What a night for Miami Marlins starting pitcher Tom Koehler, and he didn’t even pitch.
Koehler, a big wrestling fan, enjoyed the Legends of Wrestling Night at Marlins Park as the Marlins hosted the Colorado Rockies on Saturday, Aug. 24.
Before the game, one of his wrestling idols, Goldberg, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Instead of a Marlins’ catcher or mascot extraordinaire Billy the Marlin on the receiving end of the pitch, Koehler did the honors. He returned the ball to Goldberg and posed for a photo with him. Then, a baseball fan entered the pitcher’s mound and started heckling Goldberg and his pitching technique. The mouthy man wouldn’t stop... until... well... Goldberg had enough.
Unfortunately for the large-sized, rabble-rouser, Goldberg, 46, could still deliver his patented spear, shutting him up and laying him out to the delight of the crowd and Koehler. Billy the Marlin then heckled the dazed heckler.
When Goldberg hit the surprise spear, the Marlins and Rockies players erupted from their dugouts. A SportsCenter moment for sure.
As for Koehler, his night was just starting.
After the game, which the Marlins won, 3-0, thanks largely to rookie pitching sensation Jose Fernandez, a wrestling show with legends and current wrestlers invaded the West Plaza of Marlins Park. A large ensemble gathered to witness Brutus The Barber Beefcake, Koko B. Ware, The Genius Lanny Poffo, Bret Hart watching his nephew Harry Smith (son of the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith), Chavo Guerrero Jr. and more...more indeed.
In the main event, The Nasty Boys (Knobbs and Sags) with legendary manager Jimmy Mouth of the South Hart battled TNA wrestlers Mr. Anderson and Garett Bischoff of Aces & Eights. As it looked like The Nasty Boys were set to win, Wes Brisco and Mike Knox, two more members of Aces & Eights, hit the ring to uneven the odds. Hart was prepared for the ambush. Dino and the Mexicutioner (Koehler and fellow Marlins pitcher A.J. Ramos) ran to the ring for the save (not Steve Cishek style but Nasty Boys style).
The Mexicutioner (Ramos) tossed Hart’s megaphone to Sags for weapon purposes, and Dino (Koehler) waffled Mr. Anderson with a metal Pepsi sign.
Koehler is a Marlins’ starting pitcher. Hitting a ball is not his forte, but he had little problem hitting Anderson.
Following the victory, Goldberg entered the ring and raised their hands. Koehler couldn’t have been happier -- unless pitching a win in the World Series.
Marlins pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Dan Jennings, Cishek and Fernandez watched by ringside, supporting their mound mates. Marlins third baseman Ed Lucas did the same.
Marlins broadcaster Craig Minervini, better known to old school WWF fans as WWF TV interviewer Craig DeGeorge, served as the ring announcer and called the matches along with Jimmy Hart. DeGeorge even wore his light blue jacket with WWF logo from his days on WWF Superstars of Wrestling when he worked with Lord Alfred Hayes.
DeGeorge had some fun during the Marlins/Rockies games as he interviewed the legends while wearing the WWF jacket for the Marlins TV broadcast on Fox Sports Net Florida. He later interviewed Aces & Eights which wasn’t quite as fun.
The Marlins made each wrestler a customized authentic Marlins jersey with their name and number on the back. The jerseys looked good. Goldberg chose No.95 because that’s what he wore when he played defensive line for the University of Georgia and the Atlanta Falcons.
Goldberg’s mom, Ethel, who breeds flowers, lives in Miami. A classical violinist, she attended the Legends of Wrestling Night as did his brother and sister for a mini-family reunion. Good people, they enjoyed the event and Joe’s Stone Crab.
• Comments of the big night on Twitter from Marlins pitcher Tom and Ashley Koehler
Ashley Koehler: Fun fact @TKREFRESH22 put me in the lion tamer once in college and I retaliated with an STFU; it’s safe to say we’ll b @ Legends of Wrestling.
Tom Koehler: Team DOPE theajramos & goldberg doing work. The Dino and the Mexicutioner.
• YouTube video of Marlins pitchers Tom Koehler (Dino) and A.J. Ramos (The Mexicutioner) as well as former WWF TV interviewer Craig DeGeorge at the Legends of Wrestling at Marlins Park
YouTube Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)