May 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins mascot Bill the Marlin performs prior to a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
On May 17, 2013 my wife and I hopped into our car and began our 3 ½ hour drive down to South Florida from Orlando. Why did we do this? Well to catch the 3 game home stand of the Miami Marlins vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks! Now people might be asking themselves why would I drive down to Miami to watch the Marlins when I have the Rays only an hour away… 1. I’m a Marlins fan, 2. I love the city of Miami, 3. I can go visit family (who were in Gainesville visiting my older brother and didn’t tell me), 4. I always have fun at Marlins Park, and 5. I LOVE THE MARLINS! So let’s break down what happened on this trip which made it so much fun.
Aug 17, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Livan Hernandez (61) pitches in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
I pulled up to my parents place around 2 pm when my phone rang. On the other side of the line was a Marlins employee, who said that since I bought a Cuban Heritage ticket I won a chance to meet a former Marlin of Cuban descent. I said cool and asked who it was. LIVAN HERNANDEZ!!!! I flipped!! Livan is my all time favorite Marlins player and I finally get a chance to meet him. As soon as we unpacked the car we headed down to Marlins Park. Once I got there I got there I got to meet former Marlins Cuban player Livan Hernandez and current Marlins Cuban player Jose Fernandez. Afterwards we headed into the park where I got the coolest giveaway ever— a Miami Marlins Cuban Heritage café mug. This thing is so cool! When we headed to our seats we saw that our area had a Cuban band, kids from schools all over Miami-Dade County, and fellow Cubans. We lost 9-2, but oh my was the Cuban section loud! The band never stopped and the kids were jumping up and down having a blast. The night finally ended with an amazing fireworks show.
The day started with a quick trip to the Swap Shop where I picked up a Marlins Bobble head and a Marlins Lawn Gnome. Then it was off to the park. We stopped by the Marlins store first because every Friday and Saturday there are players signing autographs. While we waited, my wife and I got into a conversation about who is currently the best Marlins player not on the DL. I said to that each player brings something to the club (I know very PC answer), but my wife said Justin Ruggiano. Not 30 seconds later Justin shows up to sign autographs! She had a good laugh at the perfect timing talked about how she thinks he is the best player on the team. Justin disagreed and said it is Miguel Olivo. We continued into the park where we met up with some friends and started watch the game. This was my kind of game. Despite the first pitch being out of the park, from there on out it was a pitching dual. I love those kinds of games! Marlins ended up losing 1-0, but the time I had with my friends and wife during the game, and it being a pitching dual to the very end, was just so much fun.
May 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Marcell Ozuna (48) dives to first base safely past Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (44) as first base umpire Brian O
We headed to Davie to pick up some friends before the game. We parked and walked into the park where we got free MLB Network/Marlins draw string bag (you can never have to many Marlins bags). We sat and talked for a good while about the future of the team, what needs to be done to have a winning team again, and more baseball stuff. Then the game started and what a game! Boy was Ricky Nolasco on point today. It was great to see him pitch that well, and to be in the park as it happened was even better. He struck out 11 Diamondbacks. 11! To see Marcell Ozuna crush that double to give us the lead was awesome as well. The crowd was really into this game! The Marlins won 2-1. After the game we headed out to stand by where the players leave. Rob Brantly and Marcell Ozuna stopped and talked to everyone signed everyone’s stuff. They are two very classy young men. We ended our night enjoy a nice dinner talking about the Marlins. The next day we headed back home to Orlando.
So what is the point to all this? These were 3 very different games, and each had it own form of fun. According to everyone, the Marlins aren’t going to do anything this year. Maybe they are right, maybe they are wrong, but they are still our Marlins and it is still such a blast to go watch a game at Marlins park! Win or lose the experience at the game is amazing. The park itself is beautiful, we get to watch baseball, and the people at the games always seem to be in a talkative mood. And to be honest tickets are not that much. The Marlins are always giving away tickets, and stub hub has tickets for as low as $6. So go out and enjoy a night at Marlins Park; win or lose you will have fun.