Another Miami Experiment

12 11 2011

It ticks me off that the Miami sports community continually attracts the attention that it does. In the late ’90s, it was Jimmy Johnson’s move to coach the Dolphins, the Pat Riley/Alonzo Mourning Heat and the Marlins’ out-of-nowhere World Series win in ’97 that captured SportsCenter highlights and magazine articles.

Chris Bosh Face

By the early ’00s, Miami college football was back on the radar and the Marlins grabbed another ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ World Series victory in ’03. In ’04, Shaq Diesel himself was deal to the Heat. He and Dwyane Wade grabbed yet another major sports championship for the city in ’06, making it four sports titles (Marlins 2, Heat 1, The U 1) in a nine-year period for that ungrateful city.

Then something amazing happened. That horrible sports city which fancies itself as a New York- or Los Angeles-like town without the requisite passion fell into the mother of all sports ditches. The Heat won 44 games in their first post-title year, then captured only 15 and 43 Ws in the two seasons following that, through ’08-09. (They won a respectable 47 games in ’09-10.)

The Dolphins won a magnificently precious 1 game in ’07, briefly gained relevance with an 11-win campaign the following year, then submerged back into obscurity with consecutive 7-win seasons. The U waded into an abyss as murky as South Florida’s waterways as they won 5, 7, 9 and 7 games in ’07-10. The Marlins were marginally effective after their 71-win ’07 season, racking up 84, 87 and 80 victories in ’08-10.

During that time period, the Miami sports scene was best known for its biggest star (the aforementioned DWade) being made of paper mache, its second biggest star (the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez) not giving a fuck and for missing the one star that got away (Drew Brees). Miami sports were pathetic. Life was great.

Then the Summer of LeBron happened. James, DWade and Chris Bosh Face pulled off what was likely a two- or three-year plan by teaming together to make the Heat relevant again. (The irony of them bringing increased attention from casual sports fans to the NBA is that it was likely the tipping point for NBA owners to lock out the players for all they’re worth, thus eradicating all those fans who found the League interesting in the first place.)

The U still sucks (and was killed by Yahoo! Sports in a transcendent bit of sports journalism), and the Dolphins are once again an NFL doormat. But now the Marlins want to share that South Florida sunshine with the Heat. They want to sign big-time free agent after free agent (or at least give the appearance of wanting to do so) to coincide with the opening of their new stadium and their new re-branding. Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes are among the big names who the Marlins are reportedly interesting in signing.

Miami Marlins' new logo.

The Marlins already have Hanley and, more importantly, young studs Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison. They have Josh Johnson and a few other talented hurlers on their pitching staff. Now, they’ll have a sparkling new 37,000-seat ballpark. (With an outstanding collection of art that will go inside it, a la Cowboys Stadium and Amway Center.) If they sign either Reyes or Pujols, then my head will explode. Miamians don’t deserve them.

Florida has no state income tax. Miami has beautiful weather most of the year and the most gorgeous women anywhere. They have LeBron, DWade, Leftover Reggie Bush, Stanton, Lomo and enough horrific uniform combinations among the Dolphins, Heat and Marlins to make anyone with bad fashion sense blush. They have enough already. I’m rooting against the Marlins in getting any significant MLB free agent this off-season as much as I root against the unreasonable small-market NBA owners trying to break the players. (Another story for a different day.) I want South Florida to stop receiving so many prized sports stars and the attention that comes with them.

Fans there don’t appreciate what they have, as shown by various teams’ attendance figures. Save the comments about the depressed South Florida real estate market. Marlins games cost next to nothing; they’re cheaper than movie tickets or any night at a bar or restaurant. South Floridians just don’t give a damn about sports. My rant is over. Thanks for reading.

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