Marlins' New Ballpark 60% Complete; Naming-Rights Deal Expected By April
The Marlins’ new ballpark is more than 60% complete “nineteen months after construction began,” according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. The ballpark's foundation is in place, and its “lights and 51-by-101-foot scoreboard” have been installed. Marlins President David Samson said, “The concrete is all poured, 90 percent of the masonry is completed.” Players yesterday took batting practice at the facility, which is scheduled to open March 1, 2012. The ballpark's first concession stand “will be completed within seven weeks.” The Marlins yesterday “installed the first seat, not far behind the visitor’s dugout.” A fan e-mailed Samson last month “suggesting the first seat be painted a different color than the others,” and the Marlins agreed. The first seat was painted red. All of the others in the 37,000-seat ballpark "will be blue." Jackson notes there are “many remaining assignments that will keep the construction crew busy,” including “finishing the retractable dome, which is more than half completed.” Crews will also be tasked with “installing the unique water-themed signature pieces: two 450-gallon aquariums behind home plate, and a 60-foot sculpture beyond the center field wall” (MIAMI HERALD, 2/16).
FISHING FOR A NAME: Samson yesterday indicated that the team “expects to have the stadium's naming rights sold around Opening Day.” Samson: "We've got the place where the name is going to go. The steel is already up. We're negotiating. I really want that done by the end of this first quarter -- so done by April -- and that's still the goal." The project is “still on time and on budget, and an estimated date of completion has been tentatively set, but that could change if South Florida experiences an active hurricane season.” Samson: "We'd like it done for March 1, because we want soft openings with college baseball games and pro exhibition games leading up to Opening Day" (MLB.com, 2/15). In Miami, Spencer & Navarro wrote it would “only be fitting if the University of Miami played the Marlins in the first official game seeing as its the site where the Orange Bowl once stood” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 2/15).
CONSTRUCTION ZONE: Miami's WFOR-CBS noted the “first of three segments of the Center Retractable roof truss has been de-centered and moved,” and the “second section of the Center truss erection has begun.” Interior walls are “approximately 85% constructed,” with final finishes “continuing throughout the year.” The main scoreboard video panels “have been erected,” and installation of “the Right Field Score Board Panel and fascia ribbon boards began last week” (CBSMIAMI.com, 2/15). Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria said, “The building is gorgeous and will be even more gorgeous as we keep adding the glass and steel and the paint, and eventually the infield and other surprises that will be in here" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/16).