Marlins President David Samson said that the team has been "selling 'several hundred' season-tickets a day in the wake of signing three premium free agents," according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Samson yesterday said, "We should be in the top eight or nine in all of baseball for season-ticket holders. The reason we're not giving the numbers is the numbers will speak for themselves when you see 35,000 to 38,000 people here every single day." With less than four months to Opening Day, work on the Marlins' new ballpark is "91 percent complete." The retractable roof "is done, the field will be sodded in mid-January." Tickets for the April 4 opener against the Cardinals will be "difficult to obtain without being a season-ticket or suite holder." Samson said that "about 2,000 seats will be made available by lottery." Samson last summer said that the primary naming-rights deal "was in the final stages of negotiations between two companies." He indicated yesterday that "more suitors entered the picture due to the free-agent signings and surge of ticket sales." Samson also mentioned that the naming-rights deal "may not be finalized by Opening Day." Samson: "We were at the finish line and then we backed away. We feel as though with this team in this market and the interest that we have, we want to make sure we have the right deal and we don't want to do anything too early" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 12/14). In West Palm Beach, Joe Capozzi noted the Marlins originally "hoped to have that deal in place by this past Sept. 1." At some point after that, the team "was close." But its "rash of free-agent signings ... prompted the team to slow down." Samson "declined to say which company or companies the team was close with." But he "did say the decision to slow down was made in the past two weeks" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 12/13).
OPEN HOUSE: The Marlins said that they "expect to have their certificate of occupancy in a few weeks, and will be allowed to begin holding events at the ballpark when they get it." WTVJ-NBC's Franklin & Tester noted "several sections of the ballpark are sold out, including the MVP Suites, Diamond Club seats and Championship Suites. Marlins Dir of Business Communications Carolina Perrina said that "only 20 of 296 seats still remain behind the first and third base areas" (NBCMIAMI.com, 12/13). In Miami, Viglucci, Rabin & Mazzei report Miami-Dade County’s inspector general is "asking questions about the integrity of structural elements of the sliding roof on the new Miami Marlins stadium in Little Havana, after learning that a subcontractor allegedly falsified inspection reports on some critical welds." Samson said yesterday that the team "welcomed the IG's review." He said, "We want inspections. That's great for us. I hope he's looking at everything in the ballpark -- everything" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/14).
LOCAL FLAVOR: The SUN-SENTINEL's Davis noted three restaurants with "deep roots in the community will be serving local fare in the Taste of Miami area on the Promenade level on the third base side: Papo Llega y Pon, Latin American Grill and Don Camaron." Marlins Exec VP/Ballpark Development Claude Delorme said, "Each concept will feature a specialty item, including seafood, pork sandwiches and Cuban sandwiches. It is important that we provide a unique experience for our fans" (SUN-SENTINEL.com 12/13). In Miami, Barry Jackson notes the Marlins will "announce soon that a high-school baseball matchup between Columbus and Belen will be the first game played at their new ballpark, at 7 p.m. on March 5." Though the stadium "seats nearly 37,000, capacity for the high-school game will be 5,000." Each school will be "responsible to sell 2,500 tickets." The Marlins will "hold at least five events at the new stadium before the April 4 regular-season opener against" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/14).