243 and counting

The Marlins on Monday will open against the Nationals, but the franchise already is looking ahead to 2012. That’s when they will move into their new ballpark, a retractable-roof, 37,000-seat facility at the Orange Bowl grounds.

Team president David Samson already has done the math. For those keeping track of such things, the Marlins have 243 regular season games at Dolphin Stadium left.

“That’s three years of 81, plus playoff games,” Samson said. “The countdown has begun. Everyone is prepared for it. We’re onto the next step and we’re preparing to break ground in July.”

Samson calls Opening Day “my favorite day of the year.” He treats it like a holiday. This year is extra special because it’s his 10th opener in management.

“There is nothing like the sense of hope and promise, and we have that,” Samson said. “I fully expect our team to compete and be there at the end. The thought of doing what we did in ’03 is very exciting to me.”

— Joe Frisaro

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