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.
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.
More coming… we’ll keep updating this as we go! #MarlinsInJapan
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
How’s this for a home page?
Hey – Billy The Marlin and Derek Dietrich have something in common.
I think I know how this game is going to turn out:
Pins were a bigger thing back then. Nowadays we have bobbleheads.
Billy the scribe:
JRS. Can we just call it Joe Robbie, please?
Hey, the RBI program still exists to this day. Cool.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Deeeeeeeee… Speed Kills… Congrats on a well deserved extension. Look forward to continuing to watch you do your thing… @FlashGJr
— Tom Koehler (@TKREFRESH22) January 14, 2016
— Miguel Rojas (@MRojasOfficial) January 18, 2016
Congrats @FlashGJr I see you getting that💰💰💰
— Christian Yelich (@ChristianYelich) January 14, 2016
And then celebrities and friends from the sports world and beyond:
@FlashGJr Congrats. Well deserved. Stay hungry and stay fed.
— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 18, 2016
— Dorell Wright (@DWRIGHTWAY1) January 14, 2016
— Kieran Powell (@officialkpowell) January 18, 2016
— AJ Ellis (@AJEllis17) January 14, 2016
@FlashGJr congrats bra
— Ed Davis (@eddavis32) January 14, 2016
Congrats to my boy @FlashGJr we done come a long way! Dinner on u in Miami and on me in Pitt!
— Josh Harrison (@jhay_da_man) January 14, 2016
@FlashGJr would take GB’s in the AM before Spring training day started on the ❄️ grass..hard work pays off congrats homie
— Joc Pederson (@yungjoc650) January 18, 2016
@FlashGJr hiya best friend let me hold some cash for just a minute I’ll (probably) pay you back PS: CONGRATS! Xx
— Kristen Ledlow (@KristenLedlow) January 14, 2016
Congrats, @FlashGJr. So happy to see one of the classiest guys, get rewarded!
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) January 14, 2016
— Reshad Jones (@reshadjones9) January 14, 2016
— Jerry Hairston, Jr. (@TheRealJHair) January 14, 2016
— Touki Toussaint™ (@_YoSoy_Touki) January 14, 2016
— Tim Anderson Jr. (@TimAnderson7) January 18, 2016
— Rico Noel (@SuaveCF1) January 15, 2016
This mans is hilarious Haha but Congrats to Bruhman @FlashGJr on the contract ! Big ups, can’t wait til the boys get up there withcha💯⚾️
— Monte Harrison (@Team_Harrison3) January 14, 2016
Congrats to @FlashGJr on your extension. Always a tough out, and everytime we visited the ABQ, you were putting in the extra work.
— Chuckie Fick (@chuckiefick) January 14, 2016
— Henderson Alvarez (@HendersonA37) January 14, 2016
— Brad Magers (@MajorBrad) January 14, 2016
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.
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.
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!