I have now visited my 21st major league stadium, Marlins Park in Miami. For the second game in a row, we made our way to the park, this time by public transit. We’d spent the afternoon on Miami Beach for some very pleasant walking around looking at nice buildings and eye-popping cars and motorcycles and then did the Transit Experiment.
The Transit Experiment consists of using one’s smart phone to try to get somewhere. In this case, it wasn’t that difficult at all. We hopped the Route 120 bus to he Adrienne Arsht omni transit center, switched there to the free Metromover to Government Center, where we caught the Metrorail train to Culmer, where we got on a shuttle bus direct to the ballpark.
Okay, looking at that list now–bus to mover to train to bus–it seems like it was really complicated. But it wasn’t really more difficult than many of the other ballpark-via-transit jaunts I’ve taken, including Seattle suburbs to Safeco, Silicon Valley to then-PacBell Park, or even my own house to Fenway Park.
All told from when we left Miami Beach to when we reached the ballpark was just under an hour. After the game we took the shuttle back to the Metrorail to the South Miami stop which is near to corwin’s parents’ house, and his Dad came to pick us up there. From time of last pitch to walking in the door here in the Coral Gables area was just over an hour. Very decent time, and the total cost was $7 per person. (It would have only been $5 per person, I think, if we’d bought the one-day Easy Ticket before getting on the first bus, but we hadn’t and so paid $2 cash to get on there, and then Easy Ticket thereafter.)
But you didn’t really come here to read about public transit, did you? You want to know how the Marlins Park was at night.
Let me tell you, it was gorgeous.
You probably want more video of the Bobblehead Museum, too. Very well. This time I just did all the Yankees:
MORE MORE MORE
We arrived this time greeted by the hot sounds not of a DJ, but of a live salsa band! Way to up the ante, Marlins. Even more things were being given away outside, including shoulder totes from the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Museum up in Ft. Lauderdale. One of the several radio stations with promo tents was giving away Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish in small packs. I am a sugar fiend so this was highly appreciated. We didn’t linger outside though.
Before the game we did some more exploring of the park. We came in a different entrance and discovered an actual Joan Miro art piece hanging there. I suddenly remembered–isn’t Jeffrey Loria some kind of art dealer? That would explain the Lichtenstein we saw yesterday, too. We saw more art on the club level, too, though we weren’t allowed to go very near it. I snapped what photos I could.
|Oysters on the Half Shell!?|
We discovered a whole cul de sac of concession stands we missed yesterday, too! The “Taste of Miami” section had three specialty stands. One was Don Camarones, where they had oysters on the half shell, ceviche, seafood fritters, and grouper sandwiches. I went for the ceviche and fritters. I just wasn’t quite sure I could bring myself to have raw oysters in a ballpark. (They looked good, though, nicely displayed on ice.) One was Papo Llego y Pan, which had various sandwiches. And the third was jus called Latin Grill, but they appeared to have the most sophisticated and authentic Cuban Sandwich preparation available in the place. I had to take video of the Speed Sandwich technique employed by their cubano experts, viz:
When we came in, the Yankees were still having batting practice and the roof was closed. It was hot in Miami today, 90 degrees some said. By the time the grounds crew had finished with the field, though. the sun was starting to set and the breeze was cool and pleasant. Which was no doubt why a huge cheer went up from the crowd when the roof started to open. I thought the cheer was for Jeter coming out to do his warm up sprints, but no, that was the NEXT cheer that came about a minute later.
It takes about five minutes for the roof to fully open, so I took some video of it, but it’s not terrible exciting on video. (Well, judge for yourself.) Sitting in the upper deck, pretty close to it, though, it was kind of fun to watch it silently rolling back.
After the roof opens, the giant window walls beyond the outfield open, first the one on the left, then the one on the right. Even while closed though, you get a spectacular view of the buildings of Miami lit up gold and orange by the sunset. Baseball games always seem well-timed to take advantage of that lovely transition time from day to dusk to velvet night. By the fourth inning the sky was black and the white moths had come flying around. The moon was directly overhead.
One new improvement in Marlins Park over the design of Yankee Stadium is the concrete floors seem to be sealed with something. The concrete floors in the ladies rooms in Yankee Stadium appear to be “fraying” where some kind of fibers are coming loose as the concrete wears down. The floors here are not only colorful to match the sections (one women’s room right at the transition of the home plate to third base section has both red and blue flecks on the floor instead of just one or the other), but they appear to be sealed with some kind of coating. I know nothing about floor materials, but this stuff seems nice. Next question is how will it hold up to hundreds of thousands of tromping feet, but we shall see.
I’ll be at Target Field later this summer and will report on what the floors seem to be made of there.
And now, tonight’s list of glitches and things that went wrong:
* Same national anthem singer as yesterday. He flubbed the words in the same spot, too. Dude, there’s a difference between the word “as” and the word “and.” Just sayin’.
* Most amusing thing about the national anthem in a new ballpark, people searching around for the flag since they don’t know where it is. Can you even spot it in my photos of the outfield?
* The “Welcome…” list of groups was identical to yesterday. I’m pretty sure they weren’t all here again. Also, it couldn’t be that nine-year-old’s birthday two days in a row, either. Do they really think people won’t notice?
