Miguel Rojas doesn’t know much about American football, which is not surprising. After all, the upbeat utility man for the Marlins is from Venezuela and didn’t pay much attention to it while growing up there.
Now he’s become something of the resident football trash talker inside the Marlins clubhouse even though his teammates roll their eyes when saying Rojas is virtually clueless about the sport, and the NFL in particular.
“Zero. Absolutely zero,” Marlins infielder Chris Johnson said of Rojas’ NFL expertise.
Said Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler: “He knows nothing.”
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Like every other team in the majors, Marlins players have a NFL fantasy league that helps break the daily monotony of the long baseball season and allows them to remain in touch over the winter.
Rojas wanted in this season, and in the spirit of team unity, his teammates allowed him to join forces with head athletic trainer Dustin Luepker.
It’s been an adventure ever since.
Rojas showed up at the draft with a list of players, but little in the way of knowledge.
“He wanted to draft LaDainian Tomlinson, and we had to tell him he was retired for about five years,” Koehler said.
Said pitcher David Phelps: “He was talking about wanting to draft a kicker.”
During the NFL preseason, Rojas’ limited grasp of exhibition season workings came to light when he gloated over one receiver’s big game and became nervous when a couple of his fantasy players didn’t appear in the boxscore.
“A couple of his guys didn’t play in the last preseason game, so we had to explain why they weren’t playing, because he got a little nervous,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch him.”
Rojas, though, is loving it.
“I’m really enjoying this,” Rojas said. “This is a great group of guys, and I’m just saying thank you to everybody for giving me the opportunity to be involved and learn the culture of the United States.”
Said Koehler: “He’s been a welcome addition to the league so far.”
After the baseball season ends, Rojas said he plans on returning home to Venezuela and sign up for a NFL cable package that will allow him to watch all the games.
In the meantime, he is riding high in the Marlins’ clubhouse fantasy league. His team defeated Johnson’s in week one of the NFL.
“I crushed him,” Rojas said with a smile. “I don’t know anything about football, but I’m starting to understand.”
Upset with home plate umpire Dale Scott’s strike zone, Martin Prado was ejected for the second time in his career on Sunday. He threw both his bat and his helmet after striking out in the third.
“I get angry because I care about this stuff,” Prado. said.
What got Prado tossed wasn’t anything he said to Scott. He said he found out afterward it was because he threw not one, but two pieces of equipment.
Prado said from now on, he’ll throw only his bat.
“I’ve got like four helmets broke this year, so I don’t want to break another one,” Prado said.
▪ Monday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (5-4, 4.99) vs. Washington Nationals RHP A.J. Cole (1-2, 4.71), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (15-8, 2.99) vs. Washington Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (15-8, 2.75), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.