Fish Play “Let's Make a Deal”

Marlins concede to pols' demands with stadium vote coming

The Marlins are playing "Let's Make a Deal" as Miami city commissioners are set to vote on the plan for the new $630 million dollar ballpark today at City Hall.

The MLB franchise has agreed to last minute contract changes in the hopes of securing its new retractable-roof 37,000-seat mega-park, a deal that has seen a considerable amount of roadblocks and a few red flags.

The changes, added to the contract yesterday, include guarantees for more money to the city and county should the team change ownership after the stadium is built, as well as $500,000 in yearly donations to local charities.

The changes were added as local politicians continue to express doubts about the team's intentions in securing the new park. Many fear that the new stadium may be a ruse by Marlins ownership to sell the team at a profit once the mostly publicly-funded park is built.

Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, whose list of demands have delayed the votes until now, still hasn't made up his mind.

"I always listen, though," Sarnoff told the Miami Herald. "I still haven't seen the team's books."

Sarnoff is concerned with the deal's "death clause" which says that if team owner Jeffrey Loria dies within seven years of stadium construction and leaves the team to an heir, who sells it, the city and county would lose their share of profits. 

Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones wants at least 50 percent of the new stadium workforce to be local union members and wants the team to build community baseball fields for kids.

The team has agreed to build the baseball fields and hire 25 percent locally.

Spence-Jones told the Herald that she's "encouraged," but added: "Hopefully, we can resolve the remaining issues and concerns over the next 24 hours. But unless they're resolved, I'm still sitting on the fence."

County Commissioner Sally Heyman wants the county's construction costs cut from $297 million to $206 million, with the Marlins paying the difference. She also wants MLB to sign a nonrelocation guaranteeing that the team stays 35 years.

Team president David Samson and Loria have said they have no intention of selling the ball club.

If the vote is passed by the city, it would move to the County Commission where it could be approved on Monday.

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