Astros' excitement builds at FanFest
This is a story about the one that got away.
And if it’s going to be a fish story, it’s only fitting that it would take place in the home of the Miami Marlins.
On April 13, 2012, The Astros headed to Miami for the first road trip of the year. Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez, a Miami native stepped to the plate in the eighth inning in that brand spanking new stadium and drilled the first pitch from Edward Mujica 389 feet, over the fence in left field for a two run homer to tie the game.
The Astros would go on to lose the game in 11 innings. But the outcome of the game isn’t the fish story, though, it’s the home run itself.
“That was one of the top three moments of my life.” Martinez said Saturday at FanFest.
Why? Because that was just the second game ever played at Marlins Park and Martinez became the first person to hit one out in the sparkling new building. A great moment for the hometown boy.
“When I hit it and I was rounding first, I was so jacked up that I tied the game,” Martinez said. “And then I got in the dugout and saw my Mom and Dad going crazy. I looked back and I was like ‘Oh shoot, that was the first home run!’”
So being a Miami native, the ball has to be in a special place, right? Nope, it’s the one that got away.
“The guy (who caught it) apparently wanted season tickets from the Marlins, two season tickets from the Marlins and the Marlins didn’t give it to him,” Martinez said. “So if the Marlins aren’t going to give him that, what am I going to give him?”
So the last time Martinez saw the ball was when it cleared the left field fence. He never got the guy’s name that caught it.
“I had a couple of friends say ‘hey, I know the guy, who it was,’ but how do I know that’s the real ball?” Martinez asked rhetorically. “So it’s more the memory that counts.”