Category Archives: My 2 Buck$ of the Day

A ‘Bad’ Marlins Fan Speaks Out

For years I have been reading and hearing that I am a bad Florida Marlins fan because I do not attend games regularly.

It’s not just me, you understand.  The Marlins enjoy the annual distinction of having the lowest attendance in Major League Baseball.

Here are some of the excuses we have heard as reasons why nobody seems to attend the games

  1. South Florida is a bad sports market
  2. The Marlins play in a stadium designed for football
  3. Potential rain-outs and delays cause fans to stay home

So, Marlins owner, Jeff Loria believes (as previous owners H. Wayne Huizenga and current Boston Red Sox owner John Henry) that if a baseball-only stadium with a retractable roof was constructed it would resolve points 2 and 3 – thereby solving all of the world’s problems.

“People will come.  They’ll come to [Marlins Stadium] for reasons they can’t even fathom.  They’ll turn up [at the stadium] not knowing for sure why they’re doing it.  They’ll arrive … as innocent as children, longing for the past. … It’s only $20 [per beer].  They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it.”

What these out-of-touch rich people don’t realize is that this isn’t Field of Dreams.  It’s not about the seats in a stadium and it isn’t the worry of going to a game that will be rained out.

It is about having your heart crushed year after year.  Yes, I realize that the Marlins have accomplished something very few teams outside of the Bronx have been able to do.  They won 2 World Series Championships in less than 10 years.

Landshark Stadium - Home of the Marlins

The Marlins made their major league debut as an expansion team in 1993.  I attended the first game at the stadium with a bunch of friends.  The stadium was packed and our seats were deep in the nosebleeds.  But I was at the game and thrilled.  No longer was I going to be subjected to attending baseball games during the exhibition season or on my almost annual trips to New York.

I attended numerous games in 1993 and in the years that followed.  Huizenga and his front office did a great job of mixing in youth and quality higher priced stars and the result was a World Series championship in 1997.

1997 World Champions

For some reason, Huizenga wasn’t happy that the games didn’t sell out immediately and didn’t want to culture a following.  He announced during a mid-season series with the New York Yankees that he planned on reducing the salary after the 1997 season whether the Marlins won or not.

And dump it he did.  The first to go was one of their top hitters, Moises Alou (November 11) followed a week later with trades to closer Robb Nenn and center fielder Devon White.  Two days later fan favorite, Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine was gone.  Next was pitching ace Kevin Brown.

This is how a team wins the World Series and loses over 100 games the next year.

If that’s all it was – but noooooooooooooo.

How’s this for a trade?  May 14, 1998 (the season was one month old) – Traded Manuel Barrios, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson and Gary Sheffield to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile.  The Dodgers should have been required to change their name to the Marlins after that trade though the trade does seem fair until …

To avoid the high salary, the Marlins traded Piazza 8 days later to the Mets for a few unknown players.

Zeile hung on with the Marlins until the first annual July fire sale when he was sent to Texas.

The salary dump continued – and continued – and continued.  Any player, who moved to the top of the salary chart or if they were due a nice increase during the off-season was traded.  The trades either happened during the winter months or before the July trading deadline when they could get more young talent courtesy of teams vying for a playoff spot.

After the 1998 season, Huizenga sold the team to John Henry but the fire sales and cheapness continued.  Each season, we watched a crop of young players play their hearts out nearly always over-achieving.  Each season, the fans had hopes that we’d get that player to hang our hats on – the player who’d hang around to reach his prime in a Marlins uniform.

Of course it never happened.

Somewhere along the line, John Henry decided to make a pitch for a new baseball only stadium.  He said he didn’t have the money to build one himself, like Joe Robbie had done years earlier for the Miami Dolphins.  He felt the taxpayers should foot the bill and provide him with the profits.

After the 2002 season the big ownership shift occurred.  John Henry sold the Marlins and bought the Boston Red Sox AND Fenway Park (but he didn’t have money).  Jeffrey Loria sold the Montreal Expos (now Washington Nationals) to Major League Baseball and bought the Florida Marlins.

Talk about mixed emotions.  I was thrilled that Henry was gone and pissed that he had the money to buy the Red Sox and their stadium but didn’t have the money to try to build a winner and a fan base here.

Meanwhile, Loria proved to be a cheap owner in Montreal and I knew he’d pull the same garbage here.  Why baseball didn’t try to seek out an owner with some money in their pockets is beyond me.

So, 2003 comes and these young kids played well.  Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis came up in May and the Marlins changed managers and the next thing you know the Marlins won the World Series.  With a bunch of kids.  They beat the high priced New York Yankees.

