MIAMI -- On Sunday, the Phillies will play their final game in the garish orange and teal football stadium that the Florida Marlins have called home since their inception in 1993.
Over the years, it has been known as Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Stadium, Landshark Stadium, Dolphin Stadium and by its current name, Sun Life Stadium.
The Marlins will move into a new, baseball-only stadium in the Little Havana section of Miami in April. The ballpark, located on the site of the old Orange Bowl, will have a retractable roof, eliminating those pesky pop-up rain delays. The new park does not have a name yet. (It will have a corporate sponsor.) That could be announced in the fall. The Marlins will unveil new uniforms and a new name the Miami Marlins on Nov. 11.
Over the years, the Marlins had some memorable moments in the ballpark. It was home of two World Series-winning teams, 1997 and 2003.
The Phillies have also had some memorable times in the home of Marlins. None was bigger than Roy Halladays perfect game on May 29, 2010. Coincidentally, Halladay will start Sundays game against Marlins righthander Anibal Sanchez.
Halladays perfect game wasnt the Phillies only memorable moment at the Marlins stadium.
Mickey Morandini once threatened to knock out the organ player if he didnt stop playing the theme to the Mickey Mouse Club when he batted.
Lenny Dykstra looked like a man who was in no shape to play a ballgame nor had any interest in doing so on Sunday afternoon May 8, 1994. Predictably, Dykstra led off the game by taking a called third strike. He beefed with umpire Angel Hernandez, was quickly ejected and spent the rest of the day chilling in the air-conditioned clubhouse.
Bobby Munoz two-hit the Marlins in an hour and 54 minutes on July 27, 1994. (The guys must have been in a hurry to get to South Beach.)
Curt Schilling struck out his 300th batter in his final start of the 1998 season in the ballpark, becoming just the fifth pitcher in big-league history to have back-to-back 300-strikeout seasons. Hurricane Georges forced two postponements that weekend. Phillies players busied themselves by playing paintball in the stadium one night.
Terry Francona managed his final Phillies game in the ballpark then went on to win two World Series in Boston.
On the final day of the 2002 season, the Phils went to extra innings as they were bidding to finish with a winning record. The Marlins scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th. First baseman Travis Lee made the catch in foul territory down the leftfield line, allowing the winning run to score. Lee could have let the ball drop into foul territory and prolonged the game and the Phillies chance of winning it, but his forgettable three-season stint with the team was coming to an end. He made the catch and barely broke stride as he hailed a cab out of Miami and out of a Phillies uniform. The Phils finished 80-81.
For a while, the Marlins were a real thorn in the Phillies side. The Phils lost 14 straight games in the stadium from April 3, 2003 to July 29, 2004.
The Phillies, an improving team in 2006, were eliminated from wild-card contention on the final weekend of that season in the ballpark. Their playoff drought grew to 13 years with the elimination. Sitting in the dugout the day after the elimination, general manager Pat Gillick tap-danced around questions about manager Charlie Manuels future. Gillick stuck with Manuel and the Phillies havent missed the playoffs since.
Manuel has plenty of memories of the ballpark, some painful. He was Clevelands hitting coach when the Indians lost the World Series to the Marlins in 1997.
But I like coming here, Manuel said. What I dont like are those Sunday afternoon games. Not only is it hot, but you run into that South Beach problem.
Yes, players have always liked Saturday nights on South Beach and sometimes it shows on Sunday afternoons.
The Phils played their first game at the stadium on May 17, 1993. They won, 10-3. Ben Rivera got the win and John Kruk had five hits. The Phils all-time record in the park entering Saturday night: 74-76.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com