The two teams are almost poles apart, even beyond the two thousand miles that separate them geographically. One team made the postseason last year and is expected to do so again in 2018, while the other in another lengthy rebuild hasn’t tasted the playoffs in fifteen years.
Colorado is consistently in the top ten clubs to attend, which means that nearly three million fans attend Coors Field to watch the Rockies each year. Miami, on the other hand, has drawn the fewest viewers in all of baseball over the past decade.
Both teams, however, share a special anniversary today, having played their first ever games on March 5, 1993. The Rockies and Marlins were part of baseball’s first expansion in nearly fifteen years, when two teams were added. the two American teams. and National League.
That day, for twenty-five years, Colorado lost 3-0 to the Mets and Dwight Gooden, who not only knocked out the Rockies but also scored the first run of the game. Doc gave up just two base hits, including Andres Gallaraga’s single in the second inning that marked the first for Colorado.
The Rockies’ first home run in history would come the next day, when they lost again to the Mets at Shea Stadium. Outfielder Dante Bichette left Bret Saberhagen in the sixth inning, representing the only run in a 6-1 loss to the Mets.
The offensive problems disappeared once the Rockies played their first home game at Coors Field, which second baseman Eric Young christened on April 9 with a home run to open the bottom of the fifth. As would be the case consistently for the next two decades, a fight took place that day when Colorado beat the Montreal Expos 11-4.
Unlike the Rockies, the Marlins were able to open the season at home at Joe Robbie Stadium. They made the most of it, beating the Dodgers and former Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser six to three.
Florida outfielder Brett Barbarie scored the first base hit for that new franchise, and knuckle player Charlie Hough scored the first win. The first home run in the history of the Fish franchise would not come until nearly a week later, already nearly five thousand miles away.
All-Star catcher Benito Santiago hit that historic blast from San Francisco starter Trevor Wilson at Candlestick Park, but the Giants ultimately pulled off a four-to-three victory in that contest. More than a week later, Santiago would also become the first Marlins player to hit one outside his home park, when he faced future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux in a game the Braves won five to four.
Of the two young clubs, the Marlins were more successful in the early years. In fact, just five years into its history, Florida won a World Series Championship over the Cleveland Indians. They would win another five years later, defeating the favorites of the New York Yankees in six games.
Since then, however, it has been the Rockies who have enjoyed the success, culminating in a pennant a decade ago. Colorado has been a contender almost every season since, and has made the playoffs several times.
Many baseball experts are picking the Rockies to return to the postseason again in 2018, while almost everyone agrees that the Marlins have little chance of breaking even this year. But on this day, a quarter of a century ago, the two clubs were even dead.