When Herman Russomanno takes his seat in the Marlins new ballpark in April 2012, he’ll have a view of the action from behind home plate and an eyeful of one of the venue’s most unique features: two custom-built saltwater aquariums that will serve as the home plate backstop.
Yes, aquariums. Two-way aquariums – meaning their swimming inhabitants can be seen from throughout the ballpark both inside the stadium and from the field.
As construction of the $515 million venue on the former site of the Orange Bowl continued across the street on Thursday, Russomanno officially signed his contract to purchase four Diamond Club – the new version of the Batter’s Box at Sun Life Stadium – seats in the new ballpark. He was the first season ticket holder to pick his seats in the ballpark’s new sales headquarters, which officially opens next week. When you say you want to be in the first row behind home plate, you get to be first in line to buy your seats, Marlins President David Samson said.
“Spectacular view,” said Russomanno, a Miami attorney and original Marlins season ticket holder. “Beautiful vista.”
Russomanno’s seats cost $325 apiece per game, but would have been $395 if he’d waited three months. Season ticket prices start at $10 a game. The ballpark is to have slightly more than 37,000 seats, including about 1,000 designated as standing room. Check out marlins.com for more information.
The aquariums are designed by Living Color Enterprises of Fort Lauderdale. One measures 34 feet long, 3 feet high and holds more than 600 gallons of saltwater. The other is 24 feet long and holds 450 gallons of water. They will be positioned on either side of home plate to prevent disruption in play and will be constructed of durable, bullet-proof materials to prevent shattering by foul balls and errant throws.
The team’s 1,800-square-foot ballpark sales center sits at the corner of Northwest 14th Avenue and Northwest 7th Street across the street from the ballpark construction site – so you can actually monitor construction from its outdoor plaza. The sales center includes giant renderings of the new ballpark, seating charts, a scale model with roof that opens and closes and video scoreboard that works, and a full scale suite with modern white furniture and wood paneling, just like the ones that will be in the new ballpark.
Fans can take a virtual tour of the ballpark, getting to see what the view from the future seats will look like. Two images side by side, show the same view of downtown Miami from the site – one with the Orange Bowl and the other with the ballpark under construction. “The Tradition Evolves” reads a sign over the images.
The Marlins are scheduling appointments with their 5,000 season ticket holders to visit the center and choose full season ticket plans in the new stadium. The team is not yet making partial and mini-plans available, but has promised to work with fans looking for smaller plans by pairing them with other fans seeking similar packages, said Sean Flynn, Marlins vice president of marketing.