After winning the World Series in 2001, then wandering the desert for a few years, the Arizona Diamondbacks have gradually rebuilt themselves into perhaps the best team in baseball by following a formula that the Marlins tried, and abandoned. Specifically, the Diamondbacks will throw a nigh-unbeatable pitcher at you in Brandon Webb (2008 salary: $5.5 million) and support him with cheap thundersticks like 25-year-old Conor Jackson, (2008 salary: $340,000). The Marlins, by unloading guys like Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera at the very moment when the team would have to pay them what theyre worth, have only adhered to half of that equation. Fortunately for Florida fans, the cheap thundersticks (e.g. Mike Jacobs, Hanley Ramirez, and Josh Willingham) have done more this spring than any other team in the National League East. Maybe it wont last past spring (then again, who wants to sit outdoors in Florida during the summer?) but beating the D-backs would sure extend the ride. Live in the now on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. at Dolphin Stadium (2269 NW 199th St., Miami). Tickets start at $9. You could probably buy a whole sections worth at the gate, but you can secure them at florida.marlins.mlb.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 954-523-3309.
Wed., May 21, 7 p.m., 2008