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Time to grow up

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If a couple of veterans have their way, and I think they will, the Marlins clubhouse is about to get an attitude adjustment.

But two respected veteran Marlins (closer Kevin Gregg and catcher Matt Treanor) spoke last week of a behind-the-scenes dynamic that also must change: a need for more seriousness and professionalism. A lot of Marlins players are fine in those areas, but some behavior caused one Marlins employee to call last year's clubhouse the most immature he has ever seen.

''It's the understanding of the seriousness of what we're doing here. They're having a good time, and that's what we want to do, but there's a fine line that has to be drawn, and sometimes, we went under that line of where we needed to be -- before, during and after games,'' said Gregg, who obviously won't publicly identify line-crossers.

Gregg said Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera -- both now with Detroit -- were cast in a role ''where they were looked up to'' and they ``handled some things differently than I would have handled them. Being a first-year guy, I wasn't in a spot to say some things that probably should have been said.''

Gregg is right in that there is fine line between having fun, and the game should be fun, while also being a professional.  But when it is all said and done, if you are going to be a professional baseball player -- you need to be trying to become the best baseball player you can be.

Treanor hits it a little harder, but then again Treanor while possessing a good and likable personality has a bulldog tenacity about him.

Treanor was more blunt: ''If you can't handle your business, I don't think you should be joking and laughing,'' he said. ``If you give a half-hearted effort because you'd rather be joking around in the clubhouse or worried what's going on after or before the game, you're not here doing your job. Maybe this year, I'm going to assume more of a leadership role . . . if I see stuff like that. This year, our clubhouse is going to be about business.

``We're going to be more professional, [showing] more respect for each other and what we're trying to accomplish. There was behavior [last year] you wish you could take back or maybe addressed [immediately] because if you let people do something, anytime there's not that full respect, we're not cohesive and that translates to our play. If people are acting up, it will be addressed a bit closer than years past.''

And it sounds like the two aren't just being so called "sticks in the mud", there was a problem.

Sophomoric behavior is a part of any baseball clubhouse, more so with a team as young as the Marlins. But the extent of it troubled several players. Gregg and Treanor didn't offer examples, but other Marlins people spoke of players leaving visiting clubhouses a mess and other immature antics, including one involving Cabrera on the team plane.

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Treanor and Gregg don't blame Gonzalez for off-field shenanigans, with Gregg noting, ''Fredi can't be holding our hands. He's not our father. It's 100 percent on the players.''

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''Players need to police themselves,'' Marlins executive Larry Beinfest said.

Interesting and none too surprising.  Fredi's managing mentor is Bobby Cox, as you all know, and Bobby Cox doesn't police the Braves players, that is what John Smoltz and Chipper Jones do.

It is an old school type of an approach, but a proven one.  It sounds like the Marlins have at the helm in the clubhouse, the two right guys for the job.  And that is exactly what is needed for the old school style to work.