STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Now that baseball season is underway, commentator Frank Deford is watching one team that is not always the best, but is the most entertaining.
FRANK DEFORD: Can I give you a word I love that you just don't hear anymore? Zany. 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 Zanyos.
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. Now, 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. But then, 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 SEC is investigating the stadium deal? Only Los Zanyos 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 of. What will the Marlins think of next? Well, how about an aquarium behind home plate? OK...
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
DEFORD: OK, only the animal rights people say that the fish are terrified. Does this make the Marlins terrorists? What a sitcom concept: zany terrorists.
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, kind of, sort of, 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 Zanyos.
INSKEEP: Frank Deford's zany commentary come to us each Wednesday from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut.
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