The Marlins somehow escaped Montreal-like fan desertion when Wayne Huizenga sold off all the big talent after the 1997 World Series. A solid base of fish-lovers survived three consecutive losing seasons. But then John Henry skipped off to Boston and Jeffrey Loria bought the team, bringing a little of that Montreal magic with him. Now the Marlins are bringing in 5000 or so at home games, right on par with the 'Spos. And despite the fact that the carpetbaggers from Canada callously traded closer Antonio Alfonseca, the team is showing signs that it could be a serious playoff contender. The young pitching staff has the potential of supplanting Atlanta's old-timers as the best rotation in the National League, and the batting lineup is solid from top to bottom. If a few consistent guns emerge from the bullpen, the men in teal (and no, we're not talking about some dance troupe from Key West) might just vie for a championship. Which brings us to that ancient philosophical question: If a team is winning and nobody is watching, does anybody give a damn?

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