Posted Under: Johanna's View
Marlins fans were upset with Opening Day- there were lines at the ballpark. I wrote yesterday how great an experience I thought it was. While I was posting, the Miami Sun Sentinal was asking Marlins President about complaints at the ballpark. I heard and saw some long lines for food during the game. Some people around me were gone for long stretches, and I did presume it was to walk around the park. Perhaps it was a combination of long food lines and a quick moving game that caused several fans to miss big portions of it. Perhaps, also, these loyal fans who come to a handful of games each year, haven’t ever felt the experience of a full ballpark. This was, after all, the largest crowd ever to attend one baseball game at Marlins Park. There were bound to be some issues.
I find it shocking that I have a little sympathy for David Samson on this issue, as I think his comments are phrased in a way that doesn’t show an ounce of sympathy for those trying to share in opening day, and who may have been frustrated with the experience. He should have sounded much more sympathetic to those laying out their money.
But the traffic issues, with 3 lanes of I-95 being closed after the game were not his fault. Even with half the fans having left after the 7th inning, and many fans staying for post-game fireworks, it was difficult to get out of parking lots. The coordination with the Miami Highway department was poor, and compound that with fans leaving a Miami Heat game not too far away, and the roads were basically stopped.
Inside the seating bowl, though, the game was the focus of the fans who were cheering from the moment Dan Marino stepped onto the field to deliver the first pitch. And I was watching the bowl fill up- looking for signs that the ballpark would be filled with the much reported apathetic baseball fans. That isn’t what I found.
And from ownership, I found a pretty lively, entertaining experience. The between inning fare was usual baseball stuff, with the team doing the right thing by fans who may have gotten the trivia questions wrong, and awarding the prizes anyway.
The team has cheer leaders - or as they like to call them, an Energy Squad- which I thought was weird and unnecessary, but they weren’t really distracting. Not any more than say the Pepsi Party patrol at Shea uses to be.
Owner Jeffrey Loria is an art dealer, and there was much written about how the park would have a bit of an art theme to it. The colors certainly reflected the Miami art scene. But, in my opinion you had to work to notice the “theme” as it were. To get fans to make some noise, at one point, the team put a Edward Munch “Scream” likeness on the video screens- alternating with the word SCREAM. There was another video game where the features of a former Marlin player were scrambled like a Picasso painting, and slowly moved into place as clues were given to see if you could guess the player. That was kinda it.
The amount of information on the main video scoreboard- which is huge- and the auxillary ones down the lines was amazing. Who needs the At the Ballpark app with that much info?
Was the experience perfect for every fan? Doubtful. It most likely never is, especially when a team doubles the average daily attendance figure at one game. Would I got to another game at Marlins park? In a minute.
Oh yeah, and the baseball wasn’t too bad either.