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News, notes and pre-game quotes from Opening Night at Marlins Park

The Marlins' opening day payroll of $93.3 million is not only a franchise record, but dwarfs payrolls from many previous seasons, most notably the the $14.9 million total figure for the 2006 team. The previous highest payroll for the Marlins belonged to the 2005 team ($60 million).

The highest earner on the Marlins is pitcher Carlos Zambrano. But the Chicago Cubs are picking up the big chunk of his $18 million salary. In all, the Marlins have 14 players making at least $1 million, and eight topping $5 million.

Not included in the total payroll figure is the $6 million salary Juan Carlos Oviedo is due to earn once he takes care of of his visa issues and is allowed back into the country. But his pro-rated salary will end up being significantly less due to a six-week suspension the league plans to impose on the reliever after he's removed from the restricted list.

> The Marlins finalized their 25-man roster on Wednesday by placing Jose Ceda on the 15-day disabled list and selecting the contract of reliever Chad Gaudin. Ceda was scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, but president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said the surgery was postponed until next week.

> Beinfest said Anibal Sanchez pitched well in a minor-league game in Jupiter on Tuesday, tossing seven strong innings. Sanchez will make his first Marlins start on Monday in Philadelphia.

> Ozzie Guillen spent only one year working at Sun Life Stadium -- the season he served as the third base coach when the Marlins won the World Series in 2003.

He's happy that as the team's new manager he didn't have to drive there Wednesday. "I don't mind driving here every day," Guillen said of Marlins Park.

"I drove to the old ballpark before and it was painful. First of all, I don't know what they called it. Sun Life? Dolphins Stadium? I worked there for a little while. When you looked up to the stands nobody was there. 120 degrees. You had to wait for rain delays. The only good thing about it was you came in quick and you got out quick. In 10 minutes you were back home."

> New ballpark openings are old hat for Austin Kearns.

The reserve outfielder for the Marlins was with the Reds when Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark opened in 2003 and Washington when Nationals Park opened up in '08. In fact, Kearns was the first Red to go deep in their new park and recorded the third hit for the Nationals in their new facility.

"I think opening days are special anywhere, but there's a little extra excitement when there's a new park," Kearns said.

> Zambrano, who will start Sunday in Cincinnati, said the twin 450-gallon fish tanks behind home plate is the feature he enjoys most at Marlins Park. It might even ease him when he's struggling.

"Psychologists say having a fish tank helps you relax and not stress," Zambrano said. "I have a big fish tank in Venezuela. I have like 20 fish. I have small stingrays. One of the fish killed it, so I had to take that fish out and put it in jail."

Zambrano didn't rip the home run sculpture in center field, but insinuated those in other ballparks can be a bit annoying.

"We’ve got the flamingos and birds in center field [in that statue]. I think Stanton will end up killing one of those birds," Zambrano said."

When told of Zambrano's feelings towards other home run sculptures, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said: "Shouldn't have given up so many home runs. Wonder if that was the annoyance?"

> Closer Heath Bell served as a celebrity bartender Sunday at The Clevelander at Marlins Park and joked he received a lot of tips -- which he passed onto the real bartenders -- because he was wearing a tight shirt.

"My favorite drink to serve is Bud Light over the top," Bell said. "Then probably Jack and Coke."

-- CLARK SPENCER AND MANNY NAVARRO

Comments

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Stan M

I waited all Winter for this? Showcasing a pathetic Mohammad Ali. Missing the entire opening ceremonies. Incessent banter in the TV booth about everything but the game. Wasting an entire inning feeding the Commissioner scripted questions. An umpire who had an illusional idea of the strike zone. Our hitters, quiet all Spring, looking inept against a journeyman pitcher. JJ havng little to offer in the way of pitches that didn't go straight. What should have been exciting and could have at least been interesting, was sabotaged by a truly awful ESPN presentation. One thing it did illustrate. Our own announcers are just terrific!

spitballer

I agree with ya Stan....I think Feliciano missed some words when he sang the star spangle banner.


roberto m

pathetic pre-game stunts make the ownership look like idiots...awful,the way Loria was holding Ali's hand,shaking all over, players intro with lounge lizards on their arm, and a putrid national anthem made for a cheesy, tacky attempt on Opening Day...

