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Young Marlins anonymous even at home


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Commentary: Young Marlins anonymous even at home

By Joe CapozziPalm Beach Post Staff Writer


Sunday, September 17, 2006


By now, everyone around the National League knows the Florida Marlins. They're the scrappy, stubborn kids who, with two weeks left in the season. refuse to leave the party that is the wild-card race.


Off the field, it seems like no one in South Florida knows the young Marlins. The exceptions are Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. They can't go to the mall or out to eat without someone approaching them for an autograph.


But Josh Willingham, the left fielder with 24 home runs who is making a strong case for National League rookie of the year?


"I was at the Bass Pro Shop the other day," he said. "Some guy walked up to me: 'Hey, do you play outfield?' I was like, 'Yeah.' 'Tell Miguel (Cabrera) I said what's up.' And he walked away."


And right-hander Josh Johnson, whose 3.10 ERA is the fourth-lowest in the National League?


"I was recognized at PF Chang's once," he said. "Once at Outback (Steakhouse), too."


Backup catcher Matt Treanor said he gets recognized every day when he makes his first stop after leaving his house.


"The ladies in Dunkin Donuts know who I am," he said. "And they know what I like to drink: medium Turbo, two Splendas, a little cream."


But outside of Dunkin Donuts?


"My neighbors (in Coral Springs) know I play, and a lot of them aren't even fans," he said. "If we have an off-day, I'll get a knock on the door from the kids in the neighborhood, wanting to shoot hoops. Or to see if I can get them a Miguel Cabrera ball."


Take the young Marlins out of Florida, and their celebrity rises.


"I've been recognized at least three times in New York," said Johnson, who had an unnerving moment leaving Yankee Stadium after a Marlins game was rained out.


"Some guy kept walking by, looking at me weird. Finally he goes, 'Johnson, right?' He leaves and comes back. 'I'm a Yankees fan since I was born, but good luck tomorrow.' He came up to me again on the subway. It was all packed with Yankee fans. He goes, 'Hey, I've never had a guy taller than me on the subway. Can I take a picture with you?' At least he kept it low-ley so I didn't get jumped or beat up by all the Yankees fans."


First baseman and former Met Mike Jacobs knows all about New York fans. "You can't talk anywhere in Times Square or Manhattan without anybody knowing who you are. I still get that when I go there."


Does Jacobs get recognized in South Florida? "Not a chance."


Cody Ross remembers his first weeks in Los Angeles last year. "I'd only been there for a couple of weeks and everywhere I went people were like, 'Cody, what's up?' 'I was like, 'I'm not even playing (everyday).' The fans there are crazy about the Dodgers."


And in Florida? "The first couple of months here nobody recognized me. Once in a while someone will come up to you at the mall."


How about All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla, another top rookie?


"Nobody at all recognized me before (the All-Star Game) and not that many people recognize me now, either," he said. "I don't care. It's my first year in the big leagues. I don't have any commercials. I don't have any billboards. I have trouble recognizing guys I play against in their street clothes."


Some Marlins don't look like the typical athlete. Scott Olsen is built like a beanpole and Eric Reed like a batboy. Ross is 5-9 and has no hair.


"I look like a normal guy," Ross said. "If I walked in somewhere, nobody would say, 'Oh, that guy's got to be an athlete. People who do recognize us are the hard-core fans who watch the games all the time."


Then there's Reggie Abercrombie, who at 6-3 and 218 pounds looks like a football player. "I get recognized and I don't even play," he said.


As the Marlins began winning, the public recognized them more.


"Somebody finally recognized me," Treanor said. "It was the day after (Anibal Sanchez's) no-hitter. I went to the grocery store to buy bread. Some old man was looking at me weird. He goes, 'You look like this guy named Matt Treanor.' I said, 'Really?' 'Yeah. He's a catcher for the Marlins. Is that you?' I said, 'Yeah, that's me." And he says, 'You guys have been playing great.'


"I talked to him for five minutes. It was pretty neat."







To go along with this article; have you ever seen a Marlin out side of the game of baseball. Mall, Store etc:? Did you go up to them and say something?

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