It felt great to be back in Jupiter last Friday to see the Marlins in Spring Training action. The game against the Cardinals was slated for 1:05, so we arrived at the complex shortly before 11, and I made my way down to the practice fields to sit and enjoy some baseball. With the exception of some gusty wind, the weather was glorious–temperatures in the high 70s were perfect a few days after a major snowfall in Virginia.
The last time I watched the Marlins train, they only used two of the fields in the complex, and there were very few minor leaguers milling about. This time, however, a manifold of baseball players were roaming around every field. The big leaguers were present, but 90% of those in uniform were minor leaguers or guys fresh out of high school. This made me think: if I had bought a Marlins jersey and matching pants, I probably could have snuck onto a practice field without a problem and taken part in professional baseball. That’s a new bucket list idea.
Henderson Alvarez was the starting pitcher, and threw three perfect innings, picking up right where he left off last season. Matt Adams provided the highlight for St. Louis, hitting a bomb of a home run that bounced off the high center field end of the Cardinals’ clubhouse.
In the ninth inning, when most fans had already departed, I barely missed out on a chance to catch a foul ball. I was sitting on the third base line, two rows behind my ticketed seat in a completely empty row. A lefty hit a high pop that drifted back towards me. I got into lateral position, but the ball fell just short in the midst of some bare hands in front of me. Had I been in my actual seat I would have made the catch no problem, but it just wasn’t in the cards…or the fish.
The highlight of the day was getting up close to Jose Fernandez, reigning NL Rookie of the Year and Cuban pitching sensation. He is unbelievably friendly, and one of the humbler guys in the sport.
Miami won 7-3. And here are some extra pictures from the day: