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Marlins fans soak up Opening Day festivities

BY MICHELLE KAUFMAN

[email protected]

 

In some ways, the Florida Marlins' home opener Tuesday was no different than their past 13.

 

The Dolphin Stadium field was a perfect shade of emerald. Otherwise-responsible men and women played hooky from their jobs. There were pregame festivities, including a flyover by four F-18 fighter jets. And the music of Amor 107.5, Big 105.9, Y-100, and Kiss 99.9 clashed in the parking lots as fans played dominoes and grilled hot dogs and churrasco on a sunny, windy afternoon.

 

But a closer look at the names on the backs of the fans' shirts told the real story -- outnumbering Cabrera and Willis were Conine, Hernandez, Lowell, Sheffield, Beckett, and Pierre, names from the past. The Marlins dumped $40 million in salaries during the offseason, their second fire sale in eight years, slimming down to a team payroll of less than $15 million, the lowest by far in Major League Baseball. Five Yankees each make more than the Marlins' entire roster.

 

Eleven Marlins had never played at Dolphin Stadium before Tuesday's 9-3 loss to the San Diego Padres, including new starters Hanley Ramirez, Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, Reggie Abercrombie, and pitcher Sergio Mitre.

 

''They haven't made shirts for the new guys yet, have they?'' asked Dave Scully of Fort Lauderdale, who was wearing a replica jersey of former Marlin Luis Castillo. He was among the crowd of 31,308 who showed up to see the scaled-down Marlins, a sharp decline from the 57,405 who came last Opening Day.

 

Asked to name as many Marlins as he could, Albert Menendez of Miami smiled sheepishly after he got past Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. ''You got me there,'' said Menendez, who was at the game with 80 co-workers from Home Equity Mortgage. ``But I'm going to support them because I want the team to stay here.''

 

The Marlins have been seeking a new ballpark since their inception. Owner Jeffrey Loria has been flirting with other markets and has said repeatedly that the team needs a new home once its lease runs out in 2010. The team finished last in the National League in attendance last season with 22,872 fans per game, and ticket sales so far this season are the lowest in franchise history.

 

Many fans who attended Tuesday said they are committed no matter what names are on the shirts.

 

Said Scully: ``I'd rather come see guys who are playing hard than see guys being paid $10 million and not run the bases. I'm a baseball fan and a Marlins fan, and I'd be willing to pay the tax to build them a stadium and keep them here. I hope fans will keep coming. If they had been coming before, instead of being bandwagon fans, we wouldn't be in this situation.''

 

Lourdes Trujillo of Miami agreed: ``I am a die-hard fan, and will continue to be no matter who is on the team. I took my kids out of school to be at Opening Day because it's our family tradition. We're having a great time.''

 

Marlins fans made some noise when Ramirez hit a triple in the first inning, and crossed the plate for an early 1-0 lead off a Josh Willingham single. But the Padres tied soon thereafter, and took the lead for good in the third inning, leaving the Marlins 1-5 for the season. The stadium was largely empty by the ninth inning.

 

It is safe to say nobody had a more memorable Opening Day than Mark Dickerson and DeAnna Walston of Richmond, Va. They are vacationing in Weston, and Dickerson, who had been meaning to propose to Walston, came up with a plan when he saw the Padres were in town. Walston is a San Diego native and huge Padres fan, so where better to ask her to marry him than at a Padres game on Opening Day, thought Dickerson.

 

He set it up with the Marlins, and during the seventh inning, a team representative approached the couple with a bouquet of red roses and told them they had won a promotion put on by a local florist. They were escorted to the field, where Dickerson popped the question as the crowd watched on the jumbo screen.

 

''I was completely in shock,'' said Walston. ``We're both big baseball fans, play softball together, so it was perfect. I just hope my Grandma was watching on TV in San Diego.''

 

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/14319710.htm

 

Pitfalls plenty in Marlin's home-opening loss to San Diego

 

By Juan C. Rodriguez

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Posted April 12 2006

 

MIAMI GARDENS ? It shouldn't mean that much. Not in April. Not in the context of a 162-game schedule.

 

Yet the reality is more than a few of the 31,308 fans likely left Dolphin Stadium on Tuesday with cemented notions about the payroll-poor, prospect-rich Marlins. They watched the Padres handle the home team for a 9-3 victory, prompting some to already think about the Marlins in absolutes.

 

 

 

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Sergio Mitre can't miss the middle of plate. Reggie Abercrombie can't throw accurately from center. Josh Willingham can't play left. Mike Jacobs can't catch foul pops. And none of the Marlins hitters can work a count.

 

That's the pitfall of the baseball home opener, the one game when fans pack a magnifying glass with their peanuts and Cracker Jacks.

 

It wasn't the best first impression for the Marlins, who are 7-7 all-time in South Florida season debuts. Four Padres pitchers, including starter Woody Williams (1-0), held the Marlins to six hits (none after the sixth inning).

