The Best Stadium in MLB Without Parking
If you haven't had a chance to see the newest stadium in the majors, I can tell you it is a real gem. The Miami Marlins officially opened Marlins Park tonight against the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.
The Marlins began as an expansion team in 1993. The team has had tremendous success in south Florida winning 2 World Series championships in 1997 and 2003. For years the Florida Marlins played their home games at Sun Life Stadium, which is also the home of the Dolphins and Hurricanes. The Marlins never really fit in at Sun Life Stadium because it is a football facility and didn't accommodate the team's needs.
The seats in the upper level were rarley sold for home games because the fans were too far from the action. Even during the World Series there were empty seats in the upper level of the stadium. The Marlins had been advocating for a new stadium since the late 1990's. After all the team was successful and had won a championship already by the end of the 90's and deserved their own stadium.
After years of struggling to get funding for their new ballpark the Marlins finally received the help from the city that they needed to build their dream palace on the site of where the Orange Bowl used to be in Little Havana. One would think that the location is ideal, considering that Marlins Park is only 2 miles west of downtown Miami.
The team spent a bunch of money in the off season acquiring Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano, and manager Ozzie Guillen. They even changed their name to the Miami Marlins. Everything seemed perfect for the Marlins, I mean what more could they ask for than a new stadium and a team that would contend for a championship?
For starters a brand new stadium with adequate parking would have been nice. Marlins Park is the 3rd smallest stadium in MLB, it holds 37,442 fans. However, only 5,700 cars can park in the city owned garages and other lots that surround the new ballpark. The majority of those spaces are reserved for season ticket holders and stadium employees. Don't get me wrong, 5,700 spaces is ideal for a minor league park that holds around 6,000 people, but for a major league ballpark, are you kidding me?
I'm not sure what the Marlins and their ownership was thinking by building the ballpark in an area where parking is so scarce. This is Miami that we're talking about, not some small little town. Perhaps the team could have built this spectacular stadium in a more rural part of the city with a little more room for parking. How the hell do they expect people to regularly attend games if they have to park 5 miles from the stadium?
I have been to quite a few MLB stadiums and one which comes to mind that is located right smack in the middle of a residential area and has no parking is Wrigley Field in Chicago. The city of Chicago makes up for Wrigley's location because they have phenomenal public transportation. You can take the "L" AKA the elevated train and end up right in front of the stadium.
The Miami Marlins will hopefully do something in the future to improve the parking situation at their new ballpark. Maybe they will tear down a few houses around the neighborhood. Despite the parking issues, after 19 years in south Florida, at least the Marlins can finally say that they have a beautiful stadium that they can call their own.