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Soup of This Day #267: With People I Call My Own

November 18, 2012

Miami skyline
Downtown Miami, complete with cruise ships. Those boats are now loaded up and are heading north to the Saint Lawrence Seaway – Photo: Marc Averette, 2008. Marc Averette is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Chronic depression doesn’t seem to have any quick and easy fixes. Which for me is a thought at once both comforting and disappointing.

It’s comforting because I’ve been battling this black dog for some time now and if there was a quick fix I’d missed out on then I’d kind of feel like I’d somehow let myself down a bit. So in a way, a lack of a speedy resolution is a vindication of the long and frequently tough fight that I and my family have been dragged into.

But it’s disappointing too – Because, honestly, I just want this done – This war is wearying me – The black dog leaves you dog-tired, fatigued to the bone.

So I keep searching. Not to the extent of trekking the upper reachs of the Amazon in search of a rare flower with the ability to negate the black dog Medicine Man style – More of the seeking professional advice from counsellors kind of thing.

Although if you are reading this and are planning on trekking the upper reaches of the Amazon do try to keep an eye out for such a flower and/or Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco. No pressure or anything – I’m ok for now continuing to rely on the counselling.

Recently I was in counselling when the shrink asked what I wanted out of those sessions. Ever hopeful, I asked something like:

‘Ah… I don’t suppose you have a magical cure for this?’

Her response as I recall it started off with a small regretful shake of the head and a message in the vein of:

‘No. You’re probably going to have to battle this for the rest of your life.’

Oh goody, I thought.

Not that I was overly surprised – I knew that already – Had been told that before. It’s just that now and then I’m hoping that there’ll be a revolution in psychology. Based around me.

Until then I guess I’m stuck with this damned hound.

On the plus side that life sentence was just the short answer from the counsellor. The longer was a fair bit brighter and basically runs along a theme of ‘You can find ways to mitigate the black dog, to hold him (He’s a bastard and is part of me so I’ve made him a him) in check so that you can get on with living a fulfilling life. You can even at times make use of him.’

Much better prognosis that. Particularly if I can use the black dog for yard work. Even if I can’t it’s nice to know that the immediate distress passes and that you can find a way to be stronger and better.

It’s just not a quick game.

Neither is building a sporting dynasty. A number of clubs have proven of late that simply chucking money at the team does not automatically make them a good team. The most topical and tropical of examples is baseball’s Miami Marlins.

Prior to 2012 they were the Florida Marlins, playing out of Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. Their home uniforms were a stately grey and their logo was as simple and dignified as you can get with a marlin leaping through it.

In 2012 though, owner Jeff Loria pulled out all the stops in a quest to re-invent the brand. They became the Miami Marlins, moving to the brand new Marlins Aquarium Park in Miami’s Little Havana. Their home uniforms are now bright white with a rainbow-accented font, while the logo looks like what you’d get if Don Johnson’s Sonny Crockett became a graphic designer.

And the players… Man, did they go for some big-time players.

At times in 2012 they could call on the bats of John Buck, Omar Infante, Logan Morrison, Hanley Ramírez, José Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton. Then there was the pitching – The likes of Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. Big names all of them and Miami fans could surely expect big things.

Like a big farce.

Miami tanked like the Exxon Valdez, finishing with a 69 and 93 record and a giant oil-slick that has stained the Floridian coastline for years to come. That was 29 games adrift of the National League (NL) East winners Washington, who had an opening day payroll of $81m, $31m less than the Marlins. In fact nobody in the NL East had a payroll higher than the Marlins.

And nobody in the NL East lost more games.

It seems that a big payroll does not necessarily equal wins – Just ask the Red Sox for confirmation. Or watch Moneyball and then hire Brad Pitt.

Brad will tell you that for sustainable success you need to build a team and you need to build a culture – Just building a 50 foot high home run structure that looks like it belongs in a water-park is not going to get it done. Which is not an automatic problem for Miami – See, they do admittedly have the extravagant home run structure but they have the time to build that winning ethos too, to invest in promise. They can have their cake with its 50 foot home run ornament on top, and they can eat it too.

Unless they welsh on that promise and dump vast swathes of payroll. Like around most of it.

Yeah, they did that. In 1 foul swoop (And it does reek horribly of panic so foul is an appropriate word for this situation) they offloaded 5 players to Toronto, in exchange for 7 of the Jays squad.

It’s not a fair deal…

Toronto gets Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and José Reyes. Miami gets Yunel Escobar. Who is most famous for scrawling a homophobic message into his face black 1 game-day.

Then there’s the players that Miami had already offloaded prior to this trade, including Heath Bell and Hanley Ramírez. To which list you can add their Castro-respectin’ manager, Ozzie Guillén, who in truth probably could have done a better job of managing the outrageous assemblage of talent at his disposal.

All told the dumping of talent across the board represents the biggest tacit admission of getting it wrong since Kanye West’s louvred shutter shades quietly faded from view.

Venetian blinds are for windows. In buildings.

It’s hard to see where Miami goes from here. Or Kanye really after the whole Taylor Swift thing which I’ve just found out about on You Tube. The reputations of both the baseball organisation and the rapper are surely harmed and for the Marlins no amount of showing off what is actually a pretty impressive playing arena will make up for that. Who, for starters, is going to want to play for a team that will short-sell them? Giancarlo Stanton, 1 of the few left after the carnage, pretty much answered that question with his tweet after the news of the blockbuster deal broke:

@Giancarlo818: Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple

Taylor Swift was much more diplomatic.

If you’re a Miami fan there is some good news though, and it’s not that your stadium has giant Venetian shutters. Because it doesn’t – Instead it has 240 by 60 foot retractable glass panels that allow for an uninterrupted view of the Miami skyline and for some fresh air to flow in as required. It’s cool on multiple fronts.

Like Taylor Swift apparently.

That’s not the positive that I’d like to accentuate though. I’d like instead to focus on this…

Just like for bouts of depression, for skirmishes in the greater war, Marlins fans should remember that all of this is just a speed-bump in the road – It will get better eventually.

This too shall pass.

With People I Call My Own

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