In just over two months the new Miami Marlins will open their first season in their brand-new stadium in Little Havana, but on Thursday the focus was on the 110,000-square-foot field, which should be fully covered in a Bermuda grass called "Celebration" by Monday.
"The roof will now stay open to let the grass grow until Opening Day," Marlins President David Samson told reporters.
The grass is even shade-resistant, so it will be ready to go even if the Marlins have to close the arena's retractable roof for a few days.
The 37,000-seat stadium features several tributes to Miami's unique flair. They include multicolored tilework, a home run art installation, and fish tanks right behind home plate.
"Those are 450 gallon aquariums, and they're just exciting. The Clevelander out in left
field is the place to be on game days, and non-game days," Samson said. "Just a fun, Miami
The first piece of sod was ceremonially placed by Jose Galan, who helped oversee the ballpark's construction. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado laid the second piece. He told NBC Miami he hopes the new arena is warmly received in South Florida, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the park's construction.
"The fact of the matter is we have a stadium, and come Opening Day, hopefully, the people of Miami-Dade County and the city will be able to enjoy it," the mayor said.
The Marlins begin their season against the world champion St. Louis Cardinals on April 4.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission called for an investigation into the stadium's finances in December. The federal agency has expressed an interest in learning more about how the ballpark's estimated $515 million dollar price tag is being paid. There have been concerns that Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami could be bearing much of the bill, with the Marlins organization paying the least, while gaining the most in profits.
"I think we should have had a greater partnership with the team in terms of the
monies that are used to build this stadium," Regalado said.