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Stadium 15: Our Visit to loanDepot park

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The drive to loanDepot park in Miami took us through the Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. We kept a close eye out for alligators. Brad saw one in the water, but I missed it. The only one I did see was tame enough to pet!

Our Impressions of loanDepot Park

We had heard mixed reviews about loanDepot park. We actually thought it was a nice field. It has a retractable roof and has natural grass, which we prefer. The roof was closed, making it a very comfortable temperature to watch the game. The view of the Miami skyline through the windows at the end of the stadium was lovely, and the park is easy to navigate.

The baseball community in Miami was different than others we met in one interesting way. There seemed to be more fans routing for the visitors than the home team! We attributed that to the number of seasonal residents in the area.

We enjoyed some great conversations with a group of retired players and coaches who were sitting near us. They invited us to return to Florida to watch the Miami Hurricanes play. Brad and Ryan were thrilled with that idea! They also pledged to connect us with colleagues in other teams for the remainder of our tour. We were grateful for the offer, but also recognize the short timeline we are on! Several of the pictures I have included below were from one of the coaches in the group.

Our Seats: One of our discoveries on this trip is that we really like 200 level seats along the baseline in the front row. The seats feel close to the action, but being a bit higher up makes it easier to watch the plays. At loanDepot park, we were in the first row of Section 219 in seats 14, 15, and 16.

Another advantage to having the 200 level seats is that we had access to more of the stadium. The 100 level seats are limited to the 100 level, and the food lines on the 200 level are significantly shorter. On the other hand, there are fewer options on the 200 level, so you’re not missing much except the view!

The Food: We opted for the Cubano sandwich again. This time, we bought the 36 inch Cubano Gigante and divided it in four pieces. I only made it through half of my quarter! It was very tasty, but we decided we preferred the Cubanos from Tropicana to the ones at loanDepot.

Non-Alcoholic Beer Review: loanDepot park is also a Bud Zero stadium.

The Game Recap: 3 Home Runs for Housing!

The game between the Astros and the Marlins was tight through the top of the 8th. The Marlins held the Astros to just one run but had a slim 1 run lead going into the bottom of the 8th. It wasn’t looking good for our fundraising efforts. None of the runs were home runs.

At the bottom of the 8th, the Marlins delivered three consecutive Home Runs for Housing! Marlins outfielder Jose Soler hit the first one with an impressive 110 mile per hour hit over the left field wall. Second baseman Luis Arraez stepped up to the plate and hit a second home run over the right field wall. Then, first baseman Josh Bell hit a third consecutive home run down the center, giving the Marlins a 5 to 1 lead over the Astros!

The Marlins beat the Astros 5 to 1.

Up Next:

After the game, we drove back to Ocala, Florida, arriving at about 3:00 a.m. Fortunately, we were familiar with the campground, and the management put us in the same site. We got up early to continue on to Atlanta to see the next stadium on our Baseball Fan Grand Slam!