No. 67: Miami Marlins

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 5:57 PM ET
By Doug Mittler | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 69
Title track: 22
Ownership: 96
Coaching: 44
Players: 69
Fan relations: 79
Affordability: 29
Stadium experience: 18
Bang for the buck: 101

Getting a gauge on the Miami Marlins franchise may be as elusive as the inhabitants of the massive fish tanks directly behind the plate at new Marlins Park. We did our polling in the spring, after Miami's offseason spending spree and before ownership threw up the white flag by unloading Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante and Gaby Sanchez in July. Fans like the ballpark (97-point improvement in stadium experience), but anything would have been an upgrade over cavernous Sun Life Stadium, where rain delays were a way of life. Marlins Park, complete with a retractable roof, is no retro park; art dealer owner Jeffrey Loria commissioned a garish 74-foot home run sculpture in centerfield and made room for the pulsating Clevelander nightclub beyond the bullpen. "Baseball and clubbing is an unusual marriage, but it actually works at Marlins Park," said Jason G. on yelp.com. The new digs came at a cost to Miami residents -- $507 million of the $634 million stadium was publicly financed -- which didn't help Loria's stingy image (96th in ownership). Fish fans were on board with the hiring of the volatile Ozzie Guillen (53-spot leap in coaching), but that was before he made his comment about admiring Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Amid all the upheaval on South Beach, the Marlins barely moved in our overall standings, a most unusual status quo.

Doug Mittler

Rumor Central