Flav C

Marlins showed up for a party. Cards show up for a baseball game. JJ showed all his rustiness and lack of rhythm. He will definitely need a couple of more games to show his stuff. Good thing his next start against the Phillies will not have Howard and Utley.

bob

Wow Loria, that was below the belt.

bob

@Stan M, it was about all I expected from ESPN. Too bad Johnson had a bad Opening Night this season. His Opening Day start in 2010 was bad, but last year was good. Guess next year he'll pitch well for Opening Day.

thejuandiggler

Although dissapointing start after such anticipation.
Relax a little , its a long season and the spotlight simply got to every player on the Marlins tonight
Stadium look great , and Loria is swiss cheese rat
Whats new?

thejuandiggler

Also one game and Im already sick of Francona and Hersheiser working together.
Can we stop simply putting the best recently fired coach in every sports booth !

richiej

Totally agree with Stan M comment. He summed it up perfectly. A very poor pregame, and ingame job fromm ESPN. They should stick to Poker, Tractor Pulls, Cow Chip Tossing, and Selig Stroking.

HENRYH

New duds, same BS, a team that cannot field, cannot hit, think they are SUPERSTARS in their minds. FIRE THE HITTING COACH, we DO NOT work the count, we swing on the first pitch, we do not bunt (oh forgot we dont have the speed to do so???? right) Whatever happened to the trade rumors, HANLEY FOR ZIMMERMAN(3B) Wash nationals? Is it too late?? What a Hot Dog, What a F idiot with orange Hair, GROW UP. This team is the worst than last year, yes we paid for some players but they will not make an impact. We need a Hitting Coach, they probably will not fire Perez since he is the son of Tony, but who cares, Fire the Bum. We look the same as last year, a pathetic team. COME ON OZZIE DO YOUR THING, START YELLING AT THESE GUYS....

F. T. Ardkowalczyk

A fitting beginning. Josh Johnson is already in prime second-half-slide form and it's only April. I guess, since he'll be out for the year by mid-June at the latest, that he needed to hit his stumble right out of the gate this year. Hanloaf, of course, is gonna Hanloaf. What an embarrassment. Whole world is watching, and you christen this monstrosity that would've made the interior design of the castles of King Ludwig II (look him up, bozos) look conservative and tasteful by comparison by damn near getting no-hit by a nobody! The Marlins suck. If the season ended right now, they'd have the worst record in the major leagues, and that's exactly where they'll be at season's end. Wire-to-wire in the basement. Thank goodness for that great farm system you've built up, eh, Beinfest, you moron? To hell with the Art Dealer, to hell with his latent lackey Samson, to hell with Beinfest, and to hell with the Marlins. Ozzie Guillen should be fired.

Flav C

Somebody didn't have his/her morning Mocha Latte this morning.

Clue

Johnson was pretty bad but guess what he only gave up 3 runs. Hanley looks lost at the plate. The only guys who got the bat on the the ball solid was Reyes, Morrison and Stanton. Stanton might be the most exciting player at the plate because of his sheer power.

Flagstafffishfan

Gotta agree with Stan I was jonesing for Tommy and Rich last night. Man after one game and an extremely tiring day for this team and so many want to blow up the team? Give JJ a little time he'll be fine. When they get home after the road trip they'll settle down and allow themselves to feel at home in a new stadium. Reyes looked the most relaxed at the plate, but that atmosphere was new to many of our players for a home game. Give Lohse some credit too, he dominated and kept everyone off balance. Should be a good one tonight against the Reds, hope the Fish inact some revenge on their opening day!

