MIAMI -- Florida Marlins officials met Monday with Hialeah
Mayor Julio Robaina to discuss two sites for a potential ballpark.
Marlins president David Samson told reporters that the talks,
although preliminary, demonstrated the team's desire to stay in the
region. Hialeah is located northwest of downtown Miami.
"We've discovered now that our best chance, and the best chance
for baseball in South Florida, is to get a building built somewhere
and making it work," Samson said. "The important thing is keeping
the team here."
The Marlins announced in November that the commissioner's office
granted the team permission to seek relocation. That followed the
collapse of a deal to build a retractable-roof, 38,000-seat stadium
next to the Orange Bowl in downtown Miami.
The Marlins have played in Dolphins Stadium since their
inception in 1993. Their lease ends in 2007, but the team could
stay there through the 2010 season using a series of one-year
In Hialeah, Samson said the two potential sites are the Hialeah
Park horse track, which hasn't had live racing since 2001, and a
tract along Interstate 75. He said there will be feasibility and
traffic studies done to gauge the suitability of the sites, which
are privately owned.
"We promised we would explore all areas and all possible
sites," Samson said.
Samson has met with officials in Portland, Ore., and San Antonio
in recent weeks and has visits scheduled soon in two other cities
he did not identify. He also said the team will meet with officials
in Homestead, south of Miami.