With the regular season quickly approaching, the Miami Marlins are preparing to debut renovations and other changes at Marlins Park.
Over the course of this offseason, the Marlins have been making their biggest changes to Marlins Park since the Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter-led ownership regime bought the club from Jeffrey Loria in the fall of 2017. Homer, the colorful home run sculpture, was removed from its familiar spot in centerfield to make way for a new tiered social space that will debut in 2019 (rendering above). The sculpture will move to its new home outside Marlins Park prior to the 2020 season, but other changes are on the way for the 2019 campaign–including a redesigned lounge area, a standing room only social space in right field, and a revamped concessions slate that includes local fare.
The amount of work taking place around Marlins Park has created a busy offseason for Marlins president of business operations Chip Bowers and the rest of the organization, but the club is looking forward to debuting the ballpark’s new features this spring. More from the Miami Herald:
The area in center field that once housed the county-owned home run sculpture is being morphed into a multilevel standing deck called the Center Field Zone — a “three-tier millennial park,” as majority owner and self-proclaimed baseball purist Sherman nicknamed it. It will be one of two standing-room only areas the ballpark will have for the 2019 season. The other will be located in right field. Tickets for these areas will be sold for a little as $10 per game.
The seven-story, $2 million home run sculpture, named “Homer” and built by artist Red Grooms (a friend of Loria), was dismantled shortly after the season ended and is being stored inside the ballpark. It is expected to be rebuilt on an plaza outside the stadium before the 2020 season and will go off after wins and daily at 3:05 p.m. The removal of “Homer” was one of the last Loria-influenced touches remaining from the opening of Marlins Park in 2012.
Right field will also host a new section called “Comunidad 305,” which will allow fans to showcase their heritage and bring another form of energy to the crowd on game days. Bowers said the idea stemmed from the excitement of the World Baseball Classic. Instruments, flags and noisemakers will be allowed in the area, and tickets are $8 per game.
“It’s amazing that it got done in six months and it’ll be done for opening day,” Sherman said. “That’s a great achievement. It was well researched. … This is an entertainment venue first, and I think we’ve got to provide entertainment. We’ve said that from Day 1.”
On the field, the Marlins are still in a rebuilding process as they come off of a 63-98 finish last season, but at the very least the changes to the ballpark itself should shakeup the amenities and fan experience at Marlins Park this season. Ballpark upgrades have also not been the only change this offseason, as the team unveil new branding that includes revamped colors, logos, and uniforms. The Marlins open the season at Marlins Park on March 28 against the Colorado Rockies.
Rendering courtesy Miami Marlins.