Some Thoughts on Sun Life Stadium

For some strange reason, I forced myself to take on the task of writing a guide for Sun Life Stadium, home of the Florida Marlins. Why, I don’t know; the team will be moving into its shiny new retractable roof dome in 2012, and the guide is going to become obsolete before I can even get photos for it.

But here’s some excerpts from the intro, anyway, so that it doesn’t completely go to waste:





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attending a Marlins game at Sun Life Stadium, it’s probably natural for fans of
the Fish to be frequently overcome with that feeling that “I’m in the wrong
place”. That feeling will probably last until the Marlins new ballpark opens in

Not only was
Joe Robbie / Pro Player / Dolphins / Land Shark / Dolphin again / Sun Life
Stadium constructed and currently maintained with the Miami Dolphins and the
NFL firmly in mind, the place never lets the occupying MLB Marlins and their
fans forget it. Other than late Dolphins owner Joe Robbie’s foresight in having
his new stadium built with the capability to accommodate baseball, the local
baseball team that has racked up two championships playing here (to the
football team’s big fat zero) is largely regarded as a nuisance.

That’s some
thanks to a team that has somehow managed two World Series victories in its
brief existence, and all without the benefit of division titles. Has any team
in any major sport pulled off that particular feat? You’d think the Dolphins
would show a little more gratitude. At least one team in Miami wins.

Still, it’s
not hard to see why the Marlins have more struggles at the gate than most

To start
with, there is the venue itself, with its constant reminders that you are here
to watch football games, not baseball. The angle of the seats, availability of
concessions and lack of nearby, well, anything are all big strikes against the
place. For eight football games a year, these things don’t matter so much.

Then there is
the oppressive weather in South Florida, where
85-degree July and August nights and near daily thundershowers are the norm.
Sun Life Stadium is no help in this regard, with blisteringly hot orange
colored seats and precious little covering or shade for most of them.

And finally
there is still the lingering discord over the “fire sales” following the team’s
championships, where an overreaching owner let the team’s biggest stars go
following a World Series title, a sure way to kill the excitement of local
baseball and alienate plenty of fans. The heat of Miami is no place to spend time getting to
know a completely new group of players.

But being a
Marlins fan, at least for now, requires a special kind of fortitude. And a
guide to make the best of it.

To their
credit, the Marlins have made the best of the situation. They’ve been offering
fans more deals than most other teams. They’ve created an outfield wall that is
actually asymmetrical, without fudging it as many parks do these days. There’s
plenty of extracurricular entertainment, like the SportsTown tent outside the
Stadium, a hot tub near the Marlins’ bullpen, and multiple fan zones where kids
can burn some energy.

And while
baseball isn’t necessarily a cheerleader sport, no one here is complaining
about the Marlins’ Mermaids, who dance for the fans in scant teal and green
outfits between innings. I’ve read that they’re rejects from the Dolphins
cheerleading squad, in which case I need to see the winners.

And the
Marlins are a good team. So it’s not
all bad.

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