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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

My Marlins Experience In a Nutshell

I was recently chosen to be one of about 50 attendees (from several hundred applicants) to attend the Miami Marlins’ Social Media Lounge event.   The Marlins Social was held this past Tuesday at Marlins Park .

Most of the invitees were hardcore, loving fans of our beloved team. We are also part of the media machine though thanks to Tweeter, Facebook, and other apps. Most of us were actively tweeting our fingers away that night. Others invited were in the marketing and social media field. Both groups all seemed to enjoy the venue, the food (which was divine: my favorites were the lobster roll with lime and the ceviche), and of course the game.

Going through the pictures, I see, and almost feel again the vibrant atmosphere that we all experienced and breathed when we were at Marlins Park . I don’t think anybody can understand this feeling unless you have been to the park to watch a game.

Most of the time, I am home watching the game on TV.  When I can’t watch it on TV, I listen to it on the radio, or follow it through apps like MLB.Com at Bat 12.  Whatever the medium I am following the games every day.  Following these games makes a difference in my life and probably on the lives of many others.

I have been sick, very sick in fact over the last several years, all part of my recuperation from three brain surgeries a few years ago.  I still have good and bad days. Family and friends have been my columnar spine during those times, supporting me and loving me. I am eternally thankful to them.

But, do you know who else has been there to support me? My Miami Marlins.  On days when I was so sick that I could hardly move off the couch, the Marlins were my babysitter, my cheerleader, my unconditional friend.  The Marlins media crew covering the game also became my supporters and cheer leaders.  They made me laugh and for those few hours of the game helped me to forget how fragile is life and how easy life can switch from being healthy to not being healthy anymore.

I come to the park as frequently as I can now that I am starting to feel better. And every single time, I swear, I have seen happy faces. I have seen people enjoying themselves, either with family, friends or by themselves. There is something in that park and with our team that heals.

We all don’t have illnesses; thank God and the universe for that. But, I think we all go there in person, to be part of a unique experience, to be part of history.  Like this past Tuesday when Ricky Nolasco obtained his 69th win as a Marlin, the most in team history. I was there, and thousands of other people too!!! Or this past Monday when Giancarlo Stanton’s HR broke the score board, I kid you not. 

Winning is everything in life. But sometimes, participating is winning too. Being part of the Miami Marlins, the social media, the fans are participating, forming their own fan-family. And for me that is winning.

GO FISH GO MARLINS

La Marlina 2011

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What is your favorite ice cream flavor or way to win, Marlins?

There are different ways to do anything, especially, winning a baseball game. At the end though, the last inning will drag in your memory—for some only for a while and for others only until the next game.  In the last few games, we have seen different “flavors” of our beloved team the Miami Marlins. They have ended each game in a very different manner, like the different flavors of ice cream.

May 15—Marlins Beat Pittsburgh Pirates!
Working as a closer, Randy Choate seals the game giving Josh Johnson a deserved and extremely due “W.”  There was nothing crazy about the end of this game.  And, for the first time in a while, the Marlins looked matured and settled.  No late inning heroics were necessary.  The settled ending may even allow some fans to forget Stanton’s great catch which made #2 on ESPN Sport Center’s greatest plays of the game, or the fact that our sometimes lifeless batters were unable to knock in Bonifacio to score a run after his triple.

*Flavor of the day* Chocolate

May 13—Mother’s Day—Marlins Beat NY Mets!
It’s the bottom of the ninth, and the bases are loaded with two outs.  Stanton comes to the plate, and next, a grand slam!  It’s the first slam at our new Marlins Park, and the first homerun for Giancarlo at Marlins Park—that controversial too big for hitters, pitcher’s park.  To be honest with you, I didn’t see it coming. I had a little tiny hope in the back of my mind though.  What I really was thinking at that moment was that Giancarlo owed it to himself to hit it out of the park.  I wasn’t sure it could happen, but Giancarlo made me a believer one more time.

*Flavor of the day* Strawberry

May 11—Marlins Beat NY Mets!
A struggling Heath Bell once again comes into the game, this time though he gets three quick outs!  The bottom of the ninth comes and we are still down one run.  Will there be any more walk-off heroics before the crowd of 31,000 plus fans at the ballpark?  Yes, there is!  Dobbs singles; the fans cheer their hearts out, and the Fish win again! Do I need to say more?

*Flavor of the day* Vanilla/Chocolate Swirl

The one thing that is certain that most fans and media specialists will agree with me is that the Miami Marlins are not for the weak of heart. All of our players are excellent professionals but baseball is a very psychological game and the mind can take you high or can take you low. These highs and lows often show up in our wins and losses.

