Ramos, Marlins unfazed by high expectations
COOPER CITY, Fla. -- It doesn't matter if it is a community event or an actual big league game, simply being at a ballfield reminds A.J. Ramos that Spring Training is about to begin.
Like so many of his teammates this week, the right-handed reliever is participating in the Marlins' annual Ayudan Caravan Week. On Monday night, Ramos was a guest coach during a girls' 18-under fastpitch softball game at Marlins Park. On Tuesday, the caravan made more stops throughout South Florida.
"We're out here on the baseball field," Ramos said. "It kind of brings that feeling again. It's getting us ready to get into the season. We're just looking forward to getting things going on Friday. We've made a lot of moves, we're excited."
Miami's pitchers and catchers open Spring Training workouts around 1 p.m. ET on Friday at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.
For now, the players are touching base with the community during Ayudan Week. One of the stops on Tuesday night was at the Cooper City Optimist baseball complex in Broward County.
Ayudan Week wraps up on Saturday with the Winter Warm-up at Marlins Park. Free to the public, the fanfest runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. It's the first day individual game tickets go on sale.
Tickets also can be purchased on marlins.com, starting at 10 a.m.
The Marlins have made a number of high-profile additions in the offseason. They've added Dee Gordon, Michael Morse, Dan Haren, Mat Latos, Martin Prado and Ichiro Suzuki.
Ramos is part of the returning core that has grown together in recent seasons. In 2014, the setup reliever posted a 7-0 record and a 2.11 ERA in 68 games. Over 64 innings, he struck out 73.
The way Ramos sees it, nothing has changed around the club in terms of expectations. The players always have focused on winning, even when they were sporting a young club. What is different is the buzz from the outside.
"There are [expectations], but for us, it's always the same thing," Ramos said. "We go in with the same mentality every year -- to win a championship. So nothing really changes for us. It just changes for people that see us. Maybe their outlook is changing, but our outlook is still the same."