By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 13, 2007
MIAMI, Sept. 12 -- There were so few fans at Dolphin Stadium for Wednesday's game, a season ticket holder got thrown out for heckling the umpire too loudly.
In the fifth inning of the Florida Marlins' 5-4 victory over the Washington Nationals, home plate umpire Paul Schreiber gave the thumb to an unnamed man seated behind the plate who had been verbally abusive throughout the contest.
"The fan was chirping at the umpire," Nationals catcher Brian Schneider said. "There was no need for it."
The man was so loud, and the atmosphere so quiet, the fan could be heard saying "you don't make more than me" on the television broadcast as he was forced to leave. There were no more than about 400 fans in attendance at the game's peak.For Maxwell, Not Yet
Nationals Manager Manny Acta elected not to give former Maryland standout Justin Maxwell his first major league start Wednesday, despite resting a number of everyday players, saying he didn't want to overwhelm Maxwell with a debut against Marlins starter Byung Hyun Kim.
Kim, who has a 5.52 ERA, has an unorthodox, sidearm delivery and is also a right-hander.
Maxwell, a right-handed hitter and the team's fourth-round choice in the '05 draft, turned heads Tuesday when he hit a pinch-hit grand slam for his first big league hit in the Nationals' 13-8 loss to the Marlins.
"He might get a start or two before the year's over, but I don't think today's the best day," Acta said.Plenty of Good Seats Available
The three-day series between Florida and Washington at Dolphin Stadium drew a total of perhaps 3,000 fans, though the announced attendance was reported to be more than 10,000 every day. Monday's and Tuesday's games, both at night, drew about 1,200 each. Wednesday's matinee featured nearly 65,000 empty seats.
"Regardless of being in Florida and how nice and sunny it is, they need a retractable-roof ballpark," Acta said.
The Marlins are in yet another round of discussions about public funding for a new ballpark, this one proposed at the site of the Orange Bowl, which the University of Miami plans to leave after this season. The Hurricanes will play their games at Dolphin Stadium.