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Updated: 2018-01-19T13:05:02-05:00

 



FanPost Friday: What to do about the Home Run Sculpture?

2018-01-19T13:05:02-05:00

(image)

If it were your call to make, would you scrap it or keep it?

Ed. note: Many sites around SB Nation host FanPost Fridays, and we’re joining the fray here at Fish Stripes, because we want to give you the chance to have your voice be heard in long-form style.

Every friday, we’ll post a FanPost prompt to pen type a response to (well, you could pen it, but there’s no guarantee it’ll reach the interwebs). All you have to do to participate is click on the FanPosts button at the top of the blog (next to the site icon) and then select new FanPost, and voila! It’s fairly straightforward, but please feel free to reach out to me (email or twitter is fine, both listed in my profile) if you ever have any questions about the FanPost process.

If a FanPost is well-written enough, we may decide to promote it to the front page and spread it around on our social media channels, seriously amplifying your awesome opinion’s reach. So, what are you waiting for? Get to it!


FanPost Friday prompt: What to do about the Home Run Sculpture?

Last week’s prompt: Who is your all-time favorite Marlins’ player? (and why)

When Derek Jeter, Bruce Sherman and various other enterprising fellows purchased the Miami Marlins back in August, almost immediately there was a story out there that Jeter didn’t care for Home Run sculpture center-piecing in his ball park.

At that time, the county came out and said that the sculpture was a “public art piece,” and as such, could not be moved.

Things seemed to have quieted down on the topic, but recently Miami mayor Carlos Gimenez met with Jeter at Marlins Park to discuss, among other things, the potential removal of the sculpture.

Miami-Dade’s stance remains the same today as it did back in August, that the statue could not be removed without approval. It is not difficult to envision a determined Jeter getting the approval, given the time and effort.

The real question is, as a Marlins fan, how do you feel about the sculpture? Would you be devastated or thrilled at it’s removal? This is the crux of the FanPost I’m requesting from you this week. Tell us how you feel.

Remember, there are no wrong answers in this theoretical exercise. Follow the instructions from above, or click here to begin!




All-Time Marlins: January 19th Birthdays

2018-01-19T12:00:02-05:00

Six members of the Marlins family enjoy birthdays on January 19th. Dexter Kjerstad (26) Kjerstad, turning 26 today, is a 6’1”, 210 lb. power hitting outfielder from Amarillo, Texas. He was initially drafted in the 50th round of the 2010 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, with the 1,507th selection off the board. He didn't join the Reds, instead opting for college ball, first with the Texas Longhorns, then with Howard College, then finally with the Ragin Cajuns at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Kjerstad, signed through free agency to the Kansas City Royals in 2014, appeared in 80 games for the Lexington Legends and slashed .275/.336/.428 out of right field, with six homers and 33 RBI. He started the 2015 campaign with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, where he slashed .247/.288/.316 in 51 games, after which the Royals parted ways with him. He signed with the Amarillo Thunderheads in the independent American Association, where he slashed .300/.338/.584, with 11 round-trippers and 31 RBI in 45 games. That performance earned him a second look in affiliated ball, and the Marlins signed him just after Christmas in 2015. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tZlBHcyOG-g?rel=0&" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Kjerstad began his Marlins’ career in 2016 with the Hammerheads, and he would remain with the club for the entire season, slashing .227/.292/.383 over 124 games with 15 homers and 55 RBI. His home run total ranked fifth in the Florida State League, and he played another 60 games with them in 2017. He would slash .213/.276/.296, and get a quick look with the triple-A Baby Cakes, for whom he went 0-for-6 with two strikeouts in three games. The Marlins released him on August 5th. Matt Goyen (35) Matt Goyen was a 6’5”, 220 lb. left-handed pitcher from Athens, Georgia. The Florida Marlins spent a third round selection on him in the 2005 draft, 96th overall out of Division II Georgia College and State University. He posted a 20-5 record over four seasons, first out of the bullpen and eventually making 27 starts. He totaled a 2.24 ERA and 260 whiffs in 213 innings, with a 1.05 WHIP to his credit. Goyen joined the Jamestown Jammers after his selection, and made 10 rotation starts for a 1-5 win-loss record, a 4.03 ERA, 44 strikeouts in 44 2⁄3 innings, and a 1.46 WHIP. He started 2006 with the Grasshoppers, and after two starts was promoted to the Hammerheads. With Jupiter, he went 2-5 with a 4.60 ERA, 56 whiffs in 86 frames, and a 1.36 WHIP. Goyen’s last season of professional baseball was in 2007 back with the Grasshoppers, for whom he went 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA, 31 K’s in just 21 1⁄3 innings, and a 1.41 WHIP over five starts. Pat Magness (40) Magness, a 6’3”, 230 lb. first baseman from Kansas City, Missouri, was chosen by Florida in the 12th round of the 2000 draft, 341st overall out of Wichita State University. He posted a .392/.509/.698 slashline in his four collegiate seasons, with 64 round-trippers and 303 RBI in 249 games for the Shockers. Magness joined the Utica Blue Sox after his selection, and went on to slash .309/.413/.497 with five homers and 40 RBI in 50 games for the low-A class NYPL outfit. He earned a promotion to the mid-level-A Kane County Cougars for the start of the 2001 season, where he slashed .256/.400/.396 in 68 contests, with six homers and 39 RBI. His patience at the plate (53 walks versus 41 strikeouts) paid off with a mid-season-promotion to the high-A Brevard County Manatees, where he appeared in 35 games and hit .274/.363/.359. Florida shifted their FSL affilate to Jupiter in 2002, where Magness would make his home with the Hammerheads. In 111 contests, he hit .292/.413/.487 with 16 homers and 73 RBI, with 79 walks. He joined the 2003 Carolina Mudcats the following campaign, where he appeared in 52 games and hit just .227/.350/.348 as their first baseman. After starting the following year with a .211/.314/.372 slashline in 69 games for Carolina, the[...]



