In April 2012, Major League Baseball will introduce a “brand new” organization. The Florida Marlins are in the midst of the biggest transition in MLB since Montreal moved to Washington in 2004. The Marlins have removed Florida from their name, switched colors and uniforms, have acquired well-known players, are moving into the newest ballpark in America, and have found a new manager. This Marlins team just might be the team to watch during the 2012 season.
Last month, the Marlins ditched the Florida name and became the Miami Marlins. The Marlins introduced a new logo, which is a colorful “M”, with five new team colors: white, yellow, black, blue, and red. They also remodeled their jerseys, with the word “Miami” written across the front. This restructured organization will now represent the city of Miami and the area of Little Havana.
Marlins Park, the name of the new stadium, will be located in Miami-Dade county, two miles west of downtown Miami. The new ballpark will have a really awesome-looking, white retractable roof with open views of the neighborhood of Little Havana and downtown. The park’s many windows will open when the roof opens and close when the roof closes. The 37,000 seat ballpark also will feature a pool in the outfield, which fans can reserve. Marlins Park will have natural playing grass.
According to the Marlins, the new ballpark will also have great accessibility features with accessible seating locations and aisle-transferring seats throughout the stadium. But I have concerns about their accessible seating areas. The Marlins will have semi-permanent seating in some of the accessible seating spots, just like TCF Bank Stadium. This will prevent a group of wheelchair fans from easily sitting with each other. I hope one day that the “Two Men On” crew can take a road trip to Marlins Park to check out this ballpark in person.
The Miami Marlins also signed some top-rated players during the winter meetings last week in Dallas. First they signed closer Heath Bell and shortstop Jose Reyes to multi-year contracts. Then, Miami made a big splash by signing free agent pitcher Mark Buehrle in a four-year deal on December 7 (the Twins were reportedly interested in him). But the biggest news from the Marlins before the Buehrle signing was that they offered a ten-year contract to first baseman Albert Pujols. However, Pujols also received offers from St. Louis and Anaheim, and ultimately signed with the Angels for ten years. I really wanted the slugger to sign with Miami, so that the Marlins could make a serious run at the World Series against the Twins!
The Marlins will have a new, enthusiastic manager in Ozzie Guillen. Guillen stepped down as the White Sox manager at the end of September and Florida hired him soon after. Guillen is returning to Miami where he was a coach for the 2003 Marlins World Championship team, before heading north to manage in Chicago. Guillen is known to be the funniest manager in baseball with how he conducts his interviews and with his antics in the dug out. While with Chicago, Guillen won the 2005 A.L. Manager of the Year award after leading the White Sox to a World Series title against Houston.
It will be fun to watch the “newest” ball club in MLB, which is Miami, this year, now my new second favorite team! WELCOME TO THE LEAGUE MIAMI; HOPE YOU CAN MAKE A SPLASH!
Written by: Michael L. Sack