Miami (2012)

On April 19, 2012, Chicago sports fans took over Miami for Cubs vs. Marlins and Bulls vs. Heat, but fans were sent packing with two loses.

The Windy City Critic, Danny “The Fanny” Schultz and Matty “B” Brice embarked on a trip to Miami expecting to see a sleek new ballpark and a good basketball game. We weren’t disappointed.

The doubleheader started with a 5:30 AM flight out of O’Hare International Airport destined for sunny Miami. We landed in Miami at 9:30 AM. With three hours before game one we took a cab to our hotel and had a lengthy brunch. During the day, we spent over $150 on cabs.

We got to the game in time for the national anthem. Since it was a new stadium and there was nearly 10,000 Cubs fans, I thought Marlins Park would be close to full. It was wrong to think that, the announced attendance was 23,168. Marlins Park holds over 35,000.

The game had an exciting start with eight runs in the first three innings in favor of the Marlins 5-3. The rest of the game was a yawner, only two players reached base the last six innings.

The stadium itself is amazing, it is sleek and stylish just like Miami. In left field there is a pool in The Clevelander, which is like a club with booty dancers and women in body paint. Marlins Park even has fish tanks right behind home plate. There is also a bobble head museum and gym where fans can workout.

The windows in left field give a great view of the Miami skyline but the horrendous home run celebration sign hurts the view. Marlins Park was built on the site of the Orange Bowl as a memorial the team created a park outside the stadium with the giant letters from the Orange Bowl awkwardly cemented in the ground.

The game ended, the Cubs lost, we went searching for cabs. As we looked for about 30 minutes, I see a familiar face stumble out of a dive bar outside the stadium. Billy “The Kid” O’Mara, a fellow Cub South sider, was going to met with us later but the Cubs and lack of cabs created this coincidence. We chatted for a bit, bitching about the cabs and Cubs, then we parted ways. Billy “The Kid” was never seen again, at least for the rest of the trip.

We were half in the bag and sleep deprived. So we grabbed a case beer and headed back to the hotel. After a short break, we listened to some hip-hop, pounded some beers and hit the road for game two Bulls/Heat.

After talking to a lot of Chicago fans at the Marlins game, we knew there would be a strong Bulls fan base at the Heat game. Before we walked in the stadium, I told the other guys that we shouldn’t talk too much trash. When I got to our seats and saw our section was 90 percent Bulls fans, I thought let the trash talking begin.

The game was intense and competitive until the end. After yelling incoherent obscenities for three quarters, the Bulls gave way to the Heat and I had to eat my tongue. The best taunts of the night “Wade, your kids live in Chicago,” and “we have a higher murder rate than you.” We were over-served.

The Heat stadium is nothing special. It might be nicer than I remember, game two is a bit blurry.

Although the Cubs and Bulls lost, it was a great time.