Posts Tagged ‘Joe Robbie Stadium’

Flamingo Field in Miami Beach, Florida

March 7th, 2018

Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium is located at 15th St and North Michigan Avenue in Miami Beach, Florida.

Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium, Miami Beach Florida, on Michigan Avenue, Just South of 15th Street

It is part of a larger recreation area also known as Flamingo Park. The main entrance to the Park is located south of the baseball stadium at 1200 Meridian Avenue.

Welcome To Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Flamingo Park includes tennis courts, a swimming pool, and handball courts. The park has a Rich history of its own.

Handball Courts, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, Florida

In 1925, Flamingo Field was constructed in the same location of the current baseball stadium. Flamingo Field’s grandstand was constructed by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in the 1930s.

Grandstands at Flamingo Park – Miami Beach, Florida. 1935. Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <>, accessed 4 March 2018.

The New York Giants held their Spring Training at Flamingo Field in 1934 and 1935. Henry Fabian, the famed groundskeeper for the New York Giants, created at Flamingo Field what the New York Times called “exclusive swank with a dash of Coney Island” (Drebinger, John, “21 Giants Report as Training Starts In a Bizarre Setting at Miami Beach,” New York Times, February 25, 1934). The Times noted that Flamingo Field was built “on an expansive meadow that had once been used for polo and subsequently converted into a baseball field of sorts.” Also, according to the Times, “[a] small grand stand forms a semi-circle behind home plate. The rest of the field is closed off with a canvas fence and off to one side is a stucco dwelling which has been converted into a clubhouse.”

Training With the Giants. New York Giants Outfielder Mel Ott training at Flamingo Field, March 7, 1934 (Photo Credit; ACME -United Press International)

The Philadelphia Phillies trained at Flamingo Field both before World War II, from 1940 to 1942, and after, in 1946. The last major league team to train at Flamingo Field was the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1947.

Other New York Giants Florida Spring Training cites include Payne Park (1924 to 1927), Al Lang Field (1951), and Sanford, Florida (minor league camp). Other Philadelphia Phillies Florida Spring Training cites include LECOM Park – McKechnie Field (1925 to 1927), Clearwater Athletic Field (1947 to 1954), and Jack Russell Stadium (1955 to 2003). Other Pittsburgh Pirates Florida Spring Training cites include J.P. Small Memorial Park (1918), Rickwood Field (1919), Jaycee Park (1954), Terry Park (1955 to 1968), and LECOM Park – McKechnie Field (1969 to present).

Flamingo Field, Miami Beach Florida

Two minor league teams called Flamingo Field their home: the Class D Florida East Coast League Miami Beach Tigers in 1940, the Miami Beach Flamingos from 1941 to 1942, and the Class C and B Florida International League Miami Beach Flamingos from 1946 to 1952, as well as in 1954.

Flamingo Field, Miami Beach Florida

Flamingo Field was demolished in 1967 and a new structure was built on the same site. Designated as Miami Beach Stadium, today it is commonly known as Flamingo Park.

Dedication Plaque for Miami Beach Stadium, 1967, at Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Flamingo Park was built with the idea of bringing Major League Spring Training back to Miami Beach. The team associated with that effort was the New York Mets, who at the time were training in Al Lang Field.

First Base Dugout, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

The “new” steel grandstand (now over 50 years old) is somewhat reminiscent of the original wooden grandstand that was located behind home plate and built by the FERA.

Grandstand, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Flamingo Park features an Art Deco-inspired front entrance, in keeping with much of the architecture of Miami Beach.

Front Entrance, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Ticket Booth and Front Gate, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

A metal grate located behind the stadium grandstand includes a sign proclaiming “Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium,” and  also serves to protects against over zealous fans who might be tempted to climb out on the grandstand roof from the stairs that lead to the press box.

Grandstand, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Just Southeast of Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium is a second baseball field located behind center field, which presumably was once part of the larger Spring Training baseball complex.

Practice Field, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Practice Field, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Although Major League Baseball never returned to Flamingo Park, according to the City of Miami Beach, Major League players use the field to train during the off season. In addition, Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium is used for high school baseball (the Miami Beach High Tides) and various adult amateur leagues.

Marlins Park, Home of the Miami Marlins

Flamingo Park is located just six miles East of Marlins Park, the Home of the Miami Marlins, and just 18 miles Southeast of the Miami Marlins former home, Hard Rock Stadium (formerly Joe Robbie Stadium).

Opening Day 2016 at Marlins Park, Home of the Miami Marlins

If you are visiting Miami or attending a Major League game at Marlins Park, consider taking the short drive East along A1A to see where Major League Spring Training once was played over 70 years ago.

