Venue News: New Marlins Stadium Open for Batting Practice

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez stepped into the makeshift batter’s box, cocked his bat, then peppered a dozen balls all around the dirt field, as eager construction workers scurried to retrieve them. For the first time, the Florida Marlins did not need to use their imagination to visualize baseball being played at their new stadium, on target to open March 1, 2012. Zone out all of the noise, all of the distractions of a construction site, and what was left was a vision that Marlins executives had only fantasized about before Tuesday: Ramirez, Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton and other players crushing balls in their future ballpark, on the hallowed ground where the Orange Bowl once stood. Never did batting practice feel so special…

…An Ohio mayor says that, because of noise issues, he can’t support a plan to turn an old minor-league baseball stadium into an auto racetrack. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman says in a statement that the track developer needs to pay more attention to noise concerns raised by people living near what is now Cooper Stadium. A spokesman for the mayor tells the Columbus Dispatch that Coleman wants to support the project but wants to see developer Arshot Investment Corp. “do a little more”…

…After cleaning up the confetti from Super Bowl XLV, Cowboys Stadium will switch to a dirt floor for Iron Cowboy II. The Professional Bull Riders event Saturday night in Arlington, TX, will be a one-night test of rider endurance and whether Brazilian riders can continue their domination. Six different Brazilians have won all six PBR events so far this season. Instead of the usual PBR format, based on overall points during two to three days of competition, 24 riders will go one-on-one in a bracketed, single-elimination tournament at Cowboys Stadium, where the inaugural Iron Cowboys drew attendance of 46,500…

Declaring that a new downtown football stadium could be “transformative,” Los Angeles First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner this week defended the makeup of a mayoral panel tasked with examining the proposal despite some members’ personal and professional links to the developer, Anschutz Entertainment Group. “Just because we know people in the community doesn’t mean we’re not going to do this right,” said Beutner, co-chairman of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s blue-ribbon panel, after the commission’s inaugural meeting at City Hall…

…Confirming what has been reported out of Dallas for weeks, BYU will play defending Rose Bowl champion TCU at Cowboys Stadium on Oct. 28 — a neutral-site matchup similar to the Cougars’ 2009 game with Oklahoma. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2, with kickoff slated for 6 p.m. ET. It is one of three Friday-night games that BYU will play on ESPN this year. The others are a traditional in-state Friday game with Utah State and a game with Central Florida.