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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Talks progressing on new Marlins' home- MLB.com

The Marlins want to call South Florida home for many years to come and now MLB has begun to step in to see that this becomes a reality. Despite not having a strong fan base, the fish have been very successful in their 14 years of existence and they want to continue their winning ways in the city of Miami.

MLB helping team secure funding for stadium in South Florida
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

MIAMI -- If no news is good news, then this was an encouraging week for the Marlins' stadium effort.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball president Bob DuPuy was in South Florida taking part in a series of stadium-related meetings with team and local officials.

Securing funding for a new Marlins' home has become a high-league priority, and Major League Baseball has assumed an active role in the push to end more than a decade of stadium struggles in South Florida.

The Marlins had no comment on the meetings, which have quietly been going on outside of the public's eye.

MLB.com has learned that stadium talks are progressing.

One proposed site that is gaining momentum is the city of Miami, just south of the Miami Arena off I-95. Pompano, in Broward County, is also a viable location. And the city of Hialeah, in Miami-Dade County, is another possibility.

Since their inaugural 1993 season, the Marlins have been sharing Dolphin Stadium with the Miami Dolphins. A series of leases to remain in a park designed primarily for football expires after the 2010 season.

To secure the long-term stability of the franchise, the Marlins have long been searching for their own park, which would offer the team a much more favorable revenue stream.

With the Marlins having to be out of their current home after 2010, the clock is ticking to get a deal done in the near future. It takes three years to build a park, and ideally the team would like to move into a new home in 2010 rather than remain for the final year of their Dolphin Stadium deal.

Due to South Florida's scorching hot temperatures, and unpredictable rain patterns, the Marlins insist that a retractable-roof park is a necessity. One reason the city of Miami site is attractive is because parking isn't part of the estimated $430 million cost for a 38,000-seat facility.

The city of Miami has ample public parking already in the surrounding areas, plus the stadium would be accessible by the Metrorail train system.

DuPuy's presence at these meetings is significant because it shows the league's desire to keep baseball entrenched in South Florida.

Last year, the Marlins were granted permission to seek relocation after a proposed stadium plan next to the Orange Bowl in Miami fell through.

Marlins officials visited other markets, and while San Antonio, Texas, was impressive, there is no talk now of relocation.

MLB and team management want the franchise, with two World Series titles in their relatively brief history, to remain in South Florida.

Finding the Marlins a new home has moved up on the league's priority list because a series of events -- which includes the launching of the first World Baseball Classic, the new collective bargaining agreement and the Twins and A's stadium stalemates -- have all been addressed


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