Go, Marlins!

Fair-weather fans be damned

FRI 9/30

It began in earnest a few weeks ago. With injuries at catcher and shortstop and faltering on the mound, the Marlins saw their hopes of a wildcard playoff spot diminish. And then it came: "The Marlins suck." "They should leave town." "I knew they'd blow it." In the aisles and at the concession stands, on message boards and radio shows, Miami fans once again showed their true colors, leaping from the bandwagon in droves because their team wasn't winning and winning big. It's the benchmark of this city, reason to change the nickname to the Sunshine Fan State. Fickle is one thing -- Miami fans are worse than that, turning downright vicious even though the Marlins won more often than not and provided good times, win or lose. Help Miami shake its lousy-fan image and support the Marlins as they wrap up the season against the Atlanta Braves at 7:35 p.m. (6:05 Saturday; 1:05 Sunday) at Dolphins Stadium, 2267 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami. Tickets range from $8 to $195. Call 305-623-6100, or visit www.floridamarlins.com. --Greg Baker

Freeze Play

Beware of butt-ending

THUR 9/29

Global warming has certainly dashed any dreams of our children learning to skate on frozen lakes in Florida, but we do have heavily air-conditioned ice rinks to inspire youngsters to check a Canadian against the glass. Yes, hockey is back, and coach Jacques Martin is ready to lead the Florida Panthers through a long and (we hope) winning season. If you can't make it to tonight's 7:00 game against the Carolina Hurricanes, you can watch the Panthers take on the Tampa Bay Lightning -- the team that doused the Calgary Flames in 2004 to win the Stanley Cup -- at 1:00 Sunday. The puck will fly at the BankAtlantic Center (formerly known as the Office Depot Center), 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise. Tickets range from $20 to $250, but fans can donate cash or supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims in exchange for a $10-off discount voucher. Call 954-835-7825, or visit www.flpanthers.com. --Lyssa Oberkreser

New Moon on Monday

SAT 10/1

You can expect an invasion of Mars this month -- in the eastern sky, that is. The red planet will be hanging out with the moon and Venus and will be a mere 43 million miles from Earth by the end of the month, which is the closest it will come until 2018. While we have a new moon on Monday to look forward to, our friends in Spain and Portugual will enjoy an annular eclipse of the sun. Gaze at the skies from your own back yard, or head out to Bill Sadowski Park (17555 SW 79th Ave., Palmetto Bay), where the Southern Cross Astros will help you out from 8:00 to 10:00 every Saturday night, weather permitting. Call 305-661-1375, or visit www.scas.org. -- Lyssa Oberkreser

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