When the Marlins finally decamp for San Antonio or Las Vegas or Portland or Oz or whereever it is that they're going, I want a guarantee: No one will ever again play, practice, discuss, reference, allude to or think about baseball at Soilmaster Stadium ever again.
I could go over to Retrosheet and crunch some numbers, but it would be a futile and useless gesture, because those numbers lie. They're false memories and out-and-out fabrications, about as reliable as the moon landing, and I don't want to hear about them. In reality we're 0-97 here, or something similarly terrible, with every game reminding me of why I loathe this place more than any baseball stadium not infested with Yankees. Green cathedrals? Bah. Leave bread in some forgotten nook of the pantry too long in the summer and it'll turn green, but I'm not genuflecting.
This fricking place. The light's wrong. The dimensions are strange, not strange as in quirky but strange as in what moron thought this up. And terrible thing after terrible thing happens to us here. Aces get left on the table for the crime of giving up two lousy runs in seven innings. Reliable, begoggled relievers are left agog by line drives to the left and the right and line drives to the in between. Those line drives to the in between strike bases imitating pinball bumpers. Ironman third basemen get back spasms. Anonymous 15-year-old Marlins run through coaches' stop signs and incur no penalty. Lineups go cold. And you wonder how a team that a moment ago seemed primed for October suddenly looks like it was awoken in January and asked to take some swings.
I like the idea of the San Antonio Marlins, who'd quickly become the Missions or the Riverwalkers or the Surrounded or some such. We could swap them to the NL Central for the Pirates, who are like half-remembered strangers these days. The Spurned could maybe get a little rivalry going with the Astros or the Diamondbacks. Or maybe they couldn't; I've been to all 50 states but I must confess age is leaving my sense of geography a little frayed at the edges — these days I can tell you with great certainty that San Antonio, Houston, Phoenix and Manhattan are all west of Brooklyn, but ask me to get more specific and I'll distract you and run for the exit.
Which is what I wish we could do every time I see we're playing the Marlins and we're the visitors. If these particular young men went west, I could relax into the warm embrace of knowing I'd never, ever have to watch our team stumble through a listless Soilmaster evening again.