2008 Season Review: I’m Proud Of MY Boys of Summer, in all.

The MLB 2008 Regular season offiially concluded today, and I think I might speak for everyone in the thought that we have been dreading this day since the first day of pitchers and catchers reporting. Now, 2nd annual countdown to 2009 Pitchers and Catchers Report has begun. 

It’s also official the the Mets organization as well a the Yankees organization have turned off the lights forever, of two stadiums that not only to New Yorkers, but to the baseball world, have meant so much. Two baseball institutions within themselves. Yankee Stadium, the legend of a stadium, the “House That Ruth Built” & Shea Stadium, who had seen everything NY has endured for so long, are now histories that we as baseball fans will be encharged of passing down to generations and future baseball players (think those in little league right now) to come. 
That was my farewell to the stadiums, this is my farewell to the 2008 Marlins:
Dear Marlins,
I’ve had my ups and my downs with you. Moments were I feel like family, others were the situation is quite different. I want you guys to know that in my family and I, you guys have unconditional support no matter how many miles away. That even when we’re at other ballparks, watching other ballgames, our eyes are on the NL scoreboard and cheering you on with every passion of our hearts. You guys should be so proud of yourselves, of the marvelous run you turned in and the talents you showcased. Plus, my favorite…you play the spoilers role to the “T”. Hopefully, next year, on this date, were popping champagne and my expectations of you are to do so. I have 100% faith on the team the Marlins put other there, on your lineup and on the mound. I know I can expect a roller coaster ride, or a smooth ride. I love this team and I love not knowing. Thanks for making 2008 another year for your fans and for Miami Baseball. =)
 Love Always,
C.
Post Season Teams:
-Anaheim Angels
-Chicago Cubs
-Tampa Bay Rays
-Boston Red Sox
-Philadelphia Phillies
-Milwaukee Brewers
-Los Angeles Dodgers
-::pending:: Sox/ Twins
….& THEN THERE WERE 8….
Love && Teal Baseball,
C.

2008 Florida Marlins Are A Success Of Their Very Own

The 2008 Florida Marlins story is truly something marvelous to tell. Even though I could only attend about 40 games this year (out of my usual 81!) and I absolutely did NOT go on ANY Marlins Road Trips, I have a feeling that 2009 will be a YEAR to REMEMBER!

Tools For Success:
The Marlins have a scary lineup, good up and coming-injury free SP and a strong bullpen (???), they have speed, good table setters (I would love to see a Ramirez/Maybin table-setting action in 2009) good power (Uggla, Jacobs, CANTU… one of my faves) and Fredi himself, has grown out of his first year jitters. The young boys are now mature veterans. Scary indeed for an already tough NL East. 
Cannot, Can-Tu!:
This has to be one of my favorite stories of the 2008 Major League Baseball season and tshould get true consideration from MLB as a comeback finalist. Jorge Cantu was in the shadows of what was then a young, inexperienced, bottom of the AL Tampa Bay Rays team. The talent was there, it was just not exploited. After a quite a few quiet seasons, Jorge Cantu has developed to be the “clutch” bat of the Florida Marlins lineup. Example, I attended probably 6 out of the last 9 home games of the Marlins 08 season at Dolphin Stadium. Jorge Cantu averaged at least one homerun in almost all those games. With Cantu’s 25th homerun against the Washington Nationals, the Marlins became the first club in Major League HISTORY to have all 4 infielders hit 25+ homeruns in one season. A Bat from each of he infielders as well as the lineup card of that historic day, have been now sent to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall Of Fame. GO FISH!
It CAUGHT Me By Surprise!:
I was concerned going into the season about our catching situation having lost Miguel Olivo to free agency. Not only did we see great catching potential from Mike Rabelo, great veteran leadership behind the plate by Matt Treanor, but we saw a great surprise from our Minor League System: John Baker. Tonight as I write this he’s been 2-3 at the 1st of the 3 games in the last series at Shea Stadium. Can only wait to see where Baker will be standing next year….Baker and newly acquired Paul Lo Duca. 

A Life That Revolves Around Baseball

I’ve been asked so many times why I attend so many games. I’ve been asked by front office officials, family, friends even some of the players.

It’s really a funny story. At least to me.

It all started in my genes. See my family is very baseball oriented, we revolve around games and even our family trips have to include a new ballpark. Crazy? not to us. It’s the most natural of things…I just seem to be the one that takes everything a further step ahead of the crowd….and no it doesnt involve my Jimmy Choo’s and a Marlins rain-delay…It comes down to my sports psych major and a minor in broadcasting. See, my dream is to be the next Debbie Taylor (you’ll know who that is if you’re a Nationals fan) or for a Marlins Fan, the next Craig Minervini. But, I have never been the competitive type so relying on my passion for psychology results as my best bet.

