For Marlins' Gonzalez, it's a `home' opener Print
Written by Admin   
Thursday, 05 April 2007 07:36
MLB Headline News

 MIAMI (AP) -In the final moments before this season's home opener, the Florida Marlins will revisit some accomplishments from the past decade.
New manager Fredi Gonzalez - a Miami native - will be nostalgic for different reasons.
The Marlins have put together an elaborate pregame ceremony for Friday's first home game of the year, against Philadelphia. Infielders Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and Miguel Cabrera will be honored for awards they won last season, and Alex Fernandez will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Charles Johnson - two former Marlins back to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the team's 1997 World Series victory.
Gonzalez's mind will probably be drifting back even farther. The Cuban-born, Miami-raised Gonzalez was the first coach ever hired by the organization 15 years ago, one season before it opened play in the major leagues. Now 43, Gonzalez left his job as Atlanta's third-base coach to take over the Marlins after Florida fired Joe Girardi - last year's NL Manager of the Year.
``On opening day, if you don't get chills whether it's on the road or home, you're in the wrong sport,'' Gonzalez said. ``That's what it's all about. The flyovers, all kinds of special things going. It's just a fun day.''
And it's been a fun start for Gonzalez, whose Marlins took two of three games in Washington to open the season. Widely picked to lose more than 100 games last season, Florida surprised most observers by staying in the NL wild-card race into late September, and the Marlins have virtually their entire roster back.
Now, even with another rookie manager, some are tabbing the Marlins a playoff contender.
``There's a lot of energy here and terrific camaraderie,'' owner Jeffrey Loria said. ``I'm really happy. I'm very excited about what I've seen going forward.''
Gonzalez's family settled in Miami after leaving Cuba in 1967. He was a star player at Miami Southridge High, where he met his eventual wife. Even his first managerial job came in Miami 17 years ago, when he led the Florida State League's Miami Miracle.
He'll have plenty of family and friends with him Friday.
``My family has done a pretty good job keeping me insulated a little bit,'' Gonzalez said. ``They get the phone calls. 'Can you have your brother get me a Dontrelle Willis autograph?' Nope. They're doing a good job. It's going to be tough because I've known a lot of people who've lived there, shoot, my whole life.
``My family has gotten extended by about 15,000 people,'' he quickly added. ``And I hope they all come out to the stadium.''
So do the Marlins.
Getting big crowds for opening day never has been a problem. It's the other 80 games that are somewhat troublesome: Florida averaged a major league-low 14,384 at home last season.
But the combination of a competitive club with a charismatic native son as manager could entice more South Floridians to show up at the ballpark.
``This is a team a lot of people are just going to fall in love with,'' Loria said. ``They just need some dates.''
Gonzalez has a first date Friday night, one he'll never forget.
``It's a special thing,'' Gonzalez said. ``I'm at home.''

 

MLB Team Pages

Top MLB Public Bets

#1 956 Atlanta Braves 85%
#2 961 Washington Nationals 83%
#3 974 Oakland Athletics 82%
#4 958 Chicago Cubs 80%
#5 964 New York Yankees 79%
#6 976 St Louis Cardinals 79%
#7 977 Detroit Tigers 77%
#8 953 San Francisco Giants 76%
#9 980 Seattle Mariners 63%
#10 969 Cleveland Indians 59%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

MLB Futures

MLB TEAM WORLD SERIES ODDS CURRENT
OAKLAND ATHLETICS 5/1
LOS ANGELES DODGERS 6/1
DETROIT TIGERS 6/1
LOS ANGELES ANGELS 9/1
ST LOUIS CARDINALS 10/1
WASHINGTON NATIONALS 10/1
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS 12/1
ATLANTA BRAVES 14/1
BALTIMORE ORIOLES 14/1
MILWAUKEE BREWERS 16/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com