No, I am not going to mention how the team had taken over the lead in the Wild Card in mid-September and having their destiny in their hands, only later to have it slip away by many unfortunate injuries to the middle infielders. Not to mention a bullpen that sucked, except for Todd Jones that season. Or how another fire sale would happen at the end of the year.
None of those were really the defining moments to me.
The defining moment of that team, or at least to me, came on September 12, 2005.
When at least 20 members of the Marlins organization were the first baseball team to visit the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina in Houston. I don't know of another professional team making a visit, maybe many did, but I know for a fact the Marlins were the first ones. Though, sadly, they may have been the only ones.
The Marlins went to visit those who were displaced and getting moved all over the place. Once the Astrodome was full and the buses kept coming, they were moved to the Reliant Center. Then when that was filled up, they moved to the George R. Brown Convention Center. I am not making this up, they went to one then to the other and finally the other.
And that is where the Marlins went to visit. To the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Owner Jeffrey Loria showed up with free tickets to the game for the series. Since about 7,000 people were housed in the Convention Center, he didn't quite bring enough to cover everyone, but really, that didn't matter, for reasons that will be soon explained.
The Marlins players proceeded to hand out t-shirts and caps by the hundreds. But probably their most successful give away was the toys. Paul Lo Duca put a stuffed bear under a sleeping child's arm which made the child's mother happy. Juan Pierre signed some model planes and was seen running around the building with the kids making airplane noises.
Jeff Conine was handing out stuffed bears left and right, which led a woman to name her bear after him. Though she didn't know who he was.
Of course, the rookies got the duty of running to get more stuff for the veterans to handout. It kinda works that way in baseball.
While I'm only naming a few, most everyone was in attendance and doing what they could to try and bring a short bright moment to the ones who suffered so much during that horrible disaster.
When the Marlins made an appearance at the make shift shelter, no one knew who they were. And for good reason, the Marlins haven't ever been a high profile team. And I'm not even sure they knew there was a professional baseball team in South Florida. But for that series there were a lot fans wearing Marlins caps and shirts.
They are probably not still fans of the team to this day, since Josh Johnson is the only one who remains. While JJ is very worthy of having many, many fans, he had just come up with the Marlins. Having only one inning under his belt, if he was there, he was on running for more stuff duty.
But I will guess this, they still remember when the Marlins came to town.