 763, which puts their defense at 18th. I may say this about several teams, but I’m convinced Florida has no idea what it’s doing. Something smells, hmm, fishy (ha, ha) when you nontender one of your best young hitters (Kevin Millar) for “financial reasons,” then all of sudden throw 10 mil at Pudge Rodriguez. Baffling. And it will prove the bust of the offseason moves. Mark my words. I look forward to see what progress A.J. Burnett makes this year, provided he doesn’t break down from his huge workload last year. There’s some young pitching to get excited about. But I’ve been thinking and hearing that for several years now. Here’s to their front office not screwing it up. It’s going to be a long season in Miami.

It is really an amazing feeling to be so wrong. Technically, I suppose, the Marlins had the longest season of all, so at least I got that. Right? I'm still daydreaming of how much money I could be swimming in if only I could have gone to Vegas April 1 and put my life savings on "Marlins in six over the Yankees. And Josh Beckett as World Series MVP." This, my friends, is what makes baseball just so fantabulous. So take that, Bud Selig and your only-the-Yankees-have-a-chance-out-of-spring-training propaganda.

So just where did these Marlins come from? The stork? I mean, just last year Jeffrey Loria was buying out Florida homestands himself so the Marlins wouldn't be last in attendance. Today Governor Jeb Bush is talking about a state sponsored stadium in Miami. Just how did this happen?

Thanks to Baseball Reference and their brand spankin' new "transactions" addition to their plethora of player info, we can answer that real quick. Credit Florida GM Larry Beinfest. Observe:

Catcher - Pudge Rodriguez: Signed as a free agent, January 2003.

First base - Derrek Lee: Acquired with Steve Hoff and Rafael Medina in the trade for Kevin Brown, December 1997.

Second base - Luis Castillo: Signed as an amateur free agent, August 1992.

Third base - Mike Lowell: Acquired from the Yankees in exchange for Mark Johnson, Ed Yarnall and Todd Noel, February 1999.

Shortstop - Alex Gonzalez: Signed as an amateur free agent, April 1994.

Outfield - Miguel Cabrera: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, July 1999.
Jeff Conine: Acquired from the Orioles in exchange for Denny Bautista and Donald Levinski, August 2003.
Juan Pierre: Acquired with Mike Hampton from the Rockies for Preston Wilson, Charles Johnson, Vic Darensbourg and Pablo Ozuna, November 2002. (And, Dad, he's from Mobile, AL.)
Juan Encarnacion: Acquired with Wilton Guerrero and Ryan Snare from Cincinnati for Ryan Dempster, July 2002.

Pitchers - Josh Beckett: Marlins' first draft pick (2nd overall, straight from high school), June 1999.
Brad Penny: Acquired with Vladimir Nunez and Abraham Nunez from the Diamondbacks for Matt Mantei, June 1999.
Dontrelle Willis: Acquired with Julian Tavarez, Jose Cueto and Ryan Jorgensen from the Cubs for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement, March 2002.
Mark Redman: Acquired with Jarrod Fuell from the Tigers for Gary Knotts, Nate Robertson and Rob Henkel, January 2003.
Carl Pavano: Acquired with Graeme Lloyd, Justin Wayne, Mike Mordecai and Donald Levinski from the former-Loria Expos for Cliff Floyd, Wilton Guerrero, Claudio Vargas and cash, July 2002.
Braden Looper: Acquired with Armando Almanza and Pablo Ozuna from the Cardinals for Edgar Renteria, December 1998.
Ugie Urbina: Acquired from the Rangers for Adrian Gonzalez, Will Smith and Ryan Snare, July 2003.

So from this core of 16, one was picked and developed through the amateur draft, one was a free agent signee, three were amateur free agents, and the remaining 11 were all acquired in trades.

A quarter of this group was added this calendar year, with another four picked up just the year before.

While it's true Jeff Conine is celebrating his second World Series, so is Luis Castillo, but unlike Conine, Castillo has endured every single day of the Marlins' existence.

Derrek Lee proves to be the only fruit of the post-1997 fire sale. We could count A.J. Burnett, acquired from the Mets in the Al Leiter trade, too, if we really wanted to. Looper was flipped for Renteria a year later.

Bravo, Mr. Beinfest. He's been a busy man.

And now for a Mariner note:

A certain Richard emailed me well over a month ago inquiring about a story of an individual brandishing a sign written in Japanese kanji, something to the effect of "Bush is a monkey's heiney." Apparently this fan held his sign up behind home plate for each Ichiro at bat, hoping it would be broadcast throughout Japan. This supposedly lasted until about the 7th inning when the fan was kindly escorted from the premises by security.

I had no knowledge of this incident. However, Richard got back to me with this link from The Stranger.

Apparently, the incident occured August 29, in a home game against Baltimore. Fan Randolph Sill brandished his sign "Bush is a monkey's butt" on one side, with "Americans are ashamed of our corrupt president" on the other. Japanese fans in the stadium got the joke. Mariners security did not, and Mr. Sill was escorted out in the seventh inning.

Richard tells me he contacted Mr. Sill who replied saying his sign was not only broadcast throughout Japan but also reached all the way to the UN with the Japanese diplomats getting a good chuckle out of it.

I just felt it was my duty to pass this along.

And for those interested, Virginia Railway Express has located and returned my lost train pass. They rock.
|| Peter @ 10/29/2003