The Miami Marlins finally hit a home run with one of their endless ticket promotions. On Saturday, the team celebrated Legends of Wrestling Night at Marlins Ballpark during their 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies. And I must say the list of attendees reads like a who’s who of late 80’s and early 90’s WWF — which is what I grew up on — with a WCW legend and a few today’s wrestling sprinkled in to keep things interesting and current.
Among of the most notable names on hand were WWE Hall of Famers Bret “Hitman” Hart, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and that little pipsqueak manager Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart. But the man who made the biggest impact was former two-time WCW World Champion Goldberg.
For those who may not remember Goldberg or have never heard of him before, there were few bigger celebrities or personalities in the sports and entertainment from 1998-2000. He literally went from ex-football player (Atlanta Falcons) that nobody had heard of to pinning to Hulk Hogan in front of 40,000 fans at the Georgia Dome and having his face plastered all over television in a matter of six months.
It was a meteoric rise, even in the scripted world of professional wrestling, and he did by uttering two words, “Who’s next?” and utilizing two moves: the spear and the Jackhammer. Why did it work? Simple. Those moves looked like they hurt — and they probably did — and wrestling fan tends to cling on to anything that seems real. Also, they like catchphrases.
So that gives you a little idea of who we’re talking here, and it may make it a little easier to appreciate what the poor guy wearing the purple long sleeves went through on Saturday night. As you see in the clip, Goldberg handled the ceremonial first pitch duties prior to the game. Immediately afterwards, the guy wearing purple (likely a trained wrestler himself), who also served as the catcher, starting running his mouth a little bit, and Goldberg then planted him in the turf with the spear.
That was about as smooth and realistic as it can look, too. Credit to that guy for wearing it and selling it like a pro, and credit to the Marlins for thinking outside the box and coming up with a promotion that doesn‘t appeal everyone, but has a nostalgic and extremely loyal fan base.