Imagine driving your car to the old site of the Orange Bowl and seeing a beautiful gem in the heart of Miami with a sparkling new roof and a spire that enables spectators a bird’s-eye view of Miami. You pull into a parking garage and walk into the stadium to hear the crowd buzzing with energy.
What stands out most is that the stadium is full. And everyone is wearing Marlins garb. It seems eerily similar to the old days, back in ’93 when this town was filled with teal.
Or in ’97 when strangers were walking up to each other and talking about the championship and the heroics. Teal everywhere.
Or in 2003, when the might Marlins overcame the juggernaut that was the New York Yankees.
This franchise has deserved this day – but it has been a long time coming. And it has cost the Marlins greatly. Just ask Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Just ask Jeff Conine, who has been here for practically every watershed moment in Marlins history.
What took so long?!
The Marlins are staying put. They are safe at home. Now we get to see what it is like to have a franchise with a future, and not a death sentence. Now we get to expect things – like Hanley Ramirez having a career as a Marlin, or bigger payrolls. We can expect to see Maybin develop and grow into the phenom he is. We can expect to sign free agents – maybe even see a return of old, familiar faces when they hit the market. Maybe Dontrelle Willis comes back to Miami?
Things have changed. This day has been a pivotal point for Marlin fans. We Marlin fans have been watching every game we can on TV – in fact, the networks noticed and that is why, despite trading away Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis 150 games will be televised this season.
You can also expect that those ratings will translate into a steady, and rabid, fan base that will turn out at the games. That is, when the new park is built.
But this also helps for the immediate future. Gone is the anxiety, replaced with hope and expectation. Now Marlin fans no longer have to think about supporting another franchise – since their home franchise is just a transient, like the rest of the snowbirds only here temporary. This team is here to stay. This now puts pressure in the right places – on the franchise to spend the money they will be making and on the fans to go to the games because they will have a brand new and exciting facility to attend games at. And they won’t need their umbrellas and rain coats.
Indeed, it won’t rain on the Marlins franchise ever again. They have a roof. And now, they can act like every other franchise – to the hope or dismay of its fanbase.