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Rays Shine on Marlins

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Rays Shine on Marlins


By Josh Clinton


So the Tampa Bay Rays are in the World Series. Many of you might have to read that a few times until it truly sinks in. That?s right; the Rays have taken the American League pennant. Many also may wonder, where does this leave the Marlins?


For the first time in Tampa?s history, they?re poised to be the top dog in major league baseball. In the state of Florida, that has always been the Marlins, and despite a pair of fire sales, I don?t think that has ever been questioned. Now, with the Rays surging, how will the Marlins deal with sharing the spotlight?


Maybe a third World Series title is in order.


The Post-Season has yet to even be completed, and there?s already talk about the Marlins being in position to be one of baseballs best teams in 2009. The Phillies, one of Florida?s National League East rivals, just took the pennant and are facing these improbable Rays in the World Series. It doesn?t feel as if fans, or even the media, really think that?s an issue for the Marlins heading into next season.


After a year in which Florida clearly competed until the closing days of the season for both a division and wild card title, and played extremely well all season against Philadelphia, nobody should be concerned about whether or not they can compete on the same level. It is clear they can, and it is crystal clear that they are in a position to get much better.


With 15 arbitration-eligible players to deal with, many figured Marlins mastermind Admin Beinfest would have one heck of a headache heading into the off-season. In reality, he may be in the best position of any general manager in the game.


Just days ago, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported that contrary to public belief, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has given Beinfest the green light to retain any and all arbitration-eligible players. With that news came the hope that Florida can head in any direction it needs in order to improve a ball club that has already proven itself a contender, a situation Beinfest is not familiar with.


During his tenure in Florida, there is no doubt Beinfest has clearly put his team in a position to win year in and year out, despite a major lack of resources in comparison to the rest of baseball. But with this news, it now shows he may have unlimited maneuverability, and the ability to move forward. In any sport, progress is usually the ultimate goal, and although I don?t believe that?s any different for the Marlins, it has been drastically more difficult.


Now, improving doesn?t look so skeptical in South Florida. It?s inevitable.

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