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.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Mmm... donuts...

In case you didn’t hear, the Marlins had twelve hits on Saturday night, winning a dozen free donuts from Krispy Kreme for everyone in attendance. All you had to do was show up at a Krispy Kreme store within 24-hours of the end of the game to claim your prize (well, and bring your ticket stub too). Unfortunately for the good bakers at Krispy Kreme, there were more than 40,000 people in attendance on Saturday night, meaning that they could potentially be handing out 500,000 free donuts. I can picture dozens of people like the old Dunkin’ Donuts “time to make the donuts” man cringing upon hearing this news on Saturday night. Although today I suppose they get a page or a text message telling them to come in extra early to start baking.

I did not go to try to claim my prize of free donuts, although I heard that many did. Friends of mine went and left after seeing 150 or so people in line. One of the newspapers yesterday showed a photograph of a line around one store at 1 am. It was fun to see folks at the game last night with their boxes of Krispy Kremes in hand (somehow they snuck them past security).

Sadly, that was about where the fun ended for Marlins fans last night. Nearly 30,000 folks were on hand last night to see Marlins’ second year lefty Dontrelle Willis take his 0.00 ERA to the mound on national television against the Altanta Braves, who have won the National League East Division Title every year it’s been awarded in the current form (since 1995) and they also won the last three NL West Division crowns that were handed out (1991 – 1993) – and let’s not get into 1994 for now. Willis was knocked around a little in last night’s game, including a line drive home run that he gave up to Atlanta’s Mark DeRosa. Even before the game started I was worried about Willis, who didn’t appear to be prepared for the long between inning delays due to the television commercials. Before the first inning commenced Willis stood on the hill after completing his warm up pitches for almost a full minute. Soon thereafter he gave up his first earned run of the season. I was surprised that the Fish didn’t hold him in the dugout a little longer before the start of the second inning; Willis was the first Marlin on the field and waited a few moments for Mike Redmond to emerge and catch Dontrelle’s warmup tosses. All in all it was a solid, but unspectacular, outing for Willis, who did not factor in the decision in last night’s loss.

It’s amazing to think that after losing many key players in the offseason that the World Champion Florida Marlins enter the fourth week of the season with a record of 12 wins and 6 losses. While this is a sparkling record – good enough to give them a full two game lead over the second place club in the standings, it is worth noting that the Marlins are 11 – 1 in all games not featuring the Braves and only 1 – 5 against Atlanta. While the Fish are still in first place, they have thirteen games left against the Braves and one would have to think that if they keep up their current pace against Atlanta that they won’t win the division, regardless of how well they play against everyone else.

Traditionally, the Marlins have not played well on the West Coast. While this is hardly a fair predictor of future success, given the roster turnover of West Coast teams and the Marlins, we will all soon see how the Marlins fare against some West Coast foes when they face off against the Rockies beginning tonight and later in the week against the Giants in San Francisco. I am particularly looking forward to Friday night’s matchup against the Giants which should pit Dontrelle Willis against Future Hall of Famer Barry Bonds. During last year’s NLDS Willis pitched well against Bonds both in relief and in starting game four. It will be interesting to see how the matchup goes now when Bonds seems to be as locked in as ever. It also appears to be an interesting week for Bonds as, allegedly, BALCO ringleader Victor Conte may have admitted to supplying Bonds with steroids in the past.

It should be another interesting week. If the Marlins return home with three wins from this road trip, I will be pleased.


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