LoanDepot Park is the most-admired sports venue in Miami, Florida. An architectural marvel, the park is the home of MLB franchise the Miami Marlins. The fascinating ballpark is built on the former site of the Miami Orange Bowl. It is the first to boast the neomodern-style baseball stadium design with several exciting features. A stunning view, a memorable history, and countless grandiose events have made LoanDepot Park stand out among the best baseball parks in the United States.
LoanDepot Park is quintessentially Miami. Before 2021, Marlins Park was the official name of the ballpark. It continues to rank the third smallest among MLB stadiums for the number of seats after Tropicana Field and Progressive Field. The stadium is also the sixth MLB ballpark built with a retractable roof. The Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field in Arlington was the seventh MLB retractable-roof ballpark built after it.
LoanDepot Park is a LEED-certified green park since 2012. It hosted the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic games and the 2017 MLB All-Star Game.
History of Marlins Park
Before the construction of Marlins Park, Hard Rock Stadium used to host baseball matches in Miami. However, it was a multi-purpose stadium and was originally designed for football. Many renovations were made to the infrastructure of the stadium to make it suitable for baseball. However, the changes were not adequate. Along with several other issues, the hot and humid climate of Florida was also a big issue. During baseball matches in summer, the stadium had no cover to cope with the hot climate and it was hard for the players to practice in such an environment. Since 1999, the Marlins sought a new baseball-only stadium.
The city of Miami wouldn’t want to part way with an immensely successful team that won two world series in 1998 and 2003 and drew millions to its games each season. In 2004, the city proposed to build a new stadium for the Miami Marlins with a retractable roof to prevent the effects of the undesirable weather. Miami Orange Bowl was chosen as the site for the construction of a new ballpark. The residents of Miami were not in favor of constructing the park by the tax money initially, but later they supported the idea. In February 2005, Miami Dade County unveiled the financial plan for the new park. The Marlins also requested Florida state for funding the new baseball park, but it was rejected.
After the rejection of the funding request by the Florida legislature, the city also broke down its negotiation of a new stadium with Marlins. The Miami Marlins, as a result, started considering a move to Las Vegas, Portland, or San Antonio. This cajoled the officials of Florida to support the public funding of the construction of Marlins Park.
In 2008, the president and COO of MLB threatened the officials that Miami would lose its baseball team if they did not make any decision for the construction of a new stadium. So, the officials of Miami approved the funding for the new baseball stadium. The demolition of the Miami Orange Bowl was started in March 2008. Following a delay caused by some lawsuits, Miami’s planning board approved the construction of the new baseball park on April 1, 2009. The construction began on July 1 that year.
Marlins Park was completed on April 4, 2012. A clause in the contract agreement led to the change in the name of the home team from Florida Marlins to Miami Marlins. In 2021, the Marlins signed an agreement with California-based mortgage lender LoanDepot. This changed the name of Marlins Park to LoanDepot Park for $10 million a year.
Design and Features
Marlins Park is known for its extraordinary architectural design that boasts a number of modern techniques hinting at a glimpse of the future baseball stadiums. The building is also environment friendly. Sealants, adhesives, and paints used in this ballpark contain low VOC, which maintains the air quality within the park. The glass on the front side allows the ambient light to illuminate the park during the daytime. The park is surrounded by palm trees and numerous other plant species that provide a green outlook to the park.
LoanDepot Park puts a break on retro ballparks that started with Camden Yards. The Marlins bring into existence the “contemporary” style. The design of Marlins Park is an expression of the present-day culture of Miami, which is adored for its “palms, destination, diverse, recreation, and beaches.” every inch of the stadium showcases the city’s emblematic features. The design also remembers Sun Life Stadium, where Marlins once played, by replicating the wave-shaped “The Bermuda Triangle.”
The shape and design make LoanDepot Park resistant to strong hurricanes. An air-conditioning system offers much-needed relief from the hot Florida weather while the retractable roof and glass panels enable a thrilling view of Downtown Miami. The 8,300-ton steel retractable roof has a white membrane cover and it opens or closes in 15 minutes. The roof has a white rubber lining that reflects the sun’s rays and prevents the heat-island effect.
