Ichiro reminds us why we are fans

The only embargo being lifted in Miami in 2015 relates to an islands nation with a proud baseball tradition dating back to the 19th century, Japan. As such;

I, generic Marlins fan of Hispanic background, being of some mind and impeccable Miami ethnicity — to wit, privileged to have stepped on or into the following; Orange Bowl, Miami Senior High, St John Bosco Catholic Church, Miami-Dade College, FIU, UM, McDonalds, Cuba, Bon-Bon Bakery, 5th Street YMCA, and the Aquarius Lounge — hereby declare the games of the MMXV Miami Marlins to be open and free of resentful fan embargoes, at least until the next treacherous personnel move.

Why now you ask? Is it because of the Stanton signing? Sure that helps, but that signing’s most significant value to angry fans is the realistic timetable it provides as to the end of Loria’s ownership. No the main reason to move past our resentments is the arrival of the great Ichiro Suzuki to play on hallowed Orange Bowl grounds within our Little Havana neighborhood.

ichirobanner2
To go from being represented by Ozzie Guillen to Ichiro Suzuki, is to go from the relentlessly profane to the height of professionalism. Ichiro is a worthy successor to Mariano Rivera as the best combination of sustained excellence and class MLB has to offer. Baseball royalty resides in Little Havana for 2015.

A bridge too bizarre. Such journeys can’t happen all at once. You need a Mike Redmond buffer. Unlike the Corleone’s, the attention-starved Marlins management only lately have recognized their need of buffers or class.

The profaneness about the Miami Marlins was not limited to their manager in 2012. The team owner, playing the proverbial geek desperately trying to curry favor with the cool kid, happily informed Guillen of how many F-bombs he had used in his initial address to the team in front of Showtime cameras. Never wanting to be left out, the team president also dropped an F-bomb in a choreographed pep talk to Marlins office personnel. If loving Ozzie was wrong, these jock-sniffers didn’t wanna be right.

Marlins managment were committed to Ozzie all the way through Spring Training. Then came April 2012, then came the long con, as Jeff Passan might say. But our sports hatred of Loria is no long-term reason not to follow and support Miami’s MLB team based in Little Havana.

My next Marlins blog post will discuss a possible target date for Ichiro reaching 4,257 career hits. He is 134 away and we need to explore how Redmond can find the needed AB’s over the next, hopefully, 2 years.

Sorry Garcia, Ichiro’s coming for your boy.

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How not to grow MLB in Miami – part 305

espn screenDo the laws of supply and demand apply to MLB ticket sales? See the nearby screenshot of a portion of the Miami Marlins 2014 schedule. The last column reflects the tickets available for purchase through a MLB approved ticket broker. At first glance, it would seem to indicate that the Dodgers, Giants and Nationals have many more tickets to sell than the Miami Marlins. They don’t. Well, not really.

Welcome the world of MLB finances. A world in which if regular fans were more aware of its realities, they would feel like more like Alice in Wonderland than Costner in Field of Dreams.

A recent Forbes article by Jesse Lawrence does a good job of explaining the logic behind the attendance figures shown in the screenshot above:
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MLB in Little Havana: Walking through the Houses of the Holy

This Sunday I took a 4 mile walk in preparation for what I hope will be frequent nighttime walks during many MLB seasons to come.  Since the possibility that a baseball stadium would rise up on the Orange Bowl grounds [The Battle for Evermore], I have looked forward to taking my walks around the new stadium even as I listened to radio or internet broadcasts of the game.

Those walks to come are already vivid in my head.  I know that I will unhook my earphones as I pass homes who are watching the game or people outside their apartments listening like me.  At first there will a series of imperceptible acknowledgements.  But by June, my MLB fandom established,  there will be waves, quick head-shakes inspired by Stanton and actual conversations.

Who knows, there might also be fellow bloggers along the path.  Like Lourdes girls who know of Sandy Denny, they are rare but do exist, so sayeth the book of Daniela.  I already have a few suggestions.

