Marlins closing off upper deck for six games next week

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Barry Jackson, columnist at the Miami Herald, has the story:

The Marlins, whose attendance ranks last in the National League five weeks into the season, have decided to close the upper bowl at Marlins Park for at least some weeknight games – an approach the team used at times at Sun Life Stadium.

The upper bowl will be closed for six dates in the team’s nine-game homestand that begins next Tuesday. Fans can sit only in the lower bowl for games May 14-16 against Cincinnati and May 20-22 against Philadelphia. The upper bowl will remain open for May 17-19 games against Arizona.

The Marlins will make a decision before each homestand from here on out about whether the upper deck sections are going to be accessible.

Marlins representative P.J. Loyello told the Miami Herald that closing the upper bowl will “give an overall better fan experience.” But, as Jackson points out, it also means fewer shifts for some stadium employees.

The Marlins averaged 18,772 fans per game in their final year at Sun Life. They’re doing 18,865 per game in their second season at Marlins Park — a building that will wind up costing Miami taxpayers over $1 billion.

Padres reportedly interested in J.T. Realmuto

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LAS VEGAS — Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Padres have “genuine interest” in Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.

The Mets have been the most frequently mentioned suitor for Realmuto’s services, but over the weekend a report emerged that that their talks with Miami had lost some momentum, so perhaps that creates an opening for some other teams. For their part, the Padres have a loaded farm system which may interest the Marlins a great deal, even if they’ve publicly said they want major league talent for their best player. San Diego’s interest in Realmuto is obviously, of course. He’s probably the best catcher in the game at the moment. If, as some suspect, the Padres are poised to turn the corner into competitiveness in 2019, Realmuto could play a key role in that.

Realmuto, who will be 28 on Opening Day, hit .277/.340/.484 with 21 homers last year, which earned him both All-Star and Silver Slugger honors. He’s also one of the best defensive catchers in the game. It’d take a haul of talent to get him, but he is easily the most appealing position player on the trading block this offseason.