It's time for fantasy to become reality. It's time for Derek Jeter to finally do right by Miami Marlins fans. It's time for the team to play in a ballpark that's named for something that truly represents Florida.
It's time for Publix Park to be a thing.
Yes, that's right: Publix needs to outbid the competition, secure a naming-rights deal with the Marlins, and do whatever it takes to ensure the team plays in Publix Park next season.
Since the Marlins moved into their new ballpark in 2012, they've been looking to cash in on naming rights. It hasn't happened yet, but you can be sure Jeter and his cost-cutting billionaire friends aren't about to leave any money on the table. They'll be collecting every dollar available, and at the moment, naming rights to the ballpark are a yet-to-be cashed ticket.
Every April Fools' Day, South Floridians fall for a fake announcement of Publix branching out and opening standalone Pub Sub stores. At Publix Park,
Recently asked by Jeter if he had any ideas about whose name should be plastered on the billion-dollar concrete building where grown men play baseball in Little Havana, Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel did the Lord's work, hitting Mr. New York with the obvious South Florida fan favorite.
Derek Jeter said he plans to pursue a naming-rights deal for Marlins Park. "Have any suggestions?" he asked. "A lot of people like @Publix," I said.— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) November 15, 2017
Publix, founded in Winter Haven in 1930, has locations in a handful of states, but Florida is unquestionably the supermarket chain's home. There are more locations in Florida than all other states combined. Specifically, in South Florida, you can't drive more than a few minutes without passing one. Publix is as Florida as oranges and palm trees, which makes it the perfect fit when it comes to a naming-rights deal for the Marlins.
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Publix Park just sounds right, doesn't it? It rolls off the tongue as if it were meant to be. Publix is one of the top five grocery stores in the United States, so you know the supermarket giant can afford what is likely to be a naming-rights price tag that would probably cost around $5 million per season.
Hell, we've been overpaying for fruits and vegetables at Publix anyway (seriously, Publix, do you think we hadn't noticed?), so why not pay some of that back and give the people what they want? It's time for Publix to take the next step from locally celebrated gem to nationally known household name.
If the Marlins are truly on the come-up as Jeter says, Publix would be doing itself a favor by locking in a good price on naming rights now. For the Marlins, teaming up with Publix would make some of their fans happy for a couple of minutes, which would basically equal the amount of time they've spent being happy over the past decade.
Publix, meet Marlins. Marlins, meet Publix. Work it out. Make Publix Park happen.