Finally! The Marlins have come back to Miami! Just like The Rock says (haha). It has been busy, busy, busy — so I haven’t been able to blog as much as I like, but we are ready to get this party started. The stadium looks nicer and nicer every time we get in there because they are still adding the finishing touches. It seems as though it’s going to be a loud place to play, and that’s awesome. Hopefully it provides a home field advantage for us.
We played the Yankees yesterday and again today. All I have to say is: Wow, we scored two runs off of Mariano Rivera, and that never happens. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come. Some of our key guys got hits like Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison (LoMo). If those guys stay healthy like we need them to, we should be alright.
The champion St. Louis Cardinals come into town on Wednesday for the opener, and then we hit the road right away for Cincinnati and Philadelphia. It would be nice if we are able to set the tone early. I love the energy from our guys so far. Maybe the energy comes from us being a young team, but they have been fun to watch so far.
We are so close to what we have all been working towards: OPENING DAY! No other sport does Opening Day like baseball does, and it shows. It’s always a special day for me; I’m very happy that this is going to be my 27th Opening Day. I consider myself very blessed to have been around for that long and to be given this opportunity with the Marlins. Now let’s kick some ass!
FINALLY … the day is here. Opening Day never gets old to me. I am and we are all blessed to have this chance to put on the
uniform and go out and play. I
have been around this game for a long time and every year Opening Day has the
same excitement. The thing about
this day that is so great is the hope that every team has. Every single team thinks they a have shot
at the World Series for maybe the only day all year.
Although I’m very excited, it’s also very cold here in
Cleveland. From what I heard, it’s
a little warmer back in Chicago. I hope you all will be watching today; we need
your support. If you are looking
for somewhere to watch the game, I would love for you to join my Foundation at
Public House (400 N. State Street). It’s going to be a great atmosphere to watch the game and we will be
raffling off some great prizes during and after the game. It’s going to be free to get in, so you
can just come and hang out if you want. Some of the raffle items include autographed bats from Adam Dunn, Alex
Rios, A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez. Some of my friends from the Yankees were also nice enough to donate some
autographed memorabilia, so we will also have autographed baseballs from Andruw
Jones, Jorge Posada, CC Sabathia and future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera.
Thanks for all your support, and I really mean that. We are
going to need your support this year.
Well, it’s almost over! I’m all packed as we finish up Spring Training here today and head to
Winston-Salem to face one of our Minor League teams tomorrow. Then it’s on to Cleveland for Opening
Day on Friday.
Here are the last
set of your questions before the 2011 season starts …
Q: Hey, Ozzie, greetings from Maracaibo. I’d like to see you in the playoffs again. I’m a big fan of you how manage, even though the last few years you’ve lost some games. Is your game a Caribbean style? — Eneil G. (Maracaibo, Venezuela)
A: I can only work with what I’ve got. Sometimes, the pieces they give me don’t fit the Caribbean style. But this year, I feel we have more better speed and there are going to be a lot of runners on base.
Q: I’m really interested in why Adam Dunn is batting third. I would think that with his high strikeout record and low batting average, that Paul Konerko would be better in that slot. Just interested to hear why you think differently. — Brian M. (Minneapolis, Minn.)
A: I think Dunn is around a .370 on-base percentage. But it was never
a choice for me between Dunn or P.K., it was a choice between Dunn and Alex Rios. I
felt more comfortable with the guys the way we have them. But anything can
change, although I hope I don’t change the lineup too much.
Q: Hey, Ozzie. I see the White Sox have one roster spot left open. Have you thought about giving that to Domingo Ayala? I hear he’s got unbelievable God-given talents. — Dale H. (Rockford, Ill.)
A: I would pay to have Domingo on my team, just so I
could see him dress up and make everyone laugh (haha).
Q: Who’s a better person — Luis Aparicio or Dave Concepcion? — Greg M. (Managua, Nicaragua)
A: They’re both good people. They treat me very well, and they’re both stars and I respect them a lot.
