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http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/...s_fla&fext=.jsp

 

10/27/2004 10:16 AM ET

New stadium may land All-Stars

Marlins hope state can fill $30 million gap in financing

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

 

 

MIAMI -- A new stadium would secure the long-term stability of the Marlins in South Florida.

It also would likely guarantee the area would land its first All-Star Game.

 

"It's clear we want an All-Star Game here," Marlins president David Samson said. "And what the community would get [financially] just from that practically goes a long way to paying for that facility."

 

The Marlins are negotiating with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County for a $350 million retractable-roof stadium adjacent to the Orange Bowl. Samson says progress is being made toward finalizing the local end of the deal. However, there will remain a $30 million gap the team hopes to fill from the state when the Florida legislature convenes next spring.

 

Recently, Major League Baseball president Bob DuPuy met with South Florida politicians regarding the urgency of finding the Marlins a new home.

 

Since their inaugural 1993 season, the Marlins have shared Pro Player Stadium with the Miami Dolphins, who get the lion's share of revenue. The team is pushing for a baseball-only facility, seating 38,000, hoping it would be ready by Opening Day in 2007.

 

"We wouldn't want [the All-Star Game] in year one or two," Samson said. "We'd want it in year three or four."

 

So, if the stadium moves forward as projected, Miami could possibly play host to an All-Star Game in 2009 or 2010.

 

"Bob DuPuy has been here," Samson said. "He has held meetings with the county and the city and the team separately in order to tell all sides that the time is now."

 

The Marlins initially went to the Florida legislature in hopes of getting $30 million in tax relief in the spring, but their efforts were shot down. Samson is more optimistic that the outcome will be different in the spring of 2005 because a more concrete proposal will be in place.

 

"We're working on a detailed agreement that will solidify the local deal, finally," Samson said. "It's never been completely solidified. We've had bits-and-pieces here and there. We're trying to finalize the deal. Once that happens, there will be $30 million we will deal with. We'll go to the state, arm-in-arm, saying, 'OK, we have a local piece that's done.'"

 

In their 12 seasons, the Marlins have changed owners three times while winning two World Series titles. The franchise captured titles in 1997, with original owner H. Wayne Huizenga, and in 2003.

 

Since Jeffrey Loria assumed ownership in February 2002, the Marlins have enjoyed their first back-to-back winning seasons. The team finished 83-79 this season.

 

"We've won two World Series, but that doesn't make us the most popular team in all of baseball among other owners," Samson said. "The team gets revenue sharing, and Jeffrey personally has lost $20 million [per season]. And he's got a ring on his finger and so does Wayne [Huizenga]. There are owners who have been in for 30 years, and they have nary a ring. So it's time for the Marlins to support themselves. In order to do that, you've got to have a better [stadium] situation. That's been their [the other owners'] point, but there has never been a threatening gesture."

 

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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