Mar­lins Park out as In­ter Mi­ami’s home for 2020

It’s not an ‘ideal fit’ with base­ball, MLS sea­sons over­lap­ping

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Michelle Kauf­man Mi­ami Her­ald

It looks like In­ter Mi­ami will be forced to turn to Plan C for a tem­po­rary home in 2020, as nei­ther Mar­lins Park nor Hard Rock Sta­dium may be fea­si­ble.

The Mar­lins don’t feel their fa­cil­ity works for David Beck­ham’s Ma­jor League Soc­cer team be­cause the base­ball sea­son over­laps with MLS, which plays March through Oc­to­ber. Hard Rock Sta­dium of­fi­cials de­clined com­ment, but word is they also have se­ri­ous reser­va­tions about hous­ing In­ter Mi­ami be­cause of spring con­flicts with the Mi­ami Open and fall con­flicts with the Dol­phins and Univer­sity of Mi­ami Hur­ri­canes.

“We’ve had some con­ver­sa­tions with MLS Mi­ami and Jorge Mas and his team,” said Mar­lins Di­rec­tor of Op­er­a­tions Chip Bow­ers. “Very pos­i­tive. Been very dili­gent. Both sides, to each party’s credit, has been re­ally fo­cused on mak­ing sure this is the right op­er­a­tional fit. I think the re­al­ity is, we’ve both re­al­ized, it prob­a­bly isn’t.”

In­ter Mi­ami co-owner Jorge Mas said: “Frankly, we have a pre­ferred site. We’re go­ing to be mak­ing an an­nounce­ment on that late Fe­bru­ary, early March, which I think will be great for our fans, for our team and our spon­sors. We don’t feel at this time that Mar­lins Park is the ideal fit for us.”

There is a chance In­ter Mi­ami will play a few games at Hard Rock, but it is un­likely it will be the of­fi­cial tem­po­rary home. Team man­age­ment has had dis­cus­sions with FIU about Ric­cardo Silva Sta­dium, which housed Mi­ami FC, but a source with knowl­edge of those talks said it is not an ideal site be­cause of the ar­ti­fi­cial turf. Mas hinted that there is an­other so­lu­tion in the works, but wouldn’t of­fer any de­tails.

Bow­ers said the con­cur­rent MLS and MLB sea­sons was a ma­jor con­cern.

“I think there’s some chal­lenges hav­ing a 17-, 18-game soc­cer sched­ule si­mul­ta­ne­ous to a base­ball sched­ule that falls on the ex­act same cal­en­dar,” he said. “The field would re­ally take a beat­ing. There’s a lot of op­er­a­tional is­sues that go along with it that would make it re­ally David Beck­ham's own­er­ship group con­tin­ues to search for a sta­dium space for MLS ex­pan­sion team In­ter Mi­ami.

dif­fi­cult for us to re­al­ize.”

The only base­ball sta­dium used for MLS is Yan­kee Sta­dium, which for four years has been the home of New York City FC while the club seeks a per­ma­nent sta­dium site. The Yan­kees are in­vestors in the soc­cer team, so they have in­cen­tive to make the deal work; but the sight lines are not ideal and the con­ver­sion from base­ball to soc­cer and back is an ex­pen­sive, three-day process.

“There’s only one other fa­cil­ity that has done it, and that’s Yan­kee Sta­dium with New York FC. The dif­fer­ence there is there’s an eq­uity piece with the Yan­kees and that par­tic­u­lar team,” Bow­ers said. “There’s a mil­lion-dol­lar-a-game com­mit­ment by the team to the Yan­kees to over­come some of those op­er­a­tional chal­lenges, none of which we think is re­ally in the cards here given the con­ver­sa­tions we’ve had with MLS Mi­ami.”

Mas said he is “very ex­cited” about his team’s pro­posal

to de­velop the pub­licly-owned Lock­hart Sta­dium grounds in Fort Laud­erdale as a state-of-the-art train­ing site that would dou­ble as a youth de­vel­op­ment acad­emy. “We’re go­ing to build a new sta­dium there,” he said. “It’s not a re­fur­bish­ment of Lock­hart. It will be a new sta­dium for a (sec­ond-tier) USL team and a soc­cer-cen­tric acad­emy. We’ll be able to host tour­na­ments and other games there.”

An­other Mi­ami-based soc­cer group, OnSide En­ter­tain­ment, is also in­ter­ested in the site, and has a plan that in­cludes ren­o­vat­ing the sta­dium and cre­at­ing a sports en­ter­tain­ment com­plex. The city is ac­cept­ing bids for the next few weeks be­fore mak­ing its de­ci­sion. OnSide, led by John P. Rey­nal, pre­sented an in­ter­na­tional friendly last Jan­uary be­tween South Amer­i­can teams River Plate and In­de­pen­di­ente Santa Fe at Cen­tral Broward Re­gional Sta­dium.

Blues edge Preds for 5th straight win

Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 19th goal of the sea­son, rookie Jor­dan Bin­ning­ton made 28 saves and the Blues beat the Preda­tors 3-2 on Satur­day in St. Louis, ex­tend­ing their sea­son-best win­ning streak to five games.

Vince Dunn and Macken­zie MacEach­ern also scored for the Blues, who have gone 11-4-1 in their last 16 and oc­cupy the sec­ond wild-card spot in the Western Con­fer­ence.

Bin­ning­ton has started all five games dur­ing the streak and im­proved to 9-1-1 in his NHL ca­reer.

Pekka Rinne stopped 30 of 33 shots for Preda­tors, who had won five of six. The teams meet again Sun­day.

■ Rookie Carter Hart made 30 saves for his eighth straight vic­tory, Sean Cou­turier had a goal and two as­sists and the Fly­ers scored four times in the first to rout the vis­it­ing Ducks 6-2. It was the Fly­ers’ ninth win in their last 10, and the Ducks’ seventh straight loss . ... Ryan Pu­lock scored his sec­ond goal of the game 2:23 into OT to lift the host Is­landers over the Avalanche. The Is­landers moved to 8-1-2 in their last 11, while the Avs lost their sixth straight . ... The Cana­di­ens ac­quired F Dale Weise and D Chris­tian Folin from the Fly­ers for D David Sch­lemko and F By­ron Froese.



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