2012 Miami Marlins
2012 Miami Marlins / Franchise: Miami Marlins / BR Team Page
Managed by Ozzie Guillen
The 2012 Miami Marlins were the first edition of the team to play under the "Miami" moniker, after being known as the Florida Marlins from their beginnings in 1993 until 2011. The change of name was warranted by the move to a new stadium, Marlins Park, located in the Little Havana neighborhood of downtown Miami, FL. Accompanying the move and change of name was a change in team colors, with orange replacing teal as the dominant color, the signing of a brace of marquee free agents during the off-season - SS Jose Reyes, SP Mark Buehrle and RP Heath Bell - and bringing aboard Venezuelan-born Ozzie Guillen as the new manager. All of these moves pointed to a desire to field a competitive team, able to challenge the Philadelphia Phillies for dominance of the NL East, and especially to build a solid fan base for the team, something which had never been achieved in spite of winning two World Series title under the original name.
To mark the inauguration of the new ballpark, the National League arranged for its 2012 season opener to take place in Miami, a single game between the defending world champions St. Louis Cardinals and the Marlins on April 4th. Josh Johnson made his return to the mound for the Marlins that day, after missing all but the first month of the previous season to an arm injury. He pitched fine, but the Cardinals came out on top, 4-1. There were a few hiccups during the season's first month, especially when manager Guillen, in an interview with Time Magazine, expressed admiration for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's longevity, something that was anathema among the very large Cuban-American community in south Florida. Guillen was forced to backtrack and apologize, and the Marlins suspended him for five games in order to appease the building mob. Also problematic were significant underperformances by two key players, closer Bell who kept faltering when asked to preserve victories, and 1B Gaby Sanchez, mired in a huge slump that eventually sent him to the AAA New Orleans Pelicans to attempt to regain his swing, after hitting .197 with a single homer over the team's first 36 games. As a result, they were a disappointing 8-14 at the end of April.
But the Marlins started playing extremely well in May. On Memorial Day, May 28th, they beat the Washington Nationals, 5-3, for their 19th win of the month. This matched the franchise record for most wins in a single month, set in their first championship season, in August of 1997; they then won their last two games of the month, to finish with an outstanding record of 21-8, with their final three-game sweep of the Nats bringing them within half a game of first place.
That was a high point, however. Beginning in June, nothing seemed to work anymore, and the Marlins began a tumble that quickly landed them in last place to stay in the NL East, where they finished, 29 games behind the first-place Nationals. Recriminations between Guillen and his players began to filter out in public, including a celebrated spat with Heath Bell, who had struggled for a good part of the year. There were also rumors that Guillen would not last the season, though he did complete that first campaign, albeit in a whimper. On the season's last day, the Marlins did manage to recapture the media's attention for a short time, when they signed outfielder Adam Greenberg to a one-day contract. Greenberg had been beaned in his only career plate appearance 7 years earlier, and had been out of baseball for several years when the Marlins gave him the chance to have the at-bat he had been deprived of by circumstances. He was used as a pinch-hitter against R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets and struck out on three pitches, but it helped the team end the year on a feel-good note, especially as they won that final game in extra innings.
Awards and Honors