Historical Day in Miami

April 1, 2012 – My first memory of watching a live sporting event made a life-long impact on me. It was a magical day, which fueled my passion for sports more than any other single event I have witnessed in sports since.

That sporting event was a game between the Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta Falcons at the old Orange Bowl stadium in downtown Miami in 1986. I was seven years old, and even though my beloved Miami Dolphins came up short that afternoon, the experience of sitting next to my father and my grandfather and watching Dan Marino complete pass after pass through a rain storm with what seemed like an effortless release was unforgettable. Our seats were in the first row of the field level and on the 50-yard line — and in the old Orange Bowl, that location made it feel as if you were sitting on the bench with the Dolphins.

Today, I am watching the Yankees take on the Miami Marlins in the first major league game at Marlins Park, which is located where the Orange Bowl once stood.

Prior to the game, Alex Rodriguez, who grew up in Miami and is also a passionate Miami Dolphins fan, spoke about his memories of the Orange Bowl and about what today means to him.

“I grew up on these square blocks and took the bus to the Orange Bowl to watch the Miami Hurricanes and Dan Marino and the Dolphins,” Rodriguez said. “The Monday night game in which the Dolphins beat the undefeated Chicago Bears is my favorite childhood memory. The Orange Bowl was a magical place to watch football games, and having the chance to see Dan Marino play there was a big treat.

“This is a very special day,” Rodriguez continued. “I never imagined that there would be such a beautiful baseball stadium here. To be able to play in the first game in this ballpark is wonderful. My family will be at the game, and it will be emotional.”

It’s easy for me to relate to Rodriguez.

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to cover the first major league game at Marlins Park because it’s a historical day in Miami. And, as I look out at downtown Miami from my seat in the press box, the memories of being at the Orange Bowl as a kid are flooding back.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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