Reporting Jim Berry
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If you’ve been to the new Marlins Park and were lucky enough to see a home run, you’ve seen it in action. If you’ve watched a game on TV, you probably saw it take off and wondered, “What IS that thing?” Maybe you can come up with a better name than the Marlins.
Miami’s hometown baseball team calls it “The Home Run Feature.”
Others have their own name, like slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who didn’t quite know what to call it
“The Thing. The structure, Yeah,” he said.
The “Feature” springs into life every time a Marlin hits a home run at the park.
“We have a key and its secure as possible,” said Luis Dones, Miami Marlins Sculpture Operator, “so I don’t mess up! I don’t want to be that silly guy that’s on ESPN and activates it on accident.”
Dones is the Marlin employee who pushes the button to get the lights flashing, and the waves splashing, all in a time frame mandated by major league baseball.
“MLB rule is..once the next batter is in the box, you can not have that thing light up or move anymore, so we estimated we have like 30 seconds,” Dones said. “It seems to be doing fairly well.”
Cyril Silverman’s company built the three million dollar sculpture that pop artist Red Grooms first sketched on a napkin.
“The Marlin begins to rotate,” Silverman, C.E.O. of Uni-Systems said. The artificial waves are oscillating, the water cannon just fired. Next thing you know, its raining home runs. Hallelujah!”
After half a season of looking at it, Marlins players are now cool on the hot feature.
“I don’t really look at it,” said Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison. “I forget its there. My favorite part is that we’re scoring runs”
But Marlins fans..are a lot more outspoken.
“The truth? I love the Marlins, but its ugly…so ugly,” said one fan who likes the runs but not the show.
Others see it as part of what makes Miami, well, Miami.
“It’s definitely Florida…I really like it.”