This was supposed to be the year it all came together for the Miami Marlins. New identity. New name. New manager. New stars. New ballpark. They had money to spend, a swagger to show off. Showtime wanted to cover their every move.
But what happened instead?
Their 20th season was the fourth worst in team history. The only Marlins teams worse than this year were the inaugural 1993 season, the disastrous post World Series 1998 season and the 1999 campaign.
The 2006 team, which sported a total payroll of $15 million, produced better results. A season that began with images of World Series titles dancing in their head ended with their biggest highlight being Adam Greenberg's late season, one day contract.
The team finished the season with a 4-2 loss, in front of the home fans, to the disappointing New York Mets (who still finished with a better record than the Marlins).
Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner shut down the Marlins line up. Ike Davis, Scott Hairston and Andres Torres all homered. Once Bobby Parnell struck out Bryan Petersen in the ninth, the 2012 season came to a mercifully end.
Was this season the Marlins best chance? With the promise of a new stadium and new revenue already cashed in, is there a great hope around the corner?
The Marlins were supposed to be making their run at converting into a big market, big budget franchise. Instead they are yet another Marlins team jettisoning veterans and promising future success.
And the great Ozzie Guillen era might be over after one season.
Next year they will have Jose Reyes, Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison and some good young pitching, but there are lots of empty seats in Marlins Park.
The Marlins might very well get their act together and win their third World Series in as many decades.
They might flourish with young talent like the Orioles and A's did in 2012.
But this year was not supposed to be about the future. The future was supposed to have arrived this year in Miami.