There may never be a more meaningful throw to the plate to get a runner out in Marlins history than when Jeff Conine threw a perfect strike from left field to nail J.T. Snow in the 2003 National League playoffs.
The collision with catcher Pudge Rodriguez made it all the more special. But even Mr. Marlin had to admit what he saw Marcell Ozuna do Friday night -- throw a perfect strike from left on the fly to nail the Mets' Kirk Nieuwenheis and a cap 3-2 victory -- was special.
"Oh my God, way better than mine," Conine said Saturday when asked to compare the throws. "He was 50 feet back, 100 feet back further than I was. He made it all the way in the air. Mine only was picked up on the side and I was able to get right behind it. No question his arm is better than mine ever was."
Like everyone else inside Marlins Park -- including Nieuwenheis -- Conine said he didn't think Ozuna had a chance.
"Mechanically as an outfielder he played it perfectly," Conine said. "Weight behind the ball. Took his momentum through it so much it probably gave him the extra carry he needed to get it all the way to home plate. Pretty cool way to end the game. He said it perfectly in the post-game press conference. 'I didn't do it with the bat. But I can still do something on the other side.'"
MORE TIME IN LEFT?
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said having Ozuna's arm in left field has given him something to consider and he might end up playing Christian Yelich over in center field more often when he returns from the disabled list.
Since joining the Marlins last year, Ozuna has seven assists in 43 games playing in the corner outfield spots. He has five in 97 starts in center field.
"When you see plays like that happen it definitely makes you think maybe Yeli could play center a little bit more often," Redmond said. "Maybe he'll have more chances. I don't know over the course of this year how many plays we could have had [if Ozuna was in left]. I can't remember a whole lot.
"Ozuna is so good in center too. That's the beauty of him. He can play right as well. We have that flexibility with him and Yeli too. Jake [Marisnick] can play all over too. But that's what you want. You want options with guys and for them to be able to feel comfortable in all the different positions. Last night we had him in the right spot."
Ozuna said he likes playing in left field in part because he's closer to the fans and can chats them up throughout the game.
"I enjoy it. If you don't enjoy the game you don't have fun in the game," Ozuna said. "I enjoy every game no matter what happens. If I go 0-for-4, 0-for-5, same attitude every time. Just play the game."
What does he say to the fans? "At times they tell me 'Good catch or nice run'," he said. "I say 'Thanks.' And I go do my work, concentrate."
METS GM ALDERSON UPSET BY CALLS
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson expressed his displeasure after Friday's game with the application of the new home plate collision rules on David Wright’s out in th eighth. Alderson told Mets reporters after the game he contacted the league about the play to better understand how the rule is applied.
“I can’t really comment on the plays [Friday] because it would compromise my league-wide position as chairman of the playing rules committee,” Alderson said. “I do have several thoughts as general manager of the Mets that I can’t really share [Friday].”
Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said he, Redmond, and bench coach Rob Leary would have been thrown out of the game had umpires ruled he blocked the plate and didn't give Wright a lane. Conine said it would have been a crime had umpires overturned the call.
"I gave him a lane," Saltalamacchia said. "At the last second, I might have been put my foot in front, but I was also receiving the ball at the same time. It didn’t deceive where he was going. The ball got there before him. If the ball didn’t, then it’s on me.
"I think [the rule] says, if you catch the ball and you’re blocking the plate, the runner is allowed to run you over. So in theory, David probably could have run me over. I had plenty of time. On that one, I don’t mind that as a catcher because I had plenty of time of protect myself."
> Pitcher Henderson Alvarez said he tweaked his hamstring hitting in the batting cages on Thursday and it flared up during Friday's start. But Alvarez contends he's fine and will make his next start.
COMPARE THE TWO GREAT MARLINS THROWS BELOW