Opening in 1987, Dolphins Stadium (then
called Joe Robbie Stadium) was the first stadium built primarily for
football, and later used for baseball. Miami Dolphins (NFL) owner
Joe Robbie first lobbied for a new stadium in 1984 for the Dolphins.
After a site was selected, construction began on December 1, 1985.
The first football game was played in August of 1987. Three levels
of seats enclose the entire
stadium. When the stadium was built for the Dolphins, Joe Robbie
insisted on a rectangular grandstand layout that was wider than
needed for football, believing that baseball would possibly come to
Miami. The stadium hosted 13 pre season baseball games prior to
having a team and has had several names over the years. Originally
known as Joe Robbie Stadium, it was renamed Pro Player Stadium in
1996 and renamed Dolphins Stadium in January 2005.
In 1991, Major League Baseball awarded South
Florida a baseball franchise. In order to accommodate baseball
several changes were made at Dolphins Stadium. Retractable seating
on the north side of the stadium was added, a baseball press box in
the southwest corner of the facility was constructed, dugouts were
built, and a hydraulic disappearing pitcher's mound was installed.
On April 5, 1993, the Florida Marlins played their first game at the
Dolphins Stadium is one of the most colorful
stadiums inside with a total of 75,000 orange and teal seats. The
outfield seats in the upper deck are covered with blue tarps to
lessen the effect of having empty seats during the baseball season.
Being built mainly for football, the outfield fence has many quirks
and crannies in it. An out of town scoreboard makes up the left
field fence, and two other JumboTron display screens are located in
the upper deck. On Saturday nights, fans can be entertained by Latin
music and Latin cuisine prior to the game. After Sunday home games,
the Marlins allow children to run the bases. Overall, Dolphins Stadium is a nice place to watch a ballgame except when it rains.
Because of its massive size and location, the Marlins would like to
have a new ballpark built in downtown Miami. In December 2004, Wayne
Huizenga, owner of the Miami Dolphins and the stadium announced that
the Marlins would not be able to play at the stadium after the 2010
season. Along with renaming the stadium to Dolphins Stadium in
January 2005, Huizenga announced major expansion and renovation
plans for the stadium. They include remodeling the club level, new
scoreboards, better traffic access to the stadium, and eventually a
dome or retractable roof. These renovations which will total $300
million and will be completed in three phases over the next several
years. The second and third phases can not be completed until the Marlins
move out of the stadium.