I am moving later on this year to Chicago to focus estrictly on my education. Hopefully the Cubs and White Sox will be my first professional experience. It’ll be great to start off my career within organizations with so much history and passion, even though, I will someday (dream?) work for MLB which will include my Florida Marlins.

Now, my first place Marlins? How about that? I love how this team has developed over the off season and how they have showed maturity during games and off the field. It seems like the youngest boys in baseball, are well…grown. Scott Olsen has learned to control emotions and pitch one heck of a ballgame making him our go-to starter. Mark Hendrickson has been more than a pleasant surprise, Andrew Miller has struggled but has shown signs of breaking through the slump ,Ricky Nolasco has been well, ok…and newly promoted Bandenhop has to develop. Somehow, the boys have hung in first place fpr pretty much the whole month in a tough NL East. I think what’s working for us in timely clutch hitting (like Andino’s walk-off blast to beat the Mets)  and patient hitting (we have loaded the bases so many times this year, it’s almost funny). I give a lot of credit to Matt Treanor and Mike Rabelo for calling great games and showing maturity in a still relatively young clubhouse. Do we miss Cabrera? who wouldnt? but we have surfaced a new homerun heroes in Hanley Ramirez and Mike Jacobs. Uggla has had a slow start but slowly regaining shape with his extra base sass.

 

Hopefully it’ll be an interesting ballclub to watch, because it has been so far. :)

 

As for the Cubs, how about that infield? Wow. It seems like something out of a baseball dream, and they have one great, marvalous problem, their bench SS is batting .375. Thats the recent bat of Ronny Cedeno who’s been getting the call from Piniella at 2B.

Derek Lee who I saw play many times while in Florida has truly taken a leader form in 2008, followed by their third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Even though, I personally like Cedeno better at SS than Ryan Theriot I feel like Theriot is clutch. He’s a decent hitter, with decent spped and decent range defensively….why not start them both?

I feel bad for DeRosa because with Soriano back from the DL, there’s truly no space for him unless you platoon him. BUT you’re talking about a career .280 hitter with great defensive skills. I think the Cubs need to make some sort of trade before the July deadline. I’m not even going to address the Fontenot case.

I really like Ryan Dempster as a starter. I feel like he has blossomed as the pitcher everyone expected him to be, instead of being a closer or in the bullpen. I like the pitcher Carlos Marmol has turned out to be, and I like  Kerry Wood as a closer. I think with all his latest injuries… enabling Wood to at least one inning of work is the best case for him as a player, the DL list of the Chicago Cubs and Cubs fans.  

I’ll be at Wrigley for the Dodgers Series and I CANNOT wait!!!!!!!!!!!

Love & Teal Baseball, tinted by Wrigley Blue,

C <333

Playoff Watch: The Underdogs vs. One Big Red Sox

Everyone by now knows that the postseason is filled with surprise teams who once sat at the cellar of their division. Teams such as the Colorado Rockies (who?), the Arizona Diamondbacks, (huh?) and the Cleveland Indians, the Tribe sometimes is better recognized as the team portrayed in the movie "Major League" featuring Charlie Sheen. 3 underdogs and the forever legendary Boston Red Sox who won in 04 their first world series in 86 years.

The NLCS: The Colorado Rockies @ Arizona Diamondbacks.

Players To Watch:

COL: Matt Holliday: True Leader of this young Rockies ballclub, Holliday is on the  verge of becoming one of the best young hitters in baseball. Top 3 candidate in the race for the NL’s batting title, Holliday brings the Rockies power, leadership and defense.

COL: Todd Helton: Great Defense, and veteran outlook combined with young potential. 

ARI: Brandon Webb: 2006 Cy Young Award Winning Pitcher brings the ARI staff solid outings and important outs when needed the most. Groundball pitcher, will get the DP ball when needed.

Young: 3-11 in the series against Chicago, the leadoff man combines power with speed to give ARI the go-ahead.

Drew: 7-11 vs the Cubs, this young man has gotten hot since September and hasn’t cooled off. Brother of JD Drew of the Red Sox. 

Marlins Season Ends, What now?

Haven’t updated in a while. Probably because it was sad to see MY baseball season end, but at least I have the playoffs to keep me moving.

