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Don't worry, all is not lost with the Marlins


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Don't worry, all is not lost with Marlins

 

GREG COTE

 

[email protected]

 

 

Do we believe that today's end of the state legislative session in Tallahassee is the genuine, last-chance, this-time-we-mean-it deadline for keeping the Marlins in South Florida? Do we buy that the club's owner will now run off to Las Vegas like some Midwest housewife with a coffee can full of quarters?

 

To quote noted musician and philosopher Kid Rock: ``I was born at night, but not last night, baby.''

 

Thursday night, the legislature said it would not consider the Marlins' request for a $60 million tax rebate over 30 years.

 

Despite that, fans needn't arrive at the park tonight equipped for a candlelight vigil or counting down the dwindling homestands before our 13-year-old team runs away from home.

 

The club might love it if some gap-toothed kid in a Little League uniform pointed a hand-drawn SAVE OUR MARLINS sign at a TV camera tonight, but it stretches credulity to imagine the situation is so dire.

 

First, the franchise is committed to Dolphins Stadium at least through 2006. Beyond that, the wooers from Vegas -- would Take Me Out to the Ballgame be replaced by Wayne Newton's Danke Schoen? -- still need to conjure a stadium from thin air, which can be a plodding, multiyear endeavor.

 

So it would likely be late this decade before the moving vans actually backed in. Ample time remains for club management and governmentos to still try the one thing that has eluded them: compromise. A novel concept.

 

This business of building a new retractable-dome stadium near the Orange Bowl has reached the point of inviting ridicule in the way funding is so close to what's needed and yet the involved parties seem unable to bridge the remaining gap.

 

Thirty million bucks -- the actual difference after the pledged contributions of the team, city and county -- is, in the context of modern stadium buildings, not much more than a bag of peanuts. Losing the Marlins over $30 million would be like walking away from a new sports car because the salesman wouldn't throw in a key fob.

 

AT AN IMPASSE

 

If there were an umpire to call this stadium game, he'd start by shouting, ''Play bull!'' That's bull as in bullheadedness, the way all these smart businessmen are being stubborn a lot more effectively than they're being creative.

 

It will cost $420 million for a new stadium. Club owner Jeffrey Loria has committed $192 million, and the city of Miami and Miami-Dade $198 million. The state could have contributed the still-needed $30 million with a sales-tax subsidy -- but shortsightedly chose not to.

 

Loria and local government aren't to blame; they've agreed to a fair public/private partnership. The problem is the state curtsying to anti-tax zealots who rail by rote against any public funding ''to build playgrounds for millionaire owners,'' but who need to consider this is how major cities play ball.

 

Now? Compromise would be simplest. Loria and the county/city kick in a little more each to make up for the state's lack of spine. We're not talking about solving Mideast peace here.

 

Failing that, creative options are out there.

 

OTHER WAYS TO GO

 

One would be a consortium of generous, civic-minded locals in and out of sports coming together to make up the $30 million difference. Let's appoint Dan Marino and Shaquille O'Neal to head the fundraising committee. Perhaps new Marlin Carlos Delgado might pledge one percent of his salary?

 

Donald Trump has a home here; maybe he has some spare change. Or maybe the Heat's billionaire owner, Carnival Cruise Lines magnate Micky Arison, would be magnanimous, considering the millions he has made since Governor Jeb Bush chose opening day of the 2000 season to quash a cruise ship tax that would have built a new stadium the Marlins would be playing in by now.

 

The only local billionaire we can surely eliminate as a possible donor is Wayne Huizenga, the former owner still loathed by fans for breaking up the '97 champs.

 

Marlin credibility in arguing for a new stadium was severely undermined in Tallahassee when Huizenga reversed field and said he'd be willing to extend the team's lease at Dolphins Stadium. Not renegotiate to make it more fair, mind you.

 

To some he may have looked like the good guy. He wasn't.

 

At best he was doing the Marlins no favor. At worst he was sabotaging them.

 

Hey, wait. Here's an idea.

 

Capitalize on Huizenga's dastardly rep. Ask fans to donate toward the $30 million shortfall based on their dislike of him. The greater the animus, the greater the donation.

