However, the game brought its own drama. The Marlins blew a 4-2 lead when the Astros tied things up in the eighth. Then, in the bottom of the 11th, with a man on, Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez crushed an arching shot that hit the foot of the left-field fence, bringing in the runner for the game-winning double. The hit fell just short of a homer, denying the crowd a chance to see the sculpture go off. But enthusiastic cheers went up anyway as the home team celebrated the walk-off win on the field, the first Marlins victory in their new park. Nothing beats unscripted drama!

Fifteen minutes after the game ended, the stadium lights grew dim and smoke billowed from the tiny crimson-lit stage hastily erected in the second base area for the first Friday Night Live concert. The original crowd had thinned considerably. Those remaining, about less than a quarter, seemed eager to see Latin Grammy winner and reggaeton pioneer Daddy Yankee perform his 2004 smash hit, "Gasolina."

Daddy Yankee appeared with an entourage of about a half-dozen dancers. They were crammed onto the minuscule stage, but they were sharp in their choreographed movements. Wearing shades, he haughtily crisscrossed the stage as if he were performing to a sold-out arena rather than some leftover fans. The Marlins advertised the concert after nearly every inning on their giant HD screens. But most people didn't stick around.

The infamous home-run sculpture
Chris Joseph
The infamous home-run sculpture

Location Info

Map

Marlins Park

1380 NW 6th St.
Miami, FL 33125

Category: Retail

Region: Little Havana

Details

Friday Night Live: Marlins Park, 1380 NW Sixth St., Miami; 877-MARLINS; marlins.com; Tickets cost $13 to $95.

The stadium's acoustics are atrocious. Whatever Daddy Yankee said or sang was a garbled mess of echoes and reverb. One couple made faces as if they had just been offered a puppy sandwich.

"It sounds terrible!" the girl, Alex, shouted.

Asked if they attended any of the postgame concerts at Sun Life Stadium, the guy, Carlos, said, "It sounded much better."

They were right. This was dreadful.

Daddy Yankee was now screaming, "Lemme see de camera! Flash photo! Flash photo!" I think that's what he said. Musical taste aside, the show was abysmal because it was mostly incomprehensible. This is not a venue for live music.

But in the background, the home-run sculpture gleamed, a twisting myriad of red and purple lights swirling in the outfield shadows, which was cool because no Marlins player went yard during that night's matchup.

A Miami Marlins game is every bit as much theater as something written by Tracy Letts or Stephen Sondheim. It's not always great, but it's there. You just have to know where to look, and hope for a walk-off win in extra innings. Also, at the ballpark, you can eat a hot dog and wash it down with an ice-cold beer, which you can't really do inside a theater and which pretty much makes all other debates invalid.

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