The Miami Marlins continue to make changes to their ballpark and the team’s colors and logo as the franchise continues to move toward the future.
The franchise has announced changes to the aesthetic appearance of Marlins Park with a standing room only section in the outfield. The redesign comes after the 76-foot home run sculpture in centerfield was removed. It’s just part of Jeter’s plan to make Marlins baseball in south Florida a destination rather than just a sports event.
If there was ever a statement made that the Marlins are moving away from the beleaguered times under former owner Jeffrey Loria, this is one of them. The team will unveil a new logo and team colors on Thursday, writing yet another chapter in the history of the ball club. And if that wasn’t enough, there is talk that team mascot, Billy the Marlin, is about to get a makeover, himself.
Welcome to Miami Marlins baseball where change will do them some good and possibly bring more fans to the stadium once the 2019 season kicks into gear. The way I think about Jeter’s plan for the ballpark is more like Los Angeles meets New York meets Miami in the second phase of change in the baseball community.
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"“On Tuesday, the team unveiled plans for design changes to Marlins Park, creating a new Center Field Zone and Standing Room Only Social Section,” writes Wells Dusenbury of sun-sentinel.com. “The two additions will provide new vantage points at the park where the gaudy home run sculpture, Homer, previously stood. Passes for the sections will start as low as $10 per game.”"
Now, if only the changes being made to the ballpark is following by a steady climb in the National League East, the front office will be hailed geniuses. Trust me when I say this team is still two or three years away from turning the corner unless Jeter opens the vault and pays top-tier free agents to win in Miami. This is still an organization that will build through its farm system and trades that bring in prospects for the future, not the present.
"“Our goal is to make Marlins Park an entertainment venue that appeals to all, from the baseball fan to the avid business networker,” Marlins president of business operations Chip Bowers said in a news release.“As we look to further engage the burgeoning millennial audience in Miami, the new feature will provide an option for an enhanced social environment to meet the demand of the new generation of baseball fans.”"
The Marlins are a hot topic as the Hot Stove Season gets into full swing. Catcher J.T. Realmuto is at the center of trade talks, much like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are grabbing headlines. Given the fact that there aren’t many consistent hitting catchers on the market this offseason, it’s fair to say landing Realmuto might be a bigger deal than what happens Harper, Machado or any other high-priced slugger.
When Jeter took over running the day-to-day operations of the franchise, his blueprint wasn’t just about making this team a winner in the future. It was about changing the look of the franchise and changing the culture of the community. The initial reaction wasn’t positive because the beloved former baseball hero tore the franchise down layer by layer. Now, there is some semblance of a path with light at the end of the journey.
Miami enters this offseason in much better shape than last year. There is more money to spend on moderate free agents to help the bullpen and depth on the bench. There is also a chance the team will bring in a new first baseman and closer. There are better prospects in the minor league system and the team jumped into the international pool after the season and signed Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr.
There is a sense, even if it is slight, 2019 could be a jump in wins and a rise in attendance. It started with a plan. It’s being carried out with change.
"“Under its new ownership group, led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, the Marlins have made it a priority to improve fan experience at the ballpark,” Dusenbury wrote. “Bowers, a former executive with the Golden State Warriors, said in August that a standing room only areas would be part of an effort to re-engage with the Miami and millennial audience, which he feels haven’t been properly served.”"