#MarlinsMonday – March 21, 2016

Marlins Monday
Roger Dean Stadium before Sunday's game between the Marlins and the Cardinals. Photo Courtesy: Roger Hoover.

Roger Dean Stadium before Sunday’s game between the Marlins and the Cardinals. Photo Courtesy: Roger Hoover.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Miami Marlins are now past the midway point of Spring Training, with starting pitchers getting to throw more innings and position players getting more at-bats deeper into Grapefruit League games.

I spent the weekend in Jupiter with the Marlins, getting to broadcast games with the Marlins Radio Network’s Kyle Sielaff on Marlins.com on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

It was a blast to get to work with Kyle, and I can’t thank him or the Marlins broadcasting department enough for the opportunity.

Thursday’s game featured a top-tier pitching matchup, with Jose Fernandez facing Jacob deGrom of the Mets. The Mets won 6-5 but the Marlins made a good rally late in the game, and it was great to see Austin Nola come up with an RBI double and RBI triple late in the game.

I spent Friday on the minor league fields, spending some time with Suns manager David Berg and his staff. Many 2015 Suns are working out with the AAA squad at the moment, but the rosters on the minor league side will change a lot between now and when Spring Training ends. That afternoon the minor leaguers faced the different minor league Cardinal teams, with four games going on at once.

I caught some of Friday's AA Marlins vs. AA Cardinals game on the minor league fields in Jupiter.

I caught some of Friday’s AA Marlins vs. AA Cardinals game on the minor league fields in Jupiter.

While I wasn’t told which individual players would be back, I’m led to believe that we’ll see several notable returners from 2015, as well as some exciting newcomers to the Double-A level.

Saturday’s game only lasted two innings, but I got to call each of former Sun Adam Conley’s six strikeouts. His start couldn’t have gone any better, except for maybe rain staying away. Conley is making a bid for a spot at the back end of the Marlins rotation, and if he can keep up the pace he’s set this spring, he should start the season in Miami.

Yesterday the rain fortunately held off at Roger Dean Stadium, as the Marlins beat the Cardinals 5-2. Former Sun Christian Yelich had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-4 in his best hitting performance of the spring. It was also nice to see former Sun Jose Urena get the win, as he strives for a spot in the Miami bullpen.

I wasn’t able to interview many people during my brief stay in Jupiter, but I did have a great conversation with MLB.com Marlins beat reporter Joe Frisaro, which you can listen to below:

My broadcast partner for this year Marco LaNave was also in Jupiter on Sunday, getting to meet the Suns staff as we keep preparing for this upcoming season with only 17 days between now and Opening Day.

This week the Suns will host the last of their High School baseball games on Monday, and then Tuesday afternoon brings a press conference with some exciting news for fans at the Baseball Grounds. More on that tomorrow!

Here are today’s #MarlinsMonday links, we’re getting closer to Opening Day!

Marlins.com: Marlins tab Chen for Opening Day start
Marlins.com: Fernandez: ‘I don’t want to get shut down’
Marlins.com: Conley dominates in bid for rotation spot
Marlins.com: Realmuto working on framing pitches
Miami Herald: Marlins’ Realmuto brings rare athleticism to catcher position
Miami Herald: Marlins’ spring clubhouse wrapped up in March Madness as usual
Sun Sentinel: Double-whammy of injuries can’t stop Marlins’ Don Kelly
Fish Stripes: 2016 Marlins Season Preview: Remaining pitchers
Yahoo! Big League Stew: The Cubs have the best dress code in baseball
ESPN: White Sox chairman declares LaRoche saga over
ESPN: Griffey: LaRoche has the right to walk away
MLB.com: Hello, Havana: Historic Cuba trip begins
The New York Times: This Cuban Defector Changed Baseball. Nobody Remembers.


Suns broadcaster Hoover to call Marlins spring games

Breaking News

By Marco LaNave / Jacksonville Suns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Suns Director of Broadcasting and radio play-by-play announcer Roger Hoover will join the Miami Marlins this week to broadcast three Spring Training games on Marlins.com and the MLB At Bat app.

Preparing for his fifth season with the Suns and broadcasting Major League Baseball games for the first time, Hoover, 27, will join Kyle Sielaff, host of Marlins On Deck on the Marlins Radio Network, for audio webcasts of Miami’s Grapefruit League games against the New York Mets (Thurs. March 17, 1:05 p.m.), Detroit Tigers (Sat. March 19, 1:05 p.m.), and St. Louis Cardinals (Sun. March 20, 1:05 p.m.) from Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.

Fans can listen to the webcasts on Marlins.com, MLB.com, or the MLB At Bat app on smartphones or tablets.

