The more you learn about Jorge Cantu -- cool, quiet, mild-mannered Jorge Cantu -- the more you discover what an interesting dude he is. Earlier in the season, he made the shocking revelation that he's such a huge fan of the Oakland Raiders that he attends one game a season, wears a skeleton mask and sits in the "Black Hole" section that is home to the Silver and Black's rowdiest fans. Today, after I found out he was among a handful of Marlins players able to snag tickets to the deciding Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night after their own game with the Phillies was rained out, I questioned him about his hockey knowledge, what with his Mexican upbringing and all.
Well, that set him off right quick. Cantu, who said he had seats behind the penalty box for last night's big victory by the Blackhawks, said he was quite the star on his street roller hockey team, a goal-scorer in the Wayne Gretzky mold, in his hometown of Reynosa.
"There's a lot of stuff you don't know about Mexico," Cantu started off when I acted skeptical about his claim. "I was good. I was always scoring for some reason. After school, we went at it. It was four against four, and we broke a lot of windows in cars and houses. It was four mean guys and us kids, man, in this neighborhood, and little girls and people in the street with their sticks and their skates, and their friggin' pucks, gosh, they were really mean. It was unbelievable."
As for last night's game, Cantu had this to say: "I've never been a part of something like that, a hockey championship. It was a weird feeling at the end of that game, with the Blackhawks winning on the road. The place was real quiet, it was really awkward. Becoming champions on the road, that's tough to do, and they did it."
Cantu wasn't the only Marlin able to land tickets at the last minute (remember, the Marlins game wasn't called until about 5 p.m.). Dan Uggla, Chris Volstad and Josh Johnson also scored tickets. Uggla and Volstad sat in the second row behind the goal net where the winning goal was scored in overtime. Only they, like pretty much everyone else, weren't really sure it was a goal at first.
"It's amazing how those guys can skate backwards and turn on a dime," Volstad said. "They're better on skates than I am on my feet."
CANTU WILL LIKELY DH IN THE TAMPA SERIES....Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would use his "nine best hitters" in the Tampa series, meaning that Cantu will probably see most of the DH duty, rookie Mike Stanton will remain in right, and Cameron Maybin will watch from the bench.
Cantu went 5 for 9 with four walks as the DH for the Marlins when they faced the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field last month.
MARLINS DIG THE AQUARIUM BACKSTOPS.....Most Marlins players gave a thumbs up to the aquarium backstops that will be incorporated into the new ballpark, with reactions ranging from "awesome" (Hanley Ramirez) to "pretty cool" (Gaby Sanchez).
"We are Miami, after all," Sanchez said. "We have a lot of water around us. We might as well have water there, too."
Volstad said he doesn't think it'll distract him as a pitcher.
"Is it going to be weird having fish swim around while you're trying to throw strikes?" Volstad asked. "Probably not."
However, reliever Clay Hensley thought it could be a distraction for infielders trying to field ground balls.
"If they have fish moving around and the ball's coming at them at the same height as the aquarium, that could be tough to see," Hensley said.
MAKEUP DATE SET.....The Marlins and Phillies will make up Wednesday's rained out game on Sept. 6 in Philadelphia as part of a day-night doubleheader.
MARLINS: 1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 3b: 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. Cody Ross, cf; 7. Mike Stanton, rf; 8. Ronny Paulino, c; 9. Josh Johnson, p.
PHILLIES: 1. Shane Victorino, cf; 2. Placido Polanco, 3b; 3. Chase Utley, 2b; 4. Ryan Howard, 1b; 5. Jayson Werth, rf; 6. Raul Ibanez, lf; 7. Wilson Valdez, ss; 8. Carlos Ruiz, c; 9. Roy Halladay, p.
UMPIRES: HP -- Tony Randazzo; 1B -- Brian Gorman; 2B -- Paul Nauert; 3B -- Ted Barrett.