March 14, 2007
Here we go again: The Florida Marlins' hopes to build a new stadium on a plot of public land in downtown Miami has been nixed by county commissioners who fear that would jeopardize the children's courthouse and police training academy previously planned for that location. Now what? Back to the Orange Bowl site, except that the new plan is to tear down the old stadium, rather than building a ballpark for the Marlins next to it, as in the original Plan A. It would cost $170 million to renovate the historic football venue, and the city simply can't afford two simultaneous stadium projects. The University of Miami says that if such upgrades are not made, the Hurricanes will relocate to Dolphin Stadium, in which case the Orange Bowl land would become available for the Marlins. See miamiherald.com; hat tip to Mike Zurawski. The good news is that the Florida legislature seems more inclined to contribute money for this purpose, but the bad news is that getting this project done will involve complicated negotiations among the city, the state, the Marlins, the Dolphins, and the University of Miami.
That makes me think of an intriguing possibility. The city of Baltimore was faced with a similar money squeeze when they were soliciting a major league baseball team in the early 1950s, and they came up with a fairly decent expedient, modifying an existing horseshoe-shaped football stadium for baseball use. Hmmmm. I need to check Google maps and start measuring...
That's the big question facing the Washington Nationals as their outfielder gets ready for the regular season, less than three weeks away. (!!!) Logan grew up batting right-handed, but conventional wisdom holds that speedy players like him can best be used when they bat from both sides of the plate. The Detroit Tigers failed to teach him to switch hit, and now the Nats are having the same problems. But at least he's still trying, according to the Washington Post. I've always been right-handed, and I remember trying to hit left-handed when I used to play softball, with mixed results. As with learning a foreign language, those who start practicing at an early age have a big advantage.
It was precisely 365 days ago that the Washington Nationals unveiled their plans for the new stadium, which is just about half completed. (See the Clark Construction Web cam; the new portion of the upper deck now has the roof and light standards, and boy is it tall!) I've added a new feature, Year Ago Today, for anyone who is curious what was taking place this time last year. For now, the link will be at the top of my main blog page.
UPDATE: Nationals President Stan Kasten tried to assuage fears that the new stadium might not be ready for Opening Day next year. Everything is on schedule, he insists. The nicest aesthetic touch will be the cherry trees behind the left field bleachers. Early April is when the cherry blossoms come out, and it should be quite an awesome sight to behold in future years. See MLB.com.