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Vacated Orange Bowl site draws attention of Marlins

11/6/2007 - MLB Florida Marlins

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Florida Marlins have agreed to accept
the Orange Bowl as a site for a new ballpark if a financial deal
can be worked out, acceding to the wishes of county and city
officials.

"In terms of the county and the city, that's the only site
that's on the table right now," Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief
operating officer, said Tuesday. "And while we believe that the
downtown site had a lot of attractive features, including egress
and access, given the exodus of the University of Miami from the
Orange Bowl to Dolphin Stadium, the Orange Bowl site is the site
that's under consideration at the moment."

DuPuy, commissioner Bud Selig's point man for the Marlins'
ballpark, hopes to get a deal by the end of the year. He said
baseball thought the Orange Bowl site was less attractive because
of its distance from downtown and the lack of mass transit, and
that because of that the Marlins wouldn't be able to contribute as
much as they would to the cost of a downtown ballpark.

"We all hope the Orange Bowl site will be every bit as good as
downtown, but there are concerns about it," DuPuy said. "The last
thing you want to do is build a brand new ballpark down there and
have the team fail, and everybody recognizes that the level of
contribution that the team makes has to be commensurate with what
they believe they are going to be able to generate from a new
ballpark and be viable."

The University of Miami announced in August that its football
team will abandon the Orange Bowl after this season, leaving that
stadium without a primary tenant. The Marlins have said they cannot
survive in South Florida without a new ballpark.

In May, the Florida Legislature failed to approve a $60 million
subsidy to help build a $490 million, retractable-roof stadium.

"Nothing has ever been in concrete. This has been a lava light
in terms of trying to put the financing together," DuPuy said.
"The commissioner refuses to give up. I refuse to give up. At some
point, maybe someone will say, as hard as we've tried for as long
as we've tried, it isn't going to happen. But we're not ready to
concede that yet."