The Marlins front office is in Japan this week

Five members of the Marlins front office have traveled to Japan this week.

On the trip are David Samson (President), Michael Hill (President of Baseball Operations), Jeff Conine (Marlins exec and Mr. Marlin), Brendan Cunningham (SVP of Corporate Partnerships), and PJ Loyello (SVP of Communications and Broadcasting).

They’re visiting the Orix Buffaloes, there’s going to be a huge 74-team youth clinic, they’re meeting with some corporate partners, they’ll hit up the Japanese Hall of Fame and more. We’re pushing for an Ichiro appearance – I mean, when in Rome, am I right?

The Fish are no strangers to visits to Japan. You may remember a year ago some front office staff headed over for the Ichiro press conference.

We’ll keep you posted right here with pics. Follow along at hashtag #MarlinsInJapan:


Wednesday, February 3, 2016
7:20 a.m. Japan time / 5:20 p.m. Miami time (Tuesday)
On the way to Miyazaki:


Wednesday, February 3, 2016
11:03 a.m. Japan time / 9:03 p.m. Miami time (Tuesday)
Here in Miyazki watching the Orix Buffaloes at their Spring Training:


Thursday, February 4, 2016
7:00 p.m. Japan time / 5:00 a.m. Miami time 
Here with the world-famous revered sushi chef Jiro Ono at his restaurant Jiro! Oh yes, and of course, the one-and-only, Ichiro met up with us, along with Marlins interpreter Allen Turner.
Jiro Ono - Ichiro - Miami Marlins


Friday, February 5, 2016
2:00 p.m. Japan time / 12:00 a.m. Miami time 

 

Next up for the Fish? A visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum located in the Tokyo Dome.

IMG_2322

 

IMG_2323

 

More coming… we’ll keep updating this as we go! #MarlinsInJapan

What should be the first Marlins player number retired?

So #42 is retired leaguewide (in honor of Jackie) and although #5 used to be symbolically retired for a non-number-wearing non-player (the late first Marlins President, Carl Barger, who now instead has a descriptive, permanent plaque prominently displayed in the ballpark in his honor), the truth is that no Marlins player has ever had their number retired by the Marlins.

A year from now in 2017, the Fish will be entering their 25th season of existence (and will be hosting the All-Star Game), so it seems like an appropriate time for Marlins fans to start thinking about what should be the first Marlins player number to be hung up in left field next to Jackie.

Most Marlins fans would tell you it probably comes down to two guys – Niner and Louie.

  • Jeff Conine bore #19 from 1993 – 1997 and returned to the team (though under a different uniform number) in 2003. Mr. Marlin is now employed by the Marlins as an executive and by Fox Sports Florida as a pre/postgame analyst.
  • But Luis Castillo (#1) played in more games than any Marlin ever and holds more than a few records, including at-bats, hits, stolen bases, triples, hit a 35-game hitting streak and two World Series rings.

Who else is in play?

  • Mike Lowell also wore #19 – which would make for a fun 2-in-1 number retirement along with Niner.
  • Gary Sheffield wore #10. His 1996 Marlins season may just be the best Marlins offensive season ever.
  • Charles Johnson wore #23. First Marlins #1 pick ever, frequent Gold Glover and world champ.
  • Livan Hernandez wore #61. 1997 rookie hero.
  • Josh Beckett wore #61 and #21. 2003 World Series MVP.

There are lots of good options.

Ok, time for some good ol’ fashioned sports debate. Who does the #FishFamily think deserves to be the first true Marlins number retired? 

BAND1035

Luis Castillo #1Jeff Conine Florida Marlins

 

Carl F Barger Plaque - Marlins Park - Marlins

Florida Marlins v Pittsburgh Pirates

That time the Marlins ran out of catchers in the second inning

For a manager as seasoned as Jack McKeon to say he’s never seen the situation arise – you know it’s something out-of-the-ordinary.

On June 1, 2004, the Marlins needed to turn to their third-string emergency catcher.

Just seven months after hitting a critical bases-clearing double in the NLCS at Wrigley Field, a 5′ 10″ utilityman was needed to fill in behind the plate.

Catcher Mike Redmond had been ailing after being hit-by-pitch on the right forearm a few days prior. Ramon Castro had to leave the game in the bottom of the second inning with inflammation in a big toe, an issue he had been working through for many weeks. Left with no other catchers on the roster, Trader Jack pointed down the bench to Mike Mordecai, who geared up and stepped up to the challenge.

Here’s video:

Funny enough, Lenny Harris, currently a member of the Marlins coaching staff, also was up for the opportunity if called upon.

