To celebrate, lets look back on a few notable (for better or worse) home openers for the Marlins over the years.
April 5th, 1993: Marlins 6, Dodgers 3
The 1993 opener is arguably the most notable home opener in franchise history for the Marlins - it was their very first professional game! 45 year-old Charlie Hough set the tone on the mound, throwing six innings of three-run ball, easily out-dueling former Cy Young winner Orel Hershiser, who surrendered 10 hits over five frames.
The star of the day was Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine after he went four-for-four at the plate with two runs scored in the first game of what would be an illustrious career in teal and black. The 14 home opener hits the team recorded that day has never been bettered.
April 1st, 1997: Marlins 4, Cubs 2
Kevin Brown dominated Chicago by throwing seven one-hit innings as the Marlins kept the Cubs scoreless until the ninth. The slugging Sammy Sosa was held hit-less, and Moises Alou drove in two for the home team to start the season as Florida started it’s long and winding path towards it’s first World Series title.
April 6th, 2009: Marlins 12, Nationals 6
Little-known Emilio Bonifacio collected four hits, including an inside-the-park home run, scored another three times, and stole three bases in what was one of the most spectacular Marlins debuts in recent memory. Hanley Ramirez added a grand slam, and Jorge Cantu drove in three as the Marlins set a record for runs scored in a home opener, overshadowing a poor start (five runs allowed in six innings) by Ricky Nolasco.
The Marlins stormed out to an 11-1 record, the best start in franchise history, and would post the third-best record in team history by the end of the year.
April 4th, 2012: Marlins 1, Cardinals 4
New ballpark. New name. New era. Marlins Park celebrated its 5th birthday last week, and aside from the pre-game theatricals and the spectacle of the occasion, there was little to remember about the actual game for Marlins supporters, aside from Kyle Lohse’s dominant 7.1 innings for St. Louis.
March 31st, 2014: Marlins 10, Rockies 1
In José Fernández’s only home opener start for the Marlins (and Opening Day start), he had his way with Colorado’s hitters over six masterful innings, racking up nine strikeouts. The nine-run margin of victory tied the mark for the biggest home opener win in franchise history (2005, 9-0 vs Braves).
The main talking point, however, was the vast improvement in the offense after a 100-loss campaign in 2013. Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Adeiny Hecavarria all had multi-hit games in one of the most exciting atmospheres seen to date at Marlins Park.
April 6th, 2015: Marlins 1, Braves 2
Despite an entertaining pitching duel between Julio Teheran and Henderson Alvarez, this game will forever be remembered for the 16-minute rain delay blamed on faulty weather-forecasting technology. Unfortunately, that’s probably why the roof is never open for games anymore, even when the conditions are perfect (boo, hiss).
Overall, the Marlins are 10-14 in home openers, and they have only won one since moving to Little Havana. They will hope to improve that record by sending Dan Straily to the mound to face-off against the evergreen, and ever-dangerous, Bartolo Colon this evening.
While Straily didn’t produce the most encouraging of starts in Washington, there seems to be little wrong with Miami’s offense thus far, which should make for an entertaining first home game.