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November 30, 2011

Having name on Miami Heat's arena benefits American Airlines even in bankruptcy, but court must agree

Among the many issues left up in the air, so to speak, by the Chapter 11 filing this week by American Airlines are the naming rights deals for the arenas where the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks play.

Early indications from American Airlines are the names will remain on the arenas, but ultimately the bankruptcy court will have to sign off on that.

A solid case can be made that the investment is an asset to the ongoing operation of the airlines, particularly in light of the teams that play in the arenas.

When the Heat and Mavericks played in this year’s NBA Finals, it was estimated by Front Row Marketing Services that each game brought more than $10 million in national advertising exposure. So the six-game series amounted to a $60 million benefit to the airline.

American Airlines pays $2.1 million a year in a $42 million naming rights deal in Miami that runs through 2019, and $6.5 million a year in a 30-year deal in Dallas.

That would seem to be a worthwhile investment, at least in the eyes of sports marketers. How it will be regarded by a bankruptcy court weighing the assets of a company that lost more than $12 billion in the past 10 years is difficult to predict.

Front Row Marketing, which represents numerous venues in naming rights deals, bases it calculations of the advertising value on exposure of the signage in the arena on the television broadcasts and mentions by the announcers.

"We don't know if that's right," American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said during the 2011 Finals of the eight-figure estimate, "but there's value in it, and we're sure it's a large amount."

This year’s Finals were the second in which American Airlines has gotten a double shot of exposure from the Heat and Mavericks. And with the Heat emerging from the lockout with their Big Three stars intact, there is a good chance of the AmericanAirlines Arena hosting more championship series.

Naming rights holders have vanished on other venues due to bankruptcy procedures, including the former Trans World Airlines Dome in St. Louis. The Pro Player moniker remained on the Dolphins’ stadium for several years after Fruit of the Loom liquidated that division in bankruptcy.

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174)

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Billy The Marlin returns in wild array of colors

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Billy The Marlin is back with a new look. And it’s, ah, quite bizarre.

If South Florida’s favorite 8-foot fish didn’t frighten young children with that prominent sword-like bill, wait until they get a look at this multicolored monster bearing down on them.

As expected, Billy reflects the team’s new look and colors blue, red-orange, yellow and black.

The blue replacing the former teal on his head is more natural, but the red-orange stripe on the bill makes him look like he bumped into wet paint. And the tri-colored fin and pajama pants would be a nightmare on Sesame Street.

“The new look of Billy perfectly complements the new look of the Miami Marlins,” said Sean Flynn, Marlins senior vice president of marketing. “By utilizing the same color scheme, which represents Miami and its diverse cultural and geographical mix, we are confident fans will embrace Billy’s new style. Just as they have embraced our new brand by buying Miami Marlins tickets and merchandise at record-breaking numbers.”

Billy, who has been ranked among the top 10 sports mascots, once lost his head in a famous Opening Day parachute drop gone awry. Wonder if he’ll want to hide it now.

And what will the other mascots think?

The new Billy will be making his first appearance in Japan as part of the Marlins’ fourth visit to U.S. military personnel stationed overseas. The Marlins organization is set to visit U.S. troops stationed in Japan, Guam and Hawaii from Dec, 1 – 15.

Photos: Courtesy Miami Marlins

POSTED IN: Miami Marlins (32)

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November 29, 2011

Ozzie Guillen offers glimpse at his life on personal web site

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The Marlins have never had a manager like Ozzie Guillen. Nor has any other team – except the White Sox, who had eight years of Ozzie.

Guillen has yet to don a Miami Marlins uniform, at least publically, but he is already the team’s most visible presence. It is apparent that whether he ends up being loved or loathed in his Marlins tenure, he will be immensely entertaining.

