The MIAMI HERALD reports that the Marlins will be remaining in Miami, after city & county officials approved a deal for a new ballpark.
Two separate votes by the Miami City Commission and the Miami-Dade County Commission sealed the deal Thursday night. The $525 million plan calls for a new 37,000-seat stadium (complete with a retractable roof) to be built on the soon-to-be vacant Orange Bowl site.
However, some citizens are still upset with the whole deal.
Opponents have criticized the fact that building a sports complex using taxpayers’ money wasn’t voted on by the taxpayers themselves. But just how perturbed is the public that they weren’t offered a referendum?
In an online poll on the Herald’s website, over two-thirds of respondents said they were OK with the new ballpark deal.
But will the new park bring out the fans? Despite all the Marlins’ attendance problems at Dolphins Stadium, is Miami really a baseball town?
Catcher Matt Treanor, who’s been with the club since 1997, tells this tale:
“My first RBI was a walk-off single in the 11th inning, a pinch hit. The next day I had an appearance in Hialeah. These folks didn’t know English. I’m just this gringo that was on this radio show out in the middle of Publix.
“I may not have seen these people at the game, and I bet none of them were at the game — but when I get out of my truck, it was like Jesus Christ came back. It was unbelievable. They knew exactly what was going on, who I was, and I had only been on the club for a week.
“So I think it’s a baseball town.”
The Herald’s Israel Gutierrez believes that with the new stadium deal, the Marlins have now run out of excuses for paltry crowds:
“Maybe it is as simple as providing a more comfortable atmosphere. Sitting in a cozy, 37,000-seat building with temperature control and protection from the rain is infinitely more appealing than baking or soaking in a cavernous football stadium free of ambience.
“And maybe it is as simple as being closer to the heart of Miami, where the large Hispanic community so enamored with baseball can get to games easier.
Gutierrez also calls upon Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria to hold up his end of the deal and “play with a respectable major-league payroll from now on.”