Marlins Set Historic Dirt Toss

Fans are invited to come distract themselves with some ceremonial shoveling action

The Marlins may be taking two steps backwards in the wins/losses column, but they are taking one giant dig forward in Little Havana.

Team President David Samson has issued a public invitation to the Marlins' groundbreaking ceremony, held at the site of the former Orange Bowl on July 18 at 10 a.m. "We encourage all fans to come to the site," Samson said. "They will witness history."

"There will be dirt dug."

You don't say! Admittedly, it feels weird to get excited about the Marlins' new house while the old one is more like a crime scene with chalk outlines on the mound.  And we had high hopes of the team's New Ballpark Webcam on NW 7th Street becoming more like "The Door," a sports phenomenon only the internet could love. But you can't always get what you want (unless it's a retractable-roof stadium -- and even then, you must wait 15 years).

Fortunately for the Marlins, construction shouldn't take that long.  In the weeks before the ceremonial big dig, the site will lie dormant while Miami-Dade works some bonds (we picture a pawn shop), and then construction will begin in earnest for a 2012 opening.  If it's all on time, the stadium should be good for about 7 years before being declared obsolete and the whole process can begin again. (Just kidding! This isn't football.)

Speaking of old and new. The Marlins first have to get through tonight's game against the Giants, where 117-year-old Randy Johnson is searching for win no. 301 against Sean West, who'd actually like his first one, thank you very much. He was 2 years old when Johnson debuted in 1988.

If he doesn't win, at least we can distract the youngster -- and ourselves -- with a fancy shovel in a month or so.

"Oooh, shiny!"

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