The Miami Marlins will be featured on Season 2 of the hit Showtime Series, ‘The Franchise.’ With so many changes taking place in South Beach, from the name, to the uniforms, to the manager, ballpark and players, Showtime felt that the Marlins were a natural fit to succeed the San Francisco Giants, who were the choice as defending World Series champions for the premier season in 2011.
Obviously, Ozzie Guillen is a main draw for the cable network, who will not have to bleep out every third word uttered from Guillen’s profanity laced mouth.
The move comes as very little surprise, as the Marlins have been rumored to have been the top choice for quite some time. They have a new logo, new attitude and new digs, although they have had a notoriously low attendance almost since the inception of the franchise way back in 1993. Major League Baseball, aside from Spring Training, has not done all that well in the state of Florida. Whether it is the Marlins or Tampa Bay Rays, it doesn’t seem to matter whether or not the team wins or loses, because the few fans who are in attendance are often rooting for the visiting team.
But the Marlins are hoping that their many changes will bring in a new wave of fans. They have targeted the Latin America community in South Florida, especially with the hiring of Guillen and signing of Jose Reyes. But the team also signed Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, and they will welcome back Josh Johnson from injuries and Hanley Ramirez from an off season in 2011. Miami spent more money this season than any other, and with the new state-of-the-art ballpark with a retractable roof for those hot and humid days, Showtime is banking on the Marlins being a success for their show in the second season.
The Marlins will have many new looks in 2012, including their new stadium.
Season 1 of The Franchise let us in on the comeback story of the decade with Ryan Vogelsong, as he and his wife shared their memories of how hard things were for the pitcher as he fought for a spot on the Giants and made the National League All-Star team in 2011. We also saw how the team struggled to make a move to make up for their lack of offense, as they were finally able to acquire Carlos Beltran.
But in all honesty, as entertaining as those stories were, including the ones featuring Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval and his weight loss, the star of last year’s series was without a doubt the team’s energetic closer, Brian Wilson.
No offense to stars such as Reyes, Ramirez, Johnson and others, but Showtime is hedging its’ bets on Guillen matching Wilson in the entertainment category in 2012.
But in the long run, Miami has many great storylines that Showtime can feature this season. Ramirez is moving to third base to suit Reyes. Johnson is battling back from another season ending injury. Reyes has a new haircut. Guillen has to handle many egos with high expectations. The team has their new stadium which was not backed by taxpayers one bit. The team has great young talent in Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison.
Yet at the end of the day, the Marlins are just one of 30 MLB teams entering the 2012 season with playoff aspirations.
Will the hype and distractions of The Franchise diminish those chances for the Marlins’ franchise?