The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Day Two and they're still coming...

Marlins attendance held up pretty well yesterday for game two. Well relatively well. The announced crowd of 17,622 was pretty respectable, particularly considering the Fish were playing the relatively star-less Expos (yes, I know that Jose Vidro, Orlando Cabrera, and Carl Everett at least are borderline stars, but they’re not exactly household names either – well, maybe in my house) on a Wednesday night. No, there wasn’t really a threat of rain or other inclement weather, but last night’s crowd far surpassed last year’s second game. On April 2, 2003 the Marlins faced the Phillies (somewhat more of a marquee opponent) for a mid-week match-up (a Wednesday night affair as well). Attendance for that game was announced at 10,537 but I suspect that was pretty generous as most of the crowds announced for Marlins game early last year were pretty generous.

Tonight’s crowd could be even better than last nights. While Toma Ohka takes the hill for the Expos, 2003 National League Rookie of the Year Dontrelle Willis takes the mound for the first time this season. Willis’s first start hasn’t been particularly hyped – certainly not to the degree that many of his starts were last year when ticket packages centered around his scheduled appearances. This may be because the Marlins are worried that Dontrelle may end up in the bullpen sometime soon. Regardless, I expect a crowd of more than 20,000 at tonight’s game (for game three last year the Marlins announced that a crowd of 14,585 was in attendance).

Attendance appears to be tracking well for the Marlins, as it did in Spring Training where Fish fans were over 50% more prevalent (according to ticket sales) than at 2003’s home appearances. Hopefully the Marlins will stay competitive and fans will keep coming out to the ballpark.

Even if the team doesn’t win, you can still come out and hear witty repartee like I did at Tuesday’s Opening Day (I overheard this conversation between two fans sitting behind me):

Idiot #1: “The Marlins should be called the Mikes this year – they sure have a lot of guys named Mike.” (For those of you who don’t habla Espanol, Miguel is the Spanish equivalent of Mike/Michael).
Idiot #2: “Yeah”
Idiot #1: “(Miguel) Cabrera, (Mike) Lowell, (Mike) Redmond, (Mike) Mordecai, (Matt) Perisho, and (Wil) Cordero.”
Idiot #2: “That is a lot of Mikes.”

It took great restraint, but I didn’t turn around and say anything to these two. The first guy was rattling off last names only, not realizing that some of the players he named are not named Mike anything. I liked the thought though. By default I’d have to cheer for the Mikes. I’d even buy a jersey.

Earlier in the game these two fools were also talking about “Vladimir” Nunez’s exploits this spring for the Fish and how his 10 home run Grapefruit League barrage earned him a spot on the roster. Their wives/girlfriends seemed so impressed by the knowledge these two fellows were imparting on everyone around us that I didn’t have the heart to tell them that Vladimir Nunez is now a member of the Rockies organization and that he’s a pitcher. I’m guessing it was rookie prospect Abraham Nunez that they meant to refer to.

Hopefully I won’t be seated near them tonight and hopefully they don’t have the same mini-plan that I do otherwise I’m in for a long season. Well that or I’ll have to start correcting them.

By the way, the White Sox are down 2-0 to the Yankees after one inning after surrendering two infield hits, two walks, and a sacrifice fly. It could be a long day for the White Sox. :-( At least the Cubs are losing too. :-)


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