This is a bit of a milestone series. There was a time in my life in which the Marlins didn’t exist. I was a fully formed, functional human when I first saw a grown man wearing a teal baseball hat. The team was a curiosity, a newfangled something-or-rather. Half-adorable and half-interesting, they still had that new-team smell.
There was also a time in my life in which the Marlins were two-time World Champions, and both times they had stepped on the hearts of Giants fans to do it. I was a fully formed, balding, greying, shell of a human when I watched Eli Whiteside pinch-run for Buster Posey last July. That was the day that I lost all faith. And on that day, I thought, "All I want is one fluke run. Just one. Just once do I want my team to catch fire at the right time like the Marlins did twice."
On that day, no joke, I thought of Devon White and Pudge Rodriguez. I thought of Kevin Brown and Josh Beckett. I thought of packed houses at Joe Robbie Stadium, and I remembered how Marlins fans were treated to walk-off playoff wins in all four of the playoff games the Giants have ever played in Florida. And I knew that the Giants would never win a World Series with Brian Sabean picking the players, and Bruce Bochy deciding how they were used.
The Marlins were always my go-to franchise of despair when I wanted to feel really, really bad, and bemoan the inequities of the universe. The Marlins had two championships. The San Francisco Giants didn't win one when they had Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry, and Juan Marichal on the same team. Not fair.
Then someone at the Karmic Accounting Agency realized that one of the interns forgot to carry the one. The result: free Cody Ross! Just take him! Don’t get him wet or feed him after midnight! The Giants were polite about it, said thanks to all the right people, and won the World Series.
So here’s to the first series between the Marlins and Giants in 13 seasons that doesn’t make me sad and irritable, even if only subconsciously. I’m cool with the Marlins now. High-five, Marlins. Thanks for the free Cody Ross. It’s like when Johnny Lawrence was the first to hand the trophy to Daniel Russo after getting kicked in the face*. We knew you were cool all along.
And that’s kind of nice, as there’s a lot to appreciate with the Marlins and what they’ve been able to accomplish with a low payroll. The A’s got all of the press when they were rolling, but the Marlins have been able to employ the sell-before-expiration-date strategy even better. Or, without giving away franchise corner outfielders to the rest of the NL West, at least.
I don't like the Marlins now, but I'm ready to ignore them. It's about time.
Hitter to watch
Have I ever mentioned how annoying it is that the Giants didn’t take Mike Stanton with the compensatory draft pick they had for the old Mike Stanton leaving as a free agent? Only five times? Good, that means only sixteen before I have to retire it. But I love, love, love watching Stanton hit against non-Giants teams. He’s straight out of a folk tale.
Pitcher to watch
Chris Volstad has a sinker. It’s a good one. His ERA is irrelevant because he has a good sinker. That doesn’t mean that the Giants can’t beat him -- they beat Trevor Cahill, after all -- but the over/under on runs scored that day is "no."
One day Jose Cruz, Jr. will meet Brooks Conrad, and they’ll uncomfortably avoid eye contact for as long as possible.
*Karate Kid reference quota filled for the week. Let’s go out to the bars, people.