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Commentary: Contraction talk dead; doubt lingers

By Dave George

 

Palm Beach Post Staff Columnist

 

Sunday, June 24, 2007

 

MIAMI GARDENS ? The country music concert that followed Saturday night's Florida Marlins game at Dolphin Stadium was well-placed, with plenty of songs about cheating and crying and feeling downright unloved.

 

Well-placed, that is, because six years ago the Marlins and Minnesota Twins were prime candidates for contraction, which is a fancy word for extinction, and that's about as sad as it gets.

 

Random thoughts like that tend to take root in the middle of a lifeless 11-1 drubbing like the Marlins took on Saturday. Maybe Fredi Gonzalez's mind was wandering, too, because the Twins pounded Josh Johnson for seven runs and eight hits before anybody climbed out of their chairs in the Florida bullpen.

 

The organization keeps hoping that Johnson will lock back in to his rookie form of last year, when the 6-foot-7 steam engine missed leading the National League in ERA only because he fell five innings short of qualifying. Big Josh has been detoured by injuries this season, however, just like Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco, which just goes to show that projecting success is the spookiest part of this game.

 

Predicting anything at all is asking for trouble.

 

Look at the Marlins, dying for a new ballpark with a roof to combat the rainy summer weather and reenergize fans. Every decision the organization makes is based on this, and every plea for public money is knocked right back at owner Jeffrey Loria like a batting-practice meatball.

 

The Twins, meanwhile, have a pillow-roofed stadium called the Metrodome that they've been trying to escape for years. The bulldozers are scheduled to start in August pushing the dirt around a downtown Minneapolis site where, in 2010, the team will inaugurate a new, 40,000-seat ballpark.

 

Outdoors, that is, under a frequently frosty Midwest sky.

 

All the details aren't quite worked out, but a county-wide sales tax will pay for most of the $550 million project, including heated box seats and radiant heat overhanging the concession stands and rest rooms.

 

Does any of this make sense? Well, sure, at least as much as Bud Selig's long-ago lectures about contraction. He said that some teams needed to fold up, at least one in each league, for the overall economic good of the game, and his staffers determined that eight franchises were early candidates for getting whacked.

 

Arizona and Anaheim were on that list, and so, as mentioned previously, was Florida. All three went on to win World Series titles between 2001-2003, first the Diamondbacks, then the Angels, and then the Marlins. The weakest outfit of them all, Montreal, wound up in Washington, where another new ballpark is being built.

 

Selig, meanwhile, got what he wanted, which is to be loved by owners simply by scaring major-league communities into rescuing teams that weren't ever really going anywhere in the first place.

 

The long-range future of the Marlins remains the greatest mystery of them all.

 

On a night like Saturday, when 21,368 fans showed up to celebrate summer, the second-largest home crowd this month, the party seems finally about to start, complete with 1997 World Series giveaway pennants flapping and waving all over Dolphin Stadium.

 

On the other hand, on a night like Saturday, with 21,368 fans let down by a thoroughly pitiful performance in terms of pitching, hitting and defense, there isn't much to recommend a return trip.

 

Colossal bad timing for Johnson to get rocked in his second start back from a half-season of rehab, and there's more to come. Johan Santana pitches for Minnesota today and Dontrelle Willis, who might have provided a great Sunday afternoon stare down, has been pushed back to Tuesday because of some tightness in his pitching arm.

 

Contraction averted, in the long run, but contention delayed in the short. At a time when .500 is just within reach, not to mention the first-place Mets, all this swimming in circles is getting old.

 

Sounds like a country music song theme: "Got a Good Mess of Fish But They're Too Small to Mount."

 

 

ALL TRUTH!!!

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Predicting struggles for Nolasco, JJ, and Anibal wasn't that hard to anyone who looked at anything but ERA last year. They didn't have great peripherals. Period. They had flukey ERA's, especially Anibal and JJ.

 

 

And most of that article is a rambling mess. It really made no sense. "The marlins struggled. They were going to be contracted, but then won a World Series. But they have been struggling ever since the contraction talks. Josh Johnson is going to make sure nobody ever comes to games. Dontrelle Willis isn't crappy this year."

 

 

Gotta love crap sports journalism.

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Predicting struggles for Nolasco, JJ, and Anibal wasn't that hard to anyone who looked at anything but ERA last year. They didn't have great peripherals. Period. They had flukey ERA's, especially Anibal and JJ.

 

 

And most of that article is a rambling mess. It really made no sense. "The marlins struggled. They were going to be contracted, but then won a World Series. But they have been struggling ever since the contraction talks. Josh Johnson is going to make sure nobody ever comes to games. Dontrelle Willis isn't crappy this year."

 

 

Gotta love crap sports journalism.

 

How much longer do we, the readers of The Palm Beach Post have to deal with the idiotic ramblings of Dave George and Greg Stoda! They are two of the stupidest and inane writers out there. They have no point and no in depth "analysis" in order to consider yourself a columnist. For the last three weeks, both Stoda and George have been writing the dumbest columns around. It's not a "column" if my six year old can write it. Why don't those two idiots use their position and "experience" to provide us something that is not obvious. Instead, most of their columns simply look like message board regurgitations, complete with innaccurate facts and hyperbole! Seriously, it's like their only purpose is to rile up negativity about local sports, except for The Palm Beach Post's beloved Florida Gators, of which you NEVER read anything negative about in the Post. Comparing Stoda and George's columns about Billy Donovan and Nick Saban are laughable in their partisan opinions!

 

I love The Palm Beach Post, don't get me wrong. I think their overall sports coverage is vastly superior to that of the Sun-Sentinel, but when it comes to their two sports columnists, they can get better! Geez, at least Mike Beradumbo of the Sentinel provides some insight through his "phantom" sources that are always wrong about the information they provide (ahem, Ken Rosenthal, ahem).

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