The Marlins and Mariners hold the record for the greatest distance between two MLB franchises, but they also share another record, one that dates back to the last time Miami visited the Pacific Northwest.
Back in June 2011, National League rules were used in an American League ballpark for the first time in history, all because the Marlins were the designated home team.
Due to the re-scheduling of a U2 concert at Sun Life (now Hard Rock) Stadium, the Marlins had nowhere to go, and the three game series against Seattle had to be moved to Safeco Field, resulting in possibly the furthest a team has had to relocate to play a home game in the history of sports.
The Marlins, led by team legend Jack McKeon after Edwin Rodriguez resigned mid-season, batted in the bottom half of every inning and the Mariners wore their road uniforms as Seattle literally became a home away from home. However, the Marlins did not enjoy a home-field advantage.
The Mariners would take the series by two games to one. Félix Hernández out-dueled Ricky Nolasco in game one, striking out ten over eight masterful innings of two-hit baseball. The Marlins won game two by a score of 4-2 as Hanley Ramírez drove in two and Chris Volstad did enough to improve to 3-7 on the season (his record would only get worse).
Florida (yes, Florida) was dominated once again by a Mariners starter in game three as Doug Fister only allowed one run over eight innings, but it was a Steve Cishek who gave the game away with a wild pitch in the tenth inning.
Two current Marlins players were present for that three game set, Giancarlo Stanton and Ichiro Suzuki, who was still playing for the Mariners at that time. Surprisingly, both players struggled mightily, with Ichiro hitting .154 over the course of the series, and Stanton hitting .182 with one RBI. Miami will need more from two of it’s main stars this time around if they want to build on the team’s strong start to the season.
Tonight’s game (10:10 pm ET) is the first of a cross-country swing that also sends the Marlins to San Diego and Philadelphia - three seemingly winnable series for Miami if you’re judging by how their scheduled opponents have started the season (combined .368 winning percentage).
If the Marlins want to compete this season, they have to beat teams with inferior records consistently. They will aim to keep that trend going starting tonight in Seattle, which will mark the start of the team’s second-longest road trip of the season.