While there are great rates on fares to the Miami area this time of year, it’s not a place most people want to visit in the summer, unless, of course, they have relatives or good friends to visit or a simcha to attend.
Next year, however, baseball fans will have good reason to hit Miami. The Marlins, who have been playing in an open stadium that doubles for football and that offers late afternoon rain and a hot sun with very little protection from both, will have a new home.
The Marlins will be moving south, away from Hollywood to the site that formerly housed the Orange Bowl near downtown Miami. It will add more driving time to south Florida’s large Jewish population, but it will be worth it.
The stadium’s retractable roof will shield fans from sun, rain and oppressive heat. The ballpark will accommodate a cozy 37,000, and an operable wall in left field will provide spectacular views of downtown Miami. Colorful walking areas under the stands will allow baseball pedestrians to view many works of art.
A large aquarium behind and on each side of home plate will remind spectators of Florida’s attractions. The big (51 feet high by 101 feet wide) high-definition scoreboard will keep fans informed and entertained.
Recent photo of the new Marlins ballpark
under construction in downtown Miami
Part art gallery and part shopping center, the ballpark will feature a very special room for us. According to Marlins vice chairman Joel Mael, the highest-ranking Orthodox Jew ever in baseball, there will be a room for davening.
“Our new ballpark will have the first dedicated minyan room,” Joel says. “We plan to have a regular weekday minyan for Minchah and Maariv.”
Kosher food will also be available. So plan on taking advantage of those summer fares to Florida in 2012.
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You’ll be hearing a lot about Paul Goldschmidt. Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth round of the 2009 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft, Goldschmidt was signed and sent to the low Pioneer League to play first base for the rest of that season. In 287 at bats, Goldschmidt batted .334 with 18 home runs. Promoted to Visalia in the California League in 2010, Goldschmidt tore up the league (.314, 35 home runs and 108 RBI).
This year, Goldschmidt was promoted again to Arizona’s double-A affiliate, Mobile in the Southern League. Goldschmidt, a 6-3, 245-pound right-handed batter, became the first minor leaguer at any level to hit 20 home runs. He was on pace to hit over .300, over 40 homers, and over 100 RBI.
However, the Diamondbacks feel he may not need any more time in the minors. He’s that good. Now, I know what you’re thinking: a big right-handed hitting first baseman who can hit for average and power. Just like Hank Greenberg. You may be right over the course of time. However, there’s one difference. Greenberg was Jewish, Goldschmidt is not.
So adopt him if you will as a future star player – but not as a Jewish star player. Shel Wallman’s Jewish Sports Review is a good way to follow Jewish athletes on all levels. But, you should know that JSR identifies athletes as Jewish as long as they have one Jewish parent from either side.
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The Red Sox started the season by losing their first six games. After 12 games they were 2 and 10. Some of you sent me e-mails asking if I still thought the BoSox would represent the American League in the World Series. I stuck with Boston then and am doing so even more now.
As I mentioned a few months ago, Detroit can beat the Yankees or any other American League team except Boston in the postseason. And when the dust settles in the National league, the Phillies will be standing on top.
Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and earned a World Series ring while working for a major league team. To read his illustrated autobiography on how an Orthodox Jew made it to the baseball field, send a check payable for $19.95 to Irwin Cohen. Mail to 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Michigan 48237. Cohen, the president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at firstname.lastname@example.org.