The Miami Marlins just opened spring training yesterday with pitchers and catchers reporting. In about a week and a half, the team will start playing spring training games, with its debut on February 22 against the team's Roger Dean Stadium partner, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Fish will play 33 games in the Grapefruit League against teams such as the Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Washington Nationals among others.
With the schedule having been released for some time, now is a good a time as any to look over the Marlins' schedule and see which games may be of interest for the team. What games should you be watching, either live at Roger Dean Stadium or in the comfort of your own home?
February 22, 1:05 pm EST, vs. St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium
This is the first game of the spring training season, and as Marlins fans, we should be interested in seeing just how the team will do in its first collective effort on the field. The St. Louis Cardinals are still a good team with a chance to compete next year, so they may also be watch-worthy. If you have a chance to make it out to the first game of the year, go ahead!
March 5, 7:05 pm EST, vs. Venezuela at Roger Dean Stadium
The World Baseball Classic is occurring during spring training as well, which means that a number of exhibition games are happening between major league teams and the international clubs that will compete for the 2013 crown. The Marlins only play one game against an international team, but boy, did they pick the right one to face the Fish. The Venezuela team is a decent roster, but as we discussed before, its interest is in the presence of a number of former and current Marlins. The Fish will play against former Marlins Miguel Cabrera, Anibal Sanchez, and Carlos Zambrano, all of whom made the Venezuela roster alongside notables such as Felix Hernandez, Elvis Andrus, and Miguel Montero.
More importantly for the current Marlins, the team will also face off against its current fourth starter, as Henderson Alvarez has a role on the Venezuelan team as well. Alvarez will likely work out of the pen, but it still should be interesting to see him pitch an inning against the Fish.
March 8, 1:05 pm EST, vs. New York Yankees at Roger Dean Stadium
This is not only the Marlins' first meeting with the Yankees in spring training, but it will also be the first of four televised games by Fox Sports Florida. If you cannot make it on a Friday afternoon over to Roger Dean Stadium, you might as well sit back on your couch and check out the young Marlins compete with an aging Yankees team that may very well be on its way out of contention this season.
March 9, 1:05 pm EST, vs. St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium
For those of you who, like myself, do not live in West Palm Beach and thus have something of a drive to get to Roger Dean Stadium, you may be interested in a situation in which you can catch two games in consecutive days and head out. For those of you who also work a decent amount, like myself, such an excursion would be best on the weekend. This game between the Fish and the Cards follows the Yankees game on the previous day. This two-game set is the first one that resembles a two-day Roger Dean trip for spring training baseball. If you can get out of work on Friday, it may be worth a trip.
March 12, 1:05 pm EST, vs. Houston Astros at Roger Dean Stadium
This is one of only two meetings between the Marlins and the newly American League-ized Astros this season. Remember when that Astros reliever beaned Hanley Ramirez and gave us the "Lo Viste?" sign? While neither of the receiving parties are particularly relevant anymore, this may be the only time the team gets to seek retribution for that action.
March 13, 7:05 pm EST, vs. Atlanta Braves at Roger Dean Stadium
This is the second of four games televised by Fox Sports Florida, so check it out at home!
March 22, 7:05 pm EST, vs. New York Mets at Roger Dean Stadium
March 23, 1:05 pm EST, vs. St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium
This is the best representation of a weekend getaway to Roger Dean Stadium for a series of games. If I had to do one of these trips during this spring training, it would be to this one. The first of the two games is a late start, which allows you to go to work and still catch the ball game if you hustle up to West Palm Beach via I-95. The second one is in the afternoon, which leaves the evening for some dining and a drive back home. You can conveniently be back by Saturday evening and sleep in nicely on a Sunday morning. Sounds good to me.
March 25, 1:05 pm EST, vs. Detroit Tigers at Roger Dean Stadium
March 26, 1:05 pm EST, vs. Washington Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium
These are the last two games that will be televised by Fox Sports Florida, so check them out if you are not holed up at work!
These are the games worth watching and checking out personally over at Roger Dean Stadium. If you do not mind the travel, make sure to head up (or down) to West Palm Beach and catch a few games at High-A Jupiter's park, and come support your Marlins. You know, if you are not boycotting or anything like that.
For more 2013 spring training coverage, keep it tuned on Fish Stripes! For a full league spring training preview, check out MLB Daily Dish's coverage.