Marlins’ Long-Term Future In South Florida

Marlins Park Seen as Savior

In the early 1990’s, Major League Baseball appointed the Florida Marlins as an expansion team. However, they would be sharing a stadium with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

Back then, such co-habitation was the norm in professional sports. Not only that, but the current fan base endured game delays caused by frequent rainstorms in the Southeast. After having won 2 World Series Championships within its first decade in existence, the people of South Florida deserved better. Ownership basically re-branded the franchise as the Miami Marlins.

It became high time to build a brand-new state-of-the-art stadium. After a massive search, the current regime decided on the site of the former Orange Bowl. Then, they were ready to break ground. This new ballpark gave long-term stability. The Marlins finally would have a permanent home. Relocation would not occur. As a life-long fan of the game, Marlins Park seemed to me like the perfect solution.

Unfortunately, some hurdles still remained. For one, many fans lived in Palm Beach or Broward County. It was not ideal for them to have to drive further to watch a game live. But, in today’s world, you have to make some sacrifices to get what you desire.

New Marlins Era Gets Underway

After years of uncertainty, the area’s dwindling fan base would get the ultimate prize. The re-branding was finally complete on November 11, 2011. Unveiled were new uniforms; logos; and, best of all, a baseball-only facility. Local high schools played the first-ever game at then-Marlins Park on March 5, 2012, designed as a “soft opening”. The very next day, the ballpark hosted another amateur game.

After a successful debut, the next step was to conclude Spring Training with a couple of exhibition games against the New York Yankees. That would give a population full of former New Yorkers a first-hand look at the new facility. Both games included capacity crowds. Finally, the grand opening commenced with Marlins Park’s first MLB Opening Day game on April 4, 2012, versus the St. Louis Cardinals.

The long-awaited venue’s more unique features really made it stand out amongst other ballparks. Most importantly, a retractable roof prevented fans from having to sit through lengthy rain delays. Other aspects included: the Clevelander in left field. This “mini nightclub” was based off the nearby hotel and consisted of a full-service bar, live entertainment, and a swimming pool. In addition, the area above left field contained “Taste of Miami”, essentially a small food court with local cuisine.

On top of that, center field housed my personal favorite aspect. There sat a large colorful sculpture originally designed with local Miami Beach art deco in mind. Its sole purpose was to light up and splash water after every Marlins home run. Affectionately given the moniker “Homer”, the previous team owner saw it as the coup de grace (think Mets’ home run apple). Unfortunately, not everyone saw the sculpture as absolutely necessary.

LoanDepot Park Embraced

Ultimately, times and demands changed yet again. The new ownership group decided to make wholesale changes. Not only did they drastically reduce payroll, but Taste of Miami; the Clevelander; and Homer were all removed. The coronavirus pandemic prohibited fans from attending games in 2020, which could be partially responsible.

The shocking news of such omissions had mixed reviews. In my personal opinion, these elements really made the newly-named LoanDepot Park truly one-of-a-kind, and I was sad to see them go. However, this cloud had a silver lining, as the sculpture still exists nearby. It now sits in another spot just outside the venue, and a new sports-bar lounge and restaurant, known as Recess, opened in left field in 2021-22.


  1. Love this! And love the Marlins!

  2. The sculpture lights up at 3.05 pm, only the hot dog vendor across the street can see it, they also got rid of the Sea Creatures race, the fish tank behind home plate, the Energy Team, the Fish Family members Club House, Taby the Organist, Friday’s they had live bands playing next to the right field bar, Saturdays they brought a former player for autographs, selfi Sunday with a current player, Fireworks on Saturdays, t-shirt tosses, free drink vouchers when you signed up for Designated Driver, Saturdays All you can eat seats, got rid of the clevelander pool

  3. randy hibshman

    I enjoyed reading the Marlin’s stadium article

  4. Homer sounds like a lot of fun!

  5. Keith Mullings

    The article in general is full of good information. Spell checking and minor editing will enhance your production.

  6. Chana Faiga

    We’ll written article

  7. Debbie Hibshman

    Nice article.

  8. Deborah Hibshman

    Nice article!

  9. Seth Goldstein

    Cool to hear a bit more about the history of the Marlins!

  10. Interesting article

  11. Ron Fierman

    Interesting read on the recent history of the team and it’s stadium

  12. Gary Polster

    I found this article both informative and enlightening. I have some friends living in that area and I never really knew the complete history of the Marlins. I am a sports fan and I like to keep up to date on the teams, so I thank you for this article.

  13. Jeanne Abbo

    Good article Danny!

  14. Richard Sabgir

    Interesting article , especially for sports fans like me who don’t get to read about Florida baseball in our local papers

  15. Arlene Turbow

    Very interesting.

  16. Great article!

  17. Nicely written article!

  18. Jay Feldman

    Clearly “Eagleguy” has an Eagle eye! He’s spot on with his history and commentary. Wonderful article!

  19. Great article. Thanks for posting.

  20. Well written. All valid points. Maybe they will take steps to be more fan friendly.

  21. Debra Sapp

    Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Great article

  23. Hate to see taste of Miami ho.

  24. Sam Goldstein

    Loved the piece! The nostalgic mentions of pre-Covid baseball gave me a big warm fuzzy. Would read another!

  25. Herb Boxer

    Very well written and informative article!

  26. They’ve never been the same since Jeter left.

  27. David Herring

    To: EagleGuy05
    I really enjoyed your article, learned a lot from you comments about the history.
    Thanks very much,
    Dave Herring

  28. Scott Holden

    Very interesting historical perspective. The Marlin’s have seemingly always been underfunded, and yet have had the two World Series to their credit. Ownership has let excellent players get away on a consistent basis. Nice article on the ups and downs of their stadium timeline.

  29. Great article

  30. Myrtha Belizaire


  31. Francisco Drummond

    This is a good article well put together

  32. Good read Pal, keep up the good work 👏

  33. Holly Schuchmann

    The center field “Homer” exhibit sounds very cool. What an exciting feature to add into a stadium to keep the fans engaged!


    Great article!

  35. Haven’t been there yet but can’t wait to check it out.

  36. Marilyn Neuman

    Interesting article!

  37. Bart Fortner

    Great article! So what did they do with the sculpture? Is it on someone front lawn now?

  38. I remember everything that has happened in our history for our Marlins. The opening of Marlins Park in 2012, The taste of Miami which dad was never able to grab 5 feet away from my section of 24. Also remember the rename of it now known of LoanDepot Park..

  39. Hope to see it return to pre-pandemic status before too long!

  40. Dear “EagleGuy05”:
    I am sorry to be late viewing your fine article re the Marlins.
    Very well done. I now have a much better understanding of the history which used to be somewhat confusing.

    Dave Herring

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