Somewhat improbably, the Clevelander bar in the outfield section of Marlins Park has become one of the most electric Miami Heat watch parties during the NBA playoffs. Reports of loud cheers from the Clevelander during crucial moments of the Eastern Conference Finals got one beat reporter thinking, do the Marlins know they are getting second billing inside their own building?
The Palm Beach Post asked Tuesday in advance of Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Marlins have noticed, and they are not exactly cool with it.
"You can tell when there's a Heat game, there's nobody by our window," closer Heath Bell said of the window in the Marlins' outfield bullpen. "I know I got annoyed the last couple of times because it was 'Let's go He-eat!' I was like, 'Let's go Marlins!' I was yelling back at them."
"I was like, 'Wow, we could use some cheering like that,'" he added. "I know the Heat is in the playoffs and trying to get a championship, and they'll probably be like that with us when football starts. I understand fans are passionate but you're at a baseball game."
Bell is quickly establishing himself as the leading local critic of Marlins fans. Last week he openly complained about Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton's poor showing in fan All-Star voting. He does have a point, though. Who goes to a baseball game in order to watch a basketball game? The $50 cover at the Marlins Park Clevelander is not exactly a bargain (nor are the pricey Clevelander drinks).
Not that the Marlins haven't found a way to have fun with Heat games. According to the Post, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen consoled reliever Steve Cishek (a Celtics fan) after a bad outing by telling him the Celtics were winning Game 6 of the ECF.
"I walked in (to the clubhouse after the game) and they're down by 20. I said, 'You lied to me!' He said, 'Yep. I just wanted to make you feel better.'"
Until the Marlins get to the World Series, though, they don't really have a leg to stand on if they want to complain about another local team getting more attention. Miami can be a front-runner town, so the only way to top a winner is by winning more.