Baseball fans in south Florida don't know what they're missing.
When rookie Anibal Sanchez tossed the first no-hitter in the major leagues in more than two years Wednesday night against Florida, the announced crowd was 12,561. The actual number of folks in the crowd might have been half that figure.
It was a typical night at the gate for the Marlins, who are averaging a little more than 13,000 fans per game after once again alienating their fan base last winter by gutting the big-league roster. But the group of talented youngsters the club got in return by trading away veterans has matured much faster than anyone could imagine.
Still in the hunt for the National League wild card, the Marlins have put together a potential powerhouse through astute drafting and dealing. They have four rookies in their starting rotation, all of whom have ace potential.
Sanchez was acquired from Boston, along with starting shortstop Hanley Ramirez, in the trade that sent right-hander Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell to the Red Sox. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco, another promising young right-hander, was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Juan Pierre deal (wasn't it enough that the Marlins stole Dontrelle Willis from the Cubs?).