The Led Zeppelin song Houses of the Holy [see below] — through an admittedly parochial prism — written nearly 40 years ago, nicely captured my mood on the walk to the opening of a MLB park in my neighborhood.

Let me take you to the [Tower Theater] movies. Can I take you to the [Domino Park] show

Let me be yours ever truly. Can I make your garden [Brigade 2506 Memorial Park] grow

From the houses of the holy, we can watch the white doves [Giancarlo Stanton dingers] go

From the door comes Satan’s daughter [New York Yankees], and it only goes to show. You know.

There’s an angel on my shoulder [Miami-Dade County Hotel and Restaurant Taxes], In my hand a sword of gold [SEC investigation]

 
The song rambles on after that …

See what my Little Havana GPS reads like for the 2 mile [one way] walk:

  1. Start out going north on SW 26th Rd.
  2. Turn left at Sts Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
  3. Turn right onto SW 13th Ave at the Anaut’s house.
  4. Go past the 2506 Brigade Memorial.
  5. Go past Calle Ocho / Olga Guillot Way.
  6. Go past Flagler St.
  7. Turn left at St John Bosco Catholic Church.
  8. Take right onto NW 14th Ave.
  9. The OB2 / Marlins Park is 3 blocks ahead.

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Restoration and Miamians

Marlins Park opened to a game between Miami’s most prominent Catholic boys high schools, Columbus and Belen on Monday night. Archbishop Thomas Wenski threw out the first pitch. The crowd consisted mostly of Catholic high school parents who have spent the better part of the last decade contributing to building funds which rarely produce actual buildings. Yet there we were, in a new stadium built over our old stadium located in the type of a neighborhood first generation Cuban exiles worked hard to leave behind. That was good.

Much was left behind. The type of things that couldn’t move. Churches, schools, cheap housing and one stadium. The mobility of second generation Cuban exiles was much appreciated by those who followed from Nicaragua, Colombia and Venezuela etc. Turns out they wanted and needed our Little Havana neighborhood. That was good. So was that one stadium.

The Orange Bowl was like some magical yearbook whose last page you never thought to imagine. Its history seemed to be the Miami’s history, mainly in sports, but also in music and politics. The new stadium would have been a hit anywhere it was built. But because it was built on the site of the Orange Bowl, it feels like more of a restoration. The transition from football to baseball almost incidental. That is good.

In standing on the mound for the first pitch, if Archbishop Wenski had turned towards first base, he would be about two miles away from another historic restoration of a Miami institution, Miami Senior High. That school, my high school, is one of the rare places in Miami which preceded even the Orange Bowl. When that restoration is complete sometime next year, that will be good.

If Archbishop Wenski had turned and faced center field, he could actually see the golden dome on top of one of the churches he leads which is about a half mile away. St John Bosco Catholic Church, my Parish, has in the last few years undergone its own restoration. While the old St John Bosco building was torn down and a beautiful new one erected fifty yards away, no one thinks of it as a new Parish for good reason.

G.K. Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy:

I freely confess all the idiotic ambitions of the end of the nineteenth century. I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it. I did strain my voice with a painfully juvenile exaggeration in uttering my truths. And I was punished in the fittest and funniest way, for I have kept my truths: but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine.

To all these places I’ve felt a tribal allegiance of varying degrees over the years.  I have come in and out of their buildings with pride and affection.  But when I reflect on their longevity, survival and now restoration, I am forced to acknowledge the missing link in my ‘truths.’  My fellow Miamians.  There would be nothing to call ‘mine’ without those who preceded and proceeded me in all these places.  The ones who surrounded me last night.  People with whom I gladly go, adelante!

