May 24, 2017
By Jared Shapiro | April 4, 2017 | Culture
The Miami Marlins kick off the 2017-2018 baseball season with exciting buzz both on and off the field.
Marlins Park during opening day between the Miami Marlins and the Detroit Tigers last year.
“This is the year” is something every sports fan says about his or her beloved home team at the start of every season. But for the Miami Marlins, the sentence hasn’t really been uttered since 2003, the last year they won the World Series. This year, however, there is a new buzz of optimism, thanks to new faces and old, plus a work ethic in part due to second-year manager Don Mattingly. Hitting coach Barry Bonds is gone, replaced with Mike Pagliarulo. And as the team and the city continue to mourn the death of star pitcher José Fernández, who lost his life in a boating accident in September, the goal is to continue on towards a bright future.
A 79-82 record last year just put them out of the playoffs. Familiar faces Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Christian Yelich are stronger than ever, while new pitchers Edinson Vólquez (previously with the Royals), Dan Straily (Reds), Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa (Red Sox), and Jeff Locke (Pirates) now will all proudly don Marlins uniforms.
The fish will already be six games into the season when they return to Miami to take on the Atlanta Braves for our home opener on April 11. Three days later, it’s Don Mattingly Bobblehead night on the 14th against the Mets (the first 10,000 fans will win the big-headed doll), and fireworks following the Friday-night game on April 15. Mark June 22 to 25 on your calendars, too, as the Marlins play host to the World Series Champions, the Chicago Cubs, on a four-day home stretch. But the tickets that everyone wants will be the 2017 All-Star Game as Marlins Stadium hosts a jam-packed, days-long extravaganza from the Home Run Derby to FanFest at the Miami Beach Convention Center, culminating with the July 11 All-Star game for the first time ever in Miami!
BY MIKE EHRMANN/GETTY IMAGES (GENERAL VIEWS); PATRICK MCDERMOTT/WASHINGTON NATIONALS/GETTY IMAGES (STANTON)