The best moments in loanDepot park history
It's hard to believe that loanDepot Park already will see its 10th season of action in 2021. There have been thrilling walk-off wins and global spectacles over the past decade.
Below are the top moments so far in loanDepot park history:
1. A new day has come
April 4, 2012
During the first 19 seasons of their existence, the Marlins played at a multipurpose stadium, home to the NFL's Miami Dolphins, on the Miami-Dade and Broward County border. Wax nostalgic about the bright orange seats, Bermuda Triangle in center field and the extreme humidity during Sunday afternoon games.
The Marlins finally had a place of their own at the former site of the Orange Bowl in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. The LEED-certified venue boasted a retractable roof, aquariums on each side of home plate, a polarizing home run sculpture, a bobblehead museum and Downtown Miami skyline views beyond the outfield glass panels.
Players entered the field for introductions via the stands with Brazilian Carnival-clad women leading the way. José Feliciano performed the national anthem and Muhammad Ali threw out the first pitch. The Marlins lost to the Cardinals, 4-1, in front of 36,601 fans and a national TV audience. Still, it signified a new beginning for the franchise.
2. All that glitters is gold
July 9-11, 2017
Five years after its opening, then-Marlins Park hosted the 88th MLB All-Star Game. It marked the first time the Marlins were in charge of Midsummer Classic festivities, and they certainly brought South Florida flare. Pitbull performed on the field prior to the Home Run Derby. The uniforms were colorful. MLB debuted an Electric Run 5K with light projections, glow-in-the-dark activations and zones through Downtown Miami.
Outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton started for the National League, which lost, 2-1, in 10 innings. Stanton also competed in the Home Run Derby with Justin Bour, who was fed a doughnut by his teammate before falling one homer shy of eventual champion Aaron Judge in the first round.
3. Returning without José
Sept. 26, 2016
The death of José Fernández brought inexplicable grief to the organization, the South Florida community and Major League Baseball. The Marlins returned to play -- with heavy hearts and No. 16 on the back of their jerseys -- to host the division-rival Mets. During a pregame ceremony, a trumpeter played "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," as a video tribute was displayed on the scoreboard. During the national anthem, Miami's starting position players gathered around the pitcher's mound.
When Bartolo Colon threw the first pitch in the bottom of the first inning, Dee Strange-Gordon mimicked Fernández's stance from the right side of the plate before switching over and hitting an improbable leadoff homer. When Strange-Gordon returned to the dugout, he dissolved into tears as he was embraced by teammates as part of a four-hit night. Bour collected three hits, including the first triple of his MLB career, as Miami rode those performances to a magical 7-3 victory.
Following the win, Marlins players and coaches stood shoulder to shoulder and circled the pitcher's mound as Stanton delivered a speech. They then removed their caps, leaving them on the mound while many Mets watched in silence from the dugout and the crowd chanted "José! José!"
4. History has its eyes on you
Sept. 29, 2013
When Henderson Alvarez III recorded the final out of the ninth inning, he raised his arms in celebration only to realize the game wasn't over yet. That came in the bottom half of the frame, when he watched from the on-deck circle as Stanton scored on a wild pitch in a 1-0 walk-off victory over the Tigers.
Alvarez closed out the 2013 season by recording the fifth of six no-hitters in franchise history, and it was certainly the most unique. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, a walk-off no-no hadn't been done since July 12, 1997, when the Pirates beat the Astros. The last no-hitter to close the regular season was by Mike Witt of the Angels against the Rangers in 1984.
Though the postseason-bound Tigers didn't start Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder received just two plate appearances, Alvarez outdueled Justin Verlander. He walked one and struck out four while throwing 99 pitches, as the Marlins finished 2013 with a weekend sweep and a season-high four-game win streak.
5. Pump up the volume
March 11, 2017
Anyone who has visited Miami knows Hispanic culture has molded the vibrant city into what it is today. In a Pool C opening-round showdown of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Team USA and the Dominican Republic squared off in front of a capacity crowd of 37,446 -- setting a new attendance record for a baseball game at the ballpark.
The fans leaned heavily toward the visitors, and the party atmosphere seemed to favor the Dominican Republic as it put together a five-run rally in a 7-5 win. Nelson Cruz and Starling Marte homered to set up Jeurys Familia's save.
The United States got payback with a 6-3 victory in San Diego to reach the semifinals. Stanton went deep and Adam Jones robbed a homer in what became another instant classic.
That reception in 2017 didn't go unnoticed, as loanDepot park was scheduled to host all three rounds of the '21 World Baseball Classic before the COVID-19 pandemic scrapped the tournament.
6. Walk it off in grand style
April 18, 2014
Stanton got off to a scorching start during his NL MVP Award runner-up season. Entering their matchup with the Mariners, the Marlins had won just one of their previous 10 games. After a costly error early on, Stanton had no chance to make up for it at the plate as Seattle intentionally walked him twice. But an overturned call on a force play at third loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth.
Forced to pitch to Stanton, the Mariners deployed five infielders. It didn't matter as Yoervis Medina delivered a breaking ball that the slugger sent deep to left-center field for an 8-4 walk-off victory in front of 21,388 fans. Remember those orange hats? Yeah, me neither.
7. The chase for 3,000
Ichiro Suzuki found himself 65 hits shy of the milestone entering the 2016 season -- his second of three years with the Marlins. The excitement began to reach a fervor during a 10-game homestand in late July. Fans waved countdown signs. An Ichiro lookalike who mimicked his batting stance received publicity.
Ichiro made two starts and recorded 17 at-bats but left the home ballpark two hits short of the feat. Hit No. 3,000 came six games later on a triple off the right-field wall at Coors Field on Aug. 7.
8. A fitting tribute
June 3, 2017
The offseason following the tragic death of Fernández, the Marlins signed reliable veteran Edinson Vólquez to anchor the rotation. In his 11th start of the 2017 season, an emotional Vólquez recorded the sixth no-hitter in Marlins history in a 3-0 win over the D-backs.
Vólquez, who went on the injured list twice that season, appeared headed for an early exit when he collided at first base with leadoff hitter Rey Fuentes. Though he rolled his right ankle and his hamstring tightened up, Vólquez stayed in the game. In a 98-pitch outing, he struck out 10 batters and faced the minimum after both of his walks were negated by double plays.
The gem came on what would have been former teammate Yordano Ventura’s 26th birthday. Ventura, who died in an automobile accident that January, played with Vólquez in Kansas City. Vólquez dedicated the performance to both Ventura and Fernández.