The Marlins’ performance has been abysmal since the All-Star break. With only one series win over the last three weeks, their postseason chances have dropped to zero, according to FanGraphs.
The offense has been tough to watch. Mainly because of a lack of power, the Marlins have been limited to three runs or less in 15 of those 19 games since the break. It’s tough to compete that way. On the bright side, the team is finally giving prospects consistent opportunities to show what they got. Each accomplishment is more meaningful when it comes from a player who’s just getting started in the big leagues.
Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, JJ Bleday came up to the plate in the top of the fourth inning with nobody on. Bleday was born in Danville, Pennsylvania, about two-and-a-half hours away from the stadium. Being so close to home, he had quite the fan club supporting him down the right field line.
In a 1-0 count, Phillies ace Zack Wheeler made a mistake, serving up a 93 MPH fastball over the heart of the plate. Bleday turned on it and hit a screamer just a section away from his fan club for his second career home run.
Though it was a beautiful swing in an important game situation, that was not the best part.
Upon capturing the home run in full, the TV broadcast panned to the Bleday fan club, dozens of his friends and family members in a sea of gray “Bleday” shirt-jerseys. For many of them, this was their first opportunity to watch the former top draft pick in person since his MLB promotion. If you look closely, you can see two Phillies fans just on the outskirts of the group. One of them turned and gave the group the middle finger. Classy!
Several of Bleday’s supporters retaliated with middle fingers of their own. Could you blame them? Absolutely not! How are you going to flick off the friends and family of a rookie at the time like that? Personally, I thought it was hilarious.
Then, a member of the fan club went over to the next section, offering the person who caught the home run ball $100 so that Bleday’s girlfriend Emily could have it. They didn’t cooperate until the price was doubled to $200. That is a bit ridiculous for a baseball, if you ask me.
It might have cost them $200, but getting this home run ball back was "absolutely priceless"@CraigMinervini catches up with JJ Bleday's girlfriend Emily and today's hero Josh after he purchased JJ's HR ball back from a Phillies fan!@Marlins | #MakeItMiami pic.twitter.com/eqUWjNzy9o— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) August 10, 2022
Anyways, those unique circumstances made it one of the most memorable home runs that the Marlins have had all season. It was awesome to see a Marlins player get so much support outside of LoanDepot Park. Bleday’s Pennsylvania-based fan club should get plenty of other opportunities to witness his games up there in the coming years—the young outfielder is well on his way to establishing himself as a regular in the Marlins lineup.