At the suggestion of, and with a considerable amount of help from, our readers, we are pleased to announce our first Favorite Marlin Contest. Although the Marlins are still a very young franchise, there's been quite a bit of history made in just over one decade. Two world championships have been won and countless All-Stars have worn Marlins' teal and black.
Each day for the next few weeks there will be between one and four pairs of players to vote for. Each pair of players will consist of two players from the same bracket (Early Marlins, 1997 World Champs, Marlins from the Dark Ages [1998 - 2002], and the 2003 World Champs). In addition to a poll, where you can vote for your choice, there will also be a related open thread each day which will provide a brief bio about each player, as well as an opportunity (via the comments) for you to state the reasons why you support a particular player (especially if you'd like to sway the opinion of others). You can see the brackets here.
The tournament will run much like the NCAA basketball tournament. There are four brackets and sixteen individuals in each.
Once a champion emerges from each bracket, we'll have a final four (matching the World Series champions against each other and the non-World Series champions in each other in the semi-finals).
Some players (like Jeff Conine) appear in more than one bracket. When you vote for one player or another, please consider that player only in the context for the bracket in which he is appearing (for instance, if you're looking at Al Leiter on the 1997 team, only consider his 1997 performance - not the 2005 edition).
Here's a preview of the bracket (as we move through the tournament, we will continue to update the results). Take a look and start to get an idea of who you'll vote for (and if you have any objections, make them known by noon on Wednesday so that we can make adjustments before we get started). Later today we'll post the first four matchups of the tournament (one from each bracket).
There are inevitably players who you would have liked to have seen included who did not make the list. Once we work through this field of 64, we will probably have a run off vote of other candidates that folks suggest. So, if Jeff Conine emerges from the field of 64 as the champion, we'll still likely have a smaller, follow-up bracket including Jeff and others that didn't make the cut the first time around (I'm guessing that the original champion will still win).
If this goes well, and I think that it will, we'll likely follow it up with some other similar contests. One, which was suggested yesterday that I particularly like, thought was to have a "Best Marlins Cup of Coffee" bracket. Mike Piazza immediately jumps to mind as a strong candidate for such a contest.
Please feel free to post your thoughts and observations. We're completely open to modifying the process if we've missed anything or if something different makes more sense.