Every six years or so it seems the Florida Marlins turn a cast of unwanted characters and hot young prospects from a bottom-feeder into a World Series contender. It worked when the Marlins won their first World Series in 1997 and again in 2003 — which means they’re about two years overdue.

2012 Washington Nationals schedule

With this year’s squad plodding through a dismal campaign and currently 18 games out in the National League Wild Card race, now seems like the perfect time for a Marlins make-over.

The Marlins debut their new $515 million retractable-roof stadium next season, and they’ll do so with a new name on MLB’s opening night.

The Miami Marlins will throw out the first pitch of 2012 at their sparkling new ballpark against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 4, MLB announced Wednesday.

The Marlins will also host a pair of exhibition games against the New York Yankees on April 1 and 2. The new stadium sits on the site of the Orange Bowl, which served as the home field for Satchel Paige and the minor league Miami Marlins in the 1950s.

April 5 will feature Washington at the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, Toronto at Cleveland, Boston at Detroit, Atlanta at the New York Mets, and Los Angeles at San Diego. Everyone else opens up on April 6.