The Miami Marlins, formerly the Florida Marlins, are members of the National League's East division. They play their home games in Marlins Park which opened for play starting with the 2012 season.
The Marlins are a relatively new franchise that has experienced a good bit of success since their inaugural season in 1993. They've won world championships in each season they've made the playoffs (1997 & 2003, both as the wildcard team). During those seasons, and each up to 2012, they played in Sun Life Stadium, which they shared with the Miami Dolphins.
Despite the success of the team, consistent attendance has been hard to come by; this a result of the Florida heat, persistent shuffling of players by upper management and lack of a compatible ballpark. Now that the team plays in a world class contemporary ballpark designed by owner Jeffrey Loria, the hope is that fans will turn out in droves. With the populations and tourists of both Miami and Ft. Lauderdale (30 minutes away), there's no reason to think they won't be one of MLB's top drawers.
The mechanical dolphin structure in the Marlins outfield — Photo courtesy of Dan Lundberg
The new park is something to witness. The stadium bucks the recent trend of channeling retro ballpark design and instead uses local cultural elements to aid with decor and aesthetics. The backstop of the park features a working tropical fish aquarium built with bulletproof glass. In the outfield, a giant mechanical dolphin structure activates anytime a Marlin hits a home run. Some elements appear corny, but the uniqueness and eye popping nature of the architecture make it worth visiting. A retractable roof was also installed to help during the summer months when, in the past fans would choose to stay home rather than bear the heat. Now, with the climate controlled nature of the park this issue should be a non issue.
All aspects of the new park trump the old, except for parking. Marlins Park features four garages and six lots which have been known to sell out. Reserving a space before the day of the game is recommended. If you plan to visit the park to watch your favorite team play the Marlins, you will be happy to hear that the stadium switches up its menu options to appease the visiting fans. One example of this is lobster rolls being served when the Red Sox are in town.
Billy the Marlin outside Marlins Park — Photo courtesy of Dan Lundberg
The aforementioned owner made a big splash when constructing his current roster. He spent big money to acquire players like Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to compliment young star Giancarlo Stanton. The team looks to have all the elements to compete and should be fun to watch for years to come.