Boxing legend Muhammad Ali made an appearance for the opening festivities at Marlins Park Wednesday night, delivering the game ball to the mound while riding in a cart alongside owner Jeffrey Loria.
Loria sat alongside, holding Ali's hands as the cart moved in from beyond the center field wall. The sellout crowd of 37,000-plus cheered "Ali! Ali!" as the cart made its way toward the pitching mound.
Ali, 70, trained at the Fifth Street Gym on Miami Beach for many years and is now battling Parkinson's disease. The cart stopped at the mound and Marlins players came over to pose for pictures. Slugger Hanley Ramirez took the ball from Ali and left it on the pitching rubber.
The Marlins did not have anyone through out a ceremonial first pitch.
Starter Josh Johnson delivered a called strike with the first pitch, a 93-mile per hour fastball, to Rafael Furcal moments later. Catcher John Buck quickly ran over and handed the ball to stadium officials.
Furcal grounded out to Jose Reyes at shortstop, the first official out in Marlins Park history.
Carlos Beltran followed with a single to right field, the first hit in Marlins Park history.