The future home of the Miami Marlins. Yes, the Miami Marlins. And Hanley Ramirez will be there to christen the new diggs.
Ramirez and the Marlins had a press conference at the Orange Bowl site, now being overhauled for the new Marlins stadium that will open in 2011. But as the wrecking balls fly and demolitions tear down a part of Miami history, some new history is being made with the future of the Marlins. An unprecedented move for this franchise – locking up its young talent.
The new contract will be for 6 years and $70 million, locking up Ramirez through 2014.
This deal wasn’t just about Hanley Ramirez’s future as a Marlin, but also about the Marlins’ future. Now the rest of the Marlins’ players have renewed hope for staying around. Ramirez said this wasn’t just about money, but about delivering on his vision to get this team back in the playoffs. If that happens, the players that are here might be able to experience something else unprecedented in Marlins history – a chance to build on that success.
The 2003 championship team was kept together, for the most part, and had a shot to build but the steam was short-lived. Mostly due to the financial problems of the franchise and their near-criminal lease situation at the recently-dubbed Dolphins Stadium. With its own ball park on the horizon, the crown jewel was set – the Ramirez contract – and now the rest of the pieces can begin to come together.
It is starting to feel like the Marlins are becoming a real MLB franchise again. Not since that opening day back in ’93 has there been this much optimism.