Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Battle of My Two Warm Weather Hometowns

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH 

During the 2021 Miami Marlins season, I have taken a historical perspective on memories with certain teams. 

We began the season with the San Francisco Giants and the Baltimore Orioles.

Today, the focus shifts to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

On Thursday, May 6th, I attended the Marlins 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Going into the game, the Diamondbacks were 15-15 and the Marlins had a 13-16 mark.

Madison Bumgarner was on the hill for Arizona and entered the game with a 3-2 record and a 5.58 ERA. On April 25, 2021, he threw a seven-inning no-hitter in a 7-0 win over the Atlanta Braves, which doesn’t count in the record books.

Miami threw tough luck starter Pablo Lopez, who entered the contest with an 0-2 mark and a 2.34 ERA.

The pitching matchup didn’t disappoint as we had an old fashioned pitchers duel.

Lopez worked five innings, yielding three hits, one run, zero earned runs, striking out six hitters and giving up two walks. He threw 94 pitches, with 63 being strikes. He wound up with a no decision.

Bumgarner, pitched six innings, gave up two hits, one run, one earned run, amassed seven strikeouts and with zero walks. He had a laughable moment at the plate when he initially thought he struck out but had two strikes and had to return to the batters box. He did strikeout on the next pitch.

Bumgarner gave up a lead off homer to Miguel Rojas off a 2-1 pitch that sailed over the left-field wall in the first inning to give Miami a 1-0. This was Rojas first round tripper of the year. Bumgarner then proceeded to retire the next 17 batters.

With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Adam Duvall greeted J.B. Bukauskas (1-1) with his sixth homer of the year to give Miami a 2-1 lead. The Marlins added another run on two singles and Chad Wallach’s sacrifice fly to make it 3-1. Duvall’s homer came off 1-0 to deep centerfield.

Some other things that stood out in the game include closer Jimi Garcia entering the game and giving up two stolen bases off a shift to Pavin Smith, who reached base with a single. Garcia was practically ignoring the runner to focus on the hitter. He would earn his fifth save of the year and reliever Dylan Floro picked up the win in relief improving to 2-1.

The final out of the game was by Asdrubal Cabrera as a flies out to deep right field to Duvall to end the game.

In the seventh inning, Magneuris Sierra came off the Miami Bench and made a leaping catch at the 387 foot sign in centerfield to rob Cabrera of extra bases.

Manager Don Mattingly described Sierra’s catch, “I thought the ball was out of the ballpark when it was hit.”

The Diamondbacks left 10 on base and were swept 3-0 in this series.

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Now onto some history with these two teams especially with the Diamondbacks.

In 2003, I covered the Marlins Game Six win over the San Francisco Giants when they won the World Series.

When I lived in Chandler, AZ from 1999-2002, I covered a three-game series in 2001 when the Diamondbacks hosted the Detroit Tigers and spent lots of time with My Mentor Hall of Fame Broadcaster Ernie Harwell during Fathers Day Weekend in June. 

The amount of time Ernie and I spent together was priceless and I always drove him back to his hotel after each game. Ernie was my adopted uncle and he loved it when I called him Uncle Ernie! 

I also had great memories with Uncle Ernie when the Tigers played the Florida Marlins as well as we always ate meals together, worked on projects and I drove him back to his hotel.

My best memory of Harwell in Arizona was when he gave me a bag of nachos with a cactus on it and I didn’t want it. I told Ernie the only way I would take those nachos is if he signed the bag. He pulled out a sharpie and signed the bag and I have it in my office.

The Diamondbacks had a magical championship season. 

I had a part-time job delivering Pizza for Domino’s and made great money in tips when the Diamondbacks were advancing through the playoffs. 

It was a tough time in American History because Arizona faced the New York Yankees in the wake of the September 11, 2001 tragedy. But being an Arizonian at the time, my loyalties were unquestionably with the Diamondbacks. It was Us vs Them matching Arizona and New York. 

I was also a co-host of an Auto Racing Show in Phoenix, but we rode the Diamondbacks success and talked about them plenty on the radio. Ironically, I had Harwell on as a guest when the September 11, tragedy shut down all sports.

I watched Game Seven of the World Series at The Stadium Club Sports Bar in Chandler, AZ and broke my toe when Luis Gonzalez had the game winning single off Hall of Fame Closer Mariano Rivera. 

I leaped up into the air and into a fans arm as we hugged and landed the wrong way. 

The last thing you want to do is break your smallest toe because there is no cast to mobilize it. You have to grin and bear it.

Gonzalez went on to have his No. 20 jersey retired by the Diamondbacks but did play his final season with the Florida Marlins in 2008.

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As for the history between these two teams.

The Marlins have thrown two no-hitters vs Arizona.

Going into 2021, Arizona led the All-Time Series 88-68.

In 2019, Miami took the season series 4-3.

The Marlins home record was 41-40- (15-15, loanDepotPark) and (26-15, Sun Life Stadium).

In The Valley of the Sun, Miami was 27-48 with all of the games being played at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix.

The Marlins won this years season series 5-2 and it just concluded on Thursday, May 13th.

They swept the Diamondbacks at home 3-0 and were 2-2 in Cactus Country. 

The All-Time Record is now 73-90 in favor of Arizona.

But the big difference between the “Battle of My Two Warm Weather Hometowns” is the Marlins have won two World Series Championships while the Diamondbacks have won once.

To date, the Diamondbacks World Championship is the only one by a Major League Metropolitan Phoenix Team. 

The Phoenix Suns and Arizona Cardinals made it to the finals but lost. 

The Arizona Coyotes have struggled on the ice and have had ownership and arena issues. At one point, the NHL owned the Coyotes. Even the legendary Wayne Gretzky couldn’t turn this team’s fortunes around.

Nevertheless, it was great seeing these two teams meet and I have a special place in my heart for both franchises!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth. 

You can listen to his broadcasts by subscribing to The South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel for free.


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