Ronny Paulino added a few more gray hairs to us sportswriters on deadline tonight, denting the wall in center with a bases-loaded double in the ninth that brought the Marlins back from the dead. Jorge Cantu drove in the winning run with his sacrifice fly. But it was Paulino, for the second time this week, who landed the biggest blow.
Paulino, you'll recall, drove in the go-ahead run on Wednesday with a pinch-hit single in the 10th to beat the Mets. That was the night the bullpen coughed up a 6-2 lead. Paulino saved their fannies again on Saturday. After the pen transformed a 4-3 lead into a 6-4 deficit when the Dodgers put up three runs on Tim Wood, Dan Meyer and Jose Veras, the Marlins loaded the bases in the ninth for Paulino, who was sent up to face lefty George Sherrill.
Paulino is a southpaw slayer, evidenced by his career .334 average against lefties, and he punished a Sherrill fastball. Thinking it to be a walk-off grand slam, Paulino flicked his bat, stood at the plate and watched. But the thing stayed in the park and Paulino had to settle for a two-run double. No problem, as Cantu kept his RBI-a-game clip with a walk-off sac fly. Cantu has had exactly one RBI in each of the Marlins' first five games.
At any rate, members of the press box had to tear up our bullpen-screws-up-another-one ledes for Marlins escape act in ninth, not an easy task when you have about 90 seconds -- give or take a tick -- to pull it off. Paulino, though, has turned into a front office feather. They nabbed him from the Giants right before the start of last season for minor-league pitcher Hector Correa (no relation to Chick Corea). Correa didn't pitch anywhere in '09, and I'm not sure what happened to him.
But the Paulino/John Baker platoon has been a strong one offensively.
Now on to the whole teal monster situation. I share the sentiments of readers/fans who are not happy with the sudden disappearance of the electronic, out-of-town scoreboard in left. There aren't many things that give the Marlins' current home park an identity, but that was one of them. I went to college at Miami of Ohio, and the old football stadium there in the 1970s used a game clock that had two moving hands, like a wall clock. I kid you not. Eventually, they tore it down, donated it to the College Football Hall of Fame, and replaced it with your standard electronic clock. It just wasn't the same.
Getting back to the Marlins scoreboard.
Reader Al Sasiadek, a Marlins fan, had this to say:
If "you were at the game you have to agree that out of town scores on the ribbon boards are a terrible way to follow what is happening in the leagues. It doesn't matter much this early in the season but later on it will. It better not be a portent of how they will do it at the new stadium. It doesn't foster interest in baseball.
"Everyone around me last night had negative comments. Would you please start a campaign in print with the other writers and with the Marlin management to come up with a better solution? I have TWO good suggestions that you might float:
"1. Utilize the two big "end zone" scoreboards periodically to show all the information that used to be on the left field scoreboards. They can easily fit in 15 seconds between changeovers amongst all the other extraneous crap that they show. This will work well in the new stadium too.
"2. If they insist on using the ribbon boards, instead of cycling one game at a time (like ESPN does at the bottom of your TV screen) which is easy to miss amongst stadium action pop up all National League scores with each game showing in the same ribbon location so it is easy to find. Then do the same for the American League scores."
Here's an update:
Marlins spokesperson P.J. Loyello told me tonight that the reason the scoreboard was replaced with advertising was because they no longer manufactured the parts needed to repair the board to keep it operating properly. There have been quite a few problems with it the past couple of years.
"We are looking at other possible ways to get the out of town scores together and displayed in a way that's better than we have," said team president David Samson when I asked him if the team was looking into alternative plans. "To do a whole new board, it's millions (of dollars)."