On April 14, the night when the Marlins thumped the Braves to take sole possession of the National League East, a division that by all most prognostications was the birthright of those selfsame Braves or the Mets or the reigning World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, ESPN.com took a poll: Which major league team's fast start was most surprising? Given the Mariners' Lazarus act this season, and the Blue Jays' quick lead in the cutthroat plutocracy that is the American League East, the Marlins' jump out of the gates, including the first 4-0 start in team history, will have to settle for the third-most surprising start. Beats the hell out of being, say, the Nationals, who were expected to suck and - surprise! - have done nothing but.
Still, the night is early. If you're going to waste precious brain space caring about Dan Uggla, Josh Johnson, and the rest of these bargain-bin bombers, wait 'til the Phils roll through with a three-game set, beginning Friday at 7:10 p.m. at Dolphin Stadium (2269 NW 199th St., Miami). On Saturday, Cuban-born pop star Albita will perform as part of Super Saturday following the game. Tickets start at $12. There will be thousands available at the box office; reserve them, if you must, at florida.marlins.mlb.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 954-523-3309.
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photo: Florida Marlins, Denis Bancroft
Fri., April 24, 7 p.m.; Sat., April 25, 7 p.m.; Sun., April 26, 7 p.m., 2009