Former Marlins love new ballpark

Phillies batting helmets inside the visiting dugout at Marlins Park. // Photo by Christina De Nicola

Phillies batting helmets inside the visiting dugout at Marlins Park. // Photo by Christina De Nicola

MIAMI — This weekend, the Phillies visited Marlins Park for the first time since it opened in early April.

Though the results weren’t ever in their favor, two former Marlins currently on Philadelphia’s roster had only nice things to say about the new park located in the Little Havana neighborhood.

Right-hander Brian Sanches, who spent the past three seasons as a member of Florida’s bullpen and went 10-5 with a 2.92 ERA, said the difference between Marlins Park and Sun Life Stadium is night-and-day.

“Obviously, compared to the old park there’s no comparison, but it’s beautiful,” Sanches said. “It looks like they did everything the right way. The last three years in that old stadium there was nobody, especially for a 4 or 1 o’clock game.”

The two teams drew an average of 30,428 fans per game — two of which started in the afternoon — during the weekend series.

“It seems like it was a decent crowd, and I’m sure they want to sell out every night with the new park and team, but it seemed pretty loud to me,” Sanches said. “I know it’s a big difference from the last three years.”

Juan Pierre, a member of the 2003 World Series championship team who played three seasons with the organization, is happy for the city and its fans.

“You get two World Series in that amount of time for an expansion team and the whole thing was when we were at the old stadium was the rain and the heat,” Pierre said. “That was just bad for the fans, and now you can accommodate the fans and have your own park. It’s not with the [NFL’s Miami] Dolphins or [University of Miami] Hurricanes. It’s the Marlins.

“I think it was a long time coming. I didn’t really think it was going to come as soon, but they made it happen and it’s going to be good for a lot of years to come.”

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