Mar 25, 2024 - News

Your cheatsheet to Miami Marlins' Opening Day

Illustration of a baseball being thrown through a newspaper.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

It's that time of year: Miami Marlins baseball returns this week as the 2024 MLB season kicks off.

Why it matters: Despite winning two World Series in the first 10 years of the franchise's existence, the Marlins have only made the playoffs twice since their last championship run in 2003.

  • Since then, the Fish are more well known for their controversial stadium deal and trading away All-Star talent than winning games.

Yes, but: Miami has made the playoffs two of the last five years, including in 2023, and the team is trying to reinvigorate the fanbase this year.

If you're a casual fan looking to show some team spirit this season, we crafted a little cheatsheet to make you ready for the next watch party.

🥁 Word of advice: "Best advice to fans is to bring the energy! Marlins Béisbol this season will have a one-of-a-kind look and sound, with fans waving flags, drums being played in the stands, stadium-led chants, and so much more," Marlins chief marketing officer Tiago Pinto tells Axios in an email.

⭐️ Star players: All-Star second baseman Luis Arráez made MLB history last season when he became the first player to win the batting title in consecutive seasons in different leagues. (His batting average was .354 in 2023.)

  • All-Star center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. — last year's cover star for the video game "MLB The Show 23" — hopes 2024 will be his best year yet after struggling with injuries in his career.

🐔 The rooster race: The Marlins brought back their mid-game mascot race last season and introduced three new rooster mascots, which race for the fans during home games. (Don't worry, Billy the Marlin isn't going anywhere.)

🍻 New fan activations: The Marlins are rolling out $5 beer nights on Fiesta Fridays and letting fans dance on the field after the game on certain Friday nights.

  • And for the first time, fans will be encouraged to bring flags and musical instruments to loanDepot Park to capture the energy of the World Baseball Classic and Caribbean Series, which attracted huge crowds to the ballpark.
  • "The fan experience at loanDepot Park this Marlins season is going to feel authentic Miami!" Pinto says.

What they're saying: The Marlins lost some offense with the free agent departure of slugger Jorge Soler, but the core of the team that made the playoffs last year is still intact, Marlins reporter Noah Berger tells Axios.

  • Berger, who writes for Fish on First, says he doesn't see the Marlins winning their division, but "anything could happen."
  • "Can they maybe sneak into the Wild Card like they did last year? Sure. The offense has to step up," he says in an email.

The intrigue: What has kept the Marlins from consistently winning games?

  • "The problem has been having both the offense and the pitching get hot simultaneously. It's always been one or the other," Berger says. "And if they want fans to stick around, keep the good players around. For the love of all that is holy. Give your fans someone to root for long term."
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