We’re excited to launch a new series at The 300s today – ballpark reviews. We haven’t been to all 30 parks yet, but we’re working on it. With the MLB All-Star Game taking place in Miami tonight, we’ll kick off this new series with the a review of Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins.
Walking up to Marlins Park, it’s clear that this place is not trying to be your classic ballpark. It’s not Fenway. It’s not Camden Yards. It’s not even Petco Park. It’s baseball’s first “modern” ballpark to open since
the new Comiskey Park U.S. Cellular Field Guaranteed Rate Field opened on the South Side of Chicago in 1991 (as opposed to “retro modern” or “retro classic” ballparks). It’s worth noting, though, that Guaranteed Rate Field underwent extensive renovations last decade to be considered more “retro classic.”
Walking into Marlins Park felt like walking into the future. It was unlike any other baseball park I’ve ever been too. The concourse was brightly colored and well lit, with no bare concrete walls or floors like those seen at Fenway and even newer parks like Miller Park. Lots of contemporary artwork, too. Here’s the back of the home run structure in center field:
A very cool feature on the concourse was the Bobblehead Museum.
It featured players from every team, obviously too many to mention individually. But here’s old friend Mo Vaughn!
The concourse was also filled with really pushy promotions crews. “Listen dude, I’m just in Miami for the weekend. I’m not entering your contest to win a coupon to Publix.”
I forget how hot it was the day I went, but it isn’t really relevant. It was Miami in August so the roof was closed. It wasn’t like I was at a hockey game, but the temperature with the roof closed and the AC on was pleasant. Felt a bit like a dome without a breeze, though.
The atmosphere definitely left a lot to be desired. It was a mid-week interleague game, but the low-capacity ballpark was still barely half full. The upper deck in the infield was actually literally closed that night. That can’t be a good long-term business move.
Being in Little Havana, Marlins Park featured many Cuban food options. I went with the pork nachos which were good, but nothing earth shattering. I didn’t take a photo of them, so that might say something too.
I’ve been to eleven ballparks, eight of which are still in use. Of those eight, I’d rank Marlins Park ahead of only Tropicana Field. I wouldn’t say it should be ranked 29th out of 30, I just haven’t been to places like Toronto or Oakland. Yet. Still, these modern ballparks seem to miss the mark.
The last “modern” ballpark to open before Marlins Park was the White Sox’ Guaranteed Rate Field. That ballpark is barely 25 years old and as I mentioned earlier, underwent massive renovations fairly early in its life to stay relevant. We’ll see what happens to Marlins Park going forward.
I didn’t expect Wrigley Field in South Florida, but this stadium felt like something Marty McFly would’ve walked into in Back to the Future Part II.
Big Z Ballpark Rating – 5.5