Despite local controversies, Marlins Park draws national praise

With opening day quickly approaching, positive attention is finally being showered upon the Marlins new ballpark in Little Havana, according to Reuters and the New York Times.

While the stadium has mostly been a source of controversy for locals — thanks to a Securities and Exchange Commission probe and ongoing parking issues — it is beginning to draw praise as it opens its doors to more followers.

This weekend, the Yankees played exhibition games in the park and superstar slugger and Miami native Alex Rodriguez had nothing but praise for the park, the New York Times reported.

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“I never imagined as a child that such a beautiful stadium would be built in the middle of Miami,” said Rodriguez, who grew up in West Kendall and remembered adoring the Orange Bowl as a child. “So I’m certainly very proud of the city of Miami and the Marlins to be able to achieve this in my hometown.”

Meanwhile, a Reuters feature on the park extolled all of its “trappings of South Florida,” including the two enormous fish tanks in the outfield, the swimming pool in left field, the palm trees and the “kitschy” pop-art home run sculpture.

“You could bring someone here who does not like baseball and they could have a really good time,” said Claude Delorme, a Marlins executive vice president. “And they’ll want to come back.” [NYT] and [Reuters]