Former Marlins closer Heath Bell didn’t get booed in his first visit back to Marlins Park as an opponent. Taking advantage of Arizona’s day off, Bell bought a ticket in the upper deck Thursday and watched the Marlins play the Cincinnati Reds.
“Fans didn’t notice me,’’ he said Sunday. “Probably because I wasn’t wearing a hat. I had fun. I moved around, went to The Clevelander.’’
Bell didn’t pitch in Arizona’s three-game series that ended Sunday. That disappointed his new teammates who had teased him about their eagerness to watch the fans react as Bell jogged in from the bullpen.
Bell was booed often last year with the Marlins. He signed a three-year, $27-million contract and then lost the closer’s job by the All-Star break, blowing eight saves in all last season.
He finished the season with a 5.09 ERA and 19 saves. He also clashed with manager Ozzie Guillen and some teammates and was traded in October.
“I came here during the World Baseball Classic (in March), and I got booed,’’ said Bell, who pitched for Team USA and was an All-Star closer with the San Diego Padres from 2009-11.
“I got booed again in San Diego this year. I’m used to getting booed now in places I’ve played, and I expect no different if I come jogging in (at Marlins Park).
Bell said he often wonders how much the Marlins might have improved this year if owner Jeffrey Loria hadn’t broken up the team.
But he said he was taking the advice of Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson and not commenting about what he thinks went wrong last year with the Marlins.
“Gibby told me every great player has a bad year and the best thing a player does is not talk about the bad year,’’ he said. “Besides talking a little to the press here and there, I don’t even think about last year.’’
This weekend’s series was the only series for the Diamondbacks at Miami this season.
Rare way to lose: Gerardo Parra’s home run on the first pitch of Saturday’s game accounted for the only run in the Marlins’ 1-0 loss to the Diamondbacks. The last time a major league team lost 1-0 on a first-pitch home run was Sept. 14, 1993, when Carlos Garcia of the Pirates connected on Marlins pitcher Chris Hammond’s first pitch. That game ended in six innings at Joe Robbie Stadium.
The last time a first-pitch home run in the top of the first inning held up as a contest’s only run in a nine-inning game was Sept. 2, 1963, when Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds homered on Mets starter Jay Hook’s first pitch at the Polo Grounds in New York. That was the first of 18 career leadoff homers for Rose, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Marlins lost 1-0 on Aug. 14 when Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a home run on Josh Johnson’s second pitch.