Marlin fans… don’t get worked up over the stadium name

The Marlins new ballpark is coming along around the site of the old Orange Bowl.
What’s it going to be called?

According to Big League Stew, one of my favorite reads on line, some Marlin fans are worried about the name sounding too corporate. Or perhaps even worse taking on a name that would make everyone think of a foreign conglomerate.

Let me say something very clear here, Marlins fans.

Listen to me and listen well. (I think that was grammatically correct.)

Would you rather have a stadium that SOUNDED great or that was a great place to see a ballgame?

The worst era of baseball stadiums gave us some of the best names for parks in history.
And the current crop of stadiums have decidedly mediocre or cold and corporate sounding names.

Let me show you what I mean.

Take Philadelphia for example.

The Phillies used to play in Veterans Stadium.

That is a great name for a sporting venue. Honoring the military, it had a nice rhythm to its name and a cool nickname as well.

“The Vet.”

And it was an awful cookie cutter park. It was dark and ugly and unappealing.

But it had a cool name. MUCH cooler than Citizens Bank Ballpark.
Which is a better place to play?

Two of the greatest stadium names EVER were Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati and Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

Both were perfectly tailored to their cities. The Ohio River was the lifeblood of Cincinnati and its stadium name reflected that.

Pittsburgh was formed at the meeting points of the Ohio Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, and the stadium name paid tribute to all three.

Look at the two pictures above. Quickly… which one is which? Chances are you have to look at the surroundings of the stadium to figure out which one is in Pittsburgh and which one is in Cincinnati instead of looking at the stadium itself.

The names didn’t make the stadium.

Jack Murphy helped bring big league sports to San Diego and the stadium honored him… and was a dull dull dull stadium.

Compare that to the corporate named PetCo Park, which is a fabulous stadium in the heart of the city.

It is a stadium that would make Jack Murphy proud.

I would say few ballpark names were better than Candlestick Park.

It had geographic relevance. It was descriptive of where in San Francisco it was located.

Calling it a Park instead of a Stadium was a nice touch. And it had a wonderful nickname, “The Stick.”

And as someone who went to many games there, I can tell you “The Stick” sucked. It was cold. It was ugly. It was poorly designed for baseball and equally ill fitting for football. It was freezing in August and there was one road leading in and out which meant traffic jams even if the game had a tiny crowd.

Compare that to the coldly corporate sounding AT&T Park. Its name reflects corporate take overs as it was originally Pacific Bell Park, then SBC Park and finally the Death Star’s stadium.

And it is the most beautiful, most fan friendly and unique new ballpark in the country with fascinating features and the greatest new tradition in baseball: The boats in McCovey Cove.

It’s not all in the name, Marlins fans.
You guys are finally getting a baseball only stadium and who knows? Miami might become a destination spot for free agents. Fans can come out to the game and not be baked or rained upon. And the core of players are talented. It might be a glorious time for a franchise that has a World Series title in each of the last two decades.

So who cares if it is called Blackwater Stadium?

It’s a potentially great new place where all new memories of terrific and possibly sustained Marlins teams can grow.

Names are irrelevant.

Take a look at the current Marlins stadium. I think it changed names twice since I started writing this blog post.

I honestly thought it was still called Dolphin Stadium.

Evidently it is called Sun Life Stadium… not to be confused with Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium and Land Shark Stadium.

If the new park changes its name as often as the old one did, it won’t matter. The PARK will be where you will be happy, no matter what it is called.

Follow sullybaseball on Twitter

Some Green from the Teal – Giving the Florida Marlins some credit

It is easy to trash the fish for their cheap ways. But right now they are looking to make the NL East very very interesting in 2012.

The Marlins are indeed the strangest franchise in all of American sports. On the surface they look like a classic Quadruple A team like the Royals and Pirates. They trade veterans for prospects, turn those prospects into big league players and when they ask for too much money, ship them off for more prospects.

Along with playing in a football stadium that isn’t designed for baseball and having it be either too hot or too rainy, the inability for Marlins fans to get emotionally attached to any player is as big a reason to why they have had trouble drawing over the years.

And yet there is something so different about the Marlins as compared to Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

First of all they can have winning seasons. The Marlins played their first game in 1993. The Royals and Pirates have combined for two winning seasons in that stretch, both by Kansas City. The Marlins have had 6 winnings seasons in the same stretch.

And of course they remain the only MLB franchise to have never lost a post season series. They are 6-0 in October, winning it all in 1997 and 2003.

