Taking baseball a little less seriously

Baseball America's Early Draft Preview
Mailbag: Ortiz, Jackson, Choo, Sanchez, Soler
Even Bill Veeck might have drawn the line with this one. (Via MLB.com)

A few months ago, as the Marlins unveiled their plans for the ins and outs of the new stadium, the one aspect the took the public by storm involved a monument in center field. The word monument though doesn’t really do this thing justice. It’s large; it’s multi-hued; and it’s going to move whenever a Marlin hits a home run.

Now baseball is a sport firmly rooted in tradition. The boldest moves in recent years have concerned various iterations of home uniforms with different color combinations for different days of the week and — gasp — some sleeveless uniform tops. Baseball fans like their ball players gritty, their history hallowed and their records respected.

Throughout baseball history, those who dare to rock the boat risk alienation. Bill Veeck remains the most famous man to push the baseball boundaries. His Disco Demolition stunt backfired, but he granted Minnie Minoso at bats in five decades and introduced the world to Eddie Gaedel. He was a showman who wanted to entertain the masses, but after testifying on behalf of Curt Flood, baseball passed him by. As MLB has worked to keep Mark Cuban on the outside, there never has been an owner willing to take as many risks as Veeck.

In a few weeks, when the Yankees journey to Miami to close out Spring Training, the Marlins’ new ballpark will open. Like many other new stadiums, this one has a painfully tortured funding history. The city of Miami has ponied up far too many dollars to build a new stadium in an area of the city that is even further from a potential fan base than the Dolphins’ stadium is. Even with Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes in tow, drawing fans to Miami to see the team will be a challenge.

And so enter the Miami Marlins and their outfield monument to, well, something. A flying fish perhaps? Maybe it’s something baseball needs. Now I’m not saying each stadium needs something that looks like that, but maybe a little levity in the game can’t hurt. A look around Yankee Stadium reveals an attempt at recreating something Serious. These are Hallowed Grounds with a lot of History. We must respect the memories, and do not besmirch the team or else George Steinbrenner, forever staring out from the right field bleachers, will get you. There will be no flying fish here.

Ultimately though, baseball is a game, a sport. It’s about the spectacle, and the entertainment. The Marlins’ monument can rock the boat as much as it wants, and when the Yankees take on the Miami ballclub with the bright orange uniforms in a new stadium at the end of Spring Training, I’ll be rooting for a home run. Who doesn’t want to see flying fish light up with every four-bagger anyway?

Baseball America's Early Draft Preview
Mailbag: Ortiz, Jackson, Choo, Sanchez, Soler
  • Plank

    It took me a minute to realize that was a photo and not a drawing. That thing is great.

    I’m all for the Marlins new branding. I just wish it didn’t come at the expense of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

    • Mike HC

      Wow, I definitely thought that was a drawing until I saw your comment. And I’m still not sure, ha.

  • Raza

    Not gonna lie. That thing is hideous.

  • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

    I cannot wait for this thing. It is amazing. Considering the Yankee/Marlins games are exhibition games and don’t count, I hope the Marlins hit like forty home runs during that series.

  • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I always said that the George mural in the bleachers should be electronic and react to whats going on on the field.

    Yankees hit a homerun? SMILE

    Yankees beat the Red Sox? SELF SATISFIED SMIRK

    Yankees win the World Series? CRYING!

    AJ Burnett stinks it up or Bobby Meacham makes an appearance? ARMS CROSSED AND FROWNING.

    You know you’d love it.

    • Aaron

      I can’t tell if that would be horrifying or awesome.

    • Midland TX

      This post may be the best or 2nd-best thing to happen to me today. Thank you!

  • NRW Yankee

    That Thing looks like a prop from the Beatles Yellow Submarine Movie

  • Dale Mohorcic

    I like it a lot

  • Plank

    Are those real Marlins they are using? Or are they just props?

    • NRW Yankee

      I bet there´s a sushi bar underneath….

  • http://jukeofurl.wordpress.com Juke Early

    That thing screams Vegas. Hey! maybe Jimmy Buffet should pop up & sing Margaritaville. . ..

    BTW baseball uniforms through the early years did have some color & variations, check out
    OR uni-watch.com.

    • http://jukeofurl.wordpress.com Juke Early


  • Landry

    If that thing goes off more than twice during a FOX game of the week, Tim McCarver will have a seizure.

    • Josh

      Then it might not be such a waste of taxpayer dollars. Improvement for all baseball fans!

  • Bronx Byte

    Anything beats the silly Socks fans holding hands and singing Sweet Caroline in the dilapidated old relic in Beansville.

  • Josh

    Better than a paper mâché Red Apple that likes to get stuck.

  • Dave M

    I went to a game last year in Miami. While down there, I drove by the new stadium several times. It’s in a ghetto. I imagine they’ll clean up the area. But then again, Camden yards and Yankee stadium are in the ghetto too…………..

  • Steve (different one)

    Says the people who think the wave is grounds for ejection and permanent banning from the stadium….

  • Eirias

    I’ll post this question in a more appropriate open thread tonight, but I’m curious. Approximately how many runs above average (either RSAA or RCAA) is equal to one win above replacement? Is there a translation between the two?

    Oh, yes. Whimsy. Why is a raven like a writing desk?

    • Plank

      It depends on the run environment, but 10 runs equals one win is a good rule of thumb.

    • Steve (different one)

      I think the answer is negative 10. “average” is a higher baseline than replacement level. I thought the rule of thumb was average is about 2 wins above replacement, so 1 win above replacement would be about 1 win (as Plank said, 10 runs) below average.

      Not sure if this is what you were asking.

      • Eirias

        It did, both comments actually. Thanks. I hadn’t caught the difference between “against average” versus “above replacement” for some reason, so I appreciate the elucidation.

  • Jimmy

    Is this what Marlin’s fans really want to see when their team hits a home run or is this actually some overpaid marketing guy’s attempt to brand the Marlins as being edgy?

  • MattG

    Your article makes me realize, sports franchises would make a fascinating topic for a UX thesis. In what other industry does the personnel so directly impact the public perception of the team? “Idiots,” “Bronx Bombers,” “Amazin’s” and so forth. Should teams redefine their UX principles every few years, look to acquire players that fit those principles, or simply acquire the best players they can, and try and mold them to fit their principles? What sort of challenges does this dynamic present their marketing & operations? Very interesting ones, that’s for sure.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    Charlie O. Finley was a pretty radical owner.

    He tried to sell Vida Blue to the Yankees in 1976, but Commissioner Bowie Kuhn nixed the deal; said it was bad for baseball.

  • Sean D.

    “In a few weeks, when the Yankees journey to Miami to close out Spring Training,”

    Since when is 8 considered “a few”?

    • http://riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      This is your comment? Thanks for that.

  • The209

    In related news, an RAB post will have some humor.

  • http://www.bizofbaseball.com Maury Brown

    FYI…. It was not Bill Veeck’s idea for Disco Demolition Night, it was his son, Mike Veeck.