Ozzie’s life is an open book, and he offers a glimpse on his web site OzzieGuillen.com. Check out his latest blog post and you’ll learn that he just renewed his vows with his wife, Ibis, during a Thanksgiving trip to Panama

“After 28 years of being married, I decided it was time. I did it all on my own; my wife had no clue. See, I guess I can be romantic (haha). I guess since we didn’t get divorced after 72 days the first time around (72 days seems kinda fast) I think we will make it this time too. I just want to say thank you to my wife, Ibis, and my family for sticking with me, even though some of them have no choice (haha). No, but seriously that’s my real team no matter what!”

Currently, it’s Affable Ozzie on display, which is the laidback, offseason version of the volatile manager with a huge new contract in his back pocket. He has been exhibiting his good-natured side as he shares thoughts on travels and outlook on his move to the Marlins.

It will be interesting to see how the tone shifts as the pressure amps up during the season. Checking through the archives of his posts from last season with the White Sox, he kept his posts on the upbeat side, though he did observe, “It’s easier to blog when we win.”

Perhaps venting frustrations in media sessions enables him to leave it at the ballpark. May also help in maintaining domestic tranquility for 28 years.

The photo section of his site has some shots from a recent session with ESPN The Magazine at his home in Chicago, including Ozzie grilling and playing the bongos.

A sneak peek at the cover shows him sharing a kiss with his English bulldog DH. According to a tweet by Guillen, the magazine will hit the news stands on Friday.

One section of the web site needs updating. “Shop For Ozzie Gear” takes you to a page for White Sox apparel.

POSTED IN: Miami Marlins (32)

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Ndamukong Suh's antics taken to extreme in Taiwanese animated video

Ndamukong Suh’s stomp of the Packers’ Evan Dietrich-Smith will go down as the costliest Thanksgiving meltdown since Tiger Woods took a late-night detour into a tree.

It also took Suh’s reputation as the NFL’s dirtiest player global. That was cemented by a Taiwanese animation video that depicts the volatile Detroit Lion’s opponent-bashing tendencies in the absurd extreme.

Shocking or hilarious? You be the judge. The video show’s Suh slamming former Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme to the ground repeatedly by his facemask, wiping out the Bears’ Jay Cutler with some sort of fireball and finally not only stomping Dietrich-Smith but ripping off an arm and a leg.

All of which is presented as a news story with a Chinese-speaking commentator explaining (along with subtitles in English) that Suh has committed a league-record nine personal fouls in less than two seasons, had already been fined a total of $42,500, and if suspended would lose $82,000 a game in salary.

Suh was suspended Tuesday, and after watching that video the logical conclusion is that he got off pretty easy with two games – one for each limb torn off.

Financially, he did get off relatively easy. His five-year contract, which could pay him up to $68 million, is heavily front-loaded with bonus money. According to Forbes.com, he received a $17.4 million bonus payment earlier this season, so the lost income is a prorated portion of a relatively low $1.4 million base salary.

However, Suh’s Thanksgiving transgression could end up costing him quite a bit long-term in endorsements. Coincidentally, he had a new Chrysler 300 commercial that began airing during Thursday’s Lions-Packers game on Fox.

So far Chrysler and his other sponsors have declined comment on Suh. Wait until they see the video from Taiwan.

Next Media Animation has gained a reputation for humorous animated re-enactments of topical news stories. The first one dealt with the revelations of Woods’ extramarital affairs and Thanksgiving crash. You can view it on YouTube.

POSTED IN: NFL (178)

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November 26, 2011

TV deal gave NBA incentive to settle lockout in time for Christmas

What a relief. Instead of David Stern and Billy Hunter co-starring in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” we get Mariah Carey singing and the Heat and Mavs playing in the traditional Christmas tripleheader.

What a surprise? Not really. Even as the NBA lockout was taking on an endless feel, the timing of the abrupt ending made perfect sense.

Christmas is when games start airing on ABC. That is when it would really start getting painful for the owners.

"We look forward to opening up on Christmas Day," NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said during the settlement announcement. "We're excited about bringing the NBA back. That is what's most important."

No. What is most important to the league is keeping all that TV revenue in the vault. That includes $485 million a year from ESPN/ABC and $445 million a year from TNT.