 

Padres shortstop Khalil Greene stung the Marlins with a pair of homers off Mitre (1-1), who took the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits through six innings. Up two runs through six, the Padres tacked on four (three earned) off the bullpen, including two on catcher Ryan Bowen's two-out, bases-loaded double off Matt Herges in the eighth.

 

Six of the Padres' nine runs scored with two out.

 

"There are going to be Opening Days when you lose the game," second baseman Dan Uggla said. "It just happens. There are 162 ballgames in the season. We were just unfortunate not to come out on top of this one."

 

Willingham's sixth-inning, run-scoring single was his team's last hit. Alan Embree, Clay Hensley and Scott Cassidy combined to retire 10 of the last 11, five via strikeout.

 

Williams also had a productive stretch after a spotty first that saw Hanley Ramirez lead off with a triple and score on a Willingham single. He sat down 13 in a row, a stretch that included a three-pitch fifth inning.

 

"What you do is let the other pitcher off the hook in a sense," manager Joe Girardi said.

 

Added Uggla, who was also retired on the first pitch to end the fourth: "Three-pitch innings rarely happen, but pitchers are going to have their quick innings sometimes. You just have to deal with it, run back out there and get some outs as quick as possible."

 

Coming off a six shutout-inning performance at Houston in his Marlins debut, Mitre completed the first five having allowed a Greene solo homer in the second and an RBI-single to Terrmel Sledge in the third. Greene struck again in the sixth, sending a 2-0 fastball into the left-field stands for his fourth homer.

 

"I got a lead early in the game. I've got to stick with that and take it all the way to end of the game," Mitre said. "We've been playing hard and going at it pretty good. Things will turn around. We can't hang our heads. We have to keep going after people."

 

The Marlins will go after 6-foot-10 right-hander Chris Young this afternoon having lost five of six and averaging 2.7 runs on 5.7 hits over their past three.

 

"Young guys bounce back," Girardi said. "Fans are smart enough to know you're not going to win every game. I think everyone that was here today will be back at some point."

 

Juan C. Rodriguez can be reached at [email protected]

 

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/basebal...-sports-marlins

 

Marlins lost at home

 

By Joe Capozzi

 

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

MIAMI GARDENS ? The Marlins had six players in their starting lineup Tuesday, 11 total on the team, who had never stepped on the field at Dolphin Stadium.

 

So when they took the field for their home opener, just about everything was new ? from the ballpark's quirky dimensions to the sun's afternoon glare to the way the ball caroms off the outfield walls.

 

But by the time the first home game was over, the result was familiar to the 2006 Marlins ? another loss.

 

"Obviously we're going to have to learn our ballpark," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said after a 9-3 loss to San Diego before 31,308, the smallest crowd for a home opener since 2002.

 

"You can come out here as much as you want and practice but the game situation that guys really learn in, everything speeds up."

 

There was no single aspect of Florida's rookies getting acquainted to Dolphin Stadium that factored into the loss. But the Marlins (1-5) certainly didn't have the friendly-confines luxury afforded to most other teams whose players often excel in their home ballparks because they've become used to them over the years.

 

"I'm sure that's part of it. Not to make any excuses, but some of us hitting for the first time in this ballpark had a tough time seeing today," said first baseman Mike Jacobs, who went 0-for-4 batting fourth.

 

"The more we play here, we're going to be able to adjust to that. But is that why we lost? No."

 

Adding to the unfamiliarity factor were wind gusts that blew baseballs around as much as hotdog wrappers.

 

"The wind was howling all over the place," said Marlins starter Sergio Mitre said.

 

The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to six games with a triple before scoring on Josh Willingham's sacrifice fly.

 

But it was a lead that didn't last long. Mitre, coming off a strong start in Houston last week in Florida's only win, retired the first two batters in the second before giving up a home run over the left-field scoreboard to Khalil Greene.

 

It was the first of six runs Marlins pitchers would allow in the game after two outs. But even after San Diego added a run in the third, Mitre kept the game close for a while, nearly matching San Diego starter Woody Williams pitch for pitch.

 

For the Marlins, the game began to unravel when they batted in the fifth inning. Williams needed just three pitches to retire the side, with Mitre swinging at the first pitch he saw after two outs for a tapper back to the mound.

 

"If there's one guy that should take a pitch, it should be (Mitre)," Girardi said. "But he's got a pretty good swing. Low and behold he (goes back out to the mound and) gives up three runs the next inning. Something we can learn from."

 

Greene connected for his second home run of the game off Mitre, a three-run shot into the left-field seats in the sixth.

 

With four home runs on the year, Greene shares the NL lead with four others, including Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.

 

"I don't expect to be at the top at the end of the year," said Greene, who grew up in Key West. "When I hit home runs, they tend to come in bunches. I've gone a long time without hitting any homers."

 

Florida's last stand came in the sixth inning when Ramirez led off with a double, snapping a strong of 13 straight batters retired by Williams.

 

Ramirez advanced to third on Jeremy Hermida's single and scored on Miguel Cabrera's double. Williams was lifted for left-hander Alan Embree, and Jacobs hit a rising line drive that Greene snagged at deep short. Greene threw to second base in time to double up Cabrera.

