The Marlins are certainly going to be considered to host World Baseball Classic games in 2013, in a new ballpark, Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy said Monday during the Marlins opener against the Washington Nationals.
In town in part to thank local politicians -- several of whom attended the team's opener at Dolphin Stadium -- for approving the ballpark financing last month, DuPuy said MLB was impressed with the Marlins’ hosting of second round WBC games last month.
“The enthusiasm shown for the Venezuelan and Puerto Rican teams in the WBC was very encouraging. Clearly the market responded to those clubs and we would explore hosting a round in a new ballpark when it’s built,” DuPuy said. “Obviously for an event like the WBC, having a 60,000-seat facility is too massive.”
But DuPuy pointed out the more than 30,000 that attended the U.S.-Puerto Rico game last month, would have fit well in the team's planned 37,000-seat ballpark in Little Havana
“They’d be considered for any of the rounds,” DuPuy said of the Marlins in a new ballpark.
But a Finals in Miami raises some prickly questions. How would South Florida fans respond to a Finals like this year’s at Dodger Stadium that pitted Japan and Korea? Los Angeles has a large Asian population, but South Florida doesn’t. Could Miami host a Finals that included the Cuban team with so much anti-Castro sentiment locally? With the Obama administration looking to ease some travel restrictions to Cuba, maybe that won’t be an issue by the time a new ballpark opens.
Meanwhile, DuPuy reiterated that a new ballpark should also mean an MLB All-Star game in the Marlins’ future. This year’s is scheduled in St. Louis, followed by the 2010 game in Anaheim.
“The commissioner has made it a practice and a goal to award communities that build ballparks to showcase new ballparks and clearly the fact the Marlins are going to have a new ballpark, and that they lost an All-Star Game, will no doubt be strong considerations in awarding future All-Star Games,” he said.
DuPuy wouldn’t suggest a date for the Marlins to host one.
“For one thing," DuPuy said, "we haven’t broken ground yet.”