While most of the Marlins are rooting for the Heat, catcher Brett Hayes is focused on his L.A. Kings
Just because they've got their own season to worry about doesn't mean the Marlins haven't been keeping an eye on what's also been happening in the NBA and NHL playoffs.
While a good chunk of the clubhouse has been following the Heat closely (a handful went to see them play against the Pacers on an off-night last week), catcher Brett Hayes has been focused on another team -- his hometown Los Angeles Kings.
With L.A. leading the Devils 3-0 and on the verge of winning their first Stanley Cup title heading into Game 4 Wednesday night, Hayes, not in the Marlins starting lineup, said he was going to rely on updates from the training staff throughout Wednesday's game against the Braves as he sits on the bench.
"Hopefully we don't have to go into extra innings or anything," Hayes said. "We can win quickly, get back in here and I can catch the last period."
Hayes, born and raised in L.A., said his parents were season ticket holders for Kings games for four seasons. Hayes said he played club hockey for six years as a kid and "grew up wanting to be a King more than a Dodger."
"We actually played our games in the same training facility as the Kings," Hayes said. "I had Rob Blake's No. 4 jersey, still have it in fact. My wife just bought me a new Kings jersey the other day."
Hayes said he recently picked up the sport again this past off-season. He said he plays in a non-contact, pickup league.
"I'm in gear from head to toe. I look like an idiot," Hayes said. "Everybody is in shin guard and hockey pants and I'm in full gear, facemask, shoulder pads. But it's fun. I pretty much picked up right where I left off."
> If Giancarlo Stanton does indeed receive an invite to represent the National League in the home run derby at the All-Star Game in Kansas City next month (it's considered a formality now after captain Matt Kemp said Tuesday he wants Stanton on the team), it won't be the first time the 22-year old Marlins slugger has participated in a home run derby.
In fact, Stanton said Wednesday he's 0-for-3 in his lifetime in long ball competitions, saying he lost to a teammate in high school and former Nationals prospect Michael Burgess in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game (High-A ball) in 2008.
"The reason I probably lost was because I tried too hard," Stanton said. "It's hard man. You have a packed stadium and people wanting to see you hit it as far as you can. Your hips start leaving earlier, you start hooking things. You just got to stay inside yourself and not try to do too much... it's easier said than done."
> After Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez put his pitcher to bat eighth Tuesday and had a little success with it (Tim Hudson went 1 for 4 with two RBI), Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was asked Wednesday if he would ever consider doing the same thing.
"I never did, I never tried," Guillen said. "I almost tried to call people and ask why they do it. I've got to get a good feeling about it. I'd have to have a great answer to do that."
> Former singer and American Idol judge Paula Abdul watched the Marlins take batting practice before Wednesday's game. Abdul took time to pose for photos with owner Jeffrey Loria and Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine.