After starting 10-31, the Marlins have gone on a 22-19 run that has opened eyes around the league and in Miami. The pitching has been interesting, and the hitters have been hitting. What seemed like an atrocious and deflating second year of the rebuild has transformed to a season of hope. I was back in Miami for the week, and my friend was really excited to see the team in person, so I figured it’d be an excellent opportunity to see what has changed in Marlins Park since I last attended in August of 2018. We went to go see Zac Gallen and the Fish face the Washington Nationals. Here’s what I noticed…
The first thing that stood out was the new triple deck out in centerfield. Not only did it replace the eyesore of the “Homer” sculpture, but it contrasts beautifully with the new navy walls and the ivy batter’s eye. It’s also an excellent spot to watch the game from as the entirety of the field is visible and its uniquely placed right over centerfield. That was *not* a feature of the stadium until 2019. It’s also a great spot to snag a BP home run.
As we walked around the concourse, each concession stand was more interesting than the last. Mouth-watering burgers, sushi and ceviche (oooooo, you fancy, huh?), Argentinian food, three dollar hot dogs (THREE DOLLARS!!!), and, of course, the classic helmet bowl soft serve ice cream. That’s just some of what they had to offer. The food options seemed endless, appeasing virtually any type of craving you can show up with at a ballpark.
With poor records and disappointing attendance numbers comes a silver lining — cheap seats. Since both my friend and I are college students, that was a priority for us, and we were able to find exactly what we were looking for. Right behind home plate in section 14 — the perfect spot for a pitching aficionado — you can see every fastball run, every curveball drop…all of it. The crack of the bat even sounds different. And best of all, it was affordable.
The set up was nice, great food, cheap seats, awesome view, and a fun pitching matchup. For the Marlins, the young Zac Gallen, a.k.a The Bee Man. On the other side was the Nationals big free agent signing, Patrick Corbin. While those two studs faced off and dominated, the Marlins in-game entertainment team brought plenty of joy in between innings. I was lucky enough to be put on the big board (the classic “mom I made it” moment). The best part was meeting the redesigned Billy the Marlin. I also thought it was really kind of Billy to take a picture with every single fan who asked for one.
The Wednesday night crowd was small, but it was lively. When the Marlins scored the first run of the game in the 3rd inning, the atmosphere lit up with excitement. Unfortunately, two big innings for the Nationals silenced the crowd once again, but a late 9th inning rally brought all the energy right back. Harold Ramirez led off the inning with a walk and before you knew it, all the ironically worn rally caps and the “bet you they’ll come back” jokes became all too real. The bases were loaded, the tying run was on deck, and the Nationals had to bring in Sean Doolittle to close it out. Up to bat came the Marlins most nationally recognizable face, Curtis Granderson. Despite struggling this season, there was a feeling of danger in the air. And before you can even think about it, Doolittle made his motion towards home, and Granderson smacked a huge fly ball to right field. The loudest 6,276 people you can think of blow up and cheer. The ball smacked off the wall and Granderson slid into third base, and the crowd can’t hold it in. Everyone was yelling and having a great time. And while the Marlins rally was immediately extinguished, I felt hope and happiness.
It’s been a while since there has been a truly exciting group playing in Marlins Park, and while this year’s team likely won’t be making a playoff run, they have turned into an exciting team. For the distraught Marlins fan or even the casual fan, the food, in-game experience, and young team combined with a beautiful atmosphere will make you fall in (or back in) love with baseball. The team is clearly committed to making every trip to the ballpark a unique and memorable experience. Something special is coming together in Little Havana. Go check it out!”