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Sun-Times pool reporter investigates Marlins Park

A woman relaxes 'Clevelander' Opening Day. | Getty Images

A woman relaxes in the "Clevelander" on Opening Day. | Getty Images

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Updated: May 24, 2012 8:28AM

At least one intrepid reporter in Miami picked up on how especially deep in left field Alfonso Soriano seemed to be playing at Marlins Park last week.

And Soriano showed more speed and focus on balls hit toward the wall in Miami than perhaps in any other series in more than five years as the Cubs’ left fielder.

How? Why? “Yeah, don’t know,’’ manager Dale Sveum said with a chuckle.

Blame it on the area just beyond the left-field wall at Marlins Park, under the neon “Clevelander’’ marquee. There’s a swimming pool, a DJ playing ear-splitting music, Brazilian samba dancers on a stage, oh, and bikini-clad bodies creating more distractions in nine innings than Carlos Zambrano in nine years.

‘‘I’ve been to Cleveland,’’ one Cubs official said. “That doesn’t look like Cleveland.’’

The Sun-Times has learned it has nothing to do with Cleveland. Or baseball.

“This is the best way to watch a game,’’ Natalie G. said, “or not watch a game.’’

The women in bikinis are not employees of the Marlins or the famous Clevelander hotel/bar in South Beach. They’re specially invited ‘‘fans’’ who are given tickets, drinks and access to the pool.

“We know people in the industry,’’ special “fan’’ Lindsay Barnes said.

Industry? “We’re models and dancers,’’ she said.

Asked whether media members are allowed in the pool, she said anybody with a swimsuit can take a dip.

The Sun-Times was then thwarted in its attempt to become more deeply immersed in its investigation. “No,’’ Barnes said. “Boxers don’t count.’’

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