“Mordy did a tremendous job. He picked us right up. He’s a gamer,” said Jack McKeon. It actually wasn’t Mordecai’s first time – he had caught an inning with the Expos in 2001.

Ichiro, Cody Ross and 5 other Marlins position players who pitched in a game

Every so often, there are moments in baseball that leave you breathless, that give you goosebumps and that make you lean in. It’s not always tied to a win – sometimes it’s seeing the improbable and impossible.

That was the feeling that swept, not only through Marlins fans, but internationally, when Ichiro Suzuki, a bonafide baseball icon, at the age of 41, took a Major League Baseball mound for the first time. Pitchiro was the inning heard ’round the world.

In doing so, Ichiro joined a (very) short list of only six other Marlins position players to pitch in a game. Here are the six times this had happened pre-Ichiro:


1 – July 21, 1997 – Utilityman John Cangelosi pitched 1 inning


2 – October 5, 2001 – John Mabry pitched a third of an inning


3 – June 29, 2007 – Jason Wood pitched 1 inning


4 – April 26, 2009 – Cody Ross pitched an inning
You can hear the #FishFamily chanting: Cody! Cody! Cody! These are the moments!


5 – May 22, 2009 – Ross Gload pitched an inning


6 – July 20, 2011 – Bryan Petersen pitched an inning


BONUS: Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis has pitched before – being used not once, but twice, by the Blue Jays, in 2012:


Here are some screenshots. Enjoy!
Marlins Position Players to Pitch Miami Marlins Cody RossMarlins Position Players to Pitch Miami Marlins Ichiro

Marlins Position Players to Pitch Miami Marlins Jeff Mathis

What the Marlins website looked like in 1996

Thinking back to the year 1996, you probably think about Gary Sheffield and Kevin Brown putting up what stand as arguably the best single-seasons for any Marlins players in history.

Sheffield hit .314 with 42 homers, 120 RBI, a ridiculous .465 on-base percentage and finished 6th in MVP voting. Brown had a 1.89 ERA, 17 wins and finished 2nd in Cy Young voting.

You may also remember this as the dawn of the Internet as we know it.

Well we were curious and we found what marlins.com looked like back then. Well, actually, it wasn’t marlins.com at all. It was actually located at the domain of flamarlins.com.

The site was built in 1996 and courtesy of the Wayback Machine, we have screenshots of what it looked like on April 11, 1997. Prepare for some AWESOME Billy The Marlin animations. Enjoy!

Nothing gets you more pumped for a web experience than an awesome High Five!Marlins Website in 1997 - Florida Marlins - Miami Marlins


How’s this for a home page?Marlins Website in 1996 - Miami Marlins - Florida Marlins


Hey – Billy The Marlin and Derek Dietrich have something in common.

Marlins Website in 1996 - Miami Marlins - Florida Marlins

Marlins Website - Florida Marlins - Miami Marlins- Derek Dietrich


I think I know how this game is going to turn out:Marlins Website in 1996 - Miami Marlins - Florida Marlins


Pins were a bigger thing back then. Nowadays we have bobbleheads.Marlins Website in 1996 - Miami Marlins - Florida Marlins


Classic.

Marlins Website in 1996 - Miami Marlins - Florida Marlins


Chat rooms!

Marlins Website in 1996 - Miami Marlins - Florida Marlins


Billy the scribe:

Marlins Website in 1996 - Miami Marlins - Florida Marlins


JRS. Can we just call it Joe Robbie, please?

A - 1996-04-11 - flamarlins.com - 10


Hey, the RBI program still exists to this day. Cool.Marlins Website in 1996 - Miami Marlins - Florida Marlins


Well it’s fair to say marlins.com has come a long way since that version.

These days, marlins.com now has a dedicated staff in the Marlins Front Office, as well as a ton of development support from Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York, who assist the clubs with web development, highlights, live video, live audio, the MLB.com Ballpark app and more.

We’ve come a long way, Fish fam.

* * * * *

P.S. – Curious for more? Here’s what we dug up on the Wayback Machine:

Here’s a brief timeline:

