Marlins FanFest Sparks Hope, Anticipation for 2020 Season

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MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 14: A Miami Marlins fans captures the game on her cell phone in the seventh inning during the game between the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Marlins Park on August 14, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 14: A Miami Marlins fans captures the game on her cell phone in the seventh inning during the game between the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Marlins Park on August 14, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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On Saturday afternoon, the Miami Marlins hosted their annual FanFest event at Marlins Park with thousands of people in attendance.

The Marlins welcomed more than 17,000 fans to Marlins Park for FanFest. Players and the Park were open and accessible for all Miami fans, and the sense of hope and anticipation was palpable. People crowded the concourses and filled the plaza and promenade. Players were stationed throughout the event, playing games, taking selfies and signing autographs for the Fish Faithful.

Every player on the 40-man roster partook in the activities, as well as the 13 prospects invited to the Captain’s Camp and non-roster invitees like Matt Kemp. In addition to current players, there were several Marlins alumni also in attendance, including 1997 World Series Champion Charles Johnson.

Players were scattered throughout Marlins Park. Their presence felt ubiquitous. Everywhere fans turned there stood another player. Lines to play interactive games or take pictures snaked along the plaza, but people remained entertained and engaged. Miami players like Jorge Alfaro tossed pitches to kids at the Li’l Sluggers T-Ball field, making memories with the youngest fans.

Throughout the afternoon, players were warm and welcoming, appreciative of all the fan support.

It’s hard to remember a time when the players were more accessible to the fans. A family atmosphere permeated the park, and the lively crowd soaked it all in.

FanFest offered fans the chance to participate in what the team called “activations,” including meeting current and former players, as well as photo opportunities, hitting in batting cages, and participating in clubhouse and dugout tours.

The special events planned for the day, BeerFest and Food & Wine, sold out.

Fans moving through Marlins Park got a sneak peak at the new fences in center and right-center field, as well as seeing all of the players milling about. The new artificial turf has yet to be installed, but the playing surface was clearly being prepped for the turf.

But what was perhaps the most exciting part of the event was the palpable feeling of hope and anticipation. Fans are embracing this group as the franchise moves forward in the rebuild. There’s real faith in this ownership group led by Bruce Sherman and captained by Derek Jeter.

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Radio personality and Swings And Mishes podcast host Craig Mish noted on Twitter that 17,000 fans attended the event on Saturday. In 2019, Mish said there were 12,000 fans. In 2018, the team drew around 5,000 to FanFest.

With growing support in the community, and an exciting, young club on the field, things are looking up for Miami in 2020. It’s time for the fans to fully embrace this team, and that means better attendance. But if FanFest is any indicator, there’s will be thousands more fans passing through those gates this season.

Next. Moving the Needle in 2020. dark

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