Similarities to 2003?

WStrophy.jpgWhen the Marlins entered Spring Training in 2003, many thought it would be a stretch if the team posted a winning record.

Yet, magic happened that year. As Juan Pierre said after the parade: “We shocked the world!”

The ’03 Marlins certainly did. They went on to win 91 games and capture the second World Series title in franchise history. That squad featured Ivan Rodriguez, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo, Derrek Lee, and a core of players who had been together a few seasons.

They won with pitching, speed and defense.

Marlins management and players have entered Spring Training this year openly talking playoffs. The nucleus of the squad has been together since 2006. Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are building-block-type players who have raised hopes in camp.

But do the two teams compare? The 2010 Marlins have more power potential, and Ramirez is on his way to being the greatest player in franchise history. The ’03 squad was better defensively, and the starting pitching was deeper and it clicked at the right time that year.

“I think all teams are different,” Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. “I wouldn’t compare them. But I would say, the talent pool, having been together for all these years is very similar. They [2010 Marlins] are about ready to break out now.”

Full-squad workouts began for the Marlins on Wednesday, and practices are open free to the public.

Loria envisions a big season for his maturing roster.

“I think you can compare some aspects of it,” the owner said, referring to 2003 and now. “You’ve got guys who can do certain things. You’ve got guys who can hit home runs. You’ve got pitchers now who have been together for a couple of years. That’s where we were in ’03 when the pitchers started to turn. After all, this game is a lot about pitching, bullpen. We think we have a strong bullpen.

“I think we’re in really good shape. I just hope that we stay healthy. I think what’s here is quite capable of getting it done.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

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