For the past four years, Eloise Card and her daughter Donna Glendenning have watched every Miami Marlins game together, from first pitch to last out — more than 600 and counting. From 34 miles apart.
“If I don’t call her by the first pitch, she’s calling me,” says Glendenning. “She’ll start out the conversation always with, ‘Well, what do you think we’re going to do tonight?’ ”
Card lives in the Westwood Lakes neighborhood of Southwest Miami-Dade, while her daughter lives in Fort Lauderdale. They started watching Marlins games together telephonically in 2009.
“We would just call each other back and forth about the game, and then all of a sudden we started just talking to each other through the whole game,” Card says.
Connecting over the phone allows them to enjoy the games together from the comfort of their own homes. At 91, Card isn’t as mobile as she used to be. Glendenning, 66, uses an oxygen tank due to her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Since the Marlins were founded 20 years ago, these two have been fiercely loyal fans, which sets them apart from much of Miami. This year, the Marlins have been the team with the lowest attendance in the Major League, according to ESPN.
“Miami’s always had fair-weather fans. Miami’s loving the Heat because they’re kings. But they never seem to cheer on the underdog,” she says. “[The Marlins are] a young team that has a lot of raw talent that needs to be cultivated. And when they’re more mature, they will be an awesome team.”
Some of their favorite players are the young ones: 21-year-old Jose Fernandez, 23-year-old Giancarlo Stanton and 24-year-old Adeiny Hechavarria.
These devoted fans have actually never watched a game together at Marlins Park. Glendenning, who can get around with a portable oxygen tank, says she’d like to change that.
“I ask my mom, do you want to go to a game? ‘Oh no, I don’t want to go down there,’ (she says, but) I want to take her. I’ve got to convince her.”
Card says she would like to go if it weren’t for the hassle of driving in crowded streets at night. “I’m old, and it’s easier to sit here.”
They’ll finally get that experience this weekend. The Marlins will be sending cars to pick up Donna and Eloise from their homes and provide them with seats at Sunday’s game against the Nationals.
Glendenning got into baseball when her son started playing as a 6-year-old. She learned the ins and outs of the game by serving as the scorekeeper for his high school team.
Card, a football lover all her life, got into baseball more recently. She quickly became a nut for the game’s arcane statistics, her daughter says. Card keeps her computer next to her television, and looks up stats during the games.
“My mother has always been just obsessed with numbers. And I often joke with her and tell her, you would have been a great scorekeeper,” Glendenning says. “She stays up on it all. She knows it better than I do.”
When a game gets tense, they yell and scream as if they’re at the ballpark. Card, in particular, can get rowdy, occasionally swearing at players.
“She’s a pistol,” Glendenning says. “Before the pitch happens, she’ll say, ‘Come on now, you gotta strike him out, strike him out!’ And he’ll strike him out. She’ll say, ‘See, he heard me!’ ”