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Morning Mail: Marlins open new stadium the only way they can — with Brazilian dancers, alcohol, and Muhammad Ali

Apr 5, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

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Were you as uncomfortable as I was watching Muhammad Ali participating in the opening pitch ceremony at Marlins Park? I’m sure that Marlins owner Jefferey Loria figured that an appearance by Ali would make for an inspiring image for his park’s opening night, but instead it was more of a tragic one: Ali has never looked more helpless and fragile due to the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. Ali was chosen no doubt because of his strong ties to Miami, where he often trained.

Reaction on Twitter was as you’d expect:

Watching Ali tonight made my heart ache.

Here’s video on the Marlins’ web site (MLB won’t let you embed it … wonder why?), and you can see how the crowd is hushed at first when Ali rides out onto the field. The announcer finally elicits an “Ali! Ali!” chant, but it all just feels awkward. This isn’t the 1996 Olympics, when Ali struck a much more inspiring figure. It was a clever way for Loria to make an appearance without getting booed, however.

Meanwhile, champagne servers hung from chandeliers, players were introduced with Brazilian dancers, and there were bikini babes in the pool. It’s as if the day was planned by the elite officials from The Hunger Games. Are you not entertained?

source: Getty Images

The Cardinals won, 4-1.


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