Yes, the Marlins have been playing split-squad games against other major league teams so far in Spring Training, but nothing compared to what the team did last night. The club played a typical game against one of the local colleges, the University of Miami. What made it particularly special was that the team got to do it in their brand new ballpark, Marlins Park. It was the park's christening, its maiden voyage, and it resulted in a 7-6 victory over the University of Miami.
Now, before you look at that score and start panicking, you should probably note that the Fish were manned primarily by Hanley Ramirez, Mark Buehrle, Logan Morrison, and a host of minor league talents and backups. No, the Marlins did not almost lose to the University of Miami with their full squad out there, and that much was obvious. When your team is throwing out Nick Green at shortstop and Aaron Rowand in center field, you are not exactly at full strength.
In the end, it was just a Spring Training game like any other in terms of results and performances. But a few points about the evening as a whole stood out.
- The stadium's appearance looks like a mixed bag right now to me. It may be because we saw it with so many empty seats (it is an exhibition, after all), or it could be that the full decorations and niceties have not been set up. In particular, the green walls and the area surrounding the home run structuere looked very bland and empty to me, as if they were still under construction and were waiting for the final touches. That could still very well be the case, so I'll reserve judgment for now, but some of the areas in the park looked incomplete.- I'm also sad to admit that I am not a big fan of the domed appearance. Again, it could just have been the empty nature of today's exhibition, but the grey of the stadium's retractable roof parts looked weird in contrast with the bright colors of the stadium. I'll also reserve judgment here, since we have not seen the stadium without the roof up, and I imagine night games will look really nice in the park with the dome opened.
- However, the windows behind left field looked nice, and I imagine that they will look better during day games with the sun coming through.
- It was good to see Hanley Ramirez send one out, even if it was against a college team and in a game that did not matter. With so much controversy surrounding him this offseason, it was great to see him playing third base and hitting well.
Tonight, the Marlins play another exhibition game against Florida International University, and it may be worth a watch. If you do want to catch that game, you can check it out online over at MLB.com, where they will have a free webcast of the game. I'll probably tune in as well, if only to check out the new park and try to enjoy a first glimpse at the Miami Marlins, even if it is only a quarter of the actual team. You should try it out as well.