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    Mudville: November 29, 2021 4:38 pm PDT
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    LoanDepot Park

    “There is no better mirror than the face of an old friend.” ― Cuban Proverb

    I guess I could have started this week’s column quoting Will Smith’s legendary anthem to this city by the southern tip of my home state, but that would be lazy, and we just don’t do that here at BallNine. We try and stay on the cutting edge of food consumption while hopping from concrete cathedral to concrete cathedral. You never know what you might find on the dirt diamond on any given Sunday.

    It’s Saturday.

    I know, I know. You’re a pain in the ass sometimes. It’s ten minutes until Sunday, Chris will be putting this together on Sunday and honestly the Monday readers will wish it was Sunday, so I think it’s safe to say I’m right.

    It’s Saturday, seriously.

    Moving on. Let’s talk ball parks. It wasn’t long ago I was in Minnesota gushing over the digs. Caught by surprise I wasn’t ready for the beautiful ballpark and all the great food options. Plus, as you might remember- there wasn’t a bad seat in the place, and I know because I checked.

    LoanDepot park was one of those fun parks I wasn’t expecting to be as great as it was. Gone are the neon green outfield walls and giant spinning, light up, fireworks shooting flamingo and marlin metal art mountain in center right field, although they do keep it out in the parking lot for some reason.

    Replaced by a double stacked porch with more seating and some great views of the field, it was a much-needed correction to some terrible architectural decisions when the park opened. We all make mistakes and unlike most of us, they went above and beyond in correcting them.

    Are you going to correct your mistake?

    I’m going to do what I always do – ignore you and move on. We have a lot to cover this week. So much in fact we’ve decided to make this our first 2-part episode in order to fit it all in.

    It just made sense given the Yankees won’t come back here for years and the Marlins continue to send off any with a smidge of talent before having to pay them any real money. It’s the circle of life in the low-end of sports teams and I wish it was different, but alas. I guess we always need the Pirates and Diamondbacks of the world to feed the fan bases of the bigger market teams who actually spend money.

    Heck, even the Yankees new (and cheap) owner brought in a couple of stars and got their previous franchises to pay the salaries, but I digress. This is about the ballpark, and we’ve got some reporting to do. Nestled just outside Little Havana and far enough from downtown to avoid the traffic is this giant, white snail shell fortress. It’s quite ugly from the street, but as you walk inside and look around you realize they did a great job here. Great lay out, easy to navigate the place and littered with tons of unique food options which pay homage to the city it calls home. Good shit. We did learn that there are some obstructed view seats (I’m talking to you section 26) where it’s impossible to see the score board because of the overhang.

    Do they discount those seats?

    They don’t, and in all fairness ticket prices aren’t bad – even with a New York team in town. We traveled well to Yankee Stadium South-South (real fans know the Trop has always been YSS) and the place is loud, even at 70% capacity. I couldn’t imagine this place being easy to play in if the Marlins ever become competitive and have a playoff game again. The acoustics here are great. Add in the Latin music and raucousness of the fans and you could really have something special here, if they kept a couple of their home-grown talents, paid them, and put a competitive team on the field consistently, the people here would come out in droves. But you know what they say, “That’s baseball Suzyn.” And with that said I will leave you with this…

    Enjoy this two- part episode of “Behind the Dish.” We felt like we couldn’t capture the true spirit of the Miami Marlins home city and stadium in one day. There’s too much culture and too much food to leave half of it on the cutting room floor. There are a lot of things left on the table (or cardboard tray) for tomorrow, but you’ll have to wait a week to see it. Until then….

    #staytuned #stayhungry #thefoodguy

    LoanDepot Park: 501 Marlins Way, Miami FL 33125

    Rating:  Only fair to give this park the full rating after next week’s episode.

    Major League Teams: The Miami Marlins

    Minor League Teams: Jupiter Hammerheads/GCL Marlins

    Shout Out: To the people of Miami. There’s a whole bunch going on here and these amazing people never waver. They welcome everyone, embrace all the cultures and the history of the wonderful city and it’s always amazing and humbling being here. Oh, and Will, Wes and Jose for making a little guest spot this week. Those guys are awesome.

    The “Stadium Food Scale” we are using in ballparks in 2021.

    • Dumpster Fire – On the menu or in the bowl – this shit stinks.
    • School Fair – Everything is greasy, everything is fried- Limited options.
    • The “Take me Out” – Traditional food, but nothing special.
    • Fancy Pants – Sushi, Steaks and monocle wearing worthy menu options. Fancy.
    • The Babe Buffet- Everything you need and a bunch of things you didn’t. This is the end all be all of stadium food. Limitless options and so much food, even George Herman Ruth would tap out.

    Father, husband, runner, and food guy. Baseball traveler, stadium food connoisseur, and podcast fill-in. Just here for the hot dogs.

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