In 2016, the outfield was redesigned following the complaint of a fewer home runs. Shaw Sports B1K replaced the earlier grass at LoanDepot Park in 2019. Two other ballparks Chase Field and Globe Life Field also have the same turf.
Facilities and Attractions
On the left-center field wall, there is a colorful sculpture designed by Red Grooms. The home run sculpture depicts a tropical landscape with seagulls, marlins, flamingos, and palm trees – symbols of Florida. In 2018, it was moved to the outer plaza.
Aquatic home plates provide a backstop to both sides of the home plate. These are bulletproof aquariums constructed of durable fiberglass. Viewing windows that run across the length of the aquarium are made up of crystal-clear acrylic panels. The Bobblehead Museum with a lot of bobblehead dolls makes LoanDepot Park an exciting place for the kids. Marlins Park also has a commemorative marker for the Miami Orange Bowl center.
LoanDepot Park also offers a lot of amenities for visitors. Four huge parking garages along with six lots offer a parking capacity of 5,600 vehicles. The parking garages surround the stadium, so the visitors could park their vehicles conveniently. LoanDepot Park also has a trolley service to transport the visitors to and from the Miami civic center. The wonderful West Plaza paving was created by Carlos Cruz-Diez to add elegance to this park.
The lighting of the four gigantic columns which support the retractable roof makes this ballpark even more fascinating. The lights are programmed to cast an illusion at LoanDepot Park. The lighting casts an artifice of concealing and revealing the columns via programmed LEDs. Besides, LoanDepot Park has a “Sport & The Art” along with the artwork of numerous other artists. The ballpark has over 500 pieces of photography spread over 15,000 square feet of wall.
Purely Baseball Things To Know
- LoanDepot Park is the third smallest MLB stadium with 36,442 seats. It is the smallest by area.
- The ballpark is the sixth of seven MLB stadiums constructed with a retractable roof.
- Its design ended the era of retro-modern ballparks started with Camden Yards.
- The stadium was host to 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic games.
- It was the venue for the 2017 MLB Baseball All-Star Game.
- Henderson Alvarez became the first of the Miami Marlins to pitch a no-hitter at LoanDepot Park. He achieved it against the Detroit Tigers in September 2013.
- Marlins pitcher Edinson Vólquez had a no-hitter performance in June 2017.
- The game between The Miami Marlins and the Colorado Rockies on June 20, 2016, saw an MLB record of eight home runs.
- The 2017 MLB All-Star Game at the stadium is the first such event in Florida after 2000.
- Though the new stadium proposal was approved in January 2004, lawsuits and funding delays led the City of Miami started the work only in July 2009.
- The stadium contract lead to the home team changing their name from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins in 2012.
- LoanDepot Park’s “contemporary” architecture focuses on making baseball innovative and local art centric.
- It is the first ballpark to bring aesthetics into the center of the fan experience.
- The baseball stadium started a new color scheme for the Miami Marlins.
- There is a nightclub built next to the left-field fence to bring beach experience to baseball fans.
- It has a retractable roof as well as retractable-glass wall panels.
- LoanDepot Park is the fourth baseball stadium to have LEED certification and the only one to score 40 points.
- Between 2012 and 2016, the stadium witnessed the second-fewest home runs in MLB. This caused a modification of the field in 2016. Again field changes were made in 2020 to help facilitate more home runs.
- LoanDepot Park hosts college football, including the Miami Beach Bowl.
- The baseball stadium is a regular venue for international and national soccer games. Between 2013 and 2016, the Miami Soccer Challenge was played at the stadium.
- Beyoncé performed at the first solo concert at the Marlins Park in April 2016.
- It hosted the “America’s Night of Hope” in April 2013.
- All-star racecar competition event the Race of Champions came to Miami’s LoanDepot Park in 2017.
- Monster Jam events are a regular feature at the ballpark every February.
- It is the place for religious events, such as the 2019 Jehovah’s “Love Never Fails” convention.