One month after winning the World Series, the Marlins traded power hitting first baseman Derrek Lee and a month later rightfielder Juan Encarnacion was gone.  Not to mention the players who left via free agency like catcher Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez and closer Ugueth Urbina.

The Marlins had just won the World Series again and 3 starters were immediately dumped.  And you wonder why the fans don’t come flowing out to the stadium.

The annual fire sales don’t occur under this regime but what it does is even worse.  The Marlins have the lowest payroll in baseball.  To make matters worse – the money the Marlins take in from league revenue sharing actually exceeds the team payroll.  In other words, any money the team brings in from ticket sales, merchandise, television / radio rights, etc goes right into Loria’s pocket.

The City of Miami is using taxpayer money to build a new baseball only stadium at the site that used to be the Orange Bowl.  Parking and access to this area is weak.  Metro Rail does not have a stop there.

The true Marlins fan base is located in Broward and Palm Beach Counties so building the stadium deep into Miami-Dade County makes little sense – especially since a quality offer was made in Hialeah Gardens only minutes from the Broward County line.

If you think the fan base is going to attend games there, you’ve got another thing coming.  Then Loria will be back to dumping the talent at the regular July fire sale.

So let’s put a little perspective on this.

For the sake of argument let’s use the New York Yankees.  The Yankees won the World Series.  Before Thanksgiving, they let Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon leave via free agency.  They trade Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and AJ Burnett.

2009 World Champion NY Yankees

By 2010, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Mark Teixeira are gone.  Everyone traded for an unknown set of minor league prospects.

In 2011, with a cast of unknowns, they win 84 games.  The fans fall in love with a couple of the better kids.  During the off season, they’re both traded.

Flash forward 12 seasons.  Their payroll is hovering around $50 million while most teams spend between $150 and $200 million.  They consistently win 80 to 86 games and their best players last maybe 1 or 2 years tops.  They never make a trade to help the team immediately down the stretch.

Feel free to throw in a fluke World Series victory in say 2017.  After that season, the 4 best players are gone.

How long before the Yankees fans stop going to the games?  It’s obvious that the ‘fictitious’ Steinbrenners don’t care.

And I’m ignoring 2 important things here – okay 3.

  1. These are the New York Yankees
  2. They just opened a brand new state-of-the-art stadium this year with easy access.
  3. The Yankees have been around forever and have developed a fan base over generations.

If the Yankees were just not good, they’d still get fans. But if they continually dumped the talent, I believe that many fans would take a hike.  Especially at the prices they charge.

Fans don’t need their teams to win every year.  We just need an owner who acts like he cares about the fans and attempts to have a commitment to winning.  That is what the Marlins have lacked.

An empty Yankee Stadium

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People watching at the mall – Men in Capris

This past weekend my wife and I took our walking indoors to Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise.  It is a very large tourist trap / discount mall which attracts people from all over including tours from the cruise lines.

One of the things we enjoy is people-watching.  It adds a little excitement to the walk and sometimes we look at a specific fashion style or accessory.  During our recent time in EPCOT, I was on the lookout for people wearing crocs. 

At least they match the shirt

At least they match the shirt

Sunday, I began by looking for men wearing fanny bags.  Except for senior citizen men, this has been out of style for around 20 years.  I’m still trying to forget that I used to wear one – along with my zubaz. 

Zubaz and a suit.  Now that's class

Zubaz and a suit. Now that's class

I wasn’t inside the mall more than 3 minutes before I identified 2 men wearing fanny packs. 

a good use of fanny pack

I'm glad he's wearing a fanny pack

Do you want to tell him?

Do you want to tell him?

Then my wife informed me of her fashion oddity.  She would be looking for men wearing capris.  Thanks to a Christopher Titus standup routine, each time she saw one, she said to me that he’d have to ‘turn in his man card.’

I have to admit, it was fun seeking out the manpris.   Pants on a man that taper around the calf and shin with ties or buttons is just plain wrong.  Even if it is in style – just like zubaz. 

capri 1

capri 2

We saw one man in his 20’s wearing shorts that they wore in the 1970’s.  You only see those frighteningly short shorts on senior citizen men who have decided they want to start exercising and those are the only shorts they own.

1970's shorts

I was flabbergasted when I saw someone wearing what appeared to be regular jeans with the leg cuffs folded up a couple of times ending around his calfs. 