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Miami’s Joe Robbie, Pro Player, Dolphin, Land Shark, and Sun Life Stadium

January 1st, 2014

The ballpark currently known as Sun Life Stadium was home to the National League Florida Marlins (currently known as the Miami Marlins) from 1993 to 2011. It is located just north of Miami, Florida, at 2269 N.W. 199th Street, in the suburb of Miami Gardens.

Arial View of Pro Player Stadium (Sun Life) Configured for Baseball

Opened in 1987, and financed by former Miami Dolphins owner Joe Robbie, the ballpark is primarily a football stadium that was adapted for use by Major League Baseball.

Pro Player Stadium Circa 2002

In its 25 plus seasons in existence, the ballpark has undergone several name changes, from Joe Robbie Stadium, to Pro Player Park, to Pro Player Stadium, to Dolphins Stadium, to Dolphin Stadium, to Land Shark Stadium, to Sun Life Stadium.

Entrance to Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida

The Miami Dolphins have called the stadium home since 1987. Talks between team owners and city officials may lead to significant renovations of the stadium in the next few years, including the addition of a roof.

Pro Player Stadium at Night, Miami, Florida

The Florida Marlins began as an expansion team, playing their first season at what was then Joe Robbie Stadium in 1993. Within four years, in 1997, the team brought a World Series championship to Miami, and a second one in 2003. Thus, in the less than 20 years that the expansion Florida Marlins called Sun Life Stadium their home, the team won two more World Series at their home ballpark than the Chicago Cubs have won in their 100 seasons at Wrigley Field.

Exterior of Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida

Sun Life Stadium is primarily a concrete structure, architecturally lacking a certain je ne sais quoi.

Pro Player Stadium Ticket Booth, Miami, Florida

However, inside the ballpark, the bright orange seats and expansive green field give the ballpark a somewhat festive look.

Sun Life Stadium, Former Home of Florida Marlins

Entrance to the seating bowl offers fans a vivid color display of aqua blue, leading to bright orange.

Entrance to Sections 101 and 156

Attendance at Marlins home games often was so abysmal that the team closed off to fans the upper deck seating.

Pro Player Stadium Circa 2002

Because the ballpark was adapted for baseball, the batters eye at Sun Life Stadium was made up of blue vinyl covering the seating directly behind dead-center field.

Center Field Batters Eye Miami Style - Blue Vinyl

One other quirk of staging baseball in a football arena was the lack of a center field scoreboard. Two main video scoreboards were placed at opposite ends of the stadium along the third base side and right field (the two end zones for football games).

Scoreboard, Sun Life Stadium

The rectangular configuration of the stadium did allow fans the opportunity to walk entirely around the field and take in the game from every vantage point, including center field.

View From Center Field Seats, Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida

The Dolphin’s orange seating throughout the stadium is adorned at the end of each row with the Dolphin’s logo.

Detail of Seats, Pro Player Stadium

The home team and away team bullpens were located out of play along the first base and third base foul lines.

Home Team Bullpen, Dontrelle Willis Warming Up

The souvenir store’s fish motif gave it the look of a seafood restaurant.

Seatrader Store, Florida Marlins

File under the moniker “truly out of place” – in no major league ballpark other than Miami, Florida, would you see cheerleaders.

Cheerleaders at a Baseball Game? And One Lucky Fish - Only in Miami

The team offices, located in the bowels of the ballpark included a Marlins Hall of Fame display and one really big taxidermy fish.

Marlins Hall of Fame

A Big Fish in the Marlins' Executive Offices

As a daily reminder that things could only get better, the administrative offices’ reception room included a clock counting down the number of days until the Marlins moved to a new, retractable-roof ballpark.

Stadium Countdown Clock - Marlins' Executive Office

The new ballpark, which opened in 2012 (and which I have yet to visit and photograph), is built on the site of the Orange Bowl, an 80,000 seat stadium that once was home to the National Football League Miami Dolphins, the Orange Bowl Classic, and the University of Miami Football Team.

Orange Bowl Postcard, Gulfstream Card Co, Miami, Florida

Sun Life Stadium is not a lost ballpark, and with plans to renovate the stadium apparently in the works, the good news is it appears the ballpark will be around for years to come. It currently is one of only seven former major league baseball stadiums still in existence (L.A. Coliseum, Qualcomm Stadium, RFK Stadium, Metrodome (slated for demolition), Candlestick Park (slated for demolition), Astrodome (slated for demolition). Before too long, it will be one of only four.

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