Marlins Future in Limbo Again
The plan to build a new ballpark in Miami looks to be on ice again.
It looked like the Marlins hammered out a plan to build a retractable dome at the site of the old Orange Bowl stadium. However, the city and the Marlins were both civilly sued by a big wig philantropist named Norman Braman in Miami and it seems Miami will be the first city to be told by a judge that building a baseball stadium does not provide enough public good to support the immense cost of stadium construction.
Miami is one of the smallest and most economically and socially in need markets in all of sports. There have been 3 expansion teams added to the entertainment dollar mix since 1989. Only the established Miami Dolphins and the ever popular NCAA UofM Hurricanes have a stable fan base. The City of Miami built the Miami Arena in 1989 and lured the NBA Heat and the NHL Panthers. The arena went up for $52 million and was too small and obsolete by 1995. In 1999 the Heat moved to the American Airlines Centre on the harbour. The cost was over $213 million. Brevard County built the Florida Panters a brand new arena at the same time. Miami Arena, only 10 years old was abandon.
Also during the 1990’s the City of Miami was locked into terrible terms to renovate the now abandoned Orange Bowl. The city owned stadium, used only a handful of times a year was renovated at a cost close to $100 million, all paid for by the city.
The Marlins have won 2 World Series since joining the National League in 1993. They have been average in other seasons but also persistent overachievers. Any ownership group has been selfish, uncommitted and unstable. The Marlins have played their entire existence in a nearly empty Dolphin Stadium. Dolphin Stadium was a privatley owned and financed stadium. It was renovated for the Marlins in time for 1993 but the Marlins have taken a back seat since then to the whims and wants of the NFL Dolphins. Being tennants and not generating very much income, the Marlins played all of last season in a stadium that was virtualy underconstruction.
Dolphin Stadium is unsuitable for baseball as it does not protect the game from the unpredicatble elements of South Florida. Entire homestands have been postponed and afternoon batting practise is usually cancelled by a thunderstorm.
Anyways, the Circuit Court Judge in Miami has delayed the decison. A decsion was expected yesterday but the fate of the Marlins will have to wait. There is a monetary value to a stadium, yes, but there is an intrinsic and sentimental value in having a big league ball club. Also, the city may be struggling now, the economy will be taking a down turn and the city has been stung in the past by stadium developers. Once the Marlins are gone I cannot see MLB returning there in our lifetime. The city and the people seem lukewarm about having a club there for the 15 seasons they have existed.
Americans, in generally are perhaps sentimental to a fault. It looks like a legal ruling will come down saying that civic pride and sentimentality is wrong if it costs too much.