The Slow Trickling Sound of a Ballpark Deal Going Nowhere

The Miami Herald chimes in with more unproductive ballpark news:

Just when MLB thought something was close, the stadium deal is again on indefinite hold, exasperating MLB executives determined to keep a team here. Though the Marlins want a downtown site, Miami city manager Pete Hernandez said the city won’t deal with the Marlins issue until UM decides whether to move to Dolphin Stadium. (There’s no timetable for that.)

Once again, the Marlins have to play second-fiddle to the Hurricanes who play 6 games a year in front of 30,000 to 60,000 fans. No one can deny the University of Miami’s importance to the South Florida sports market, but unlike the Marlins they do not bring major league events and money into town. The Marlins can bring the World Baseball Classic, the National League playoff series, the World Series, and the All-Star game (in addition to 81 dates a year).

Now we hear the noise that the >Dolphin Stadium lease may not be extended beyond its 2010 termination. Wayne would love to build a roof over his palace and add other elements around the parking lots to make the facility some kind of magical convention site.

Marlins president David Samson said in recent months, a Huizenga Holdings official reaffirmed Wayne Huizenga’s earlier written notification that the lease would not be renewed.

There is no doubt that Samson is trying to put pressure on Miami, but Wayne has publicly said this too (and we know he has no interest in helping the Marlins’ cause).

[Huizenga:] “I don’t want to do anything to hurt the Dolphins’ chances of winning. We miss field goals on dirt. [Still], we’re the family that brought the Marlins here, and the last thing we want to do is hurt the team.”

So what does this all mean?

Miami needs to get its act together and the Marlins need to decide if they are ready to contribute a bite more. If this, as we’ve been told, comes down to $60 million, then the parties (including MLB) need to step up and make it happen. MLB should understand that it will not get another DC sweetheart deal and that they can help close this by, once again, “lending” money to Loria and the Marlins.

Also, lets not underestimate the negative distraction caused by some people’s obsession with the Orange Bowl site. We know the Marlins will take whatever they can get, but everyone involved would benefit from a downtown site. Maybe the best way to close the gap and solve everyone’s problem is having UM buy the Orange Bowl.