With the World Baseball Classic nearing, it is time to show another ballpark to you that will host a WBC group. This time Marlins Park in Miami, home of the Miami Marlins. This state of the art ballpark will host group C with Colombia, Dominican Republic, Canada and the United States of America.
It will be the third time that Miami will host the World Baseball Classic. In 2009, Dolphin Stadium, Landshark Stadium or whatever you want to name it, hosted group 2 of the second round. In 2013, the stadium also hosted a second round group.
Dolphin Stadium used to be the home of the Florida Marlins from their inaugural season. But after Jeffrey Loria bought the club from John Henry (current owner of the Boston Red Sox), he started to whine about the fact that the club was losing money because of Dolphin Stadium, which was a football stadium originally. As the owner of the Montreal Expos, Loria used the same tactics; crying about the low attendance and shipping away his best players to “prove” that the stadium was a bad thing for baseball. He threatened several times to move the club and eventually, Miami-Dade County fell for his blackmail.
In 2009 the ground was broken as the construction started of the $634 million ballpark. The biggest share of the costs was paid by Miami-Dade County ($376 million). The city of Miami paid $132.5 million and by far the smallest part was paid by the Marlins ($125.2 million). The financing of the ballpark was quite controversial as money from tourist taxes was used to finance the ballpark.
In 2012, the ballpark opened its doors. And one cannot deny that it is state of the art and a good looking ballpark. Everything has been done to keep it environmental friendly.
The design is in what they call the contemporary architectural style, unlike the regular ballparks around MLB. The story goes that Jeffrey Loria sketched the design on a napkin and that was the basis for the design by Poplulous.
Everything in and around the ballpark is meant to represent Miami. In the parking garage the walls are covered with art deco tiles. The pavement around the ballpark is made of mosaic in the colors used by Catalan painter Joan Miro.
The main feature of the ballpark is the retractable roof. The rail on which the roof rolls runs along the stadium on both sides and is extended on the first base side as it rests on two giant columns on both sides. But since the start, there have been problems with the roof and the grass that was affected when the roof was closed. The sod of special grass named Bermuda grass only got four hours of light per day. Especially the grass in right field suffered from the lack of sunlight. In the meantime, a new type of grass has been laid down: Platinum TE Paspalum, which is better able to tolerate shaded areas.
But that wasn’t the only problem with the roof. In the first months of the 2012 season, several leaks were discovered in the roof. Leaks have progressively appeared under different spots as stadium workers kept plugging them by opening up the roof panels and patching the joints. According to GM Samson it will take time to work out the kinks.
The retractable roof is covered by a white membrane which absorbs the heat. It takes about 14-15 minutes to open the roof.
Another nice feature of the ballpark is the retractable outfield windows that offer a natural breeze when opened. It will take 6-8 minutes to open these window panels.
Next to all food and drink amenities, there is the Clevelander nightclub in left field. which has the theme of the Clevelander hotel in South Beach, which is located in a beautiful art deco building. The Clevelander in Marlins Park offers a swimming pool and seats right at the outfield fence, so you are right on the action.
Another nice feature of this ballpark is the bobblehead museum. Perhaps museum is a big word as it is nothing more than a big display case with a couple of hundreds bobbleheads.
The ballpark is also used for the Power Showcase, an annual event for talented young baseball players from all over the world in which they compete in a homerun derby.
Since the Marlins have signed a contract with Miami-Dade County for thirty years, the Marlins will not go anywhere anytime soon.
Here are some photos to give you an impression of this beautiful ballpark.