Sun Life Stadium

Colorado Rockies @ Florida Marlins

2011 Regular Season at Sun Life Stadium. Florida Marlins hosted the Colorado Rockies in a night game, the second match of a three-game series. Considering the heat, rain, and humidity in Florida, weather conditions were perfect for baseball in Miami Gardens. This was the final year for the Florida Marlins here at Sun Life Stadium. The New Marlins Park would open in 2012 as the 22nd new MLB stadium since the New Comiskey Park opened in 1991. The team moved there as the re-named Miami Marlins, complete with a marketing plan that included a new image, new logo, new uniforms, etc. Sun Life Stadium was originally built as Joe Robbie Stadium (opened 1987) with a budget of $115 million, $273 million in today’s dollars. That’s still impressive. Construction cost can easily surpass $500 million in the current market. This was the only MLB park that was initially built for Football. Six Superbowl games were played here (1989, 1995, 1999, 2007, 2010, 2020). The 1997 & 2003 World Series were also played here and the Florida Marlins won them both Some of the other names for this facility have been Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium. As of 2016, its known as Hard Rock Stadium. It now serves as the home of the Miami Dolphins (NFL), the Miami Hurricanes (NCAA), and the Orange Bowl. The long history of sporting events continues with the NCAA National Football Championship in 2021.

It’s hard to believe that the 1997 & the 2003 World Series were played here. When the baseball game is between innings, reminders of a football stadium set in. At first, seating capacity was set at almost 75,000 but has been scaled down over the years. It was eventually made the home of the newly expanded Florida Marlins in 1993. For baseball, seating was set to some 40,000 seats. Most of the time, the sea of orange seating in the upper deck would remain unused during baseball games.

Florida Marlins won the 2003 World Series in Yankee Stadium. Game 7 of the 1997 World Series took place here. On that day, Edgar Renteria hit an 11th inning walk off single to win at all for the Florida Marlins. He will forever be remembered for that victory, a moment in World Series history familiar to most baseball fans. The Franchise enjoyed those two World Championships despite the challenges of playing baseball here. Sun Life Stadium is located 15 miles north of Downtown Miami, an outlying part of town. Games were historically exposed to the constant threat of rain.

In 2011, the Florida Marlins promoted post game concerts after Saturday home games, for the 5th consecutive year, known as the Baker Concrete Super Saturdays. This, in an effort to improve attendance. But the struggle has been real. In August of this same year, The Florida Marlins hosted the Cincinnati Reds in a game that only drew 347 fans, due to Hurricane Irene. It was the least attended game in MLB History. I went on the day “El Gran Combo” was performing, a legendary salsa group from Puerto Rico. They’ve been performing since 1962 and after 49 years they can still bring out the best in a crowd. They were dancing in the rows and aisles. Within a matter of minutes after the game, stage, sound and lights were set up around the second base area. The concert alone was well worth the trip. This was also a double bonus for “El Gran Combo.” They’re huge baseball fans. “Pitbull” and “U2” also performed that summer. Fans also had the option of purchasing VIP “pit passes” for a more up-close experience including pregame parties and celebrity meet and great. Despite the season, Saturday nights were a win-win.