Jim Abbott on Travel
Postcards from Florida
January 28, 2012
It's almost time for another Super Bowl, which always makes me think of the Miami Orange Bowl.
That stadium, built in 1937 and demolished in 2008 to make way for a new ballpark for baseball's Miami Marlins, was home to two of the first three Super Bowls in the 1960s, the backdrop for games that established the national sports holiday that exists today.
At the Orange Bowl, coach Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers sealed the team's legacy with a win in Super Bowl II, Joe Namath made good on his famous guarantee of a victory against the favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III and the Pittsburgh Steelers ruled as one of the dominant teams of the 1970s.
It also was the longtime base for the Miami Dolphins, who had one of the most formidable home-field advantages in NFL history, especially in the yet-to-be-equaled perfect season in 1972. My father and I had season tickets that year, so I was sad about the old stadium's demise, but the prospect of a baseball road trip is a silver lining.
The new baseball stadium — known by the working name of Marlins Park until the team secures a naming rights deal — will incorporate the enormous orange block letters that spelled out "Miami Orange Bowl" into a commemorative marker in an entry plaza to the new stadium. The 10-foot-high letters will be scattered throughout the plaza to "capture an ambiguous moment between destruction and rebuilding," according to the website of the artwork's creator, the design firm Snarkitecture.
As visitors move through the plaza, they will see the letters in various orders, spelling out different words as the new stadium comes into view through relics of the old. That sounds cool to me.
So when can fans experience it?
A high-school matchup between South Florida rivals Columbus and Belen will be the first game played at the new park on March 5.
Other events slated for the new park before the April 4 regular-season opener against the St. Louis Cardinals: a Marlins-University of Miami exhibition game (March 6), a Marlins-FIU exhibition (March 7) and Marlins-New York Yankees exhibitions on April 1 and 2.
Single-game tickets won't go on sale at least until the team's FanFest celebration in early March. Visit marlins.com for details.
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