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Frail Muhammad Ali makes emotional appearance at Marlins Park

April 6, 2012 - Miami

The ceremonial first pitch at a new baseball park is often a star-studded event aimed at opening a new arena in style.

But when the Miami Marlins managed to secure legendary boxer Muhammad Ali as the surprise guest at their newly opened stadium, MLB bosses thought they were on to a crowd-pleasing winner.

But sadly when the 70-year-old boxing legend was wheeled out for the ceremony last night, the rousing reception quickly turned to hushed silence when the great man's ailing health became all too apparent, the Daily Mail reports.

Seventy-year-old Ali, flanked by Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, appeared visibly frail and uncomfortable in front of shocked baseball fans

Ali has suffered from Parkinson's Disease since 1984. He was transported on to the pitch very slowly in a cart, his arms shaking heavily as Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria clutched his hand and held his shoulder.

The Miami Marlins stadium announcer attempted to generate a crowd response during Ali's appearance, but bewildered baseball fans instead looked on with sadness and apparent discomfort at the great man's clearly deteriorating health.

Ali met baseball officials and players during the brief appearance.

The distressing scene eventually came to an end when shortstop Hanley Ramirez took the ball from Ali's shaking right hand and the game was allowed to begin.


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