Tag Archives: stadium

The Pursuit Of Baseball In Tampa

The State of Florida has been the home of Spring Training since the early part of the 1900s. Up until 1993 Florida never had a professional baseball team to call their own.  The Florida Marlins who were based in the Miami area were the first.  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were soon to follow in 1998.  But Florida has a deep history of pursuing Major League Baseball before they received their teams in the 1990s.
It started in 1983 in the Tampa Bay area when local city officials considered building a baseball stadium to house a pro team.  Construction began in 1986 on what is now known as Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.  It was completed in 1990.  At the time there were no expansion franchises being granted for any city.  So they sought a team the best way they could, trying to lure a team from their current city.
Tropicana Filed,  The stadium that would bring baseball to the Tampa Bay area. (Getty Images)

Tropicana Filed, The stadium that would bring baseball to the Tampa Bay area. (Getty Images)

The Chicago White Sox were the first team that Tampa pursued.  In 1989 The White Sox were not happy in the old Comiskey Park and wanted a new stadium.  They flirted with Tampa for a while before ultimately getting their new stadium and staying in Chicago.
The next team that was rumored was the Seattle Mariners.  The talks did not go very far and the Mariners remained in Washington.
Tampa had their hearts broken in 1991 when they were denied an expansion franchise.  The Miami area won out instead of Tampa and the Florida Marlins came into existence.  The Marlins played the first ever regular season game in Florida in April of 1993.
The closest that Tampa ever came to stealing a team away from a city was in 1993.  The San Francisco Giants owners were looking to sell and a group of investors from Tampa were looking to buy them.   The deal was almost done.  The local baseball fans were already celebrating and then the bad news came.  The sale was vetoed by the National League Owners.  The Giants remained in San Francisco and Tampa was still without a team.
That was until in 1995 when they were granted an expansion franchise.  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays played their first regular season game in 1998.
The past does make one wonder how different things would be if the White Sox, Mariners or Giants would have relocated to Tampa.  If the White Sox or Mariners would have moved would there have been a team in Miami in 1993?  Probably not, there more than likely would have been years later though.  The Giants move would have been interesting.  The city of San Francisco would probably have a different team right now.  There is no way that City would be without a team for too long, not with their tradition and history.

It’s really incredible how things turned out for Tampa.  They took a huge risk by building a stadium without having a team for it.  For many years they looked like failures.  Many in the city thought they would never have a team to call their own.  But Tampa proved to be very persistent and got what they wanted in the end.

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1957 Brooklyn Dodgers: The Last Season

In 1957, ten years after the Brooklyn Dodgers helped Jackie Robinson break the color barrier in the Major Leagues, they had their 67th and final season in New York.  The Dodgers,  just two years removed from their first World Series Championship, were seeking another title.   Meanwhile, their team President, Walter O’Malley, was seeking a new stadium in the same borough the team had occupied since the last part of the 19th Century.

Ebbets Filed in Brooklyn, NY (Getty Images)

Ebbets Filed in Brooklyn, NY (Getty Images)

The once great Ebbets Field, which the team had called home since 1913, was not a suitable ballpark anymore.  The stadium did not have enough seating to produce the amount of revenue a Major League team needed.  There was also little to no vehicle parking around the stadium.  This frustrated O’Malley, who was seeking a new privately funded stadium in the Atlantic Yards section of Brooklyn.  This plan was shot down by New York City Building Commissioner Robert Moses.  Instead, Moses proposed a new stadium in Flushing Meadows, which is in the borough of Queens.  That site would later be home to Shea Stadium and currently, Citi Field.  O’Malley refused the offer from Moses and sought another location for his team.

Former Dodgers Owner Walter O'Malley. (Getty Images)

Former Dodgers President Walter O’Malley. (Getty Images)

While O’Malley was battling Moses over stadium plans, the season continued.  The Dodgers finished their final season with a record of 84 wins and 70 losses.  The team finished in third place in the National League.  Centerfielder Duke Snider was the bright spot for the Dodgers in the 1957 season.  Snider batted .274 with 40 home runs and 92 RBIs.  He also hit his 300th career home run on July 20th.

While the city of New York was not willing to accommodate the Dodgers, the city of Los Angeles was more than willing to be their new home.  Los Angeles was offering O’Malley everything he wanted,  a new Stadium with ample seating and more parking space than the Dodgers would ever need.  The most important part of the offer was a city with leaders who were willing to work with the franchise to make them happy.   Before the season was complete, it was official; the Dodgers were moving to California.

The Dodgers won their final game at Ebbets Field on September 24th.  The Dodgers had many seasons where they did not enter the postseason.  This season was different,  and the fans could no longer look forward to next season.  It was over and the city’s beloved team in blue was history.  The loss of the Dodgers crushed Brooklyn’s heart when they left for Los Angeles and the city has never been the same since.

Brooklyn baseball fans vilified O’Malley for moving the team.  Many of those fans did not know the politics of the move.  Many years later, it became more clear that the city of New York did not help O’Malley keep the team in Brooklyn.  O’Malley tried his hardest but it just was not enough, and he had to do what was best for the franchise.  It has been 65 years since the Dodgers called Brooklyn home, but all of the old fans that grew up with them still consider the Dodgers their home team.

Miami Marlins – Where is the Offense?

Rough couple of games for the fish.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The biggest story up to this point of opening week has to be the story of the Miami Marlins and their lack of offense.  They opened up their new stadium to much fanfare on Wednesday night, in a  4-1 loosing effort to the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Marlins Ace Josh Johnson pitched well but not up to the level that is expected of this potential Cy Young pitcher.  The reigning World Series MVP David Freese was the star of this game with 3 hits and 2 RBI’s in 5 visits to the plate.  The Marlins then traveled to Cincinnati to play the Reds yesterday and loss 4-0.  The Marlins new pitcher Mark Buehrle had a good outing but did not have the offense behind him to have any chance of succeeding in this game.  Cincinnati dominated with the pitching of Cueto and the offensive power of players like Jay Bruce.

The bottom line after two games is that the Marlins offense has sucked!  The entire team is batting below .200. The pitching is good but the team can’t succeed without the offense they are supposed to have.  Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton have been the two biggest problems on offense so far. Neither player have reached base off a hit in a combined 16 plate appearances.  They need to get it together quick or the team will be fighting to get back in the standings before April is over.

They have Friday off and will certainly be gathering themselves to play the Reds again on Saturday.  The team has finally garnered the attention of the nation and has opened up like the Marlins of old.  Time is precious and this team could get down in the dumps really quick.  I feel the Marlins need to snap out of this 2 game slump and play like the playoff contenders they are.  All of that money spent on free agents and new manager needs to be redeemed with wins.  The wins must start Saturday night!