If We Ever Get a Stadium, It Will Look Like a UFO

Fish Chunks found an interesting interview with Geoff Cheong who is part of the team designing the Marlins ballpark at HOK. Here are the key passages:

At work he has been busy helping design the exterior of the Florida Marlins’ 38,000-seat stadium.

“It’s bound to be controversial, which is not a bad thing because it gets people talking,” Cheong says. “Some people may think it looks like a spaceship, while others will see it as a piece of art. The Marlins’ owner is an art collector and he’s made it known he wants the stadium to be a ball park as well as piece of sculpture.”

Part of the expected controversy is the stadium’s location—amid a number of single-storey homes.

The building is also being designed to be environmentally friendly by adhering to the silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard. Achieving that will rest—in part—to the building’s retractable roof which will allow it to be air conditioned during the hot and humid Florida weather.

One unique feature will be the movable outfield wall which when removed will provide good views of the city’s skyline, and permit a natural flow of air across the grass field.

That’s important for the natural grass to adequately dry out, says Cheong, adding great consideration was also given to the building’s orientation so the grass could receive a daily minimum of four hours of exposure to sunlight to keep it healthy.

“It was important to have a real grass field,” Cheong says. “The players prefer it. You even get some players using that as a way deciding which team they want to play for.”

Innovative and “green” design is a new trend in downtown construction but is unfamiliar in the baseball universe. The Marlins ballpark is clearly going to be different from every ballpark built since 1990 in that it will look more like modern art (think of the Birds Nest and Aquatic Center in Beijing) rather than the nth new retro ballpark. The risk here is that you end up another Skydome — cool and space age at first, but ultimately out of date — but then again you could also end up with another US Cellular Field where retro can feel like a fake shopping center.

Note: I personally prefer modern although I always assumed some form of Art Deco or Cuban-inspired design would work well. That being said, I just want a new ballpark and a roof so the Marlins can survive and compete.

Lo Duca Up; Miller Down

The Marlins wasted no time in bringing up newly signed Paul Lo Duca. The Fish have been carrying 13 pitchers and they desperately needed another bench player. Justin Miller was the unlucky DFA and will head to AAA.

I’ve been wondering why Lo Duca and not Dallas McPherson and my only guess is that the Fish felt that having another veteran presence (and a catcher at that) would be better than a high-strike out power hitter. But, as I’ve said before, “In Beinfest We Trust”.

Meanwhile, the team found a new way to lose: offense is back but bullpen blew it. 3.5 games out is not the end of the world, but it’s mid-August and momentum is head in the wrong direction.

Marlins Bring Back Paul Lo Duca

Word from the the Miami Herald is that the Marlins are about to sign Paul Lo Duca and send him to AAA. The 36 year old Lo Duca‘s performance has diminished significantly this year (age? no steroids?) and he was recently cut by the Nationals after hitting .230.

This is a low risk move for the Fish as he will start off in AAA and if somehow he figures out how to hit or if Matt Treanor‘s condition worsens, Lo Duca will be be a nice fit.

Latest in Manny: Dead Like Disco

Seems like everyone now thinks the Manny Ramirez deal is dead. The hangups range from the Marlins not willing to give up better prospects to the Marlins demanding more cash to John Henry hating the deal. We’ll know for sure in about 2 hours.

Update: Jason Bay is about to go to Tampa so the 3-way Manny deal is dead as currently constituted.

Update 2: Now it looks like the Pirates and Red Sox cut the Marlins out of the deal and closed it with LA instead. Alas, it was fun while it lasted.

… and Bengie?

If Manny wasn’t enough, looks like the Marlins are serious about Bengie Molina and offered a trade that I think many fans will sign up for in a heartbeat. This from the Palm Beach Post:

In other trade talk, the Marlins reportedly are talking to San Francisco about sending first baseman Mike Jacobs to the Giants for catcher Bengie Molina.

For all the negatives Fish fans see in Jacobs, he is a nice player who could hit quite a few bombs into the Cove. Let’s hope the Giants feel the same way because this would be a nice deal for both teams. This will allow Jorge Cantu to move to his newly discovered position at first base and also allow the Marlins to bring up Dallas McPherson who leads the whole baseball universe in home runs.

Manny-Mania

Yes, the media is exploding with rumors of Manny Ramirez being traded to the Marlins. Best source I can find is MLBTR which has been updating these rumors regularly.

Marlins GM Mike Hill had to cancel his appearance on tonight’s broadcast so let the speculation continue.

Update: Of course, Mike Berardino says NFW

Update 2: So the Red Sox want Jeremy Hermida, Ryan Tucker, and Mike Stanton (Jason Stark / ESPN). Two good prospects sounds expensive for a rental player.

Update 3: My take on Ken Rosenthal’s latest update that the Fish will not include Stanton: The Marlins are seriously talking about acquiring Manny Ramirez.

Update 4: Here is what was supposudly submmited to the Commisioner’s office for approval:

Marlins get Manny Ramirez, one prospect (BOS), and cash (likely Ramirez’s remaining salary)
Pirates get Jeremy Hermida and three prospects (two FLO, one BOS)
Red Sox get Jason Bay and John Grabow

Update 5: Nice dramatic feel in this writeup by the Palm Beach Post.

Judge Loses Control of Braman Trial

The circus surrounding the Norm Braman trial continued today when Judge Jeri Beth Cohen postponed a decision on one of the two remaining issues for at least 5 weeks. The issue in question is whether money can be reallocated for a different purpose without a referendum. The Judge wants to wait for a Florida Supreme Court reconsideration of case concerning reallocation of bond funds.

Frankly, this seems like the only real legal issue left in this case so everything else that happened is irrelevant (hence the term “circus” in this post). The issue of whether the stadium is a good public use of money is not an issue for a court to decide, that’s why we have elected officials. Now, if Braman wanted to challenge the elected official’s authority to make such decisions, that’s a legal challenge. But in this case, debating whether the Marlins will leave town without a stadium or whether they cannot afford to pay more is not an issue for the court to decide.

Anyway, Judge Cohen is scared to make a decision because she doesn’t want her ruling overturned but the end result of her decision is to give the Braman a big victory.

Will an Appeal by Braman Delay the Ballpark?

It looks like Braman’s lawsuit is going down in flames (as expected) but a big concern may be his decision to continue wasting his money by appealing the decision.

We are not happy with the prospect, but we are not concerned. One thing to keep in mind is that Braman did not obtain an injunction (and no court has issued an injunction) against the projects. Absent that, the county, the city, and the Marlins are going ahead full steam. Even if Braman ultimately prevails in some sort of appeal (keep in mind that appeals can’t just be a disagreement with the ruling, there has to be an obvious error), the city/county will have to find a way to pay for the ballpark or else they would have to pay the Marlins for all costs incurred as well as damages.