So the question is which end of a game is more fulfilling?  Probably the majority of readers will say it was the Mothers day grand slam—the strawberry ice cream.  It is true that that play is going to be one of the most memorable of the new Miami Marlins team for a long time. But in my opinion the best end of the last few games was last night—the chocolate flavored ice cream.  With JJ pitching an excellent seven innings, with Hanley and Bonifacio making contact with the ball earlier in the game, and with Choate quietly closing the game and walking off the mound chatting with Buck—a big, content smile on his face, the Miami Marlins looked focus and were all business. That is the team that I would like to see over and over again until the sweet day when we make the playoffs.

Sorry Stanton, your grand slam will always bring a smile to my face when I remember it or watch it on replayed on television, but last night’s game was a concentrated effort from all parts of our team, and that is what we all want and need. Even though strawberry is one of my favorite fruits and flavors, for now Chocolate is the winner.

GO FISH GO MARLINS
La Marlina 2011

The Happiness of being a Marlin

I am truly sleep deprived. I follow the Miami Marlins closely and since May 1st when they have been playing in the West Coast and, most recently in Houston , I have been up and running late night with the Fishes.

Of the nine games that they played, they only lost one. The loss was in a game that was turned sour by a double error of Infante.  But there is nothing like redemption. And redemption for Infante took place last night on the 12th inning. He hit a ball that allowing two runners to score, and the Astros couldn’t come back in the bottom of the 12th.  The MARLINS WON 5-3 over the Astros.

What I like best about this winning streak is that Marlins fever is beginning to catch on in South Florida .  Earlier today, I had to run some errands. I must confess that I do wear the Miami Marlins colors often.  I also have a Miami Marlins flag and many bumper stickers on my car.   Driving out of the parking from one of my errands, I turned onto the main road.  As I drove out, all of a sudden this silver car, a newer model than mine, appears right on my same lane. It was going much faster that what I was driving, then it slows down almost tail gating me, and I think to myself, oh my…the driver must be upset, he is going to scream profanities, or he will maneuver and maybe would cut me off with his vehicle… but, guess what? The silver car slowly drives by me and it moves in front of my car.  Then, I see a hand coming out of the car’s sunroof.   Oh no—I thought, here it comes.

And then what did I see?  A hand with a Miami Marlins hat!!! The driver was showing me that he is also wearing the Miami Marlins spirit !!!  He waves the hand several times with the Miami Marlins hat.  It was hysterical.  At that moment I shared a big smile with the world, and that short exchange between two strangers made me realize how strong, cheerful and faithful the 2012 Marlins fans are.

This display of Marlins fever was just the most recent one.  It was not a one-time event.  I have seen it often lately. It is the “Happy Marlin Fan Syndrome”.

It definitely helps that our team is winning.  It also helps that we are not last in our group anymore, and that we are coming out of that horrible slump of April, step by step, inning by inning. Winning is wonderful and it energizes us. But, we also get energized by our players: by Hanley’s “shhhhhh” sign and by the famous “Lo Viste” sign of Bonifacio that almost all of our players display after a good hit or catch, even Mr. Loria has done “Lo Viste”.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention the Astros Pitcher Jose Lopez’ “Lo Viste.”  He can be as mad as he wants to be…I just thank him for making us feel important. Because We The Marlins are important. Finally, after many long years, the Miami Marlins performance is being analyzed and watched by many more people.  And that I truly love.

Like I said before, I haven’t slept a lot thanks to the games. I will catch up with my beauty sleep later on today. But I wanted to let the Miami Marlins know that I believe in you guys. That your Marlins’ colors are being displayed with pride and joy throughout Florida and beyond. Keep the good job. See you Friday.

GO FISH GO MARLINS.

La Marlina 2011

The Happiness of being a Marlin

I am truly sleep deprived. I follow the Miami Marlins closely and since May 1st when they have been playing in the West Coast and, most recently in Houston , I have been up and running late night with the Fishes.

Of the nine games that they played, they only lost one. The loss was in a game that was turned sour by a double error of Infante.  But there is nothing like redemption. And redemption for Infante took place last night on the 12th inning. He hit a ball that allowing two runners to score, and the Astros couldn’t come back in the bottom of the 12th.  The MARLINS WON 5-3 over the Astros.

