It was a moment that seemed almost too good to be true. During Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki hit a home run in what might have been his final at-bat in the city where he spent most of his career.
Suzuki came up to bat in the top of the ninth inning with his team trailing 10-4. On any other day, an at-bat this late in the game with your team losing by six runs would not really mean that much. However, this was not just a regular game for Suzuki. In all likelihood, it would be his last game at Safeco Field. He stepped in the batter’s box with this in mind. On the first pitch from Mariners reliever Evan Marshall, Suzuki hit the ball over the fence in right center field. Mariners fans cheered loudly as he rounded the bases. It was certainly an unforgettable moment for Suzuki and Mariner fans.
The Marlins were unable to get a rally going after that home run, and the Mariners won the game 10-5. The final score is not what will be remembered from this game however.
Suzuki had quite the career in Seattle. He spent nearly 12 full seasons with the Mariners. Over that period of time, he was a 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner. During his rookie season back in 2001, Suzuki batted .350 and had 56 stolen bases. His .350 average helped him capture the American League Batting Title. Not only was voted the AL Rookie of the Year that season, but he also won the AL MVP Award. It was a good year for the Mariners as well, as they went 116-46 and won the AL West. They went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
The 2001 season was the start of a very impressive MLB career for Suzuki. The Mariners eventually traded him to the New York Yankees in July of 2012. He played for the Yankees for a few years before signing with the Marlins prior to the 2015 season. Although he is 43 years old, Suzuki still has the desire to continue playing. He clearly still has something left in him.
Suzuki is arguably one of the best pure hitters in baseball history. He has over 3,000 career hits and has a .312 lifetime batting average. This is not even counting what he did while playing for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan prior to his MLB career.
If Wednesday afternoon’s game was in fact Suzuki’s final one at Safeco Field, he definitely went out in style. He gave his old fans a reason to cheer for him one final time.
Derek Jeter Discusses Project Wolverine Plan For Miami Marlins
Miami Marlins CEO and part-owner Derek Jeter has taking a beating publicly since taking over the team as fans have slammed the new regime for their cost-shedding moves.
However, Jeter sees the franchise becoming profitable as soon as this season, according to documents obtained by the Miami Herald.
Project Wolverine, a nod to Jeter’s native Michigan, is Jeter’s attempt to prove to potential investors that the franchise will turn a profit immediately.
Decreased payroll coupled with increased revenue from ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and a revamped local TV deal, as well as a one-time payout of $50 million that each MLB franchise will receive this season, will carry the moribund franchise to profitability, according to the Miami Herald’s report.
The Marlins have shed $36 million from their 2018 payroll in the 1st phase of Project Wolverine.
“I can’t sit here and say trust me,” Jeter told Marlins fans during a heated and emotional town hall meeting back in December.
“You don’t know me. You earn trust over time. I know how organizations are sustainable over time. I know you have been through a lot. I can’t relate to it. It’s going to be a tough road. It’s going to take time and effort.”
The Herald outlines a number of hurdles that may stand in the way of Jeter’s lofty goals.
“We are going to invest in building this organization the right way so we can, year in and year out, be able to compete,” Jeter said back in December.
“We are trying to fix something that is broken.”
Bashing Together In DC: The Nationals Should Go All-In For Stanton
Since moving to Washington, D.C. the Nationals have been one of baseball’s more aggressive franchises. Under the ownership of Ted Lerner they have never been shy about making the bold moves necessary to bring a winning team to the nation’s capital.
They have signed Max Scherzer to what was then the largest free agent contract ever given to a pitcher.
The handed Stephen Strasburg a $175 million extensions to avoid the open market and stay in D.C.
Along with everyone else they had on the books in 2017 the Nationals exceeded the luxury tax for the first time.
And yet, NOW is the time for the franchise to go ALL-IN!
The upcoming season represents a make or break year for the franchise—or at least a transition year. They have won 95+ games in four of the last six seasons, yet haven’t made it passed the division series.
The 2019 team could be vastly different. They stand to lose several veterans including franchise player Bryce Harper, offensive standout Daniel Murphy, starter Gio Gonzalez, and shutdown setup reliever Ryan Madson to free agency.
While the Nationals’ farm system is well-prepared to restock the major league team, prospects, no matter how highly touted, are never sure things. Washington needs to operate as if 2018 is their best (and only) chance to win a World Championship.
They need to cash in their chips, go all-in, and make the Marlins an offer they can’t refuse.
The Nationals NEED to get Giancarlo Stanton.
On the surface the idea seems ludicrous. Trading for Stanton, especially from division rival Miami, would require a massive haul of prospects. Washington would likely be able to hang onto prize prospect Victor Robles, but anyone else would be up for grabs for the Marlins.
Then there’s Stanton’s contract to consider. His salary alone would blow their budget, pushing Washington deeper into the luxury tax than ever before. It would be an extremely expensive transaction to make.
Nearly a third of those dollars belong to Harper, who undoubtedly will leave Washington for much greener pastures. That is why acquiring Stanton NOW, despite all the hurdles, makes so much sense. It would be a preemptive strike, aiming at keeping their window of contention wide-open.
Either Stanton or Harper can man left-field for a year, and together they could mash their way into bringing that elusive World Championship back the D.C. Then when Harper leaves Stanton can slide into the face-of-the-franchise role.
It would be a huge risk. It might backfire. The cost in prospects is going to sting. And for years the Nationals have been robbing Peter to pay Paul, deferring tens of millions of dollars.
Regardless of how their TV contract/lawsuits go, those bills are going to come do. And it could bankrupt the franchise. But that’s not enough of a reason to not bring the game’s best slugger to the nation’s capital.
A parade down Pennsylvania Avenue would look pretty sweet next fall, and help everyone forget about the cost.
Derek Jeter Fronts Group Set To Purchase Miami Marlins
As first reported by The Miami Herald on Friday, a source confirmed that Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria agreed to sell the team to a group led by Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman for $1.2 billion.
Sherman, 69, is a wealthy New York businessman who’s building a home in South Florida. He’ll be the “control person” of the group while Jeter, 43, will serve as CEO running the business and baseball operations.
NBA legend Michael Jordan, 54, was reported to be another investor in the group—it’s no secret that him and Jeter are very close friends.
According to The Miami Herald, there are “about” 16 investors in the Jeter/Sherman group with Jeter “believed to be” contributing $25 million of his own money.
Loria, 76, has been the owner of the Marlins franchise since February 12, 2002. Since winning the 2003 World Series to Jeter and the New York Yankees, the team hasn’t made a single playoff appearance. In addition, they haven’t had a winning year since 2009.
The Miami Herald reported in December 2016 about Loria’s willingness to a potential sale. A purchase agreement with Jeter’s group was completed on Friday after several months and sent to the MLB offices in New York.
According to MLB.com, Loria’s preference from the beginning of the process was to complete the sale to a group that included Jeter.
A vote is the final step for completion of the sale, which is expected to take place in October between owners of other MLB teams.
What a big step this is for Jeter, as he joins a large and growing list of professional athletes turned owners. The future 2020 first-ballot MLB Hall of Famer—and possibly first ever unanimous vote to the Hall—can definitely turn this Marlins franchise around with the knowledge and experience he brings.
Jeter’s 3,465 career hits are the sixth most in Major League history, spanning a 20-year career with the Yankees from 1995-2014.
Here’s a look at his other Hall of Fame credentials:
Will Jeter look to rebuild the Marlins, or build around a talented young core that includes the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna? It will be interesting to see what Jeter does with the franchise going forward.
With Monday night’s win, Miami improved to 57-60 on the year.
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