Greatest Moments in Marlins History: #2 Miami Marlins History Begins
By Andy Salgado
April 4, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Josh Johnson (55) throws a pitch in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during opening day at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. Life is always changing. Some people don’t like change, other embrace it with open arms. There is change for the good and change for the bad. Baseball is no different. You can have change for the good, like the first curveball ever thrown in a time when the pitchers job was to let the batter hit the ball, or for the bad like the DH. Baseball, like life, has to go through its changes. The Marlins went through a change themselves, which brings us to moment 2… the Miami Marlins first pitch.
Since 1993 The Marlins have been known as the Florida Marlins and have shared a stadium with the Miami Dolphins. Year after year they battled to get a home of their own. On April 1, 2009 the city of Miami finally approved the overall construction of Marlins Park. The Marlins were finally getting a home of their own. Two months later the Marlins finally broke ground on the site of the old Orange Bowl. On February 11, 2011 the first seat was put in the stadium. After the 2011 season ended, with a heartfelt good bye to Joe Robbie Stadium, it would be two months later that the Florida Marlins would officially become the Miami Marlins.
At the end of the 2011 season, when the schedule came out for 2012, I knew I had to be down in Miami on April 4, 2012. I sat by and waited patiently for the tickets to go on sale. I waited and waited and waited. Finally the day came and I was at work. The tickets sold out quickly and it looked like I was going to miss the first game in Miami Marlins history. That was until my birthday came in March. I was having my birthday dinner with my in-laws when they gave me possibly the greatest baseball birthday gift ever. Two tickets to Opening Day! I was going to the first game in Miami Marlins history!
To prep for this I took March 31st to April 7th off of work. I hopped into my car and drove all the way to Miami. I was there for the Florida Marlins 1st game and I was there for the last game in Florida Marlins history. I was not missing this. 2 flat tires later I finally got there. Now it was time to play the waiting game. When April 4th came around my wife and I woke up early and got to the stadium at 1 pm. Who cares if the game started 7:15 pm, I was not going to miss the celebration!
When we pulled up to the stadium it was a site to behold! What an amazing place we now have to call home! I had such a great time walking around and checking out all the great things that stadium had. Whether it was the food from Taste of Miami, the Bobblehead Museum, the Wall of History for the Orange Bowl, or the Wall of Great Marlins Moments, it was a perfect new home. We headed to our seat for the opening ceremony. Seeing that roof open up and realizing that there were going to be no more rained out games made the 8 year old little boy in me jump for joy! Watching the jets go by during the National Anthem as the flag covered the entire outfield was a sight to see. To see Mohammed Ali bring out the first ball brought a tear to a lot of people’s eyes. With the ceremony over, let’s play ball!
This was it the moment we had all been waiting for since the announcement in 2008! The Miami Marlins took the field! Out came Josh Johnson to the mound and behind home plate was John Buck. Josh grabbed the ball and went to warm up. The 36,000 plus fans were still cheering and yelling, excited to the core for that first pitch! When the warm up was done up came Rafael Furcal. This was it, Josh looked at Buck waiting for the signal. We all waited quietly for that pitch. Josh nodded, set and let it rip! STRIKE 1 IN MIAMI MARLINS HITSORY! The crowd went wild! 36,000 screaming fans! This was the beginning of the Miami Marlins!
It finally came. That moment was an accumulation of years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. The Marlins had a home to call their home and new start to their history. We have now had 149 days down and 149 moments over. Tomorrow is the moment we have all been waiting for. The last day before the season starts and we will bring you moment 1. Join us tomorrow and celebrate the final moment in the Greatest Moments in Marlins History!