The OB2 — Miami Marlins Arrive Alive

The Miami Marlins were born on 11/11/11. Despite the elephantine gestation period, I watched the birth online with nothing but feelings of pride. Both for my city of Miami and the neighborhood of my youth and preferred locale for cultural identification, Little Havana. For perhaps only a few brief moments, it will be home to one of the most modern sports facilities in the world. The unlikeliness of the previous sentence is comparable to a sentence involving Joe Paterno and violent pedophiles would have been back in the old days.

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The Loria Years: $300 Million Double Double

Forbes has produced their annual MLB valuations, which gives me an opportunity to update my Profit and Loss financial statement for the Florida Marlins. BD [Before Deadspin], producing the financials was like putting together a puzzle whose contents were constantly refuted by the fittingly embarrassed ownership. By now I assume we can focus on what the numbers reveal. See below for the Profit and Loss financial statement for the Florida Marlins during the Loria ownership years, 2002 through 2010.

My financial statement is a combination of actuals [Deadspin] and estimates [Forbes]. In addition, I adjusted the Deadspin/actuals, to be consistent with the Forbes [and conventional accounting] criteria regarding operating income. I illustrate and explain the change here and here. In effect, I am adjusting for a concession MLB made to teams building new stadiums. Ideally, Forbes would address the discrepancy directly, but for now, the teeming MLB finances community is stuck with me.

Professional athletes have their milestones, owners have theirs. During 2010, Jeffrey Loria surpassed the $300 million mark in revenue sharing monies received from the MLB revenue sharing payer teams during his nine years of owning the Florida Marlins. Those teams were mostly the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and Cubs. If you think that is a tough crowd to feel sympathy for, you’ve probably never co-owned a franchise with Loria.

For Jeffrey Loria, the $300 million from revenue sharing was one part of a double-double. He has also seen his investment in MLB franchises grow by over $300 million. Follow along as we trace how Loria’s investment in MLB has grown through the years:

  • 1993 – Failed in bid to purchase the Baltimore Orioles.
  • 1999 – Initial $12 million dollar investment in the Montreal Expos for a 24% interest in the franchise.
  • 2000 – Instead of putting up an additional $39 million towards a new downtown ballpark in Montreal as called for in the deal under which he entered as an investor, Loria outmaneuvered the other partners by cancelling those plans and initiating capital calls. Those capital calls result in Loria investing an additional $18 million to increase his ownership percentage from 24% to 93%. Thus Loria gained 93% of the Expos for roughly a $30 million investment.
  • 2001 – Loria threatens MLB with an antitrust lawsuit if they proceed with plans to contract the Montreal franchise without allowing Loria to continue to own another MLB team, preferably in Washington DC.
  • 2002 – MLB exchanges Loria’s ownership interest in the Montreal Expos for the Florida Marlins. The price MLB ascribed to the Expos was $120 million — a 900 percent return on his original investment, but only a 400 percent return on his total Expos ownership investment — plus a $38.5 million loan, $15 million of which was later forgiven.
  • 2002 through 2010 – Florida Marlins receive $302 million in revenue sharing monies.
  • 2002 through 2010 – Florida Marlins earn $154 million in operating income.
  • 2006 through 2010 – Florida Marlins Major League payroll is consistently one of the lowest in MLB.
  • 2009 – Local governments approve financing for construction of a retractable roof facility at the Orange Bowl site in Little Havana.
  • March 2011 – Forbes estimates the current value of the Florida Marlins at $360 million. Forbes earlier valuations of the Marlins have been very accurate.

Florida Marlins estimated Profit & Loss statement.

Please click on image to enlarge or print.

This spreadsheet addresses the discrepancy between the Deadspin actuals and Forbes estimates.

Please click on image to enlarge or print

The ghost of Orange Bowl past is smiling

A historical injustice is about to be corrected. A Miami Herald article [copied at end of post] notes that plans have been finalized for another stadium to rise where the Orange Bowl once stood. In her informative The Business of Sports blog, Sarah Talalay from the Sun-Sentinel, highlights the various concessions the Marlins have made since the original outline of an agreement. The Marlins and local governments unveiled their plans–see the actual documents, about which more in due time–for the new stadium. The City and County votes has been set for Friday, Feb 13th, of course.

