The Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is again in the news for all of the wrong reasons. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has reported that the front office in the Marlins organization has opened up a massive divide. In the orange corner of the ring you have owner Loria and VP of player personnel Dan Jennings. In the teal corner you have president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and GM Mike Hill.
The news coming out of the Marlins front office shouldn’t be a shock to most fans. Its being reported by Miami Herald beat writer Clark Spencer that owner Jeffrey Loria is now making all the baseball decisions for the organization. As vague as that is, with an anonymous major-league source cited, most Marlins fans don’t need anything to be confirmed. After the last eight years, its easier to trust the nameless baseball source than to give Loria the benefit of the doubt.
The latest, or perhaps continuing, discord between owner Jeffrey Loria and his front office has caught the attention of even non-traditional sports media. Bloomberg Businessweek on its website recapped this week’s accounts of Loria being at odds with President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest and even Team President David Samson, his stepson.
What motivated Adeiny Hechavarria to leap as high as he did and snag Cody Asche's sixth-inning liner Wednesday? Revenge. When Asche stepped in, Hechavarria turned to double play partner Donovan Solano to confirm this was the Phillies' third baseman -- the guy who made a nice play in the top of the inning to rob Hechavarria of a bunt single. When Solano confirmed it was, that fortified Hechavarria's resolve. If Asche hit the ball anywhere in Hechavarria's vicinity, he was turning it into an out.
When he returned to Citizens Bank Park in May for the first time as a member of the Marlins, ex-Phillie Placido Polanco got a mixture of cheers and boos. Monday, the reception was overwhelmingly positive. "I got emotional," said Polanco, who acknowledged the fans when he stepped in for a fifth-inning pinch-hit at-bat. "I have been here after I left, but it wasn't like [Monday] night. They're good fans and we had a lot of good moments here. We went to the playoffs a couple of times and I had a lot of fun here. "It was like, 'Thank you, I have Cliff Lee now.'"
As poorly as things have gone for the Marlins on the field, a behind-the-scenes rift between team owner Jeffrey Loria and a few of his top front office executives is creating added tension in the waning days of a dismal season. Sources said Loria is now making most — if not all — of the baseball decisions, which is fueling speculation that president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and team president David Samson could be ousted after the season. "He has marginalized the front office," said a major-league source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. "The front office isn’t making decisions. Loria makes them all."
An open letter to Marlins rookie pitching sensation Jose Fernandez: No cambies! Don’t change! Don’t tone down. Not even a little. Ignore the purists and the critics. Keep being your exuberant self. Keep leading cheers from the dugout. Keep joking and laughing and engaging in conversations with opposing players. Keep jumping up and down and pumping your fists when your teammates hit home runs. Keep flashing that megawatt smile, the brightest smile around the Marlins clubhouse since another hot-shot rookie pitcher named Dontrelle Willis was making waves with his unorthodox delivery 10 years ago.
.If you're under the assumption that things can only get better for the Marlins after this awful season, think again. Since 1993, the year the Marlins entered the big leagues, a total of 24 teams have suffered through 100-loss seasons. Five of those teams actually lost more games the following year. Only two managed to produce a winning season the following year, and neither of them (the 2009 Seattle Mariners and 2003 Kansas City Royals) won enough to make the playoffs.
You had to see it to believe it, to truly fathom it. When Adeiny Hechavarria went vertical to make his sensational leaping catch at Citizens Bank Park in Wednesday's sixth inning, I missed it. I had left my seat briefly and when I returned, I asked others to describe the play. None could do it justice. But here is what Marlins infield coach Perry Hill had to say about it afterward: "I have never seen a baseball player jump that high on a baseball field, ever. I've been around a while, too. I mean, that's just instinct, number one, and God-given ability to jump that high. I mean, that just shows you how good an athlete he is, too."
The Marlins are still thinking about how their rotation will set up this weekend against Washington. But the fact is that, even though they'd love to beat the Nationals and play spoiler, their goal over these final two weeks is to get a feel for the future of the franchise. "When we talked about [Jose Fernandez] being shut down, we said it was an opportunity for some of the younger guys to step up," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It's what we're doing. We're evaluating guys and seeing what they can do. I've been around young guys that make you realize that, when they first come up, they aren't really themselves. We're getting to see these guys all year, and as we go on and move forward, we have a good feel for what they are capable of."
As he stood on second base during a 6-4 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday night, Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre took a moment to ask Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins for a favor. Pierre's pinch-hit double in the seventh inning was his 2,215th career hit. It put him in a tie for 175th place all-time with Joe DiMaggio -- who after some research was awarded an extra hit by Elias Sports Bureau earlier in the day -- and Pierre wanted the ball as a keepsake. Rollins obliged and Pierre tossed the ball into the visitor's dugout as both forgot one very important aspect of the situation: There was a game being played.
Around The League
In a truly wild American League Wild Card race, the Rangers and Rays are currently in possession of what everyone else is after -- the coveted final two playoff spots. And as evidenced by the first three games of their four-game set in St. Petersburg this week, neither club is going to give it up without a fight.
The longest hitting streak in the Major Leagues reached 29 games Wednesday night, when Denard Span singled in the seventh inning against the Braves. If he gets a hit Thursday, Span will match the longest hitting streak in Nationals history, set by Ryan Zimmerman in 2009.
Hunter Pence has been hitting the bleep out of the ball, but don't mistake his eschewing mechanics for a thoughtless approach. His philosophy is less Walt Hriniak and more Miyamoto Musashi, the 17th century Japanese swordsman.
At Fish Stripes
The Miami Marlins are contemplating firing Larry Beinfest at the end of this season, but they were in the same boat last year and did not release him. What has changed since 2012?
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald confirmed that Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is even more involved with the decision-making of Larry Beinfest and the Marlins' front office moves.
The Miami Marlins are in the midst of rumors that they will fire vice president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and replacing him with assistant GM Dan Jennings. Would this even change Jeffrey Loria's influence in personnel decisions?
Don't look now, but Giancarlo Stanton is having a passable, if still disappointing, 2013 campaign. How is he turning this lost campaign around at the plate? One walk at a time.
On this day in team history, the Marlins' Charles Johnson notched his 117th straight errorless game of the 1997 season, tying the single-season catcher record. The prolific backstop set the overall mark for consecutive errorless games a week earlier.
An in-depth look at the Miami Marlins first and third basemen in their farm system that have a chance at contributing to the team next year and down the line.