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SBD/April 5, 2012/MLB Season Preview
Pregame Festivities For Marlins' Home Opener Include Sounds Of Miami, Ali Appearance
Published April 5, 2012
FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY: MLB.com’s Sanchez & Frisaro note Ali’s appearance at Marlins Park “was in the works for two months.” Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria said, "I wanted to give the fans the sense that we're doing special things here. At first I brought him in to see the players, and they were very happy. A total surprise for everybody." Ali passed the game ball to 3B Hanley Ramirez as “chants of ‘Ali, Ali, Ali’ erupted” (MLB.com, 4/5). Loria said of Ali, "He's still the most famous person on the face of the Earth” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/5). Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, defeated Sonny Liston in Miami Beach in '64 to win the heavyweight title for the first time. But the AP's Tim Reynolds wrote on his Twitter account, "Outside of Miami, do many people know Muhammad Ali's connection to this city?" Baseball writer Keith Law wrote, "The fans seem as puzzled by the inclusion of Muhammad Ali as I am" (TWITTER.com, 4/4). Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Victor Contreras writes you “couldn't help but feel sorry for Ali as he sat slumped riding in a cart, his hands shaking violently from Parkinson's disease.” He seemed “unaware of where he was or what he was doing as he dropped a ball into Hanley Ramirez's hand” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/5).