 

Figure the Marlins would raise enough fast to build that new stadium, and maybe even have enough left over to buy a Yankee or two.

 

 

As of 4:00Am.

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Marlin credibility in arguing for a new stadium was severely undermined in Tallahassee when Huizenga reversed field and said he'd be willing to extend the team's lease at Dolphins Stadium. Not renegotiate to make it more fair, mind you.

 

 

A-Hole Why cant we all just get along and make this easy.

 

Help us here and we will help you there.

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Well, an open door stadium might be OK, but it doesn't deal with two of the biggest problems the Marlins have at DS, which is rain delays and the heat. Rain delays not only cancel games, but makes people not show up. People don't like watching a baseball game in mid July when the temperatures reach 95 and humidity is 100 percent.

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Well, an open door stadium might be OK, but it doesn't deal with two of the biggest problems the Marlins have at DS, which is rain delays and the heat. Rain delays not only cancel games, but makes people not show up. People don't like watching a baseball game in mid July when the temperatures reach 95 and humidity is 100 percent.

764842[/snapback]

Valid points but we've played in Pro Player now for over 10 years and have managed. It's not ideal but an open air stadium is better than moving the team.

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Well, an open door stadium might be OK, but it doesn't deal with two of the biggest problems the Marlins have at DS, which is rain delays and the heat.? Rain delays not only cancel games, but makes people not show up.? People don't like watching a baseball game in mid July when the temperatures reach 95 and humidity is 100 percent.

764842[/snapback]

Valid points but we've played in Pro Player now for over 10 years and have managed. It's not ideal but an open air stadium is better than moving the team.

764848[/snapback]

 

I think it will be a terrible idea to have open air stadium.The location of the stadium is terrible as it is and now people will have to deal with rain delays through out the summer will be disastraous for the attendance.

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The Marlins aren't going anywhere.

 

Too many political careers at stake down here in South Florida. Not getting this deal done at this point would mean political suicide. IMO, the Marlins are in the driver's seat.

 

Now, are the MArlins going to sit tight and play the Let's Talk to Las Vegas until they get what they want without forking another penny? Will see, it is a dangerous game.

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The Marlins aren't going anywhere.

 

Too many political careers at stake down here in South Florida. Not getting this deal done at this point would mean political suicide. IMO, the Marlins are in the driver's seat.

764852[/snapback]

 

 

I agree with you 100%. Like you've said before, the Latino community in Miami wants this stadium and wants it now. It's no coincidence that de la Portilla changed his mind.... People want that stadium in Little Havana. It would be great.

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The Marlins aren't going anywhere.

 

Too many political careers at stake down here in South Florida. Not getting this deal done at this point would mean political suicide. IMO, the Marlins are in the driver's seat.

764852[/snapback]

 

 

I agree with you 100%. Like you've said before, the Latino community in Miami wants this stadium and wants it now. It's no coincidence that de la Portilla changed his mind.... People want that stadium in Little Havana. It would be great.

764857[/snapback]

 

The Cuban American community controls the political destiny in Miami and most of Dade County. This will get done, or some politicos better move out of South Florida

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The Marlins aren't going anywhere.

 

Too many political careers at stake down here in South Florida. Not getting this deal done at this point would mean political suicide. IMO, the Marlins are in the driver's seat.

764852[/snapback]

 

 

I agree with you 100%. Like you've said before, the Latino community in Miami wants this stadium and wants it now. It's no coincidence that de la Portilla changed his mind.... People want that stadium in Little Havana. It would be great.

764857[/snapback]

 

The Cuban American community controls the political destiny in Miami and most of Dade County. This will get done, or some politicos better move out of South Florida

764859[/snapback]

 

How quickly do you think this can get done?

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The Marlins aren't going anywhere.

 

Too many political careers at stake down here in South Florida. Not getting this deal done at this point would mean political suicide. IMO, the Marlins are in the driver's seat.

764852[/snapback]

 

 

I agree with you 100%. Like you've said before, the Latino community in Miami wants this stadium and wants it now. It's no coincidence that de la Portilla changed his mind.... People want that stadium in Little Havana. It would be great.

