Review by Mike
LoanDepot Park is the home of the Miami Marlins of the National League. Gary and I went down to Miami during our Spring Training road trip to take a tour of the Marlins home since it was too early for the regular season and the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Built on the site of the old Orange Bowl, the stadium is shoehorned into a neighborhood just west of downtown and a short walk from Little Havana. Gameday parking is provided by parking garages either side of the futuristic looking ballpark.
The tour was comprehensive and allowed us lots of access to the seating bowl from behind home plate around to the outfield, then into the clubhouse, press box, onto the field and into the dugouts with ample time for photos. The tour guide was not the best (he said diplomatically), but the tour itself is recommended.
The retractable roof was half open to let in the bright Florida sunshine. We liked that the roof opened towards the first base line allowing fans a view of blue skies when retracted, as opposed to Toronto which opens to the outfield giving fans a view of… the roof.
The Miami skyline is visible beyond the left centerfield fence through giant glass doors that open on tracks to let in the warm breeze. Unlike other domed stadiums we’ve been to, LoanDepot Park feels intimate, seating only 36,000, and the wide 360-degree concourse makes it comfortable to move around while still bringing the fans very close to the action.
The only mark against the interior look is that the livelier, Miami-esque aspects have been removed; the bright green fence and adornments, the fish tanks and, of course, the home run sculpture. Without these, and with a minimum of banners and photos celebrating the Marlins short, but eventful history, the ballpark feels a little generic. Anybody might play here.
The lack of attendance at Marlins games is surprising considering that they really have a very nice ballpark, safe from the summer rains and humidity, and a rising ballclub chock full of young talent. Perhaps someday we’ll be back to take in a ballgame, but until then a tour of the ballpark and all the local art installations will have to do. Hasta luego, LoanDepot Park.