“I’m grateful to Kyle and the Marlins broadcasting department for this opportunity,” Hoover said. “While I’m excited to broadcast the games, I’m also looking forward to seeing so many former Suns suit up for the Marlins and perform at the major league level. This is also a great chance to visit with Suns manager David Berg and interact with players that will spend the season with us in Jacksonville.”

A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, and 2010 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Hoover is entering his ninth season broadcasting professional baseball, with previous minor league stops with the Tennessee Smokies and the Kingsport Mets. In the baseball offseason, Hoover is in his second year as the radio play-by-play announcer for University of Alabama women’s basketball on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. He also provides play-by-play for SEC Network+ broadcasts of college baseball, basketball, softball, and soccer, with all broadcasts available on the Watch ESPN app.

“Roger is an outstanding broadcaster, and we are thrilled that Marlins fans will get to hear him this week,” said Suns General Manager Harold Craw. “We cannot wait for him to share unique and excellent coverage of the excitement of the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and Suns baseball for another 140 games this season!”

Broadcast information for this upcoming season of Suns baseball will be released closer to Opening Day, which is April 7 against the Birmingham Barons at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville at 7:05 p.m.

ABOUT THE SUNS: A new era of affordable family fun will dawn on the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Opening Day, April 7, 2016, with the Jacksonville Suns under new ownership. The Suns have already unveiled a new lineup of ticket packages for the upcoming season, and you can get part of the action by calling the Suns at (904) 358-2846 or visiting http://www.jaxsuns.com.

#MarlinsMonday – March 14, 2016

Marlins Monday

Former Sun Giancarlo Stanton returned to the Marlins lineup on Sunday. Photo Courtesy: Miami Marlins

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Miami Marlins had a solid start to the weekend in Fort Myers, beating the Minnesota Twins 6-5 on Friday and Boston Red Sox 11-8 on Saturday. Sunday saw the Marlins fall to the New York Mets 11-0 in Jupiter.

A good sign over the weekend was the return of former Sun Giancarlo Stanton to the Miami lineup. After missing nearly a week with a sore right knee, Stanton played six innings on Sunday, drawing a walk and going 0-for-1 at the plate.

Stanton will get extra time to rest the knee today, as the Marlins have their first and really only true off day during Grapefruit League play. The next day without baseball for the Marlins will be March 31 after Grapefruit League play and just before a pair of exhibition games with the New York Yankees at Marlins Park on April 1 and 2.

The Marlins will have games this week against the Mets (Tuesday and Thursday), Washington Nationals (Wednesday), and at the Atlanta Braves on Friday.

I’ll be able to give a first-person account of Spring Training later in the week, as I’ll be spending the weekend in Jupiter and will be on the call with Marlins On Deck host Kyle Sielaff for webcasts on Thursday against the Mets, Saturday against the Tigers, and Sunday against the Cardinals. You can listen to the games on Marlins.com or through the MLB At-Bat app.

Here in Jacksonville preparations continue for the start of the Suns season. Today the Baseball Grounds will host the first of several high school baseball games over the next two weeks. Director of Field Operations Christian Galen has the field in terrific shape, and it will be exciting to see baseball here again.

The Suns announced their commitment to salute the military throughout the 2016 season, and later today will announce the promotional schedule for the upcoming season as well, which we’ll post here later today.

I had a great weekend in Tuscaloosa, Alabama broadcasting college baseball with former MLB pitcher Lance Cormier on SEC Network+. No. 21 Houston won the series over No. 25 Alabama, winning on Friday and Saturday behind strong starting pitching. The Crimson Tide won yesterday’s game 7-6, with an eighth inning home run being the difference in a back-and-forth game. I’ll be back in Tuscaloosa later next week when we broadcast the Friday game of Alabama’s series with Tennessee.

Here are today’s #MarlinsMonday links, be sure to check back for the Suns promotional schedule!

The Florida Times-Union: Jacksonville Suns Host Job Fairs
Marlins.com: Stanton’s knee passes test in return to lineup
Marlins.com: Koehler happy with outing despite shaky results
Marlins.com: Jose impresses with fastball in sim game
Miami Herald: Marcell Ozuna plans to make most of ‘new opportunity’ with Miami Marlins
Sun Sentinel: Mattingly encouraged by Stanton’s first game since knee injury
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Donald Trump gets the all-important Pete Rose endorsement
NBC Sports Hardball Talk: Joe Maddon Wants Old-Timers to Stop Complaining
Yahoo! Ex-World Series hero David Freese finds new home in Pittsburgh
Fangraphs: Player Salaries: A Mix of Merit and Tenure
The New York Times: Unflappable Corey Seager Has Talent the Dodgers Can Nurture

#FishFriday – March 11, 2016


Justin Nicolino pitches for the Marlins on Thursday against the Braves. Photo Courtesy: Miami Marlins

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Miami Marlins have gone 2-2 over the past four days, posting wins over the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees, and losses to the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.

