Meet the new Miami Marlins! To say a few things have changed since last season would be a Giancarlo Stanton-sized understatement. It would be like taking a two-week vacation to get a bunch of plastic surgery done on your face, then coming back and pretending nothing happened. On the bright side, maybe you were really ugly, so anything would be an improvement — just like the Marlins!
Whether you like the liposuction and the nip-and-tucks the Marlins underwent this offseason or not, the work is done, so you're either going to stay married to them or get a divorce. It's your call, but you've come this far, so maybe think about the kids.
And if you're one of the many fans who gave up on the team under the Sith Lord-
Here is your guide to the 2018 Marlins. First, because it's much easier than detailing all the changes, let's go through a list of the familiar sights you'll still recognize from past seasons:
Marlins Park is still Marlins
The home run sculpture still lives, for now. Back by
popular what-the-hell-are-we-going-to-do-with-this-thing-now demand is the mist-squirting, ten-second-synthetic-weed experience that is the Marlins home run sculpture. People who wear their clothes during sex tried to push it into the ocean, but the home run sculpture refused to go away.
This season will likely be the last for the home run sculpture. Think of 2018 as the Kobe farewell tour for the monstrosity, only instead of terrible basketball and lots of
Marlins Man is probably still a Marlins fan and a man. We're assuming you know who Marlins Man is. We're also assuming that at some point, Marlins Man will return to Miami to continue lending his superhero powers to his favorite little local baseball team, even though he's currently beefing with Derek Jeter's regime over his season tickets. He is like Spiderman, only instead of a spider bite, Marlins man became a Marlins fan after David Samson bit his ankle in a bar fight. This is not a true story, but you just pictured it happening like that, so you're welcome.
Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto survived the Great Marlins Purge of 2017. Your fifth and sixth favorite Marlins are back! OK, so the Marlins slogan for this season still needs work. As hard as they tried and as much as they wanted to leave, Bour and Realmuto are Marlins again. That's
They're both back because they're cheap. That's how it happened. So, thanks? I wouldn't go out and buy either of their jerseys, though.
Now, let's take a look at some of the major things that changed with the Marlins between Halloween and today:
Our people are free of Jeffrey Loria and his decomposed soul. Ding-dong, the Loria has fled with a billion dollars. Loria owned the Marlins from 2003-2017, but it felt like his reign of terror lasted from 3 B.C. through 2017. The Marlins could lose every game this season and the franchise would be better off than at its highest point during the Loria era. He's gone now, so at least the losing will feel purposeful.
Derek Jeter is here to make the Miami Marlins great again. Jeter barely had his office hand sanitizer stand installed and iPad charged before Marlins fans were out for his blood. That tends to happen when you hold a garage sale and put two-dollar price tags on all the Marlins' best stuff.
Haters are calling Jeter unqualified to run a franchise, but he might have already proven he's ready for the job: He somehow used his good looks and baseball stats to finagle his way into the head chair after investing about as much money as the bobblehead museum cost Loria. Anyone who could pull that off knows a thing or two about a thing or two and gets to skip a few steps in the corporate ladder.
Say goodbye to Julio the Octopus and his seventh-inning-stretch friends. Since 2012, the Great Sea race was a part of Marlins games. Kids loved it and parents couldn't look away. It was like the home run sculpture came to life and all its parts were running a seventh-inning-stretch race. You can probably thank Jeter for this, a man who continually refers to Miami as a "party city" but hates everything that makes us happy.
This might also be a result of the fact that David Samson once screamed at Julio the Octopus for winning a race. Once we knew it was rigged all along, the Great Sea race lost its integrity and had no choice but to close its doors forever. Rest in peace, Julio.
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Meet Lewis Brinson, a Coral Springs native, and the future of the Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich are not back. Dee Gordon isn't either. All of your jerseys are now birdcage covers. I'm sorry. The good news, though, is that a local kid who is one of the highest prospects in baseball is here to act as the foundation of the new-look Marlins, so there is
Lewis Brinson, a 23-year-old Coral Springs High School grad who grew up rooting for the Marlins, came over from the Brewers in the Yelich trade. He'll play center field and bat leadoff when the Marlins take on the Cubs on Opening Day. He's ranked as the Marlins No. 1 prospect and the No. 27 overall prospect in baseball. He's good. And the team hopes in a couple of years, he'll be really good. Not just that: Jeter hopes that unlike past homegrown superstars, the Marlins can actually keep him once he gets really good.
The Marlins have an anthem now. Not just any anthem either, one that features DJ Khaled. Jeter commissioned the song, titled "Just Getting Started." If we told you in 2009 that Jeter would be the man behind a DJ Khaled-Marlins anthem, what would you have said? What a time to be alive.