MIAMI — It’s tough to be a Marlins player nowadays. Losing four straight and continuing to slide in an ultra competitive National League East is one thing. But trying to find a badly needed spark is even tougher when not even knowing who the long-term manager will be.
So, what started out with president David Samson saying the team would move swiftly in its search continued with Jeffrey Loria (pictured) describing the situation as “a process.” Now, who knows when arguably the most important spot on a big league roster will be finalized.
Ask the players, and they’ll say it’s up to them — and them only — to get a spark going. But it can’t be easy when you don’t know who your leader is.
“I’m in here every day wondering if today is the day they’re going to announce it,” outfielder Cody Ross said.
“I’ve never been in that situation before in the middle of a season, where you bring someone in [Rodriguez] and nobody has played with him or knows him. I don’t know if it’s going to take a month for him to figure out what we’re all about, a month for us to figure out what he’s all about or the whole rest of the season.”
Asked Sunday morning if there’s a desire to get this process over with as soon as possible, Loria said, “We have to do what we have to do, and that’s a process.” Rodriguez will be managing in his native land, Puerto Rico
, probably through the whole three-game series against the Mets. And if the news that Valentine is out of the managerial race holds true, that could be the case all year.
Regardless of who it is, the quicker the Marlins could remove the interim tag, the better.
Here’s what Rodriguez said when I asked him about the difficulties he faces with putting his own imprint on a club he doesn’t know how long he’ll lead: “There’s a tendency to not do so much with the way they were playing, because I don’t know how long I’m going to be here. I don’t want to try to change the style or something that I see on the team and, then again, a week from now, somebody else is going to be here, and they’re going to try to change again. I don’t think that’s going to be good for the team. So, so far, I’ve been trying to play the game that they’ve been playing. Here and there, I’ve been trying to put more runners in motion. But it’s not a big change. And then after they make the decision … hopefully [whoever gets the job] will be in a position to make a more consistent or more permanent change of the team.”
The sooner that can happen, the sooner the Marlins can get going.
— Alden Gonzalez