No comment

No comment

We saw dozens in the 90 minutes we were walking and they varied from khaki to jean capris.  We even saw a man who looked like he fell out of Woodstock in the 1960’s wearing stone washed, torn, ragged jean capris.  It was hilarious – along with his unwashed, frazzled gray pony tail.

What we found amazing was that you could not pin down the Capri phenomenon to a specific stereotype.  Young, old, black, white, American, European.  It didn’t matter.  It seems like we saw all cultures covered. 

The only thing was certain.  Men should not wear capris and if they do – they must turn in their man card. 

man-card

 

Burress the Dumbass Goes To Jail

Imagine accidentally shooting yourself in the leg and then going to jail for your trouble.

That is what has happened to former Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress.

Burress was sentenced to 2 years in prison for shooting himself in the leg while at a nightclub.  He reached a plea agreement on weapons charges.

Of course the real charges that landed him behind bars were the 2 counts of weapon possession and 1 count of reckless endangerment.  Reckless endangerment?  You think?

Burress carried an unlicensed gun into a nightclub.  The gun slipped from his waistband and fired in his pant leg.  Stupid or just unlucky?

Burress faced a minimum sentence of 3½ years if he had been found guilty during a trial however he opted to plea to a lesser charge and was given a 2 year term which could see him released after serving 20 months with good behavior.

Burress hopes to pull a Michael Vick and return to the NFL when he is released.

Click for full story

burress2

burress1

Lottery sees 2 consecutive identical draws – Coincidence?

And the winning numbers are 4 – 15 – 23 – 24 – 35 – 42.

That was the Bulgarian national lottery results on September 6th.  And in case you missed it that was also the results on September 10th.

After the investigation, it was determined that there was no wrongdoing.

The lottery organizers believe their system is tamper-proof.  It is broadcast on live national television in the presence of a special committee.

Didn’t anyone else see that episode on Monk?  Put a little metallic paint on the balls and a magnet above the machine and wham-o you have a repeat performance.

How many books have I read, movies or television programs I watched where they said the lottery is simple to fix?  But not in Bulgaria.

There were no winners on for the first drawing but the second drawing saw 18 people holding winning tickets of $7,700 each.

Click for full story

lottery monnk

Scenes from Mr Monk Gets Lotto Fever

Scenes from Mr Monk Gets Lotto Fever

Happy 1st Anniversary My2Buck$

happy-anniversary-BLUE

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since this page was launched.  I had finally had enough of the childish behavior in the Democratic Party between the Obama and Clinton camps and was increasingly frustrated that the media seemed to ignore the ‘activities’ coming from the Republicans. 

I had given web pages a try but found that time didn’t allow for the devotion necessary to maintain the site (kind of like my last couple of months). 

My fourth attempt at a web site in 2007 called Webnutiae, later renamed My 2 Cents, attempted to provide an overview of the 2008 presidential race from both parties.  I also had a key feature called Is China Purposely Poisoning Us?

People thought I was exaggerating my concern over the imports of toothpaste, tires, fish, pet feed, toys, etc from China.  That was until China’s food safety chief was executed in July, 2007.

Then the lead-based paint in toys hit the front pages of the papers and my bandwagon filled quickly.

As the latest import issue of Chinese dry wall hit the news, I started reminiscing about that site.

Then came My2Buck$.  Designed to reflect my thoughts at the moment, I never expected to have more readers than my email circle of friends. 

What I found interesting was my friends showed no sustaining interest to read my writings and my hit count lagged.  Just as I considered packing in this attempt, Deanna started coming to the site.  She gave me the motivation I needed to continue.  (Thank you Deanna)

As the weeks progressed, more people visited and I found that I really enjoyed writing for this site and sharing perspectives with others. 

Overall, I found that my hurricane posts had done better than my political posts and I suspect as hurricane season comes ‘round again, those friends will be back again. 

My early Sarah Palin posts did very well since everyone was desperate to find out as much as they could about her.  I had 1 post that truly went viral having about 75,000 hits in one day.  The hits and comments for this post were fast and furious – I ended with over 400 for the letter and I stopped trying to respond to each one.

The right-wing sites found me and I was bombarded with comments bashing me, my readers and my issues. 

I’ve had my share of hate mail but my favorite one is the following:

As a Texas coast resident I was searching for Ike spaghetti models since I missed tghe news this evening. I am DISGUSTED by your anti republican propaganda and rhetoric on your website. I will never check your website again…and by the way McCain and Palin will win the election you moron.

I guess she (yes she left a name) doesn’t care for the truth.  I just wonder if she looked at the spaghetti models BEFORE she left the site.

