This day in baseball: Spring training attendance record at Joe Robbie

An exhibition game held on March 30, 1991 at Joe Robbie Stadium (now known as Hard Rock Stadium) featured the New York Yankees versus the Baltimore Orioles.  The contest drew a crowd of 67,654 fans, which, at that time, set a spring training attendance record.  South Florida fans came out due in part to their eagerness to draw an expansion team to the area.  You can find the Baltimore Sun‘s coverage of the event here.

The Florida Marlins would begin playing at Joe Robbie Stadium in 1993.

Hard Rock Stadium Miami

Hard Rock Stadium (stadiumsofprofootball.com)

 


R.I.P. Roy Halladay

It’s always gut wrenching to hear of the death of a player who left such a mark on the game.  Roy Halladay was known as an impressively hard worker, and his effort showed in his play.  He was an eight-time All-Star and a two-time Cy Young winner.  He threw a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29, 2010, and during the 2010 NLDS, Halladay threw a second no-hitter against the Reds.  It made him only the fifth pitcher in major league history to throw multiple no-hitters in a single season.

Rest in peace, Roy Halladay.

 

halladay

Wikipedia

 


The Albuquerque Isotopes

Growing up, I never paid much attention to The Simpsons.  Tragic, yes.  I saw an episode here and there over the years, and always enjoyed the ones that I watched, but never made a habit of consistently watching the show.  It’s not something that I went out of my way to avoid, so much as I simply did not go out of my way to make the time for it.

Recently, I’ve decided to try to rectify this transgression, and I am currently about halfway through season two of this entertaining series.  As with many forms of American pop culture, baseball was bound to find a way to make an appearance, and I didn’t have to wait long for it.  The episode “Dancin’ Homer” features the time that Homer Simpson, drunk at a minor league ballgame, started dancing like a fool for the crowd, and thus earned himself a position as the team mascot.

What I did not realize is that the team for which Homer was hired to make a fool of himself, the Springfield Isotopes, became the inspiration for a real life minor league team’s name.  The Albuquerque Isotopes are a Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, having been previously affiliated with the Florida Marlins (2003-2008) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2009-2014).

isotopes

The real world Isotopes play at Isotopes Park, cleverly nicknamed “The Lab,” which seats 11,124.  The stadium stands in the same spot as where historic Albuquerque Sports Stadium once stood, until it was almost completely razed in 2002.  Some remnants of the old stadium were incorporated into Isotopes Park.  The stadium also serves as home to the University of New Mexico baseball team.

isotopes_park_front

Wikipedia

The Albuquerque team does not have a real-life Homer Simpson to serve as their mascot, but rather features a yellow, orange, and red alien/dog/bear creature named Orbit.

orbit

In 2016, Forbes named the Isotopes the fourteenth most valuable team in Minor League Baseball.  They finished the 2016 season with a 71-72 record, which, interestingly, was good enough for second place in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern division.


This day in baseball: Grand slam debut

In his first Major League at-bat on April 21, 1898, Bill Duggleby of the Philadelphia Nationals hit a grand slam against the Giants.  Nicknamed “Frosty Bill,” Duggleby was the first of only four players in Major League history to accomplish this astonishing feat.  The second occurrence would not take place until August 31, 2005, when Jeremy Hermida of the Florida Marlins hit a grand slam in his first Major League plate appearance.  The other two players to perform the deed are Kevin Kouzmanoff and Daniel Nava.

Wikipedia

Jeremy Hermida (Wikipedia)