No home runs were hit in last night’s inaugural regular season game at Marlins Park in Miami, which despite the sample size has many thinking the place plays too large. Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton hit two blasts that would’ve been out at some parks (including former Marlins home Sun Life Stadium), yet ended up as warning track outs in the new stadium. Kyle Lohse threw a no-hitter through six. The roof was open, which may have helped knock down fly balls. The Marlins don’t play another home game until April 13th against the Astros. Against Houston pitching and with a closed roof, we’ll probably see different results, including the proper debut of the park’s controversial home run feature.
Lance Berkman hit one of the few extra base hits, a double, before saving a blast for his postgame interview (sorry, no option to embed).
It’s the biggest ballpark in the game. People keep trying this big ballpark deal and it never works. I mean, Detroit moved the fences in, (the Mets) moved the fences in. There’s a reason why it’s 330-375-400. That’s a fair baseball game. You try to get too outrageous and you get something that I think’s gonna be detrimental to (the Marlins).
Berkman, who laid on a bit of his usual snark, went on to talk about what baseball fans look for when taking in a game. Though he liked the architecture, Berkman didn’t much care for the Marlins’ game presentation.
One of the things about baseball that people gravitate towards is nostalgia. That’s why they love Wrigley Field, they love Fenway Park, because you can kind of step back in time. What they’ve tried to do here is step forward in time because (of) a lot of the things you don’t normally associate with baseball. You don’t see cheerleaders at games, they were there tonight. You don’t see flamenco dancers, they were there tonight. You don’t see DJ’s and bands and stuff during the game, you saw that tonight. A lot of things that they’re trying to advance the game – I’m not sure that baseball fans embrace that kind of change.
We’ve had this nostalgia-vs.-progress/modernism debate here on the blog several times and as recently as earlier in the week. It doesn’t manifest itself solely in architecture or design, it’s also a matter of packaging the game. While Berkman’s statement may be a bit presumptuous, it touches on the not exactly black-and-white debate that’s raged on about the need for a “true” or “pure” baseball experience versus something that is more accessible for casual fans and younger generations. Personally, I want a modern form and a simple, uncluttered game presentation. What do you think?
Also, take a look at the blog’s Twitter feed for my initial reactions to Marlins Park. I expect to visit later in the year as I make an East Coast sweep, so I hope to have a review shortly afterward.
Added 4/6 11:37 AM – The New Yorker has a brief article about Marlins Park called “The End of the Retro Ballpark“.