Miami, Florida. May 21, 2012. An evening at Marlins ballpark, the home team hosting the Colorado Rockies.
Before I get to the magic moment, some background is required. The Miami Marlins are, in many ways, a brand new team. That might be a little generous. They are a new team in much the same way as the coffee I buy has been placed in a different shaped jar and labelled (boldly) Brand New Look! The coffee tastes about the same, but they surely got some attention by changing the label and the jar. The Marlins have undergone changes in their name, from 'Florida' to 'Miami', to their new uniform and logo, and their shiny new stadium. They are starved for attention, it would seem.
The most notable feature has been the home run sculpture. It, since the offseason construction project neared completion, has been the most talked about part of the 'new' Miami Marlins. It has no name, no official title. It simply announces it's own presence whenever a Marlin hits a home run. Sometimes I wonder if it goes off in an empty stadium when a Marlins player homers on the road. Maybe it knows, somehow, when it is needed.
With no official name, I have taken to calling it The Stanton Machine. That's a tribute to this guy, who also rebranded himself into the new stadium. Giancarlo (nee Mike) Stanton is, regardless of first name, the man most likely to set off the display in center field. After all, Giancarlo Stanton hits baseballs like this:
They tell me that that's only 461 feet.
Mr. Stanton, it would seem, was unmoved by the efforts to build a 75 foot tall temple of animated silliness as a tribute to his abilities. Perhaps he was unimpressed that any of his teammates could, at any time, set off the home run display with their own home run. Giancarlo is not a follower, Giancarlo is a leader.
In the bottom of the 4th, Jamie Moyer, the wily veteran who I talked about in a previous post, faced the 21 year old Giancarlo for the 3rd time in the game. And Giancarlo pulled a rabbit out of his hat. Jeff Sullivan does a wonderful job of breaking it down.
Not only did Mr. Stanton attempt to break the spirit of the ageless Mr. Moyer, but he affirmed his home run mojo as being greater than any other hitter to drive a ball over the fence at Marlins Stadium. When Giancarlo homers, the display now includes a whole section of the scoreboard going dark to honour him. Observe.
Yes, folks, Giancarlo Stanton out-crazied the craziest ballpark in baseball. And he did it with the power of nothing more magical than an ordinary baseball. I fully expect that, with each home run he hits, more and more lights will go out in Marlins Stadium, until a single shaft shines down upon home plate, and one spotlight follows the flight of every Stanton homer.
You gotta dream sometimes, don't you?