I stopped doing series previews for every single series because I ran out of things to say. Pirates? Boy, the Giants have sure screwed them over the years. Cardinals? Hundreds of words around a Will Clark fight GIF. Mets? Hey, remember Edgardo Alfonzo?
Enter the Marlins, who are the worst. Used to be the worst. Are likely still the worst. They're coming in for a four-game series which is going to feel like a 17-game series, unless it feels like an 18-game series. The default tone of the series preview with the Marlins is usually some variation of look at the atrocities the Marlins have committed. To recap:
Breaking Buster Posey
Breaking Pablo Sandoval
Being in town when Angel Pagan's knee re-exploded
Jeffrey Loria's face
Putting the Giants under .500 for good last season
Jeffrey Loria's butt sticking out from his shirt collar and being mistaken for a face because his face is like a butt
One (1) free Cody Ross
Them's the main points, anyway. So for years, I've loathed and despised the Marlins, even after the free Cody Ross.
There are two problems, though. The first is that the Marlins have two of my absolute favorite players in baseball: Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez. The former is a marvel and one of the players I'd introduce to someone from Russia who's never seen the sport before. Even when he hits 500-foot homers against the Giants -- and he will at least once this series -- I usually mutter, "Thank you, Giancarlo, for this gift you have given us" under my breath. The latter is liquid ebullience, an absolute delight to watch.
The former is still murdering baseballs. The latter is on the shelf for at least a year following Tommy John surgery. That news crushed me, just crushed me.
Considering this, and considering how the last few years have gone for both franchises, my question is this: Is it possible to keep hating the Marlins?
I guess it's possible to hate Andrew McCutchen, so let's try again. Is it mandatory to keep hating the Marlins?
I'm wavering. Because Loria really is a pig-man, an Expo-murdering demon. He bilked the people of Miami because he could, and then he built up hopes just to remind people he didn't care about their hopes.
On the other hand, Giancarlo Stanton.
Anything good that happens to the Marlins is good for Loria, who, even though he hasn't done anything to the Giants, specifically, is still the shadow scum left over from Bud Selig's darkest hour. So I root against the Marlins.
On the other hand, Jose Fernandez. And the Marlins fans who are still around after decades of mistreatment, like Michael Jong at Fish Stripes? How can you not pull for those fans just a little bit? You have to forget 1997 and 2003, but still. The fans who are still there get my respect. As a Warriors fan for decades, I know the feeling when your favorite team makes you wear their outhouse as a hat. Nothing you can do but hope for better days.
So I'll answer my rhetorical question in two parts. First, yes, it's hard to root against Giancarlo and Jose. And I get a kick out of young players in general, so that applies to Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, too. Even Nathan Eovaldi has a great chance to make the Dodgers look bad, so that's definitely something to root for.
Second, it won't seem so cute when the Marlins are good. Like, really good. They're over .500 now, so this might be a surprising year for them, but I'm talking when they're a fully armed and operational baseball team. Time is a flat circle that leads us back to the Marlins eliminated the Giants in different ways, over and over again.
Right now, the Marlins are just another team, even considering their owner. In time, though, they will be awful again.
Possibly before the end of the weekend. Beware the Marlins death fog, everyone. Beware the Marlins death fog.