Name: Marlins Park
Opened: 6 March 2012 (exhibition); 4 April 2012 (regular season)
Cost: $634 Million
Surface: Celebration Bermuda (2012 - 2013); Platinum TE Paspalum (2014-2019); Shaw Sports B1K artificial turf (2020 - )
Marlins Park is something of an enigma in baseball. Although it's one of the newer parks in MLB (2012), it is rarely mentioned with the other parks of the last 15 years (Busch Stadium, Nationals Park, Citi Field, New Yankee Stadium, Target Field, Suntrust/Truist Park).
While many of those parks either tip their cap to a previous ballpark (Citi Field, Yankee Stadium) or embrace their neighborhood to create a "ballpark village" (Busch Stadium, Truist Park), Marlins Park has gone the other way, creating an entirely new baseball experience: an ambience-free, futuristic baseball experience.
As Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told the architects:
When it all started, the architects came to me and asked what I had envisioned. Was I looking to have a retro stadium? Did we have that in mind? I said, "No retro, no art-deco, no looking back. Miami is a spectacular city, looking ahead. We need to be looking forward. I'd like to see us build a great, 'contemporary' building."
Well, they certainly succeeded. From the bizarre home-run sculpture in center field (thankfully now relegated to an outdoor plaza) to the aquariums built into the wall behind the backstop, Marlins Park was (and is) like nothing else in baseball.
The question is: with the adulation that the classic parks like Fenway and Wrigley get, and the outpourings of love for the 'retro' era, which encompassed Camden Yards in 1992 through Busch Stadium, Citi Field and even to a certain extent Suntrust/Truist Park in 2017), why would an ownership choose to go in the completely opposite direction?
At least, the purists told themselves, they'd have natural grass. But, despite being in a city with almost 250 days of sun, the roof was kept closed so much that the original Bermuda grass continued to die. They replaced it in 2014 with a better shade grass (TE Paspalum), but even with the addition of artificial sun lamps installed for off-days, the grass continued to suffer, so as of 2020, Marlins Park will have artificial turf, having installed Shaw Sports B1K turf after the 2019 season. (B1K is the same turf as at Chase Field in Arizona.)
This brings the total number of ballparks with artificial turf back up to five, after it had gotten down to just three.
Perhaps we're being too harsh on Marlins Park. Admittedly, I haven't seen a game there. (Although, to be fair, most of the reviews I've read online don't seem to indicate otherwise. As the awesome "Stadium Journey" website says:
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