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Marlins cut ribbon on beautiful new ballpark

Marlins cut ribbon on beautiful new ballpark

Marlins cut ribbon on beautiful new ballpark
MIAMI -- Let the games begin.

Hours before the Marlins and Cardinals took the field for Opening Night at Marlins Park, owner Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson, along with representatives from the Miami-Dade County and City of Miami Commissioners, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the West Plaza of the new stadium.

Baseball officially has come to Little Havana.

"It's our hope that April 4th will mark a rebirth to this great neighborhood and its surrounding areas," Loria said. "We want to open this park on this day in celebration of Miami, our home."

Located on the site of the historic Orange Bowl, Marlins Park is described "as an abstraction of water merging with land," symbolic of city's coastal landscape. The retractable-roof ballpark has a capacity of 37,442 and offers unobstructed views of Miami's skyline.

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"I just looked at the view of the city from the outfield wall from upstairs," Loria said. "Who can deny that Miami is the place to be? Nobody."

During the ceremony, Loria expressed his gratitude to the dignitaries in attendance, the club's partners, the surrounding community and his club's front office for their hard work. He thanked Samson for his leadership and vision.

"Everyone should feel at home here," Loria said. "This is a place to celebrate baseball, art and the union of our great diversity. At Marlins Park, we're going to see families, neighbors, friends, visitors, and they will enjoy this great stadium that connects the past to the future."

Fans attending Opening Night at Marlins Park will receive a commemorative lanyard presented by Miccosukee Resort & Gaming and Pepsi, a Tic Tac Pack that will be used by the fans in a special pregame ceremony and a commemorative Opening Night Marlins Playbill. A special edition of the Marlins Magazine will also be available.

Presented by Grammy Award-winning producer Emilio Estefan, pregame ceremonies for Opening Night at Marlins Park will include a video and on-field tribute to Miami, lineup presentations for both clubs and the debut of the new Marlins theme song, "Marlins Tonight."

The festivities will also feature Jose Feliciano performing the national anthem, fireworks and a flyover with four F-16s from Homestead Air Reserve Base. There will also be a pregame and postgame party on the West Plaza with live music.

"With this ballpark, the landscape of Miami will never be the same," said Marlins director of business communications Carolina Perrina de Diego. "This will be here for generations to come and we are very proud of that. We are very proud to call this home. We hope that the fans leave today with the same sense of pride that we have and knowing that this facility is theirs. This is the Marlins' home and they will always have this."

The first pitch for Opening Night is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. Gates will open at 4 p.m., and on-site parking garages will open an hour earlier. For parking and transportation information, visit www.marlins.com/parking. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats no later than 6:15 p.m. for the pregame ceremonies.

"This will be a place where young people will grow to love baseball, learn the value of teamwork and hard work," Loria said.

Marlins Park is now open for baseball.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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