The Marlins reportedly are "considering dumping" their multicolored, sea-themed home-run sculpture in left-center field, according to Tim Healey of the South Florida SUN SENTINEL. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter and the team recently hosted Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and the future of the home-run sculpture was among the "main topics of discussion." Jeter and the Marlins are "very much interested in removing it." Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs Dir Michael Spring said, "They look at it as being emblematic of the former owner." Healey notes moving the sculpture is "only in its early stages." Over the next few weeks, Spring said that the county will do some "legwork on how much it will cost to remove and re-install elsewhere." Spring will also speak to the sculpture's artist, Red Grooms, who would "need to be involved." The Marlins would need to "cover the cost of moving the 73-foot behemoth" that cost nearly $2.5M to build. It is "not clear how much the project would cost." Gimenez, like the Marlins, "doesn’t like the sculpture." He also has "not been a fan of most aspects of the Marlins for years." With Marlins Owner Bruce Sherman and Jeter in charge of the team now, Gimenez’ relationship with the organization "seems to have thawed" (South Florida SUN SENTINEL, 1/17). The sculpture has become a "lightning rod for fans." Some see it "screaming 'Miami,'" while others believe it is a "garish distraction" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/17).
TURNING A CORNER? The HERALD's Hanks notes Gimenez "boycotted Marlins Park for almost the entire time Jeffrey Loria owned the team." But yesterday he emerged from a ballpark tour by Jeter with a "customized Marlins birthday cake." This could "signal the sharp political turnaround under way for the new ownership even if fans are furious at Jeter’s roster moves" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/17).
The massive scoreboard for the new Bucks arena yesterday was "lifted to the rafters," and it took "about 20 minutes" for workers to raise the 71,000-pound structure into place, according to James Nelson of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The Daktronics-made scoreboard is "about twice the size of its counterpart" currently at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The scoreboard "won't be plugged in and lit up until March." Each side panel is "about 29 feet tall by 25 feet wide." The cost of the scoreboard "wasn't available" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/17). Bucks Senior VP Alex Lasry said that the four-sided scoreboard is "one of the 10 largest in the NBA and the largest center-hung scoreboard with equal-sized four-sided dimensions in the league." In Milwaukee, Rich Kirchen noted construction on the new arena is nearly 80% complete and "on schedule for completion, as required, by the end of July." The Bucks will "move their staff and equipment into the facility in August and the first public events are scheduled for September" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/16).
JUST DANCE: In Milwaukee, Nelson notes the Bucks promise the new arena will "include major improvements to the fan experience." The team last week brought in former Nets Senior VP/Event Marketing & Community Relations Petra Pope, who has 35 years of NBA experience, for an "evaluation" of the team's in-arena entertainment. Pope "took in rehearsals and live performances, including one of the biggest home games of the year, Friday night's sellout" against the Warriors. Pope was "diplomatic with her assessment after seeing the dance squad perform for the first time." Pope said that the "first thing she would change is the dancers' outfits." Pope: "You can be super sexy without the crop top and the shorts." She added Milwaukee is "more family friendly and we should be continually embracing that" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/17).