We’re taking our talents to South Beach! And by talents we mean our startup blog and amateur photography skills; either way I’m sure Miami welcomed us. So far, Florida has been wonderfully warm and moderately wet (mostly because it rained from the time we entered the panhandle all the way until we actually got to Dade County). That being said, one can understand why Miami ALSO has a retractable roof AND air conditioning for its fans! Smart business minds. The stadium itself, however, was surprising underwhelming, just like the team that calls it home (sorry, Marlins fans… you know it’s true).
Miami Int’l Airport: I’m going to be kind of a snob here and say that Miami did a really weird job in their execution of this stadium. On the exterior it looks like it will be state of the art with the bells and whistles that the Miami market needs to be entertained. Well, as for a baseball venue it really just lacked a lot of character in my opinion. It resembles a lot of characteristics of an airport and I would be curious to see how many people would agree with me. There’s a funny story to go along with this, too.
When we entered through security, we approached an a lit up sign with an arrow pointing upwards accompanied an escalator symbol and the word “Main Concourse”. I say, “wow, this feels like an airport” to which Chad disagrees. As we travel up the escalator to the main concourse, I look around to a sterile concourse with white floors and more escalators ascending to higher levels. This was accompanied by massive windows in center field that resembled that of the windows you would see in the terminal of an airport that overlook the tarmac. Once again, “Dude, this looks a lot like an airport” to which Chad again disagrees. What great timing because we took a swift turn to out left to see the “Clear” logo. You know, the company that allows qualified users to skip through security lines at, yes, AIRPORTS! I smugly look over at Chad to which he then he mutters out, “ok, fine. It’s like an airport.”
Really, this would not bother me too much for other teams in markets with a little less flare (ie Tampa, Milwaukee, Minnesota) but it’s clear with a team that really doesn’t have much going for it other than the perennial slugger, Giancarlo Stanton (who in all honesty probably won’t be wearing his orange and white much longer) they should have done much more with the concourse design. At least add a little more vibrancy in your color scheme.
Wine & Dine: Though the concourse lacks the character you would expect, it definitely embellishes a key ingredient to that of the southern Florida culture – booze. Of course, you can find Anheuser-Busch products at nearly every concession stand in Major League Baseball. Many stadiums, however, do not have the ability (or maybe ever want/need) to sell cocktails to its fans in the non-premium seating areas. Ha! That is most definitely not the case at Marlins Park as I felt like everywhere I turned there was a full bar so it’s fans could take in a game at their most… enthusiastic.
Lets’ not forget Marlins Park’s claim to fame – The Clevelander. The full bar and restaurant in left field that not only boasts prices high enough to keep even Mark Zuckerberg at bay, but also an indoor pool just in case you’re really not that into baseball… or a cringe worthy win-loss record. And if you’re still not enthused, I hear it resembles that of a strip club on occasion. Gotta give the fans what they want, I guess!
As for food, the main concourse did not exactly entice with crazy, out of the box concession items. However, it does have a hole-the-wall hallway in left field called the “Taste of Miami” that includes entrée type dishes from all corners of the Miami culture. Lastly, and I really think this is just brilliant by the stadium ops department, there’s a concession stand that sells nothing but kosher. If that’s not knowing your demographic, I don’t know what is. Yay, market research!
Oh, Okay, Nice Touch: So there were some pretty cool aspects on the concourse that I was impressed by. Firstly being the bobble head museum. Basically an enclosed shelving system that consistently vibrated the keep the heads bobbling! You would think that it might just be some of the most iconic bobble heads from around the league (which of course it did – Lou Gherig, Pete Rose, Ken Griffey Jr., etc.) but it also features some of the most underwhelming characters in the league. For those of Mariners fans, I even caught of glimpse of guys like Dustin Ackley and Yuniesky Betancourt. For those of you who don’t follow the Mariners – my point exactly.
Other small things that were of observance were the floor to ceiling windows in center field that perfectly framed the Miami skyline and let a good amount of light in (good thing because this stadium was a bit dim). Lastly, which very much satisfied my inner perfectionist, each portion of the main concourse follow a particular color scheme. There was a blue, green, yellow and orange section in which the wall colors and concession stand signs were congruent. AND THEN, when the sections changed, the walls actually changed with a gradient. Beautiful flow and nice touch.
Not our absolute favorite ballpark, but it was nice to not feel like we were sitting in a sauna for the entirety of the game. I mean, for $634 million in construction costs, I can’t be too picky. But really, I would have thought I was catching a connecting flight by the way I felt when I entered this ballpark – not good for those easily confused. Fans were having a great time at the ballpark, however, so for Marlins fans I’m sure this place hits the spot. For a traveling baseball fanatic, I was a little disappointed. Oh well, I guess next time I’ll just have to catch the game from inside The Clevelander!