Marlins Park Ready For Debut As Team Sets Franchise Record For Season-Ticket Sales
From being able to order food from the concession stands on a smartphone to a large Bobblehead collection featuring at least 600 figurines from all major-league teams past and present, Marlins Park "has a few interesting features most other major-league parks don’t have," according to Manny Navarro of the MIAMI HERALD. Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria said yesterday during a tour of the park, "I can confirm we’ll have an air conditioner blowing air to make sure the Bobbleheads actually bobble." He added, "We also plan to put (home run distance) markers beyond the outfield in the stands, so if a ball is hit beyond the fence you’ll have a good sense if it went 330 (feet), or 372 (feet), or 700 feet to the parking lot.” In addition to having a Wi-Fi connection available "all over the stadium (including restrooms), fans who order food from the concession stands on their phone will receive a notification to pick it up when it’s ready." Loria said, "You won’t have to wait in long lines anymore." Loria: "(This park is) about glass, field, concrete, paint and all of it fitting into the landscape. It’s mostly about form and function meeting each other and working together. I did not want to see us build a building that was a concrete mass. It had to be something that would fit into Miami’s plans, a beautiful building going forward, great contemporary architecture. The net result is what you see right here, and it worked beautifully." Meanwhile, the Marlins announced yesterday that producer Emilio Estefan "will anchor a 45-minute show before the season opener that will culminate with the debut of Marlins Tonight, a theme song written for the team by Estefan" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/1).
ANTE UP: SI's Ben Reiter notes the Marlins are "not the first moribund team to attempt to use a new stadium to change its fortunes," but given their "history of fan indifference and the sums involved, the scope of their wager is unprecedented." Team President David Samson does "not like to view what the Marlins are doing as a gamble, but he can't help resorting to poker terminology to describe their strategy." Samson: "We are all in." Reiter writes one "encouraging sign: By spring training Miami had already sold around 15,000 season tickets, surpassing the team's record of 10,000 in 2004, and only four of the park's 40 luxury suites were still available" (SI, 3/5 issue).