Thursday, November 08, 2007

Da end of Da U at Da OB

This Saturday will be the last Miami Hurricanes game ever played the Orange Bowl. The Canes are moving to more comfortable digs at Dolphin Stadium. For years there has been a small but very vocal minority of Miami fans that have scoffed at the idea of imploding the venerable OB. And the ranks of such nostalgia junkies were filled with people like the City of Miami's mayor, Manny Diaz and the cantankerous former city manager, Joe Arriola with whom I corresponded with about the matter on several occasions. You see I am also a baseball fan and I would like to see a new ballpark for the Florida Marlins in the City of Miami. One of the hurdles was obtaining public funds when an enormous sum was being proposed to "renovate" the crumbling Orange Bowl. I sent Arriola the following note:

Dear Mr. Arriola,

Despite the fact that you called me "stupid" and "a loser" I'm back for more abuse. I read the article on NBC6's web site about the possible demolition of the Orange Bowl. I would humbly suggest that building a new football stadium for a small private college to play its home games is a less worthwhile proposition than building a ballpark that will have a smaller footprint, will fill more dates for the venue and is for a team that would represents the whole south Florida area in general and the City of Miami in particular. I may be jousting at windmills because I know the Hurricanes and their precious stadium are sacred cows and the University of Miami has a lot of political [leverage] for private a institution but I will join any campaign to ensure that public funds are not spent on the Hurricanes ahead of building a new ballpark for the Marlins.


Henry L. Gomez
Well, it turns out that after being forced to resign under public pressure because he's such a dumbass and a hothead, that Mr. Arriola was the real loser. In the end the Hurricanes decided they could make more money in a much newer stadium which was just renovated.

On the current state of the Orange Bowl, the associated Press' Tim Reynolds says this:
The Orange Bowl's best days were decades ago. More than a few seats are falling apart. The scoreboard is as modern as bellbottoms. It's not uncommon to see something fall off the structure during games. Some visitors make the sign of the cross as they enter the elevators. There's drips from the ceilings, rust on all corners, puddles in the concourses and evidence of decay almost everywhere...

In one meeting filled with powerful Miami officials, Mayor Jack Orr stood against saving the Orange Bowl.

"Decent place to play football," Orr said, "but the Orange Bowl is antiquated."
The significance of that statement?

Orr said those words Nov. 19, 1973.
The proof of the little support for the Canes staying in the Orange Bowl is the low attendance to their games, despite the fact that this is the farewell season.

Last Saturday against NC State, the Canes drew a paltry 34,621 fans to the OB. This week, being the last game and considering all the media attention that has gotten I expect much more. We'll see. It wouldn't surprise me to see a crowd of 50,000, or 25,000 less than capacity to see the Canes take on Virgina.

There is a piece of Gator history that belongs to the Orange Bowl, the infamous Gator Flop back in 1971 when the Gators actually laid down on the field to let Miami score a touchdown in game the Gators were winning in a rout so that John Reaves could set a passing record in the last minutes of the last game of his career.

The OB will be leveled after it hosts the season ender for FIU, who is playing its home games there this season as a new on campus stadium for the Golden Panthers is finished.

And Joe Arriola, I told you so, you prick.


Anonymous said...

I love the Gator flop!

Trader Rick said...

Gator Flop not exactly the high point of our ethical journey thru this quadrant--but it was funny as hell!

Gator Boys said...

The Gator Flop sucked. It was like cheating. I dont believe that was a legit record and it was very unethical.

I dont understand: The swamp is old and it seems like it could last 100 more years. What happened to the OB?

Henry Gomez said...

Miami didn't have to score. They could have kneeled down.

The Swamp is a concrete structure. The OB is a steel structure in an extremely humid climate.