Marlins' Ballpark 80% Complete, Expected To Open On Time And On Budget
Marlins officials and Hunt/Moss contractors yesterday conducted the latest tour of the team's new ballpark “now more than 80 percent completed,” and it is “shaping up as a gem of a facility for baseball,” according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Marlins President David Samson said, "This will be the first ballpark to come in on budget and on time in a long, long time. There will not be overruns in this building.” Samson indicated that he has “sat in each of the 33,500 seats installed so far (out of 36,000) to ensure there is no bad seat in the house.” The Marlins have been “meticulous in assuring fans will watch games in comfort -- a climate-controlled 75 degrees with the roof closed.” Marlins Exec VP/Ballpark Development Claude Delorme said that the roof will “likely will be closed for 70 or more games a season.” Samson said that “all railings in the park have been reevaluated since a fan died in a fall at Rangers Park in Arlington while reaching for a foul ball.” The team will become the Miami Marlins on Nov. 11, and the park “may or may not have a name by then.” Samson said that the Marlins “are still negotiating with more than one company for naming rights.” Davis notes the tour “coincided with 41-game ticket plans going on sale for the inaugural season” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/8). In Miami, Matt Forman reports “more than 95 percent of the interior walls have been constructed.” Samson indicated the crew is “starting to focus (its) attention on all the (white membrane) plaster -- the last piece of the exterior finishes.” Those “should be completed by mid-November.” Delorme said that the team “anticipates laying sod for the field in the second or third week of January, a process that will take four days.” The Marlins’ office staff is “expected to move into the stadium in mid-March” (MIAMI HERALD, 9/8).
THE REVIEWS: In Miami, Israel Gutierrez writes the ballpark “already has the quaintness of a Petco or Minute Maid Park.” Despite not being “in downtown Miami, there’s a connection to the city with the skyline view.” There is “a uniqueness to it, too, and that’s without the fish tanks behind home plate in place yet.” Gutierrez: “It’s hard to understand the appeal of the park until you experience it. It’s such a departure from the place the Marlins have called home since 1993, and it’s exactly what fans from other cities have been spoiled with for years” (MIAMI HERALD, 9/8). In West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda writes the facility “already has a cozy feel to it with a capacity of 37,000 when the standing-room-only count is included.” There are “splashes of color in blue, green, yellow and red quadrants of the stadium.” Still, Stoda writes the “old real estate refrain -- location, location, location -- kept creeping into my head.” The available parking “will accommodate fewer than 6,000 vehicles, and mostly will be reserved for season-ticket holders.” There are “shuttle-bus routes planned from the remote lots, rail stations and downtown Miami, but it's not at all difficult to imagine traffic jams before and after games on residential streets as fans attempt to access or leave the stadium to get on or off the nearby highways.” The Marlins “don't have a Wrigley Field or the surrounding environs of a Wrigleyville,” but they are “about to embark on a new beginning in what appears will be a beautiful stadium” (PALM BEACH POST, 9/8).