764857[/snapback]

 

The Cuban American community controls the political destiny in Miami and most of Dade County. This will get done, or some politicos better move out of South Florida

764859[/snapback]

 

How quickly do you think this can get done?

764862[/snapback]

 

No clue. but if I have to guess, they should be able to work out the details of the 30-60 million gap in 1-3 months.

 

The Marlins and us must not allow this topic to cool off. The Miami delegation and the Marlins have successfully mobilized the community down here, and people are going to be pissed off looking after someone?s head if we fail at the state. If this is to be done and both parties are serious about it, it should get done soon.

 

Also, the Miami delegation must do some damage control. People down here may sympathize with a "we tried our best, but failed" for a week, but they will be back to "we want our stadium now mode very quickly, and excuses won't cut it.

 

The Marlins have successfully removed themselves from blame. This is on our Politicos court, and they better not fail us.

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Don Kings land is off 45th st in West palm , right next to the tri rail, where Jai-lai is.

 

I definately think we need the retractable roof , People one of our biggest problem is attendance . There will be no excuse for us not to go to the game with a retract roof.

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"Marlin credibility in arguing for a new stadium was severely undermined in Tallahassee when Huizenga reversed field and said he'd be willing to extend the team's lease at Dolphins Stadium. Not renegotiate to make it more fair, mind you.

 

To some he may have looked like the good guy. He wasn't.

 

At best he was doing the Marlins no favor. At worst he was sabotaging them."

 

I thought this theory wasn't true and was something blinded fans were making up :plain

 

:fyou Wayne

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Wonder if Don King still has that land up in Palm Beach?

764860[/snapback]

 

 

Where exactly is the land in Palm Beach?

764863[/snapback]

 

Up near West Palm I think, not the ideal spot by it's better to have a stadium at this point.

764865[/snapback]

 

 

No, but it would definately stop all the whining from some Palm Beach residents that say the OB site is too far to drive. There is no way that this stadium deal is not getting done. One way or another, this is getting done!!

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Wonder if Don King still has that land up in Palm Beach?

764860[/snapback]

 

 

Where exactly is the land in Palm Beach?

764863[/snapback]

 

Up near West Palm I think, not the ideal spot by it's better to have a stadium at this point.

764865[/snapback]

 

 

No, but it would definately stop all the whining from some Palm Beach residents that say the OB site is too far to drive. There is no way that this stadium deal is not getting done. One way or another, this is getting done!!

764885[/snapback]

 

I don't see them entering into a deal with King, but just in case anyone doesn't remember the specifics, King owns the land west of I-95 on 45th St, right next to the Tri-Rail. King would build and own the stadium, leasing it out to the Marlins, and he'd put a retractable roof on it so it could be used for other events during the offseason (you'd have to assume boxing would be one of the staples there). At face value, it seems like a good offer for the Marlins, but it's been a year and a half since King even mentioned anything, and even when he was gung-ho on the idea, it just didn't seem credible, because this is Don King...

 

It's intriguing for me as a Palm Beach resident, but I just don't see this as something to hope for as a fan, because if the Marlins had this on the table when the State struck them down after 2003, you have to assume that it's Miami or bust for the Marlins (whether or not that's wise is a different matter).

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"Marlin credibility in arguing for a new stadium was severely undermined in Tallahassee when Huizenga reversed field and said he'd be willing to extend the team's lease at Dolphins Stadium. Not renegotiate to make it more fair, mind you.

 

To some he may have looked like the good guy. He wasn't.

 

At best he was doing the Marlins no favor. At worst he was sabotaging them."

 

I thought this theory wasn't true and was something blinded fans were making up :plain

 

:fyou Wayne

764884[/snapback]

 

I'm done on this subject, Shadow, but you read way too far into his words. There is no one here who would tell you that Wayne didn't hurt the strength that the Marlins had going into the legislature (when they were a "lame duck") when he said that he may not force them out after all, but not anywhere does it further your claim that Wayne wants the Marlins to stay at the stadium so he can pay his football players, there are tons of ways he could use the stadium to generate revenue when the Dolphins aren't playing.

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