I am tempted to evoke the words of Hyman Roth, by wondering why there “isn’t even a plaque – or a signpost – or a statue of [the OB] in that place!“–but it was hard to tell from the drawings released. You would think that honoring the Orange Bowl will be a given at the new stadium. If for no other reason, but to follow my lead.

Stadium Critics – A Few Observations

Something to keep in mind from those attacking the stadium plans between now and Feb 13th. For the local critics, it is fair, and telling I submit, to ask where they stood on the construction of the Arsht Center. If those who oppose the stadium were OK with the Arsht Center, their opposition is a matter of tastes not principle.

My other point is a great example of how bias is practiced underneath the surface of the stadium arguments. The actual stadium construction costs are listed at $515 million. The problem is that that has been the quoted cost for a few years now. Stadiums are notorious for costs overruns. I’m sure part of the reason the Marlins insisted on negotiating for their own architect and construction company, is an attempt to keep those costs under control. But a major factor in the stadium deal is the fact that the Marlins are on the hook for additional costs beyond the $515 million. If that were not the case, the fact that the $515 million is likely an understated amount would be prominent in those arguments against the stadium. Look for that the next time a stadium critic notes that the Marlins share of the stadium costs are too low. Fairness would dictate that they note that the Marlins percentage is certain to rise. My follow up question would then be; Too low compared to which other recent stadium construction project?

I provide Hyman Roth’s full quote referred to above, below. I do so not for context, but out of pure lust. WARNING: Please don’t try to read out loud without inserting the 16 verbal tics so necessary for an accurate rendition. The soul of Lee Strasberg is listening, you child. [Even this last sentence, if spoken, should be done so with a disdainful tone worthy of a Gust Avrakotos].

There was this kid I grew up with – he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me – you know. We did our first work together – worked our way out of the street. Things were good, we made the most of it. During Prohibition – we ran molasses into Canada – made a fortune – your father, too. As much as anyone, I loved him – and trusted him. Later on he had an idea – to build a city out of a desert stop-over for GI’s on the way to the West Coast. That kid’s name was Moe Green – and the city he invented was Las Vegas. This was a great man – a man of vision and guts. And there isn’t even a plaque – or a signpost – or a statue of him in that town! Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order – when I heard it, I wasn’t angry; I knew Moe – I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead – I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we’ve chosen – I didn’t ask who gave the order – because it had nothing to do with business!

Articles referenced are copied in full at end of the post.

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Marlins Stadium Update No. 2012000, Updated

Posted by Sarah Talalay at 2:07 PM

The Marlins are hoping Friday the 13th turns out to be their lucky day. Miami-Dade County Commissioners and Miami City Commissioners are to vote Feb. 13 on the five agreements that spell out the financing, construction and other details to make their ballpark at the site of the former Orange Bowl a reality.

The five agreements – Construction Administration; Operating; Non-Relocation; Assurance; and City Parking – were released Tuesday. If you want some light reading, take a look at the documents here on the county’s website.

Acknowledging that I haven’t read every page YET, the agreements overall appear to extract more from the team, thereby offering more protections for the public. The budget for the ballpark is to remain the same, the documents show, ($347 million from the county; $155 million from the team; and $13 million from the city), but the team is responsible for any cost overruns incurred on the ballpark AND the public infrastructure. That means if there are overruns on the estimated $21 million in drainage, sewer and road work the city and county will split, the team will be responsible for those.

The team’s rent payment of $2.3 million a year will rise 2 percent a year – meaning more money for the county to cover its debt. The team will provide 81,000 tickets – or 1,000 a game at an “affordable price” starting at $15 in the ballpark’s inaugural year. Another 10,000 – double the original 5,000 – a season will be provided free for youth groups and community organizations.

