Marlins Ballpark–much like its occupant franchise during this offseason–had a lot going on Friday night. Fish lurked in a purple aquarium to the left of the batter’s box, carnival-style dancers swiveled behind the left field wall, the orgiastic home run feature waits in center field like a Master’s thesis in potential energy. The outfield walls a shade of neon lime a weather man could work in front of, and a wall full of ads rotates behind the hitter.
Overall, the effect is that a stadium from the 1970s was kept in shrink wrap in a broom closet for a few decades, only to be finally unwrapped this year.
The gusto is welcome in Florida, and one feels like the franchise is making up for time lost as a sleepy, teal-tinged, heat-stroked forgotten team north of the city.
Oh, by the way, J.D. Martinez is the first player ever to hit a home run in Marlins Ballpark. It takes a shot to leave that yard, and that is what J.D. delivered–still it only just cleared the twenty foot wall separating the revellers of the Clevelander club from noted evangelical, left fielder Chris Coghlan. Pity the home run didn’t qualify to activate the home run feature.
The home run tied the game up in the top of the 8th inning.
* On Jed Lowrie’s debut. The reputation preceding Lowrie was of a sweet swing. A finely squared-up single set the table for the Martinez mash, doing nothing to tarnish the reputation. What a luxury to play a shortstop who can hit! I can’t think of an Astros shortstop who could be considered even moderately competent at the plate. Lowrie walked in a crucial ninth inning at bat, and made a spinning dervish play in the field on a ground ball to his left. I’m already enjoying the kid.
*On Chris Johnson’s defense. Two terrible throws to first base that each of them threatened Carlos Lee’s safety, a costly hesitation late in the game on a ball that deflected off of the pitcher. Johnson has the time to make these plays, and his work with the glove is passable, but time seems to be the enemy of accuracy. He’s had his time in the big leagues; he should be better than this.
In the bottom of the ninth, Heath Bell lost touch with the strike zone and walked the bases full, but Caballo’s RBI touch of the first few games of the season abandoned him and, with two outs, he check swung his way to an easy out to end the threat and send the game into extra innings.
We lost on a double by Gaby Sanchez, but I don’t care. The Astros played good baseball, picked each other up, took some walks, stole some bases, and pitched out of jams. In short, they didn’t need a fish tank or sequined go-go boots to entertain in Miami.
Comments are closed.