The Nature Boy Ric Flair was the special guest during the annual Wrestling Night at Marlins Park. The event was Friday, July 28 as the Miami Marlins beat the Cincinnati Reds.
Flair threw out the first (and second) pitch. Marlins staffer Orlando Prescott warmed up Flair on the field to prepare him for the throw.
When it was time, Billy the Marlin, wearing his Marlins wrestling mask and El Pescado cape, bowed to Flair, and then Marlins closer The Mexicutioner AJ Ramos, a wrestling fan, caught those first two pitches by Flair.
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Ramos strutted to the mound like the showman Flair to return the ball and pose for a photo together.
(It would be the last time we would see Ramos in a Marlins uniform, unfortunately. More to that at the end of this story.)
Even the visiting Reds were hyped about Wrestling Night. The Reds bat boy took a photo with Flair as did Reds star Joey Votto on the field before the National Anthem. (Votto tweeted it). Reds coach Billy Hatcher, a former player, patted Flair on the back.
When Flair threw the pitch(es), coaches and players from both teams stood atop their respective dugouts to watch.
Flair, accompanied by former WCW star Fifi, signed autographs and posed for photos with fans during a VIP meet-n-greet, after he threw out the first pitch (twice). They roped off an area on the Promenade Level, which was packed by fans in line and watching. Fans dressed like him, brought championship belts, wore special shirts, had photos. One even sported a dress jacket, ala Four Hoursemen style.
Lots of ‘Wooos’ and pretty ladies throughout the ball park.
Earlier, Flair met Marlins players in the clubhouse, cut a promo with Marlins slugger Justin Bour and spent time with Marlins Manager Don Mattingly, a close friend. A few weeks ago, Flair extended his social media support of Bour to make the NL All-Star Team.
A two-time WWE Hall of Famer, Flair is very popular with coaches and players in the college and pro sports ranks. He is also a favorite of the mainstream sports media. Flair was interviewed by Jessica Blaylock of FOX Sports Florida, which broadcasts Marlins’ games, and Jim Day of FOX Sports Ohio, which covers Reds’ games. Marlins Vision Host, former Miami-Dade County softball standout and Syracuse University grad Kelly Saco interviewed him, too.
Wrestler theme music (Ultimate Warrior, Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, etc.) played between innings, and the Marlins won the game, 7-4.
FOX Sports Florida broadcaster Craig Minervini, formerly WWF broadcaster Craig DeGeorge, is always on hand to interview the wrestlers during Wrestling Night at Marlins Park. He enjoys the wrestling reunion, but this time he did not participate because of another reunion, a special family celebration in the Northeast. We missed ya Craig, but we’ll hope to see ya at next year’s Wrestling Night.
Miami Herald Sports Writer Andre Fernandez, who covers the Miami Marlins, joined me for the Ric Flair pre-game interview.
Ric Flair Twitter https://twitter.com/RicFlairNatrBoy
Miami Marlins Twitter https://twitter.com/Marlins
NOTE: After the game, Ramos was traded to the rival New York Mets. #Ugh
- Ric Flair at Florida Supercon
Did you miss Ric Flair at Wrestling Night at Marlins Park?
He is still in South Florida this weekend for Florida Supercon (July 27-30) at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.
- Pro Wrestling On The Web
YouTube jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)