Impressions of cavernous Marlins Park
MIAMI -- Some early first impressions from baseball's opening night:
Marlins Park plays big.
Big, as in a ponderosa.
Big, as in the desert of Australia.
A Pacific Ocean kind of big.
Giancarlo Stanton mashed about a quarter-mile's worth of fly balls Wednesday. Leading off the second inning, Stanton clubbed a drive that drove St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay back to some 400 feet from home plate.
But really, it wasn't close to being a home run in this canyon. Jay caught the ball some 20 feet in front of the sizable center field fence. In his second at-bat, Stanton lifted a popup that seemed to rocket to the upper-deck level and beyond, before tumbling down; he had just missed again, it appeared.
In his third at-bat Stanton crushed another drive to center, where Jay backed up to catch the ball -- but really, it was the ballpark that swallowed Stanton's effort.
Marlins Park plays like a canyon; it appears to be Petco Park east, an acute pitcher's park. Three hundred and eighty-six feet to the left-center field gap, 392 feet to right-center field, 418 feet to straight away center field, with high walls in center. The Cardinals' Kyle Lohse flirted with a no-hitter, holding the Marlins hitless for six innings, and when he was asked after the game how he liked the park, a small smile flickered over his face that could be properly translated this way: Are you kidding me?
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