The countdown is under way for the much-anticipated relaunch of this franchise, which entered the National League in 1993. Starting at 4:30 p.m. ET, visitors to Marlins.com will see only the countdown splash page. Beginning at that time, the suspense will build for the 9 p.m. festivities ushering in a new Marlins era.
All Miami Marlins Unveiling events can be seen live on the splash page. They will start with a red-carpet welcome and Miami-style celebration inside the new ballpark. Featured will be a private concert by "Mr. Worldwide" Pitbull, a player fashion show of the new uniforms and a presentation from team owner Jeffrey Loria.
At 9:50, there will be interviews with manager Ozzie Guillen, players and executives, plus the first look at new team merchandise. The Marlins.com Shop will be ready for the first online orders of all of the must-have authentic and replica gear, and at 11 p.m., fans can enter the ballpark and buy merchandise there as well.
It is going to be a huge night for Marlins fans and for MLB trend-watchers alike. You'll even see Marlins.com change right before your eyes during the show -- new logo, new uniforms, new manager, new retractable-roof ballpark, new beginning.
Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, said before his Safe at Home Foundation benefit on Thursday night that there is a buzz and anticipation over the relaunch.
"I was with Jeffrey Loria the other day. It's important that they had a new stadium, I don't think there's any question," Torre said. "I've been down there a number of times with my teams to play baseball, and more times than not, you had rain interfering with what was going on. Now that they have the roof, I think people down in South Florida can make plans to go to a ballpark and know they are going to see a ballgame.
"Plus, they have some talent down there. I don't think there's any question. And now that they have opened their new ballpark, I'm sure they're going to be going after more."
Scheduled to join Guillen are former manager Jack McKeon and players Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, Omar Infante, Josh Johnson, Logan Morrison, Ricky Nolasco, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Gaby Sanchez. Executives attending in addition to Loria will be David Samson, Jeff Conine and Tony Perez.
Players will be modeling the new styles, just in time for the start of holiday shopping season. In addition to the Marlins.com Shop and at the new ballpark, fans can find the new gear from Friday through Sunday throughout South Florida, including three new stores.
Johnson and Nolasco will visit the new store in Sawgrass Mills (12801 W. Sunrise Blvd.) from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Infante, Gaby Sanchez and Ramirez are slated to appear at Dolphin Mall (11401 N.W. 12th St.) from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Buck and Anibal Sanchez will visit the Marlins en Miami Store (3701 S.W. 8th St.) from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday as well.
Aventura Mall (19501 Biscayne Blvd.) has also been added to the list of locations where Marlins fans can purchase new team merchandise.
The countdown is on for the grand reopening of South Florida baseball. The Miami Marlins await, and so does Opening Day at the new place in April. And while you wait for the unveiling, Marlins.com is also the source for 2012 tickets.