When the Marlins began the season 5-2, many didn't know how if they were for real or if it was just the result of a fluky first week beating up on the the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres.
The first litmus test was leaving the friendly confines of Marlins Park for three division games against the Washington Nationals. However, some Marlins didn't view the series against the Nationals as a gauge on the early-season success: “In this clubhouse, we know where we stand,” reliever Mike Dunn told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
As we now know, the rest is history. And it was ugly.
The Marlins got swept by the Nationals. Their best chance at a win came in the middle game, but Carlos Marmol gave up a go-ahead grand slam to Jayson Werth in the bottom of the eighth inning in a 10-7 loss. That loss was sandwiched by the Marlins getting dominated by starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg.
Then, it was off to division rival Philadelphia, where the Marlins also got swept in a three-game series. Fernandez got smacked around in the series opener, and the Marlins lost the next two in dramatic fashion. Dan Jennings served up a walk-off homer to Jimmy Rollins on Saturday, and Dunn followed suit by yielding a two-out homer to Chase Utley in the bottom of the eighth in a 4-3 loss Sunday.
Winless is six road games. Winless in six division games. The latter is now pushed to seventh after the Marlins lost 9-2 to the Nationals at home Monday.
3. The fan experience on Opening Night
Miami sports fans have a notoriously putrid reputation. They are known to be blatantly late-arriving, show their support by having local teams play in half-empty stadiums and arenas if they aren't winning, and leave games early regardless of the outcome.
In fact, here are three different videos of Miami Heat fans trying to re-enter American Airlines Arena after they had left Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals because some thought the San Antonio Spurs had won even though the game was still in doubt with less than a minute to play.
Opening Night was, unsurprisingly, no different.
According to Marlins team president David Samson, there were only 12,000 people inside Marlins Park when Dan Marino threw out the ceremonial pitch on Opening Night and another 6,000 when Fernandez threw the first pitch of the game.
Since everyone else decided to show up fashionably late at the same time, many fans bombarded the radio airwaves the next day to complain they waited in line for three to four innings for cold food and that concessions ran out of ice. It also didn't help there was a Heat game that same night as well. Samson told Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald:
One of the things we talk to our fans about is don’t just take 836 [the Dolphin Expressway] to 12th Avenue. We tell people there are so many different ways to get to this ballpark. But everyone was taking the same way. So there was so much more load into the area from two choke points.
I got a complaint from a guy who said he left his house at 6:30. I said, ‘Sir, I’m so sorry, but I’ve got to tell you it’s Opening Day. You know there’s going to be a crowd—it’s going to be big. He said, ‘Well, I just figured I was going to be able to do it.’
Yeah, leaving the house 35 minutes prior to first pitch to a condensed, high-traffic area was a brilliant idea.
Stay classy, Miami sports fans.