Sun Life Stadium is a football stadium being used for baseball in Miami Gardens, Florida, a city north of Miami. It is the home stadium of the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League, and the Miami Hurricanes football team of the University of Miami. Sun Life Stadium also hosts the Orange Bowl, an annual college football bowl game.
Originally named Joe Robbie Stadium, it has also been known as Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium. It has been the home to the Florida Marlins since 1993.
In 1990, Wayne Huizenga purchased 50% of then-Joe Robbie Stadium and became the point man in the drive to bring Major League Baseball (MLB) to South Florida. That effort was rewarded in July 1991, when the Miami area was awarded an MLB expansion franchise. The new team was named the Florida Marlins, and placed in the National League.
On January 24, 1994, Huizenga acquired the remaining 50% of the stadium to give him 100% ownership. Since 1991, several million dollars have been spent to upgrade and renovate the stadium.
The first Marlins game played at then-Joe Robbie Stadium was on April 5, 1993, a 6–3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fans enjoy some cocktails before the baseball game between the New York Mets and Florida Marlins on May 13, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
New York Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana (57) warms up in the makeshift bullpen against the Florida Marlins on May 13, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejía catches a baseball from a fans before the Florida Marlins on May 13, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
The side of seats on the field level with the Marlins logo. Previously known as Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium.
(Photo: Gordon Donovan)
The bright orange empty seats of Sun Life Stadium which has been home of the Florida Marlins since 1993. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
No lines for the bathrooms during baseball season. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
Attendance was announced at 16,229, but it looked to be half of that amount with more Met fans in attendance than Marlin fans. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
In April 2006, the stadium unveiled the two largest hi-definition video boards in professional sports and a new fascia LED ribbon-board, the largest in the world, but these have since been surpassed in size. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
Walking through the passageways during the game I did not see any people or open concessions. Parts of the stadium are closed for baseball. Some guards and personnel mention that the crowds are quite rowdy during football season, especially when the Jets and Dolphins play. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
Sun Life Stadium and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross deemed it too expensive to fix the out-of-town scoreboards in left field. So you will have to use your wireless device to keep up with other action in the big leagues. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
In passage ways around the stadium are visual timelines on the history of Miami teams like the Dolphins and University of Miami Hurricanes that played at the Orange Bowl and the current stadium. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
One of the food courts on the first base side of the stadium complete with a kids area and fan zone. The area is as sterile and lifeless as it looks. I imagine this area is filled with energy and excitement during the football season.
(Photo: Gordon Donovan)
Major League Baseball's first all-male dance team, the Marlins Manatees, entertains the crowd between innings. If you can't dance, like to eat and dress up in bizarre outfits at times, auditions are held early spring. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
The new ballpark will have a retractable roof, a natural grass playing field and 37,000 seats, including approximately 3,000 club seats and 60 private suites. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
Many seats on the field level have had the back part of the seats replaced with blue backings. Many seats are damaged and rusting away from the rainy and humid climate in southern Florida. Sun Life's seating capacity is 38,560 for baseball. The upper level is closed for baseball.(Photo: Gordon Donovan)
The New York Mets infielder Fernando Tatis and coach Razor Shines go through some drills during batting practice before the Mets and Florida Marlins game at Sun Life Stadium on May 15, 2010. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
Ballpark Roadtrip: Sun Life Stadium
(Photo: Gordon Donovan)
A vendor, who did not want to be identified, sells peanuts across the empty aisles at Sun Life Stadium. The seats are small and cramped - thank goodness the stadium was empty for baseball. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
Billy the Marlin gets some help from some youngsters leading the crowd in a rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez displays his pitching form as the Mets' Jason Bay takes his lead from first base as Gaby Sanchez covers first base. Tickets in the front row near the visitors dugout cost $95.00. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
A view looking at the visitors dugout at Sun Life Stadium as grounds crew prepare the field. The new Marlins ballpark is being built on the Orange Bowl site in the Little Havana section of Miami. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
It is suggested that you eat before or after the game. The food at the ballpark is not great, although a vendor suggested the boar's head honey mustard chicken sandwich which wasn't bad for $11.00. I had a hot dog, which I threw out, and the popcorn was cold and salty. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
The Marlin Mermaids attempt to motivate the small crowd before the start of the Mets and Marlins game. The Mermaids are available for your next party or corporate event with photograph sessions, autograph sessions, and/or dance performances. It's baseball and they are cheerleaders in a football town.(Photo: Gordon Donovan)
(Photo: Gordon Donovan)
Ballpark: D - It's a football stadium. You can get around parts of the stadium because they are blocked off. Seats are falling apart and you can't walk around. No working out of town scoreboard.
Fans & Atmosphere: D - They are already talking football; it's a Dolphins and Hurricanes town, not a baseball town. Talking to one fan, all he was concerned about was the Dolphins.
Food: D - Nothing worth eating except the boars head sandwiches for $11.00 dollars! They wouldn't allow me to bring in a large bottle of water.
Mascot: B - Billy the Marlin. A big fish walking arounds tossing t-shirts in an empty stadium. Fans adore, or the fan adores.
Staff: C - Helpful security staff despite all restrictions. Would not allow me to bring my camera in but changed mind after a nice chat. Some nice concession vendors. Was asked if I was a Jets fan? They hate Jets fans.
Team Tradition: D - Get youngsters, build teams, win World Series, sell players, play in crappy stadiums, change stadium names.
Location: C - 16 miles northwest of downtown Miami, Florida. Don't get lost, Miami Gardens has some scary areas.
Photos taken May 14-15 2010 using a Canon EOS 50D Digital SLR with a EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Standard Zoom Lens, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens.