Well, finally worked it out to make it down to Marlins Park for tonight's game of the Braves v Marlins!
Got seats on the front row of the outfield wall in right.
I've given myself over an extra hour of travel time as I'll be driving through Miami during rush hour.
And even more importantly be able to update my profile picture to show my home park and not have to show CitiField!
Good for you, Jon. Have fun!!
Marlins Park is way more awesome in person than it is on TV. I highly reccomend going if you have the option to.
Traffic wasn't too bad. Made it there a lot quicker than I was expecting, but I had an unusually easy rush hour drive in Miami. The 836/Dolphin Expressway was at a standstill when I hit the interchange between that and I-95, but I was able to get off and travel the last few miles on surface streets. The Marlins Parking website (www.marlins.com/parking) has a map you can print off as a pdf file showing the main route in as well as surface streets with alternate routes marked on it. Using that map I was able to easily find my way to my parking garage. ($15 of weekdays, $20 on the weekend.) There is a public transportation options, but the last train north to my home leaves an hour after the game, and I didn't want to travel by train with no failsafe in case I got lost or confused leaving by train my first time and then be stuck in Miami 2 hours from home and have to pay a taxi for a drive home. The first day game I make it down to I'll try the train route and see how that works out.
I was kind of disappointed in the outside of the stadium. There wasn't too much outside the stadium at all. They had a stage setup, where I'm assuming they do their free concerts on concert night. But there was nothing with a Marlins logo at all, apart from an inflatable logo stuck in the grass in front of the place. But whatever, I wasn't there to hang out outside the ballpark.
There were no lines at all to get in the parking garage or into the gate. Took maybe 90 seconds to get through the gate. Also, consessions moved really fast as well. The crowd did seem really small (though it was bigger than any other Marlins home game I've ever been to at Dolphin Stadium), probably because of the Heat playoff basketball game last night. (The usher in my section said it was the smallest crowd he'd seen all season, and he'd worked every game so far.)
The inside of the ballpark was totally different than the outside. Color everywhere. Really gaudy in my opinion, but it was much nicer in person than on TV. The concourse was designed so that you could see the field from anywhere on it. Apart from inside the restrooms, you could see the game on the field from pretty much anywhere in the stadium.
The seats were nice too. I'm a large guy, and I didn't feel cramped in the seats and had enough leg room.
The video scoreboards were nice. One huge one in center and one slightly smaller one in left. They were positioned so you could at least see one from anywhere in the park. They would toss all kinds of stats up there too. Was slightly overwhelming until you got used to it, as there was a lot of info to take in on them. But once you got used to the flow of info on them it was nice to have it.
Along the outfield walls were video walls, which showed the out of town game info. And they'd switch them back and forth, so those (like me) sitting where you couldn't see one, would still get all the info from the other, just not at the same time.
The ushers were pretty nice. Helpful and friendly. Even the EMT sitting by the exit in his golf cart was friendly and talking to fans and answering their questions. The usher that sat next to me was probably the best usher I've ever interacted with. It was right by the bullpen. He stood/sat on the stairs between me and the bullpen, but would let kids come around as long as they behavied and sat during the innings and didn't bother players or other fans. Two kids had tickets right down the row from me, but wanted to come and watch the Braves pitchers warming up, so he let them sit on the steps to watch. Some stadium guy in the bullpen yelled at them and told them to go back to their seats. He waited until the inning ended and then called the stadium guy in the bullpen over and quietly told him off and told him to let the kids sit and watch as long as they weren't messing with anyone. He let one dad bring his 3 year old son down and sit on the steps next to me, and he sat down about 30 seconds before jose Reyes hit a homerun and the place went nuts. And the kid got a huge grin on his face and was standing on his dad's lap dancing and just loving life. It was funny though, if it was an adult without kids wanting to get close he wouldn't let them, but kids, or adults with kids, he had no problem with letting them get a close view for a few minutes as long as they were out of the way. I'd much rather have ushers like that, that let you experience the park as long as you aren't getting in people's way, than have iron clad ushers that treat you like scum and don't let you go anywhere outside of your section.
They have a Bobblehead Museaum that was kinda cool. A lot smaller than I was expecting, but there were a lot of bobbleheads in it.
The homerun sculpture was better in person too. I can't stand it on TV, but it was kinda fun to watch in person.
After the game, they opened the roof and sidewall. It was pretty epic, as the roof started moving, they started blaring the theme song from 2001: A Space Oddesy over the sound system. Made me laugh, and was really cool to watch.
The crowd itself had way more energy than any Marlins game I've ever been to. You could feel the excitement in the building as the game was going on. There was a couple people behind us that would get annoyed every time we stood up to cheer and once, on a 3-2 two out count we stood to cheer and yell as the pitcher was getting ready and they were like "Sit down, we can't see the game!" and we were all like "Really?!" But for the most part, the crowd seemed really into it.
Food selection was really good, and they even had food maps up on the walls so you could easily see all the options and find the type of food you wanted. Everything from BBQ, to Cuban, to pizza and burgers and dogs were there to choose from.
Prices weren't bad either. $6 for a dog. $8 for a cheeseburger. Beer was $8 for domestic and $10 for imports, but you got 20oz. On the high side for beer, but not for stadium prices. I've seen places charge that much for 12oz beers.
They did have a Bottomless Soda option with a souvineer cup for $8.00 (a single soda was $4.50) so why not get the all you can drink one. And they also had a Bottomless Popcorn option as well, for $6.50, which was the same price as the guys working the stands were charging for their single serve box of popcorn. We all got a bottomless soda and then all split 1 bottomless popcorn.
The overall experience was awesome! Going back again for sure.
The only real negative was that it was slightly hard to hear the PA system in there. Especially in my seats. Not sure if it was the echo in the place, or what, could hear a little better in the concourse. But they had a closed captioning system in place on a couple of video boards along the rim of the second level, so you could read those to hear what was being said.
I took some pictures, but they're still on my phone. Once I get them off I'll post them on here.