Had a successful trip to Marlins Park yesterday and got my ballpark total up to 66, where it's likely to stay for some time until the A's build a new park or MLB schedules more games in foreign venues.

Flew out of Newark at 6AM, landed in Miami (MIA) at 9. Had some chow, killed time with a book until 10:30, then headed for the ballpark. From MIA, look for signs for the MIA Mover and Metrorail. In most cases you will take an elevator up to level three, then follow signs to the MIA Mover, a monorail type thingy that will take you to "Central Station," where you catch the Metrorail. Take the Metrorail ($2) to the Civic Center Station, enjoying great views from the train of downtown and even the ballpark in the distance. Hang on to your ticket, as you need to "tap" it at the turnstile to exit, or you will become like Charlie on the MTA. Exit to the street on the same side of the station, southbound, where your train came in. Under the Metrorail overpass look for a sign for the Stadium Trolley, a free service run by the City of Miami that will take you directly to Marlins Park. If coming from MIA, leave a full hour to make these connections.

I had purchased a $20 ticket about eight rows back in the uppermost deck, directly behind home plate in section 314. The Marlins don't mail out actual tickets, so what I had was a paper ticket that I printed at home, which worked fine at the ballpark. The game featured a nice matchup between Roy Halladay and Mark Buehrle, supposedly only the twelfth time that perfect game pitchers had opposed each other. When Buerhle threw three perfect innings, I got my hopes up, but the dream ended in the fourth. Neither pitcher was really that sharp, but with guile and weak hitting opponents, the game was 3-2 Marlins going into the bottom of the eighth. Then the M's scored six runs against the Philly bullpen for a 9-2 final score.

Crowd was announced as 22,000+, but that seemed optimistic. Nonetheless the fans were animated and loud, and seemed to have a good time. The M's are averaging about 30,000 attendance this year, and putting a better team on the field would obviously help. The new ballpark and its proximity to the center of Miami should really help in attracting the huge, baseball-friendly, Latino population in the greater Miami area.

The park itself looked great. Huge windows in the outfield let in a lot of light and keep it from feeling like an indoor venue, even with the roof closed. My suggestion to visitors is to buy a cheap ticket, spend about five innings in your original seat, and then start wandering. Check out the views from dead center field, where you can stand directly behind the cameraman and watch him do his thing. By the seventh inning, I was able to sit down anywhere I pleased, with the exception of the really fancy seats. Also as a previous poster has noted, it is much warmer anywhere above the promenade level at the rear of the lower stands. Up in section 314, it was pretty warm.

I'm not a foodie, usually having nothing more than a bag of peanuts at the ballpark (not big on $6 hot dogs and $12 beers), so I can't comment on the cuisine.

To return, take the trolley back to the Metrorail (tell the driver where you want to go [Civic Center-Metrorail], as they do not announce stops and the route can vary). If you are heading for MIA, take a northbound Orange Route train directly to MIA. If heading for Tri-Rail, take a northbound Green Route train. I caught a 5:15 flight to Newark and was regaling my wife with stories of the day's adventure by 9:30. This was my third ballpark day trip from NJ--Phoenix, Minneapolis, and Miami, plus the 60 hour Tokyo trip. Lots of fun pulling these trips off and not having to carry luggage.

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Comment by michael schwartz (68) on August 21, 2012 at 3:00pm

Robert, I saw the entrance to the Clevelander, but did not go in. I guess with the nice new ballpark the ultimate test of fan support will be when the Marlins become competitive again. I've always thought that baseball, or any other sport for that matter, during the quiet season in summer would be a hard sell in Florida. The Rays certainly aren't drawing that well either, with a very competitive team, but then again the Trop is a poorly located, unattractive ballpark. IMO, the Marlins would do well to increase outreach to the Latino population. I suppose if they started making announcements in English and Spanish and having dual language scoreboards and signs, the local Anglos would get their undies in a knot, but that huge Latino population would certainly appreciate it and might come to the ballpark in greater numbers. I remember seeing games in Montreal where the local majority French Canadian population has been known to get testy about the use of English, and yet all announcements and most signs were made in French and English, and to me it made the whole experience more interesting and fun. With the current dominance of the game by so many Latino stars, i don't understand how the Marlins can give short shrift to the Spanish speaking fan base and expect them to attend games, but maybe they don't care.

Comment by Robert Beans(39MLB/32MiLB/28ST) on August 20, 2012 at 11:48am

Michael, glad you enjoyed your visit to Marlins park, did you happen to check out the Clevelander while you were there? The announced attendance at most Marlins games is usually exaggerated but thats how the Marlins roll. I know it has to do with paid/comp tickets but they did this at the old stadium as well. They would have maybe 1,000 fans in the stands and announce 15,000. Anyways, the food is not that great, so you didn't miss anything. Overly priced and usually cold by the 3rd inning. By the end of the season the Marlins may be a sking fans to sit in the lower bowl otherwise the place will look empty on tv. From what I have read and witnessed this is the worst attendance for a New stadium in the history of MLB. Its a shame, and it has alot to do with the clowns who run the organization.

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