For most teams, 27,127 fans is an average attendance at worst. But the for the Miami Marlins, they sometimes have trouble drawing that many fans for an entire series.
The Marlins have had success in the relatively recent past (winning championships in 1997 and 2003), but their attendance woes and fire sales have been common practice and well noted. However, that did not stop Miami from opening a brand new expensive stadium last season. It was opened with a flurry off additions, who after a disappointing season, have all been jettisoned.
However, even despite that fact, the future is bright on the field for the Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton is still only 23 years old and looks like he is just getting into a groove as one of the best power hitters in the game. Outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick have also made their debuts this season, and they are not alone among Marlins’ prospects.
But the biggest Marlins prospect has been in the big leagues all season, and he was their All-Star representative this past July. Jose Fernandez is only 20 years old. After last night’s win over the Dodgers, Fernandez has a 9-5 record with 157 strikeouts in 145.2 innings and a 2.41 ERA. Prior to this season the starter had not pitched above A ball, but the transition has been seamless.
Maybe more importantly to a portion of the Marlins’ fan base, is that Fernandez is from Cuba. Also from Cuba, is the Dodgers’ sensation that has taken the league by storm this season since his promotion, Yasiel Puig.
Fernandez was noticably excited with the opportunity to face Puig last night. And it was discovered that the two had only lived 45 minutes away from each other in Cuba. In his excitement for the start, Fernandez woke up at 6:30 am.
Puig’s performance has been nothing short of remarkable for the most of the season, but lately he has been in a little slump. Even after last night’s 0-5 game with two strikeouts, his average still hits .351 to go with 11 home runs and 27 RBI’s.
But the result is not what mattered last night. What does matter, is that over 27,000 fans showed up for the game last night including about 6,000 walk up fans. There are not many moments like this where two Cuban defectors get to face off against each other. And the excitement not only in Miami with the fans, but also among the players was real. After Puig leaves, attendance will likely dwindle again, but maybe this means that baseball could have some future in South Florida. I know it is just one game, but it was a nice moment for Cuban baseball and two bright young stars.