The long, sad history of the empty ballpark in Homestead, Florida

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In the early 90s, the city of Homestead, Florida built a ballpark designed to attract a major league team looking to relocate its spring training facilities. Then, 20 years ago this week, Hurricane Andrew all but blew Homestead off the map.  The ballpark was rebuilt, but no team ever came to fill it and since then it has been a source of misplaced pride, false hope, fights, litigation and everything else you can imagine.

The Miami Herald has a long, in-depth story about the La Ley Sports Complex its history and its battles.  It’s fascinating stuff that puts one in mind of all of the bad sports stadium plans you’ve heard about over the years mixed with a healthy dose of Springfield’s Monorail.

Derek Jeter wants to get rid of the Marlins’ home run sculpture

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Derek Jeter, part-owner of the Marlins, met with Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez on Tuesday afternoon at Marlins Park, Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald reports. They discussed potentially removing the home run sculpture from the ballpark, something that has been on Jeter’s to-do list since he took over.

Gimenez said of the sculpture, “I just don’t think they’re all that crazy about it. I’m not a fan. We’re looking at it. … We’ll see if anything can be done.”

According to Hanks, the sculpture is public property because it was purchased as part of the Art in Public Places program, which requires art to be installed for the public in county-owned buildings. Michael Spring, the cultural chief for Miami-Dade who was present with Jeter and Gimenez on Tuesday, had previously said that the sculpture was “not moveable” and was “permanently installed” because it was designed “specifically” for Marlins Park. On Tuesday, Spring said, “Anything is possible. But it is pretty complicated. And I wanted the mayor and the Marlins to understand how complicated it really was. We got a good look at it today, and they saw how big it was. There’s hydraulics, there’s plumbing, there’s electricity.”

With Jeter having traded Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon this offseason, the home run sculpture is arguably one of the last remaining interesting things about the Marlins in 2018. Naturally, he wants to get rid of it.