My 14th MLB stadium (not counting the ones that are no longer - RIP old Yankee Stadium) was in fact Marlins Park in wonderful Miami, Florida. I had the opportunity to check off two bucket list items in my visit by seeing the park, AND being present for the World Baseball Classic opening round. Of course, I'll have more on the latter in another post.
Regardless, back to Marlins Park. My first and major takeaway is in fact tied to the bureaucracy that has surrounded the building since it's inception. The park is located in a peculiar location in Miami. Very apparent of the cheap land acquired, and the socioeconomics of the neighborhood that surrounds it. Though, much like the two games I went to, the ballpark has given many of the neighboring folks revenue-generating opportunities, renting out their front yards for parking and other tailgating opportunities. Makes for a unique concept.
As for the structure, the building's appearance is interesting. From certain angles (mainly the back of the building), it's really cool. The round structure and glass portrayed gives it a unique look that is in fact very fitting with the rest of the city. From the third base side of the building, things get a bit weird, but is still okay. For the rest of the building, it feels like either one of two things - there was little vision for the building, or there was not much funds for it. And as you can probably research, the answer is possibly both.
The structure also comes into play when considering the top deck of the building. There is a series of ramps that continue on for what feels like a lifetime for folks with tickets above home plate. Also, if you wanted to grab food or merchandise, you have to journey back down to the main level. Again, just unacceptable for a modern park.
One last thing as I seem to harp on the negatives - that art structure in centerfield is worst in person than it is on TV. Why is it there? It really doesn't represent the art around Miami. All it does is disrupt another potential standing area (and possibly money-maker) in centerfield.
For the positives, the ballpark is very intimate, and there really isn't a bad seat in the house. I know that is said often, but really, that's the truth.
And of course, the retractable rook in sunny and rainy Florida is awesome. Again, the back end of the stadium with the glass paneling allows for a view onto the streets of Miami and the city scape, which is a nice touch. If only the front of the building has the same amount of detail and care.
Other than that, Marlins Park has potential. There is plenty of room to change things or at the very least, spice things up to make it feel more like a home for the Marlins, or at the very least, to mirror the spirit of Miami. Maybe the new ownership will do so?
Overall, Marlins Park is nice. Nothing crazy, but again, with the finances available when building it, I still think they made out pretty well.