As you all know the University of Miami decided to jettison the Orange Bowl in favor of JRS and potentially making more money. Can't say I blame them for them for moving and I hope it works out. But their decision to move makes the clock on the Marlins future stadium situation beat a little louder.
"I think we need to look at that site now," Miami Mayor Manny Diaz said Tuesday. "I think baseball would be good for Little Havana."
In March, city and county commissioners expressed interest in a ballpark at the city-owned Orange Bowl location, if the Hurricanes moved out. Both Diaz and City Manager Pete Hernandez said they think the agreement reached earlier this year can be adjusted for the Orange Bowl. Hernandez said the city is exploring options for demolishing the Orange Bowl if a ballpark deal can be reached.
The team says time is running short to strike a deal for a stadium before its lease at Dolphin Stadium expires in 2010. UM Athletic Director Paul Dee said UM's lease at Dolphin Stadium requires the dirt infield be removed by 2011.
While they are exploring the subject, UM and FIU are going to play out this season's home games in the Orange Bowl, which will go into early December. Then there is the matter of transferring the money earmarked for the Orange Bowl renovation to being used for a ballpark for the Marlins. Not to mention the possibility that MLB could get stubborn and holdout for a downtown stadium.
Assuming a retractable roof stadium is still the stadium of choice, it will take about 3 years to build. Making the time table very tight.
Now, for the somewhat good news. Should a stadium be in the construction phase and not quite ready, it is possible that the Marlins lease could be extended and also meet the infield dirt requirements in the UM contract. Supposedly, someone, has located some magic sod that can be placed on the dirt and attach itself to the field in time to play a football game and be removed afterwards so a Major League baseball game can be played.
Let's say they have found the magic grass, either way, that is going to one chewed up field during the fall. As if the Marlins don't make enough errors on their own, they sure don't need the extra help. But if that is the way it is, whatcha gonna do?
I've never been a fan of the Orange Bowl location, but that may be the club's final shot.