MIAMI — In design, the Marlins’ new retractable-roof ballpark is flashy and modern. But the area in which it is located — the old Orange Bowl grounds — has long been a symbol of great sporting events in South Florida.
On Wednesday morning, the Marlins and Miami officials united the past with the present during a street-naming ceremony at the site of the new ballpark.
“This is an important day,” City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado told the gathering. “It’s the first step of the opening of the Marlins stadium in Little Havana.”
Marlins and Miami officials hold up the four street signs that will surround the new Marlins park. (Kelly Gavin/Florida Marlins)
Shortly after the mayor talked, officials unveiled the four street names that will surround the 37,000-seat stadium — Marlins Way, Orange Bowl Way, Felo Ramirez Drive and Bobby Maduro Drive.
The stadium’s street address is: Marlins New Ballpark, 501 Marlins Way, Miami, Fla., 33125.
Wednesday was another step in the rebranding of the franchise. On Nov. 11, the club will officially change to the Miami Marlins, and the team will reveal its new logo and uniforms.
Marlins president David Samson said discussions regarding the street names began about a year ago.
“We talked about how the east-end street should be an homage to the Orange Bowl,” Samson said, because it overlooks where the Orange Bowl once was.
The main entrance of the ballpark will be on the side of the West Plaza, and that street will now be known as Marlins Way, which runs along N.W. 16th Ave.
Orange Bowl Way merges in with N.W. 14th Ave.
Felo Ramirez Dr. is part of N.W. 6th St., and Bobby Maduro Dr. runs along N.W. 4th St.
“We sat down over a year ago and thought, ‘How do we honor where we are, where we’re going and where we’ve been?'” Samson said. “The Orange Bowl, we can’t hide from where we are. These streets are historic, hallowed grounds. It was natural to have Orange Bowl Way on the east side of the building.”
City of Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo noted that history is not being forgotten at the new ballpark.
“We’re recognizing the past, the present and the future,” Carollo said. “When you say, ‘Orange Bowl,’ that is a symbolism for the history. We will never forget the history of the Orange Bowl.”
Paying tribute to Ramirez and Maduro recognizes the importance of Miami’s Latin influence on baseball.
Rafael “Felo” Ramirez has been the spanish “Voice of the Marlins” since the team’s inaugural season in 1993. Born in Cuba, Ramirez was the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award in 2001, gaining him recognition in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Prior to joining the Marlins, Ramirez spent more than 35 years as a broadcaster in Puerto Rico.
To many in South Florida, Ramirez is the voice of baseball. In his legendary career, he has covered Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit and Hank Aaron’s 715th home run.
“It’s not easy to express all the emotions I’m feeling,” Ramirez said in Spanish to the audience. “I’m fully blessed that God has given me the voice and life to be part of this.”
Roberto “Bobby” Maduro, who passed away in 1986, was a Cuban native who played a huge role in popularizing baseball in Miami’s Latin community. He was an amateur player, an owner of several clubs, a stadium builder, general manager, agent, scout, youth baseball organization and a diplomat of the sport.
Members of Maduro’s family attended Wednesday’s event.
Decades ago, there was a Miami Marlins Minor League affiliate. They played at Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium.