“I WON THE RBI SCHOLARSHIP!!!”
That was the text message I received last Friday to kick off the weekend.
Immediately I was overcome with excitement as if it were I who had been awarded the scholarship, telling anyone who would listen how another one of our RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) players had been awarded Major League Baseball’s “RBI for RBI” Scholarship. Megan Diaz, a senior at Miami Senior High School and a third year RBI participant, became the sixth player in the past five years to be awarded this prestigious $20,000 national scholarship presented to notable members nationwide of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.
In her senior year, Megan served as captain for her high school softball team while excelling in the classroom, maintaining a 5.24 GPA and completing multiple advanced placement classes. Following the RBI season, Megan will be taking her talents up to Gainesville, FL, to attend the University of Florida, where she will study to become a pediatrician. Megan also has aspirations of walking on to the Gators’ softball team.
Personally, receiving the news about Megan was a thrill for me because I had the privilege of serving as her RBI coach for the Miami High School team (my alma mater) during the regular season, and then again on the All-Star team. Last summer Megan made the All-Star team and despite not having played in any of the first three games, she kept a positive attitude, supporting her teammates and staying prepared to contribute when the opportunity presented itself.
In the final game of the tournament, Megan entered as a late game defensive replacement in a tie game in right field. As the softball gods should have it, in the bottom of the 7th inning with two outs and a runner on second, the opposing team smoked a base hit to right field and with the winning run rounding third base, Megan fielded and came up firing. Players came spilling out of the dugout, but not because the game had ended, but because the runner was called out on Megan’s game-saving rocket throw! The game would eventually end in a tie, but it was the program’s first non-loss since 2009, and I could not have been more proud.
Megan shared with me that this was her most memorable moment playing RBI and when asked about it said, “I felt awesome as I ran into the dugout and saw my coach with a smile from ear to ear. I will never forget that moment!”
I hope she also knows that it was one of my most memorable moments not just as a coach, but also since becoming a member of the Miami Marlins.
For more information on the “RBI for RBI” Scholarship visit http://www.mlb.com/rbi
Every year on April 15, MLB and all 30 ball clubs recognize the legacy of Jackie Robinson. 42 is the only number that is retired throughout all of baseball, but on Jackie Robinson Day every player has the honor of wearing Jackie’s number. The Marlins saluted Jackie Robinson’s heroism and legacy with Marlins General Manager Michael Hill and MLB Hall of Famer Andre Dawson presenting a check for $4,200 to the Jackie Robinson Scholarship Fund, accepted by specials guest Norman Berman, bat boy of the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, along with Carol Guerrero and Kyle Rhoden, Jackie Robinson Scholarship Alumni. Carl and Norman both threw out the ceremonial first pitch to start the game. Impactful interviews were played during the inning breaks with Marlins players and a few RBI kids, highlighting what it means to wear 42 and how Jackie Robinson journey still has an impact on their lives today.
My first Opening Night was met by 34,000 Marlins faithful ready for another season of baseball in Miami. On behalf of the Marlins Foundation, I would like to wish everyone a happy 2013 baseball season!
A special thanks to some of our community partners who came out to support us: Miracle League of Miami-Dade, Best Buddies, City Year, Villa Lyan, Special Olympics Florida – Miami-Dade County, Breakthrough Miami, Easter Seals, Miami Children’s Museum, the Ann Storck Center, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Young at Art, Biscayne Nature Center, Seraphic Fire and Shake-a-leg Miami.
As you enjoy some photos from Opening Night, remember to value every moment this great game has to offer. Willie Stargell put it best:
When you start the game, they don’t say “Work ball!” They say “Play ball!”
Today we are excited to share this picture we received from Afghanistan of SGT Mickey Planker of the 806 MP company representing the Marlins overseas! The Marlins are happy to support our troops!
A reminder that every Monday is South Florida Heroes Monday. All active and retired military personnel, veterans, first responders and military citizens, as well as their families, receive complimentary tickets for Monday games in 2013!
I have been playing fantasy baseball since I had access to a computer in my middle school library. I remember in 1997 as a 7th grader taking Raul Mondesi late in the first round because I thought he would be a 30/30 guy (nailed it!). However, after over 15 years of fantasy baseball drafts, none have come close to matching the experience I had with my buddies this year.
Our league commissioner Cory McLaughlin attended the FS Florida Fantasy Auction this past season, bringing a refuse to lose mentality with the prodding of his longtime friend Seth Masson. The bidding went back and forth at the Clevelander inside Marlins Park for the most coveted item: a fantasy baseball draft in the Marlins home clubhouse with special guest Michael Hill, the team’s General Manager. The auction ended when the final out was recorded, and when all was said and done, our league commissioner came out victorious with the winning bid and a sizeable donation for the Marlins Education Fund.
Draft day was finally here and as we all arrived to the ballpark we entered the clubhouse for a catered meal in the club house dining area where the big leaguers eat. With our bellies full we were now ready to enter “the war room” as we took our places in the center of the clubhouse on giant leather recliners armed with pages of draft cheat sheets, pencils, paper, and our self-proclaimed knowledge of who was going to be this year’s breakout fantasy stud. This was many of our first attempts at a live draft and staying focused was key, but how can anyone stay focused when a big league G.M. walks into your draft in the middle of the first round? Mike Hill was, in a word, awesome! Telling stories of past trades in Marlins history, giving advice to the group on who he likes to breakout this year, and even heckling a couple guys for drafting certain players who he felt were a reach. Round after round Mike went around the room looking over peoples’ draft sheets and helping them decide between player x and player z, it was a real thrill for all of us.
In the end, thanks to the Marlins Foundation, we were definitely the only fantasy league in the world to host their draft in a big league clubhouse with an MLB General Manager present… hopefully I will hit on my first rounder like I did back in ’97; c’mon Tulo!