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Fish Food (for thought): Stanton keeping, Wild Card dreaming, Game of Thrones

Meandering Sunday thoughts on the Fish and (almost) everyone’s favorite show (Spoiler Warning)

MLB: San Diego Padres at Miami Marlins
Didn’t have time to throw on the Monkey mask.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ed. Note: Fish Food articles will appear on Sundays (time permitting). They’ll largely contain a collection of thoughts over the previous week’s happenings for the Marlins, plus a couple of random, non-Marlins related topics. Hey, don’t tell me what I can and can’t do! - TB


I woke up this morning to a giant Marlins/Stanton article on ESPN’s MLB front page, and I had to double-check to make sure I was at the right website.

Nope, I got it right. A largely Marlins-centered feature on the front page. National attention is finally being garnered for what Stanton (and this team) is doing. Well deserved (if not past due).

Buster Olney (renowned Yankees mark) basically laid out the arguement for trading Stanton — too much money, would free up the books to better rebuild — then proceeded to say that Jeter would be foolish to trade him — then listed a bunch of large market teams where he’d be a great fit.

I was on board the keep Stanton train long before the man closed his stance (and big props to Mitch Custer for being one of the first to write about that). Now that he’s doing the best Barry Bonds impression up at the plate that anyone’s done since...Barry Bonds...there’s no way in hell you trade him. Stanton has finally become the batter we all hoped and dreamed he was capable of, and that player is definitely worth the money, because that player is indeed marketable and transcendent.

We should reject the idea that you can’t build a competitive team around Giancarlo Stanton. You may recall, back near the turn of the century, that a Barry Bonds-led Giants team reached the World Series. They would lose to a magic-fueled, rally monkey loving Halo squad that I’ll hate forever, but it shows you that someone taking up a tidy chunk of the payroll does not inhibit competitiveness. Bonds took up around 23% of the Giants payroll in 2002. If Stanton’s jump in salary had occurred this year, he’d still be taking up only around 22%. As it stands, he’s swallowing up around 13% this season.

Not to mention we are literally witnessing a competitive team unfold before our eyes, despite the pitching woes. Spending wisely is the name of the game. I am confident that the Sherman/Jeter group are eager to do just that when it comes to the task of team building. Keeping Stanton should definitely be a part of that process.

Wild Card dreaming

That’s a good segue into the current situation the Marlins find themselves in, 4.5 games back of a Wild Card spot after yesterday’s great extra innings victory over the Padres. The Fish quietly passed yet another competitor (the St. Louis Cardinals) in the race, and are now nipping at the heels of the Milwaukee Brewers, who’ve been in the mix all season long.

On Friday, one of our newest writers Brandon Carusillo wrote about the idea that this current run the Marlins were on wasn’t sustainable. He (we) picked up some flack for it, both here and on social media, which comes with the territory of writing for a public audience, but I felt I should address a couple things.

First, as the managing editor here, I take pride in the collection of voices we’ve gathered here at Fish Stripes; not all of us are going to agree on every aspect of what’s going on with the team, and in my mind, that’s a good thing. Despite what some may expect us to be, we are not strictly a cheer-leading squad. We cheer for the Fish when they do well and are dejected when they lose, but we also try and look a little deeper at the team, whether they are winning or losing, to determine underlying causes, notice trends and predict sustainability.

Brandon’s article was a fair assessment of a potential near-term future of this ball club. Personally, I think things have changed tangibly with Stanton’s performance and intangibly with the other players in the clubhouse; they’re believing in themselves and (largely) playing well together at the right time, and I feel they have the bats to power themselves to playoff position. That being said, even the most optimistic of us have to admit that expecting the starting pitching staff to hold up as presently constituted is more of a hope spot than a realistic expectation.

So, while I believe the Marlins can make it, I still wanted a piece that reflected our fears (and realism) as to why they wouldn’t. Brandon wrote the article, but I called for it’s creation, so if you’re still upset, you can @ me about it on twitter or email me, and I’ll be sure to promptly move on with my day. We’re all fans of the Marlins here, whether you’re #FishFamily or #MarlinsParty or #MarlinsCentrist, or none of the above, at the end of the day we all want them to succeed and do well.

Anyway, I penned a piece a couple weeks back pondering if the Marlins could take advantage of their schedule, and they’ve done exactly that. The schedule remains favorable, and they still have series match-ups with all three direct competitors in the NL Wild Card race, by which time they could find themselves in position to overtake one or the other by winning those respective series. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking stuff. Raise your hand if you thought the Marlins would be in this position back in late May (or even mid-July)?

**Spoiler Warning: Read no further if you are not caught up on Game of Thrones**

I know, not everyone loves Game of Thrones.

Connor and AJ are missing out, though. You should feel sorry for them!

Danaerys is down a dragon and the Night King is up a dragon, setting up what should be a fairly epic showdown of literal ice and fire clashing in the sky (probably next season).

So what should we see in this season’s series finale? Well, I would expect to see the army of the dead storm the wall (which is probably curtains for Dolorous Ed) near the end of the episode, and in the middle, a long-anticipated meeting between Danaerys and Jon and Cersei Lannister. You have to think Cersei has something crazy up her sleeve (see last season’s destruction of the Sept Baelor).

It’s Game of Thrones, so a beloved character is likely to go as well. I’d put money on Sir Davos Seaworth biting the dust somehow, but I’m not sure if that’s going to pack enough punch for a finale, so they’ll probably find some way to surprise us all as they are wont to do.

The question my wife and I are constantly coming back to these days is who is going to end up on the Iron Throne. My money was on Gendry even before he came back into the picture; now that he’s officially done rowing, I’m even more certain. It would be too easy to put Danaerys or Jon on the throne. You know Cersei is going to get hers in the end. It’s a little far-fetched to have a guy like Tyrion there in the end (though it would be fun). How they get there is going to be quite interesting. Have fun watching tonight, I know I will!