The biggest news of the week has revolved around a former Jacksonville Sun. Giancarlo Stanton hasn’t played since Saturday while resting a sore right knee. The injury isn’t considered serious, and the Marlins are hopeful that the slugger will start on Sunday against the Mets.

The club also received the unfortunate news that reliever Carter Capps needed Tommy John surgery, and underwent the procedure on Tuesday with Dr. James Andrews. Capps was slated to be the setup man in the eighth inning for the Marlins, a role that 2015 Sun Kyle Barraclough will possibly fill now.

The Marlins will spend most of the weekend in Fort Meyers. Today Miami faces the Minnesota Twins, Jarred Cosart making the start for the Marlins. Tomorrow the Marlins face the Boston Red Sox, with Chris Narveson taking the ball, then Sunday’s matchup with the Mets in Jupiter will feature a starter to be announced.

Snapchat users will enjoy today’s MLB action, with players for today-only getting to use the app during Spring Training games.


Even former Sun Christian Yelich will be one of the players getting in on the action tomorrow.


Also don’t forget, you can follow the Jacksonville Suns on Snapchat: jaxsuns.

Speaking of the Suns, it’s been a busy week at the Baseball Grounds. The Suns hosted a second job fair on Tuesday evening, and yesterday held National Anthem auditions. The club also announced that single game tickets will go on sale on Wednesday March 16, with phone orders and in person orders beginning at 9 a.m., then online ticket sales will start at noon on www.jaxsuns.com.

In November, the Suns announced new single-game ticket prices for all 70 home games, beginning with $5 general admission. Reserved tickets comprising the majority of individual seating at the ballpark are $9 each. Dugout box seats, the closest to game action between the two dugouts, are $18 each.

I’m in Alabama getting ready for a three-game college baseball series between the #25 Alabama Crimson Tide and the #23 Houston Cougars. You can watch all games on SEC Network+ through the Watch ESPN and ESPN app.

Here are today’s #FishFriday links, have a good weekend everyone!

Marlins.com: Marlins pencil in Sunday return for Stanton
Marlins.com: Urena’s fastball shows life in first spring start
Marlins.com: MLB and Snapchat take you inside Spring Training
Miami Herald: A.J. Ramos closer to getting into spring training action with Miami Marlins
Miami Herald: Marlins’ Carter Capps undergoes Tommy John surgery
Sun Sentinel:  Marlins fall to Braves; Cosart faces Twins on Friday
Sun Sentinel: Marlins to join Braves in unique regular-season game at Fort Bragg
Fish Stripes: 2016 Miami Marlins Prospect Preview: Josh Naylor
ESPN: Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper wants to change baseball forever
Yahoo!: Why angry old man Goose Gossage is wrong about baseball’s past, present and future
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Donald Trump gets another endorsement from former Yankee
ESPN: Kurkjian: Baseball’s unwritten rules


#MarlinsMonday – March 7, 2016

Marlins Monday

Justin Bour giving his all during a Spring Training game this weekend. Photo Courtesy: Miami Marlins.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Miami Marlins went 1-2-1 in games over the past weekend in Grapefruit League play.

Friday saw the Marlins have their first split-squad day of the spring. At home in Jupiter, the Marlins defeated the Washington Nationals 5-4, with Justin Maxwell hitting a walkoff three-run homer to give Miami its first Spring Training win. Up I-95 in Port St. Lucie, the Marlins and Mets played to a 4-4 tie, which isn’t uncommon during Spring Training. Former Sun Kenny Wilson broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth with an RBI single that gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Fellow 2015 Sun Craig Stem took the blown save, allowing the Mets tying run to score in the bottom of the ninth.

On Saturday, the Marlins fell to the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 at Roger Dean Stadium. Former Sun Raudel Lazo took the loss, allowing a pair of unearned runs in the top of the eighth inning.

Yesterday the Marlins fell in Lakeland to the Detroit Tigers 9-2. 2015 Sun Jake Esch was the only former Sun that pitched in the game, allowing three runs (all earned) on three hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout. No former Suns recorded a hit in the game, but the Marlins got multi-hit efforts from Justin Bour (2-for-3, RBI) and Cole Gillespie (2-for-2, RBI).

Today marks one of the most anticipated Grapefruit League games of the spring for the Marlins, as Jose Fernandez makes his 2016 debut against the Washington Nationals in Viera.

Fernandez, who pitched with the Suns as part of a rehab assignment last June, aims to be fully healthy this year after missing considerable time in 2014 and 2015, following his brilliant 2013 season that saw him win the National League Rookie of the Year award.

This is a busy stretch for the Marlins, who will not have another off day until next Monday, March 14. This week the Marlins will face the Nationals, New York Yankees, Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, and then the Mets before the off day.