I have to say in a weird, random way I’m proud of my 07 Marlins. But I gre tired of the same ballgame from these guys every night. I didn’t feel it from them, it’s like the had given up in August. It got pretty boring at Dolphin Stadium but hopefully my boys of summer are heating up for another season in sunny and rainy Miami. Cannot wait for 08, even if I’m watching from far.

I decided during the last couple of weeks of the season to expand my baseball horizons making a quick 3 day trip to DC to catch the last weekend at RFK and To NY/Philly the weekend after to end my season watching a Marlins game @Shea and seeing the Phillies clinch @ CBP. Have to say my season ended on a high note.

I was pleasently surprised by RFK stadium even though by the looks Nationals park will be amazing. DC is a baseball city and the Nats are forming an incredible team…watch for DC in the upcoming years. They have leaders, a young club lead by a young manager, Acta. The amazing thirdbase power in Zimmerman , MLB’s comeback player in Dmitri Young, leaders in Kearns and Schneider and promising young talent in Flores and Maxwell. If they can get going timely hitting followed by stable starts from their pitching staff they will be a threat in the east pretty soon. Quietly, they bumped the Fish down to bottom of the ocean this year.

Shea Stadium was fun. A dump, but fun. It’s New York and just that makes it an incredible experience. The passion, the energy it captivates every ounce of your body. I tip my hat to both Mets and Yankees fans. It was fun to see the Marlins win on that friday night. I even got asked by a New Yorker if I was one of the wives. NO! No Way! My Marlins are like my sons!…I pass. The next morning I took myself to Philadelphia by train and was able to make it on time for 3:55 pm start with some co-workers of mine. Nats vs. Phillies. Phillies tied w/ Mets…can you imagine the energy of CBP? It was truly incredible.

It was sad to be in Philly, because I knew baseball season was over and it was even more depressing seeing some of the boys pack to go back to their hometowns. Ughhhhhh can spring training already get here? This season passed by too quickly too soon, it needs to be spring already. Cannot wait for the promises of 08, one thing I can assure you is that i wont be seen in DS the whole time for I will be trying to settle myself outside of Miami, but I will hopefully be in Florida for the first few months of the season, including Spring.

Love and Baseball! 

A Sports Psychology Student’s Teachings, The Marlins Downfall: “How Do You Feel About That, Marlins?”

How do you feel about that? Hanley has a 20+ errors season…how do you feel about that, Marlins? Cabrera is in a small slump…how do you feel about that Miggy? Marlins?

I can go on and on asking questions…and "How Do You Feel About That?" would be a psychologists approach to get some athletes to open up.

I left my house today around 1:30 pm EST, to rekindle with my best friend, watched Rush Hour 3 and rewind/relax as I get ready for a homestand & school work (classes start Aug. 29 @ MDC!) …as I watched the previews in the theater I decided my blackberry was a reliable device to see MLB scores…to my surprise or should i say "expected-shock" the Marlins lost, leading to a series sweep of the fish in Cincinnati. Embarrassing. The Reds???? not to mention, we could not get Brandon Phillips out, even if it meant that letting him on would lead to Apocalypse.

I’m frustrated, and please do not really listen to me right now as I speak as a fan not a psychologist (hopeful!). What the heck is up with our team? do they think it’s pretty to lose? I’m sure they don’t mean to, but they sure as **** look like they are trying….to lose. Our SP’s have let us down, and our offense as well as errors aren’t doing a **** of a lot. Now this (Hi, Fredi!) is getting out of control…is it possible to lose that many games?? These guys need to do something about this, or the Marlins fans that are left are going to start cheering for the Devil Rays. You know, it goes beyond infield practices or bullpen sessions….beyond locker room meetings and managerial discipline…we have tried it. It hasn’t worked. This is already dealing with pride, and love for the game. Forgetting what was fun about it, why you play in the first place…I cannot believe I’m saying this but, trying too hard.

I know the Marlins team is so much better than the shows of mediocre they have displayed and acted in the last (month?)games. They have an amazing player in Cabrera, the flashes of superstars in Ramirez and Uggla, the power left-handed bat of Mike Jacobs and promising young talent. So why these losses? tough losses? what is wrong?? Is the demons of the ‘tired’ and ‘long season’ winning the battle of the mental aspect of these teal fishes? Are they put under pressure? Is it too much, too soon??

Now speaking as a person, I’m 21 years old, and I cannot imagine my life being anything like the lives of these young players….giving up families, time, sacrifices, being alone, new city, new people, new everythings….it’s hard. I can only put myself in their shoes. It gets old. It’s a long season and a demanding sport….and baseball….ohhhh baseball doesn’t always love you back.

