Miami

For many baseball fans, one of the first things they think of when someone mentions the Miami Marlins is their paltry attendance numbers. Through August 27 the Marlins are averaging just 9,939 fans a home game. That is by far the lowest average in MLB.

Marlins Park opened in 2012

Now the Marlins have never had great attendance numbers. They also are in total rebuild mode at the moment and have several players who mentally probably aren’t ready for the bigs. But I discovered another likely reason why attendance is so bad; the location of their ballpark.

I’m not knocking the ballpark itself. Marlins Park is actually a really nice park. When it opened in 2012, it was the first ballpark with what architects call the “contemporary” style. Marlins Park wasn’t my favorite park and I had some qualms, but I found things I liked about it.

Downtown Miami can be seen in the background.

Marlins Park is located in a part of Miami called Little Havana. Sources say that is two miles away from downtown Miami. I know there’s politics and all when it comes to building new stadiums these days, but I feel like a better location could’ve been selected.

When I talked to a couple locals, they said no one goes to Marlins games because no one wants to go to that area. I totally get it too. MP is honestly a quality stadium. I’m not saying their attendance would boom, but the Marlins would have a much higher attendance if they played somewhere downtown. There’s also nothing else around the stadium, restaurant and business wise.

The roof is kept closed for most games

MP was built on the site of the former Orange Bowl. It features a retractable roof and retractable panels beyond left field. So the Marlins can make it an outdoor stadium or totally enclose it. It makes sense they have a retractable roof, given the frequent rains Miami gets. They had both closed when I went, but I do think they keep the roof closed too much. Indoor baseball is weird.

The panels in left field can slide to open and make the stadium open air.
A mural pays tribute to the former Orange Bowl.

Walking around I found plenty of good views. Being that there were a plethora of empty seats, I was able to move around without too much hassle. The only place I couldn’t go was the third deck. The Marlins don’t sell tickets for up there because their attendance is so low. If you need to stretch out your legs and you still want to watch a game, the Budweiser deck out in left center field is a good place to go.

The view from the Budweiser deck in left field.

The BobbleHead Museum is a must see when you go to MP. Hundreds of MLB bobble heads are in a glass display that shakes slightly so the figurines all bobble. Baseball nerds like me can spend 30 minutes looking at them.

The BobbleHead Museum!

Food and drink were also priced low for an MLB stadium. Although when your attendance is as low as the Marlins, you can’t afford to charge an arm and a leg for a hot dog and soda. As a result, the Marlins offer bottomless popcorn and soda. There are also plenty of international food options if you’re into that stuff.

Chicken and waffles…..

All in all, I would call MP a “good enough” stadium. Again my biggest thing against it is the location of it. Once you’re inside the stadium it’s a decent enough place to watch a baseball game. If you can get past the empty seats and the possibility of the roof being closed. RIP Jose Fernandez.