(courtesy of Miami Marlins photographer Robert Vignon)
Hours before the Miami Marlins' opening game at their new Little Havana ballpark, the team held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting with Miami-Dade County and city of Miami officials. Some were instrumental to getting the (mostly publicly financed) project off the ground; others were elected after the controversial stadium vote.
Perhaps most noteworthy is who wasn't there: Neither Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez nor Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado attended the photo-op. Both were invited, but both also vocally opposed the stadium deal as county and city commissioners, respectively.
"It would have been hypocrisy on my part to celebrate," Regalado said. "I wish them the best, and I hope this will bring a championship to Miami, but I still believe it was a bad deal for the city."
Gimenez, according to his office, spent the day with his family following the birth of a new granddaughter. He was elected after the recall of former Mayor Carlos Alvarez, who was ousted after backing the ballpark and pushing for a higher property-tax rate. Alvarez did not attend Wednesday's ceremony.
Who did attend? From Miami-Dade: Commissioners Bruno Barreiro, Esteban Bovo, Jose "Pepe" Diaz and Dennis Moss, and former County Manager George Burgess. From Miami: Commissioners Frank Carollo, Wifredo "Willy" Gort and Francis Suarez, former Mayor Manny Diaz, former Commissioners Angel Gonzalez and Joe Sanchez, and former City Manager Pete Hernandez. And Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson, of course.
Suarez, who was elected after the stadium vote, acknowledged it was contentious. But, he added, "no matter how you feel about the deal, the stadium is here and now it's on us to ensure that the stadium is successful."