Several members of the Miami Marlins organization participated in the minor league versions of All Star games at the Double A and Triple A levels.
Giancarlo Stanton showed off his strong throwing arm Sunday. Stanton became the third outfielder in Marlins history to throw out two runners in one inning when he gunned down Jayson Werth at second base and Ian Desmond at the plate in the fourth. Of the two, Stanton received big style points on the throw to second. Werth lofted a fly ball to right that Stanton lunged for but couldn’t quite catch. But Stanton picked up the ball and, from his knees, threw Werth out at the bag as he tried to stretch the hit into a double. "He should be a catcher," joked manager Mike Redmond.
Every game, abuela climbs into that sky in Cuba. It is about as close as she ever gets to feeling the freedom her grandson fled to find. Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández has sent her so many American treasures while trying to bridge the heartbreaking gap now between them. Plasma TVs. Cellphones. A new mattress. He even managed to have air conditioning installed in grandma’s house from afar. But you know what Olga Fernández values most? That radio. If only for nine innings at a time, it allows her to cross that ocean and feel like she is right next to the All-Star she raised. The island of Fernández’s youth rots a little more by the day, and it is stuck in the Dark Ages in many ways, including the televising of baseball. So, because reception isn’t great downstairs, up into that sky this 68-year-old lady in Santa Clara climbs with that radio on the nights her All-Star grandson pitches, up there closer to the stars, an old Cuban woman praying that there is no rain while listening to Marlins games alone on her roof.
The guy who caught his perfect sixth inning of work was last year's National League MVP. The last guy he struck out might be this year's American League MVP. Count Giants catcher Buster Posey and Orioles first baseman Chris Davis as two guys at the forefront utterly impressed by 20-year old Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez and his history-making sixth-inning performance at Tuesday night's All-Star Game. "He's really impressive -- especially for the situation," said Posey, who caught Fernandez in the sixth. "You figured there would be a lot of nerves and excitement. But he showed great poise and obviously the stuff speaks for itself."
Because for that moment each morning, Fernandez looks at himself and remembers the beloved grandmother he left behind in his native Cuba, the time he spent in jail after a failed attempt to flee his native land, the harrowing journey across the Gulf of Mexico in which he was nearly shot and his mother nearly drowned, and the hard work it took for a 15-year-old kid with a soft body and no feel for pitching to mold into a 20-year-old with true Major League ace potential. Sure, every All-Star has his story of how he got to Citi Field, and every All-Star is excited to have ascended to one of baseball's brightest stages. But to Fernandez, this moment means just a little more. Because those brown eyes have seen so much.
The baseball world gained a better sense of Fernandez's tremendous talents as he recorded a pair of strikeouts while completing a perfect sixth inning against the heart of the American League lineup in the National League's 3-0 loss in Tuesday night's All-Star Game. Fernandez opened the sixth by getting Dustin Pedroia to look at a called third strike and ended it by getting Chris Davis to swing through a third strike. In between, he got Miguel Cabrera to hit a weak pop fly that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt caught in foul territory. "Miguel Cabrera is the greatest hitter in the game," Fernandez said. "It was incredible to face those guys and get them out. It was really amazing."
It didn't take Marlins first-round Draft pick Colin Moran long to get settled in with Class A Greensboro. In his first professional at-bat, the 20-year-old third baseman mashed a home run off starter Dan Camarena to right field in the first inning of his club's 4-3 victory over Charleston on Wednesday night in Greensboro, N.C. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk. Moran was selected sixth overall in last month's First-Year Player Draft out of North Carolina. Prior to the Draft, MLB.com had ranked the 6-foot-3 lefty slugger the sixth-best prospect. "It feels like Opening Day all over again," Moran told the Greensboro News Observer before the game. "I'm really excited to get my professional career under way."
The club is already seeing it, even though it hasn't fully been reflected in the standings. "That's the big thing with this team this year, we talk about making progress," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "Again, the ultimate way to measure progress is wins and losses, but you don't always get that from a young team." Once the decision was made last offseason to redirect and build around a core of young players, the organization sold 2013 as a "transition year." It asked for patience, which isn't always easy to receive in the bottom-line business of big league baseball. Winning is the expectation. But to achieve it will take some time. After a disappointing last-place finish in 2012, upper management opted for a fresh start in hopes of building towards a better tomorrow.
Around The League
The added Wild Card slot in each league -- an arrangement that debuted last season -- has added intrigue to the Trade Deadline. Because while some clubs are already undisputed sellers, several more could still climb into contention with a strong spurt.
The 84th All-Star Game will be remembered as the perfect swan song, and it also goes down as the best such exit ever. A day after the Yankees' closer received an unforgettable ovation and a Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award, it was time to look through Major League Baseball history and find any comparable All-Star Game exits for outgoing greats.
The Bucs are again stirring up ghosts of their storied past. They are again in the hunt not only for a winning record, but for October baseball, and are again playing to keep a midsummer night's dream from turning into early autumn's nightmare.
Columnist Tracy Ringolsby focuses on key figures for each team in the second half.
Lowe pitched the clinching game of the 2004 World Series for the Red Sox, and Varitek went on to become one of the most respected Boston players of all-time. Still, the trade made more sense for the Mariners at the time it was made. And that's why analyzing in-season trades is tricky. They must be looked at largely in the context of why and when they were made. If they look different five years later, so be it. Go ask any player about what those deals do for a clubhouse. They have the ability to inspire and energize. They're a message from management that they believe in the players they've got on hand and are going to do everything possible to help them win. The future is now. And so, as another non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, you might hear analysts joke about that Alexander-for-Smoltz deal when they discuss the risks of short-term deals.
At Fish Stripes
Miami Marlins All-Star starting pitcher Jose Fernandez was not expected to make an appearance tonight, but manager Bruce Bochy sent out the 20-year-old rookie and he performed, tossing a scoreless inning and striking out two tough hitters.
All-Star Jose Fernandez has been taking South Beach by storm with his dazzling first half performance, but take a deeper look at the man who could be holding the keys to a new generation of Marlins baseball.
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The Miami Marlins have a whole second half to look forward to, but what are the things to expect going forward? Fish Stripes has a few bold predictions about the rest of the 2013 season.