RealiIn an otherworldly turn of events, I found myself today agreeing wholeheartedly with Jay Mariotti…OK, forget it. I absolutely cannot go that far, even for the sake of this blog. But it was at least three-quarters-heartedly, I swear. Mariotti’s 30-second rant on the Marlins’ willingness to part with Miguel Cabrera capped off yet another riveting episode of Around the Horn today (or it looked riveting the few times I surfed by during the commercial breaks of a show that doesn’t annoy the snot out of me).

Since ATH has ignored my repeated requests to be Bill Plaschke’s replacement on the show, I will instead have to use my–very prominent–MLBlogs forum to voice my personal feelings on this latest development in the annual saga also known as the Florida Marlins off-season.

First of all, Mariotti: CALM IT. Panicking is what they want you to do! I haven’t quite figured out why, but in my ten+ years as a Fish fan, it has become quite clear that the organization is not satisfied until they have managed to alienate whatever is left of their fan base at the end of each year. Whether this means backing out of promised contributions to a new baseball stadium, threatening to move to Idaho, or dangling the face of the franchise in front of teams that are willing to pay obscene amounts of cash for him, all I know is that complete psychological and/or emotional torture of Fish fans is the ultimate goal. So when you freak out at the first mention of a potential Cabrera trade with the evil New York Empire, Jay, you are playing right into their hands. Good God, man, get it together!

As a fan that is well-versed in the art of dealing with these miserable Hot Stove shenanigans, I can tell you that it is far too early to panic. This is a game we play every year, and overreaction only leads to agony. Agony that may not even be necessary, since Cabrera could very well begin next season as a Marlin. (Then again, as a long-time wearer of teal and black, I am living in the only place that offers a reprieve from the bitter realities of this franchise: a perpetual state of denial. As you will learn, Mr. Mariotti, this state of being is an absolute necessity for self-preservation.)

I’m going to give you some advice, Jay. You must embrace the pain. When you are a fan of Florida (as you have so obviously declared yourself to be this past year, spending at least 45 seconds discussing them on the show) you will learn to make peace with agonizing heartache. To wear sorrow as a warm blanket. To bask in the burning pain in your soul.

OK, so the loss of Miguel Cabrera could be a devastating blow to what is left of the Marlins’ fan base. So you finally "get" why people aren’t busting down the gates of Dolphin Stadium. So you’ve experienced the teensiest taste of the nail-biting, stomach-turning, jaw-dropping, dismaying and downright unjust reality of Marlin fannery…well, welcome to my everyday life! Please enjoy your stay.

Trust me, Mariotti, you’ll kick and scream at first, but after a few dozen blows, the fight will go out of you. And then like any good victim of abuse, no matter how many times they hit you, no matter how many times they kick you when you’re already down and bleeding, no matter what heinous torture and heart-shredding they put you through, what will you do? You will roll over, pick your teeth up off the floor, wipe away your tears, and (leaning heavily upon crutches and several prosthetic limbs) you will take the hand of the one who has mangled your soul beyond repair, and you will agree that it is your fault they did this to you. Because you aren’t good enough. Because you aren’t buying enough tickets or going to enough games. Because you made them do it.

And then you’ll believe them when they tell you they didn’t mean it; that things will be different now…that you shouldn’t press charges because it will never happen again. And so you will calmly explain to the authorities that you fell down the stairs, again, and the vicious cycle will continue.

It’s all a part of the glorious experience of being a Marlins fan.

Of course, I could have completely misinterpreted Jay’s motives behind speaking about the Marlins on the show today. I guess it could have just been a slow news day or something. In which case…forget everything I just said.

Happy Hot Stove to all, and to all a good night.


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