Marlins discuss ballpark sites with Hialeah mayor

Updated: January 30, 2006, 4:51 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Florida Marlins officials met Monday with Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina to discuss two sites for a potential ballpark.

Marlins president David Samson told reporters that the talks, although preliminary, demonstrated the team's desire to stay in the region. Hialeah is located northwest of downtown Miami.

"We've discovered now that our best chance, and the best chance for baseball in South Florida, is to get a building built somewhere and making it work," Samson said. "The important thing is keeping the team here."

The Marlins announced in November that the commissioner's office granted the team permission to seek relocation. That followed the collapse of a deal to build a retractable-roof, 38,000-seat stadium next to the Orange Bowl in downtown Miami.

The Marlins have played in Dolphins Stadium since their inception in 1993. Their lease ends in 2007, but the team could stay there through the 2010 season using a series of one-year options.

In Hialeah, Samson said the two potential sites are the Hialeah Park horse track, which hasn't had live racing since 2001, and a tract along Interstate 75. He said there will be feasibility and traffic studies done to gauge the suitability of the sites, which are privately owned.

"We promised we would explore all areas and all possible sites," Samson said.

Samson has met with officials in Portland, Ore., and San Antonio in recent weeks and has visits scheduled soon in two other cities he did not identify. He also said the team will meet with officials in Homestead, south of Miami.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press