What I like best about this winning streak is that Marlins fever is beginning to catch on in South Florida .  Earlier today, I had to run some errands. I must confess that I do wear the Miami Marlins colors often.  I also have a Miami Marlins flag and many bumper stickers on my car.   Driving out of the parking from one of my errands, I turned onto the main road.  As I drove out, all of a sudden this silver car, a newer model than mine, appears right on my same lane. It was going much faster that what I was driving, then it slows down almost tail gating me, and I think to myself, oh my…the driver must be upset, he is going to scream profanities, or he will maneuver and maybe would cut me off with his vehicle… but, guess what? The silver car slowly drives by me and it moves in front of my car.  Then, I see a hand coming out of the car’s sunroof.   Oh no—I thought, here it comes.

And then what did I see?  A hand with a Miami Marlins hat!!! The driver was showing me that he is also wearing the Miami Marlins spirit !!!  He waves the hand several times with the Miami Marlins hat.  It was hysterical.  At that moment I shared a big smile with the world, and that short exchange between two strangers made me realize how strong, cheerful and faithful the 2012 Marlins fans are.

This display of Marlins fever was just the most recent one.  It was not a one-time event.  I have seen it often lately. It is the “Happy Marlin Fan Syndrome”.

It definitely helps that our team is winning.  It also helps that we are not last in our group anymore, and that we are coming out of that horrible slump of April, step by step, inning by inning. Winning is wonderful and it energizes us. But, we also get energized by our players: by Hanley’s “shhhhhh” sign and by the famous “Lo Viste” sign of Bonifacio that almost all of our players display after a good hit or catch, even Mr. Loria has done “Lo Viste”.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention the Astros Pitcher Jose Lopez’ “Lo Viste.”  He can be as mad as he wants to be…I just thank him for making us feel important. Because We The Marlins are important. Finally, after many long years, the Miami Marlins performance is being analyzed and watched by many more people.  And that I truly love.

Like I said before, I haven’t slept a lot thanks to the games. I will catch up with my beauty sleep later on today. But I wanted to let the Miami Marlins know that I believe in you guys. That your Marlins’ colors are being displayed with pride and joy throughout Florida and beyond. Keep the good job. See you Friday.

GO FISH GO MARLINS.

La Marlina 2011

Marlins…Home is where the heart is—

I must be one more of the many Marlins’s fans that are full of enthusiasm and somehow in disbelief that we have won the last six games played away from the Miami Marlins Park—our new home.

But I also believe that I must be one of the fans that have little concern about this trend of playing better away from home.  The trend that some of the players:  Nolasco, Hayes and Stanton, feel “better” playing in the West Coast, especially in California.

I do understand what is to be close to the family, that cozy feeling of memories when we were little, of the love of our families that can’t be compared to any other love. I do understand that you feel comfortable with it. But guess what?

Home is where your team is located. Home is where your stadium is. Home is where the organization that you played for and whoever signs your check is. Home ultimately is where your fans, thousands of us are living. And that is inMiamiand all the other cities in South Florida, like in my case.

Home is where the heart is. And it is time for the Miami Marlins players, fans and media finally to understand and feel that we are a major pro baseball team, competing for a spot in the playoffs and hopefully also in the World Series; that we mean serious business; and that we are the Miami Marlins and that we are here to stay. We are not a temporary trend on twitter or in the news.

To achieve that level, we ALL must feel it. We ALL should feel the Miami Marlins Park home. I am talking to you Nolasco, Hayes and Stanton and to anybody else that could relate to this issue.

What do I supposed to expect when you guys come back “Home” to the series against the New York Mets? Are you going to forget to pitch with location? Are you going to miss the West Coast and stop hitting home runs for many games down the road because your mom, aunt or cousin is not looking from the stands? Is that what is going on with Heath Bell? Is he missing his family so bad that he has created a complete chaos all over the team?  Remember we had to bring players from the minors and send players back to accommodate forBell’s mishaps?  Remember Cishek having to come to the rescue and playing and performing like a gold glove veteran?  Thank God for that by the way.

We are your home now. I am sorry that you left family away. I know the feeling too. Most of us in Miami and in South Florida know what is to leave family behind. But we moved on. And we play here hard and successfully. We need you to feel that the East Coast is your home as well as the West Coast. We need you to play in ballparks against very competitive teams and not only focusing on cities that remind you of your family or friends. We need you grounded and mature.

We will be walking into our ballpark this coming weekend, sitting in the stands, and we will be looking at you.  I hope that when you look back at the crowds you see in each one of us… your family too.

GO FISH GO MARLINS

LaMarlina 2011

Chocolate and The Miami Marlins

What is in chocolate that I love so much? I did my research and considering that I recently finished a class in Nutrition,  I came out with different answers to my question as everything in science… But I truly believe that it is the same ingredient that works in all of us Miami Marlins fans and players when we win… when MARLINS WIN!

