#MarlinsMonday – February 21, 2016

Marlins Monday

Former Sun J.T. Realmuto prepares for his first full season in the major leagues as the Marlins everyday season. Photo Courtesy: Miami Marlins.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Miami Marlins pitchers and catchers have reported for duty at Roger Dean Stadium, as Spring Training is underway for the Jacksonville Suns’ parent club in Jupiter, Florida.

The first pitchers and catchers workout on Thursday was just part of a busy week for the club, with the Marlins celebrating “Play Ball” week across South Florida. Marlins players, coaches, and staff got involved with local charities to spread goodwill throughout the area, along with getting fans excited for the upcoming season.

The excitement culminated on Saturday, with Fan Fest at Marlins Park, with players very accessible to fans along with fun activities at the ballpark.

While only pitchers and catchers will work out today, full-squad workouts start tomorrow, and we are now just over a week away from the first exhibition game of the spring between the Marlins and the University of Miami on Tuesday March 1 at Roger Dean Stadium at 1:05 p.m.

We’ve talked all offseason about new looks to the Marlins roster, but over the weekend it was revealed that all Marlins will look different, or try to look the same during this year. Manager Don Mattingly has instituted a strict no facial hair policy, so expect a clean-cut group throughout the season in Miami.

As for the Jacksonville Suns, preparation continues for the upcoming season of Suns baseball, and mascot Southpaw was once again very active over the weekend!

Also it’s important to keep in mind that the ballpark staff job fair is set for March 5 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and 8 (4 p.m. – 7 p.m.) at the Baseball Grounds, as the Suns continue to build their gameday staff for this upcoming season.

Fans can also register for the March 10 National Anthem auditions at the Baseball Grounds. Interested individuals and groups may schedule an audition time by completing a registration form – available at www.jaxsuns.com – and emailing it to Promotions Manager Devin Jones at devin@jaxsuns.com or faxing to 904-358-2845.

It was also exciting to see that the Southern League Hall of Fame class for 2016 had such a Jacksonville Suns flavor. Peter Bragan, Jr., John Shoemaker, and Larry Ward all made a great impact on Jacksonville baseball and the league throughout the years and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them all. We were also fortunate to have all three of them appear on the Suns Baseball Network and The Jacksonville Suns Podcast during the 2015 season.

I was able to enjoy some baseball over the weekend at a Southern League stadium, as I provided play-by-play for my alma mater Tennessee against Memphis during a three-game series at AT&T Field, home of the Chattanooga Lookouts. It may have been gray and cool, but that’s part of the charm of February college baseball! I’ll also be on the call for baseball and softball later this week in Alabama, check out my Twitter page @Roger_Hoover for broadcast details!

Here are today’s #MarlinsMonday links, Spring Training is here!

Marlins.com: Realmuto refocused on work as receiver
Marlins.com: Chen brings stability to Marlins’ rotation
Marlins.com: Healthy Stanton: No more time for excuses
Miami Herald: Miami Marlins’ Jose Fernandez and Chris Johnson OK as teammates after testy history
Miami Herald: Pitching coach Juan Nieves could prove to be huge hire for Miami Marlins
Sun Sentinel: Hyde: Bonds, back in baseball, ready to help Marlins
Sun Sentinel:Marlins owner ties fate of execs Samson, Hill to Mattingly hire
Fish Stripes: Adam Conley’s chances at making the rotation
Yahoo! Big League Stew:Report: Aroldis Chapman could end up banned from spring training
Fox Sports: Marlins Add Pitcher-Fixer Jim Benedict
The New York Times: As a Species, the Knuckleball Flutters but Survives
The New York Times: Brewers’ Ryan Braun Is Headed to Old Spot, Making Room in Right

#FishFriday – February 12, 2016

#FishFriday

Southpaw has been busy the past two days sending Valentine’s Day cheer around Jacksonville! Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

Six days away.

We are six days away.

Six days away from the surefire first sign of spring, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training for the Miami Marlins.

Marlins personnel and media are already buzzing around Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida as many players are already working out and getting prepared for the season ahead.

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Things are buzzing in Jacksonville as well, starting with a fun assignment for Suns mascot Southpaw. The past two days you may have seen him out in the community delivering flowers and chocolates in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.

More exciting news came earlier today, when the Suns announced that fans can register for the March 10 National Anthem auditions at the Baseball Grounds. Interested individuals and groups may schedule an audition time by completing a registration form – available at www.jaxsuns.com – and emailing it to Promotions Manager Devin Jones at devin@jaxsuns.com or faxing to 904-358-2845.

