Marlon and Rocky can't wait for the draft. The two have ordered a pitcher of draft in this airport lounge where they met only moments ago. Marlon wears a gold Rolex with a face the size of a compact disc and pays the waitress with his American Express plutonium card, which he pulls from a lead sheath. Rocky wears a beard and Birkenstocks and claims to be "a little light" when it comes time to pay for successive rounds. Marlon mentions that he is from Miami and is a big baseball fan; Rocky lets slip that he is from Denver and also loves baseball. Thus their conversation is immediately steered to the fact that....
Marlon and Rocky can't wait for the draft. The National League expansion draft will be held in New York City on Nov. 17. Over three rounds and seven hours, the fledgling Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies will select 36 players apiece, choosing from the rosters of the 26 major league teams. Each of those teams is allowed to protect 15 of its major and minor league players.
The free-spending Marlins are owned by Blockbuster Video founder H. Wayne Huizenga, and the H. stands for Head of lettuce, which is what the wad of bills in the man's pocket resembles. "We don't want a 10-year plan," Florida general manager Dave Dombrowski says. "We want a heavy emphasis on player development and scouting. We do have ownership that has money, though. With the free agents that are out there, it is an interesting situation."
The penurious Rockies are owned by a partnership whose most recognizable member is the Coors Brewing Co. The Rockies will be, by their own account, tight with a buck—tighter than Cher's face in a wind tunnel. "We will definitely go with younger players," says Colorado general manager Bob Gebhard. "I don't want to wake up in three years and still be an expansion team."
Marlon and Rocky can't wait for the draft. So during a short layover that will lead to a long hangover, these two rabid fans hold their own expansion draft. We forthwith present—though in no way endorse—the impaired ramblings of these two knuckleheads.
MARLON: We win the coin flip, we choose first. We'll take Danny Tartabull of the Yankees. He's one of the best hitters in the game, and we have to make a splash now that the Giants, who have a 110-year head start on us, may be in Tampa-St. Pete next season.
ROCKY: Come on, the Yankees won't let Tartabull go.
MARLON: Au contraire, mon frère. The Yankees have a lot of young studs in their system—pitchers Sterling Hitchcock, Sam Militello and Bob Wickman, first baseman J.T. Snow and catcher Kiki Hernandez, to name a few—and they're determined to protect them all. Their 15-man list might include nine players who have less than two months of major league experience.
ROCKY: Well, Tartabull's always hurt anyway. I heard one American League general manager say, and I quote, "If the Marlins can schedule their rainouts around all the games he can't play, there won't be any problem." In other words, you guys can take Vince Coleman next and give your Blockbuster owner his own live version of The Two Jakes. Besides, Tartabull has four years left on his contract at $5 mill a year. How can Huizenga afford that? Is he going to charge $2 every time someone doesn't rewind his Marlin highlight tape?
MARLON: Droll. Very droll. But enough of your stalling. Who are you taking first?