Marlins to host Yankees in new park exhibitions
Games slated for start of April, before first season in new home
NEW YORK -- The Marlins announced Tuesday afternoon that they will play host to the New York Yankees at the New Marlins Ballpark for two exhibition games, April 1-2, 2012.
Currently 76 percent complete, according to the Marlins, the ballpark remains on time and scheduled to open next year.
In mid-June, Marlins executive vice president of ballpark development Claude Delorme said the target date for finishing the project remains March 2012.
At the time, he was hopeful that the Marlins could finish by late February and host soft events before Opening Day.
John Buck sees the exhibition games as a great way for the players and stadium personnel to work out the kinks -- somewhat of a trial run -- before Opening Day.
"I think that'll be good because it'll be different reading balls off," Buck said. "We did renovations in Kansas City [and] they had to change a couple things in the backdrop, so I'm sure they'll get feedback."
The games against the Yankees will take place on Sunday, April 1 at 1:10 p.m. ET, and Monday, April 2 at 7:10 p.m.
With a retractable roof, Sunday afternoon games will no longer be subject to the Miami weather.
"It's going to be awesome, especially for me," said Buck, who plays the physically demanding position of catcher. "I think it'll definitely save us a little in the long run."
Approximately 25,000 tickets will be available for the April 1 game, and around 30,000 tickets for April 2.
Already, 32,000 of the 36,000 seats have been installed inside the stadium. Counting 1,000 for standing room, capacity will be 37,000 at the new ballpark.
When the Yankees visited Sun Life Stadium in 2009 for a three-game regular-season series, they drew a total of 117,281 fans.
All 2012 full season and partial plan holders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to these exhibition games. A limited amount of tickets will also go on sale to the general public in the spring.
Marlins interim manager Jack McKeon thought the decision of playing the Yankees was a "great selection" based on the number of New York transplants who live in South Florida.
"I think it'll be great. I think it'll be a perfect time to bring the Yankees in for an exhibition game, because they always seem to draw well," McKeon said. "You get the people of Florida, the Miami area, the opportunity to see a new stadium and a Major League game before the season."
Christina De Nicola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.