There has already been some loss that must be accounted for, but the stakes amp up significantly when the network portion of the schedule kicks in on Christmas Day. While NBA telecasts generate more than $800 million in advertising revenue, The Wall Street Journal reported that “ad spending is heavily weighted to the latter portion of the NBA season.”

Read between the lines in Commissioner David Stern’s explanation: “The reason for the settlement was we've got fans, we've got players who would like to play and we've got others who are dependent on us.”

The most significant others are their TV partners. Better believe they were doing some arm twisting to get the owners back to the bargaining table.

The NBA would have faced returning the TV money or extending the contracts by a year if the season had been lost. There was also the pending litigation by the players that could have cost the owners $6 billion in damages. But that didn’t carry the immediacy of the situation with television.

The lockout is over now because the owners finally had incentive to cease in seeing how far they could push the players into concessions.

POSTED IN: NBA (139)

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November 23, 2011

Florida Panthers offer 50 percent off on tickets during Thanksgiving sale

In the spirit of Black Friday, the Panthers are offering 50-percent off on single-game tickets during a 36-hour Thanksgiving Special.

The sale runs from noon Thursday to midnight Friday and applies to all remaining home games beginning with Friday night’s game against Tampa Bay. Visit Ticketmaster.com.

Another attractive offer: Beginning at noon Wednesday, tickets are being offered for $45 for Duffy’s Sky Club at the game against the Lightning on Friday.

Price includes unlimited food, beer and wine in the sky club (accessible only with a ticket), a $10 Duffy’s gift card and a seat in the upper bowl (sections 428-430). Depending on the game, the normal price range is $55-$80 for Duffy’s Sky Club. For more details, call 954-835-7211.

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November 16, 2011

NASCAR's environmental summit will trumpet why it's good to go green

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NASCAR, a sport long associated with consumption, now proudly toots its horn as a leader in conservation.

While in South Florida for its season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, NASCAR will host a Green Summit to highlight its environmentally responsible efforts, as well as those of sponsors, and to address future innovations in conservation and sustainability. The summit is Thursday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel in Miami Beach.

“There is a predisposition to think that companies that become involved in something like NASCAR that is a motor sport may not be as green as other companies, and that our fans are not as green as the general public Actually the opposite is the truth,” said Michael Lynch, managing director of the NASCAR Green Innovation. “The companies in this sport are very environmentally responsible and very smart about it from a business standpoint.”

NASCAR’s most visible green initiative was the switch this season to a racing fuel blend with a 15-percent corn ethanol.

But some of the off-track efforts during the past three years may be more significant. According to Lynch, its recycling program is the largest in sports. More than 1,000 tons of material from NASCAR races this season is being recycled.

Some of the other initiatives aimed at reducing the sport’s impact on the environment and promoting sustainability include a solar farm at Pocono Raceway that powers the track and 700 homes, as well as recycling of fluids, tires, batteries and other parts of the race cars.

“We’re going to be really pushing in an innovation direction now having to do with technologies and solutions, whether on the track, in the garage or around the venues,” Lynch said.

There is considerable debate about ethanol, regarding whether it is a viable alternative to fossil fuels or a boondoggle. Critics charge that it has driven up food prices while providing an undeserved subsidy to farmers and producers of fuel.

It is an evolving industry, and Lynch said NASCAR is excited about the next generation of bio fuels that do not use food in the production of ethanol. He pointed to Poet LLC, which is building a plant in Iowa that will begin producing 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2013. The process uses corncobs after the kernels have been removed and a portion of the stalk.

“Part reason we’re in partnership with growth energy is they are technology leaders. We have our eyes very much on the potential of higher ethanol blends in our cars when that is relevant on the street and the introduction of cellulosic ethanol in the sport to go with the country around that next generation biofuel phase that is coming in the next couple years,” Lynch said.

