Marlins stadium 94% done and on schedule
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The Miami Marlins' new field of dreams is closer to completion, as the first patches of sod was laid inside their new ballpark Thursday.
Members of the media were on hand to witness the first installation of sod by officials in a ceremony that morning. The Marlins park is now 94 percent complete.
Claude Delorme Executive VP of the Marlins Ballpark said, "Once you start laying down the sod you can really appreciate the intimacy of the building and how special it's going to be. Anytime where you're at the point where you're laying sod, you're at the end of your journey."
Ground was first broken 970 days ago for the state-of-the-art, 37,000-seat facility. The Marlins organization bills it as the greatest ballpark ever. Every seat has an unobstructed view. There are aquariums that will be stocked with fish behind home plate and a giant sculpture that will light up with dancing marlins, flamingos and seagulls.
Marlins President David Samson said they are on track for opening day. "When I see the aquariums installed, and the scoreboard working and the home run feature in, and I realize that we are at 62 days, opening night is upon us," he said.
He also said the construction has run smoothly throughout. "Everyone has come together and worked so well together," Samson said. "It's been my experience in baseball-- we're the 27th new ballpark-- it's been the smoothest construction in the history of baseball."
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado was among the officials present for the sod-laying ceremony. However, he did have a gripe to share. "Regardless of the bad deal, still the stadium has been built," he said. "The problem that we had is the fact that there is a lot of public money and not that much money from the team."
"The City and County have politics going on between them all the time, but it doesn't involve the Marlins, it doesn't involve the ballpark," countered Samson.
Construction crews noted that the sod is equivalent to that planted across golf courses in South Florida. The retractable roof will remain open for the next several weeks so that rain and sunlight can reach the grass and help it grow.
The Marlins will have some test events in March. The University of Miami Hurricanes will play the Marlins first and then Florida International University's team will have a chance. Opening day comes the first week of April when the Marlins play the St. Louis Cardinals on April 4.
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