« Jack McKeon retiring, 'but still on call' | Main | Espada interviews for Marlins managerial job; Vazquez talks retirement »

With three games to go, Marlins already packing up, preparing to move out of Sun Life

SUN LIFE STADIUM -- The Marlins returned home Monday from Milwaukee and got busy cleaning out their lockers at Sun Life Stadium.

Although the season won't end until Wednesday, the moving process will be completed before then. Monday, players began boxing up their personal belongings, tossing out garbage and autographing jerseys, shoes and other memorabilia that will be sold or given away by the team in the coming months.

Next year when the team moves into the new stadium, they'll also have new uniforms, new colors, a new logo and be known as the Miami Marlins.

So is the team really going to miss this place? Aside from the two World Series championships and a few other memories -- no, not exactly.

"I've got a lot of fond memories as a kid," said All-Star first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who grew up in Miami. "I came here for a World Series game. That was a lot of fun seeing 60,000 people rooting for us. I was actually here when Anibal [Sanchez] threw his no-hitter [2006]. I was in the stands watching that. And I was here when [former Braves first baseman] Andres Galarraga almost hit it out of the stadium. Those are the memories I'll take with me.

"But as a baseball player I'm definitely not going to miss playing in a football stadium. It's going to be nice to be able to play in a baseball stadium, under cover, not having to worry about rain."

Despite going 30-45 at home this season, the Marlins are 775-718 all-time at the building that come to be known as Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, LandShark Stadium and now Sun Life Stadium over 19 years.

While the Marlins remain the only local team to win a championship here, it hasn't exactly been a great home field advantage. The Marlins have ranked last in attendance in the National League every year since 2006. But many players believe the new stadium will produce better results.

Monday, stadium workers at Sun Life already began painting walls and preparing the stadium for a full conversion to football. They even tested out the fire alarm system as the Marlins were getting dressed in the clubhouse, prompting some players to joke 'man they really want us out of here.'

"I have a buddy who plays for the Twins. When they got out of a football stadium and into their baseball stadium he said it was awesome, like going from C-class to A-plus class," reliever Burke Badenhop said. "We're definitely looking forward to it. My four years here we've been getting cheered against at home and on the road.

"I'm just wondering if they're going to cement the dugout right after that last out Wednesday, seal it up and do away with it. But no, it's going to be nice to see that last number get torn down."

To commemorate their 19 seasons as the Florida Marlins, the club will host a special post-game on field ceremony Wednesday and reveal the Florida Marlins All-Time team as well as the Top 10 Memories in club history, as voted by the fans.

Comments