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That’s More Like The Marlins We All Know And Ignore

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 03: Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng looks on prior to Game 1 of the Wild Card Series between the Miami Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Traditions have been taking a beating in baseball lately as the industry gropes desperately for something that will appear more interesting to the average lout and loutesse than Cowboys-Chargers. But in Miami and its environs, an area that avoids tradition as though it were painted gray, the Miami Marlins are there to remind all what got them to their current state: finding people who know what they're doing and sending them away for that very reason because someone who knows less wants more say.

Hence the departure under WTF circumstances of general manager Kim Ng after she was presented with the exciting opportunity of not getting a new contract while answering to a new supervisor who didn't exist this year when she was in charge. This change was deemed necessary by owner Bruce Sherman for the continued advancement of the baseball operation, and that word "advancement" should catch your eye because the Marlins did in fact advance this past season, reaching the playoffs in a non-COVID year for the first time in 20 years.

It was also the first time the Marlins had made the non-COVID playoffs and not won a World Series, which would make Sherman's idea defensible if he was a superstitious nitwit, but no, that’s only half-right. Sherman did it because … well, the only rational conclusion one can draw is that he likes to tinker with things he does not remotely understand. Like in this case, improvement. The Marlins improved by 15 games this past season and recorded only their seventh winning season in 31 years. They made the postseason for the third time ever and did so on merit before getting swept by the Cleavage 'n' Clavicles powerhouse in Philadelphia.

But they also did so with the highest payroll so far under Sherman, which is a relative statement, but maybe that's what irked him so—trying to win by spending the 22nd greatest amount of money, which is very much not the Marlin Way. They usually like to spend half as much and lose a quarter more often.

Better still for those who believe the Marlins have a place in baseball (face-down against a sewer grate), Sherman with this move has made Derek Jeter, the person he hired to run the operation in 2017 and fired four years later for making it worse, seem all of a sudden a sympathetic figure. Firing Jeter made sense at the time because the franchise was a dreadful mess; firing Ng now returns it to that state, so the equation A+B=X must surely mean that X equals Unserious Owner At Work, no matter the first two variables.

It surely suggests that Sherman found Ng's radical notions of spending money to make better baseball too Bolshevik, but since Sherman is the one who signs the paychecks, she couldn’t have gone rogue anyway. But now we're getting caught up in logical pretzeling, so let's keep it simple: Kim Ng made the Marlins better than they usually are, and is jobless as a result. Therefore, Bruce Sherman has served the team as it is apparently meant to be: incompetent, repellent and unworthy of even modest non-failure. The Miami Marlins know what they are supposed to be, and in the name of the eroding coastline that makes the town what it is, they have made another bold and assertive move toward maintaining that standard. Maybe with that tradition in mind they can start hanging banners at the ballpark for the 12 times they lost 90 games or the 14 times they drew under 1.5 million fans—presumably as long as they can bill Miami-Dade County for it.

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