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THE MIAMI MARLINS ARE ALL IN
BEN REITER
March 05, 2012
Even after two world championships, the Marlins had trouble building a following in South Florida. But now they have the payroll (Jose Reyes got how much?), the park (goodbye, rain delays) and the personality (Ozzie said what?) to build a powerhouse franchise. It's either a brilliant plan—or a crazy gamble
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March 05, 2012

The Miami Marlins Are All In

Even after two world championships, the Marlins had trouble building a following in South Florida. But now they have the payroll (Jose Reyes got how much?), the park (goodbye, rain delays) and the personality (Ozzie said what?) to build a powerhouse franchise. It's either a brilliant plan—or a crazy gamble

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Guillen wasn't entirely sure about them. "If we lose games, we're going to look bad," he said. "But if we win, that's going to be the best uniform in the game."

Still, on-field performance aside, there are potential storm clouds that even a retractable roof won't obscure. One might come from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is investigating whether the $500 million in public bonds that were controversially issued to pay for the stadium and its parking lots were secured as the result of improper financial disclosure by the club. (Loria's contribution to the project was $161 million, plus a roughly $4.4 million annual payment to the city for access to the parking lots.) "They're investigating," says Samson. "That's their right. We are cooperating fully." The S.E.C. is less forthcoming about the investigation's status; a spokesperson for the Commission declined to comment.

Then there is the possibility that the Marlins have overplayed their hand. That their pristine, climate-controlled new ballpark won't prevent damage to Johnson's shoulder or Reyes's legs (injuries to which have caused him to miss 191 games over the past three seasons). That their clubhouse, populated with big personalities like Guillen, Ramirez, Zambrano, and the Twitter-happy Morrison, will prove not energetic but combustible. That the residents of South Florida don't enjoy turning out for baseball games, even those played in air-conditioned comfort.

Then, perhaps, the future will include only uniforms that look sadly clownish, worn by a team so quickly dismantled that it gives Red Grooms's sculpture infrequent reason to move, in a new stadium so quiet that, on some nights, you'll be able to hear the chickens clucking outside.

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