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Columnists Attack Marlins and San Antonio

LAST UPDATE: 4/4/2006 10:26:00 PM

Posted By: Walker Robinson

This story is available on your cell phone at mobile.woai.com.

 

Some of San Antonio?s competition for the Florida Marlins may be dropping out of the race for the team, News 4 WOAI learned Tuesday. According to a report in the Charlotte Observer newspaper, one of the cities in the running for the baseball club, Charlotte, will not lobby for the team. Charlotte?s mayor told the paper his city could not support pro baseball with two other professional sports teams.

 

Meanwhile, some people in south Florida expressed anger toward the Marlins and San Antonio.

 

Sports columnists from two Miami newspapers were not happy Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor were invited by Marlins team officials to the team?s opening game Monday.

 

A sports columnist in Monday's Miami Herald wrote Marlins team Owner Jeffery Loria is "openly wooing San Antonio's mayor and other politicos who plot to throw millions at him for a new stadium." The columnist also wrote about the Marlins rookies saying, "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Texans."

 

A columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel wrote, "Marlins President David Samson embraced his latest long-distance fling, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff."

 

That writer told News 4 WOAI he is just angry how the Marlins are treating the fans.

 

?To kind of rub it in their faces like that, I understand the Marlins have an issue with politicians, but I just thought as far as the fans go, I thought frankly it was kind of offensive that they would do this so publicly,? columnist Ethan Skolnick said.

 

We showed the articles to San Antonians Tuesday. Their reactions were mixed.

 

?That's a travesty,? resident Tom Blaylock said. ?People who don't grow up in Texas are missing an awful lot.?

 

?To put down Texans and all this is just kind of a joke,? resident Craig Morrow said.

 

County Judge Nelson Wolff laughed off the columns, saying the more bad press the Marlins get in Miami, the more likely they will move here.

 

To read the columns, click on the following links.

 

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/...ts/14257534.htm

 

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...ts/14256400.htm

 

http://www.woai.com/news/local/story.aspx?...AE-51367B20636B

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This is actually a news story? :blink:

 

Anyway, here are the articles in question...heavy on the FO bashing, but not so much on SA. Methinks Walker Robinson is enamored with the idea that the SA meeting is getting written about, more than anything else.

 

Marlins' show is just brass

BY ETHAN J. SKOLNICK

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

 

HOUSTON - The game that mattered to Marlins management began at 5:39 p.m. Texas time, a full half-hour before Hanley Ramirez took the first swing of the team's 2006 season, a base-hit swing at that.

 

A man in a purple velvet sport coat, San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, shook hands while strolling the aisle two rows behind the visitors' dugout, then sat next to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. At the same time, Marlins President David Samson embraced his latest long-distance fling, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, each oblivious to the introduction of Marlins first baseman Mike Jacobs on the field.

 

The field? Who watched the field? Opening Day's real action was in the stands, between players in a political arena, sharing early designs on closing a stadium deal.

 

"Two words: they're serious," Loria said before his guests arrived.

 

"San Antonio, we're very serious," Mayor Hardberger told reporters after the second inning.

 

This spectacle was seriously inappropriate.

 

This was neither the time, nor place, to do this. Not at the one game to which South Florida sports fans might be tuned, at least until a Gator's first jumper. Yes, the Marlins need a new stadium, somewhere, and soon, and yes, this writer has been largely sympathetic to their cause, given the championship this regime delivered.

 

But yes, there still appear to be 161 games after Opening Day.

 

And there are airplanes that crossed state lines.

 

"It just so happens we're opening in Houston," Samson said. "I assure you we would not be with the mayor of San Antonio if we were opening in L.A. It just so happens it's Opening Day, so why wouldn't we take advantage of the opportunity?"

 

Maybe because it was Opening Day?

 

Can fans have one day of hope? Three hours? Nine innings?

 

Instead, Samson saw it as "the perfect opportunity" to invite the San Antonio contingent he has already come to know, so Loria could better acquaint himself. That contingent will change in constitution over this three-game series, with the mayor only staying one night. Monday, Wolff brought news of local San Antonio interest in buying 39 suites, more than halfway to the Marlins' goal. He aims for a Marlins referendum on the November ballot.

 

"Our focus is just to get to know them better," Samson said.

 

Still, why not keep the focus, for one night, on all these Marlins nobody knows? On the major-league debuts of second baseman Dan Uggla and center fielder Eric Reed, with each keeping a copy of the lineup card in his locker, and Reed acknowledging he'd been "playing this day in my head since I was about 12"? On Ramirez's first major-league hit? On the managing debut of Joe Girardi, who relaxed Monday morning by watching his daughter Serena dance around mall fountains?

 

The Marlins had a choice:

 

Celebrate baseball.

 

Create a spectacle.

 

They took a first date to a restaurant where an ex-spouse works.

 

They couldn't be stunned that someone stared.

 

San Antonio reporters, knowing their politicians would be present, outnumbered South Florida media. They peppered Marlins players, who had never drawn a major league walk, with questions about how they would like to live near Riverwalk.

 

"The players are focused on themselves and on winning games," Samson said, denying this would be a distraction. "We're focused on saving the franchise and getting the stadium built."

 

He insisted "the decision has not been made to relocate this team," since the interaction with San Antonio had simply been "a very good start." He reported continued communication with Dade County officials three times weekly, including Sunday, though none with Miami city officials since November.

 

Are the Marlins bluffing? Using San Antonio for leverage?

 

"I don't believe so myself, but maybe I'm of a trusting nature," Hardberger said.

 

What are Florida Marlins fans supposed to think, after Monday's scene?

