Saturday, July 21, 2007

Day 27: Dolphin Stadium

All photos of Pompano Beach, Miami, and Dolphin Stadium available of Flickr.

We arrived in the Miami area Thursday night and got a cheap hotel in Pompano Beach, which is about 30 miles north of the city. We got a good night's sleep and a shower (both precious commodities these days) and hit the local beach after running a few morning errands, which included making another deposit - our amount raised is now over $725! Erik and I got to the beach clearly unprepared to actually go into the ocean, but we did anyways. Stripping down to mesh shorts and leaving our clothes on the beach, we had a good 30 minutes swim/bathe, and then proceeded to drip-dry in the car on the way back to the hotel. A quick change and a towel-off, and we headed to downtown Miami.

Miami seemed to be a city in transition. It was as if the city was being built as we were there. There were at least a dozen buildings being erected, the monorail line was being extended, and tons of roads were under construction. It was hard to walk around and get a sense of direction with all of the construction, but we managed to find a little local eatery for lunch, after which we made our way towards Miami Harbor off of the main thoroughfare, Biscayne Avenue. I was hoping that my countless hours of playing "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" would have made me a little bit more aware of my surroundings, but such was not the case (I did also have the urge to punch a guy in the back of a head and steal his car). We were unable to find Little Havana, but we had a couple of good hours downtown nonetheless.

Before we knew it, game time had rolled around and we had to get to the park. Dolphin Stadium is actually the home of the Miami Dolphins, and the Marlins just rent the stadium. It is located about 10 miles north of the suburb in Miami Gardens. Upon our arrival, we got to see firsthand the $160 million renovation that was going on at the stadium, mostly for use during the football season. We got to the park around 5 and met Paul Resnik, a team official who set us up with a booth in the Marlins Community area of the stadium on the first floor. We got free admission, but the contingency of us being there is that we could not solicit any money, but rather just pass out informational flyers on how to donate and/or sign up to work for Habitat. We were at our station from 5:30 through the bottom of the 2nd and got some really positive responses, not to mention the fact that we turned down at least $40 in donations that we could unfortunately not accept.

Around the top of the third, we headed to our seats. They ended up being about halfway up on the 1st base side, about a section over from homeplate. They were excellent seats and were very close to the action. For being a predominatly football stadium, I was fairly impressed. All seats were very close to game action, and it seemed like viewing angles were much better than they are at Rogers Centre or the Metrodome. There, of course, end up being some weird nuances because of the multi-purpose stadium: bullpens stuffed in the corner, jumbotrons on the ends over where the end zones would be, and a very strange corner in left-center that is 434 feet from home plate. Overall it was a good experience. It was a comfortable night, and although my Reds lost, it was an action-packed game. There were 4 homeruns, 3 hit batsmen, and a triple to the 434-foot corner by a pinch-hitter for the Marlins for which Ryan Freel laid out an almost concussed himself for the 2nd time this season. The Marlins dominated the game behind a strong pitching performance by Scott Olson and 3-hit nights from Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez. After the game, we went up to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for a few drinks and some karaoke before heading back to our room for the night.

Tomorrow we are headed back through Alligator Alley up towards the Tampa area to catch an A-ball game in Dunedin. And a scheduling note: our game in Atlanta on Sunday has been changed to Sunday Night Ball! This is awesome because we can actually sleep the night before now, and plus we will be on national television for the 3rd time already this trip.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 3
views from park - 2 (can't see out)
view to field - 8
surrounding area - 3 (the Hard Rock we went to was a ways away)
food variety - 4
nachos - 9 (excellent chips and cheese, and they come in a souvenir bowl!)
beer - 3
vendor price - 6
ticket price - 10 (ours were free)
atmosphere - 4
walk to park - 2
parking price/proximity - 8 ($10)
concourses - 6
team shop - 2 (there really isn't one)

best food - hand carved sandwiches
most unique stadium feature - 434' left-center corner
best jumbotron feature - Good Sport of the game
best between-inning feature - cheerleaders

field dimensions - 335/404/345
starters - Scott Olson (FLA) v. Kyle Lohse (CIN)
opponent - Cincinnati Reds
time of game - 2:17
attendance - 15310
score - 10-2 W
Brewers score that day - 8-4 L


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John Heineman said...

Looks like the tour is going extremely well. Unfortunately, you guys were not able to bring home a Reds win in Miami. Enjoy South Beach!