19 February 2011
After making their final trips in the Marlins Caravan for the Troops, taking batting practice at the new Marlins Stadium, and pitchers and catchers reporter yesterday, their was still on more event left on the Marlins schedule before the position players report on Tuesday; the 2011 Marlins Fan Fest. Today thousands of Marlins fans traveled to Sun Life Stadium to get autographs, buy season tickets, take batting practice and participate in all he fun events that the Marlins Organization had put together for fans.
Having gone to the event I can truley say that it was a really well put together event. Fan Fest was free to attend, and even the $5 parking fee was cancelled out by the fact that the Marlins gave you $5 cash back if you bought a ticket package or single game ticket. Every Marlins player was available for one hour to sign autographs, including their stars Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, and Mike Stanton. Their were also booths for people to get their photos taken with several Marlins players and in the dugout. Other events that were set up were batting cages, a play area for kids, many tables filled with trading cards and sports memorabilia for sale, and their were also several performances by the Mermaids and Manatees.
One of the best events was held at the Club Level where the Marlins held 3 different Town Hall meetings where fans could ask both players and management questions. While their were many comments and questions that were the usual softballs, their were others who did express their frustrations with the Marlins trading away Dan Uggla. One fan asked team president David Samson if it was smart for the Marlins to, what appeared to him at least, place the franchise in Hanley Ramirez's hands by getting rid of the guys who were willing to stand up to him, Dan Uggla and Fredi Gonzalez. John Buck quickly came to Samson's defense saying that he knows that is how it looks like from the outside, but after spending time with the team, that is no the case.
If nothing else, the one thing that you can take away from today was optimism. Fans, players, and Marlins management are optimistic about the future of this team. Everyone is optimistic about the Marlins new stadium for next year. Photos and talk of the new stadium were everywhere, Marlins were accepting down payment for tickets to the stadium for next year, and according to David Samson the tickets to the new stadium are selling and selling well. Also there was optimism for this season. The Marlins have a young team, but with a revapt bullpen, and strong starting pitching this is a team that will be at least be in the hunt for the wild card. Now the Marlins need to take the excitement and optimism that was stirring in Sun Life Stadium today and capitalize on it with the results on the field this year.
For more pictuures from Fan Fest check out the Marlins Big Catch page on Facebook.