Category Archives: Florida/Miami Marlins

Sights From Today’s Marlins/Mariners Afternoon Affair…

Sights From Today’s Marlins/Mariners Afternoon Affair…

Today, we took the kids to the ballpark for some afternoon baseball with the Miami Marlins.  I always try to get to a game early in the season, and this was the first chance we had to get to a game with out hectic Little League and T-Ball schedules.

The weather was beautiful, and hot.  For all of the game that I have attended since Marlins Park opened, this was our first experience of a game with the roof opened.

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We sat in ‘our’ seats through the first 5 innings and then moved to higher ground to escape the sun’s rays.  From our seats, located in Row 1 of the second level, we have a nice unobstructed view of the field and are pretty centered between the hitters and the outfielders.

Here is the famous statue in left field.  Sadly, we did not see it in motion today…

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And here is the $250 Million Dollar Man, Robinson Cano in the field.

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And at the plate.  He had two hits today.

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And here is our lead-off hitter, Christian Yelich.  He did not get a hit until the eighth inning, but he ended up scoring the game-tying run on what would be my first experience of ‘Replay’ at a live game.  Yelich has a nice hit-streak going right now and I am hoping that continues tomorrow night when the Marlins are in Atlanta.

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And there is my buddy, #27, all the way in right field.  I told the kids that the next time we attend a game I will get seats along the first base side so we can be closer to Giancarlo.

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Here he is at the plate.  He did not have a hit today.

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And here is a shot from the seats we moved to after the sun was too much for us.  You should have seen their reaction to the ‘review call’ when it was in favor of the Marlins.

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What a great afternoon.  It was fun for all of us and Marlins Park is a really enjoyable place to catch a game!

I’m already scanning our schedules for the next time we can get down to the ballpark.

 

Sights & Stories From Today’s Spring Training Action Between The Marlins & Cardinals – MUST READ!

Sights & Stories From Today’s Spring Training Action Between The Marlins & Cardinals

Today was a fantastic day for baseball.  It was sunny, but not too hot.  And there was just enough of a breeze out to keep it from feeling too humid.

I got to the stadium early this morning – around 9AM.  With only one day to make the trip to Spring Training, I wanted to take advantage of the full day and spend as much time at the ballpark as I could.

Since the game was not scheduled to start until 1:05, I had plenty of time to walk around and check out what was going on at all of the Marlins fields that makes up half of the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

The minor leaguers were out in full force, with at least 80 of them out and about.  And the big leaguers were present as well – on the main practice field.  After going through a few stretching and running drills, the major league squad split up with the offensive players going to the main stadium for practice and BP and the pitchers going to the side bullpen for their pitching session.

At the pitching session, it was a rotation of four guys throwing at the same time – and Jose Fernandez was in the bunch.  He was closest to the fence, and I literally had a front row seat as he threw 60-80 pitches.  The fence at this area of the field is extremely high, and unfortunately my pictures came out awful.

When he was done, the group that assembled (about 10 of us) asked if he would sign but he said he had to go do some running.  He did, however, open up the gate between the players and the fans and shove five balls he used during his session through to us.  I was lucky enough to grab one!!

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That is a ball that was used by the reigning NL ROY – Pretty cool!!!

Instead of standing around and wait to see if he was going to return and sign for us, I opted to head towards the main stadium to see if I could get anything going there.  The main stadium is not open to the public for practice or BP, but I have learned where to stand as the players have to walk by where I was to get from the stadium to the clubhouse.

I saw almost everyone – Salty, Lucas, Solano, Redmond, Mathis, Hechavarria, Yelich, Ozuna, and then my main man walked through the outfield wall and headed right towards me!!!

Giancarlo Stanton!!!  He was very nice – I asked if he could sign for me as I was the only one around and he waved me over.  He quickly grabbed my pen and signed my ball.  I thanked him for taking the time to do that for me and I wished him well and good luck during the 2014 baseball season.

Here is the signed ball!!!

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I may have missed Fernandez, but I got the guy I was truly seeking – and the auto is crisp and clean!!

After that, it was game time.

Henderson Alvarez was on the hill for the Marlins.

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And Adam Wainwright was on the mound for the Cardinals.  My picture of him came out way too blurry so I will skip posting it here.

But, here is a picture of the new 3B coach for the Marlins – Mr. Brett Butler:

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I was able to walk around to all areas of the park – so I snapped pics throughout the game.

Here are a few more:

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Yadier Molina

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My man Stanton at the plate, with Molina catching:

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The day was fun, lots of fun.  I only get to do this once a year, and I really enjoyed myself today.