If the team is sold within seven years, the team would have to pay a higher percentage than initially planned, to the county as a profit share. Under last year’s agreement, the team would pay 10 percent if the team was sold in year one; under the new agreement, that’s shot up to 18 percent. The percentage falls each year, but is significantly more onerous than in the earlier agreement – arguably creating something of a disincentive to sell.

Neither County Manager George Burgess nor Marlins President David Samson would say the changes were made to appease the concerns of county commissioners who have threatened to vote against the ballpark agreements.

“We wanted to get something stronger,” Burgess said.

“You do what you think is right to achieve a goal you have. Our goal from the beginning was to partner with the city and county … through the course of negotiations there were certain provisions that changed,” Samson said. “Our focus has been to get this deal done.”

Even if the commissions sign off on the agreements, there’s still an option for any of the parties to terminate them by June 30. Burgess and Samson said they don’t expect that to happen. They expect construction to begin this summer with the ballpark opening in 2012.

The city commission is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Feb. 13, followed by a 1 p.m. meeting of the county commission. The county commission must approve the agreements by a two-thirds vote — or 9 — of the 13 county commissioners. Expect it to be another long day.
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Vote on Florida Marlins’ stadium coming Feb. 13

Posted on Wed, Jan. 28, 2009

BY CHARLES RABIN AND JACK DOLAN

Miami and Miami-Dade leaders are poised to cast rapid-fire, historic votes that could end the decade-long search for a permanent home for the two-time World Series champion Florida Marlins.

If approved Feb. 13, the partially glass-encased, 37,000-seat facility with a retractable roof would rise to face the downtown skyline from the Little Havana grounds where the revered Orange Bowl once stood.

The votes, required for five contracts that must be approved before ground can be broken, could be vindication for team owner Jeffrey Loria, who, like the two owners before him, suffered through a series of broken last-minute deals at the hands of government.

Passage is not guaranteed, as construction and management agreements require a two-thirds majority vote by county commissioners. And, even if approval comes, critics question whether the dire economy could derail construction and cause the county’s borrowing cost to jump.

Yet the team has never been closer to having its own stadium, with renderings and final contracts released Tuesday, and supporters saying the public-works project will infuse the economy with jobs.

As County Manager George Burgess released the terms of the five remaining contracts, city of Miami staff members unveiled previously unseen stadium renderings.

The stadium would be surrounded by garages and parking lots that could fit up to 6,000 vehicles, intersected by walkways, with a grassy open field to the northwest just above home plate. In between the field and home plate is the stadium’s “Grand Entry Plaza.”

Total cost, including parking spaces: $609 million, with almost two-thirds coming from the county, and the city donating land. The team is contributing $120 million, and will repay the county another $35 million via rent payments.

TEAM CONCESSIONS

Burgess said the Marlins — who would become the Miami Marlins — agreed to a host of contract concessions, moves likely to help shore up support of the two contracts requiring a two-thirds County Commission approval. The other contracts to be approved involve an assurance agreement and deals for parking and nonrelocation.

”We got more because I felt like we needed to get more,” said Burgess.

Among the changes:

• If Loria sells the team next year, the county would get 18 percent of the profit, a share that diminishes annually until year eight, when the county would no longer share in the profit.

• The ball club’s $2.3 million in yearly rent will go up by 2 percent each year.

• Extra costs incurred due to scheduling or problems between the contractor and subcontractors will now be paid by the Marlins.

The Marlins or any potential buyer would be obligated to play at the Little Havana ballpark for 35 years, the team will give away 10,000 free tickets to youth groups each year and 1,000 seats for each home game will go for $15.

”He’s [Marlins President David Samson] probably throwing darts at our pictures as he speaks. He’s made a lot of concessions,” said Burgess.

Not exactly. Reached Tuesday, Samson called the deal fair and said he will meet personally with the 18 commissioners from the two boards over the next two weeks.

