Sun-Sentinel/Michael Laughlin

Beat Philly

I'm glad I wasn't alone. The Marlins game was on my TV last night, but the sound was down low and I was helping my son with a school project. You knew rookie Anibal Sanchez was pitching a great game by the way announcers Tommy Hutton and Rich Waltz and the crowd were reacting. The Hanley Ramirez pirouetting play at short in the eighth was a thing of beauty. I started listening to Hutton and Waltz and they called it a "gem" but didn't use the term "no-hitter." I didn't know -- and neither did Dontrelle Willis, according to Mike Berardino. Then Ramirez made that last play on a hard hit ground ball that had a bit of a tricky bounce and you KNEW it was a no-no. Anibal went crazy and tears streamed from his eyes and you felt like

crying a little right there with him.

Damn, this team is special. Whether they make the playoffs or not (and I'm not going to say anything else about that after the last time I mentioned it), this team already ranks right there with the 2003 championship squad. It's the youngest team ever and it's making history left and right with a payroll that might match Barry Bonds' personal travel budget. First team in baseball history to achieve a winning record after falling 20 games behind .500. First National League team ever to have two rookies (Uggla and Willingham) with 20 home runs or more (and Jacobs will likely make it three). A rookie-dominated rotation that is setting the league on fire, with two of them (Johnson and Olsen) vying for the freaking Cy Young Award. And a whole slew of Marlin first-year players are in the running for Rookie of the Year (at this point I think I'd go with Hanley Ramirez, just barely, over Uggla).

Dan Le Batard struck the right chord in this morning's column. In a way Sanchez's no-hitter was just like the rest of the season -- it snuck up on everyone. Hardly any fans were there last night to see it -- and I'm in no position to complain. I too was disillusioned with last year's fire sale. But the series beginning tonight is huge -- whipping the Phillies will give the Marlins a distinct edge in the wild card race. Le Batard quoted Willis asking an important question: ''You think we'll get any fans at all this weekend?''

You got me, Dontrelle. I'm getting tickets right now for Philadelphia. This unbelievable team deserves a full house.

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