© 2012 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

04/02/12 7:00 PM ET

Opening Night show to stream live from Miami

La Russa and Co. to discuss season on MLB.com, Marlins.com

MIAMI -- Plenty of fanfare and festivities have followed the Miami Marlins for months.

The team is the subject of Showtime's "The Franchise" reality series. The Marlins have recently been featured on the cover of USA Today and Sports Illustrated. And they continue to receive national attention.

The time for talk is about to end, and on Wednesday night, it will be time to play ball when the Marlins face the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park.

The rebranding of the Marlins has been a trending story in Major League Baseball, and on Wednesday, fans will be given an opportunity to weigh in with their final thoughts before the regular season begins.

From 3-5 p.m. ET, a live pregame show, MLB.com/LIVE Opening Night presented by The Franchise: A Season with the Miami Marlins, only on Showtime, will be streamed on MLB.com and Marlins.com.

Marlins TV play-by-play voice Rich Waltz will moderate a star-studded panel during a remote show on the West Plaza of Marlins Park. Scheduled to appear are Tony La Russa, Frank Thomas, Jack Morris and Jeff Conine.

The Marlins and Cardinals will get under way at 7:05 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on ESPN.

"It means a lot for this organization, for Marlins fans, for baseball," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.

With a ramped up payroll, and the addition of All-Stars Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, the Marlins have emerged as a high-profile team. They draw a marquee opponent right off the bat, squaring off with the 2011 World Series champions.

Guillen, who managed the White Sox to the 2005 World Series title, has high expectations of the Miami squad. Guillen is used to the national spotlight, but many of his players aren't.

"I think it's great. It's something we've never seen," the outspoken manager said. "They've never had the privilege to do that. This is a big deal. I hope we play good and make those Marlins fans feel proud and appreciate the way we play."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.