The Miami Marlins are in town this week, and we sat down with Tom from Fish Stripes, the Miami Marlins' SBNation blog to get more insight on their team and situation. Yes, I inquired about Mike Redmond. Read all of it below!
Q: What is going well for the Marlins right now?
A: Well, they are three games above .500 at 30-27 which gives them the sixth best record in the National League at present and puts them squarely in the Wild Card race. José Fernàndez is pitching like a Cy Young contender. Derek Dietrich is filling admirably for the suspended Dee Gordon. Marcell Ozuna has bounced back in a big way from his poor 2015. Christian Yelich continues to develop as a hitter. Adam Conley has had flashes of excellence in the rotation. The bullpen hasn't utterly collapsed despite injuries and significant turnover. There has been and continue to be rough spots, to be sure, but all and all, life is good for the 2016 Fish fan.
Q: How excited are Marlins fans about Ichiro Suzuki? How does he keep hitting so well?
A: Your typical fanbase is composed of a wide variety of personalities: People with a vast, intimate knowledge of the game and people who would best be described as casual observers. Miami is no exception, so naturally, people view Ichiro! with anything from antipathy to ambivalence to adulation. I'd give Fish Stripes readership credit for largely appreciating him and he gets a consistently good reaction at the ballpark. I'm a Seattle native myself, so I've been watching him from the beginning, and I'm thrilled that I get to watch the final chapter of his stellar career up close and in person, so to speak.
People always used to say that Ichiro! would age well, based on his ridiculous fitness regimen and never-ending stretching routines. At age 42, he's definitely slowed down and can't beat out the ground balls he used to, but he still has a great arm, adequate range and a keen eye up at the plate, and he demonstrates his wizardy with the bat on a weekly basis.
Q: How do you feel about the change in management, particularly with the controversial Barry Bonds as hitting coach?
A: It's always hard to know how much credit (or blame) to give a coaching staff; on that score, I would say the jury's still out on Don Mattingly. He has the team in contention for the moment, so he'll continue to be in everyone's (read: Loria's) good graces until they aren't anymore. As for Barry Bonds, he's been a model citizen in Miami. He is always at the top step during ballgames, first to greet the batters as they return to the dugout with a high five, and he seems genuinely excited to be the hitting coach and is invested in learning to be a teacher. He even sounded contrite and apologetic when asked about his personality during his playing days recently. For as much of a sideshow as his hiring could've potentially been, he's been the consummate team player to this point.
Q: What did you think of Mike Redmond? We're big fans of Redmond in Twins Territory. Do you think he got a fair shot?
Most of us thought he got the patented Loria Quick Hook™, particularly after Loria installed his general manager Dan Jennings into the dugout in his stead. It gave another black eye to a franchise that didn't need one, everyone knew it wasn't going to work, and to no one's surprise, it didn't. Of course, we're acting like there was a plan involved here. What we had was an emotional overreaction. I doubt Redmond would've righted the ship, given the chance, but no, he did not get a fair shot last season.
And now for some community questions:
Q: "How the hell have they [Marlins fans] not stormed Jeff Loria's estate with pitchforks and torches yet?"
Every time we try he blares Salsa music from hidden speakers and we all start dancing instead.
Q: "Is [Giancarlo] Stanton is taller than Joe [Mauer]?"
I believe the correct answer to this question is that Stanton is two Altuves short of Mauer's perfect hair. [Editor's Note: What?!?]