Saturday, July 19, 2014

Miami Marlins

The book that will chronicle the fantastical road trip that this blog covers is now 40% funded via Kickstarter cloud funding. You can be part of history and help bring "Gone to the Dogs" to print by visiting my kickstarter page. At least watch the video and see how handsome I am.

Yes, This Really is a Baseball Park
I just hit ballpark number 29….one more to go to complete all 30 MLB parks. And the one on Friday night was a interesting one. Marlins Park in Miami is a slick new park that has the most high-tech retractable roof in baseball. It is white and glass on the outside and looks strikingly airport. The attached parking garages do not help, they look like attached parking garages and nobody wants to see that. It also restricts the view of the ballpark from many angles, and it is a lovely structure, it just doesn’t look like a ballpark. The low-flying aircraft, headed for the real airport a few miles away, add to the illusion. At the ticket window I didn’t know whether to ask for a general admission ticket or a round trip ticket to Las Vegas.

Once inside the park has some of the widest concourses of any stadium. It could accommodate huge crowds, if that were an issue for the Marlins...which it isn’t. The concourses are pleasing to the eye, but once you set foot in the seating area your eyes are assaulted by a technicolor bomb. I get it, Miami is colorful and you want to pay tribute to your hometown. But the colors should be appealing, not make me nauseated, I have a hot dog to eat for cryin’ out loud. The centerpiece of the gaudiness that is Marlins Park is in the outfield. It is a sea-theme thingamajig that does some sort of spinning and/or jumping and/or lighting when the Marlins hit a homer. Franky, I am not sure what it is.

Baseball...and Culture
On the positive side there is some highbrow culture to be had in the stadium. Firstly, there is large print of “The Manager.” A baseball manager painting by my favorite American artist Roy Lichtenstein. And there is my favorite attraction in any of the ballparks: the bobblehead museum. Hundreds of oversized heads bobbing in unison as some sort of mechanism keeps the figurines in a near continuous shaking of the noggin. It is mesmerizing. And beyond the outfield wall is a huge glass window with a splendid view of the Miami skyline. With its futuristic style and explosion of clashing colors Marlins park can best be summed up by a mashup of two of my favorite TV shows as a kid: Lost in Space Meets Scooby Doo.

Oh, and they sell hot dogs too:

Bun-fresh and slightly toasted on the inside. Nicely done.
Taste-the Kayem frank had a good solid taste.
Toppings-the Marlins excel here. Nice cart with a great selection.
Price-$6..say what? Does that include a wash and wax for my car?
Portability-a cardboard boat AND a paper wrapper. It does a great job but the boat isn’t really needed.
It Factory-surprisingly thin in a city known for food. There is the Spicy Island Dog, but other than that few other hot dog options.

Location-downtown, butted right up against Little Havana
Access-walk, bus, bike drive, lots of options.
GA Ticket Price-$18 is pretty steep considering the location of the seats.
Cleanliness-one of the cleanest ballparks I have visited.
Fans-entire sections empty, and judging from the cheering, most of the fans were from San Francisco and rooting for the Giants.
Ambiance-I don’t want to demean the quality of the stadium. It is so gaudy that it is ugly and so ugly that it is beautiful. But it don’t look like no baseball park. I am thinking soccer when I see this place. Splendid venue, just not for hardball.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price3.5
It Factor3.5Fans3

All in all a Marlins game can be much like a visit to the airport. It’s hard to park and it is expensive, you have to wait in line to get a ticket, you have to pass through tough screening and a metal detector, the food inside is way overpriced, it’s crowded, announcements are made on the public address system that you cannot understand and its full of people who have come from all over. And when I left it took me half an hour to find the exit...I spent 30 minutes looking for baggage claim.

NEW FEATURE! I am experimenting adding videos. Do they add to the blog? Oh...don't hate me because I am beautiful.

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