Ethanol continues to have plenty of detractors, but NASCAR is pleased with the first season of racing with Sunoco Green E-15 fuel. Racing teams have reported increased horsepower from what they got with the previous straight unleaded racing fuel, while experiencing less of a decrease in fuel efficiency than was expected.

Photos: (Above) Cars in all NASCAR series have been using fuel with a 15 percent ethanol blend this season; (below) Coca-Cola's Portable Recycling Processing center goes from track to track recycling cans and bottles. PHOTOS COURTESY/NASCAR

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POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42)

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November 15, 2011

Billy the Marlin will resurface after color modification

Conspicuously absent during the Miami Marlins’ coming out party Friday was perhaps the most recognizable face of the franchise: Billy the Marlin.

Hanley Ramirez led a procession of players modeling the various new uniforms, and manager Ozzie Guillen joined them before yielding the stage to Pitbull. But no Billy.

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Sean Flynn, Marlins vice president of marketing, said Billy will surface soon after undergoing some color modification to match the new color scheme.

“He is here. He will be back, and there are no dramatic changes for Billy, just some color adjustments,” Flynn said. “Colors will be similar in nature to what you see in the new colors of the organization.”

The team’s primary shades are blue, red-orange and yellow along with black. The logical transformation would be to replace the teal on Billy’s head and fin with the new-look blue.
Flynn assured he won’t turn up red-orange and be mistaken for Sammy the Salmon.

Billy the Marlin has become an iconic presence in the mascot world. Forbes this year ranked the 8-foot fish with the frightening sword-like bill as the 10th favorite American sports mascot. The Phillie Phanatic edged the San Diego Chicken for the top spot this year. Here’s the Forbes Top 10 for 2011.

Flynn said the Marlins are pleased overall with reaction to the new look and said early sales of merchandise have “exceeded expectations.” There continues to be harsh criticism on the Internet, including a poll on SunSentinel.com in which 59 percent of more than 9,000 respondents calling the new uniforms “awful.”

“Anytime with change there is always some negative comments. Its inherent when you change, especially a change as dramatic as ours,” Flynn said. “It looks like the tide has turned. The later we got into the weekend looking over some social media sites, the positive voice seemed to be outreaching the negative voice. Everybody in our organization is extremely pleased.”

He said the red-orange hat has been a popular item and sold out during the weekend at some locations. Some items bearing the commemorative 11/11/11 date of the rebranding also sold out, including balls and pins.

Photo: Will kids be confused when their beloved Billy the Marlin returns with a different hue? ROBERT DUYOS/STAFF FILE PHOTO

POSTED IN: Miami Marlins (32)

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November 11, 2011

Miami Marlins' new logo, uniforms unveiled Friday night

Here are the logo and uniforms the Miami Marlins revealed Friday night at their new ballpark.

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November 9, 2011

Marlins hiring 2,000; two career fairs provide opportunities in sports industry

For those interested in working in sports and entertainment, two career fairs next week will provide an opportunity to pursue that ambition.

Moving into their new home in Miami, the Marlins are looking to fill more than 2,000 positions. They will hold a job fair on Nov. 15 and 16, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler Street, Miami.

The Marlins together with their partners Johnson Controls, Contemporary Services Corporation, Levy and Pritchard will have positions available that will vary from managerial to event day opportunities. The Marlins will have employment opportunities available in customer service, sales, grounds, guest services, security, ticket operations, finance and retail operations. Their partners will have positions available in the areas of maintenance, concessions, janitorial and event services.

Meanwhile, another career fair will be held at Sun Life Stadium on Nov. 15 will offer tips on how to break into the sports and entertainment industry, as well as to make contact with a number of Florida teams. The fair, from 3-7 p.m., will offer insight into careers in marketing, sales, advertising, ticketing, public relations, finance and others through a series of panel discussions.

