This Day In Marlins History: Marlins Lose Amid Elian Gonzalez Scandal

In Fish Stripes' continued attempt to remind people of the past of the Florida Marlins along with the present and future of the Miami Marlins, we bring you a new feature published three or so times a week entitled This Day In Marlins History! The concept itself is very simple: whenever we publish this, we find an interesting fact or tidbit related to the Florida / Miami Marlins and write a little bit about that event.

Today, on April 25, 2000, the Marlins played a pretty typical regular season game. The circumstances surrounding this game were definitely not typical.

The Marlins were at home hosting the San Francisco Giants that evening, and the Fish lost that night 6-4. The team was short-handed, as a number of Marlins were out of the game; Mike Lowell, Alex Fernandez, Vladimir Nunez, and Michael Tejera all missed that night's game. None of this was due to injury, however, as the four Cuban-American players on the Marlins' major league team took part in the work stoppage that was called by the Cuban-American community in the wake of the Elian Gonzalez situation. Just five days prior, the then-six-year-old boy was taken away from his extended family in Miami by the US government in order to be sent back to Cuba to his father. As you will recall, Gonzalez arrived in Miami, but his mother had died, and a long custody battle between his extended family in Florida and his father and the Cuban government in Cuba had finally come to a striking conclusion.

The Cuban community in south Florida was rightly incensed, and they called for a work stoppage on this day in 2000. The four players, most prominently Lowell, who was the starting third baseman for the Fish, took the game off with no contest by manager John Boles. In his place, the team sent out Dave Berg. The Fish also played that one with starters Cliff Floyd and Derrek Lee on the bench, though they eventually came in and contributed.

The game itself was quite a back-and-forth affair.


Source: FanGraphs

The highest point on that graph for the Fish was actually Dave Berg's doing, as he hit a run-scoring double that brought the team to a 40 percent chance of winning. The Fish later climbed back up to a tie game with a series of hits and walks in the ninth inning, culminating in two sacrifice flies driving in the tying runs. The Fish survived a scare in the 10th inning, but the 11th inning Armando Rios run-scoring double turned out to be the gamebreaker, as the Marlins eventually took a 6-4 loss.

Due to the cultural importance of external events, the Marlins had to come into that game short-handed. Sure, it is possible Lowell and the relievers would have done little to assist in the game, but every little bit counts in a close contest like this one, and the importance of the Elian Gonzalez situation to the Cuban community took away one of the Marlins' best hitters that evening.

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