Remember last year when the hype surrounding the Miami Marlins was enormous. The team moved from the old Pro Player Stadium/Landshark Stadium/SunLife Stadium to downtown Miami and the rejuvenation of baseball in South Florida was about to begin? And do you remember when the uppers in the front office unveiled the new ballpark that had a fish tank in the backstop and a hideous monument that looked like an ode to a pagan god in left center field? We all remember those times especially when at the end of the season the team failed to reach 70 wins and no one came to the stadium.
Now, if you are watching the World Baseball Classic (and I mean IF) you will see that some of the games are being played at Marlins Park. Aside from the monument, the park is quite nice to look at and it offers good presentation of a ball game if you like to watch it on TV. If you were watching Tuesday night, Team USA defeated Team Puerto Rico 7-1. Helping the team win was Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton is more than disgruntled with the moves the Marlins have made this season, but like I have been alluding to in the past, if Stanton wants to leave Miami, he is going to have to play his hardest so that an outside team throws a good deal at the organization. So far Stanton is showing what he can do in the World Baseball Classic. Tuesday, he was 2-for-3 in front of his home crowd. I wonder if this is a sign of things to come for Stanton.
In the past three years Stanton has been on the team, he has 93 home runs and his home run totals have increased since joining the team in 2010. The Marlins have a lot of work to do if they want to win the National League East, but if Stanton keeps putting on hitting performances like his 2-for-3 night in front of more than 32,000 people, it may attract fans to the ballpark.
Most bad teams do not have a star player to attract a crowd, but in this odd case, Stanton is a gem and people may show up to see him hit a few dingers.