Last night, the MLB officially kicked off the season….well, barring those two silly games in Japan last week. The Cardinals defeated the Marlins 4-1, with St Louis starter Kyle Lohse no hitting the hometown bunch through six innings. The Marlins would finish with just four hits, two by Jose Reyes, and no walks. Some initial thoughts from the first game at the new stadium…
-Giancarlo Stanton is going to hate Marlins Park. Stanton destroyed two balls in the game, both of which were caught at the warning track. It’s obviously too early to tell if this is going to have an effect on Stanton like Citi Field did on David Wright, but I personally think there’s going to be a huge drain on Stanton’s homer total, and that he’ll be lucky to hit 30 this season.
-On the other hand, the park will benefit Miami’s speed. With its wide angles and deep dimensions across the outfield, the trio of speedy Marlins (Reyes, Bonifacio, Ramirez) will have plenty of time to run when dropping a ball in the gaps. I distinctly remember last night, when Reyes singled into left center. Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay hustled to just cut to ball off before it scooted by him, but if he didn’t get there, it was rolling all the way to the wall and going for three.
-I’ve been talking about the size of the park, but looking at the dimensions….this is a REALLY BIG PARK. 344 and 335 down the left and right field lines, 386 and 392 to the left and right field power alleys, and 422 with a funky angle to dead center. Compare that to Joe Robbie Pro Player Dolphins Land Shark Sun Life Stadium, which was 330 and 345 down the lines, 361 to each power alley, and 404 to center. Marlins Park is MUCH bigger. Sun Life was roughly neutral last year, but I’m pretty sure this is going to spike heavily towards pitchers.
-In case you missed it last night, the Marlins trotted boxing legend Muhammad Ali to throw out the first pitch. Ali’s condition was just sad to see. The Marlins were also escorted onto the field during pregame introductions by showgirl looking ladies. I mean, really? Thanks to the magic of MLB.com, I can’t embed a thing….but they’re really turning the wow factor up to 10 on the stadium so far.
-Attendance was 36,601. Capacity is listed at 37,000. So either they didn’t sell out Opening Night, or they fudged the official capacity. Nice, Marlins.
Enjoy the games today everyone. We’ve got seven today, nine tomorrow, and a full slate on Saturday and Sunday. We’ll have coverage of everything, don’t worry.