”We had very strict marching orders from Jeffrey,” Samson said. “That was to save baseball in South Florida.”

GOVERNMENT PAYMENT

The county’s share of the stadium’s cost is likely to rise. That’s because Miami and Miami-Dade have agreed to split the cost of moving electrical lines and road improvements, expected to be as high as $10 million each. Both governments will also pay $1.7 million to keep the Little Havana ballpark green.

Also, because of rising interest rates, the county’s ultimate cost over the 35-year-agreement may rise by millions of dollars.

To pay the yearly nut, the county will rely on tourist taxes. Its most recent budget predicts growth in tax revenue but acknowledges that the stream of money “could be affected by economic conditions.”

Tourist taxes already pay for the Performing Arts Center, the Miami Beach Convention Center, the Homestead Miami Speedway and the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Any of the three parties — city, county or team — can kill the deal by July 2009 if bonding is in jeopardy. The county gets more days to use the stadium, with 50 percent of the profits going to yearly stadium capital improvements. The county and city each get use of a suite for 40 games.

The team gets all the revenue from the stadium, including the naming rights, which could exceed $2 million a year.

BARRIERS & INCENTIVES

The question now is whether the team’s contract changes will be enough to persuade a County Commission that barely passed a series of votes a year ago to keep the stadium deal alive.

Because there was no bidding for the construction or management groups — both hired by the Marlins — a two-thirds majority of the 13-member County Commission must vote to accept.

County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, a stadium-deal skeptic, said the Marlins aren’t paying enough. He also fears that the souring global economy could undermine the county’s plan to pay for its share through loans and hotel bed taxes.

”Last I heard, tourist revenues were down,” he said. As for interest rates to be applied to bonded money, “Are we just going to roll the dice and hope they are not too bad?”

Commission Chairman Dennis Moss, a stadium supporter, agreed that the current economic climate is tough but said it can’t last forever. ”Clearly, there’s risk involved,” Moss said, “but it’s kind of a leap of faith.”

In contrast with earlier approvals, which critics felt were rushed with little public input, Moss insisted that commissioners get at least two weeks to review the new proposal, which includes more than 350 pages of contracts, budgets and artists’ renderings.

”I hope by then we have enough information to vote this thing up or down,” Moss said. “That’s going to be the big day.”

To sweeten the pot, Major League Baseball agreed to pay $3.2 million to build a youth baseball academy in Hialeah. It comes with a caveat: Commissioners must pass the vote before the academy is built.

County Commissioner Jose ”Pepe” Diaz said MLB’s input goes a long way. ”I think they’re generally interested in helping the kids in our community,” he said.

Loria and Samson believe that a new ballpark, with money from concessions and corporate suites, will keep the franchise in South Florida.

FACE TO THE FUTURE

Annually ranking near the bottom of baseball in payroll and attendance, the Marlins have long cried foul about the team’s lease agreement with H. Wayne Huizenga at Dolphin Stadium.

That lease ends after the 2010 season, but the new ballpark will not be ready until Opening Day 2012. Team officials hope to work out a one-year lease with soon-to-be Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.

Samson said Loria has good relationships with the banks ”that are eager to do business with us.” The team doesn’t have to pay its $120 million until construction is almost complete — giving it the benefit of accumulating cash through ticket sales before it borrows money.

County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, trying to sell the deal in a county with a skyrocketing unemployment rate, said Tuesday that the stadium was being built for the community — not the Miami Marlins.

”Let’s not forget — right now a stadium means jobs, thousands of jobs,” the mayor said.

Miami Herald staff writer Larry Lebowitz contributed to this report.
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Miami Marlins’ new homer

Would that it have been Jorge Cantu’s 30th, or even the animated character, Mr. Simpson. No, something much less useful, my conversion to ‘homer status’ that will make Rick Weaver sound like Vin Scully in the coming months.