Not-so-happy anniversary: One year later, Marlins regret trading Luis Castillo

2018-01-19T07:03:00-05:00

The future of their starting rotation would look much more promising with another young flamethrower under long-term team control. What a difference a year makes. No, seriously—think about how it felt to be a Miami Marlins fan on this date in 2017. Despite generating some buzz early that offseason with the pursuit of a top-flight closer, the club was wrapping up its business relatively quietly. Yup, wrapping up, because this was before Major League Baseball owners tried to collude against free agents, analytically driven general managers challenged the sport’s economic system, or whatever you believe is currently going on. Rosters had mostly been settled. The Marlins neared spring training with a franchise-record payroll, thanks to veteran pitching additions like Edinson Volquez and Brad Ziegler. They now sought somebody more cost-efficient to eat innings. On Jan. 19, president of baseball operations Mike Hill snagged right-hander Dan Straily from the rebuilding Cincinnati Reds. “We got what we wanted,” Hill said once the deal was finalized (h/t Tim Healey, Sun Sentinel). “We know...we gave up quality, but in return we felt like we were getting quality in someone who will have an immediate impact on our 2017 season.” Photo by Rob Foldy/Miami Marlins via Getty Images At least Straily took the mound as scheduled, leading the 2017 pitching staff in workload. In a vacuum, this was not a terrible transaction, but Hill’s comments were a gross oversimplification of the risks involved from the Marlins’ perspective. With a dwindling war chest of available resources, they decided to pin their hopes on Dan Straily moving the needle from lackluster to playoff-caliber? Oh, to be a fly on the wall within the front office right now as Hill tries to justify it to his new colleagues. The Derek Jeter/Bruce Sherman leadership have since brought in baseball ops personnel around him to oversee a thorough rebuild of their own. Luis Castillo—the gifted right-hander traded away for Straily—is already sorely missed. As a reminder, there were actually four players involved in the deal. Castillo was just the centerpiece of a package leaving Miami: Marlins acquire RHP Dan Straily Reds acquire RHP Luis Castillo, RHP Austin Brice and OF Isaiah White Brice and White ranked ninth and 15th, respectively, on MLB Pipeline’s list of top Marlins prospects at the time, per MLB Trade Rumors. Although not so highly regarded across the scouting universe, these departures still hurt the depth of a farm system that was considered a laughingstock even with their contributions. Approaching his age-24 campaign, Castillo was a tier above them. Pipeline ranked him fifth, while Baseball America placed him in the No. 2 spot, behind only 2016 draft pick Braxton Garrett (who hadn’t thrown a professional pitch at that point). Perhaps there was some doubt as to whether Castillo would stick in a major league rotation. He had only logged 40 pro starts (versus 115 relief appearances) prior to the deal. Photo by @GoHammerheads/Twitter Castillo with the Marlins organization in 2016. However, the Dominican stud flaunted a fiery fastball/sharp slider combination that has been the key to countless successful careers. With some commonplace service time manipulation, his franchise could get seven seasons of production on the active roster until he qualified for free agency. Even a late-inning reliever is a valuable asset under those circumstances. So basically, the Marlins preferred Straily to Castillo because Castillo wasn’t going to be MLB-ready by Opening Day. He had only ascended to Double-A at the very end of the previous summer. Additional development was required. But their evaluation of Straily was straight-up perplexing. The former 24th-round draft pick exceeded everybody’s expectations as an Oakland Athletics farmhand. He backed that up with a decent major league debut in 2013, then battled through control issues and bec[...]