Eating chocolate increases the levels of endorphins released into the brain. The endorphins work to lessen pain and decrease stress. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers of the brain. They work by transporting electrical signals between nerve cells. These signals cause changes in the sensations and emotions that we experience. Chocolate (one of my favorite things in the whole world) contains Tryptophan which is  a chemical that the brain uses to make a neurotransmitter called serotonin. When our Marlins are focused, when no errors are done, when the defence is alert… The Miami Marlins become like chocolate.

Our Boys of Summer are in the west coast. Far from our new Ballpark. Far from the last few games and far from that awful month of April 2012.  That automatically seems to have released the stress that they had previously. I see Jose smiling again, I see Stanton hitting Home Runs like if somebody is breathing air in…so, like in and with  chocolate, some chemistry is working in each of them. At different levels of course.

Our standings as of today is pretty sad. Should I stop writing now and go for a chocolate? Hehe, no, I will wait a bit.

Of the 30 teams in the MLB we are number 27. Ouch! Of the 25 games played we have hit 830 times but only 81 runs, we reached second base on 39 times, third base 6 times and hold on, this one is discouraging: we are second in the season with batters grounding to a double play with 27 times. We are second only to the Toronto Blue Jays which are 1st with 30 double plays OUCH!~~~.

But not everything is gloom people. We are #1, YES,  #1 in stolen bases. That is admirable. I wish I could provide more #1 stats, but I can’t.  At least not yet. I am pretty sure that those days will come. As I hope also the days will come when the MLB.com will post more Miami Marlins news ( a big sweep to the Giants in their house could be one)  in the top ten headlines…wishful thinking…just saying.

Many movies, books, recipes have been created related to chocolate. All have been famous or at least popular enough to still be around. The Miami Marlins have the chemistry, the talent, the youth and professionalism to give us sensations, emotions and wins. I will go now and eat a piece of chocolate. I will watch you win later Fishes…

GO MARLINS GO FISH

LaMarlina 2011

Even if you “Bunt”and don’t hit a “Home Run” … you still can score a run

Even if you “Bunt”and don’t hit a “Home Run” … you still can score a run.

Even if you “Bunt”and don’t hit a “Home Run” … you still can score a run

Last night I stayed up late. My beloved Marlins were playing in the west coast, in San Francisco to be more exact against the Giants. San Francisco Giants stand on 12-11 and the Marlins 9-14. MARLINS WIN. MARLINS WIN. I can even see (imaginarily) Billy The Marlin waving the MARLINS WIN flag. Those were the two words beating hard in our minds and hearts. We know who we are…we are the Marlins’ followers. The fans. The ones staying up late to watch a team that has struggled historically in the last few weeks.

The beauty of last night (at least for me) was to be able to interact beyond distance with other fans via Twitter, with my television on, with my laptop near me. Comments from the heart of these fans were posted every second. Comments of despair, of nervousness, of that hope in the heart of every Fish Fan. And right then is when I started comparing both kind of comments. The ones between a journalist covering the game and the Marlins’ fans. We are not the same. We are different breeds. They speak and tweet about the Marlins because it is their job. We do it because we love our team, either they win or lose, either they are called the Florida Marlins or the Miami Marlins. They don’t necessarily love and breathe our team like we do. And last night they made it so obvious that they led me to write this blog.

It is discouraging to read and find so much negative coverage of our team. The worst part is that it is from our own local media. We all know how the team is performing. We know we are one of the last teams in the league so far this season. But after a game like last night…where “everything clicked” and “the stars above the AT& T Park aligned perfectly” providing a double play in a crucial moment when Mujica was on the mound, when Stanton hit his second HR of the season, when Nolasco pitched a jewel that was not covered by the major newscasts on TV, when Heath Bell became again the Heath Bell that he always was…the comments of the fans were “exhilarating”. You could feel the energy. The happiness. It seemed like we have won a game during the playoffs.

But the comments from the media either via Twitter or online were in synthesis like this:

“Ok, we won this game but the Miami Marlins  will face an inescapable doomed outcome one way or another” .

That was the feeling they gave me. I swear.

It was mentioned last night during the game that the social media has provided the regular people access to express and communicate beyond imagination. I am not sure if that is considered a threat to some (the insecure ones of course) or not. Those ones whose names I don’t need to mention here. Those ones  that believe that they are “The sluggers” hitting Home Runs out of the ballpark  scoring runs, only because they have the back up of a job in the media industry.

But the ones that just hold the wooden bat tightly, look around, measure the possibilities of creating something, and are always ready to bunt…those regular people tweeting and posting comments everywhere…they also can create a run.

GO MARLINS. GO FISH.

La Marlina2011

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