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Mark Townsend

Marlins and construction crew play in unfinished ballpark

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Owner Jeffrey Loria, team president David Samson and several Florida Marlins players gave the hard-working construction crew an afternoon of food, firsts and a little fun on Tuesday afternoon at the 37,000-seat ballpark they're building for the team.

Among the activities that were held at the new place in Miami's Little Havana:

• Super sophomore Mike Stanton(notes) (above) and teammates helped serve a special lunch to the construction crew. Pulled pork and sweet plantains were among the items available, according to the Palm Beach Post's Joe Capozzi.

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• The installation of the first seat, which included a neat twist. It will be the only red seat in the entire stadium. The other 36,999 will all be blue and Samson explained how that unique idea came about.

From MLB.com:

"I got an e-mail from a season-ticket holder that he read an article on MLB.com that we were doing the seat installations," Samson said. "He said, 'I have an idea. You have all blue seats. Why not install a seat of a different color so that everyone will know that it was the first seat installed?' I immediately called Jeffrey and said, 'We need to do this,' and he agreed. Then I found out we could order one red seat, and that's what we did."

The red seat is located in section 19, row H, seat 12, though it wasn't explained why that specific seat was selected.

• Though there's no mound, much less grass or outfield walls, star shortstop Hanley Ramirez(notes) led his teammates in taking their first hacks at the new park:

• Construction workers traded in their hammers for leather, shagging fly balls and dodging line drives during the Marlins unofficial BP session.

As the ballpark moves toward its opening in 2012, it all made for an unusual, though enjoyable, afternoon for all of those involved. Though it's easy to poke fun at the Marlins for some of their unique ideas or blame the brass for the way they misled the public when financing the place, it was nice to see the everyday workers take a turn in the spotlight and get rewarded for their expertise.

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