Marlins, Cardinals open season with new looks

  • Follow Baseball

MIAMI — Perched atop the Miami Marlins’ multicolored, provocative home-run sculpture is a blue marlin, poised for splashdown whenever the home team hits one out.

Fans at the new Marlins Park watch a spring training game. The Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals open their seasons at the park tonight.  WILFREDO LEE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
WILFREDO LEE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Fans at the new Marlins Park watch a spring training game. The Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals open their seasons at the park tonight.

Call the artwork what you will — gaudy, goofy, grotesque, great — but there’s no denying it’s new. For the Marlins, that’s what this season is all about.

Long overlooked and underfunded, they’ve become a big-spending, attention-grabbing team as they open the season at home tonight against the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

The pop-art sculpture, futuristic ballpark, brisk ticket sales, team name, uniforms, celebrity manager, All-Star shortstop, All-Star left-hander, All-Star closer and starry-eyed optimism: all new.

With the roster significantly upgraded, the Marlins predict they’ll contend for the NL East title — and more.

“We expect to win,” new shortstop Jose Reyes says. “The kind of club we have, we’re going to compete, no doubt.”

Like the Marlins, the 2012 Cardinals have a new look. Slugger Albert Pujols and manager Tony La Russa are gone and postseason star Chris Carpenter is hurt, so Kyle Lohse will start the opener. But right-hander Adam Wainwright is back from elbow surgery, and the addition of outfielder Carlos Beltran is cause for encouragement.

Plus, only one team has a chance to repeat as the World Series champion, and baseball-crazy St. Louis is always eager for a season to start.

“There’s a buzz in every home opener,” rookie manager Mike Matheny says. “The buzz in our place is ridiculous.”

While the Cardinals will wait until April 13 to play a home game, outfielder Jon Jay is especially excited about the road opener. The Miami native attended Marlins games as a youngster when they played in the Dolphins’ stadium, so he can appreciate the new ballpark.

“To be able to play the first game there, it’s something I am going to remember forever,” he said.

TONIGHT’S GAME

WHO: St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins

WHERE: Marlins Park in Miami

TIME: 7 p.m. ESPN

STARTERS: Kyle Lohse (Cardinals) vs. Josh Johnson (Marlins)

➤ Chipper feels good after BP/11B

➤ Strasburg ready for opener/11B


Top headlines

Former commissioner's case remains under review

While former Augusta commissioner Donnie Smith's statements to Georgia State Patrol investigators likely can't be used against him, the state Office of the Inspector General continues to conduct ...
Search Augusta jobs