FROM MIAMI TO THE MOON: Baseball’s Biggest Bomber
Llévame Al Juego De Beisbol! Take Me Out To The Ballgame!
Welcome to Miami! The Miami Marlins of the National League East are looking to rebound this season with fresh pitching and big at-bats. During the offseason, they added five starting and relief pitchers to help strengthen the rotation. At the plate, all eyes will be on the Marlins’ $300 million man Giancarlo Stanton, as he’ll be heavily relied on to carry the offense.
1991 was a big year for baseball in Miami. Six years after the MLB announced two new expansion teams would be added to the National League, Miami was chosen, and renovations began on Joe Robbie Stadium. Miami Dolphins founder Joe Robbie had the stadium constructed in the late 1980s, forecasting MLB to position a team in Miami one day. The Marlins played there from 1993 to 2011, until final touches on Marlins Park were completed for the start of the 2012 season.
Marlins Park is a beauty of a ballfield – an LEED-certified “green” ballpark with a fully retractable roof. It’s also the site of some of the longest homers in the game. With only six years of professional play under his belt, Stanton is the Marlins all-time home run leader with 208. Second and third spots on the list belong to veterans Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez, who no longer play for Miami and would need jet-fueled bionic forearms to catch up.
Other notable Marlins sluggers include a baby-faced Miguel Cabrera (2003-07) with 138 homers for the fish; iron man Jeff Conine, who played eight of his 17 seasons in Miami, launching 120 balls out of the park, and Hall of Fame hopeful Gary Sheffield, who went yard 122 times over six seasons in South Florida.
Hitting the Marlins Out of the Park
Early last season, Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton ripped the cover off the baseball at home field with a 490-foot doozy into left center, his second longest of the year. In fact, Giancarlo blasted the top two longest home runs in Major League Baseball history last year. His farthest shot was in the lofty air of Coors Field (495 feet).
Marlins Park boasts some of the most expansive outfield territories in the majors. Fence dimensions aren’t exactly encouraging to hitters (left 340’, left center 384’’, center 422’, right center 392’, and right 335’). While adjustments have been made over the past four years, Marlins Park is still known as one of the least favorable home run parks in the league. In addition to the palatial lawn acreage, Miami is practically at sea level, giving the rawhide considerable atmospheric resistance to contend with.
Making contact with bat and ball is hard. Achieving even a glancing blow off a major league caliber pitcher is exceptional. Add to that the SoFla equivalent of the White House lawn, and the very air so thick with a barometric pressure that base runners sport swim caps … and well, welcome to Miami!
Rawlings at the ready. Left field spectators: Sections 30, 31, and 32 receive the highest volume of round-trippers. Right field is another story. In right field, the only seats worth bringing along your mitt are in section 40. In right center, section 36 and the bottom, fence-hugging corner of 35 see the most long ball action.
As the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton continues his assault on the baseball, fans across the country are eager to see if he’ll blast any past the 500-foot mark this year. If you’re planning on heading out to Marlins Park this season in your weathered Cliff Floyd jersey, maybe it’s time to check out Fanatics to upgrade your game day gear.