After a season of back and forth between the team, the city, and artist Red Grooms, the fate of the Marlins’ dinger machine has officially arrived. According to the Miami Herald, it will officially be leaving the park as soon as it can be dismantled and be moved to a new “art walk” planned outside the stadium.
OUTSIDE! Can you imagine. What disrespect. The sculpture will still go off when a player hits a home run, just out of view of the thousands of people (being generous with that figure, since there’s no dinger machine to draw crowds anymore) at the game each night. It will also apparently go off at 3:05 pm each day as a nod to Miami’s original area code.
This ends a months-long fight led by Derek Jeter to remove the sculpture. Because he hates fun and also wants to put a standing-room-only section there to make more money. Which, sure, attendance is overflowing as-is, so there’s a definite need for more ticketing options. (The Marlins drew 811,104 fans in 2018 — the lowest mark for any team since the Expos existed.)
Because the sculpture was part of Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places project, where any structure that is built with taxpayer money must have art in it, Jeter couldn’t just snap his fingers and have it gone. Another complication involved the artist threatening to disavow the piece should it be removed, which would drastically lower its value. The team has seemingly defused the weight of the artist’s threats by not only keeping the sculpture on team property, but offering to pay the city a $2.5 million fee should an artist disavowal come to pass.
However, Miami mayor Carlos Gimenez was on Jeter’s side in this whole thing, once calling it an “eyesore,” so that helped Jeets get his way. There is one more piece of bad news, too. Marlins president of business operations Chip Bowers says of the timing to put the dinger machine back together outside after it’s removed, “I think we’d be hard-pressed to get it there by Opening Day.”
Tragic all around. This is a huge blow for the Marlins having at least one redeemable quality. They better get Víctor Víctor Mesa after this.
We’ve known about this since just about the minute Jeter and the new ownership group took over, and back then Grant Brisbee said, “Derek Jeter will have a lot to answer for if this goes through.” Now he does. He has so much to answer for. Trading Giancarlo Stanton for nothing was one thing, but this is the worst thing he’s ever done to faithful Marlins fans.