07/08/10 10:27 PM EST
Marlins excited LeBron coming to town
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
Shortly after LeBron James announced that he would be signing with the Miami Heat, Marlins All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez gave the NBA superstar some recognition.
Minutes before the Marlins played the D-backs at Chase Field, Ramirez scribbled on a sign, "Welcome LeBron." Ramirez held up the sign for the Fox Sports Florida cameras.
The impact of the biggest name in the NBA promises to reach all sports in the market. In the past, former Heat center Alonzo Mourning took batting practice before a Marlins game. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra also has attended some Marlins games.
Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez certainly was excited to have James coming to town.
"It's going to be big. It's going to be huge," Rodriguez said. "Not only in Miami, but the whole area. I'm not a big [NBA] fan. But I always follow the playoffs. Regular season, once in a while.
"LeBron. Everybody knows who LeBron is. The good athletes, no matter the sport. You always follow the big athletes."
The Marlins have courtside season tickets to the Heat home games. And in Spring Training several players took advantage of them.
Outfielder Cody Ross attended a game, and noted Dwyane Wade has yet to come to a Marlins game.
Marlins reliever Burke Badenhop, an Ohio native, had hoped James would remain in Cleveland. Badenhop is two years older than James, and he played high school basketball when James was emerging in the state.
Badenhop average 14 points and seven rebounds a game in high school.
Even at a young age, James' name was known throughout the state, and he was the high school player of the year.
"He's two years younger than me. I don't know if I was a close second, or how it works [on being player of the year]," Badenhop joked.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.