Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Team Incognito? Team Martin? How About Team Dolphins?

It's been a rough few weeks to be a Miami fan, as you can probably either imagine or already know. The Miami Herald's Adam Beasley just published an article where he reached out to Dolphins season ticket holders. I was one of them. My comments didn't make it into the article, so I figured I would share my responses here.

Have you heard from the Dolphins in the last couple of weeks. If so, what did they say?

I haven't heard anything specific about the Incognito-Martin situation, but the communiques have increased since then. I was sent a survey on 10/30, but didn't fill it out. My rep -- James Dean (I've never met him, but cool name) -- sent me an offer to be part of the flag ceremony at the previous home game and now sent a form to nominate veterans for the San Diego game. They had never done that before:


I think they're trying to kill us with kindness until this episode passes.

Is this the most embarrassed and discouraged you've ever been as a Dolphins fan. If so, why?

I don't know if this is more or less embarrassing than the 1-15 season, Marino's front office reversal, or Ross' Harbaugh recruiting face plant, but I don't think Miami has ever been as universally belittled by the media as it has been this time around. That stings. The irony of the franchise being bullied by the media over this is hickory thick. We have twice as many victories as the two other Florida teams combined. We have an ascending quarterback. However, we're somehow the laughingstock of the league because of something that may very well be happening in every other locker room in the league?

Do you plan on going to games the rest of the season? Why or why not?

The gray clouds have actually fortified my conviction. I was going to try and unload my tickets to the Chargers game, but now I can't imagine missing it. Whether this is a train wreck or a Phoenix is about to rise from the ashes, I don't want to miss this. This is horrible on so many different levels, but if it's the catalyst that builds character I don't want to be the one that turned my back on the team that I've been financially supporting for 26 seasons.

We are just a single game out of the final wild card slot, and there's a very real possibility that somehow this will bond the team into being something north of mediocre for the first time in ages.

Are you planning to renew your STH for 2014?

Yes, I'm renewing, though I may not be the first one to do so the way I did in 2011.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sun Life Stadium $400 Million Makeover

Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins introduced plans to give Sun Life a $400 million face lift today. If approved, the partly publicly-financed improvements will modernize the facility, providing a better fan experience along the way.

It looks great on many different levels. Sideline seats would be added, bringing those fans 18 feet closer to the action. Some of the top rows in the upper deck corners would be gone, replaced by one of four HD screens. The roof, as you can see, would provide some necessary relief against the sun and rain, without having to scrap the natural grass field.

Ross plans to pay for most of the makeover himself, though he still wants an additional $3 million in tax rebates to offset the costs and to get hotel taxes to go from 6% to 7% with the makeover financing getting the difference.

So, right away, there will be some resistance. After all, a $3 million annual rebate here means a $3 million shortfall elsewhere. Raising hotel taxes will pin the cost on tourists, even though more than 99% of the visitors to Miami-Dade don't go to a game.

The makeover is still important. One of the major gripes of Sun Life -- in its present form -- is that fans aren't much of a factor. Unlike the Orange Bowl where fans were all over the action, Sun Life seating is distant so even nearly 75,000 screaming fans can't create the loud environment that gives visiting teams the willies in some of the more intimate playing venues.

Selfishly, I have to wonder what will become of MY seats. Anyone that has seen my Tunnel Today videos here or on YouTube knows that I'm lucky enough to sit in the first five rows of Section 156 which surrounds the tunnel where the players from both teams go in and out during the game. If these renderings are correct -- and we know that they're often not -- it seems as if Sections 156 and 128 at the other end no longer have the tunnel going through the seats. There's an opening under both sections, so the tunnel may now descend beneath the seats -- or the tunnels will be places off to the sides of the endzones as it seems to be the case in the artist rendering.

We'll see. It can be brutal to be at a 1pm game early in the season when the sun is blazing. A promised upgrade to the kitchen could go a long way toward making the concessions as tasty as those found in the three other major South Florida sporting venues. There will be resistance to the funding. The Miami Marlins ruined that for the Dolphins, and it's not as if the Hurricanes, Orange Bowl game, or even concerts will go somewhere else. There is no other facility that can seat as many people in South Florida. However, as a fan -- season ticket holder since 1987 when the stadium first opened -- I welcome the chance to make the game more enjoyable for the fans and finally give the Dolphins the home-field advantage that they have largely lacked since laving the Orange Bowl.