This Used To Be A Playground

 

ALLAPATHA, FL

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Each spring Major League Baseball teams travel South to prepare for the upcoming season.  Over the years Spring Training has become big business for MLB clubs. They spend millions of dollars upgrading stadiums and facilities to create a special and intimate experience for passionate baseball fans to enjoy. I had my first taste of this somewhere between 1988-1990 at a park in Allapatha known as Miami Stadium.

As a kid my first love was baseball.  I have almost no memory of my early childhood. Basically the memories I have left from my first 10 years of life are only images.  Some images I can’t put precisely where I am, and others are exceptionally clear.

Stored in my memory bank are the images of going to Spring Training games at the old Miami Stadium.  My dad would take my brother and I to see the Baltimore Orioles.  I can’t recall how often I went, nor would I be able to give you details of what the place looked like inside.  But I vividly remember Cal Ripken Jr. and his brother, Billy, were on the team and their father, Cal Sr., was the manager.

This was VERY inspiring . . . I was going to play short-stop for the Baltimore Orioles, my brother was going to play second base and my dad was going to be the Manager. As a boy growing up, this wasn’t a dream . . . this was an option!!

I can recollect the sentiment of being at a major league park. It’s almost impossible to describe, but if you have ever felt the electricity at a live sporting event then imagine that multiplied by 1000 and through the prism of a 9 year old boy.  We didn’t have the Marlins back then.  I would not attend a real regular season baseball game for at least another few years.  I remember Miami Stadium as a special place.  Now as a 35 year old realtor, I look at Miami Stadium in a different way. 

DESIGN: If you study the design, you notice the unique and distinguishing high arched cantilever-type roof over the grandstand, in contrast to the typical styles of the time which were either flat and slightly sloping, or peaked like a house.  This design enabled the ballpark to have a roof that covered most of the spectator area without any posts blocking the observer’s view.  It had majestic neon lights that proudly and boldly stamped “MIAMI” in all its glory.  At its inception is was hailed as the country’s foremost baseball facility.  

LAND:  Allapatha, for a long time, was treated as Miami’s armpit, but is now on the rise. When you look at the land and the area of which Miami Stadium was found, you wonder if a stadium presently (i.e. Marlins Park) would have developed the Allapatha area at a faster pace – perhaps it becomes Wynwood before Wynwood.
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REAL ESTATE: Allapatha home values have gone up 17% over the past year. The area has become a hot bed for real estate investors.  As the neighboring community west of Wynwood the commercial property values are reaching an all-time high as well. In 10 years you will notice a significant change and in 20 years you won’t recognize it.  

TODAY: The land of which the stadium was built on sits at the intersection of NW 27th St and NW 10th Ave. This land is now a rental community called Miami Stadium Rentals which offends me as a Miamian and as a realtor.  The name is super uncreative, sounds ridiculous and on top of that I called this community to find out they do not cooperate with realtors . . . WHATEVER!!

As a lover of all things Miami, I get disheartened that the city does not adopt a more proactive strategy to protect our history.  The continuous endeavors to save Marine Stadium and the loss of the Orange Bowl are examples of landmarks that should help all of us to remember the significance of the choices we make in the interest of our past, present and future.

If you search, you will find a couple of documentaries and books that speak about the cultural, social and political landscape of the United States in 1950s, and how Miami, baseball and this stadium played a symbolic part within the community during that time – I find it all fascinating and I urge you to learn about it . . .  but when I was 9 years old, I was just a kid watching baseball.

MIAMI STADIUM
aka Bobby Maduro Stadium 

1949 – 2001



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Posted on March 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

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