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Those Wild And Crazy Miami Marlins

Billy the Marlin cheers during a game between the Miami Marlins and the Houston Astros at Marlins Park in Miami.
Mike Ehrmann
Getty Images
Billy the Marlin cheers during a game between the Miami Marlins and the Houston Astros at Marlins Park in Miami.

Can I give you a word I love that you just don't hear anymore?


It used to be that all kinds of stuff was described as "zany," but it seems to have mostly gone out for fancier words like "dysfunctional."

Now, I bring this up because most sports franchises are pretty standard issue. Oh, some are rich, some poor, some win, some lose, but only one currently, to my mind, descends to the dear old level of zany. That is the Miami Marlins, formerly the Florida Marlins, or, now, as I like to call them, given their location in Little Havana, Los Zany-os.

It's just that the Marlins seldom make sense, and usually in a comic mode. Like last year they had an 80-year-old manager. That is so zany.

The Marlins are usually a terrible team, but, incredibly, every few years, like the cicadas coming out of the ground, they mysteriously reappear before their erstwhile handful of fans, make the wild card and actually win the World Series.

One year they whipped the very un-zany Yankees themselves. Another time they denied poor Cleveland its first championship since 1948 by winning in the 11th inning of the seventh game.

After the Marlins win, all the good players disappear and the team goes back into the ground for a few more years.

It is reliably reported to be reappearing this season.

After all, the Marlins have somehow managed to get a new stadium built with money from who knows where at a time when every other structure in Miami-Dade County is in foreclosure. Oh, did I tell you the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the stadium deal? Only Los Zany-os could get the SEC involved in baseball.

The Marlins have a giddy new logo with more colors than Joseph had in his coat of many.

What will the Marlins think of next? Well, how 'bout an aquarium behind home plate? OK, only the animal-rights people say the fish are "terrified." Does this make the Marlins terrorists? What a sitcom concept.

And, of course, surely you know that the Marlins' new manager, the irrepressible Ozzie Guillen, was suspended for saying "I love Fidel Castro." Look, so many famous people are interviewed every day that, by the laws of chance, a certain number are bound to say something they kinda sorta really didn't mean to put it in that context. OK, fair enough. But, "I love Fidel Castro?" This is like saying, "Bring back polio," or "Hooray for fire, plague and pestilence." Talk about terrifying the fish.

Also, for the fifth year in a row the Marlins have a new motto — all of which have been singularly dull. May I suggest for 2013 just: "Here are your zany Miami Marlins." Or, "Aqui, Cubanos amigos: Los Zany-os."

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Frank Deford died on Sunday, May 28, at his home in Florida. Remembrances of Frank's life and work can be found in All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and on