  • November 4, 1996 – The first trace of the domain flamarlins.com was stored, according to Wayback Machine.
  • April 11, 1997 – As mentioned in this blog post, the first flamarlins.com website is archived, full of animated Billy The Marlin cartoon imagery throughout.
  • December 12, 1997 – The first redesign! flamarlins.com had evolved to a new look and feel, powered by CBS SportsLine.
  • April 4, 1998 – Flamarlins.com announces a new site design is coming soon.
  • December 5, 1998 – Flamarlins.com appeared with yet another new redesign, though still powered by CBS SportsLine.
  • December 12, 1998 – At some point prior to this date, the domain marlins.com was first registered and began to be squatted upon.
  • March 2, 2000 – It became apparent that the domain marlins.com was registered by a company called WebMagic.
  • March 11, 2000 – The flamarlins.com domain showed a “Stay tuned for the new site” message.
  • April 7, 2000 – A new flamarlins.com website appeared, completely redesigned and off of the CBS SportsLine platform.
  • May 10, 2000 – The first signs of the domain floridamarlins.com are registered – though it looked a lot like flamarlins.com.
  • October 2, 2000 – Marlins.com was not owned by the Marlins, nor by MLB, and was continued to be squatted upon by WebMagic.
  • April 22, 2001 – Flamarlins.com is taken over by mlb.com
  • June 18, 2003 – The last functioning archived version of flamarlins.com on Wayback Machine’s site.

It wasn’t until 2010 or so that marlins.com became the active domain for Marlins fans to turn to for all things Fish. What a long strange road it’s been.

First Look: the Marlins Park Fences Are Being Brought In

Year Five in our new casa and it’s time for some redecorating. The Center Field wall is coming in and the walls throughout the park are pulling a Flo Rida and getting low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low. Okay, I’ll admit – I was a little on the fence about that joke.

We’ve got two updates to share. First, a one-minute video interview with Claude Delorme (Marlins Executive Vice President of Operations and Events) who walks us through the details of the renovations. Secondly, photos showing the full extent of the state of the construction (below).

Here’s Claude explaining the project:


From the Home Run Sculpture over to Right-Center Field, the walls are being brought in, starting at as much as 11-feet. Center Field will go from 418 to 407.
Marlins Park - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins


Secondly, the walls are being lowered pretty much anywhere where there isn’t a digital screen. There are three of those digital screens: one near the Left Field pole, the out-of-town-scoreboard in Left-Center field and a third one near the Marlins bullpen in Right Field. Those areas will remain at 11.5 feet tall.

The area between the digital signage in Left Field and the out-of-town scoreboard will be lowered from 11.5 feet down to 7 feet in height. The area between the Home Run Sculpture and the Marlins bullpen will come down from 11.5 to 8.5 feet.

Marlins Park Digital Signage Claude Delorme


To recap: the Left Field wall between the digital screen and the out-of-town scoreboard will now be 7 feet tall. This includes the wall in front of The Clevelander. So we should see some more splash landings in the pool very soon.

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins


Center Field will go from 11.5 feet down to 8.5 feet high and then Right Field between the Marlins bullpen and the foul pole will be lowered as well. Giancarlo should have some fun reaching over the wall and stealing some home runs very soon.

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

Marlins Park Fences - Claude Delorme - Miami Marlins

There you have it. Thanks to Mr. Delorme for the time and for helping record the video above. Things should be pretty set when the ballpark opens to the public at FanFest on February 20th.

13 Things to Know About Wei-Yin Chen

So the Fish signed a big-time lefty to the second largest free agent contract in club history. NBD… He had the 4th-lowest ERA among AL lefty starters last year. But what else should we know about Wei-Yin Chen? We did some digging…

Here are 13 things to know about Wei-Yin Chen:


1 – He’s from Taiwan – He was born in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.

chen1


2 – He pitched for 8 seasons in Japan – He pitched in Nippon Professional Baseball for the from 2004 to 2011 – that made him 19 years-old when he started his pro career. He led the league in ERA in 2009 with a 1.54 ERA. At 26 he left for the Orioles, where he pitched for four seasons.


3 – He’s a Two-Time Olympian – He played for the Chinese Taipei National Team in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

Taiwan pitcher Chen Wei-Yin delivers his


4 – He’s kind of a big deal – When he made his Major League debut in 2012, the game was broadcast live on national television in Taiwan. In 2015, he became the second Taiwanese-born player to have 100 career starts in the major leagues. He’s also the first Taiwanese player in Marlins history.

 


5 – He’s had Tommy John surgery – Like José Fernández and so many others, he had Tommy John surgery at the end of 2006.


6 – He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2012 – Some guys named Trout, Cespedes and Darvish finished ahead of him.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles


7 – He took a big step forward in 2014 – His third season in the League saw a half-run improvement in his ERA – from 4.07 to 3.54. He improved in 2015 as well – down to 3.34 ERA.

Chen Orioles 1.jpg


8 – He has Postseason experience – He pitched in the 2012 and 2014 postseason, also becoming the first Taiwanese pitcher to start an ALCS game.

ALCS - Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals - Game Three


9 – He throws strikes – He only allowed 41 walks last season in 191 innings. He allowed 35 in 2014 (185.2 innings) and 39 in 2013 (137 innings).