If any Marlin reads this….How do you feel about it? How do you expects us to feel about it? I just hope you realize your sweat is in this, your time and your love…work harder! it’s almost over, now give it your best shot to make it worth it. Make baseball pay you back with the hardest swing off your bat, the fastest fastball you can fire and the best defense of your glove. You can only go out in grand-style, it doesn’t get any worse than this slump.

<3 and teal baseball!

Claudia

A Fan’s Letter To Fredi Gonzalez

Dear Mr. Gonzalez,

I have been a Marlins fan all my life. I have been there through World Championships, Fire Sales, and Re-buildings. You have actually seen me at home games and road trips and we both attended the same high school. I admire your quest towards becoming a MLB Manager and to that I tip my hat off to you. With that said let’s talk baseball… Marlins baseball.

There are a couple of things I would like to point out:

  • 1. Why Is Benitez still the set-up man? the guy obviously cannot pitch under pressure yet management seems to be nice enough to let him keep blowing games. The Marlins cannot afford to blow games, I don’t know if you have noticed but we are in last place in the East. Let Miller or Lindstrom pitch the 8th. Put Benitez as a reliever, and if you absolutely must have to.
  • 2. Discipline. There’s a lack of it in that clubhouse. It’s cool you try to get along with your players, but you are there boss.  You’re not their best friend nor their confidant. You are their fatherly figure while at games, their boss, and manager … with that come specific obligations and a standard of respect. Does not mean you have to be Lou Piniella, for each manager has their way of handling their ball clubs, but you are dealing with a young Marlins team, put your foot down a little more, it’ll pay off.
  • 3. Learn and teach visualization. In psychology we see this as one of the best exercises to get a player out a funk, slump or ability to battle mental blocks (such as injuries or problems at home). It’s a 5 minute routine where the player needs to deeply concentrate and focus. It’ll help the brain with muscle memory and it’s important that it’s done right before game time so the muscle still receives that information from the brain and it’s fresh in the system. I’ll explain better.

I might sound a bit desperate by saying this, but I say give it a shot (it’s worth the shot to try to get the guys back in sync). First, it’s important for both mental and physical accomplishments that a person (especially a ballplayer) to know how to breathe correctly, like babies do; this way, your lungs are getting oxygen entirely, not like they would if you breathe with your chest. This will lead to a quick meditation session (which breathing can also help the running and cardio exercises during the game) then visualization takes place. Get the player to visualize( or in simple words: imagine) his defense, feeling the stitches on the ball, the clay on his cleats and the play he wants to make. Making a perfect throw, throwing that slider for a strike, etc. Not letting the ball rule you. Feeling the ball against the bat, seeing how your hands are positioned, stealing the bases… eventually all these detailed visual aids will lead to muscle memory and if done correctly within game time, it can result in a player’s breakout.

Fredi, I know this is your rookie year. I also know you learned a lot from bobby Cox. Apply it. Rule it. Live it.

PS: Tweak the line-up a little. It might spark magic. Like adding more speed in the bottom of the order. Who knows? It’s all a gamble.

Best regards,

Marlin fan.

Cardinals Fly Over Marlins, Errors Costly for the Boys In Teal

Cardinals_logo_02

Floridamarlins St Louis– The Marlins today reached the last place in the National  League East. Leading the ball game in the 8th inning with two outs, Hanley Ramirez showed why he’s still a rookie at short. I’m sorry but Hanley might be an elite ballplayer, but put him in the outfield. Sounds like a contradiction, since I have sung him praises…but Hanley is questionable at short. With a very non-chillant defense at his poise he needs to realize ( as well as Fredi and the Fish FO) that SS is a very delicate position. It’s a filter., and you need to be the vacuum. In my opinion, it’s better to have a good defensive player at SS than an offensive player. Batting to win the NL batting title, Hanley might have a better chance to be a future outfielder. 

Cabrera Hits HR #30: Cabrera is creeping closer to be the best Marlin of all-time. With his fourth consecutive season hitting 30+ homerun a year under his sleeve, Miguel has proved that he’s a Pujols, Rodriguez like player.

Benitez Out-Of-Luck: I have had it. I’ve tried. I cannot resist to see Benitez up again. Is it just me or has the guy lost it all?? He’s not our set-up man, nor he should be a closer, a reliever? maybe. If he absolutely needs to.

