Can 2013 Miami Marlins Compete in Tough NL East, and Does Anyone Care?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins–a MLB franchise that has become synonymous with the words “Fire Sale”, and “Public Funding”, and “Dysfunctional”–are fielding an almost entirely new team in 2013. Not just new to the Marlins, but new to many baseball fans and broadcasters as well.

After another misguided attempt at building a team through deep pockets and excessive free agent acquisitions that ended in selling off the team piece by piece in fashion that would have made even Gordon Gekko jealous, the Marlins are faced with fielding a team of unknown faces and untested prospects.

Am I dreaming or is this the plot to Major League all over again? (Scanning Marlins roster for Pedro Cerrano and Rick Vaughn)

When you look over the current 40-man roster (and many of the non-roster invitees), you see lots of 1s, 2s and 3s in the “years service” column. Of course where you don’t see those small numbers, you see rather inflated ones like a 15 or a 13, signifying where players have come to the Sunshine State to live out the golden years of their careers.

The worst part of all this is, that nobody really seems to care. The Marlins have become such a public relations pariah, that even their own fans seem to give little regard to who is or isn’t going to be on the field come Opening Day. This, in and of itself, is one of the saddest commentaries in all the league, and the reason that commissioner Bud Selig needs to quietly step in, and use his indubitable charm to convince Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria to stick the For Sale sign out in the front lawn of Marlins Park.

The Marlins may become the small market surprise of 2013, with their band of raggedy veterans and green rookies pulling together for a miracle season. If that happens, Loria will figure out some other way to absolutely kill any feelings of goodwill that would come of such a season in the Miami community.

The chances are that none of that will happen. The Marlins will more than likely find themselves buried in the cellar of the NL East, taking regular hidings from everyone else in the division–even the New York Mets. And when that happens, Loria will surely blame the lack of ticket sales and support for his inability to field a competitive team.

Nobody seems to care about the Marlins right now, but the way it should be is that nobody cares about Jeffrey Loria. The fans in South Florida deserve more for all they’ve put up with over the years.

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Michael Collins is a Rant Sports Senior Writer, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook

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