As we close out the season and after attending the final at home game, I am left with nothing but precious memories. I remember coming into baseball at the beginning of this season not knowing any player on the Florida Marlins aside from Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. I remember going to the FL Marlins Fan Fest and meeting Mike Jacobs and thinking he was a scrub. “Who in the hell are these people?”, I thought to myself. Little did I know these men would become a part of me for the next 6 months. Little did I know that they would be in my living room and bedroom every evening. Little did I know that I would sacrifice so much just to be there to show them support. Little did I know that I would endure the grueling sun and suffer 3rd degree burns just to be in that stadium watching these men live out their childhood dreams.
At the beginning of the season, I had nothing but critical things to say about each player. Dan Uggla made far too many errors and I quickly began to hate him, but grew to love him despite all the “Ugglas”. Hanley Ramirez once rubbed me the wrong way. He was thought of as an arrogant womanizer, but now I can see the good in him as a player and as a person and can’t imagine the Marlins with out him. Cody Ross was a nobody that only struck out and had occasional “hot” streaks. I’d constantly ask myself why he didn’t pursue a career as a rodeo clown, and now I thank my lucky stars that he did not. I have gotten to know these men greatly in the last 6 months and now I defend them as if they were part of my bloodline. I stick by them. I rise with them in glory and I fall with them in defeat. These men that once meant nothing to me have now grown to be a part of my family and it saddens me deeply that the season is coming to a quick end.
It never once occurred to me that I would get so attached to these men. That I would get to know each one of them so well that I would grow to love them. I have experienced many tough times in the last 6 months, and I don’t think I would have coped so well if it wasn’t for my boys. Baseball is such a perfect sport. It is about precision, technique, skill, dedication, and sometimes about luck. But baseball becomes a beautiful game when you have an amazing group of guys teamed up together with all odds against them and watch as the battle, persevere, and succeed.
Last Sunday, I went to the final Marlins home game, despite the guaranteed humidity and the intense hangover I was battling. I sat in those neon orange seats and watched as the big screen played an over view of the season high lights. Every successful moment rolled on that screen and with it the tears came rolling down my cheeks. “What a heck of a team.” I thought. Okay, so we aren’t going to make it to the post season, but we exceeded everyone’s expectations and being able to show your greatness through all the negativity and pessimism means more to me than winning some stupid trophy and ring.
I can only pray that next season each and every one of these men that I cheered for, cried for, fought for, and broke my remote for will return. It’s been one heck of a season, Marlins. Thank you for every second of it.
The Infamous Tatiana