By Mike Berardino
Sun Sentinel columnist
2:18 PM PDT, October 23, 2012
Clearly, there is a Cardinals Way, one that sustains the St. Louis baseball franchise through the loss of respected executives (Walt Jocketty), Hall of Fame managers (Tony La Russa) and Hall of Fame sluggers (Albert Pujols).
For the past decade-plus, there has been an Angels Way as well under Mike Scioscia, just as there has been a Braves Way for the past two decades-plus, first under John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox and more recently Frank Wren and Fredi Gonzalez.
Long, long before that there was an Orioles Way in which '60s- and '70s-era Baltimore baseball was played in the image of front office legend Hank Peters and Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver.
Scouts like to say there are certain organizations where you could strip the logos off the jerseys and the caps and still be able to tell instantly which club you were watching.
What about the Marlins Way? Whatever happened to that?
"I think that’s a good question," Larry Beinfest, the team's president of baseball operations, said on Tuesday's conference call announcing the firing of Ozzie Guillen. "Maybe we have gotten a little bit away from the Marlins Way.
"In the old days, when we were winning world championships, we talked about pitching, speed and defense and maximizing our production per dollar because of the challenges we had on the revenue side. And all those different things that kind of made us the Marlins."
From this regime's arrival in 2002 through 2010, when Fredi Gonzalez was fired at midseason, the Marlins averaged 82 wins per season. That included a 2003 World Series title and just one last-place finish (2007) despite a payroll that consistently ranked among the game's lowest.
The past two years, however, have seen the Marlins post consecutive 90-loss seasons for just the second time in franchise history. That included back-to-back finishes in the NL East cellar, making it three times in the past six years the Marlins have brought up the rear.
So, again, what does Beinfest think of the Marlins Way now?
"I think maybe we have lost sight of that a little bit," he said. "I think we need to spend some time redefining ourselves in conjunction with a new manager and say, 'Hey, this is how we were successful in the past. This is where we want to go in the future.'
"I can’t tell you exactly what the Marlins Way is today. I think we all have still some guiding philosophies as you’ve heard ad nauseum over the last 11 years from me. Some of those will stay.
"But maybe we need to rethink things. Maybe the game has changed a little bit. We need to think about how we make roster decisions, how we make personnel decisions, how we come to those decisions and maybe that will all help cultivate a new Marlins Way."
Those are big questions.
Far bigger than which manager to put in the dugout next.
The sooner the Marlins figure out who they are and what kind of player fits their preferred mold, the sooner they can make the heckling stop.
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