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Your guide to everything new at Marlins Park in 2018

In its seventh season (but first under his leadership), Derek Jeter wants the venue to have a Miamian vibe.

Photo by @JoeFrisaro/Twitter

Most of you will attend a game at Marlins Park this season. At least that was the result of a recent Twitter poll from WPLG Local 10’s Will Manso (53 percent, to be precise). His audience is different from the Fish Stripes audience, but not by much.

Baseball has a knack for making us spend our money, even when it’s awful baseball. Even when it’s “Caleb Smith: No. 2 starter” baseball.

Original video by WPLG Local 10

So if you’re going to go root for the Marlins in person (or know of anybody who will be), we want you to be prepared.

A frenetic offseason under the new Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter ownership group brought with it significant changes to the ballpark experience. Opening Day seems like the appropriate time to summarize them all.

New players

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Most Marlins coverage over the past several months focused on the departures of their star position players, most notably 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton.

But it’s really the entire roster that’s undergone a face lift. The initial starting rotation, for example, does not include any of the five starters who kicked off the previous season.

Rookies Lewis Brinson and Brian Anderson are legitimately worth getting excited about. This spring, MLB Pipeline ranked them as top-10 prospects in the outfield and at third base, respectively. Speedster Braxton Lee brings a fun skill set, too (even if we don’t see it on an everyday basis). Although currently refining their games at Triple-A New Orleans, outfielder Magneuris Sierra and right-hander Sandy Alcantara will bring even more electricity to Miami as the summer wears on.

In an ideal scenario, Starlin Castro (acquired in Stanton trade) and Cameron Maybin (free agent) finish 2018 playing elsewhere. The Marlins farm system features high-upside talent, but still lacks depth. That could be addressed if these veterans are desired by desperate contenders at the trade deadline.

New food

  • Portobello burger—Balsamic vinaigrette marinated Portobello mushroom topped with Swiss cheese, vegetable ragu and lettuce on a potato bun.
  • Arepa burger—Premium blend burger topped with pickled red onions, cilantro jalapeño lime aioli and chicharrones served between a classic cheese arepa.
  • Southern fried chicken sandwich—Spicy fried chicken breast served on a potato bun with bread and butter pickles.
  • Chicken salad croissant—Lemon tarragon seasoned chicken breast diced and mixed with onions, celery and golden raisins.
  • Presidente Food Truck—Pinchos including chicken tandoori, mojo pork and bacon-wrapped plantain.
  • BBQ platter—Choice of house smoked barbecue pork or chicken served with horseradish slaw, cinnamon apples and corn bread.
Bacon-wrapped plantain from Presidente Food Truck. Not the most flattering picture, I know.
Courtesy of MLB Communications

New plaques

José Fernández and Felo Ramírez are being commemorated with these plaques on the West Plaza outside the ballpark.

Jeter’s statement on the Marlins icons:

“The Marlins have been fortunate to have had some truly talented individuals within our organization through the years. José, on the field, and Felo, in the booth, each left a lasting legacy in Little Havana and throughout baseball...Their memories will live on in our hearts and in our community.”

Fittingly, Ramírez’s plaque faces Felo Ramírez Dr., the stretch of NW 6th St. already named in his honor.

New sponsors

The hiring of Chip Bowers as president of business operations indicated that the days of “Marlins Park” were soon coming to an end. Bowers played a critical role in negotiating a naming rights deal for the Golden State Warriors’ new arena when working as their chief marketing officer.

However, he also has a track record of securing advertising revenue in creative ways, Maury Brown of Forbes explains. So while it’s unknown what—if any—progress Bowers has made on his top priority, partnerships with Ocean Bank and AutoNation were finalized just in time for Opening Day. The latter will sponsor a season-long sweepstakes to win a two-year lease on a new car.

Expect to see signage in unorthodox places as the club tries to give these brands their money’s worth.

New anthem

The DJ Khaled/Poo Bear collaboration “Just Gettin’ Started” will be blasting from the PA system all season.

Not gonna lie: it’s pretty corny. We tried to make it slightly less corny by editing some highlights over it.

That being said, this concept was conceived with good intentions. It’s part of the broader initiative to encourage Marlins fans to embrace their identity.

We could still be many years away from seeing a consistently competitive squad that validates the new owners. In the meantime, at least there’s an effort to adjust the direction of the franchise after years of Jeffrey Loria-led turmoil.