After tonight, the Orange Bowl becomes a fast fading distant memory. Following tonight's game with the 'Canes taking on 23rd ranked Virginia at 7:15, the fabled bowl will be torn down. In fact, according to the Miami Herald, some locals are already ripping the seats out for souvenirs.
How sad. The stadium's ignoble fate is symptomatic of every public arena down here. We suspect next up on the hit list will be another example of the white trash mindset of our public officials: the Miami Marine Stadium. It too was left to rot away into nothingness and memory. Whether or not it can or will be salvaged is still a mystery.
We have advocated saving both. When we wrote that the Orange Bowl would come in handy for future Olympic Games, we were laughed out of the stadium, so to speak. We saw the stadium being re-imagined as an organic structure that appeared from the street as a giant wall of bougainvilleas with red, purple, burgundy, and orange bursts of color against a leafy green background. Aluminum planters welded to the sides of the old structure and connected with an automatic watering system would create the appearance of a living, breathing monument to nature's dazzling beauty. The idea was that someday, the "Bougainvillea Bowl" would be connected to downtown via MetroRail or a dedicated monorail link. This would create an "Olympic Village" because all the venues-- American Airlines Arena, Miami Arena, downtown baseball stadium-- were close by and connected by mass transit. Not to be.
We are also dismayed by the lack of vision found in our local government and the amount of time and energy they invest in pursuing the idea of building a baseball stadium on the Orange Bowl site where access to mass transit and expressways is non-existent. We still believe our Miami Megaplex idea is the way to go because it puts the baseball stadium downtown over existing MetroRail and future commuter rail and a BayLink monorail. The new downtown with all of the condos about to come online will supply many of the fans. The rest can leave their cars behind-- even those living as far north as Palm Beach-- by taking the train or, hopefully, a monorail. And, of course, attaching the Miami Arena to the baseball stadium/hotel would help both survive through using the space for conventions, concerts, and tractor pulls.
Miami is a city of compromises starting with MetroRail (at one time, rubber tired vehicles were considered) and most recently the location of Carnival Center, a performing arts hall split down the middle by a major highway. The land was donated by Knight-Ridder, once parent company of the Miami Herald. The best location available at that time belonged to the public but it wasn't considered. A Watson Island location with architecture befitting its place could have rivaled the Sydney Opera House. But it was being saved for something bigger and better and not so public: Miami Island Gardens.
So it goes.
UpDate (11/11): The Orange Bowl has the last laugh on the university that betrayed it. The 'Canes lose to Virginia 48 to nothing.