Participants will also have the opportunity to meet and greet with executives in the sports and entertainment field. Teams and companies in attendance include:

Miami Dolphins
Miami Marlins
Florida Panthers
Tampa Bay Rays
University of Miami Athletic Department
Discover Orange Bowl Committee
FIU Athletic Department
Univision Radio
Ft Lauderdale Strikers
Ft. Myers Miracle
Palm Beach Cardinals
Calder Casino & Race Course
Jupiter Hammerheads
World Golf Championships – Cadillac Championship
FAU Athletic Department

Attendance is limited to 200 participants and admission is $55 per person, which includes a game ticket to the Miami Dolphins-Buffalo Bills game on Nov. 20. Business attire is required. Parking is free.

For more information or to purchase admission, please visit www.Dolphins.com/careerfair.

POSTED IN: Sports careers (1)

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November 8, 2011

Last call for Florida Marlins at Thursday night casino party

It’s last call for the Florida Marlins on Thursday in a special event at the new ballpark in Little Havana.

The Marlins Community Foundation will host the fifth Annual Fish ‘N Chips Casino Party “Last Call” that evening at 6:30.

The charity event is already a sellout. THose who were able to secure a spot will be joining Marlins players, coaches, alumni and community leaders for an evening at the craps, blackjack, roulette, dominos and poker tables.

“This marquee occasion will serve as a celebration of the “last call” of the Florida Marlins brand before we transition to the new Miami Marlins on 11-11-2011.” said PJ Loyello, senior vice president of communications.

The franchise will be rebranded at the Miami Marlins on Friday when they unveil a new logo and uniforms at an invitation-only gala at the ballpark.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen and players Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, Omar Infante, Josh Johnson, Logan Morrison, Ricky Nolasco, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Gaby Sanchez are expected to participate in the casino party.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193)

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November 7, 2011

Poll: America not missing early-season NBA

Listen up, NBA owners and players: Sports fans are getting along quite nicely without you.

That was the finding of a poll one week into the season that would have been if billionaires and millionaires weren’t squabbling over a couple of percentage points of the revenue split.

In a national telephone survey, Poll Position found that 76 percent of people surveyed said they are not missing NBA games, 12 percent are, and 12 percent did not have an opinion.

The one age group with a basketball jones was 18-29, with 29 percent saying they are missing the games; 53 percent said they are not and 18 percent had no opinion.

Those in the 30-44 year old age group miss the NBA the least with 83 percent saying they do not miss NBA basketball compared to 7 percent who do, 11 percent with no opinion.

There was a noticeable divide between African-Americans and whites. Among African-Americans, 26 percent said they are missing the NBA, 57 percent are not and 17 percent offered no opinion. Whites countered with 83 percent saying they do not miss the NBA to only 8 percent who say they do, with 9 percent expressing no opinion.

It will be interesting to see how the numbers change if the lockout drags on to Christmas, New Year’s or beyond. For many fans, the NBA doesn’t become interesting until the playoffs draw near.

Certainly, the early part of an 82-game season would hold less intrigue with the NFL and college football offering plenty of games of greater significance. But the early sentiment of fans should be a wake-up call for owners and players in the process of melting down their sport with greed and arrogance.

Among men, 72 percent did not miss the start of the regular NBA season while 15 percent did. Women differed just slightly with 80 percent saying they do not miss NBA basketball, compared to only 8 percent who do.

Poll Position’s scientific telephone survey of 1,179 registered voters nationwide was conducted Nov. 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

POSTED IN: NBA (139)

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November 4, 2011

NFL TV: Giants-Patriots match two best owners on Forbes list; Dolphins' Ross avoids 'Worst 10'

After watching the Dolphins make yet another attempt to attain their first victory of the season Sunday at Kansas City, South Florida TV viewers can watch two of the NFL’s top teams.

The Giants at Patriots reprise the 2008 Super Bowl matchup in the late afternoon game on Fox with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on the call at 4:15.

Why have these teams been among the league’s most successful in recent years while the Dolphins can’t find the winning formula. It starts at the top.

Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch were ranked as the best in the NFL this week by Forbes. The Patriots’ Robert Kraft was second on the list of top 10 owners.

According to Forbes, the value of the Giants has increased 33 percent since Mara and Tisch took control of the franchise from their fathers in 2006. The team also won Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots.

