“Whoooaaaa! Oh, no! Sebastian the Ibis is unconscious!”
This is what football season could be like for the Miami Hurricanes if the city of Miami follows through with a $375 million proposal to link a new ballpark for the Florida Marlins to the historic Orange Bowl. Why is this so awful? Cross your fingers I have enough column space.
The proposal calls for the current north sideline of the Orange Bowl to be completely revamped, decreasing seating from 80,000 to 60,000 in the current football stadium, but providing a premium seating tower that major college sports programs lick their lips over.
That very same north sideline for the football stadium would also stand as the right field foul line for the new Marlins’ baseball stadium, which would have a capacity of 35,000 to 40,000. Miami City Manager Joe Arriola said that, while parking was not included in the plan, a parking garage would most likely need to be built to accommodate fans.
The plan has already caused a fuss among baseball fans in south Florida who have been hoping for a retractable roof stadium. This should be the least of our problems; seating capacity and location are more significant issues. The Miami Hurricanes are a perennial winner, and decreasing seating by 20,000 will cause problems for those hoping to catch a glimpse of big games against FSU and Virginia Tech. If schools like Michigan can consistently pack over 100,000 fans in for a game against mediocre competition, it would be a poor business decision by A.D. Paul Dee and Donna Shalala to reduce seating.
And those world champion Marlins? I’ve been in Miami for both of their World Series runs, and I can tell you, the Marlins will not be attracting 40,000 fans to a game. Period. UM would be better served nixing this deal and taking the $100 million renovation offer for the Orange Bowl that also sits on the table.
As for the location, Little Havana doesn’t exactly stick out to me as ideal. If you really want to attract fans, you need to go the route of the San Francisco Giants, who play right on the bay. A baseball park overlooking the 395 bridge to the beach and the Port of Miami could be just the ticket South Florida’s fair-weather fans have been waiting for.
Of course, let’s not even get into the overlapping seasons issue. We should just buy Sebastian a football helmet.
Ben Minkus can be contacted at email@example.com.