What was your favorite Marlins moment over the past decade?
As the 2010s come to a close, it is time to reflect on what has been an exciting, disappointing, and somewhat turbulent ten years for Marlins baseball. Between the baselines, it has been the worst decade in the franchise’s relatively short existence, with no playoff appearances or winning seasons.
However, you would be mistaken for thinking that the last ten seasons should be wiped from memory, as a lot happened which will be remembered by Marlins fans for years to come. From a brand new, state-of-the-art ballpark which came with a full-scale rebrand, the emergence of the transcendent José Fernández and Dee Gordon's home run the day after the pitcher's untimely death, hosting the 2017 MLB All-Star Game, Giancarlo Stanton's MVP win, the sale of the franchise to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, and another rebrand—there are many moments that could stand out as the most memorable of the decade.
For many reading this, their personal highlight will have already been listed above. Meanwhile, one moment in particular should receive a little more respect in this conversation, and it is a moment that many may have forgotten already.
Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on the final day of the 2013 season. The no-hitter was not the first in franchise history—nor was it the most recent thanks to Edinson Volquez in 2017—but it was, and still is, the most surreal. Thanks, in part, to an acrobatic defensive gem by Adeiny Hechavarria in the third inning, Alvarez made it all the way to the ninth inning without allowing a knock, and then struck out Matt Tuiasosopo to end the frame. The Venezuelan celebrated, well, like he had thrown a no-hitter.
The thing is, the score was 0-0. The feat was not accomplished yet because the game was not complete. In the bottom of the ninth, the Marlins promptly loaded the bases, and Alvarez was standing in the on-deck circle as Stanton scampered home after a wild pitch to end the game. Thought to be the only no-hitter ever to finish on a wild pitch, Alvarez's gem is one of the very few no-hitters sealed by a walk-off.
The win improved Miami's record on the season to 62-100, but the home crowd at Marlins Park that day celebrated like they had won a championship. Alvarez would go on to have his best season in 2014, when he went 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA and three complete game shutouts across 30 starts. In 2015, he missed most of the season due to shoulder surgery and then elected free agency, but he will forever be enshrined in Marlins lore for his achievement on September 29, 2013.
Henderson Alvarez's no-hitter is one of the moments of the decade for the Marlins at it epitomizes the last ten years of baseball in South Florida—a fleeting moment of unexpected and surreal joy to distract from the pain of another lost season. On the field, the Marlins went nowhere in the 2010s, which continued the struggle of developing a consistently engaged and supportive fan base. As a new decade begins, fans have a lot of reason for optimism with Derek Jeter and Co. at the helm and one of baseball's best farm systems, which will hopefully bring playoff games and World Series titles back to Miami over the next few years.
After all, that is what fans really want to remember.