Monday, November 5, 2018

Magic in Miami: The Marlins' Home Run Sculpture Has Disappeared

Now you see the home run sculpture, now you don't.  (GQ Magazine)

The 2018 season was a year in which the Miami Marlins celebrated their 25th anniversary.  To commemorate the occasion, the team's new CEO and co-owner - as always, we'll call him Dirk Jitters to protect the guilty - decided to field an expansion team just like their 1993 counterparts did.

Mr. Jitters' decision was a smashing success, as the 2018 squad lost 98 games, just like the original Marlins did 25 years earlier.  Of course, that 1993 team also coaxed over 3,000,000 fans to come through the turnstiles, while the 2018 version drew a franchise-record low 811,104 people to Marlins Park.  But negative numbers clearly don't seem to faze Mr. Jitters.  I mean, have you seen where he ranks all-time in the defensive runs saved statistic?

His defensive "prowess" netted him five Gold Glove Awards, a number surpassed by only four shortstops in history (Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, Luis Aparicio, Mark Belanger) so why should something like negative one million defensive runs saved (give or take a few runs) tarnish his legacy as a baseball legend?  And on a similar note, why should something like wins and losses matter to a team's CEO/co-owner when there are more pressing matters at hand?

That's right.  I'm talking about the Marlins' Home Run sculpture.

It's been no secret that Mr. Jitters has hated the Miami monstrosity since he started to sign his own paychecks.  In fact, he's wanted to remove the animatronic sculpture called "Homer" - which probably got its name not from the prodigious pokes that Giancarlo Stanton was supposed to hit in its vicinity, but because its colors were reminiscent of Homer Simpson's favorite pastry - ever since his tenure with the Marlins began, right after he decided that the team didn't need the services of Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and soon-to-be N.L. MVP Christian Yelich.

Mr. Jitters had many hurdles to climb to get Homer removed from the mostly vacant stadium, but he finally got his wish.  And according to Miami sports radio host Andy Slater, the sculpture's status as the Marlins' longest tenured, um, thing has come to a sad and barely reported end.

Where the home run sculpture once stood, Mr. Jitters plans to have an area that can fit 400 people who want to pay very little to get into the ballpark and have no qualms about standing for the entire game.  In other words, people who have no access to StubHub and don't mind standing over 400 feet away from where the team's latest Quadruple-A player is striking out at the plate.

It's all part of Mr. Jitters' plan to make the Marlins relevant again.  Which also implies that the Marlins were ever relevant to begin with.  Who knows?  Maybe this is all part of his master plan to get back at the Marlins for denying him a ring in the 2003 World Series.  Or maybe he wants to further alienate Marlins Man for wearing that gaudy orange jersey and visor to sporting events and for getting more screen time than Mr. Jitters ever did making commercials or diving unnecessarily into field level seats to make an otherwise routine catch of a pop-up look more spectacular.

The motives of Mr. Jitters will remain as mysterious as the contents of his gift baskets.  But at least his machinations as Miami's new CEO allowed the Mets to stay out of last place in 2018.  And for those dozens of Marlins fans who come out to the ballpark to cheer on their favorite team, at least the only eyesore they'll have inside the stadium in 2019 will be the players in the home dugout instead of the seven-story sculpture in left-center field.

I guess Mr. Jitters really does care about his new team's fan base after all.

So glad the Studious Metsimus staff will never get the chance to take this photo ever again.

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