The Patriots, under Kraft, have the best winning percentage over the past five years. Forbes reported that the franchise’s value increased by 17 percent during that time.

The remainder of the Forbes list of top 10 owners: James Irsay (Colts), Public Stockholders (Packers), Jerry Jones (Cowboys), Alex Spanos (Chargers), Tom Benson (Saints), Dan Rooney (Steelers), Steve Bisciotti (Ravens).

Forbes also ranked the 10 worst owners, headed by Detroit’s William Clay Ford Sr. The Lions,undergoing a resurgence at 6-2 after years of futility, were the only NFL team to lose money in 2010.

The Dolphins’ Stephen Ross avoided the list of 10 worst, which included owners of Florida’s other two teams. That may be disputed by fans who view his reign as amassing celebrity minority owners and losses on the field.

Here’s how Forbes sees the worst owners after Ford and followed by the Raiders’ recently deceased Al Davis: Ralph Wilson Jr. (Bills), Randy Lerner (Browns), Mike Brown (Bengals), Wayne Weaver (Jaguars), Hunt Family (Chiefs), Malcolm Glazer (Buccaneers), Dan Snyder (Redskins), Pat Bowlen (Broncos).

The Dolphins joined the Lions as the only teams to lose money in 2009. Forbes reported the Dolphins made a profit of nearly $13 million in 2010. That will be tough to match this year with the losses mounting and ticket sales lagging.

At least the TV blackout isn’t a concern this week for Dolphins fans still interested in watching with the team in Kansas City. Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will call the game on CBS beginning at 1 p.m.

The alternative is to watch Tampa Bay at New Orleans in the early game on Fox.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186)

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November 3, 2011

Marlins will begin merchandising binge as soon as logo, uniforms unveiled Nov. 11

The Marlins will provide the first glimpse of their new Little Havana/South Beach look in Friday night red-carpet coming out party on Nov. 11. By 11 p.m. they hope to hear the cha-ching of cash registers racking up the first sales of Miami Marlins merchandise.

The official unveiling of the logo and fashion show of players modeling the new uniforms is by invitation only. It will be streamed live on Marlins.com and feature a performance by Pitbull.

Everyone is welcome to start buying hats, jerseys and other gear outside the ballpark after the show. The general public will be able to enter through one of the designated on-site parking garages off of NW 7th Street starting at 11:00 p.m.

It will provide the first chance to gauge fan reaction to the new look, which has brought criticism since purported leaks emerged more than a month ago. The Marlins have not confirmed the authenticity of images circulating, but team President David Samson said this week that the Marlins have been seeking a departure anything seen in the past with the ballpark and rebranding.

New manager Ozzie Guillen and former manager Jack McKeon will participate and presumably make their first appearances in Miami Marlins attire along with players Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, Omar Infante, Josh Johnson, Logan Morrison, Ricky Nolasco, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Gaby Sanchez.

Everything seems to be falling into place for the team’s coming out party, not only on 11/11 but for the grand opening on April 4 against the Cardinals, who lent more appeal to the occasion by winning the World Series.
“When the schedule came out that St. Louis was playing us April 4, we said that’s good. It’s a great team to play opening day – great tradition, great history,” Samson said. “When they won the pennant, we said, great, we’ll open against the pennant winners. Now it’s worked out even better.”

Imagine if they were to open with Albert Pujols in a Marlins uniform. A pipedream, perhaps, but apparently not out of the question.

The Marlins and Cardinals will have the major league stage to themselves on April 4, with everyone else opening the next two days. After their debut in the new park, the Marlins will leave for a six-game, eight-day trip. That will provide a chance to address the inevitable glitches from the first game.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193)

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November 2, 2011

Marlins honor Latin baseball icons Ramirez, Maduro, pay homage to Orange Bowl with street names

MIAMI The former minor league Miami Marlins played in Bobby Maduro Stadium. The soon-to-be Miami Marlins will play next to a street named for Maduro, an early force behind baseball in South Florida as well as Cuba.

