Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Game 30: Atlanta Braves 3 @ Florida Marlins 6

Our final game of the trip and our last ballpark in hindsight was not the optimal way to end a trip. Seriously I should have thought of it and about half way through the trip I kind of realized that ending here probably was not going to be that great of an end, but it is still awesome to have finished the trip even if it was at one of the most blah ballparks. Actually, it barely can even be called a ballpark. It is only one because the Marlins do still play here, but it is very much just Dolphin Stadium (technically now Land Shark Stadium, but still says Dolphin Stadium in a lot of places) and as that it is mostly about the football team. It is not as bad as the Metrodome, but it is not the best of the football/baseball stadiums either, as that honor goes to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

The main thing that makes this not feel like a ballpark is that you walk off the elevator and onto the main concourse and the concourse is huge, as you expect at a football stadium. Of course, the expanse of empty upper deck seats all around give the same feel of it being way too big for the sport. The biggest down is that it really is deserted and shows that it is not for baseball.

There are few concession places open and way less than even at regular ballpark. That is partially obvious because they have a lot of concessions closed that only are for football season, but it is obvious that they do not need that many because the fan turn out is extremely minimal. Seriously, though, who wants to go to a game when the rain is often a possibility this time of year and if it is not raining it is miserably hot and humid. It was still humid tonight, but after the rain all day it was not as hot as it had been earlier this week for us in Florida, so surprising not too bad for an outdoor Florida game. However, it will be much better to go to a Marlins game in 2012 when they get their new ballpark, which they just broke ground for earlier this month. It will not only actually be built for baseball, but it will have a roof in the style of Safeco Field and Minute Maid Park.

There is a few good things about tonight's game and the main one is that it actually ended up being played completely with no rain delays. All day there were thunderstorms off and on up until only an hour before the game. I give the grounds crew and staff here big props for actually being very efficient and having the game start on time. So many parks do not actually have the top of the first start at game time and usually they are just finishing the pre game ceremonies and such as that time or the team is just taking the field to warm up for the inning. Here, though, they really did start the game at 7:10 with the actual first pitch to the opposing first batter.

One of the other good things was that it was actually a pretty good one. The pitching was not overall that superb, but the relievers did pretty good and for the most part it was decent. It was not a major slugfest, which personally I am kind of tired of, but there were some homers including 3 by the Marlins. The most exciting of the homers was the 3-run one hit by the Marlins starting pitcher. There was also some uniqueness of the Braves manager and catcher getting ejected. We never could figure out what they were arguing about, but I think it was that the catcher was called out at first on a double play and they thought he should have been safe.

Overall the Marlins game experience was pretty good, as the Marlins and Braves both have some good players worth watching. However, the ballpark experience is rather dull and makes it so obvious that the Dolphins do not want the Marlins here at all. For those that do not know the history between the two teams, the Dolphins own the stadium and told the Marlins back in like 2004 that they would kick them out in 2010 unless a ballpark is eminent. Not at the bottom of our ballpark experiences, as there are worse (Dodger Stadium, Skydome, Citi Field), but definitely close to the bottom.

Updated August 4, 2009: Added photos finally

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