If a Marlin gets a hit and no one is there to see it, does he reach base? That was the philosophical query encountered by the Marlins and the Nationals, the two bottom feeders of the National League East, on Wednesday afternoon.
Forget the announced attendance of 10,121 for the Marlins-Nationals game at Dolphin Stadium. When Byung-Hyun Kim threw the first pitch, 375 spectators could be seen. That is what happens when two of the worst teams in baseball meet for a 1:05 p.m. game on a 91-degree September afternoon.Some guys play for championships, for fame, and for the throng of adoring fans. When you play in Florida, you have to find other motivation to play at your top level. For the Marlins and Todd Linden, it's Pollo Tropical.
"It's a little sad when you can pretty much count how many people are in the stands," Marlins first baseman Mike Jacobs said. (...)
Those in the thinning crowd - if it can be called that - who stuck with the Marlins past 5 p.m. were rewarded in the 12th when Jacobs hit a leadoff double, setting the stage for Linden two batters later. Linden wanted to end what Jacobs called the "long, hot, drawn-out game." Said Linden: "My stomach was rumbling; I was hungry. I needed to get something done."
He jumped on a 1-2 pitch and sent a chopper past pitcher Saul Rivera that scooted between the scissoring shortstop and second baseman. The Marlins swarmed Linden at first base and his mind flashed to the post-game grub - "Pollo Tropical," he said - as Jacobs crossed home plate with the winning run.