011916_chen_med_ioduo71y


10 – He’s a flyball pitcher – He finished in the top 11% of pitchers in flyballs. That should work just fine in Marlins Park.


11 – He tweets – Hit him at @WeiYinChen16.

 


12 – He has a charity fund in Taipei – He helps causes such as baseball, animal protection and children’s welfare.


13 – He’s all about “Team” – “He was a great teammate. That’s the biggest thing. A great teammate.” –Zach Britton

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 04: Manager Buck Showalter #26 of the Baltimore Orioles hugs Wei-Yin Chen #16 after a baseball game against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 4, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles won 9-4. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)


And now he’s a Marlin. I like this guy already. Welcome to the #FishFamily, Wei-Yin!

Twitter Reacts to Dee Gordon’s Contract Extension

When news spread that Dee Gordon signed a 5-year (possibly 6-year) deal with the Marlins, Twitter reacted with an absolute outpouring of well wishes for the Marlins’ gold glover and defending NL Batting Champ, stolen bases champ and All-Star.

First, his teammates, of course:


And then celebrities and friends from the sports world and beyond:


Classy. Humble. Hard-working.

It should be very obvious that Dee Gordon is well-liked by everyone he comes across. Considering all he does in the community, it’s obvious Dee is as great a person as he is a player.

Congrats, Dee! So pumped to have you in the #FishFamily for years and years to come.

Near Hall of Famer Hit the Most Frustrating Walk-Off Win in Marlins History

Few things are more enthralling than a hit streak. Each day and each at-bat, the pressure mounts just a bit more than the previous. Every game matters. Every at-bat matters. Every pitch matters. Few things have the ability to bring a community, and a nation, together, more nervously than watching each at-bat of a hit streak.

Yet each day – for 35 straight games – Luis Castillo courageously delivered. The lead-off switch-hitting slap-hitter consistently churned out hit, after hit, after hit. In baseball, sometimes the improbable becomes reality.

And then sometimes a near hall-of-famer lets his excellence get in the way of history.

On June 22, 2002, Luis Castillo entered the game with a 35-game hitting streak. For over a month, Luis churned out a hit in each game.

But when he came up in the bottom of the 8th inning and the Marlins trailing Detroit by a score of 4-1, we all knew it was likely his last at-bat of the game. And his last chance to extend history. But alas, even the Mighty Castillo couldn’t deliver this time – and he grounded out.

However, sometimes improbability breeds more improbability. The Marlins rallied in the 9th with a Derrek Lee triple, a Preston Wilson walk, a Charles Johnson double and an error all contributing to even the game at 4-4! With 1 out, Tim Raines stepped to the plate with Andy Fox on third base. Luis Castillo dramatically stepped up the dugout steps and made his way to the on-deck circle.

But then this happened:

Tim “Rock” Raines, nearly elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame this week, hit a walk-off game-winning sacrifice fly, giving the Marlins a 5-4 victory on a 4-run ninth inning rally! This should have been a no-brainer moment for unbridled celebration, ecstasy and jubilation. But yet diehard Marlins fans couldn’t help but feel conflicted. Conflicted at that bittersweet feeling of defeat as Luis Castillo stood in the on-deck circle – so close, yet so far – to having just one more chance to prolong a once-in-a-career streak.

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Hit Streak Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Hit Streak Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Hit Streak Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Hit Streak Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Hit Streak Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Hit Streak Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Hit Streak Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Miami Marlins - Luis Castillo Hit Streak Tim Raines Hall of Fame

Strange But True: Mike Piazza Was a Marlins Player for 5 Games

The results are in and Mike Piazza is headed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

But while Piazza will best be remembered for his tenure with the Dodgers and Mets, let’s not forget that for a brief week in May of 1998, Michael Joseph Piazza was a member of the Florida Marlins.

 

Yup. On May 15, 1998, Piazza was traded along with Todd Zeile from the Dodgers to the Marlins. During his cup of coffee in South Florida, Piazza played five games batting .278 with five RBI over 18 plate appearances.

Need further proof? Let’s go to the video:

But just as quickly as he arrived, he was gone. Exactly one week later, on May 22nd, Piazza was traded to New York for our future Fox Sports Florida friend Preston Wilson, as well as Ed Yarnall and Geoff Goetz.

When it comes time for Piazza to select a cap for his Hall of Fame bust, we’ll understand if he passes on the ole’ Florida Marlins hat.

He joins Andre Dawson as former Marlins players to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Tony Perez (former Marlins Manager and current Marlins executive), Felo Ramirez  (broadcaster) and Dave Van Horne (broadcaster) have also been inducted into Cooperstown.

Once a #MarlinsAlum, always a #MarlinsAlum. Even if for just one week. Congratulations, Mike!

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