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Thread: Sun Life S / Land Shark S / Dolphin S / Dolphins S / Pro Player S / Joe Robbie S

  1. #1

    Sun Life S / Land Shark S / Dolphin S / Dolphins S / Pro Player S / Joe Robbie S

    I've noticed one of the great things about this board is being able to post up pictures of old or current ballparks. As such, I have something of a "request", as I haven't been able to find anything by myself.

    Prior to 1993 when the Florida Marlins begun play, Joe Robbie Stadium (now Dolphin Stadium) hosted several pre-season exhibition games. I clearly remember two back in 1991 when Miami was in the running for an expansion team. It was the Orioles against the Yankees, and I clearly remember watching the game on TV back when I lived in Maryland. They actually had a capacity crowd of 65,000 or so for one of the games. I believe by that time they had made the stadium so that the left field stands retracted and the park had the normal dimensions it has today.

    However, I believe as far back as 1988 there were some exhibition games played at Joe Robbie, and for a while the left field stands didn't retract, setting up a L.A. Coliseum like situation.

    Now that I live in South Florida, I've been to Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphins Stadium multiple times for Marlins games. I'm curious, however, as to its set-up and color scheme for the exhibition games back in the late 1980s and early 1990s prior to the Marlins coming to town. So far I haven't found any pictures out there of it during this time. I was wondering per chance if anyone had access to any such pictures.

  2. #2
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    I checked Corbis and I couldn't find anything... Looks like there isn't much out there for these games.

  3. #3
    Oh well. Unfortunately the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun Sentinel don't have pictures in their archives; otherwise they would likely have some.

    Apparantly, before they added the retractable seats in left field, it was a cozy 272 feet down the line.

  4. #4
    I was able to make some scans of some old newspapers photos from the 1988 and 1991 exhibition games. I'll post them as soon as I can convert them to a postable format.

    Anyone know how to convert a .tiff file to a .jpg file?
    Last edited by PeteU; 10-10-2007 at 06:56 AM.

  5. #5
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    My scans of the Sunday day game on March 31, 1991 will be up on the Personal Picture Thread later today.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sflnyc View Post
    My scans of the Sunday day game on March 31, 1991 will be up on the Personal Picture Thread later today.

    That would be terrific! I've been looking for those pictures forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteU View Post
    I was able to make some scans of some old newspapers photos from the 1988 and 1991 exhibition games. I'll post them as soon as I can convert them to a postable format.

    Anyone know how to convert a .tiff file to a .jpg file?
    Try opening the pictures with Microsoft Picture Manager. Then click "Export" from the File drop down box and then those the file type on the column that will appear on the right hand of the screen.

    That's what I had to do to make all my pictures fit with the parameters of the website. All the scanned photos were like 2-5 MB and I had to shrink them.

    Hope that helps.

  8. #8
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    Joe Robbie Stadium (3.31.91 - Yankees vs. Orioles - Att: 57,359) Pictures 1-5 of 17

    Here we go with pictures from Easter Sunday, (March 31, 1991) at Joe Robbie Stadium and the exhibition game between the Yankees and Orioles. At first I though about placing it in the Personal Ballpark Photography Thread, but Dolphin Stadium will probably never have a thread on its own here, so I decided to place the pictures here instead. I attended both exhibition games.

    This day game drew 57,359 spectators. The Saturday night game drew 67,654, which remains a MLB Spring Training Record Crowd, and is actually, the largest baseball crowd ever at the facility (Game 6 of the 1997 World Series drew 67,498). The glorious Easter Sunday afternoon was completed by rain (what else in South Florida?) at the end of the game. Similar looking 55,000+ day game crowds (without any seat tarps ruining the visual) were also at the stadium for Opening Days in 2004 and 2005.

