Pro Player Stadium in NLCS mode
By Sarah Talalay
Posted October 10 2003
A week after painting division series logos on the field, the Pro Player Stadium grounds crew was back at work this week replacing them with National League Championship Series logos and freshening up that Marlins 10th Anniversary Season one behind home plate.
They've put up the red, white and blue bunting and readied the grounds and stadium for the Marlins' improbable run in the postseason and more sellout crowds of 65,000 fans for tonight, Saturday and Sunday's NLCS Games 3, 4, and 5. And they're setting up tents for postgame activities, should there be a chance to celebrate.
Thousands of NLCS T-shirts and caps with the Marlins and Chicago Cubs logos, as well as a variety of Marlins and Cubs specific merchandise, have been arriving since Monday and are being stocked at 28 retail locations inside and outside the stadium.
The Marlins are preparing for the influx of media representatives that could reach about 400, securing club seats in right field as an auxiliary press area, but the stadium will still be able to accommodate approximately 65,400 fans.
Stadium officials want fans to arrive early to avoid heavy traffic and to bring extra cash, as parking has been increased a dollat to $10 for this round. Parking gates 2 and 5 will open four hours before the first pitch, with the other gates opening three hours prior. Valet parking for suite holders will open three hours before game time at Gates C and G. Stadium gates open two hours before game time.
"The main thing we're trying to push is for fans to arrive early," said Eric Knowles, the stadium's senior director of guest services. "Arrive early, arrive early, arrive early."
Bring patience for security checks at stadium gates, but leave these at home: backpacks; purses more than 81/2 by 11 inches in size; bats; umbrellas; glass bottles; and coolers.
"We will be in heightened alert. We want everyone to be aware of that," Knowles said. "We're not trying to inconvenience anyone."
Knowles also wants to remind fans to enjoy themselves safely.
"We had fans [last weekend] who were a little overzealous and things were being thrown on the field," Knowles said. "That's not the way for people to celebrate. We don't want anyone to get hurt, whether it's a plastic bottles or anything, we don't want fans or players on the field getting hurt. It's not the way to celebrate ... We want to show the world we're a great city."
Tonight, R&B recording artist Ginuwine is scheduled to sing the National Anthem; Hall of Famer and Marlins Special Assistant the President Tony Perez will throw out the first pitch, and the U.S. Army will perform the Color Guard.
On Saturday, international recording artist Carlos Ponce is scheduled to sing the National Anthem; 4-Star General James T. Hill of the U.S. Southern Command, will throw the first pitch; the U.S. Air Force stationed at Homestead Reserve Air Force will perform the Color Guard.
For Sunday afternoon's game, Grammy Award Winner Jose Feliciano will sing the National Anthem; tennis star Venus Williams will throw the first pitch
; the Metro-Dade Police Honor Guard will perform the Color Guard, and opera star Jorge Antonio Pita will sing God Bless America.
Fans will receive white Marlins rally towels at tonight's and Sunday's games. No giveaway is scheduled for Saturday.
Sarah Talalay can be reached at [email protected]