Miami Marlins

Marlins are already looking forward to hosting next year’s All-Star Game

Jets fly above Petco Park during the national anthem prior to the MLB baseball All-Star Game, Tues., July 12, 2016, in San Diego. Next year the scene will shift to Miami and Marlins Park.
Jets fly above Petco Park during the national anthem prior to the MLB baseball All-Star Game, Tues., July 12, 2016, in San Diego. Next year the scene will shift to Miami and Marlins Park. AP

The Marlins are on the clock.

As team president David Samson stopped to congratulate his All-Stars before exiting Petco Park on Tuesday night, he was already looking forward to July 11, 2017.

On that date, it will be the Marlins’ turn to host the All-Star Game.

“This whole experience is coming to Miami, and we have Giancarlo [Stanton] coming back to defend his [Home Run Derby] title in Miami next year,” Samson said.

“We’re hoping to have as many All-Stars as we had this year again. Realizing we can bring this to our fans in Miami is really special.”

Stanton provided the most fireworks with his record-setting Home Run Derby victory on Monday night.

Samson and the entire Marlins organization couldn’t help daydreaming of what that picture might look like in one year’s time if the baseballs were flying around or near the home run sculpture at Marlins Park, which will host the game in what will be its sixth season.

“When you have history made the way Giancarlo did, you know it was an amazing All-Star experience,” Samson said.

“People realize we’re a great city, great fans and great ballpark, and a team that has a chance to be relevant all year and play in October.”

Samson was with a contingent of 75 from the Marlins organization who made the trip to San Diego.

Next year will be the first time Miami has hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, although the South Florida area is no stranger to hosting All-Star events from the major professional sports, having hosted the Pro Bowl as well as the NBA and NHL All-Star games.

“One of the major things was seeing the people of San Diego and how they stepped up,” Samson said.

“All the volunteers, all the police and fire rescue, and how everyone was so nice and helpful with all the tourists that come to an event like this.

“Miami specializes in that. We’re a big-event city, and I know we are going to step up like San Diego did.”

FERNANDEZ GETS DREAM MATCHUP

Of all the memorabilia Jose Fernandez could have collected during his couple of days at the All-Star Game, getting an autographed jersey from David Ortiz took top billing.

Ortiz was more than happy to oblige Fernandez, whom he faced in his final at-bat as an All-Star during Tuesday night’s game won by the American League, 4-2.

“It’s hard to put it into words when you see him so close,” said Fernandez, who has been a fan of Ortiz since he was a seventh-grader playing baseball in Cuba. “It was an amazing experience for me.”

Fernandez had said before the game he probably would throw Ortiz very hittable fastballs if he faced him to see if he would hit one out. His first offering was clocked at only 80 mph, but Ortiz didn’t swing.

“I wanted to hit a home run during that at-bat,” Ortiz said. “My boy [Fernandez] threw me a changeup instead. I looked at him and I was like, ‘what happened?’ 

Fernandez later retorted with a smile and said: “It was a fastball, not a changeup like [Ortiz] said.”

After working the count full, a breaking ball ran inside and nearly hit Ortiz, who playfully opened his arms wide and pointed at him as they each shared a laugh from afar.

Ortiz took his base at first on the walk and, after being replaced by a pinch-runner, proceeded to hug his AL teammates.

Fernandez tipped his cap from the mound while Ortiz received a standing ovation from the crowd of 42,386.

“I was nervous because I couldn’t believe I was actually pitching to him,” Fernandez said. “It was just great. His was the first baseball jersey that I bought when I came to the United States. It was a humbling experience seeing how time really flies by.”

Jose Fernandez talks about pitching in the All-Star Game Tuesday July 12, 2016 and facing David Ortiz in his final All-Star at-bat

HOW MARLINS FARED IN ALL-STAR GAME

▪ Fernandez entered the game in relief of Johnny Cueto in the second inning and struck out Mike Trout to end that frame. Fernandez gave up a run in the third as well as two hits.

▪ Marcell Ozuna’s fourth-inning single drove in the final run of the game and made him the first Marlin to record an RBI in the game since Miguel Cabrera in 2005 and only the fourth ever. Ozuna also became the first Marlins All-Star to start as an outfielder.

“It was awesome for me being a first-time All-Star, and I was ready to play and have fun,” Ozuna said. “I’m going to remember everything from being here. You don’t get to come here every year and be in this show.”

▪ Fernando Rodney struck out Cabrera and induced Michael Saunders to pop out during his relief appearance in the eighth inning. As he walked off the field, Rodney stopped and did his signature crossbow gesture for the fans of his previous team. Rodney was traded from the Padres to the Marlins on June 30.

▪ A.J. Ramos, who was selected to his first All-Star Game, did not get the chance to pitch.

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