Pro Player Stadium
My Baseball Dream
by Ray Bergman

Game 7 - Marlins vs Mets at Joe Robbie Stadium

August 8, 1996

Before arriving in Miami and visiting with my parents, my twenty five year old son Marc and I stopped along the way at New Orleans,Tallahassee and Pensacola, Florida. In New Orleans we stopped at Bourbon Street, much to the enjoyment of Marc, and me also, I might add. We also populated Pat O'Brien's watering hole and paid a visit to Preservation Hall. We have completed just over 3000 miles at this point of the Dream. Louisiana is a beautiful state with lots of greenery and miles of smooth highways. We just pulled into Tallahassee and I can still hear the sweet sounds of jazz from Preservation Hall soothing my ear drums. Next, we went on to Pensacola, Florida to visit some friends and to view the Naval Air Museum. Both experiences were well worth while. The topography was similar in Florida to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama with lots of greenery around the interstates. The weather was quite a bit less humid, very bearable, in the high eighties. It was a lot better than what we experenced in the Southwest, Texas and New Orleans.

It's August 7th and we have arrived at my parents' home in Lake Worth, Florida. First things first, we helped Mom do the laundry and took the rental car to the angency for a checkup. I will stay here at my parents' home for three days talking about the old days back in New York growing up, and reminding my Dad how great it was to visit the New York ballparks with him as a small child. My Dad took me to my first baseball game and we saw Bob Feller pitch a no-hitter. At the time, all I wanted to know was where were the Indians' tee-pees. My Dad is going to have a problem rooting for the Marlins (his Florida team now), or the Mets (his favorite team before leaving New York). Who knows, maybe this will be a tie game, the first in the history of baseball, and my Dad will go home happy, knowing that neither team lost.

Miami is the one of the newest National League franchises, entering the league in 1993 along with the Colorado Rockies. These two teams brought the National League to its present size of 14 teams and in line with the 14 teams that the American League had since 1977. This expansion also caused a realignment in both league and the formation of three divisions in each league.

Being a N.Y. Giants fan, I spent much time at the Polo Grounds. There was no other major league out field like it. The left and right field foul lines ended at short porches for balls hit down the lines. Center field was made for Willie (that is Mays if you didn't know). The "say hey kid" could roam and cover any inept left and right fielders that the Giants had and the center field wall was about 483 feet from home plate. You could count on one hand the number of balls hit into the center field bleachers. I remember Dee Fondy of the Chicago Cubs hitting a ball to the deepest part of center field and it bouncing up the clubhouse steps.

I miss the old places like New York's Polo Grounds, Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, Pittsburgh's Forbes Field, Cincinnati's Crosley Field, and St.Louis' Sportsman's Park.

Time for Game 7, so let's go with my parent's out to the BALLPARK.

The two starting pitcher's were Pete Harnish for the Mets and Kevin Brown for the Marlins and both were sensational in this game. They both had shutouts through seven innings. In the Mets half of the eighth with one out, Brown walked the next batter and then gave up a two run homer to Bernard (innocent until proven) Guilkey, followed immediately by a back- to- back blast by Todd Hundley. Brown was yanked as it is now 3-0 Mets. My Dad was torn, his right side was rooting for the Mets and his left for the Marlins. He was wearing his Mets cap and his Marlins Wrist bands and was still hoping for a tie. Powell relieved Brown. Meanwhile Harnisch pitched a scoreless eigth and the Mets stopper John Franco finished it off with a scoreless ninth. Final score Mets 3, Marlins 0. So much for a tie!

Notes:

  • The Stadium was immaculately clean and very accessible from the Florida Turnpike.
  • The Stadium is a two level ballpark with two levels of skyboxes.
  • I didn't care for the color scheme of the seats, orange and teal green. Those seats would be better at the circus or a gambling casino.
  • The game was played in two hours and twenty seven minutes with a paid crowd of 21,627.
  • Light rain fell several times during the game and the temperature was in the high eighties.
  • The victory went to Harnisch and the loss to Brown.
Next up is the Braves and the Rockies at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta on the 11th. Until then, keep swinging and dreaming, you just might hit one out.

To Game Eight
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© 1996 by Ray Bergman. Reproduction of all or any part of "My Baseball Dream" without the written permission of Ray Bergman is prohibited.

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