For a minute it looks as if he may be right. In the bottom of the fourth, with two men on base, Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell hits a pitch down the left-field line, over the wall, for a home run. Except that after Lowell has already rounded the bases, seemingly tying the game, the umpires rule that it isn't a home run. Foul ball. Marlins skipper Jeff Torborg argues the call and is promptly thrown out of the game by the umps. The crowd rushes to his defense, or perhaps just takes the opportunity to vent its frustration at what may just be the saddest opening day anyone could have imagined, by hurling everything from Marlins refrigerator magnets -- handed out as a premium before the game -- to plastic beer bottles. It's an ugly and dangerous scene. Play is suspended for ten minutes while ballplayers scurry for cover and ground crews clear garbage from the field.
When the game resumes, Lowell completes his at-bat, grounding into an inning-ending and rally-killing double play. The Marlins will go on to lose big, 10-2. Stanley, who has seen it all before, is philosophical, if a little biased. "You know," he says, still thinking about Lowell's home-run bid, "it looked good to me."