Other signs of spring?

Division II and Division III NCAA baseball has begun, and NCAA Division I softball started its season yesterday. Next week brings Opening Day for NCAA Division I baseball, and the first Marlins Spring Training game will be on March 1.

Also it’s important to keep in mind that the ballpark staff job fair is set for March 5 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and 8 (4 p.m. – 7 p.m.) at the Baseball Grounds, as the Suns continue to build their gameday staff for this upcoming season.

Here are today’s #FishFriday links, enjoy your weekend!

Marlins.com: Marlins hoping to add veteran starter on Minors deal
Marlins.com: Chen among Marlins’ newcomers for 2016
Sun Sentinel: Marlins re-sign Don Kelly to minor league deal
Sun Sentinel:White Sox sign former Marlins pitcher Mat Latos
Fish Stripes:  Tyler Kolek ranked No. 97 by Keith Law
Fish Stripes:Marlins will require work to rebuild farm system
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Suddenly the Green Monster doesn’t look so imposing at Fenway
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Tim Flannery is fed up with Padres fans, writes lengthy statement
Ballpark Digest: Interview: Jason Benetti
ESPN: Law: Prospects who just missed Top 100
The New York Times: Star Brothers Are Apparently the Latest to Defect From Cuba

 

#MarlinsMonday – February 1, 2016

Marlins Monday

The new Spring Training hats for the Miami Marlins. Photo Courtesy: Miami Marlins.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The calendar has turned from January to February, another sign that our national pastime is getting closer and closer to being here.

There wasn’t much roster movement for the Miami Marlins over the past week, although the club continues to be pursuing more pitching, and there will be some minor league signings over the next few weeks to get ready for Spring Training.

Speaking of Spring Training, the Marlins have tweaked their schedule for the first full-squad workout. While pitchers and catchers still will report on Feb. 19, the Marlins will now work out as a full squad for the first time on Feb. 23.

That’s the only change for the Marlins, who will play their first exhibition game at Roger Dean Stadium against the University of Miami on March 1.

On Friday, MLB.com released its annual list of the Top 100 prospects in baseball, however the Marlins were one of only two organizations not to have a player make the list. There are former Southern Leaguers throughout the list, including No. 1 Corey Seager (Chattanooga Lookouts 2014), No. 2 Byron Buxton (Chattanooga Lookouts 2015), No. 6 Orlando Arcia (Biloxi Shuckers 2015), and No. 14 Blake Snell (Montgomery Biscuits 2015).

 

Former Suns announcer Joe Block has been named the new radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Photo Courtesy: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Also it was an exciting weekend for a former Jacksonville Suns broadcaster. Joe Block, who was the “Voice of the Suns” from 2003-06 was hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates as their new play-by-play broadcaster.

Block spent the past four seasons on the Milwaukee Brewers broadcast team, working alongside the funniest man in baseball, and broadcasting Hall of Famer Bob Uecker.

Joe has been a great help to me through the years working in Jacksonville, and I along with the rest of the organization are very happy for his good news.

Also speaking of baseball getting closer to starting, I happened to be at my alma mater the University of Tennessee on Friday, and caught a glimpse of their first official practice for the 2016 season.

Just another great sign that we are getting closer to baseball!

Here are today’s #MarlinsMonday links, here’s to a good start to February!

TribLive.com: Pirates hire Block as new play-by-play man
Marlins.com: View from 3,000 feat: Countdown for Ichiro
Marlins.com: Marlins prospect Kolek working on offspeed stuff
Marlins.com: First-round pick Naylor not just a slugger
Sun Sentinel: Marlins’ new spring training cap revealed
Miami Herald: Miami Marlins hope bringing in and lowering fences brings ‘positive change’
Fish Stripes: Marlins to find right move timing for Fernandez
Fish Stripes: What the Dickerson trade means for Marcell Ozuna
MLB.com: Top 100 Prospects Rankings | MLB.com
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Holy Cow! Watch ‘The Story of Harry Caray’ on MLB Network Presents
Fox Sports: Kershaw, Dodgers players attend City Council vote on Vin Scully Ave.
MLB.com: Feb Five: Handful at crossroads of careers
The New York Times: Honoring Piazza? Paying Cespedes? Meet the Suddenly Generous Mets
The Washington Post: Nats players may have forgiven Jonathan Papelbon, but have the fans?