    I remember being excited about having “my own Veterans Stadium” in South Florida because it was huge. At the time I disliked any MLB stadium (except Royals Stadium) that seated less than 50K and NFL stadium that seated less than 70K. Was really disappointed that they were going to only have 44,000 seats with this “new thing” of covering seats up. Little did I know at the time that the trend was beginning to go to smaller stadiums nationwide and the covering up of really bad baseball seats in many places. Stadium set-up may look ugly to today’s eyes, but back then, this was the accepted norm and why cities with similar type stadium set-ups (the domes in Vancouver and New Orleans) were trying to get baseball teams also.

    When they held the 1988 Exhibition between the Dodgers and Orioles, the lower level seats had not yet been converted to retractable seats as of yet, and thus they used a LA Coliseum style net to hold in pop flies. I don’t know what the fence distances were at that game. This is sort of like during the 1980’s when Washington, D.C. was trying to get a MLB team and had a couple of Old Timer’s games at RFK. The puzzling thing is that they never bothered to remove the LF seats like was done from 1961-1971 and with the current National’s tenancy. They left the seats in place and had ridiculous short distances to left field, left center, and center field.

    Back on topic. Pictures that I took show a LF line of 335 feet and a RF line of 345 feet. I didn’t take any close up photos of center field, but it looks as though it was 410 feet. Current dimensions at Dolphin Stadium are 330 LF; 404 CF, and 345 RF.

    Also notice that there was of course no Bermuda Triangle at the stadium with the 434-foot cattycorner in 1991. That was added as a feature by the Marlins in 1993. Also, the baseball light stanchions in the respective endzones (to the left and right of each scoreboard) weren’t installed there yet. The Marlins also did some minor adjustments to the field level seating between first and third base.

    Gentleman throwing out the First Pitch was legendary University of Miami Baseball Coach Ron Fraser.
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    Last edited by sflnyc; 10-10-2007 at 10:22 AM.

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    Joe Robbie Stadium (3.31.91 - Yankees vs. Orioles - Att: 57,359) Pictures 6-10 of 17
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    Joe Robbie Stadium (3.31.91 - Yankees vs. Orioles - Att: 57,359) Pictures 11-15 of 17

    The Chicken (fka the San Diego Chicken) makes his presence felt at the game.
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    Last edited by sflnyc; 10-10-2007 at 10:06 AM.

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    Joe Robbie Stadium (3.31.91 - Yankees vs. Orioles - Att: 57,359) Pictures 16-17 of 17

    Here comes the 4:00pm rain after the completion of the game...
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  12. #12
    Those are some great pictures. I've been looking for pictures of the pre-Marlins exhibition games online for months and have found nothing.

    The changes from then to now aren't too dramatic. The stadium looks a little newer back then, with a lot of the concrete not being painted. Fences were green instead of Marlins teal. There was no out of town scoreboard for the left field wall, of course. As you pointed out, there wasn't a Bermuda Triangle in center, and the light towers in right field and along the third base line had yet to be added.

    One thing I did notice was there were no home plate box seats yet. They did have field box seats down the foul lines, although they aren't the same ones as they have now--the ones from back in 1991 cover all the areas of where the bullpens and right field picnic area are now--the bullpens were further down the line.

    I also noticed the batter eye is smaller than it is now. (Although during the 2003 World Series they opened up the right section normally covered by the batters eye to squeeze more seating in.)

    The crowds for the exhibition games both encourage me in that there does exist great potential for baseball in South Florida, but also sadden me knowing the toll years of bad ownership and the overwhelming sense of instability has had on the Marlins.

  13. #13
    Great pictures, I've always wanted to see pictures from that game. It almost looks unfinished because nothing inside is painted yet. I know when the Marlins first started playing they had the green outfield walls, and the hand operated out of town scoreboard. When did those come out?

    Was that hefty bag thing in left field in play like the out of town scoreboard is now? It looks really temporary, and very orange. I wonder why they did eventually put in the Bermuda Triangle. Those sections down the lines are interesting. I think they look better than the bullpen setup they have now, but that's just weird having a 15 foot drop behind the plate.

