In the days after the Miami Marlins burned down their entire roster, then plowed salt and poison and Essence of Jeff Mathis into the rubble, a pair of not-quite-contradictory ideas about the trade emerged. Some of your less measured commentators used the deal as an excuse to make a bunch of elaborate and unnecessarily David Mamet-inflected jokes, or as an opportunity to diagnose the further disintegration of a basic social contract between team owners and their fans and communities. At the same time, though, there emerged the consensus that this was a mostly defensible baseball decision made by an utterly indefensible person in a characteristically indefensible fashion. The deal, and the further deals that will surely follow, was ugly, but probably a bit more complicated than the LORIA :( analysis suggested. If anyone who cares about baseball could think or talk about the Marlins or their owner, Evil Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, without weep-barfing themselves unconscious, last week's developments probably would be an interesting thing to talk about.
But life and business goes on for the Marlins, who will be tasked with getting at least a few hundred people to watch baseball in the Bedazzled pastel mausoleum that Loria eminent-domain'ed and subsidy-hustled into existence as a home for the team that he has turned into an ongoing exercise in civic dread. For starters, that means populating a roster that currently has only a handful of (very nervous/sad) players under contract. Over the weekend, the team took a first step in that direction by signing outfielder Juan Pierre. Pierre experienced something of a bounce-back season with the Philadelphia Phillies last year; he is also the sort of player who OPS+'s 95 in his bounce-back season, and the specific player who was worth 0.8 wins over the previous five seasons combined before the last one. Pierre is, in other words, a flawed player, but was within the team's budget, and available, and did have some good season with the Marlins last decade. On Monday afternoon, the Marlins official Twitter announced that they'd signed the three-time stolen base champ (and seven-time caught stealing champ) with an official tweet.
This is the sort of thing MLB teams do to keep fans informed and, where possible, excited. The Marlins, of course, have a tougher task than most in this regard, because of the unabashed glee with which their owner just finished giddily pissing on the charred foundations of the house that he just burned down, which house those fans had built for him with $500 million of their money. And so the Marlins staff got to work. They went through their team archives, found a photo of Juan Pierre that would get fans excited about the rebirth in Miami that we might as well start calling The Miami Miracle, and attached that photo to the official tweet. Here's the photo:
And there's the excitement. Opening Day is only like 150 or so days away, and good seats are still available. Thanks to Emma Span for hipping me to the photo, and to Ryan Kelly for pointing out that this is actually an old photo of an appropriately sad Pierre wearing the team's old uniform, which somehow makes it better.