NL East Infection: It’s Still South Florida


New York Mets

You have to think that anybody on the Mets is worried about job security, as at any moment, the team could be sold to a traveling carnival in exchange for some magic beans.  But now Mike Pelfrey has to worry about it more than anybody, as he very publicly was told informed that he may not be a Met if he’s not too careful.  Or good.

A Mets beat writer published a headline this week saying that anonymous sources within the organization had hinted that the team may be interested in releasing Pelfrey, who now must enter 2012 with the knowledge that not only is he still on the Mets, but they may not even want him around anymore.

"“It’s possible that this won’t have any impact on Pelfrey’s performance. There’s no way to know, and if he has another sub-par season, we’ll have every reason to believe it’s just ‘same old Pelf.’”–Aaron Leibowitz, Rising Apple"

But the players who are still on the team have every reason to have hope for the new season!  For starters, many of them aren’t even suffering debilitating injuries anymore!  Some muscles have healed, some fluid has been drained, and now, after a Spring Training of bodily misfires, the Mets appear to be that mediocre-at-best club you know and love.  Except for Frank Francisco, the closer, whose ERA has been over 5.00 for most of the preseason and whose knee refuses to be healthy.  But what harm could there be in a guy with a two-year $12 million contract sitting out a month or two?

For the Mets, I mean.

Atlanta Braves

We’ll just ignore that another Braves pitcher got a DUI and move right along to how excited everybody is to see the Braves play an exhibition game against their own larvae.

Bobby Cox is excited about getting to wear shoes, the prospects are excited to maybe catch the elusive attention of the front office, and the fans are excited to see all levels of their organization play a carefully laid out game at half speed so nobody gets hurt.  Why don’t we let Braves #1 overall draft Sean Gilmartin explain it more clearly.

"“In some ways it’s like an intrasquad game, but at the same time it’s not really.”–Sean Gilmartin"

So there you go!

Miami Marlins

The Marlins have never been good and had a new stadium at the same time.  Their attendance bumps have historically been because of one or the other.  This year, there is the potential for a revolutionary scheme:  The Fish could have a team with talent, and a stadium that doesn’t make people want to throw up.  Will this be the year that attendance returns to a 30,000+ average?  Keep in mind that the last time this happened was 1994; not 1997 or 2003, when the team won the World Series.

So far, no, it’s not looking super-promising.

All of the garish home run sculptures in the world couldn’t instill a genuine, consistent interest in baseball in South Florida.  Season tickets remain at large, and because the team refuses to sell single game access–which seems completely weird to me–they’re having a hard time selling them.

The Marlins are simply asking that if you’re going to be interested in their team, you are going to be interested in their team all season.  Which isn’t really a question.  Because honestly, it’s starting to feel like they’re not asking anymore, you know?  More like they’re showing up at your house drunk at 4:00 am and pounding on the front door until a light comes on in the upstairs bathroom.

Buy these tickets, baby!” the Marlins scream, awaking several neighborhood dogs.  “Come on, we’ve changed!  Haven’t you read the papers?!”

And then the Marlins’ hopes rise as the second floor window opens and their fanbase sticks out their heads.

Oh thank you, thank you!” the Marlins shout.

Their newfound hope falls into a wordless grimace as Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade appear behind the fans.

“This team bothering you?” they ask in unison.

“No,” fans reply, not breaking eye contact with the Marlins.  “No, I don’t know this team.  And I’m sure they were just leaving.”

Washington Nationals