Why I am a Marlins fan

In response to Why are you a Marlins fan?

I was 16, had been living in South Florida with my family for a year since we've moved from Argentina, a country with almost no baseball at all. I played Rugby and so did my father, so I tried to be a Dolphins fan, Ricky Williams made it easy at the time. But I never really got the bug for Football. I don't recall watching many ballgames in 2002, but I always felt curious about a team so new and already with a championship ring. My first approach to baseball, I think, was collecting the little bobblehead players that came in cereals, which I still have.

About the middle of the 2003 season, after Jack McKeon came, everyone in the media was talking about the Marlins with real chances of getting into the postseason. My father, who knew as much about baseball as me, started to listen to Felo Ramirez' broadcasts in the car, despite my mother's complains. I started to memorize, just like if it was a game, the batting lineup and the rotation (Pierre, Castillo, Pudge... Pavano, Beckett, Penny, D-Train, Burnett) watching some games (understanding almost nothing) and reading El Nuevo Herald. By august and september I was much more adapted to life in South Florida, I was in my second year in High School, the first one had been difficult because of the cultural changes, but I started growing a feeling for the city. And everyone was, just like me, counting with the fingers the games behind in the wild card race. I remember getting home after school and watching passionately some games that had been postponed in San Francisco, the last games against the Phillies, which I started to hate that very month. And clinching the wild card spot. My MSN Messenger's nickname became "Let's get wild" which was the slogan the Marlins used after clinching the berth. From there it's probably the same story as many fans, Pudge's catch at home plate against the Giants, the Steve Bartman incident, the amazing performance by Beckett in old Yankee stadium.

I got frustrated with the ugly seasons of 2004 and 2005.. I learned a lot from the game by playing EA Sports MVP 2005 (which I still play!). In january 2006 I decided to go back to Argentina alone, leaving my parents and the Marlins in South Florida for some years. I don't exactly remember why, but some time by May 2012 I was wondering what happened to the Marlins. At first it was shocking to see the new colours, but I digged the new name and stadium almost instantly (well, except the HR sculpture). I started to watch the games again, this time on the internet, reading sites like FishStripes, getting into sabermetrics, the history of the game, the current players. It's been more than two years now since I became a full time fan again. Giancarlo and José are my my idols. José's story, specially, thrills me.

Last winter I went back to Miami to visit my parents for the first time since I left, after 8 years. I did a guided tour to the stadium, yet I'm still to watch a live game.

Many frustrations with my soccer team, River Plate, and its south american way of handling things made me try to step back from it for a while. And that's probably when the Marlins, and baseball in general, filled a hole in my life. My soccer team is doing really fine now, it's playing according to its identity again. But I can't be separated from the Marlins now.

Many times I wondered about the Marlins idiosyncrasy, which is so similar to Miami's. Both Miami and the Marlins are in some way transit points. No one starts or finish there, it's just a stage in your life. Miami's trying to build a reputation as a real city in its own right, but the actual local people is a very small percentage of its population. Miami's been a stage in my life (and probably will be again in the near future) but even though I grew a strange feeling similar to love to it, and I feel comfortable there, I just can't call it home. Assuming that that happens to a huge part of Miami's population, I think it makes sense the fact that the Marlins never got really popular within the city (neither abroad, well).

If just more people realized that the Marlins, with its ugly color scheme, expensive and nasty home run sculpture, terrible management and a certaing feeling of a perpetual incoming dissapointing, are a metaphor for Miami and its unique way of life and thinking, maybe they'd grow more ties to the them, just like I did.

Diego Mintz
Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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