Marlins Park
Miami, Florida
Year Opened
2012

Current Team
Miami Marlins

Affiliate
N/A

League
National League

Capacity
37,442

My Grades
Stadium A- Atmosphere A Concessions B+

Photos taken in 2012
To say that the Marlins needed a new ballpark is obviously an understatement. After playing in a football stadium for 19 years, the Marlins finally moved into their own ballpark in 2012. It was a long struggle to get it built, but the team and city have something they can be quite proud of. I'm usually not in favor of domes, but like Houston and Tampa, the climate of Miami really mandates it. Fans should not be subjected to the heat, humidity, and rain that is so common in south Florida. Built on the site of the Orange Bowl, Marlins Park is a very modern looking ballpark and one that has quite a few unique features that should make it memorable for almost all visitors. Being a dome, the exterior is quite massive and really doesn't fit with the neighborhood setting in which it is located. Though it is flanked by large parking garages on either side which match architecturally. Parking, which initially was thought to be a concern, seems to be plentiful and relatively inexpensive (under $20). Also, access to and egress from Marlins Park is a cinch. Inside, the ballpark resembles other new ballparks with its three levels of seating : field level, club level, and vista level (upper deck). Upon entering the ballpark, fans take an escalator up to the field level concourse. This concourse completely circles the park and provides an unobstructed view of the field from almost every spot. The extra wide concourses are brightly colored in reds, yellows, blues, and greens, giving it a distinctly Miami feel. Besides the colorful concourses, there are several other features that really make this ballpark distinct. First, the lime green walls and home run sculpture in left field will immediately jump out at you. Some seemed annoyed by them, but they didn't bother me at all. Without them, this park would be quite bland. Secondly, the large glass windows in left field provide a great view of the city skyline. While the skyline can't be seen from everywhere in the park, where it can be seen from, the view is pretty spectacular. Thirdly, the team has built a Bobblehead Museum which is located on the concourse behind home plate. It features figurines from every team and even shakes slightly so that the heads are constantly moving. Concessions at Marlins Park are good, but the options are not as varied as at other new parks and the prices seemed to be on the high side. Besides the standard ballpark fare, the choices include Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, tacos, burgers, chicken sandwiches, BBQ, and pizza. The cheapest hot dog is $6, which is a bit ridiculous. Going in, I expected the atmosphere here to be loud and over the top since the team doesn't have a long history and is constantly trying to attract new fans. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised about how relaxing the atmosphere is. Ushers and staff were all very friendly, the music was played at at acceptable volume, and the team did not try to urge the fans to make noise by putting messages on the scoreboard. For a new ballpark, I found the atmosphere to be quite refreshing. Also, there is no kid's play area to be found, which is a rarity even at an MLB park. Wherever you sit, the sighlines are going to be pretty good. I wish the slope of the main level seating were a bit steeper, but this is only a minor complaint. The home run porch seats (in right field) and all the upper deck seats have a steeper slope, so you need not have to worry about fans in front of you blocking your view. Overall, I just have a couple small complaints about Marlins Park, both of which could be easily rectified. First, it doesn't feel enough like the Marlins home ballpark. Both outside and inside there needs to be more recognition of the team's history and perhaps even the city's baseball history. I realize that the Marlins have only been around two decades, but they do have two World Chaampionships and should be showing more pride in them. Other than two tiny banners in left field, there is very little history on display here. My second complaint is about the lack of counters and tables along the concourse. Most new parks really try to encourage fans to stand and watch the game while enjoying their concessions, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Despite these minor complaints, I really enjoyed my visit to Marlins Park. It may not break any new ground and probably won't crack my top 10 of MLB parks, but is still better than many of the new parks built in the last 15 years. I give the Marlins a lot of credit for trying to create a ballpark which has a distinctly Miami feel to it.
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All Photos Copyright Brian Merzbach
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