It’s become apparent that keeping up a Marlins blog is not easy–especially in the offseason–given the lackluster performance of this team in recent history and their seeming inability to provide any sustainable excitement. Luckily for me, it’s basketball season in Dayton, Ohio, which means I can ignore that:
Tommy Hutton is out
The color commentator of 19 years for the Marlins, Tommy Hutton was let go in a “mutual decision between the Marlins and Fox Sports.” Any “mutual decision,” or really any vague reasoning for a firing in Miami is likely just code for Jeffrey Loria deciding Hutton didn’t praise him enough as owner.
An article on the NBC Sports blog “Hardball Talk” points to “negativity” as the reason for Hutton’s firing. While he was fiery, passionate, and often critical, Hutton was by no means negative of Marlins players or management on the air. He brought out positives whenever he could and was well-respected by the Marlins community–made obvious by his 19-year tenure.
Now with Hutton gone, Rich Waltz will get a new partner in the Fox Sports Florida booth for the first time in his eleven years with the team. My guess is longtime player and “Mr. Marlin” Jeff Conine, who currently gives pre- and postgame analysis for the Fox Sports Florida team will be promoted to the in-game color job.
Barry Bonds is likely to become hitting coach
Rumors surfaced today that Barry Bonds is a strong candidate for the hitting coach position in Miami’s dugout. I don’t know how I feel about this one. The *Home Run King* of baseball, Bonds was clearly great at what he did, but the current Marlins lineup is much more suited for small ball and baserunning, not plopping 450-foot home runs into the right field bleachers. Save of course Giancarlo Stanton, this lineup is not making a living off long balls.
With regards to that, the Marlins are moving in the fences at Marlins Park this offseason to hopefully create more reasonable fly ball-to-home run percentages at their home stadium.
We all saw Zimmermann’s departure from Washington coming, but it’s still shame to have actually been realized. Aside from Max Scherzer, Zimmermann has by far been the Nationals’ most consistent and dominant pitcher in a rotation that boasted the “best in baseball” label for the past few disappointing seasons. Hopefully for the Nats’ sake, Scherzer, Strasburg, and company can anchor down with the young up-and-comers and get the team back to its place at the top of the division. But Zimmermann’s absence certainly creates a veteran void.
Dayton lost to Xavier on Sunday
An old Ohio college hoops rivalry was rekindled Sunday when the Flyers met up with Xavier in the championship of Orlando’s Advocare Invitational. Dayton was outplayed–to understate it–and lost by 29. It was their first loss of the young season, and a definite building block for the team, which is led by three juniors.
As impressive as the Flyers have looked otherwise this year, Paul‘s Xavier Musketeers have been even better. I firmly believe both teams will end up in the Sweet 16 come March and play spoiler to whomever is unfortunate enough to meet them when they’re hot.
I don’t know if Dayton and Xavier will ever get to play again while we’re still in college, but I sure hope UD gets a fair shot at redemption sometime in the next few seasons.
In about 80 days, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. I’ll try to pass the time with school, basketball, and whatever else comes my way. So long!