In Jacksonville, it was a busy weekend for the Suns staff who hosted the first gameday staff job fair on Saturday. The Suns will continue to round out their staff with another job fair tomorrow March 8 (4 p.m. – 7 p.m.) at the Baseball Grounds.

Fans can also register for this Thursday’s National Anthem auditions that will be held 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.

Across the street at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, the South Carolina Gamecocks won the 2016 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament, topping Mississippi State in the title game yesterday afternoon. It’s an incredible run for Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks, who went 16-0 against SEC opponents in the regular season, then waltzed to the tournament title here in Jacksonville.

Time for this week’s #MarlinsMonday headlines, we’re now less than a month away from Suns Opening Day!

Marlins.com: Gordon reunites with childhood mentor
Marlins.com: Maturing Jose set for Monday’s spring debut
Marlins.com: Bour gets opportunity, hit off left-hander
Miami Herald: ‘Relief’for Marlins’ Jared Cosart in Spring debut
Miami Herald: Ichiro Suzuki’s T-shirts are big news in Japan
Sun Sentinel: Marlins’ Kyle Barraclough ready to step into larger role
Sun Sentinel: Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto looking to build on breakout season
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Chase Utley’s two-game suspension for takeout slide dropped by MLB
Pioneer Press: Twins’ Miguel Sano discusses death of infant daughter
Ballpark Digest: Blue Wahoos Unveil Pink Foul Poles
Fox Sports: Rays ace Chris Archer owes his success to one simple thing
The New York Times: Being Paid to Play Basketball, Pat Connaughton Is Dreaming of Diamonds

#FishFriday – March 4, 2016


Former Suns teammates Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna bond during Spring Training workouts. Photo Courtesy: Miami Marlins.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

Grapefruit League games have begun for the Miami Marlins, with the club falling yesterday to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.

The game did feature the first home run of Spring Training for former Sun Marcell Ozuna, who reported to camp in great shape and looks to have a breakout 2016 in the majors.

Former Sun Tom Koehler took the loss yesterday, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in his inning and two-thirds of work. Former Suns Tyler Higgins, Brad Hand, and Kyle Barraclough didn’t allow any runs during their time on the mound.

The Marlins will be back in action twice today, playing their first split-squad games of spring. Half of the squad will stay in Jupiter to face the Washington Nationals at 1:05 p.m., while the other half will travel north to Port St. Lucie to play the New York Mets at 1:10 p.m.

Former Suns will start both games for Miami, with 2013 Sun left-hander Adam Conley goes up against the Nationals while 2014 Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher Justin Nicolino squares off against the Mets. Both are competing for spots in the back end of the Marlins rotation.

Over the weekend, the Marlins will face the Cardinals on Saturday before going to Lakeland to play the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon.

In Jacksonville, Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds has been converted back to baseball after some Jacksonville Armada preseason games. The field will remain a baseball diamond through the Suns first homestand against the Birmingham Barons, which begins on April 7.

Between now and then, there will be some high school baseball games played here, along with the annual highly anticipated matchup between Florida and Florida State on Tuesday March 29.

The Jacksonville Sports Complex has been busy this week, with the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena hosting the 2016 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament. The event will bring in between 7-10 million dollars for the city of Jacksonville this week, and it’s been great to see the different SEC fan bases make their way to the River City.

The Suns and the Jacksonville Sports Council hosted a “Home Runs and Hoops” social last night at the Palm Tree Pavilion at the Baseball Grounds. It was a great event for fans to see a cleaned up Baseball Grounds, and also had the chance to sample some of the Suns new concessions menu (that I promise you will love!).

Don’t forget that the ballpark staff job fair is set for Saturday (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and Tuesday March 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.

Here are today’s #FishFriday links, we’ll update you on #MarlinsMonday about how the Marlins fared over the weekend!

Marlins.com: Capps to see Andrews about right elbow
Marlins.com: Ozuna enjoying early results as No. 2 hitter
Marlins.com: Koehler tests pitches, deflects stats in debut
MLB.com: Rogers: 5 reasons Marlins are top sleeper
Miami Herald: As Marlins await Carter Capps’ MRI, Kyle Barraclough a viable option
Miami Herald: Derek Dietrich should get plenty of playing time with Marlins
Fish Stripes:  Marlins’ Mattingly presents early lineup choices
Yahoo! Big League Stew: MLB will allow players to use Snapchat during a spring game
Yahoo! Big League Stew: There’s a new twist in odd saga involving Brewers and Hank the Dog
ESPN: Clayton Kershaw acknowledges rotation’s challenges ahead
Fox Sports: Rosenthal: Zen and the Art of Miguel Cabrera
The New York Times: Alex Rodriguez Has Impressive Start, Soothing the Yankees and Himself, for Now