I’m a little sun-burned, and a little tired.  But, it was a great day – I got to see my boy Giancarlo Stanton up close.  I got to watch Jose Fernandez pitch.  And the Marlins beat the Cardinals 7-3.

The only thing that would have made this better would have been if my wife and kids could have joined me but it is not Spring Break yet and I don’t think pulling them out of school for the day to go to Spring Training would go over too well…

Oh, I also saw Andre Dawson, but it was just for a minute.  He was moving from field to field during practice and I waved to him.  He waved back, but I am not certain that he recognized me…  Otherwise, I know he would have come over to say ‘Hello’..  LOL

I am so ready for the season to get underway – today was a great kickstart to the 2014 season for me!!!

Thanks for reading.

Tomorrow, I Go To Jupiter!!!

Tomorrow, I Go To Jupiter!!!

Coincidentally, the anniversary of my employment at my workplace is during Spring Training.  And in my world, if you do not use your vacation time when your anniversary hits, your hours are wiped out and the clock resets itself.

In a nutshell, this means that I have 8 hours of PTO remaining that must be used by the middle of next week.  Normally, I save a day or two just in case one of my kids gets sick and I need to take a day or two off, but it looks like I am clear now as everyone is feeling great.

So, what is a guy to do?

I’ll tell you what this guy is gonna do.  He’s going to Jupiter, Florida to catch himself a full-days worth of Miami Marlins Spring Training action.  The fish play the Cardinals at 1:00 so I will catch a few innings of the game.  But, I will get there much earlier than that.  I love the Jupiter complex and enjoy walking around taking in all of the action.

Hopefully I will be able to see some of the players on the side fields go through their drills before the game starts.  And since not all of the guys will be playing in the game, I am hoping to be able to see some of the ‘main roster’ players during their workouts.

It should be fun.  It should be hot.  And I cannot wait.

And if I am able to snap some good pictures while there, I will surely share them with you when I return.

Happy Friday to me!!

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Happy Birthday Josh Johnson!!!

Happy Birthday Josh Johnson!!!

Josh Johnson turns 30 years old today.

One of my favorite former Marlins pitchers, Josh Johnson is preparing to start the 2014 major league baseball season as the ace of the San Diego Padres.  And he has all of the tools to succeed and lead the team.

But, his health has certainly stalled his progress.

After starting 31 games during the 2012 baseball season with the Marlins, JJ started just 16 in 2013 with the Blue Jays.  In order to take on a larger role with the team, as well as earn a longer contract and bigger payday, Johnson needs to start 28+ games for the Padres and keep them in contention deep into the games that he starts.

As someone that has gotten to see JJ pitch countless times, both live and on television, I have thought that he has had ‘ace’ stuff for some time.  His ability to dominate games from the onset, while allowing very few runs in the process, is rare.

I am hoping for a strong start to the 2014 baseball season for JJ, and an equally strong finish.

Happy Birthday Josh!!!

Baseball Card Show Purchase #2 – 2013 Bowman Colin Moran ROOKIE CARD!!!

Baseball Card Show Purchase #2 – 2013 Bowman Colin Moran ROOKIE CARD!!!

Sure, he is not a household name, not even in Miami.  But, the expectations for Colin Moran are pretty high.

He was the 6th pick in the draft, chosen by the Marlins to be their future third baseman.

Moran had a solid career at the University of North Carolina, and he was the ACC Player Of The Year in 2013.  He played in the Arizona Fall League for the Marlins this year and he did fairly well, even homering in his first at-bat as a professional baseball player.

I was very excited to see that Colin was included in the 2013 Bowman set this year, and I picked up his rookie card from one of my favorite dealers at the show.

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3B has long been a hole in the Marlins’ defense.  Since losing Miguel Cabrera and Mike Lowell, the ‘Fish’ have yet to truly find a replacement at ‘The Hot Corner’.

Hopefully Colin Moran is that answer!

Happy Birthday Charlie Hough!!!

Happy Birthday Charlie Hough!!!

Charlie Hough turns 66 years old today.

Charlie Hough can be remembered for several things from his 25-year career.  216 wins/216 losses…  1986 All-star game…  3 World Series losses… Serving up one of Reggie Jackson’s 1977 WS home runs…

But for me, the name Charlie Hough represents Florida Marlins history.  Hough was the starting pitcher on Opening Day in 1993, the first year of the Florida Marlins.  No matter what the result was, a 6-3 win over Orel Hershiser and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hough is a baseball legend for Marlins fans.

Happy Birthday Mr. Hough!!!

