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Grounds crews help prepare the field at Marlins Park on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Miami, the day before the team's season opener against the Colorado Rockies. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)

Miami Marlins: New Season, Similar Feeling in 2019

The Miami Marlins begin the 2019 season with a brand new look to the branding and team — again. On rebuild mode, Miami hosts the Colorado Rockies on the earliest Opening Day ever. Dominican José Ureña is expected to start on the mound and lead the hungry, young core into a “new” era with a winning mentality.

Developing a Winning Culture

The Little Havana based ballclub traded away catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies in the offseason, putting themselves in a deep hole in an already stacked NL East.

Luckily for Miami, history is on its side — at least for tomorrow, it is. The last time the Marlins played the Rockies on Opening Day, Miami won 10-1 in 2014. Miami does not have a player like Jose Fernandez pitching Opening Day anymore, but new owner Derek Jeter has hope that he can create a winning culture with his young core.

“The way I see it, doing things the right way, over and over, leads to sustained success,” Jeter said in his letter to Marlins fans. “I’m not just talking about wins and losses — winning games is very important to everyone — but also about developing a winning culture throughout the organization. That’s what is most important, and that journey starts today. It will not happen overnight. But our ownership group is focused on building a team that this community can be proud of.”

That young core includes 25-year-old Brian Anderson (.273/.357/.400), who finished in fourth place for National League Rookie of the Year last season. Additionally, Miami hopes former top-prospect Lewis Brinson can come back strong from a sub par rookie season. Brinson (.199/.240/.338) had 120 strikeouts in just 406 plate appearances. Names like Miguel Rojas, Starlin Castro, JT Riddle and Martin Prado are some returning veterans playing with the young guys.

Additions

Team additions are a whole other ballgame. The front office brought in former All-Stars in outfielder Curtis Granderson and pitcher Sergio Romo. Versatile infielder Neil Walker also joined the team and will likely play first base. If the Marlins cannot find a rhythm, it will not be surprising if they go to their farm system and give players a shot.

Pitcher Sandy Alcantara is in the starting rotation now after earning five starts for the Marlins last year. Alcantara and Ureña may not be the only Dominicans starting next season, as Dominican pitcher Sixto Sanchez came over in the Realmuto deal. The 20-year-old pitcher will develop in the minors with his powerful fastball. Colombian catcher Jorge Alfaro also came in the deal and will likely start right away. Miami also signed Victor Mesa from Cuba last fall and have Isan Diaz and Monte Harrison from the Yelich deal.

Although most will likely remain in the minors, injuries and inconsistent performances can allow players to move up as Alcantara did.

Fan Experience

Jeter and his staff have made it clear they want to get fans back in Marlins Park. Renovations, new concession and parking deals, and a new fan section in “Comunidad 305” have all been introduced. “Hot dogs, popcorn, pretzel, nachos, water and soda will be $3,” according to the Sun Sentinel. Also, “draft beer and mojo pork tacos will be $5.”

Opening Day Details

Marlins fans can skip rush hour traffic on the Dolphin Expressway and Interstate 95 by heading to pregame festivities at noon. Want to see the changes to Marlins Park? Gates open just two hours after. Although there is a possibility of showers in Little Havana tomorrow, a closed roof will preserve the first pitch at 4:10 p.m.

About Homar Hernandez

Sports Journalist @ESPNGainesville, @VAVEL, @VAVEL_USA, @WUFTNews. Telecom at @UF. Miami Aficionado. Views are my own. RT's ≠ endorsements.

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