Stan M

Had all night to get over the experience of watching that first game. Well, time didn't work. I'm still disgusted. I wish more would comment on the poor job that ESPN did. However, it was the pre-game show that still rankles me. I should have known better after observing Loria for several years. That this charlatan could take something that should have been filled with awe and enthusiasm and turn it into a disaster that could only cause sorrow and contempt is right in line with all of his past history. The country was exposed to the pitiful viewing of a man who was once a world wide icon. The fact that Loria himself had to hold Ali up was symbolic of his involvement in an event of such poor taste. Then to have our National Anthem presented as a play thing for a supposed entertainer's ego gratification only enhanced Loria's poor judgement as to what constitutes good taste. One look at that ring he wears, those out of place showgirls, that ridiculous Home Run catastrophe and one can't help but realize that the man has the sophistication of a carnival barker. It's a wonder that those fly-over planes didn't bomb the place.

Glags

ESPN broadcasts generally consists of their analysts trying to prove how sport savvy they are. You can't blame that on the fish for wanting the national attention. You can blame them for putting on a "spectacle" and I don't mean that in a good way. What's done is done and in the end the only thing that mattered was the W or L. True to form JJ only went six and not a very good six at that. I agree that two times Reyes got on and a bunt attempt wasnt made. Sure enough two times Boni erased him. At the very least the bunt puts Reyes in scoring position and at best the defense makes an error or Boni beats it out. Also, I realize who was catching yesterday for the red birds but Jose and Boni were balrely off the bag at first. It's like the spirit of Tony Sparano was with Ozzie yesterday.

Flav C

@ Glags - If this game is any indication of what will happen with the lineup, Boni will go back to be the player he was prior to 2011 and Coghlan will replace him. Ozzie will have no patience for him.

flagstafffishfan

The bozo's on ESPN must have referenced Pujols twenty times last night. He's gone get over it! They were stroking the comish as well. How about asking about a possible All-Star game in Miami at the new stadium? They made one reference to JJ's velocity and dropped it. Did I just see that Lomo isn't starting today?

Stan M

Glags,
Of course it isn't the Marlin's fault that ESPN's presentation was awful. That doesn't mean we shouldn't comment on their ineptitude. Regarding Bono. In my opinion, the problem is a basic misplacement on management's part. Bono, as an exceptional but undisciplined talent should lead off. Reyes, a more experienced hitter and with slightly better plate discipline should hit second. One would think that it is obvious. Regarding bunting in general, I feel that except in extraordinary circumstances, major league hitters should not bunt a player to 2nd base. As I pointed out last year, statisticians have proven that more runners score from 1B with no outs than from 2B with one out. Lastly, although I have no statistical proof of this, common sense leads me to believe that there is a greater percentage of being successful on a stolen base attempt, than on a bunting attempt.

Flav C

Stan,

Boni had 16 bunt attempts turned into single hits, top 3 for most in the NL. On the other hand, he grounded into double play with 1 man on base, nobody out, 86 times. Also, top 5 in the NL. When a pitcher has total command of the game (like Lohse did) and considering those numbers, I would take my chances with Boni bunting.

Glags

True but in Boni's defense the old man just cut him loose on the base paths. I wonder if Ozzie will be as conservative as he was yesterday. They barely had secondary leads. It was just odd I guess. We'll see as the season progresses.

Stan M

Flav, Your concerns help to reinforce my position that Bono should lead off. Have you ever heard our TV analyists mention that Bono bunts well for a base hit, but poorly when trying to sacrifice. More reason to hit him lead off. I understand your position that prefers that Bono bunt. However, how about Reyes stealing for the same reasons that you state. Especially when there is a higher percentage that the steal will work better than the bunt...at least in my opinion. Either way I completely agree that the team was too "flat" and something should have been tried to get them out of their apparent miasma.

Minter94

Ozzie was actually Marlins' third base coach in 2002 as well as 2003. FYI

George

Fidatevi sono screen della onisrvee Wii. Questo gioco sfrutta il motore grafico di Spyborgs che (anche se non lo sa nessuno perch Spyborgs non se lo filato di striscio nessuno) tra i migliori mai fatti per Wii.

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