An ongoing adventure of travel and living while using a wheelchair. Tim has been disabled from birth. Darryl is his father and caregiver who travels with him.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018
FIELDS OF DREAMS: Marlins Park, Miami, Florida
One of the newer stadiums in baseball, this retractable-roof facility was built a little outside of downtown, closer to Little Havana. It's the home of the Miami Marlins, who have won the World Series twice in their short life but are also known for shipping off their expensive players once that plateau has been reached. The team is owned by Bruce Sherman and former Yankee shortstop, Derek Jeter.
Previously, the team shared open-air Joe Robbie stadium with the NFL's Dolphins. The team began as an expansion team in 1993 and went on the win the 1997 World Series under owner Wayne Huizenga. Claiming the team lost money on their championship season, Huizenga trades some of his best players...such as Moises Alou, Kevin Brown, Bobby Bonilla, and Gary Sheffield...in what became known as the 'fire sale.' After their 2003 season, new owner Jeffrey Loria did the same but on a smaller scale. Let's take a look at the stats:
Surface: Platinum TE Paspalum
Construction cost: $634 million
Capacity: 36, 742 (37,442 with standing room)
Field dimensions: Left field - 344 ft; Left center - 386 ft; center field - 407 ft; right center - 392 ft; right field - 335 ft.
Home team: Miami Marlins (National League - MLB) 2012 - present
Events attended: 1 game
Marlins Park is a noisy stadium. Cheerleaders, a marching drum band in the stands, multiple loud cheers from the PA system mean you're not going to have a quiet night at the game. Beer and food prices are among the most expensive we've seen. There is a weird policy of not allowing any fans, except those in the premium Diamond Club seats behind home plate, into the main team store so if you want souvenirs, be sure to visit it from the outside before going in.
There is good access all around the entire stadium. Wheelchair seating is plentiful all around the seating bowl. Decks overhead may block some of your views from the accessible seats.
Ticketing is easy, just go to marlins.com to click 'Tickets' at the top of the page, choose a game date, and click on on 'real time ADA seating.' We had no problem getting seats for the wheelchair and two companions. Dynamic pricing means there are no set ticket prices but our seats behind home plate were around $40.
Public transit via the city's rail system will get you within a mile of the stadium. From here, you can catch a ride on the free trolley system or public bus, which are both accessible. We walked the last mile to the game and took the trolley back to the station after the game.
There are very few lodging options in the immediate area but many more in downtown Miami.
Food choices are not as extensive as you'd think and prices are very high. $14 for a beer was quite a shock but there is a tent outside the main entrance called the 5th Base, where you can sit in air conditioned comfort sipping $6 Modelo beers before and after the game.
The concessions concourse is open and there was no issue with lines at concession stands, mainly because there are very few fans attending games here these days. In fact, I think there were more Dodger fans in attendance than those for the home team.
A security guard told me it was his opinion that Derek Jeter is running the team into the ground and that's why fans are staying away. I couldn't ask anyone else because I never saw an usher in our section the entire game, we were only guessing that we were in the right seats.
This is one of baseball's newest stadiums but lackluster service and weird fan policies make this a rather humdrum place to watch a baseball game.