Nostalgia acts that could be a fit for the 2018 Miami Marlins, Part II

2018-01-18T13:05:01-05:00

Reach out wistfully for old familiar faces with me. Before we dig in too deep here, I feel the need to acknowledge that the Marlins (along with most other teams in baseball) have shown zero inclination toward signing any major league free agents, potentially dashing hopes that any of this has a chance of taking place. The cold stove will thaw eventually though, and what way to warm our bitter, jaded hearts then to win back a little good will with a nostalgic contributor to the 2018 Miami Marlins? We’ve already gone over some low nostalgia acts that might make a few Fish fans smile, but it they didn’t cut it for you, perhaps this group of players will. We’ll call them the high nostalgia group. Anibal Sanchez Initial Marlins organizational tenure: 2005-2012 Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Not eligible for return: Mike Cameron You may recall that with Giancarlo Stanton’s departure, there is now no one in the organization who ever played for the Florida Marlins. Signing Anibal Sanchez would rectify that. Sanchez will be 34 in the 2018 season, but he first came to the Marlins as a rising prospect way back in 2005, when the Fish received him as a part of the package that saw Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota head to the Boston Red Sox. Sanchez debuted in a June 25th start during the 2006 season, where he shut out the New York Yankees through five and two third’s innings. He would, more famously, go on later in the season to do this: src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7oqYToyi874?rel=0&" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Sanchez would go on to pitch almost 800 innings for the Fish, between the aforementioned ‘06 season until 2012, when he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for, among others, Jacob Turner. In that stretch, he compiled a 44-45 record and a 3.69 ERA/3.76 FIP. His 12.7 fWAR was good for ninth on the all-time Marlins starting pitcher list. His tenure with the Tigers started well and he was rewarded in the 2012 off season with a five year, $80 million dollar contract. About halfway through said contract, things began to go south for Sanchez; in 2015, he led the league in home runs allowed (29) despite having his season end early in August due to injury. In 2016, after a series of rough starts, he was demoted to the bullpen, and his stint there continued into 2017 until he was demoted to AAA on May 22nd. Sanchez returned to the major league rotation on June 19th and stuck there through the end of the season. Overall, the numbers were ugly and would make you question of dipping in for a second helping of Anibal Sanchez. However, looking past his home runs allowed and ugly surface numbers, we find reasons for optimism. MLive’s Evan Woodbery explains: “In 2017, Sanchez has struck out batters in 21.3 percent of plate appearances, his best K rate since 2013, when he finished in third place in the Cy Young balloting. His walk rate is just 6 percent, best since 2014. His K-BB rate of 15.2 percent puts him in the upper-third of the league among pitchers with at least 90 innings pitched. That’s a tad better than Rick Porcello, who won the American League Cy Young last year.” Sanchez owns a career .302 BABIP, but last season was tagged at with a .354 BABIP. Even if he’s truly declined, that number seems likely to fall. He seems like a good candidate for a rebound, and might be reasonably priced given the stagnant market and his struggles the past few seasons. If I’m the Marlins, I’m opening the door back up for a reunion. Henderson Alvarez Initial Marlins Organizational Tenure: 2012-2015 Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images Henderson Alvarez joined the Marlins organization as a part of the massive 12 player swap back in late 2012, and with apologies to Adeiny Hechavarria, was probably the most impactful. At the least, he is responsible for one of the mo[...]



