|This cap logo has been around for a loooooong time, and I hope it doesn't change a bit!|
|Look at what's happening there and tell me you don't envision yourself at a beachside ballpark enjoying a Cuban sandwich!|
|Usual suspects of sweatband tags on current MILB caps in 2014|
|Standard MILB logo, but ain't nothing standard about Red, White and Blue!|
After last week's "palm tree on a baseball cap" theme, I'm actually surprised that a logo design segue could possibly exist between that one and this Fort Myers Miracle on-field fitted. I suppose the big difference is that this cap features a baseball growing from the palm tree which is a supernatural element that could certainly be deemed a “miracle” of sorts. What I find to be a real miracle is that the state of Florida is currently represented by not one, but two MLB teams. If a baseball could grow from a palm tree, it would need help from a billionaire entrepreneur like Wayne Huizenga to do so.
When I was a youngling just learning about the game, the only baseball that existed in Florida (and Arizona) was Major League Baseball's Spring Training and a slew of minor league teams running the gamut from Rookie and Single-A Leagues to Triple-A clubs. In those early years of baseball fandom, there was an imminent threat of a struggling MLB team moving to one of those states unless they signed a mega-bucks television deal or got the new stadium that they were itching for.
Before an expansion franchise was finally placed in South Florida, the highest level of baseball that Miami experienced was an International League team (Miami Marlins) from 1956 to 1960. It served as the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies and then the Baltimore Orioles until the Marlins became a Single-A team in the longstanding Florida State League.
That team was known as the Miami Orioles from 1971 through 1981, which was the year their affiliation with the Orioles ended. The club then rebranded itself as the Marlins and continued play as an unaffiliated team in the league. In 1989, the team was sold to a group of investors (that included Bill Murray and Jimmy Buffet) and became known as the Miami Miracle. They played their home games at Florida International University's stadium and then Pompano Beach Municipal Stadium before finally settling in Fort Myers in 1992. Huizenga's Marlins would begin play at Joe Robbie Stadium in 1993, thus making it difficult for the Miracle to play anywhere in Miami. Despite this, the Miracle’s inaugural season in Fort Myers marked the beginning of a mutually beneficial affiliation with the Minnesota Twins which is still in effect to this day!
I'm glad that the Miracle have thrived in Fort Myers, because they had troubles in their final seasons as an Orioles farm team and especially when they were unaffiliated. I don't know what the attendance count was at the Single-A Miami Miracle/Marlins games, but I would guess that the crowds weren't very steady if those teams only had winning seasons in two of their last 14 years. I would not have bet on the odds that Miami would land a major league team, nor that they would win two World Series championships in their first ten seasons. I also would not have bet that Huizenga would dismantle his championship team the year after winning that first World Series. Then again, I’m a terrible gambler.
I made another horrible bet a few years ago when I predicted that the Marlins would eventually move to Montreal. Even though there are no schools of Marlins in Quebec’s fish ecology, I do like the alliteration in "Montreal Marlins” as a team name. Actually, that’s a terrible idea (not the name part) because the current owner of the Miami Marlins, Jeffrey Loria, was the former managing general partner of the Montreal Expos and is a big reason why there is no MLB team Montreal. Maybe Huizenga wasn’t so bad; read more about the heartache that Loria has caused as an MLB owner and please accept my apology for ending on such a sour note!