My interest in the Marlins and their finances was the impetus for this blog. The basic idea was to was to take the Forbes analysis and translate it onto a financial statement. It appealed to my forensic inner-child accountant. I got some attention and it gave me an ostensible purpose for writing, which as it turns out, is what I really enjoy and intend to continue pursuing.

I recently had an exchange with a reader of my blog and critic of plans to build a baseball stadium on the Orange Bowl site. It was a friendly communication, but it left a bad taste for me. In a very minor way, my academic interest in the Marlins finances was in effect aiding and abetting those who wish to derail the stadium plans.

I have lived in or about the Little Havana neighborhood since 1961. It currently houses my Catholic Parish and I love what the area has represented to our Miami community. Along with the Freedom Tower, it is our Ellis Island. As such, my real and practical interests as a Miamian — supporting investments in our community — badly trumped [think Ali v Quarry] any esoteric interest in MLB finances.

So goodbye focus on MLB profitability and hello to analyzing who is for or against investments in local infrastructures. Perhaps to shine a light on those who have a certain standing in this community and oppose the stadium plans — Michael Putney, Norman Braman, etc — but perhaps were not as vehement, or even approved, other local projects, like the Arsht Center. Those who do not oppose the construction of non-essential facilities indiscriminately, certainly invite scrutiny as to the criteria used in distinguishing which projects they support.

Welcome to the new, unofficial and woefully inadequate blog home to the Little Havana Stadium Plan for Homers. We are the few, the loud, the aquamarines [I know it’s teal OK – work with me].



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Orange Bowl RIP: 1937 – 2008

The good news is that another stadium is going up in its place. Fitting usage of sacred grounds.

If this looks like just another building being torn down to you. It probably means you weren’t there for any of the following:

  • Dec 1962 – President Kennedy / Bay of Pigs – my Dad was there and I still have his plastic Cuban souvenir flag which was handed out. Plan to use it again soon.
  • Jan 1969 – Super Bowl 3 – At the age of 9, I snuck into the game by myself with no money. Good lesson for life, cheap thrill set me up for a long and difficult day. I can confirm that there were no empty seats that day and that the ushers all brought their ‘A’ game. Rep Tancredo, long time ago dude, put the phone down.
  • Nov 1971 – Florida Gators Flop – could not for the life of me figure out how they all fell at once.
  • Jan 1972 – Orange Bowl Classic – Nebraska was using and rapidly discarding tear-away jerseys which I unsuccessfully begged #35 [Jeff Kinney, RB] to toss me at the end of the game.
  • Jan 1972 – AFC Championship vs. Colts – This was my father’s [Adolfo] first & last football game with my brother and me. Experienced my 1st live sports nirvana moment on Griese to Warfield’s 75-yard touchdown pass play. Image of Rick Volk trying to chase down Paul Warfield on the play, please.
  • 1974 – 1977 – Attended numerous games for my beloved Miami Senior High.
  • Aug 1975 – Miami Toros soccer championship – I don’t really like soccer, but I chased supposedly loose Killian high school girls through the bowels of the OB. Toros lost, but I did ok.
  • Jan 1982 – San Diego Chargers OT – I confess I wanted to leave at halftime. For once, my brother Fernando fought the impulse to leave early.
  • Nov 1985 – Notre Dame – Introduction to a Jimmy Johnson [pronounced as one word in Little Havana] style whupping.
  • Nov 1989 – Notre Dame – 3rd & 44.
  • Oct 1992 – FSU – One of the wide-rights. Sorry, I get them confused.
  • Mar 1996 – Brothers to the Rescue Prayer Ceremony.
  • Oct 2000 – FSU – Dorsey to Shockey.
  • Sept 2003 – Gators – Comeback against a truly hated opponent. Sweet.
  • Oct 2006 – FIU – Blame myself for the scuffle. First time I ever had good seats at the OB.
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