All-Time Marlins: January 18th Birthdays

2018-01-18T12:00:02-05:00

Jarlin Garcia fronts nine current and former members of the Marlins’ extended family who celebrate their birthdays on January 18th. There are nine current and former members of the Marlins and their affiliates who are celebrating their birthday on January 18th. Sonny Cortez (43) Sonny Cortez is a 6’, 210 lb. outfielder from Long Beach, California. The Marlins chose him in the 51st round of the 1994 draft out of the Cerritos College, 1,365th overall. Instead, he joined a four year program at the University of Tennessee, and slashed .370/.423/.711 in 114 games for the Volunteers, with 36 gopher balls and 145 RBI. After college, Cortez played a season with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, splitting his time between the Augusta GreenJackets and the Lynchburg Hillcats. Zach Lush (41) Zach Lush is a 6’3”, 190 lb. catcher from Danvers, Massachusetts. He was drafted in the 46th round in 1998 by the Baltimore Orioles, but elected instead to continue college at the Florida Institute of Technology. Lush resurfaced with the GCL Marlins in 2001, playing catcher and going three-for-26 in seven games. After his promotion to the Manatees, he went three-for-20 in 10 contests to close out his professional career. Carl Jones (41) Carl Jones was a 6’, 200 lb. outfielder from El Paso, Texas, and Florida’s 56th round selection in the 1995 draft, 1,470th overall out of El Paso Community College. Ray Aguilar (38) Ray Aguilar is a 5’11”, 200 lb. left-handed pitcher from South El Monte, California. He was chosen in the 25th round of the 1999 draft by the Colorado Rockies, 760th off the board out of Cypress College. Aguilar joined the Atlanta Braves system through free agency and made his professional debut with the GCL Braves in 2001. He made his way through their system and graduated to the triple-A level with the Richmond Braves in 2004. In 2005, Aguilar joined the Marlins system and won his only start for the Jupiter Hammerheads. He played most of the year with the Carolina Mudcats, going 5-2 over 13 starts with a 3.20 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP, and 49 strikeouts in 84 1⁄3 innings. Later, he went 12-7 for the Midland Rockhounds in 2006 for the Oakland Athletics, but wouldn’t spend any more time in organized baseball. Ben Vannatter (37) Ben Vannatter was a 6’1”, 215 lb. catcher from Amelia, Ohio. The Marlins picked him out of Amelia HS with the 1,360th overall choice in the 1999 draft, in the 46th round. Instead, Vannatter went to Indiana State, where he was a four-year letterman with a .279/.341/.513 slashline, with 22 homers and 84 RBI in 134 games. Zach McCormack (36) Zachariah E. McCormack was a 6’2”, 195 lb. left-handed pitcher from Fairfield, California, and Miami’s 11th round choice in the 2003 draft, 323rd overall out of Sacramento City College. McCormack joined the GCL Marlins after the draft and allowed just one hit in his first 6 1⁄3 innings of work, with six strikeouts before a promotion made him a Jamestown Jammer later in the year. He went 0-2 for the NYPL outfit, with a 4.56 ERA, 35 whiffs in 25 2⁄3 innings, and a 1.95 WHIP. In 2004, McCormack went 3-3 with a 5.89 ERA, 49 strikeouts in 44 1⁄3 innings, and a 1.83 WHIP for the Grasshoppers. He was 4-2 with a 4.61 ERA and 33 K’s in 41 innings in 2005, with an improved WHIP of 1.41. He peaked later that season with the Hammerheads, where he pitched 4 1⁄3 innings of relief over four games. Jarlin Garcia (25) Jarlin Garcia is a 6’2”, 170 lb. left-hander from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He signed with the Marlin through free agency in 2010. Garcia posted a 5-5 record with a 3.29 ERA in his first season of professional baseball with the DSL Marlins in 2011. He struck out 46 in 52 frames, racking up a 1.13 WHIP. The next year would see him laterally promoted to the GCL Marlins, where he went 1-3 with a 3.60 ERA in a dozen games, striking out 32 in 40 innings, along with a 1.30 WHIP. Garcia joined Batavia for [...]



Poll: Do you want Christian Yelich on the Marlins?

