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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Fish Gotta Swim

Major professional sports championships won in full or part at what is presently known as Dolphin Stadium:

San Francisco 49ers: 2
Denver Broncos: 1
Indianapolis Colts: 1
Florida Marlins: 2
Miami Dolphins: 0

HA! The Dolphins haven’t won a thing since moving into the building where they dominate everything but the bottom line of the competitive ledger, have they? Their badly run baseball tenant is positively bathed in glory compared to the emptiness in Don Shula’s trophy case since the joint opened in 1987. Since January 1974, actually. That doesn’t stop Shula’s jaw from jutting in front of cameras long past its day in the sun, but it should.

The Marlins? They’re an odd fish in the Dolphin tank. The next time we glance inside the Super Bowl facility we have, for own nefarious purposes, referred to as The Sack, Soilmaster Stadium, Tru Playa Park, Your Name Here Stadium and even, surprisingly respectfully, Joe Robbie Stadium, will be in third week of April, a Wednesday night. There will almost assuredly be approximately 500 people for every point the Bears scored yesterday. Unless it’s drizzling. Then there will be fewer.

Thanks to the unbalanced schedule, we know about the Marlins. We see them 19 times a year every year whether we want to or not. Though the home/away ratio is always 10:9 or 9:10, it seems like we play just about every game against them in Florida. You can’t think of the Marlins without thinking of their distressing home situation and you can’t think of that and not want it and them to go away.

While we’ve been wintering and wondering if there’s possibly a pitcher out there for the pinching, our gilled counterparts — however many of them there are — have been tossed a life preserver of sorts. Talk about constructing and funding a new Miami ballpark has gotten reasonably serious. The Marlins may actually escape the shadow of the Dolphins, the 6 o’clock showers, the sweltering indifference of their exit off the Florida Turnpike and a setup that leaves their groundskeeping supplies in full public view.

I hope they do. I don’t like the Marlins. I don’t like any National League team that isn’t us. But they’re here, they’re teal, I’ve gotten used to them. Besides, we gotta play somebody somewhere. It might as well be them in an upgraded setting. It’s absurd to believe that South Florida can’t properly support an MLB franchise if the MLB franchise were to be run and housed like a fairly normal business. The Marlins have never had anything going for them in the way of human ownership and yet there they are, the only N.L. team in the past 24 seasons to own two Commissioner’s Trophies.

That’s gotta be worth something. All those folks crammed into those three counties that make up the Marlins’ ADI (even accounting for the legendary snowbirds) have gotta be worth something. A generation of children of expatriates of baseball-savvy metropolitan areas growing up with a potentially decent place to take in a game has gotta be worth something. A retractable roof playing velvet rope to the objectionable elements that have been killing attendance at JRS since 1993 has gotta be worth something. Whatever intelligence exists in Marlin scouting and development that allowed them to be competitive under insane circumstances in 2006 has gotta be worth a ton.

Maybe if the Marlins had been brutally unsuccessful in their 14 seasons in the bigs I wouldn’t be rooting for their rescue. But the way they managed to win two World Series, even if the first one involved Bobby Bonilla in a featured role, is a part of baseball history, and not the Bonds-McGwire-Sosa kind. Huizenga is Roy Boe on steroids for ripping apart a champion before the ticker tape was picked up, but then another personally detestable owner came in and they won (versus the Yankees at Soilmaster North, technically). There must be something going on down there that’s worth preserving.

What if the Marlins don’t get their ballpark? You figure they move to some inconvenient non-EDT outpost that will play havoc with the Mets’ travel. Bet they keep them in the division anyway. Who needs another weird road trip? Maybe the relocated Marlins move out of our jurisdiction and we get Pittsburgh back. I’m second to no fan in my admiration for PNC Park, but I don’t wanna play there any more than we have to. We occasionally win games at The Sack. Nothing good ever comes out of PNC except the view.

Fantasize all you want about making an opponent disappear. You’re still required to play somebody to fill up those 162 boxes on the schedule. We learned that when the Expos morphed into the Nationals.

I continue to carry the tiniest of torches for the departed Montreal Expos. Finished a book not long ago in which I learned they were known as Nos Amors in Quebec. Our loves. That’s sad. So was Olympic Stadium and the deterioration of everything Expo, making Washington a logical landing spot. But it’s still sad that it didn’t work out. The Expos were interesting. They were different. In this corner, they remain missed.

The Marlins don’t quite rile up my emotions that way. They’re mostly annoying. But as one who has gotten used to them, one who claimed a Broward address back in the day, one who got a surprisingly big kick out of their 2003 title run, one who rooted for them in October of 1997 against his better judgment and one who will always link the best night of the 2006 regular season to their presence at Shea Stadium, I would like to see them stay afloat in Florida as long as they can.

If for no other reason than they make the Dolphins’ 33-season title drought look laughable by comparison.

21 comments to Fish Gotta Swim

  • Anonymous

    Friggin' Expos. >:-( I showed up at their funeral to make sure they were dead, but no such luck. They're not far behind the Yankees in this corner.
    As much as saying “DIE, FISH!!” is like breathing for me, they get a lifetime dispensation of sorts for 2003. It was heavenly. Just heavenly. Fish and D'backs, you may be the enemy, but you'll always hold a special place in my heart for doing God's work.

  • Anonymous

    Both franchises were too young to know they were supposed to crumble before The Monuments. When word got out that it didn't have to be so, it spread like wildfire. Anaheim! Boston! Detroit! Let the word go forth from this time and place!

