|Prince at New Marlins Park in Miami|
After thoroughly analyzing the schedule, I decided that July 13th would be the day that made the most sense for us to get there. With that being said, I proceeded to piece together the trip.
Once I finalized the game plan, I was contacted by Paul Derrick who wanted to join us for part of our Stadium Journey. After getting a sample of how we roll last July, he was anxious to come along with us for more. I was thrilled to have him join us. I arranged to meet him at the West Palm Beach airport where he flew to from his home in Houston, Texas on Friday. He landed around 12:30PM. The King and I were there to meet him. On the way to the airport, the King and I went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Paul had a layover in Atlanta where he said he ate already so he wasn't hungry he told me so I planned accordingly.
Upon arrival, I asked him what he wanted to do. He didn't have anything special in mind before the game. I offered to take him to South Beach if he wanted to go there. He said whatever you want to do is fine. While we were driving down I-95 towards Miami, I noticed a billboard on the highway that was advertising a casino that was not far away. It was near Fort Lauderdale. I asked Paul if that would work for him. He said that's fine. I know the King likes to go to casinos so I decided to get off the highway and check it out. We wound up at the Mardi Gras Casino. Since it was warm outside it turned out to be a good way to stay cool since we had some time to kill before we went to see the New Marlins Park.
It turned out great for Paul who played on a slot machine for a short time. He made some money and he decided not to risk losing it so he quit while he was ahead. I made a few dollars and the King lost some while we killed a few hours there.
After we were done, we got back into the car and off to Miami we went.
I wanted to get to the ballpark early so we could check out the place for ourselves. I had an idea from reading about people who have already been there.
We wound up parking the car on someone's driveway for $10 after we searched the area and that seemed to be the most logical way to go. We were only a few blocks from the park which worked out really well.
When we were walking towards the ballpark we saw a Wendy's restaurant that was located right up the block from where we parked.
We decided to go in and grab a bite. Since I had a hearty breakfast, I wasn't that hungry so it worked out well for me.
When we were done we walked over to the ballpark. Since we didn't have tickets in advance, I went to the box office and I remember my pal Kurt Smith, the author of Ballpark E-Guides saying that they sell $10 tickets the day of the game. I asked the lady at the ticket window and she said we have them. So I proceeded to buy three of them for us. I knew Kurt wouldn't steer me wrong. That was helpful advice. Hopefully in the future he'll get to Miami so he can see the ballpark himself. If and when he does, I know he'll put together an E-Guide so everybody else can benefit from it.
We proceeded to go inside and see the park for ourselves. Since it was warm outside, the retractable roof was closed. The ballpark consisted of all royal blue seats throughout on all the different levels. The exterior of the ball field itself was mainly lime green. They have an aquarium right behind home plate on the inside of the wall so those lucky enough to be able to afford those pricey seats can look at the fish swimming around during breaks in the game. They also have a sculpture out in left center field that lights up when a Marlin player hits a home run. When it does, it has Marlins swimming around in a circle and water shoots out like in a fountain which is really cool and unique to this ballpark.
In addition, on the concourse they have a Bobblehead Museum which has over 600 different bobbleheads in it. If you like collecting them, make sure you stop by and take a look.
Furthermore, they have a club called the Clevelander out in left center field that's next to the sculpture where you can watch the game. You have to have tickets for that area to do so. If not, you can go there after the game when it's open to the public. I tried to do that but it was too crowded and we were pressed for time.
After looking around the concourse on the lower level which wraps around the whole field, I went down to see Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals who were playing the Marlins when we were there. Gio got traded to the Nationals after I decided this would be the best time to get to the new ballpark. It worked out well that they got him. By doing so, I was able to catch up with him. Stay tuned for the special post regarding that experience.
As for the game we saw, we sat in the upper deck behind home plate in section 314 and we watched the first place Nationals beat the Marlins, 5-1. It was the Jordan Zimmermann and Ryan Zimmerman show. Jordan pitched six shutout innings and Ryan added a two run homer which proved to be the difference in the victory.
In the process, the King put on a show with his signature strikeout call for the natives. He usually does his thing for the home team. With that being said, he would do it when a Marlin pitcher struck out a Nationals' batter. Since we had a few Cuban gentlemen sitting by us, he decided to do a Spanish version of the call. It was hilarious as they got a good laugh. So did I for that matter. It was added entertainment for the other Marlin fans who were sitting near us. Despite the loss, it turned out to be a fun night for everyone.
After the game, we got in the car and we drove 300 miles to Ocala, Florida where we stayed the night as we were making our way to Atlanta, Georgia to see the Mets play the Braves Saturday afternoon.
Stay tuned for the special post regarding our visit to Turner Field.
Thank you for reading and following along.