Pepper: New Marlins ballpark draws raves
Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:49 pm
Edwin Jackson and Daniel Hudson are facing each other for the first time following last season's trade. Danny Knobler joins Scott Braun to take a look at the impact this trade has had and also looks ahead to other compelling interleague matchups.
By Evan Brunell
NEW PARK: The Marlins took media on a tour of the new ballpark Thursday, and it's the first real look at what the park wil be revealed as. There was a prior visit in spring training, but the ballpark at that point was mostly a construction zone. Now, thousands of seats are installed, the foul poles are up and the view of the Florida skyline has drawn rave reviews.
One interesting note is that there will be minimal foul territory, with less than 10 feet between the poles and walls leading to each corner, which means fans will be close to the action. One wonders what effect this will have on park factors and if the park could be hitter friendly.
"That's the only foul territory," said Claude Delorme, executive vice president of ballpark development. "Basically, it's either in play or it's in the seats. Every seat is a really quality seat. … We have more seats in the upper deck of Sun Life than the total capacity of this ballpark."
The response for the new park has been impressive, with more full season tickets being sold for next season than ever in franchise history. President David Samson views this as a good thing "because people are buying the ballpark, not the product."
Color me unconvinced. At some point, fans are going to want to see a winning product and a payroll that doesn't look out of place in the NHL's capped league. (The NHL capped payroll in this just-concluded season at $59.4 million.) As every other team with a new park can tell you, there is an initial bump in attendance in the first year, but that quickly dissipates. The Marlins will have a big fight on their hands to retain their season-ticket holders, and if the present and past is any indication they will lose that fight. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)
WASHING JOCKS: A Pittsburgh radio host declared that if the Pirates reached 34-34, he would wash the entire team's jock straps. The Pirates are now 35-33, so the milestone has been reached. Have fun, John Seibel! (Big League Stew)
MAKE A WISH: Before every homestand, Willie Bloomquist brings a child from the Phoenix Children's Hospital to a game, and Wednesday night's guest, Abe Spreck, predicted that Bloomquist would hit a home run. He of 14 career blasts in 780 career games. Bloomquist tried to tell Spreck, 14, how impossible it would be, but guess what happened? Yup. (Arizona Republic)
SPEAKING OF... Remember when there was a brouhaha a few days ago about Wrigley Field being a dump? Apparently that may not be too far off as word filters out that the rooftop establishments that allow extra seating for Cubs games are rarely inspected by health officials. Not good, but as one of these rooftop professionals quipped, "I think the only thing the people could get sick from is the way the Cubs play." (These establishments are not owned or operated by the Cubs.) (Chicago Tribune)
FORTUNATE 50: Sports Illustrated reveals its 50 most-paid American athletes for the year, and 17 baseball players landed on the list. The top five are Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Joe Mauer, Vernon Wells and Derek Jeter. No surprise that three Yankees are in the top five. (SI.com)
GLORIFIED DH: When Eric Hosmer sat on Thursday, it wasn't Billy Butler who took his place -- it was backup infielder Wilson Betemit. Manager Ned Yost conceded that Butler won't start any games in National League parks, which will reduce him to a pinch-hitter. Remind me again why it's OK to take away one of the team's best weapons, built specifically within the rules of the league, in exchange for having a pitcher walk up to the plate, take three half-hearted swings or lay down a sacrifice bunt that may or may not work? (Kansas City Star)
SLUGGISH SOX: The White Sox aren't performing well, and the Twins' recent run has the spotlight being shined squarely on Chicago as underperformers. Skipper Ozzie Guillen says there aren't any quick fixes to be had, though. (Chicago Tribune)
PITCHERS BAT EIGHTH: Manager Tony LaRussa is a big fan of batting pitchers eighth instead of ninth, although he doesn't do it on a regular basis. Nats manager Jim Riggleman recently made the switch and the team is 5-0 since. (Washington Post)
GUTHRIE HURT: Jeremy Guthrie was unable to come out for the sixth inning of Thursday's game after suffering a back strain. The injury has drawn concern given how Guthrie is so durable and adamant about pushing through adversity. He will undergo an MRI Friday. (Baltimore Sun)
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Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alex Rodriguez, Angels, Billy Butler, Cardinals, Cubs, Daniel Hudson, Derek Jeter, Diamondbacks, Edwin Jackson, Eric Hosmer, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Mauer, Marlins, MLB Rumors, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Pirates, Royals, Tony LaRussa, Vernon Wells, White Sox, White Sox, Willie Bloomquist, Yankees