As I started to think about this year’s season, which will be in progress as you read this, I realized a couple of positive things. I understand why the team is re-building in the manner that it is, and I think making that decision was a very bold and courageous move on the part of new ownership. I say that because it is unlikely that fans will return to the park until they have either a winning team to enjoy or some rising stars to watch develop, as was the case with Stanton, Yelich and Ozuna.
Until then, expect the seats to be quite visible and few eyes watching games on their TV tubes or streaming videos.
Another positive is that the Marlins were able to hang on to Realmuto. A good team needs to develop young pitchers, and Realmuto to is one of the best catchers around who can command the respect of the new, young arms. He will also have the support of two better-than-average starters, Urena and Straily.
Finally, it is essential that Manager Don Mattingly retain his current excitement and enthusiasm about his team, so they individually don’t give up if the season seems to be heading south at some point during the long schedule. His credentials and his support will be paramount in keeping this young team on track.
Beyond that, the team is a mystery because, with few exceptions, we don’t know the personnel. We know a little about Bour, Dietrich, Prado and Rojas, but not about how they will be used in combination with the younger (and older) players on the roster, and little to nothing about many of the recent acquisitions.
We’ve heard, and in some cases seen, some good things about the likes of Starlin Castro, JT Riddle, and Lewis Brinson, but they have yet to prove themselves over a few months on the field during the regular season. Once one or more of them starts to show some spectacular fielding abilities like Hechavarria, or home run power like Stanton, I think fans will start to come around; until then, I expect it will be a wait-and-see attitude for a majority of the fan base.
It has been refreshing this year not to have heard the hype about how far this team can go in the playoffs. Management and the media have been restrained and, for South Florida, that’s saying a lot. We wish the team a good season and feel confident this group knows how to get them where they, and their fans, ultimately want to see them.