MIAMI -- While his teammates gawked, observed and even cast judgment on new Marlins Park, Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay took it all in from a much more reflective and personal perspective.
Jay was born and raised here. He is a product of the University of Miami, and he makes his home here during the offseason. That's why, when Jay stepped foot onto the field at Marlins Park for the first time on Tuesday, he wasn't simply preoccupied by learning the outfield nuances or seeing how well the ball traveled during batting practice.
Rather, he looked at everything from the perspective of a local.
"We always hoped for something like this," Jay said. "Now, the Miami community will have a real baseball stadium. You'll get that feeling of a baseball park that we get going across the country. I think it's nice for the community and the kids and everyone that is a part of Miami."
One day later, the Cardinals looked right at home in a 4-1 win over the Marlins. Jay had a hit and made a nice catch in the spacious center field.
The location of the Marlins' new park is one Jay visited several times as a child, then as a college student, when it was still home to the Orange Bowl.
"I had some great memories in the same spot where we're at right now," Jay said. "This is something that they've needed for a long time down here. I'm happy to see it get done for the community down here."
Similar sentiments were shared by backup catcher Tony Cruz, who grew up about an hour north of Miami.
"I didn't think something like this would ever be here, but I'm glad they did it," Cruz said. "They do need some more support behind them, and I hope it does good for them."