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Question of the Day
“They’re not angry with the players,” he said. “We didn’t lose them, we can’t gain them back from one thing. … We’ve just got to play good.”
And so the games will go on in the still-shiny, new-ish ballpark. While almost everything else went wrong for the Marlins in 2012, their cozy, 36,000-seat stadium was widely praised _ the corny, kaleidoscopic home-run sculpture notwithstanding.
The sculpture remains, although few expect the home team to activate it often. Stanton led the NL in slugging last year, but otherwise the Marlins are light on power, and the walls have proven difficult to reach.
Also back are the bobblehead museum, the beer garden beyond left field and the aquariums behind home plate. There are new concession areas, the sound system has been upgraded, and the grass _ which grew reluctantly last year _ is in much better shape.
The manager’s office is ready for new tenant Mike Redmond after his successor, colorful and controversial Ozzie Guillen, lasted only one season.
“I think they had to do some deep cleaning in there,” a chuckling Redmond said.
For the most forgiving and patient Marlins rooters, the team should hold some interest. Right-hander Jose Fernandez, a top prospect who made his big-league debut Sunday, is scheduled to pitch at home for the first time Saturday against Philadelphia. The prodigious, precocious Stanton remains a favorite with fans, although many fear he might be the next player traded. And Redmond was popular as the backup catcher on the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship team.
“I have so much pride for this organization,” Redmond said. “Being a player, making my major league debut, winning the World Series here, I love this organization, and it’s going to be neat. Obviously I understand it has been a rough go over the last year. But at the same time, too, we’re turning the page and we’re moving in a new direction, and I’m excited to be in charge and lead this team.”
While fans might stay away, the players _ many young and unproven _ are excited to get going at home. Cishek said complaints about the dismantling will die down if the team exceeds expectations.
“All people care about is wins,” Cishek said. “If we win ballgames, then everyone will shut up.”
AP Sports Writers Mike Fitzpatrick and Howie Rumberg in New York contributed to this report.
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