    I've always thought the right batters eye' section wasn't really needed, that the area directly behind the pitcher is the left side and the wall of the stands. Still, that kind of thing has been known to curse teams before (I'm thinking of the Chief Nocahoma teepee at Fulton County Stadium). I didn't notice it in 2003.

    The whole place looks a lot better now than it did then, in my opinion. The new scoreboards look great, and there's a much more cohesive baseball setup, which would be expected since it's permanent now.

    Were the club level seats different than they are now? Maybe it's just the picture but they look a lot more teal in those pictures, and they're blue now ("That's a blue seater!"). That place sure does look good full. The people in the stands in the rain delay pictures was bigger than some of the actual crowds we got this year.
    1997 2003
    Parks I've visited: 30 for 30, plus 5 closed

  14. #14
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    The stadium was totally finished (built in 1987) and nothing was out of the ordinary. They didn't decide to give the inside a multi-colored paint job until the mid 1990's.

    Most stadiums are the basic concrete color inside. Very few, if any, do paint jobs internally as with Dolphin Stadium and as it's been that way for about a decade, you've just got used to it looking multi-colored.

    Regarding the "hefty bag", you have to remember this was an exhibition Spring Training game in 1991 in an attempt to bring baseball to South Florida. There was no need to build an out of town scoreboard for a team that didn't exist and was no guarantee of being awarded. Baseball hadn't expanded since 1977 and the owner's weren't really interested in getting more teams. Plus, hefty bags or curtains were the accepted norm back in the 1970's-1980's to cover the unused football seats (Atlanta, Philadelphia, for example). The Marlins were awarded a franchise later in the year and started play in 1993. That's when they but all the baseball features in the stadium that you see now. The original Left Field scoreboard was all manually operated by the way.

    Regarding the rain, there was no rain delay. The rain came after the game and the post game festivities so the fans you see there are departing the stadium, not their sitting through a rain delay.

    Seat colors then are the same as they are no. Orange and a light Aqua. The Marlins announcers just call them "Blue Seaters" I guess in an attempt to combine the Aqua and Teal colors.

    Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

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    Nice pictures of J.R. Stadium there. I've noticed some differences since the Marlins moved in two years later: The teal "Monster" in this picture is now orange colored.

    It's great to see the ballpark in baseball configuration BEFORE the Marlins ever moved in

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by marlins739 View Post
    Great pictures, I've always wanted to see pictures from that game. It almost looks unfinished because nothing inside is painted yet. I know when the Marlins first started playing they had the green outfield walls, and the hand operated out of town scoreboard. When did those come out?

    Was that hefty bag thing in left field in play like the out of town scoreboard is now? It looks really temporary, and very orange. I wonder why they did eventually put in the Bermuda Triangle. Those sections down the lines are interesting. I think they look better than the bullpen setup they have now, but that's just weird having a 15 foot drop behind the plate.

    I've always thought the right batters eye' section wasn't really needed, that the area directly behind the pitcher is the left side and the wall of the stands. Still, that kind of thing has been known to curse teams before (I'm thinking of the Chief Nocahoma teepee at Fulton County Stadium). I didn't notice it in 2003.

    The whole place looks a lot better now than it did then, in my opinion. The new scoreboards look great, and there's a much more cohesive baseball setup, which would be expected since it's permanent now.

    Were the club level seats different than they are now? Maybe it's just the picture but they look a lot more teal in those pictures, and they're blue now ("That's a blue seater!"). That place sure does look good full. The people in the stands in the rain delay pictures was bigger than some of the actual crowds we got this year.
    (Courtesy of Charlie's ballparks.com)

    From the looks of this picture taken in the first year or two of the Marlins' existance, it looks like the fences for the Marlins were blue, albiet a more deep blueish green. The fences now are more of a solid blue. I don't know if they actually changed out the fences, or simply the color has faded a bit. You do notice the hand operated Teal Monster however. Also, the picnic area is in the outfield, whereas now it is in the right field corner just inside the foul pole.

    I agree, I like the old field box seating along the foul lines. It looks less disjointed as it does now, more natural.

