We are almost here, Marlins fans. We are a mere two days away from Wednesday, April 4, the debut of the 2012 Miami Marlins and the brand new Marlins Park. As Marlins fans, we have been waiting for this day for a very long time, and finally the day will come after months of offseason intrigue. Here at Fish Stripes, we just cannot wait to get the season started, and I am certain that neither can you. Let's take a look at the latest Fish Bites from the weekend past.
- The New York Yankees came to town last night for the new stadium's first official major league foray. While the game did not go well, there were positive responses to the stadium from the opposing Yankees. We'll be talking a lot more about the new stadium a little later today, but it is good to hear that both Alex Rodriguez and Joe Girardi approve of the stadium's new looks.
"I don't want to be corny or cheesy because it is a spring training game and all that, but for me this is a very special day," Rodriguez said. "To be able to grow up in these streets, in these square blocks ... I never imagined, as a child, that such a beautiful stadium would be built in the middle of Miami. So I'm very proud of the city of Miami and the Marlins to be able to achieve this in my hometown.
"This is kind of like, 'Hello, Major League Baseball. We're here,' " Rodriguez said.
A-Rod, of course, is from south Florida and went to high school around here, so I figured he would be fond of the new park. But it does bode well that the place looks so nice as to get everyone's attention. And from the highlights from yesterday, it does look better than it did against the University of Miami and Florida International University.- Last Friday, we discussed the possible moves the Marlins would make with their last few roster spots. Well, it seems a lot of these decisions have been made, with the Fish opting for Austin Kearns as their fifth outfielder and optioning starting pitcher Wade Leblanc to Triple-A in favor of Chad Gaudin. This is not a bad move at all for the Fish, as they want Leblanc ready to step in to start in case of injury at a moment's notice. Gaudin last pitched meaningful baseball for the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees in 2009 as a back-of-the-rotation starter. Here, he will probably serve as a long reliever, meaning he will not be pitching significant innings.
- The good news about the lineup right now is that Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton are back in the lineup. Presumably, this means they will be ready for Opening Day, which is a huge boon to the club.
- If you were concerned about parking at the new stadium, you should still be. However, the Marlins are trying to help by adding 3000 more spaces for ticket buyers. Most of the lots is within a mile of the new stadium, which is not a great endorsement given the fact that a mile is not fun to walk to a game. Still, as fans we may have to tough it out or purchase stadium parking in one of the garages when available.
- Of course, the whole parking mess has just added to the problems the new stadium has already been brewing. With all the financial backing coming from from Miami and Miami-Dade county, the city really needs tourists to come in and spend money around the area.
- Apparently MLB has suspended Juan Oviedo for six weeks for his identity fraud situation. In addition to the fact that he has been unable to acquire the proper work visa to return to the United States, the Marlins are basically stuck without him for a long period of time. Sure, the Fish won't be paying his inflated $6 million salary, but with each passing minute, that re-signing looks like a dumber and dumber move.
- Will Stanifer of Marlin Maniac has five predictions for Opening Day this week. Here's hoping everything comes out just right for the Fish.
- FanGraphs is doing their annual organization rankings, and the Fish have been bumped up to 17th. The good the Marlins did this offseason is outweighed a good deal by the bad state of the Marlins' destitute minor league system.
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- Check out our weekend series with the latest Wild Pitch and the latest $640 million poll!