2018-01-17T13:25:02-05:00

Yelich’s agent confirms that the relationship between team and player is damaged. But should Miami cave to his wishes or build around the talented outfielder? The tension has been building for five-and-a-half weeks—when the Miami Marlins traded Giancarlo Stanton at the start of the MLB Winter Meetings, Christian Yelich could see the club heading in a rebuilding direction...and decided he didn’t want any part of it. After previously expressing his displeasure through backchannels, Yelich’s agent Joe Longo came right out and said it on Tuesday night (via ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick): “[The Marlins] have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going. “The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.” The 26-year-old outfielder is under contract for at least the next four seasons, plus a team option for 2022. It carries a maximum value of $58.25 million, which he will easily out-perform (barring catastrophic injury). “It was a completely different climate at the time” they agreed on that extension, Longo said. “They were built to win immediately. And that’s something Christian wanted to be a part of.” Realistically, it will take the Marlins until the end of that deal to strengthen the organization enough to reactivate win-now mode. Meanwhile, Yelich is stuck in an inexperienced clubhouse, no longer in the company of his closest baseball friends. It sucks, in theory, but he could easily have a change of heart once spring training begins next month. Yelich is arguably the most popular trade candidate in the majors. Crasnick lists the Braves, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Diamondbacks and Phillies as just some of his suitors. A .290/.369/.432 career hitter (121 wRC+) who can play all three outfield positions and hasn’t even realized his full potential yet could command a prospect haul that expedites Miami’s rebuild. Unlike Stanton, Yelich isn’t a singular attraction who motivates fans to pay their way into Marlins Park. At least that’s what a majority of the Fish Stripes audience said in this December Twitter poll: Ran a poll earlier in the offseason where many of you said you bought Marlins tix in 2017 because you wanted to watch Stanton play.Would you buy tix to a 2018 game just to watch Yelich?— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) December 13, 2017 Why keep him around? Maybe this is the summer that Yelich makes a leap into the truly elite, MVP-caliber tier. Imagine what that would do to his trade value next offseason! If you’re an optimist, his growth—with the help of several other overachievers—could propel the Marlins to semi-contender status. From there, they could see a path to relevance that doesn’t require any more subtractions from the major league roster. On the heels of this latest development, it’s time for another poll. Please take all these factors into consideration before casting your vote. [...]



All-Time Marlins: January 17th Birthdays

2018-01-17T12:00:02-05:00

Jeremy Ovalle and 10 other current and former Marlins have a birthday on January 17th. On January 17th, 11 current and former Marlins and Marlins’ affiliates are celebrating their birthday. From 1996 Portland Sea Dog Ronnie Brown to current prospect Jeremy Ovalle, here’s a little bit about each of them. Ronnie Brown (48) Ronnie Brown was a 6’3”, 185 lb. outfielder from Tampa, Florida, chosen in the 24th round of the 1993 draft by the Marlins with the 687th overall selection out of Mississippi State. Brown hit .284/.367/.463 for the Elmira Pioneers after his selection, playing 75 games in the outfield for the short-season-A outfit. He graduated to the mid-A Kane County Cougars in 1994, and hit .265/.312/.399 in 109 contests. Brown slashed .260/.311/.347 in 1995 with the Brevard County Manatees, playing in 121 games. He went 1-for-10 in four games for the Portland Sea Dogs in 1996 before joining the independent Duluth-Superior Dukes in the Northern League. He later split the 1997 campaign between three Yankees affiliates, the Tampa Yankees, the Norwich Navigators, and the Columbus Clippers. William Baber (39) William Baber is a 6’5”, 235 lb. third baseman from Crozet, Virginia. The Marlins spent their 56th round pick on him, 1,496th overall. Mike Rabelo (38) Rabelo is a 6’1”, 200 lb. catcher from New Port Richey, Florida. He was chosen in the fourth round of the 2001 draft by the Detroit Tigers, with the 117th overall selection out of Tampa College. Rabelo remained with the Tigers organization through 2007, making his way from the Oneonta Tigers, through the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Lakeland Tigers, the Erie SeaWolves, and the Toledo MudHens before making his major league debut with Detroit in 2006. In 52 games he slashed .254/.298/.355. After the 2007 season, the Tigers traded Rabelo with Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop, Eulogio de la Cruz and Dallas Trahern to Florida for Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. He split the 2008 season between the Jupiter Hammerheads, the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Marlins. With Florida, he slashed .202/.256/.294 over 34 games. After going 4-for-28 for the GCL Marlins on a rehab assignment in 2009, Rabelo only appeared in a professional capacity once more, going five-for-35 in 2010 with the Toledo Mud Hens. Jai Miller (33) Miller is a 6’4”, 195 lb. outfielder from Auburn, Alabama. The Marlins picked him in the fourth round of the 2003 draft with the 113rd overall selection out of Selma HS. Miller had a brief stop in 2003 with the Jammers, going 10-for-43 in 11 game, then spent two seasons with the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, slashing .206/290/.348 over 228 contests. He played a season with the Hammerheads (111 games, .209/.308/.267) and the Mudcats (129 games, .261/.354/.438, 14 home runs) before spending most of the 2008 campaign with the Isotopes (117 games, .267/.349/.472, 19 home runs). He struck out in his only plate appearance for the Marlins, and spent the 2009 season entirely with the Zephyrs (102 games, .289/.360/.510, 16 homers). Later, he signed on with the Oakland Athletics, the Kansas City Royals, and the Baltimore Orioles. Austin Armstrong (31) Armstrong is a 6’3”, 210 lb. right-handed pitcher from Lake Worth, Florida. He was initially selected in the 34th round of the 2008 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, with the 1,029th overall choice. Armstrong made 19 of his 20 professional appearances with theBlue Jays, between the GCL Blue Jays and the Auburn Doubledays. He pitched five innings for the Jamestown Jammers in 2009, striking out four and allowing two hits and a walk. Frank Garces (28) Frank Garces was a 5’11”, 155 lb. left-handed pitcher from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. Undrafted, he was later signed by the Texas Rangers in 2009. Garces didn’t appear at any level for the Rangers, and actually made it through the Padres syste[...]



