High-tech baseball field

The Florida Marlins renovated field has everything from a retractable roof to a state-of-the-art batting box.
Written by Amy Kraft, Weekend Editor

When the Florida Marlins kicked off the 2012 Major League Baseball season April 4, fans got to experience what a $515 million renovation feels like.

The new field has everything from two 450-gallon fish tanks stocked with fish behind home plate to hurricane-proof glass windows. There are also a number of items that remind me too much of Disney World (a museum of bobblehead dolls and a swimming pool). But the Marlins did budget for some cool technology.

Here’s what the field has to offer:

Retractable roof: Come rain or shine the game will go on thanks to a roof capable of closing up in 15 minutes. But, as SP’s Mary Catherine O’Connor reported on the construction last October, the Marlins have to open a glass wall in the outfield whenever the roof is open because of the way air pressure changes inside the stadium when the roof opens. And the glass wall offers great views of the Miami skyline.

Digital signs: Every sign in the park is digital so sponsors can pay for ads in various spaces for a brief period. This could help the park take in more ad revenues. And concession stand specials can also be promoted all over the park, which might save fans an extra trip to the pretzel cart.

Batting tunnel and state-of-the-art video room: The players get a big hand with their pre-game practice. Connected to a batting tunnel where players can practice their swing is a room with four high-definition computer monitors where players can watch themselves on screen to figure out what they're doing wrong. The room is also equipped with an Astroturf batter's box placed in front of a life-size projection screen with ceiling-to-floor mirrors lining the walls on both sides so players can get a vantage point of what they're doing.

Vast improvements, to be sure. But as SP’s Tyler Falk wrote in December, one thing they might have overlooked was developing an adequate transit plan. Although the Marlins have wondrous things on the field, there's still the matter of finding a way to fill all of those seats. I guess those days of Field of Dreams are long gone.

Welcome to the 21st Century Ballpark  [Smithsonian]

Photo via Florida Marlins

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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