    As to the color of the club level seats, sflnyc is correct as I believe they have always stayed the same color. I think what makes them look different is the contrast between the seats and the gray concrete. Since they painted all the unfinished concrete either blue or orange to match the seats (I believe before one of the Super Bowls here), there is less of a contrasting color.

    I agree with you 100% that they improved the stadium a lot for when the Marlins came in. There's no disguising it's a football stadium, and some of the improvements could just be considered lipstick on a pig, but it still beats an unlipsticked pig. The teal monster, the bermuda triangle, and a few other changes have made the stadium more of a baseball venue than it originally was.

  17. #17
    The inside paint job made the place look a lot warmer inside, I think. In those pictures it looks almost as cold as the original New Comiskey before the renovations. Here's a picture of the Dolph in the mid 90s, after they had the electronic Teal Tower in, and all the team logos on the walls, no Miccosukee ad, no 1997 banner, and they still tarped the outfield upper deck. It doesn't look like the Dolphins retired numbers are up yet either, but that spot was left unpainted, so they were probably about to go up.



    What year did they stop covering the outfield upper deck? I think it looks better without it.
    1997 2003
    Parks I've visited: 30 for 30, plus 5 closed

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlins739 View Post
    The inside paint job made the place look a lot warmer inside, I think. In those pictures it looks almost as cold as the original New Comiskey before the renovations. Here's a picture of the Dolph in the mid 90s, after they had the electronic Teal Tower in, and all the team logos on the walls, no Miccosukee ad, no 1997 banner, and they still tarped the outfield upper deck. It doesn't look like the Dolphins retired numbers are up yet either, but that spot was left unpainted, so they were probably about to go up.



    What year did they stop covering the outfield upper deck? I think it looks better without it.
    I believe that photo you have there is from the 1997 Season. That's because of the Jackie Robinson logo on the tarp in the Left Field Upper Deck. Who would have guessed that the year would end up with a World Series title?

    That picture brings back memories of the best Marlins Cap ever (Teal Cap with Black Lid) that's gone to the mothballs. Original all Teal Cap was disgusting, and current owner Loria loves the all Black Cap.

    On the tarp removal, I think those came down when John Henry was the owner, although I could be wrong. His formula was to make everybody know that Pro Player Stadium was a bad ballpark for baseball and the team needed a baseball only stadium. Therefore showing the empty seats would help his cause. Also, when the Picnic Area was in the RF corner (but behind the home run fence), the lower level seats down the RF line were never sold. That way, whenever the TV showed the pitcher on the mound from the 3rd Base point of view, you saw nothing but empty orange behind. His strategy of course, backfired.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by sflnyc View Post
    That picture brings back memories of the best Marlins Cap ever (Teal Cap with Black Lid) that's gone to the mothballs. Original all Teal Cap was disgusting, and current owner Loria loves the all Black Cap.
    The Marlins seemed to have minimized the teal over the years. Even the lettering on the uniforms was switched from teal to black.

    I miss the teal, to a reasonable degree (the all teal hats were a bit much, I'll agree. But the teal on black hats were cool.) It was different. Now the uniforms look like any other black pinstriped uniform out there.

    If they ever get the new ballpark built, I hope it has teal seating. It gives the impression of tropical water, which works well in Miami. Green or even navy blue seats wouldn't work as well for the Marlins.

  20. #20
    I hope the new park has teal seats too. And it'd be cool if they kept the same dimensions too. I don't know why they minimized the teal. It wouldn't be a bad time for a uniform change, as long as they brought more of the teal back. I liked it this year when they had the 1997 throwback vest uniforms. They only used them for one game, seems like kind of a waste of money to me.

    I always figured the Dolphins wanted the Marlins to take the tarps down to make the conversion easier. And speaking of the conversion process, how does it work? I know they do things differently during baseball season, and right after baseball ends, they put grass over the infield. Does the Marlins bullpen area stay during football season? I never really looked before, I'll check next time the 0-5 Dolphins are on. I read somewhere that it costs $40,000 to switch the field at RFK, which seems a little crazy. One thing I always wondered was what they did with the foul poles and goal posts and how they put them back up. It'd be interesting to see pictures of the Dolph during a conversion.

