It wasn't supposed to end this way.
The Florida Marlins weren't the kind of team that would send off their multi-named multi-purpose mega-park with a maddeningly mediocre last-place season, were they?
That's one of the subtle beauties of baseball, though, as the hobbled, humiliated 72-90 final product would grudgingly remind anyone.
In a 162-game marathon of a season, holes in a roster will eventually be exposed and inflated production via small sample sizes will eventually regress to its mean.
However, while the Marlins certainly do need to work on a handful of areas of weakness, it's a rash and short-sighted assumption to begin associating these down south cellar-dwellers with their also-ran brethren in the Baltimores, Seattles and San Diegos of the baseball map after just one season of hopeless flailing.
For starters, one low-key Ozzie (Martinez) has already been swapped for a much more heralded counterpart of White Sox legend (Guillen). Defensive wizard Omar Infante has already agreed to an extension with management to remain in Miami. And the front office is already vowing to let its notoriously tight-lipped wallets open up and get some much needed air this upcoming winter.
There's still a lot to get excited about in Miami if you're gearing up to catch the Marlins roaming their new stomping grounds in April of next year.
A wise man would keep this young Marlins core intact and spend carefully around it, not demolish its sturdy foundation and rebuild from scratch.
This is still a ballclub that possesses once-in-a-generation talents like its enigmatic superstar shortstop Hanley Ramirez and the meteorically rising power bat of young slugger Mike Stanton in right field.
This is a ballclub ready to spend money and contend for years of postseason success before a fresh and revitalized generation of rabid, dedicated fans. The good news is that all of its needs can be addressed by Opening Day if the organization remains on alert and ready to do business shrewdly.
That's why, for years to come, there won't be a more pivotal offseason for the Miami faithful than the one in these upcoming months.