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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  New Ballpark, New Stars, New Hope:
. . . . . . .
Tuesday, April 3,2012

New Ballpark, New Stars, New Hope:

The new look for the Marlins may make some thunder this summer

By Andrew Plevin  

 

The Miami Marlins have revamped the franchise this offseason with the hope of contending for their third playoff birth in team history. The team is opening the doors to a brand new stadium this year and can boast a place to call their own for the first time since the team’s inception in 1993. Along with a new venue, the team altered its name from Florida Marlins to Miami Marlins, which necessitated a new look logo and uniform modifications. The notoriously thrifty team opened its wallets this offseason and made some big splashes in the free agent market, landing All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, lefthanded starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, and Closer Heath Bell. The Marlins believe these new acquisitions can give the team the push it needs to not only compete in the challenging NL East. They think they can win the division and ultimately win it all.

The Marlins spent their first 19 years playing in Sun Life Stadium (formerly Landshark Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, and Joe Robbie Stadium), the home of the Miami Dolphins. This historic football stadium was transformed into an oversized and awkward baseball stadium for the spring and summer months to accommodate the Marlins. The team had long desired a home of its own but couldn’t secure the financing to build one until Miami- Dade County finally agreed to pony up the cash in 2009 and ground was broken on Marlins Park almost immediately. The former Orange Bowl site in Little Havana was chosen due to its proximity to downtown Miami and will enable spectators to view the city’s skyline right from their seats. With construction completed, The Marlins open the 2012 season in the stateof-the-art ballpark whose features include a retractable roof, air conditioning, a 360-degree promenade, and an intimate 37,000 capacity.

The Florida Marlins are no more and the reign of the Miami Marlins has begun. The name change was accompanied by a restyled logo, which is a multicolored letter M with a marlin jumping over it. The team’s primary colors are red-orange, yellow and blue and are supposed to reflect the flavor of the city. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria commented on the teams new look, “We’re unique. We’re sleek, different, and we are the colors of Miami.” Loria added, ”We are the red-orange, of breathtaking Miami sunsets and the citrus Industry. The blue of the sky and the sea. And the yellow of the beautiful Miami sunshine.” The team’s jerseys will have four color variations: black, white, gray, and red-orange.

Although the new ballpark and new look are exciting developments for the Marlins, they are intended to affect the team’s identity and have no bearing on the outcome of their season. The aforementioned player acquisitions are the key factors in the success of the ball club in 2012.

Perhaps the biggest of the Marlins sign ings is Jose Reyes, who for the last seven years was the everyday shortstop for the division rival New York Mets. The oft injured Reyes was the catalyst for the Mets offense, when healthy. His blazing speed on the base paths makes him fun to watch and a 60 stolen base season is well within the realm of possibility. Although, his effectiveness will rely on him being able to keep his legs healthy. He has battled leg injuries that cost him 30 games in each of the last two seasons and he played only 36 games in 2009. The Marlins will use him as their leadoff hitter atop the lineup and he will play shortstop, moving All-Star Hanley Ramirez over to third base.

Mark Buehrle was inked this winter to add a quality lefty to the Marlins rotation. The 12-year veteran pitcher spent his entire career playing for the Chicago White Sox and owns a career 3.83 ERA and owns an impressive 161-119 win-loss record. His move to the National League should improve his numbers since he no longer has to face the designated hitter (DH) in opposing teams’ lineups. He is expected to be the number two starter behind Josh Johnson, who is coming back from an injury shortened 2011 campaign.

The Marlins’ need to sure up their bullpen was met by signing Health Bell as their new closer. Bell has been the reliable closer for the San Diego Padres for the past three seasons and finished those years with 42, 47, and 43 saves, respectively. Although trade rumors were circulating, the Padres failed to move him by the trade deadline last year. Bell opted for the free agent market and found himself a new home here in South Florida, where the closing situation was tumultuous before his arrival.

Time will tell if these key acquisitions are the missing pieces for the Marlins. The Major League Baseball season is a long and grueling road in which anything can happen. One thing is for sure, the Miami Marlins have increased their chances for success this offseason and fans, players, and management alike are all excited for the new ballpark and the new identity.

 

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