Cards' Berkman Slams Marlins Park

Marlins Park not "cozy" or nostalgic enough for the St. Louis outfielder

By David Hill
|  Thursday, Apr 5, 2012  |  Updated 2:19 PM EDT
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The St. Louis Cardinals are not finished spoiling the opening of the Miami Marlins' new stadium. Fresh after a 4-1 Opening Night win over the Marlins, a few members of the Cardinals expressed their displeasure with Marlins Park to ESPN.

The main issue the Cardinals have with Marlins Park is that it is not retro and old fashioned, in other words, not like every other baseball stadium that has opened in the past 20 years. St. Louis 1B Lance gave the most substantial critique to ESPN.

"I just feel like, if it were up to me -- and it's not; nobody asked me, and I don't know why anybody would care about my opinion -- but if I was building a stadium, I'd try to build it as close to like an older, cozier park," Berkamn said Wednesday night.

"I think one of the things about baseball that people gravitate towards is nostalgia," he continued. "I mean, that's why people love Wrigley Field and they love Fenway Park, because you can kind of step back in time."

Indeed, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria sought to do just the opposite of that. He did not want to create yet another clone of Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Berkman understands that ("And I think what they've tried to do here is step forward in time"), but he does not think "baseball fans embrace that kind of change."

He could be right, but Miami is not exactly the right market for selling nostalgia. Unlike Baltimore or St. Louis, Miami does not have a long baseball history, nor does it have an older industrial core for a stadium to blend into.

"People like to walk into the ballpark and remember," Berkman concluded. "That's why they like all the old stadiums. That's part of baseball tradition."

His teammate Matt Holliday was a bit more charitable. Though he said "I think I'd have chosen different colors," for the stadium, he did like the music that was blasting out of the Clevelander's outfield bar. "I've got music going all night to kind of cheer me up after I've gone up there and struck out," Holliday laughed. "So I thought that was good. ... It keeps me from having to listen to knuckleheads in the upper deck."

But criticizing Marlins Park for not playing up baseball's nostalgia (just like all the other stadiums in MLB), as Berkman did, misses the point entirely. Marlins fans may just have to get used to that critique though, as being a little different does not usually go unnoticed by critics. 

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