Monday, September 15, 2008

Mermaids Unveil Monthly Calendar 

Posted by James at 8:00 AM ET

Marlins' dance crew gave away 10,000 copies on Friday

By Alden Gonzalez
It's only fitting that the Mermaids make a 14-month calendar when there are only 12 months in a year.

They always overwork.

And guess what the 18 beautiful ladies -- who can be seen during Marlins games at Dolphin Stadium -- are doing in this 16-page calendar?

Working out and training -- go figure.

"Way too many hours," said Alexis, pictured for February 2009 in the Mermaids' first month-by-month calendar, which will be given solely to the first 10,000 fans at Friday night's Nationals-Marlins game. "We practice three times a week, and we practice four hours. Plus, we have 81 home games."

Not to mention about 250 community events a year.

"We don't get a break," the third-year Mermaid added.

Well, Thursday night could've been seen as a break, sort of.

At Nikki Coconut Grove, the Marlins unveiled their 2008-09 calendar in style. At the trendy nightclub, which opened earlier this year, the Mermaids got to celebrate an achievement that took nearly 150 man hours -- estimated by director of in-game entertainment Larry Blocker -- and two to three months of preparation.

Marlins Mermaids

But before enjoying the end result, they had to work, of course.

The 18 Mermaids walked the runway while modeling outfits from three high-end designers and performed dance routines in front of a crowd said to be double what they produced at last year's fashion show.

While the calendar's glamorous photos of the Mermaids doing dumbbell workouts, riding the Stairmaster and performing several other gym-related exercises symbolize the hard work these girls put in throughout a full year, the increased number of people in attendance represents the results that work has produced.

Back in 2003, the Mermaids became pioneers by being the first dance crew in the Major Leagues. And with this calendar, they keep building on what could eventually evolve as a new trend in the bigs.

"We're beginning traditions: our annual auditions, our summer camps, being involved in the community," Mermaids choreographer and coordinator Jose Guerrero said. "People are expecting us a lot more."

The audience spent most of the night cheering, while the Mermaids performed to a wide variety of hip-hop and house music in petite bikinis and stylish evening wear, but a small chorus of boos were obvious when Guerrero was introduced.

That came from a joking mob of guys jealous about his day job.

"Hey, don't hate because I get to work with all of these beautiful ladies every day," Guerrero jokingly fired back.

What resulted afterwards was a moment the Mermaids had been desperately awaiting ever since the seemingly endless photo shoots a few months back. Finally, a black sheet was removed to reveal the first Mermaids month-by-month calendar.

And the person who ended up on the cover was probably the last Mermaid who expected it.

Marlins Mermaids

Otmara, pictured on the front and for November 2009, sitting on a workout bench in a black-and-gray outfit, is in her first year with the Mermaids. A year that saw her get put on probation a few times because of her weight. She dieted, by eating greens and meat for breakfast on a regular basis, and ended up losing 10 to 15 pounds in a period of about two months.

So late Thursday night, when her disbelieving eyes saw her picture gracing the cover, was the culmination of a Mermaids' comeback story.

"This is what I worked hard for all year, and it feels great," Otmara said. "It's my rookie year, and this is my first fashion show and first calendar.

"It's crazy."

Crazy is probably what a lot of people around the Major Leagues thought six years ago, when the Marlins decided they'd put in an all-girl dance crew to perform at their baseball games.

But crazy may have been just what Miami needed.

"When you're in an unorthodox market, you have to do things that are unorthodox," Blocker said. "We're in Miami. We're flavor, we're spice, we're hot!

"Every year, you have to take it a step up. This year, we made a 14-month calendar, and you never know what's in store for next year."

[Florida Marlins Mermaids]

Labels: , ,