Catcher Yasmani Grandal and first baseman Yonder Alonso, who were both in the starting lineup Friday, grew up in Miami and attended the University of Miami, where they played baseball together.
"It's crazy. The world takes a lot of turns and spins," Alonso said. "You never know what you're going to be a part of. It's definitely a lot of fun and very special to both of us."
The duo was excited to be back home and playing in front of friends and family. Alonso anticipates about 100 friends and family members to fill Marlins Park during the three-game series, while Grandal joked that he had so many ticket requests that he "might be playing for free this weekend."
For Alonso, it's his second homecoming in the big leagues, having played against the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium last year with the Reds. It's the first trip home for Grandal, who made his big league debut after the Padres recalled him from Triple-A Tucson on June 1.
Alonso and Grandal both said playing at Marlins Park, which was built on the site of the old Orange Bowl where the Hurricanes' football team used to play, holds a certain level significance.
"This means a lot to me," Alonso said. "I grew up here coming to the games and stuff, so it's definitely a lot of fun. ... It's a new stadium with not too much history in it, but in these grounds, there's a lot of history that was made by my old school. It's definitely special."
On top of playing against a team they grew up watching, on the grounds of the old Orange Bowl in front of family and friends, the former college teammates are relishing the opportunity to share this experience with each other as Major Leaguers.
"That makes it even better because all the fans, all the true Hurricane fans, they're all going to be here," Grandal said. "That's the good thing about Miami. The true fans are going to follow you no matter what. ... It's a feeling you can't really explain, especially with Yonder here."