As I dusted off my 2003 World Series Marlins cap while I prepared for a hot Sunday afternoon at the ballpark, I realized how long it's been since the last time we tasted championship victory. Six years with a promising 11-1 start to the season, it seemed like this might just be our year, but then the streak struck a wall and it all began to turn upside down.
The May 17th game between the Dodgers and Marlins emphasized the problems that the Fish had faced after their hot start fizzled out. Lackluster pitching, inconsistent batting and a missing element of confidence. It was frustrating to watch a no-hitter in the making against your own team on your own field. Believe me, I was there.
The most interesting part of the game is how it told a story of the past, present and possibly the future. The Dodgers displayed an all-around dominance versus the Marlins and took the Fish out of the game early and often. It was 6-0 after three innings with no signs of run support on the way.
The replacement for Anibal Sanchez (John Koronka) let everyone know that he wasn't ready to play in the Majors just yet as he allowed four runs in two and 2/3 innings. Not to mention, Dodgers' pitcher (Clayton Kershaw) wasn't making it any easier for the Marlins. It was an across-the-board breakdown by the Marlins for just about the entire game.
And then the 8th inning came around and we saw that glimpse of hope that could very well be the signal of what's to come.
Cody Ross stepped up to the plate in the 8th inning and brought Kershaw's no-hitter to a screeching halt. He eventually scored the Marlins first run on a sacrifice fly by Emilio Bonifacio. Satisfied with a hit and a run in what seemed to be a nightmare, many fans including myself headed to the parking lot.
We figured that a run on the board was as far as the Fish could take us just one inning away from the end of the game.
We were wrong.
About an hour after I left, I became aware of the mini comeback that the Marlins had compiled in the 9th and was proud to know that the team played the game down to the final inning. A series of hits, walks and unexpected scenarios led to a bases juiced grand slam by none other than Cody Ross.
That singular act of hitting a ball over the fence with two outs and a full count left me with one thing in mind - just when you think the ride was over, the Marlins still have the will to win inside themselves. The ashes of confidence still exist and Cody Ross may have just sparked the fire to a rejuvenated run of success. Only time will tell.
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We've had a running poll on the Florida Marlins for a while now and 38 games into the season we've gotten plenty of responses from our readers. The results have shown a considerable bias towards the Marlins reaching the playoffs for obvious reasons, but the season thus far has pointed in another direction. The upside is that there is still a whole season to play and enough time to see the real Florida Marlins develop and prove to the world their identity as pretenders or contenders.
The final results are as follow:
THE FLORIDA MARLINS WILL...