 

"What more can Jeffrey be asked to do than offer the fourth largest (stadium) contribution in history?" Samson said. "Then field a team way beyond our means since (2003), deliver a World Series, yet be one of three remaining teams in all of baseball without a stadium situation resolved. I hope that's what (fans are) thinking, because that would be an accurate portrayal of the frustration that we feel over this process."

 

That frustration is understandable. Loria's tenure has been largely commendable.

 

Even so, this approach was juvenile. Won't resolution ultimately rest on what occurs behind closed doors? Why conduct business under Minute Maid Park's open roof? Should we expect South Florida politicians to shake in their elephant-skin boots, the sort Samson wore Saturday into the clubhouse in Arlington?

 

"I wouldn't draw anything into that," Samson said of the boots, which he had accessorized with typical Texas gear, notably a white cowboy hat and black Wranglers. "I needed (them) for my collection."

 

The Marlins need a stadium. Monday showed they need some tact too.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...ts/14256400.htm

 

IN MY OPINION

There can be no more pretending

By GREG COTE

 

HOUSTON -- The Marlins on Monday night started six rookies in the youngest, most inexperienced Opening Day lineup in the history of Major League Baseball, at least dating to 1900. There were packs of sunflower seeds in the visiting dugout here. Some of the players were looking for directions.

 

Florida's players have been voted the big-leaguers most likely to lose 100 games and to be carded when attempting to buy beer. The Marlins are 14 now, but after much research we can confirm that's franchise years, not average age.

 

This extraordinary, bargain-bin re-start -- the 2006 team essentially is Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera and 23 guys wearing Hello My Name Is stickers -- would any other time have qualified as the most notable aspect of the season's unfurling.

 

Not on this night, though.

 

For that, for just plain weird, all you needed do was gaze behind the visitors dugout, where Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was entertaining the people who plan to steal South Florida's team and drop it into a new stadium in San Antonio.

 

Growing like poison in the belly is the possibility we'll be expected to help raise this young, gifted team only to then see it become someone else's in a few years. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Texans.

 

NO ILLUSIONS

 

That's what loomed from those choice seats in Row 2: a schmoozing reminder what ''grandstanding'' means. A reminder that should feel like a gut-punch to anyone who cares about the Marlins and clings to the hope they'll somehow be ours in perpetuity. No illusions anymore.

 

We don't get to make believe or forget. Not even on Opening Day, when the red, white and blue bunting decorates the park and hope springs eternal or at least as long as Willis was fancying a no-hitter into the fifth before seeing it slip in an eventual 1-0 loss to the Astros.

 

The team as green as the outfield grass got muted by a World Series team and by arguably the best starter/closer combo in the bigs in Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge, who made Florida's 19-9 spring record vanish to irrelevance. Nevertheless, ''I have one emotion. Disappointed,'' said new manager/kindergarten cop Joe Girardi. ``I don't see any loss as respectable.''

 

Sixteen Marlins on a 25-man roster are making the major-league minimum $327,000, which is approximately what Alex Rodriguez tips the clubhouse boy. The entire Florida payroll is a baseball-low $14.6 million.

 

The Marlins' lovable youth and effort will not be a tourniquet against the losses. But forget that for a moment. Forget the six-month learning curve set in motion.

 

Overriding everything on this night was the cold reality-jolt of Loria openly wooing San Antonio's mayor and other politicos who plot to throw millions at him for a new stadium. It's one thing to hear about ongoing talks, another to see it in your face. There is the whisper of infidelity, and then there are lovers caught in the act, unabashed.

 

''Our focus is to get to know them better,'' club president David Samson said of the out-of-towners who would take advantage of South Florida's political largesse. ``San Antonio is a great city, and they certainly want to become a major-league city.''

 

Weird. And sad. Marlins fans will be getting to know this young, promising team better in lock step with ownership cozying up to San Antonio.

 

GETTING DEALS DONE

 

Samson paused, and paused again, then drew his punch line like a sword.

 

''In other cities, deals get done,'' he said.

 

Loria also availed himself to the media, a rarity, to praise his suitors and to put the most public boot yet squarely onto the collective derriere of a wheezing, befuddled South Florida political machine that has proved utterly impotent (or, worse, uninterested) in the modern ways of getting a new stadium built. With a retractable dome, por favor.

 

Asked to characterize Marlins talks with San Antonio, Loria said simply: ``Two words. They're serious.''

 

It seemed unseemly, Marlins officials choosing Opening Day to go so public with their dalliance with San Antonio. How are Marlins fans supposed to feel? Other than less likely to give dollars and hearts to a lame-duck franchise.

 

The thing is, Marlins ownership proved Monday it is beyond perceptions and appearances now.

 

The game is called hardball.

 

Samson claimed the invitation was a matter of convenience. He claimed, ``I assure you the mayor of San Antonio would not be here if we were opening in L.A.''

 

Oh really? That's debatable. If Monday night meant anything, it meant the San Antonio threat is genuine and all over us. And it meant that if the only real counter-strategy of no-can-do South Florida politicians is to call the Marlins' bluff, well, the failure of that strategy is going to echo forever, in the space where a team used to be.

 

Mostly, Monday meant we're past the pretending now.

 

Unless a firm plan for a new ballpark in Miami-Dade blossoms soon from some civic miracle, the youngest team in modern big-league history is going to grow up to be loved by somebody else.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/14257534.htm

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Florida > Texas..

 

 

I think you got a typo there... Should be "Florida < Texas". j/k.

 

And the two comments from SA people hardly sounded pissed off. Sounded more like it amused them.

 

Certainly not nearly as bad as NO media was knocking us a few months ago.

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