  • Anonymous

    Well, Arizona did go 0-3 in the shadow of The Monuments. Although it's hard to argue with the beauty of the final outcome, getting to Rivera with a one-run lead in the ninth inning of Game 7. Sorta like the Red Sox spotting them a three games to none lead and once again getting to Rivera with a one run lead in the ninth.
    Talk about style points.

  • Anonymous

    BK Kim, it turns out, was just stringing them along.

  • Anonymous

    Joe Robbie (or whatever the heck they're calling the stadium these days) is a horrible place to watch baseball. We were there in 2003, and the sightlines were ridiculous.
    Baseball shouldn't be played in football stadiums.

  • Anonymous

    Both franchises were too young to know they were supposed to crumble before The Monuments. When word got out that it didn't have to be so, it spread like wildfire. Anaheim! Boston! Detroit! Let the word go forth from this time and place!
    Too bad Minnesota never got the memo.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, but didn't you know? The Monolith uplifted the entire nation in the wake of 9/11. HBO said so…
    Nine Innings From Ground Zero my ass…
    (but I'm not bitter…)

  • Anonymous

    Ohhhhhhh DO NOT get me started on that. I nearly had an aneurysm when I first saw the coming attractions for that. I threw such a huge tantrum that I think I scared even Greg. And Greg has witnessed more of my tantrums than most.
    F**king Yankees. They f**king SUCK. Like the f**king WORLD revolves around their f**king a**es.

  • Anonymous

    Say what you will about what was, to me anyway, rather a mediocre and harmless HBO documentary.
    But you have to admit, it did have one of the great happy endings in film history.

  • Anonymous

    Just as good as Fever Pitch, IMHO…

  • Anonymous

    “Maybe the relocated Marlins move out of our jurisdiction and we get Pittsburgh back. I'm second to no fan in my admiration for PNC Park, but I don't wanna play there any more than we have to. We occasionally win games at The Sack. Nothing good ever comes out of PNC except the view”.
    Hi Greg,
    A few years back the Marlins were rumored to be heading to Las Vegas. Talk about a fish out of water.
    If that happened, the Florida Marlins become the “Nevada Snakes” and placed in the West making that the league's six team division, with Pittsburgh (sorry 'bout that) moved to the East to keep the other two divisions at five.
    As a side note, what ever happened to MLB's continued re-alignment? Nothing ever happened after Milwaukee moved to the NL so the AL has 14 teams with one four-team division, while the NL has sixteen, with one six-team division.

  • Anonymous

    Wasn't Fever Pitch a documentary? I saw those two crazy Red Sox fans on the field in St. Louis after their team won the Series. That's girl was good at sneaking on.

  • Anonymous

    I'm in total favor of the Marlins moving to San Antonio and us getting the Pirates back. Not because I hate the Marlins (though I do) but because they and Miami just seem cursed: Owners screw over fans, fans don't attend, city won't pay for anything. Round and round it goes, and I blame everybody.
    Back when contraction was on the table, I had many bar arguments about how to do it fairly (if such a thing can ever be fair). The rules I made up were that you couldn't contract one of the original AL or NL franchises (regardless of peregrinations) and you couldn't contract a franchise that had built a new park.
    I seem to remember my answer was to contract not two teams, but six: The Expos, Blue Jays, Marlins, Devil Rays, Angels and Brewers would cease to exist and the Twins (the original Senators, then having hideous stadium problems) would move to Milwaukee and inherit the Brewers' new park.
    Since then of course, the Angels won the World Series and decided to name themselves something stupid, the Expos finally found a real home, and the Twins (who never deserved contraction in the first place) look like they might finally get a new park.
    So never mind.

  • Anonymous

    CNN: something was “like the New York Yankees–in the end they're always on top.” Just heard that in passing, but it pissed me off.
    CNN….
    Unbelieveable.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jason,
    Why the Blue Jays and Angels? Back when contraction was considered \Toronto still had a fairly new ballpark (Skydome) and the California (only) Angels were renovating their's. According to your rules, this would disqualify them for consideration. Neither was losing money, either.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, there was no particular logic to it. Skydome predated the retro parks, and the Jays have had trouble filling it in recent years. And I think the rule (decided upon in beery arguments) was that a renovation didn't count.
    All that said, the real reason was just that those franchises were lame.
    Like I said, not sure logic was a participant.

  • Anonymous

    Uh, not this century…
    What crap. The statute of limitations on bragging rights for 2000 has definitely run out. How many years will it take for the media to realize the Yankees haven't been “on top” since then? People who write garbage like that obviously don't even follow baseball.
    “Like Vanilla Ice–always at the top of the charts!”

  • Anonymous

    Why wasn't Raydio's “You Can't Change That” included in the Top 500 songs?

  • Anonymous

    “Jack and Jill” at No. 391 was very territorial. “I'm the only Raydio song on this godforsaken countdown,” it demanded. “You Can't Change That” said, “you can't change that” and soon enough, Raydio was Ray Parker, Jr. He wasn't 'fraid of no ghosts, but that's another story.
    Excellent on-topic question, BA.

  • Anonymous

    Just to clarify, Top 500 is always on-topic.
    And “You Can't Change That” is pleasant enough but it just didn't jar the consciousness nearly enough.

  • Anonymous

    I don't mind the Marlins (except when they're winning World Series against someone not named the Yankees), but I REALLY HATE THE DOLPHINS.
    Yes, I am a Jets fan. How did you know?