Embarrassing Moments Come and Go…Ours Just Come:

Seven in a row. Are you kidding me? I know I can’t tolerate it. I know Tom and Ricky cannot stand it. Joe Girardi certainly would’ve not kept up with it. Please Read my Letter to Fredi to see what I propose, and I believe I speak for Marlins nation.

Let’s get it together Marlins, it’s actually getting better to watch the Little League World Series.

Marlins’ Struggles become Giant

Who can ever forget the tag at the plate back in the NL Division Series in 2003 where Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez hanged on to the ball (collision at home plate) and made the final out that would name the eventual WS Champs Marlins, Division Champs?

It’s slightly different 4 years later, and a whole new roster.

The San Francisco Giants where in town for what was a good, yet horrible weekend for the Marlins. Following a three game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks (which they won once), the Marlins hosted Bonds and the Giants for what was (attendence wise) a very god weekend for the Fish. Now when it came down to baseball, it came down with a tumble. Errors left to right followed by poor offensive efforts and Bonds’ 760th HR leading to a Giant sweep of the Fish.

Promising News: Pitcher Scott Olsen got the call friday, and although was handed the loss, Olsen pitched out of trouble on ocassion, struck out Bonds and showed last year’s form of an outstanding southpaw.

Breather for Uggla provides No Oxygen for Fish: Dan Uggla who was the only Marlin to play continously up until the last time Atlanta was in town was given the day off again Saturday. The All Star second baseman has been struggling offensively and mentally it might’ve been the best move for him and his skip. In my opinion, it would’ve been nice to have Uggla in the lineup, maybe give him more ABs to come out of the funk. De Aza hasn’t been fulfilling expectations in the #2 spot either. Giving Uggla the breather didn’t do much for the team nevertheless. Skip! We have a problem. I say move Uggla to the number 2 spot again and move De Aza to the number 6 spot. Why? The Marlins’ struggles haven’t been on the top of the order throughout the year…it’s bringing those runs in at the later part of the lineup where the Marlins run out of speed. Having De Aza’s speed at the bottom half of the batting oder might provide some pop to bring in those runs that our table setters set up.

Red Hot…Blue Cold..Story of the Teal Fish

RED HOT:

The Florida Marlins are probably one of the most ignored teams in all of baseball, but slowly they are making noise into the ground of the big names with a roster filled with promising young talent. Of course if you follow baseball you would hear names like Jose Reyes and Derek jeter to the point where you might start seeing these two in your dreams, that’s because thye are New Yorkers, and as well all know NY takes it’s sports very seriously (may I add Boston and Chicago?) But If you look further south, to the land of beautiful and colorful seaside restaurants and bars, the city with gorgeous women (marlins mermaids?) there’s a name that is as good as Reyes (which translates into "Kings")… turns out in Miami there’s a king just like in New York…his name? Hanley Ramirez. The kid is a top the charts and well on his way to not only living up to his ROY award but taking this years NL Batting Title. He provides Florida’s lineup with an amazing pop and never gives in to a pitcher. More than likely, pitchers will give in to him and he’ll hurt. a better offensive player than Mets’ Reyes, Hanley is conquering not only South Florid, not only New York but baseball in it’s entirety. At 23, Ramirez has become a sensation and an idol to young hopefuls not only in America but in his native Dominican Republic.  He’s by far an elite shortstop with a promising future.

BLUE COLD:

It’s pretty much a coin toss, if you are a Marlins fan. As an 80 game go’er I never know what to expect as soon as I walk inside the gates of Dolphin Stadium. Truth be told, I have never known what to expect since 1993. But last year’s team made a promise of maybe making 07 a year where they will work to keep that "6 year magic" idea. As far as 07 is concerned the Marlins have been HOT then they get COLD. HOT.COLD. COLD.HOT. Missing timely hitting and half of their pitching staff, Florida has hung on in a tough National League East. With pitchers such as Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez out with injuries the Marlins have ran to the place where they least expected…AAA Alberqueque. Rookie team, rookie manager, rookie rookie rookie will give you a rookie like year. Yet, I tip my cap to the 07 Marlins for hanging on tough and promising me enough…to renew my tickets for 08. =]

I hope the Marlins can prove they are worth rooting for, I more than anything wish that they would read this and know that people support themand their teal baseball more than they expect, that we will always be there and that if they truly believe, this team can be another 03. As a fan that witnessed both 97 and 03, I firmly believe the 07 Marlins have got what it takes (maybe with the addition of a few pitchers) to be a WS team.

 

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