Marlins Ballpark An “Only in Miami” Experience
New stadium shows visitors what Miami is REALLY Like
These are definitely now Miami’s Marlins. And this is definitely Miami’s ballpark.
The team, with its new name, colors and design, has clearly taken itself from a regional team to one that is distinctly Miami. The signs in the stadium switch from English to Spanish. The ticket windows read “Tickets” and “Boletos.” It may be the most bilingual stadium in America.
But the Miaminess of the new stadium goes far beyond its bilingual signs, bright color scheme and skyline view. The new park gives the visitor a variety of lessons about what this city is all about, and what it means to live here.
1. MIAMIANS WOULD RATHER PARTY THAN WATCH BASEBALL
Perhaps the most obvious – and definitely most publicized – aspect of the new ballpark is the Clevelander in left field. From the pool to the DJ to the ice cold Miami Vices, this mini version of the South Beach landmark is the park’s nod to South Beach. With the added bonus of possibly catching a home run.
But if you go to watch a game from the Cleve, you’re not going to be watching the game. The constant music, dancing, socializing and drinking is more like going to an indoor pool bar with a baseball game going on in the background.
The Clevelander also has an audible bass thump that can be heard across the stadium during slow times. Like the inescapable electronic music in this city, the Cleve offers the visitor the true Miami experience of perpetually having loud, interfering music as a backdrop to life.
Tickets to the Clevelander start at $25 for most games. You can also pay an additional $10 cover if you have tickets elsewhere. And, in keeping to true Miami fashion, the Clevelander has a line to get in that moves slowly, even when nobody is inside.
2. IN MIAMI, YOU BETTER LIKE LATIN FOOD, JEWISH FOOD, OR UNREASONABLY HEALTHY FOOD
Nothing screams “Miami” more than the food options at Marlins Ballpark.
Much like in the rest of Miami it is damn near impossible to find a cup of regular coffee. Cuban coffee? No problem, just head to the Taste of Miami behind the Budweiser bar in Left field. But regular coffee? This ain’t Yankee Stadium, amigo.
Miami’s most visible demographics are also represented in the food stands. Center field has Rincon Goya, a collection of Cuban favorites like chicken sandwiches and rice and beans. The Kosher Korner in right features Kosher Hot Dogs, deli-style fries and fresh knishes. And for the super body conscious, there is even a gluten free stand that has, unbelievably, gluten-free hot dogs, which are always sold out.
3. OUR CUBAN RESTAURANTS ARE LOUD, GREASY AND FILLED WITH SMOKE
Perhaps the most unintentionally Miami food option is Left field’s Taste of Miami.
The intent here was to capture what it’s like to eat in a little Cuban Cafeteria in Little Havana. And boy did they nail it. Upon turning the back corner into the taste, one is greeted by a wave of greasy smoke that reeks of pork and onions. The Taste is ten degrees hotter than the rest of the stadium, and the air is not only saturated with slick smoke but also the Spanish shouts of the men working the sandwich counters. All it’s missing is stools and old men complaining about Castro.
The upside is instead of having to stare at a 300 pound Cuban woman while you eat your Media Noche, you can stand and look out at Little Havana and the Miami skyline.
4. THE CITY LOOKS VERY RICH, OR VERY POOR. DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU’RE SITTING
The stadium has great sightlines for baseball. And even better sightlines out the left field window that show Miami from a variety of different perspectives.
From the cheap seats in the upper deck, you can see straight into Little Havana and its sprawling, run-down low rise apartments. From the more expensive lower bowl, the gleaming towers of Brickell flaunt their light and color. From the seats closest to the field, all you can see is the bright blue or thunderstorm grey sky. Either way, you know you’re in Miami.
And despite the initial complaints about parking, it is no more difficult than any other stadium in a densely populated area. The garages are streamlined for entrance and exit. Especially if you come to the park early. And if you don’t want to deal with those crowds and lines, parking in the surrounding neighborhood is laughably easy. And definitely a better cultural experience than the austere garages.
The new Marlins Ballpark is truly an “only in Miami” experience. It does more than just try to perpetuate the Miami image of beauty, sex, and parties. It gives you a taste of what it’s like to live here, greasy pork smoke and all. That way when you leave, and walk back through Little Havana to your car, you may understand a little better the people who sold you a spot on their lawn. And even moreso, the city they call home.
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