I realized that having a blog with thousands of hits in 1 day robbed me of the opportunity to communicate with my on-line friends. 

Part of me was actually grateful to see the hits decrease.  Thousands per day were just overwhelming since I am limited in time.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love comments and responding to them and I even look forward to the comments from the right because it allows me to debate the issues.  Facts beat Fox every time.

Obama won the election and my on-line friends rejoiced.  There was much work to do.  

Our post counts reduced and some thought about leaving.  (I’m glad you’re back Cats though I don’t have the time to comment as much as I’d like)

And then the economic downturn hit me.  I was informed that if I do not seek another position by mid-2009, I would join the ranks of the unemployed.  So I found another job within my department that required many more hours than I had been working.  And since they weren’t going to replace my old position, I get to keep my old work too.  All for the same money because they know I’d prefer this versus no income. 

So I go into the office earlier – work through lunch and stay until evening.  Sometimes I even work after I eat dinner.  And let’s not talk about the weekend.

No question, my family time has reduced but I work hard to make quality use of it. 

As such, I may have to write short bullets about issues and link them together over days as the story changes.

I also miss visiting everyone’s sites.  I miss reading your perspectives – even if I don’t get to comment – I would try to read your work. 

See what I did?  I took the joyous occasion of the 1 year anniversary of this page and I went negative. 

Anyway, it has been a wonderful year and I hope that year 2 will provide as many memories as year 1 has and that I can continue to maintain my on-line friendships as well as get back in the flow.

To those who have visited this site and have left comments thank you.  If you are a regular reader and have a site that you do not see linked here, let me know.  I’d love to post the link.

Thank you for making this a truly rewarding experience.

toast2

My2Buck$

Back from a much needed vacation

The batteries are recharged. I’m feeling better already – except for the part about having to go back to work.

A one-week Caribbean cruise will do that to you. Sun – Music – Alcohol.

I did my best to avoid thinking about work. I recently changed positions in my company – remaining in the same department – taking on a ton more responsibility. I had been told that my previous position would likely be eliminated during 2009 if I didn’t make a move. So in staying within the department I was given an entire new list of job objectives that will require anywhere from 40-80 hours per week depending on the project lifecycle. And just for playing, I got to keep much of my old responsibilities – all for that special price of having a job at the same salary. Hurray! Where’s my Rice-a-roni – the San Francisco treat?

For the next 7 months, my job will increase in work and stress until I need another vacation. I hope to post as much as I can but employment comes first.

You may have noticed the reduction in posts over the recent weeks. You can blame the job – or thank the job to my friends who disagree with me. J

Back on the ship . . . Each morning, my cabin received an insert of New York Times articles. I bypassed anything that said Obama. I didn’t want to think of anything politics.

After returning home and unpacking, I checked my portfolio. BIG MISTAKE.

The market did well last week. Very well, in fact. Not my holdings. Some went up meekly while others held steady. And don’t get me started on the 2 that fell. And you called this a rally?

I haven’t caught up on the news yet with the exception of this Jim Cramer versus Jon Stewart extravaganza.

What’s next for My 2 Bucks?

I plan on continuing with my passions – politics and weird news stories. I also expect that I’ll need a stress relief so if need be, I may vent here. Then again, screaming in the car has done well for me so far.

The big news over the next few months is that my eldest child will be leaving for college in June. It has been recommended to me that I write about the experience as others may be sharing the same experiences. I may give that a whirl too.

When I started this site last May, I never intended to be solely a political blog. It just happened to turn into that (with the exception of hurricane season.)

So expect a brief review of my cruise and the ‘I can’t believe I missed this while on vacation’ post – if the news last week warranted that.

Senator Comedian

frankenberry

Al Franken

Comedian Al Franken looks like he will officially become Senator Al Franken as the Minnesota State Canvassing Board certified his victory.

Norm Coleman had led after the initial counting of the votes but the results were tight enough to automatically spur a recount. Coleman used the courts to attempt to limit the number of absentee and discarded ballots from the recount losing every step of the way.

Franken won the recount by 225 votes. Since the courts rejected Coleman’s attempt to limit the ballots counted, Coleman returned to court in an attempt to get an additional 650 rejected votes counted. If you can’t get the votes thrown out, try to get it tied up in court.

The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected Coleman’s request paving the way for a Franken victory. Now Coleman is attempting to move this to the federal court system by challenging the results.

With the country in a recession, 2 wars and many problems to overcome, you have to admire Coleman’s ‘I must win at all costs’ mentality.

Hey Norm! It’s time to pack it in.

norm-cheers