Major League Tattoos serves All-Star roster of Marlins, top MLB players

2018-01-17T07:30:16-05:00

Fish Stripes spoke to owner Mike Chevere and one of his high-profile customers about the thriving business. You can see Mike Chevere on the New York Yankees this season...and the Boston Red Sox. He’s on the Washington Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles, the Detroit Tigers and the Seattle Mariners, plus various other MLB and minor league teams. Chevere looks good in a uniform, but he isn’t a professional athlete. And even though his business relationships cover so many franchises, he only has a rooting interest in the Miami Marlins. A huge fan of them since their inception in 1993, he told Fish Stripes in a recent interview. The veteran tattoo artist opened Major League Tattoos in 2007 along West 16th Avenue in Hialeah. Most of the shop’s customers are private citizens, virtually all of whom seem thrilled with their experiences, as evidenced by high ratings on Facebook and Yelp. Visit those pages for examples of Chevere’s work, or just tune into an MLB broadcast any time from April through October. Many of the most prominent tats in the league are his creations. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has a rose tattoo beneath his right ear. Guess who inked it? (A better view from his session with Chevere in 2014) Chevere credits Hugo “Juice” Tandron for establishing his connection with the baseball world. The in-house barber of the Marlins, Tandron had previously gone to Chevere for several of his 100-plus tattoos. He recommended that shortstop Alex Gonzalez—who played for the team from 1998 through 2005—pay him a visit. From there, rave reviews spread across the clubhouse, then to the visitor’s clubhouse, and soon to the robust community of professional athletes who make their homes in South Florida. Photos by @devaris9/Instagram and @majorleaguetattoos/Instagram Dee Gordon is one of many MLB players over the years who’s been a client of both Tandron and Chevere. The logistics are simple—players visit the shop during the offseason to get their work done. However, Chevere will often make exceptions. Clients who can’t come to Miami occasionally fly him to wherever they are, whether that be across the United States or even internationally. Regardless, the actual sessions cost the same as they would for anybody who walks into Major League Tattoos, Chevere says. Last August, he traveled up to Washington, D.C. as the Marlins were beginning a series against the Nationals. Left-hander Enny Romero had just been placed on the disabled list with forearm tightness, giving him more downtime than players typically have during the summer. Chevere met with Romero after one of the games to give his opposite forearm some personality. Not that it proves his ink has any superpowers, but Romero did perform well upon returning from the DL (8.1 IP, 1.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 8/3 K/BB). Photos by Mitchell Layton/Getty and Tim Clayton/Corbis Romero pitching in June (left) and September (right) It’s been a surreal journey for Chevere, who savors the interactions with MLB players by posting pictures of them to the Major League Tattoos instagram account. His star-studded client list includes Christian Vazquez, Tim Beckham, Jon Jay, Pablo Sandoval, Dee Gordon, Aroldis Chapman, Manny Machado and Miguel Cabrera. Chevere was able to appreciate his work from a different perspective several years ago. He went out to do some holiday shopping for his two daughters and found a Cabrera action figure on display. It featured the future Hall of Famer in a Detroit Tigers uniform, detailing the tattoos he has on both forearms. “They got them perfect,” he says. Photos by Getty and Mike Chevere Judge for yourself... So what is Major League Tattoos’ secret? Why do customers—celebrity and otherwise—feel such loyalty to Chevere and his staff give[...]