Hispanic baseball icons Maduro and Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Felo Ramirez are the namesakes for two of the four streets surrounding the new ballpark in Little Havana unveiled Wednesday morning by the Marlins and local officials.

Bobby Madura Drive is the portion of NW Fourth Street along the south side of the park, with Felo Ramirez Drive on the north side along NW Sixth Street. The address of the park will be 501 Marlins Way, bordering the west on NW 16th Avenue, while Orange Bowl Way is the portion of NW 14th Ave. on the east.

“We’re recognizing the great work of two individuals and not forgetting the history of the Orange Bowl. We are recognizing the past, present and the future,” Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo said, adding that when he attends games he listens to Ramirez’s Spanish radio broadcasts.

Ramirez, the Spanish voice of the Marlins since their inception, will continue to call games in the new park. Inducted into the Hall of Fame’s broadcast wing in 2001, Ramirez called Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, Roberto Clemente’s 3,000 hit and Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game. He has broadcast more than 30 World Series and All-Star Games.

Marlins President David Samson said team officials consulted with Javier Soto, president of the Miami Foundation, in selecting the street names. The objective was to honor Miami’s sports history and pivotal figures in baseball in the area.

He said Ramirez was quickly chosen, and there was also a desire to pay homage to the Orange Bowl, which occupied the site of the retractable-roof ballpark that will open in April.

“These are historic, hallowed grounds. That was a natural to have Orange Bowl Way on the east side of the building. The famous orange bowl view through the east end zone and the palm trees, that’s the iconic view,” Samson said.

That view toward downtown Miami will be preserved from the ballpark by giant glass sliding doors beyond the outfield.

Bobby Maduro Drive also pays homage to the ballpark that was home to the Class A and Triple-A Miami Marlins teams as well as to one of Latin America’s most prominent baseball figures. Maduro, who died in 1986, was represented by his son and other family members during Wednesday’s ceremony.

“We did some homework and realized he is critical in bringing Hispanics and baseball together in Miami,” Samson said.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193)

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Dolphins plan salute to military, aid disabled vets during game against Washington

The Dolphins’ next game-day tribute should offend no one.

The game against the Washington Redskins on Nov. 13 will salute the military and veterans. A special ticket package will include a donation to Disabled American Veterans.

As part of this ticket program, fans can purchase an upper level ticket for $49 or a lower level ticket for $99 for either the Redskins game or the Buffalo Bills game on Nov. 20. The package includes a $10 donation to the DAV.

The Dolphins face a difficult task in selling tickets for a team that is 0-7 this season and was 1-7 at home in 2010. The ceremony honoring the University of Florida’s 2008 national championship team stirred controversy but did boost ticket sales for the game against the Broncos. However, it took the Dolphins and sponsor Bud Light buying up unsold tickets to avoid a television blackout for that and the previous home game.

To add interest, the Dolphins are planning special celebrations at each remaining home game, including induction of the late Jim Mandich into the team’s Honor Roll on Dec. 4 (vs. Oakland) and a Dolphins “Lifetime Achievement Award” presentation to Howard Schnellenberger on Dec. 11 (vs. Philadelphia).

Plans for the tribute to the military and veterans includes: pregame enlistment; national anthem by Parris Island Marine Band; U.S. Navy flyover; Coast Guard Color Guard; sailors from the USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55) on the field holding the giant American flag; military vehicles including a mini-jet F-16 on the AT&T Grand Plaza; military-themed music throughout the game and for cheerleader end zone performance; and “Salute to Service” wall banners in the end zones or sidelines.

“The Miami Dolphins have made a commitment to our brave defenders that will help ensure our nation lives up to its obligation to those who’ve served,” said Donald L. Samuels, National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans.

The Disabled American Veterans is the nation’s oldest, largest and primary non-profit organization serving disabled veterans, their families and survivors. For more information on DAV, please visit www.dav.org.

For more details, visit Dolphins.com

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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