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Marlins open new ballpark for test run

Miami MarlinsThe first game played at Marlins Ballpark is now in the books, as the Miami Marlins opened a new chapter in team history by hosting two high-school teams last night.

The Marlins will play tonight and tomorrow night in two games against college foes and have two exhibition games scheduled against the New York Yankees before the regular season begins. Last night saw only the lower bowl opened for 5,000 or so fans to see Belen Jesuit take on Columbus High. For the most part, the fans were pleased with the new ballpark, save one aspect: apparently the concessions weren’t set up to handle so many fans. From the Miami Herald:

[Betty] Guevara, one of a few-thousand seated in the ballpark’s lower level for the stadium’s inaugural game, had to slog through a food line a dozen deep, waiting a half-hour for the right to pay $17.50 for two sodas and a basket of chicken tenders.

“They opened the doors at 6, and everybody was really thirsty, so they attacked the concession stand,” Guevara said. “I don’t think they were ready for that many people.”

Otherwise, Marlins officials had to deal with the usual issues accompanying any new ballpark: parking (which should be eased by parking ramps at the ballpark) and traffic pre- and post-game.

And then there’s going to be one more interesting factor popping up: a large sculpture by Red Grooms, complete with flying marlins after a home run, has been installed right next to the batter’s eye in left-center field. Early tests at the ballpark have already caused the Marlins to repaint the batter’s eye from bright green to black, but the positioning of the brightly colored sculpture could affect left-handed batters, who aren’t pleased:

“If it is an issue, it can no longer be there,” warned Marlins utility player Greg Dobbs. “I won’t be the only left-handed hitter saying something. If other teams have a problem with it, they’re definitely going to voice their concern to the league.”

Of course, right-handed pitchers on the Marlins staff are thrilled.


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