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Fish Bites: Opening Day Approaches

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Mar 13, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (2) makes a play against the Atlanta Braves at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 13, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (2) makes a play against the Atlanta Braves at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

As Opening Day looms for the Marlins within the month, fans are on edge for various reasons. After this week's early injury scare involving Giancarlo Stanton, Fish fans are desperately hoping the team can escape without serious health problems and with their lineup intact. Let's take a look at the happenings of Spring Training for the Fish this week.

- It's only Spring Training, but manager Ozzie Guillen has been ready to get angry and get ejected this entire time. He certainly did just that against the Boston Red Sox recently. I'm OK with that.

- Apparently, as Ozzie was being ejected, Red Sox manager (and former Marlins manager candidate) Bobby Valentine waved him goodbye in joking fashion. Got to love Ozzie's response:

"I would have told him to go f— himself, too. That’s the way Ozzie Guillen is," he said, punctuating the comment with a throaty laugh. "I don’t mind getting ejected, man. That’s my job. If I get ejected protecting my players, I can sleep at night."

- Ozzie is great for some theatrics, but we all know much of the 2012 season is going to rely on a return to form of both Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez. We just discussed Johnson today, and from what we have read, he's been making progress. Interesting to hear that Johnson has tabled his new curveball from last season recently in order to focus on strengthening his slider after missing so much time with his shoulder injury.

- As mentioned, Ramirez is also getting a lot of work, and there is improvement in his third base play. He's made a couple of nice stabs over at the hot corner, but the Marlins will be wary of him diving for too many balls. I would agree with that for sure; the 0.7-run difference between an out and an average hit is just not worth Hanley missing time for the Marlins.

- There are lot of new previews about the Miami Marlins coming up. One of them, I'm sad to admit, I was asked to participate in and did not reply in time because of my hectic schedule. Luckily for me, Justin Klugh of FanSided's Call to the Pen had no problem talking to Ehsan Kassim of my old blog Marlin Maniac and the always outspoken SCWS to form this nice season preview. Read it for the humor, the candor, and all the other goodies. I promise to get back to you on the next one Justin, my apologies.

- What, you want another preview? Here's ESPN SweetSpot's own David Schoenfield saying why the Marlins might very well win 86 games. It's a great read, but what a convenient number that I've used more than a few times to peg the Fish's win totals...

- Speaking of Marlin Maniac, Bill Moore of the blog says that the new stadium could play a role in giving the Fish a better home field advantage. One sure hopes so.

- If the Marlins are banking on the stadium giving them any advantage, they had better get their parking situation in order. First, the team doesn't build enough parking on-site for stadium, and then the city of Miami finally got out of the property tax issue regarding those parking garages on-site; the city will not be paying taxes on the garages. If you don't live in Miami (and I don't), it looks like getting to the stadium may be an extreme hassle.

- And of course, it doesn't help when weasley David Samson calls the people of Miami "idiots" on an interview as well (H/T jrsyeagle). Turns out it was all taken out of context, though SCWS has his thoughts on the matter.

- If you cannot get enough of me, you can always catch me talking fantasy baseball. Here, I discuss the Marlins with Grey over at Razzball. He has some fun questions, and we got to everything.

Around the League

- Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves left some quote that had people thinking retirement for him. He later told Mark Bowman of that he wasn't really considering it and that it was just a joke. gondee over at Talking Chop has you covered on this matter.

- You know what's cool? This Seattle Mariners commercial (H/T Big League Stew). Ichiro Suzuki has got that charisma.

At Fish Stripes

- If you did not catch our coverage of the Miami Marlins Season Preview, you really should. Here are previews for right field and our ace, Josh Johnson.

- We also discussed the possibility (again) of a Giancarlo Stanton extension, this time with more comps. Yes we're all for it, just get it done already.

- Just when we talked about his contract, Giancarlo's wrist gets hit. Luckily, X-rays are negative and everything seems to be fine.

- In between previewing players, we discussed how the Marlins' ballpark may play.

- Did you catch our weekend features? Here's the latest Wild Pitch and you can also answer an excellent poll question: Who are the Marlins' biggest rivals?