It was a fun morning out at the new Marlins ballpark on Tuesday.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson helped install the first seat about 10 rows behind the third base dugout. The official location: Section 19, Row H, Seat 12. The seat, which is red, will be the only red seat in the stadium when it is expected to open for play on March 1, 2012. The rest of the seats will be blue.
Samson said the first games that will be played at the stadium next spring are college and pro exhibitions. Personally, it would only be fitting if the University of Miami played the Marlins in the first official game seeing as its the site where the Orange Bowl once stood.
Loria said the stadium was about 60 percent completed on Tuesday and expected it to be ready in time for Opening Day.
As for the rest of Tuesday's event, six players were on hand for batting practice: Hanley Ramirez, Chris Coghlan, Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton, John Buck and Gaby Sanchez. Ramirez took the first cuts and belted a couple that would have been home runs. Morrison belted a few into the upper deck in right and Stanton literally hit one out of the stadium entirely. The best part: watching stadium workers played the role of outfielders and shagging fly balls. Some workers were diving in the dirt to make catches.
After BP ended, the Marlins took a tour of their future clubhouse and then fed a group of about 700 stadium workers lunch. On the menu: lechon (shredded pork), black beans and rice and yuca.
Here are a few videos that captured the scene:
- Watch Samson and Loria install the seat and sit in it.
- Scenes from batting practice and interviews with players
- A tour of the stadium and a view from the press box: