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Marlins Pitch Home-Run Sculpture Move

Miami Marlins

Under a new plan being pitched by the Miami Marlins, Marlins Park’s home-run sculpture would be moved outside to make way for a new tiered social space. 

The Marlins and CEO Derek Jeter have reportedly had eyes on moving Homer–the colorful mechanical home-run sculpture created by Red Grooms that has been beyond the centerfield wall since Marlins Park opened in 2012–out of its familiar spot. There were discussions about moving it to another location prior to the 2018 season, but no relocation plans came to fruition and Homer remained in place.

Now, the Marlins are proposing that Homer move to a plaza just outside Marlins Park. The team would still activate its features and include it in an art walk, while converting the area where Homer currently resides into a tiered social space. However, it is not clear if that concept will come to fruition. The sculpture is owned by Miami-Dade County as part of its public art program, and Grooms can disavow the sculpture if it is moved without his permission, effectively causing it to lose its value.

As a result, the Marlins and the county have been trying to come up with a plan that will win Grooms’ approval. The latest proposal is something that Marlins officials–including team president of business operations Chip Bowers–believe can make the sculpture a major draw, but Grooms is not sold on the plan. More from the Miami Herald:

On the heels of the selfie sensation that Coral Gables created with an outdoor ceiling of umbrellas this summer, the Marlins think “Homer” could turn into its own sought-after backdrop if people could pose before it at street level. Bowers said the team would still activate the features when the Marlins hit a home run, but it would also turn on every day at 3:05 p.m. He said the sculpture would also come to life after a home win, and possibly after an away win as well.

“In today’s world of Instagrammable moments,” Bowers said, “we see this as a huge opportunity.”

Grooms isn’t a fan of the sidewalk venue. He says “Homer” needs an active baseball setting to make sense, and Grooms said he doesn’t want the sculpture to come to life without an audience.

“The plan is to activate him, even though he’s outside and everyone is inside watching the game,” Grooms said. “So he’s going to be out there doing his job for 29 seconds with about three people” to watch.

There have been signs that Jeter and his regime will try to make their mark on the fan experience at Marlins Park, but it remains to be seen if this latest concept moves forward. Jeter and Bruce Sherman are part of an ownership group that purchased the Marlins in the fall of 2017 for $1.2 billion.

Image courtesy Miami Marlins.

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