As he helped lead a tour of his team’s ballpark construction site on Thursday, Florida Marlins president David Samson reiterated the team’s desire to host a Major League Baseball All-Star Game in the new venue as soon as 2015.
“We’re going to submit a bid for the 2015 All-Star Game,” Samson said from a spot on the construction site overlooking home plate and with a view of downtown Miami. “We firmly expect it to be awarded because our bid will be so persuasive, given what’s going on in Miami, given what’s going on in this new ballpark. The Marlins had a game taken away and it’s time to get it back.”
The Marlins had been scheduled to host the 2000 All-Star Game at what was then named Pro Player Stadium, but in 1998, Commissioner Bud Selig moved the game to Atlanta’s Turner Field. The reason given was the region’s lack of a new, modern baseball-only ballpark. But the region was also still stinging from then-Marlins owner H. Wayne Huizenga’s decision to dismantle the Marlins after the team won the 1997 World Series.
Samson said he’s convinced the new ballpark will be awarded the sport’s Mid-Summer Classic.
“We feel more confident than ever that putting an All-Star game in Miami under the air conditioning, will be a win for baseball and we feel the commissioner will agree.”
Ground was broken a year ago for the new ballpark and construction on the former site of the Orange Bowl stadium is more than 40 percent complete. The media was given its quarterly tour of the construction, which included stops at different levels behind home plate with views toward the outfield and downtown Miami.
Concessions stands are already taking shape – complete with the bright-colored tile that is part of the ballpark’s signature style. There will be four color quadrants – blue, yellow, red and green – borrowed from Spanish painter Joan Miro’s palette that will easily help fans identify where they are in the ballpark. Already, blue tile has gone up in concession areas.
The seating bowl should be completed by the end of August.
The Marlins have completed priority ticket sales for existing full-season ticket holders and are opening up full season ticket sales to the public – starting with premium seating – on Monday. Samson said 97 percent of existing full season ticket holders have committed to buying seats in the new ballpark, which is scheduled to open in April 2012.