A Review of the New Marlins Ball Park By Lori Martini
Lori Martini (Guest Baseball Writer- and @lorimartini on twitter)- I touched down in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Not only was it a little cheaper and more cost-effective to simply rent a car, but I did have a place to stay with friends which always makes a trip more enjoyable. Hotels in Miami are outrageous and I couldn’t find a reasonably priced hotel that didn’t give me anxiety of potentially having bed bugs, my biggest nightmare (at least in hotels). Driving is most certainly interesting here. I’m from NYC and I can drive anywhere, but these people are ridiculous. They either drive way too slow or excessively fast and erratic. The highways are 4 to 5 lanes of traffic and your exits sneak up on you. People don’t signal and cut across several lanes of traffic without looking, which somewhat reminds me of driving in LA. Miami during rush hour is highly congested and you can’t park anywhere. Everything is a parking garage. It’s cluttered and populated like NYC, yet spread out like LA to get anywhere.
I’m not a fan of public transportation, but I’m told that it isn’t sufficient enough especially trying to get to the new Marlins Park. It doesn’t help matters when there’s no signage on the highway indicating where to exit for the stadium. You can somewhat see it from the highway which resembles a space ship looking stadium from the distance. To make matters worse, the city of Miami clearly wasn’t thinking when they built it without factoring in ample parking for those who would be attending the game or event. Parking passes must be purchased in advance online in order to access the lot. We ended up parking in a lot where there was dirt and grass. This isn’t going to be fun when it starts raining and becomes car quicksand.
I am now outside the stadium and I’m taking it all in. There is a tile walkway path leading to the entrance. There was a stage set up outside with a band playing latin music. There was also an act performing when the game ended. There was a fan ticket zone kiosk next to the ticket window. I’m not quite sure what that is. I’m assuming it’s similar to when you want to buy movie tickets in advance without having to wait on the line. There were tons of promotions going on where you can get free stuff: T-shirts, bags, etc. Chevy, radio stations and the typical sign up for the newspaper tents were propped outside. Being that I’m the queen of free stuff, I took full advantage. I believe I have about 6 free shirts from different vendors/radio stations and such along with two tote bags and an unsharpened pencil.
I walked in the gate through security and then an escalator or stairs is to be taken in order to get to the field level. The giveaways are handed out at the escalator and had I not asked for my promo, a magnetic schedule, it would not have been handed to me. Apparently since it was only an exhibition game they didn’t not have any programs for me to purchase. I’m thinking this is because they were unprepared. There was a colorful painting hanging above the rafters when I walked in. The guest services desk and Bobblehead museum were there behind home on the promenade (field level). My favorite thing about the park is the Bobblehead museum, which is really a bobblehead case. They are going to run out of room if they intend on adding bobbleheads from each team as seasons pass, which looks like their intention. I’m hoping to get my bobblehead added in the mix.
They have your typical fan fare: hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, popcorn, ice cream, peanuts, cracker jacks, etc. They also have a Taste of Miami section which is in the outfield on the 3rd base side (red section) behind Sir Pizza. If you don’t look, you will miss it because it’s hidden. Prices for food are similar to NY: Beer $9, Pizza $10, Fries $5, Pretzels $4.25, Water $4, Soda $4.25. Hot Dogs are $4, which is considerably less than Citi Field’s $5.50 which is most in the majors. I think the best deal is the $8 bottomless souvenir cup at Marlins Park, though I try to avoid drinking soda. The ceviche is $10 and it’s pretty good considering you’re at a ballpark. I also had the Cuban sandwich, $9.25 which comes with a few plantain chips (they need to be more generous with those) that was pretty tasty. Whenever I go to the different ballparks, I like to drink the local beer on tap and they had Landshark Beer that is made by Jimmy Buffet and I enjoyed that. This is coming from the pickiest eater/drinker in the majors, yours truly. I did notice that the food vendors are owned by Levy Restaurants as opposed to Aramark or National Sports Services that usually handle stadium catering and concessions.
Behind home plate the level is coded in blue as you walk further towards the outfield it changes to yellow on the first base side and when you hit home run territory it turns green until you wrap around the third base side and it becomes red.
Bathrooms are pretty standard, but in this day in age I would have thought that everything would have automatic consistency throughout. This was not the case. There weren’t any toilet seat covers to be found, but they did have automatic flush. The soap dispenser was automatic, but then you have to press the faucet to wash your hands and pull the paper towels to dry them. Everything should be automatic. Citi Field is consistent, where in Yankee Stadium you have to manually flush. I’m not Howie Mandell on being a germophobe, but this should be considered. I’ve seen people do some pretty disgusting things.
As a fan I’m all for the different celebrations of the home run. I was always SO excited as a kid to watch the Home Run Apple go up at Shea Stadium. In Minute Maid Park, the train containing oranges on steroids revolves around the stadium when an Astros player hits a bomb. Bernie Brewer slides down the slide in left field (when available) at Miller Park when the Brew Crew go yard. The south side of Chicago have these lollipops on the scoreboard that light up and shoot off fireworks at US Cellular Field when a White Sox player hits one out. The Marlins get an A for effort, but an F for execution of their home run contraption. This monstrosity is not only 5 times bigger than it should be, it is quite the eye sore. I can only imagine how ridiculous this thing might look when “Mike” Giancarlo Stanton or Logan Morrison hit one out, though there might not be that many balls exiting the stadium which resembles the Rogers Center in Toronto when the roof is retracted. In addition, the hideous lime green outfield walls make this more of an eye sore than the artistic vision they were supposedly going for.
Alex Rodriguez hit a shot to dead center and it was only a double thanks to the deepest part of the park being 418 feet in center field. Right field is 335 feet deep and the wall is oddly high in foul territory. The dimensions seem similar to Citi Field before the new renovations for 2012. I’m thinking Marlins Park will now assume the name of “the place where home runs go to die.” The seats situated in field level in outer right field seem to be nosebleeds. The home run territory in right field seems to resemble Citi Field’s Pepsi Porch. I sat in section 25 and I could not see any plays or balls hit to left field. If you’re sitting under an overhang behind home, you will have partial views for pop-ups. My friend sat in section 305 upper outfield seats and he could not see the right field corner. It seems with all this money spent on a new stadium that’s more intimate than Sun Life Stadium that they’d figure out how to make it more streamlined for fans. That aside, this stadium is 50 times better than when they played at Sun Life. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate Marlins Park 6.5 for overall experience.
*** Thank you to our Guest Writer- Lori Martini for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about Lori Martini and her story click here, you can also follow Lori on Twitter (@shortfilmcaught, or @lorimartini) and check out her song ‘Believe’ here on Youtube (Justin Turner of the Mets walkup song and was recently heard on VH1′s House of Consignment)*** Also read Lori’s Citi Field Expert Interview Article http://mlbreports.com/2012/03/30/citifieldexpert/
Here are some more weblinks to check out Lori Martini’s brilliant work as a Songwriter/Actress and Producer www.lorimartini.com www.twitter.com/lorimartini www.twitter.com/shortfilmcaught or www.youtube.com/007martini.***
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Posted on April 4, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged alex rodriguez, Aramark, astros, Believe, citi field, Fort Lauderdale, Howie Mandell, justin turner, logan morrison, Lori Martini, miami, miller park, New Marlins Ball Park Review, new york mets, Shea Stadium, Sir Pizza, Sun Life Stadium, twitter, Us celliular field, Vh1 house of consignment, white sox. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.