 

Hermida still scored on Willingham's single, but the Marlins were done scoring.

 

Mitre took blame for the loss, saying he didn't have the control he wanted from his fastball.

 

"We get a lead early in the game, I've got to stick with that and take it all the way up to the end of the game," he said.

 

Although the Marlins have lost four straight, Girardi said he's confident the wins will start to pile up as his young players get more comfortable playing both at home and against major-league pitching.

 

"A lot of our guys are being asked to learn how to play this game at this level and that's what you have," he said. "But they're smart kids They're going to learn."

 

Noteworthy: The Marlins are 7-7 all-time in home openers. ... The Marlins are 1-3 when scoring first this season and have yet to come from behind to win when trailing after six innings.

 

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/marlins/conte...rlins_0412.html

 

 

Gotta love the South Florida papers! :notworthy :notworthy :notworthy

 

:rolleyes: !!!

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Marlins fans soak up Opening Day festivities

BY MICHELLE KAUFMAN

[email protected]

 

In some ways, the Florida Marlins' home opener Tuesday was no different than their past 13.

 

The Dolphin Stadium field was a perfect shade of emerald. Otherwise-responsible men and women played hooky from their jobs. There were pregame festivities, including a flyover by four F-18 fighter jets. And the music of Amor 107.5, Big 105.9, Y-100, and Kiss 99.9 clashed in the parking lots as fans played dominoes and grilled hot dogs and churrasco on a sunny, windy afternoon.

 

But a closer look at the names on the backs of the fans' shirts told the real story -- outnumbering Cabrera and Willis were Conine, Hernandez, Lowell, Sheffield, Beckett, and Pierre, names from the past. The Marlins dumped $40 million in salaries during the offseason, their second fire sale in eight years, slimming down to a team payroll of less than $15 million, the lowest by far in Major League Baseball. Five Yankees each make more than the Marlins' entire roster.

 

Eleven Marlins had never played at Dolphin Stadium before Tuesday's 9-3 loss to the San Diego Padres, including new starters Hanley Ramirez, Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, Reggie Abercrombie, and pitcher Sergio Mitre.

 

''They haven't made shirts for the new guys yet, have they?'' asked Dave Scully of Fort Lauderdale, who was wearing a replica jersey of former Marlin Luis Castillo. He was among the crowd of 31,308 who showed up to see the scaled-down Marlins, a sharp decline from the 57,405 who came last Opening Day.

 

Asked to name as many Marlins as he could, Albert Menendez of Miami smiled sheepishly after he got past Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. ''You got me there,'' said Menendez, who was at the game with 80 co-workers from Home Equity Mortgage. ``But I'm going to support them because I want the team to stay here.''

 

The Marlins have been seeking a new ballpark since their inception. Owner Jeffrey Loria has been flirting with other markets and has said repeatedly that the team needs a new home once its lease runs out in 2010. The team finished last in the National League in attendance last season with 22,872 fans per game, and ticket sales so far this season are the lowest in franchise history.

 

Many fans who attended Tuesday said they are committed no matter what names are on the shirts.

 

Said Scully: ``I'd rather come see guys who are playing hard than see guys being paid $10 million and not run the bases. I'm a baseball fan and a Marlins fan, and I'd be willing to pay the tax to build them a stadium and keep them here. I hope fans will keep coming. If they had been coming before, instead of being bandwagon fans, we wouldn't be in this situation.''

 

Lourdes Trujillo of Miami agreed: ``I am a die-hard fan, and will continue to be no matter who is on the team. I took my kids out of school to be at Opening Day because it's our family tradition. We're having a great time.''

 

Marlins fans made some noise when Ramirez hit a triple in the first inning, and crossed the plate for an early 1-0 lead off a Josh Willingham single. But the Padres tied soon thereafter, and took the lead for good in the third inning, leaving the Marlins 1-5 for the season. The stadium was largely empty by the ninth inning.

 

It is safe to say nobody had a more memorable Opening Day than Mark Dickerson and DeAnna Walston of Richmond, Va. They are vacationing in Weston, and Dickerson, who had been meaning to propose to Walston, came up with a plan when he saw the Padres were in town. Walston is a San Diego native and huge Padres fan, so where better to ask her to marry him than at a Padres game on Opening Day, thought Dickerson.

 

He set it up with the Marlins, and during the seventh inning, a team representative approached the couple with a bouquet of red roses and told them they had won a promotion put on by a local florist. They were escorted to the field, where Dickerson popped the question as the crowd watched on the jumbo screen.

 

''I was completely in shock,'' said Walston. ``We're both big baseball fans, play softball together, so it was perfect. I just hope my Grandma was watching on TV in San Diego.''

 

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/14319710.htm

 

 

 

 

 

It's nice to see people are still going to support them.

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I dont mean to damper the good things you bolded Holly, but the article does say:

 

"The team finished last in the National League in attendance last season with 22,872 fans per game, and ticket sales so far this season are the lowest in franchise history."

 

That cant be good at all.

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