Vacated Orange Bowl site draws attention of 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."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press