This little franchise that could has as many World Series titles as the Mets, the Cubs, the Indians and the Phillies. They are one World Series title behind the Orioles, who have a history of putting consistent winners on the field during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

One thing they do better than Pittsburgh and Kansas City is they actually get VALUE back when they make trades. When I wrote the Home Grown vs. Acquired post for the Marlins, their home grown talent was minimal. But the players they picked up from other clubs were the backbone for their winning teams.

And I’m not just talking about the Pudge Rodriguezes and Moises Alous and Kevin Browns of the world who came in, won a ring and split.

Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Derek Lee, Brad Penny, Anibal Sanchez, Carl Pavano, Dontrelle Willis and Ricky Nolasco were all picked up and blossomed in Miami.

But their spending habits have been laughable. In 2006 their opening day payroll was $16 million… or $4 million less than what the Yankees paid Jason Giambi. The fact that Joe Girardi almost led that team to a winning record was all he needed to win Manager of the Year that year.

In 2008 they spent $22 million on players and had a winning season.
Imagine if their payroll went from “Laughable pathetic” to merely “Small.” They probably could have won the Wild Card.

With the Players Association trashing their payroll and forcing the Marlins to spend a little bit, a refreshing picture is starting to emerge in South Florida that has nothing to do with LeBron James.

The Marlins are moving into their new tax payer sinkhole in 2012. And for the first time in their history, the Marlins will have a ballpark to call their own instead of feel like they are crashing on the Dolphins couch.

Miami fans will be able to know they will have decent seats, they won’t be rained on and it won’t be stifling with humidity.

In other words there will be an incentive to actually GO to the game.

And unless the Marlins trade off a lot of salary between now and 2012, guess who will be under contract and wearing teal?

Hanley Ramirez.
Josh Johnson.
Ricky Nolasco.
Anibal Sanchez.
Mike Stanton.
Gaby Sanchez.
Logan Morrison.
Chris Coghlan.
Chris Volstad.

That’s a decent core with an MVP candidate, a Cy Young candidate and some good young pitchers and hitters.

And with Ricky Nolasco signing an extension this year to go along with Hanley Ramirez’s extension and Josh Johnson’s pact, the Marlins will have three solid players entering their 7th year with the team when they go into the new ballpark.

That’s enough time to attach some emotion to a player.

Add to that the new revenue and the fact that Miami, with its many transplanted Northeasterners to go along with the Latin population, should be a baseball haven. And with some money, big free agents should want to live in the low taxed, glamorous Miami lifestyle playing in a low pressure environment.

By 2012 the Phillies juggernaut may be slowing down.
Jimmy Rollins will be a free agent and the Cliff Lees and Roy Halladays and Ryan Howards would all be deeper into their 30s.

2012 could also be the time that Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are ready to shine in Washington. And the Braves are continuing to build on their strong core.

By then a young Marlins team with a burst of energy in the new ballpark and some more money to spend might just be ready to make their move.

And with their post season good fortune, they might indeed win another World Series title. (How would THAT sit with the Cubs and Indians fans of the world?)

So I give you credit, Marlins. You are operating in the Cleveland Indians mold from the mid 1990s. Put together a talented core and by the time you have a new ballpark and new fans filing in, give them a good product.

And before long, who knows? Maybe the Marlins will be one of those teams that people say “It isn’t fair. They always out bid other teams on free agents!”

Follow sullybaseball on Twitter

17 years later… the Marlins break ground on a new park

The Marlins were supposed to play a few years in Joe Robbie Stadium before moving into a baseball park when they were formed in 1993.

And I guess they did only play a few seasons at Joe Robbie… from 1993 to 1996.

Then from 1997 to 2005 they played in Pro Player Stadium.

Then from 2006 to earlier this year they were in Dolphin Stadium.

And now they are in LandShark Stadium.

Of course they haven’t MOVED! The park has been renamed over and over again.

But lo and behold either they are truly building a new ballpark or someone at the Marlins PR department hired a dude in a tractor for good press.

Hey a new ballpark could be great news for Marlins fans. They could add to their World Series totals which right now tie the output of the Indians, the Phillies and the Cubs (and they all had a 90 year headstart on World Series play.)

The best news for Marlins fans, of course, is they played the Nationals again.

Man they look like pennant contenders when they play Washington!article_url = location.href;article_title = document.title;var iap=new Image(1,1);iap.src=’’+encodeURIComponent(document.title)+’&link=’+encodeURIComponent(location.href);