* The “pitch speed” indicator was set on spastic. The speed WOULD come up after every pitch, but it would take several seconds before it would appear, and then it would flash for about a tenth of a second, which was too short to actually READ what numbers it showed. The delay was bad enough that the pitcher was often in his windup for the next pitch by the time it flashed. For a while it settled down and would at least hold lit for half a second to a second, but then it went back to just this fractional flash that couldn’t be read by the human eye. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to work.
* Someone please switch the organist’s coffee with the decaf Folgers crystals. As a purist, I approve of ballpark organists, but dude, give it a rest sometimes.
* There were go-go dancers in the Clevelander during the Marlins’ seventh inning rally. Okay, that’s not a glitch, they were undoubtedly supposed to be there. However with the team trying to mount a rally against Phil Hughes, I’m not sure that’s the best time to be shaking your booty. Plus the Clevelander throbs audibly like when someone with a cranked-up sound system parks outside your house and plays Snoop Dogg. I’m sure they’re having a good time but I don’t necessarily want the noise pollution in my house, you know?
* What is your definition of an ice cream sundae? I’m fairly sure everywhere I’ve ever been, including other countries, the difference between just ice cream and an ice cream sundae is that “sundae” indicated the ice cream has toppings. Hot fudge, strawberry, nuts, cherry, whatever, right? At Marlins Park they sell the soft serve ice cream as “helmet sundae.” But there’s nothing sundae-ish about it. It’s just a helmet cup of plain ice cream. Either someone’s misinformed about how they’re supposed to be serving the stuff, or Miami is weirder linguistically than I realized.
|Sporadic, non-functional service at best…|
* Still no phone service or data service. Still couldn’t get on the ballpark guest wireless network. I was able to get a few tweets and texts off prior to the game, but once the game started, not even a text would go through. No way could I fire up MLB At Bat to check Gameday for a player’s full name or to find out what happened when Granderson was called out in the first.
* This did not go wrong, but let me be the first to predict that it will. The big “Budweiser” bar in left center? It’s not actually THAT far. Maybe 420′. And right next to it are popcorn and hot dog stands, where the vendors have their backs to the field. They should ALL be wearing helmets. Someone is going to take a home run ball on the noggin and it won’t be pretty when it happens. It’ll be really funny if all it does it smash a flat screen TV or a pile of tequila bottles. It won’t be so funny if it smashes a human being. Just because steroids are supposedly out of the game doesn’t mean plenty of balls don’t go that distance.
Generally speaking, it seemed like fewer things went wrong in stadium operations. In the Vista Box section (upper deck) where we were, the cash registers did not crash. I can’t quite say the same for baseball operations, though, as for the second night in a row, the Yankees prevailed over the Marlins without too much difficulty.
The pitching matchup was Carlos Zambrano, yes, THAT Zambrano, versus Hideki Kuroda. Zambrano didn’t look particularly sharp, walking Curtis Granderson in the first. But when Granderson stole second, he was called out, presumably for catcher’s interference on the part of Robinson Cano, who had struck out to make it a double play.
Zambrano walked Mark Teixeira in the second, but escaped trouble there thanks to a terrific catch by Logan Morrison of a deep Raul Ibanez drive to the wall. He wouldn’t be so lucky in the third, though, when his defense couldn’t do much with the fact that he walked Brett Gardner to lead off the inning. Jeter doubled, sending Gardner to third, and then Zambrano walked both Granderson (again) and Cano, forcing in a run. A-Rod followed with a sac fly for another. Zambrano also walked Gardner again in the fourth inning, and then in the fifth was knocked from the game after letting the first three men reach base on a double-walk-double (Granderson-Cano-A-Rod). That would make for five Yankees runs, all credited to Zambrano, and that would be all they would get… or need.
On the other side of the ledger, Kuroda was nicked by leadoff man Jose Reyes, who doubled to start the game, moved to third on a ground out, and the scored on a single. But after that Kuroda was mainly effective through three innings. I did not hear why he left after three, or if that had been planned. Boon Logan came in and was not terribly effective, giving up a double and then a single, although maybe he might have gotten out of it without giving up a run had Nick Swisher not let a ball go under his glove. Logan was lifted after recording two outs and Rafael Soriano came in to strike out John Buck and end the inning.
Next came Phil Hughes who looked quite good tonight. He was throwing strikes (in the end 43 of 57 pitches). He had some trouble with a little breaking ball, which was hanging up in the zone and getting hit, but every time that happened, he and Martin tried something else which worked better. I caught a glimpse of 92 on the gun when the pitch speed indicator would deign to be visible, as well as some 84 mph, too. In the end Hughes pitched four innings, no runs, four strikeouts, one walk. David Robertson put the icing on it, with two strikeouts and a fly ball in the ninth.
We got to see Heath Bell strike out the side in the Yankees’ half of the ninth, which was cool, since we were ahead by three and it wasn’t as if the likes of Zoilo Almonte and Ramiro Pena had a chance against him anyway. He has a very short stride, which prompted corwin to opine that when a pitcher is a “tub o’ lard” he doesn’t need as much forward movement to generate the same momentum with his mass. (We use “tub o’ lard” in a strictly technical sense, of course.)
And that was that. I’ve already told you how it was leaving the park, swift and easy getting on the shuttle bus, and so that is that. It seems the Yankees are ready for the games to start to count, and I know I sure as heck am.
All that’s left to do is give you today’s slideshow:
(Did you enjoy reading this blog entry? Please consider buying me a hot dog.)