Clear your calendars: Fish Stripes has learned that Marlins FanFest 2019 will be held at Marlins Park on Saturday, February 9th, according to multiple players who expect to attend. That’s the final weekend before pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter for major league spring training.
NEW: #Marlins FanFest scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9 https://t.co/KtUrQWFS0a— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) January 14, 2019
The Marlins announced the news on Thursday.
Join us for an epic celebration featuring on-field activations, interactive games, giveaways, live entertainment, merchandise and more.
Come meet the squad sporting their new gear and get a first look at the enhanced ballpark.
Experience #OurColores live at Marlins FanFest 2019
Just like last year, FanFest will be a four-hour event. The times have shifted, though—it runs from 3-7 p.m. after being 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in 2018.
In November, several young Marlins including Lewis Brinson, José Ureña, Pablo López and Trevor Richards made public appearances around the community to show off the rebranded uniforms. But this is the first opportunity to approach all of the players in one place for conversations, autographs and selfies.
Right-handers Nick Anderson, Julian Fernández and Riley Ferrell, and outfielder/infielder Rosell Herrera are new additions to the club’s 40-man roster so far this offseason. Top prospects Isan Díaz, Jorge Guzmán, Monte Harrison and Jordan Yamamoto should be there too after earning their own 40-man spots.
An extra incentive this year, fans can preview the ballpark enhancements still in progress. Coming off a season with MLB’s lowest attendance, the Marlins are making various changes to improve the aesthetics and functionality of their home venue. The most notable is relocating the home run sculpture and erecting the Center Field Zone in its place.
All indications are that the new-look Billy the Marlin will make his debut at FanFest. SiriusXM/Five Reasons Sports Network host Craig Mish noted that the mascot’s transformation could include a thinner body, shorter bill and cleats.
In 2018, the Marlins scaled down the annual event, which used to be two days of activities instead of one. The festivities were somewhat overshadowed by a Mish report that the Marlins and Astros were engaged in J.T. Realmuto trade negotiations. To Realmuto’s credit, he handled the situation with poise, determined to contribute to his current employer. After returning from a season-opening stint on the disabled list, the 27-year-old emerged as an All-Star.
Somehow, Realmuto is still here as Spring Training 2019 approaches. More awkwardness awaits him considering the high volume of trade talks that have taken place this offseason with the Astros, Braves, Mets and Reds (just to name a few). Jeff Berry of CAA proclaimed in October that he expected his client to report to camp with a new team, but the front office hasn’t obliged. On Friday, Berry and the Marlins settled on a $5.9 million salary for the catcher, avoiding arbitration, so that’s one less issue to worry about.
We will provide FanFest updates when there’s more to report.