    It does look really bad on TV when they look at the pitcher with not a single person in the seats behind him during football season when the party deck is gone. It's not as pathetic as when they show whole crowd shots during ads though
    1997 2003
    Parks I've visited: 30 for 30, plus 5 closed

  21. #21
    I believe (and I'm trying to find some good pictures to show this) the bullpen area and seating down the right field line is kept in place for football, as is the home plate box seats. However, they take out the seats down the left field line, as naturally they have to fit the endzone into the playing field.

    As for the cost to transform it from baseball to football, I have a feeling it isn't nearly as much as it costs to transform RFK. First of all, the football seats at Dolphin Stadium simply retract into a space behind the left field wall. So pulling them out is relatively simple--its sort of like the bleachers at a high school gymnasium. Whereas at RFK, you actually have to move the entire seating section along the third base side on tracks to its final place in what is right field to center field. Plus, the D.C. United was pretty adamant about covering up the infield with sod. Whereas the infield at Dolphin Stadium stays in place (much to the Dolphin's chagrin) until the end of baseball season.

    As for the foul poles and the field goal posts, I imagine it is pretty simple where they just unscrew them (or probably more technically, unbolt them) for whenever the other team is playing and keep them in storage underneath the stadium until they are ready to go back up. They might have a mini-crane to help with the work.
    Last edited by PeteU; 10-12-2007 at 06:34 AM.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by marlins739 View Post
    I hope the new park has teal seats too. And it'd be cool if they kept the same dimensions too. I don't know why they minimized the teal. It wouldn't be a bad time for a uniform change, as long as they brought more of the teal back. I liked it this year when they had the 1997 throwback vest uniforms. They only used them for one game, seems like kind of a waste of money to me.
    If they did that, you just know they'd dull down the uniforms, probably chance the color scheme, and make them look more like those of other teams... like they did with the DBacks this year, and the DRays (I'm sorry, Rays, because apparently "devil" is a bad word, even though a Devil Ray is a type of fish...) next year. As opposed to now where you know they're definitely Marlins uniforms.

  23. #23
    As promised, a few newspaper scans from both the 1988 and 1991 exhibition series.

    The first batch are from the 1991 exhibition series with the Orioles and Yankees, all from the Sun-Sentinel. The first shot shows the empty stadium prior to the game. As you can tell from greater detail in sflnyc's pictures, this is close, but not exactly the same, as today's Dolphin Stadium's layout.

    The second shows the Orioles running off the field in front of a 67,000 plus sellout crowd. The third shows Yankees catcher Jim Leyritz trying to catch a ball at the dugout steps.
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  24. #24
    The second group is from both the Herald and the Sun-Sentinel, and shows the stadium for the 1988 exhibition between the Orioles and Dodgers. The stadium was still in its football configuration, meaning left field was 272 feet away. There was a temporary 30 foot fence in left to cut down on homeruns, and the diamond was much like an astroturf diamond, with dirt cutouts around the bases instead of full dirt basepaths. None of the field seating that exists now is present in 1988.

    The first picture is rather grainy, but you should be able to make out the layout of the stadium. The second picture shows the short distance to left with the high wall in left. The third is of Tommy Lasorda and Dolphins owner Joe Robbie.
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  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by marlins739 View Post
    I've always thought the right batters eye' section wasn't really needed, that the area directly behind the pitcher is the left side and the wall of the stands. Still, that kind of thing has been known to curse teams before (I'm thinking of the Chief Nocahoma teepee at Fulton County Stadium). I didn't notice it in 2003.

    Now that you mention it, I could have sworn during the 2003 World Series (but not the NLDS or NLCS), they actually removed that section of the batter's eye for seating. But perhaps I just imagined that.....

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