BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
There aren’t many games that I would see as I prepared for a long 15 hour drive through the night to Nashville, Tennessee., to attend Podcast Movement 2021, except a chance to see the Miami Marlins host the New York Yankees on Friday, July 30, 2021 at loanDepotPark.
My history with these two clubs runs Extremely Deep!
And I mean, Extremely Deep!
As a writer for the Hallandale Digest from 1982-84, I covered the Fort Lauderdale Yankees facing the Miami Marlins of the defunct Florida State League (FSL).
It was an incredible time as I had the chance to see numerous future MLB’ers from both sides, too many to count.
A few names that did stand out were former Yankees pitchers Jose Rijo, Jim Deshaies, Ray Fontenot along with position players Brian Butterfield, Rex Hudler, catcher Scott Bradley, Managers Stump Merrill, Barry Foote and trainer Kevin Rand.
For Miami, catcher Benito Santiago, pitchers Lance McCullers Sr., Gene Walter and shortstop Paul Noce.
Two individuals for the Marlins that became great friends include former late GM Sonny Hirsch, who was the iconic voice of the Miami Hurricanes for years along with his assistant, Larry Bluestein, who now has a college football recruiting service.
Hirsch has a street named after him near loanDepotPark.
I saw these teams play tons of times and I’ll never forget a Sunday doubleheader that lasted into the early morning due to numerous rain delays at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.
That was a night where Hirsch and I were talking about baseball and exchanging countless of stories. This is one of those nights that I wish I had a camera phone to take a photo with Sonny.
The Fort Lauderdale Yankees Management provided us with plenty of food all night.
Ah yes, another trip down memory lane.
This is something that I’ve enjoyed all-season long covering the Marlins against teams that had great memories.
Going into this series, The Yankees owned a 16-15 all-time record against the Miami/Florida Marlins.
New York was 10-5 at home and 6-10 in Miami.
New York was 1-3 at loanDepotPark.
In 2020, Miami was 2-1 at Yankee Stadium and made it to the playoffs.
Who can forget the fact that the Marlins defeated the Yankees in the 2003 World Series, winning 4-3.
What made this series significant was it occurred on Trade Deadline Day.
By the opening pitch, Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte, Yimi Garcia, Adam Duvall and John Curtiss landed in new area codes.
During our pregame Media Availability, we spoke to Manager Don Mattingly about this as he was getting set to pilot against his old team.
General Manager Kim Ng also spent time with us.
And of course, President Derek Jeter said, “I’ll always be a Yankee, but I’m trying to build something special in Miami.”
The new faces included the MLB debuts for outfielder Brian Miller, who was recalled from AAA Jacksonville and Bryan De La Cruz who was acquired from the Houston Astros.
The main holdovers for Miami included Miguel Rojas, Jazz Chisholm Jr., Jesus Aguilar, Brian Anderson and Jorge Alfaro.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Miller’s first MLB hit was a lead-off single to right field.
Miller and De La Cruz went a combined 1-7 in their major league debuts for the Marlins.
The Marlins fans had an opportunity to see Aaron Judge for the Yankees.
But there were three other players worth talking about.
Returning to the stadium where he played outfield for six seasons was Giancarlo Stanton, who is normally the designated hitter.
He started in left field and had four put outs. Stanton was hitless in three plate appearances.
This contest marked the homecoming for Parkland’s Anthony Rizzo and he didn’t disappoint after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs the day before as he hit a 449-foot homer, singled and walked as the Yankees defeated the Marlins 3-1.
Prior to the at bat, he received a huge ovation from the crowd wearing the pinstripes.
Rizzo pulled a Zach Thompson 1-0 cutter into the upper deck in right-center in the sixth inning for the game’s first run.
It was the first time the Yankees had scored in 15 innings It was Rizzo’s 15th homer of the season.
You can tell when the ball left the bat, it was “A No Doubter.”
All-Star outfielder Joey Gallo, another left slugger who joined New York in a trade on Thursday, July 29, 2021, went 0-4 with a walk.
Gallo, a Gold Glove winning right fielder who hit cleanup for the Texas Rangers, batted second and played right field in his Yankees debut.
Jameson Tailon (7-4) won his sixth decision in a row with 5 2/3 innings of scoreless ball. The right-handler allowed five hits, struck out five and walked two. Jonathan Loasiga then pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman recorded his 21st save of the season.
The Marlins Achilles heel all-season was their lack of run support and it showed against New York.
Thompson (2-4) allowed one run, three hits, struck out five and walked four in 5 2/3 innings.
The Yankees went on to sweep the Marlins in this three game series.
But the Marlins were winners at the gate.
During the game that I attended, I had a senior moment as I thought I was in the Bronx.
There were “Let’s Go Yankees” chants throughout the game with the crowd of 18,462 fans.
On Saturday, the Yankees defeated the Marlins 4-2 and did it in front of 25,767 fans.
On Sunday, New York topped Miami 3-1 and 20,758 made the trek to the site that was formerly the Orange Bowl.
Let us not forget that once upon a time, the New York Yankees called Fort Lauderdale Stadium their Spring Training Home and as I mentioned, their FSL club were the Boys of Summer.
The Yankees entered this series in third place with a 53-48 record but the new additions have helped immensely as the team’s record is 63-51 in the AL East.
As for Miami, going into this series, Miami’s record was 44-58 and resided in last place in the NL East.
Unfortunately for the fish, they remain in the basement and their record is 48-67 mark.
The team is definitely in the midst of using more young players that they hope will be a huge part of the 2022 season.
But all in all, for baseball purists, this rivalry is more than meets the eye as I have discussed.
The names and the history go deeper than what one can imagine if you have lived it.
On July 30, 2021, it was neat to rekindle yet another moment of yesteryear and create a new memory which will hopefully lead to another one down the road.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.
Subscribe for free to his broadcasts on the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.
There are a lot of great shows in the pipeline.