Happy Birthday AJ Burnett!!!

Happy Birthday AJ Burnett!!!

AJ Burnett turns 37 years old today.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching most of AJ Burnett’s career.

It has been nice to see Burnett reach some pretty impressive baseball milestones.  Obviously, his Yankees team won the 2009 World Series and AJ played a crucial part in their playoff run.  He also had a solid season in 2012 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As a Marlin he did not participate in their 2003 World Series title run, but AJ thew a no-hitter for the Marlins and I still get chills watching the final out play out in anticipation of the team celebrating his efforts.

Happy Birthday AJ!!!

Florida Marlins 2007 Topps Team Set

Florida Marlins 2007 Topps Team Set

As much as I truly enjoy the baseball card design that offers a full, Black border, I am not a fan of the 2007 set.

I believe that 2007 was the last season in which Topps has not offered us a colored background for their flagship product, and I am thankful for that.

For me, the Black borders on this issue are fine, but it is the Teal squares in all of the corners that are unnecessary.

Have a look:

2007 TOPPS A 2007 TOPPS B 2007 TOPPS C

 

I will applaud Topps for mixing up the kinds of images used in this release – from action to posed to day and night activity.  And I also like added ‘themed’ cards of both Johnson/Olivo and Uggla/Ramirez.

See, it is not all bad – just dump the Teal cubes and maybe round the corners of the images to soften them up a bit…  :)

Happy Birthday Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez!!!

Happy Birthday Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez!!!

Pudge Rodriguez turns 42 years old today.

Still a favorite of all Florida Marlins fans, Pudge Rodriguez should go down as one of the greatest players from his era!!

With a resume that includes 1 Most Valuable Player Award, 7 Silver Slugger awards, 13 Gold Gloves, and 14 All-star games, one has to wonder where Pudge ranks in the conversation about the game’s greatest catchers.

By the end of his playing days in the big leagues, Rodriguez has tallied 2,844 hits, 1,354 runs scored, 311 home runs, 1,332 RBI, and he even has 127 stolen bases to his credit.

It seems like his election into baseball’s Hall of Fame is inevitable.  One thing is for certain:  He has my vote!!!

Happy Birthday Pudge!!!

Marlins’ Jose Fernandez Captures The 2013 National League Rookie Of The Year Award

Marlins’ Jose Fernandez Captures The 2013 National League Rookie Of The Year Award

By Clark Spencer, Miami Herald

ORLANDO – Willie Mays. Jackie Robinson. Tom Seaver. Pete Rose.

All are baseball legends who were great from the get-go, Rookie of the Year Award winners who remained stars over the full course of their outstanding careers.

Jose Fernandez is hoping to follow in their footsteps.

The 21-year-old pitcher for the Miami Marlins on Monday was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year, arguably one of the best rookie seasons turned in by a pitcher of his age since Dwight Gooden.

Fernandez beat out another young Cuban-born player, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, for the honor. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller was third in voting my members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Fernandez went 12-8 with a 2.18 ERA that ranked second in the majors. Every fifth day when he took the mound, he helped make a dreadful season for the last-place Marlins a touch more bearable.

Fernandez became the fourth Marlin to win the prestigious award for rookies, joining Dontrelle Willis, Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan. He is also the first pitcher from a 100-loss team to win the award since Tom Seaver of the New York Mets in 1967.

The Marlins went 18-10 in games he started.

But Fernandez wasn’t exceptional only by rookie standards. His season ranked as one of the best among all major league pitchers – rookie or veteran. As a result, he is also one of three finalists, along with Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright, for the N.L. Cy Young Award, given to the league’s top pitcher.

Though the Marlins drafted him with their first-round pick in 2011 out of Tampa’s Alonso High, it was still a rapid ascension to stardom for the unflappable right-hander. He was expected to start the season at Double A Jacksonville. But he landed a spot on the Opening Day roster when injuries created a vacancy in the starting rotation.

Fernandez has his ups and downs in April, finishing the month with a 0-2 record. But he took off after that, and from June 1 forward evolved into one of the most dominant pitchers in the majors.

He was selected to represent the Marlins in the All-Star Game, where he retired the three batters he faced, striking out two of them. His dominance didn’t end there, as he posted a 7-1 mark with a 1.32 ERA after the All-Star break.

For the season, opposing batters hit just .182 off Fernandez – the best figure for any starting pitcher in the majors. The Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish was next on the list with a batting average against of .194.

Fernandez is the third Cuban-born player to win rookie of the year. Tony Oliva (1964, Twins) and Jose Canseco (1986, A’s) won the AL award.