Q: Ozzie, I’m a Venezuelan lawyer with experience in sports and I’m doing my Master’s in Chicago! I want to work with the White Sox. Can you help me? — Pablo G. (La Guaira, Venezuela)
A: Well, I’d like to help you but that’s not my area of expertise. Send your info to the White Sox offices and see what they say. Good luck.
Q: What do you think of Lastings Milledge? I know he was a Cubs killer in Pittsburgh. I think he is a great defensive replacement in later innings. — Robert W. (Darien, Ill.)
A: I think if Lastings stays within himself and doesn’t try and do too much, he can help us — not only in late innings, but starting as well.
Q: What changes in the division’s balance of power demand your greatest attention? Will Jake Peavy make it OK uninjured? How are Dunn and Gordon Beckham adjusting? — Jeffery M. (Chicago)
A: I think every
year the AL central gets better. Yes, even the Twins and Royals got better. But
that makes it more fun competing against them. I hope Peavy makes it ok–we
need him. I think Dunn will be fine and Gordo should be ok, these guys just
want season to start already.
Q: Can Lastings Milledge be an everyday player for you guys? How did it go with Manny Ramirez last year? Take care. — Guillermo R.
A: I don’t think Lastings is going to be a regular because we already have three very good outfielders. Manny and I were fine. Really, he never gave me any problems, and I have a lot of respect for him.
Q: Hey, Ozzie, will your English Bulldog be at “Dog Day.” And does he bark at you in Spanish or English? (HA!) Have a great season. — Dave G. (Glenview, Ill.)
A: DH won’t be “Dog Day” because he usually humps everything he sees (hahaha). He speaks both
English and Spanish.
Q: Ozzie, who will be the next three Venezuelans in the Hall of Fame if everything stays on course? Do you hear Gaita? — Jose R. (Maracaibo, Venezuela)
A: Omar Vizquel, Miguel Cabrera, and after that I don’t know who has a real chance. I hear Gaita in December. But only in December (haha).
Thank you for all your questions since the website launch. They have been fun to read and
hopefully we can continue to do this once the season starts. Thank you to all the fans that came out
to Spring Training this year. We really appreciate your support.
Well … lets just say we have been a little busy over here in
Arizona. It’s coming down to the
end of Spring Training, and we as an organization have to make decisions based
on what we believe will give us the best chance to win. I want to say congrats to B-MO (Brent
Morel) for making the team. I
think this kid will have a good career in the big leagues, and hopefully he
helps us like I think he can.
Everyone seems ready to go; we just need to get everyone
healthy and stay with it all the way to Cleveland. Some final roster choices will be made soon, and I will keep
you all posted. Yesterday, we had
one of our Cubs-Sox games and I got to see my good buddy Rick Sutcliffe before
the game. Always great to see him,
but I have to be honest, whenever we play the Cubs anywhere it’s always a big
pain in the butt. People make it
such a big deal and there is always so much stuff going on!
Tomorrow I will be doing an interview with Esquire
Magazine. I’m very excited about
it. Very good magazine, and I enjoy the tough questions! Also, be on the lookout for an ESPN E:60 episode I
did down here in Arizona. I will
keep you up to date on when it airs. Should be very cool.
So that’s just a heads-up on what’s been going on down here
before we go to Cleveland, and in a way I will be with you guys in Chicago on
Opening Day, April 1. My Foundation is holding a viewing party for Opening Day at Public House
in downtown Chicago. I’m very
excited because this is the first of these kind of events we have ever
done. We will be doing a charity
raffle with a ton of great prizes, like signed baseball bats from Adam Dunn,
Alex Rios, A.J. Pierzynski and a bunch of other great prizes. The best part is 100 percent of the raffle
donations go straight into the Chicago Community, and I am very proud of
that. So if you are looking for
something to do for Opening Day, I hope you can make it out!
Thank you all for your support. Wake up and get your dreams; anything is possible!