For almost all of the Marlins history the South Florida area has been regarded nationally as a bad baseball town, where interest in baseball simply just does not reside, and it is implied that it is those who live there that are to blame. We would like to shed this false notion and lay the record straight for the world. The Marlins baseball fan has been abused like no other fan ever has in the modern age of professional sports, and their apathy at the box office is justified and reasonable when understood in its full and proper context. If someone was to create a model on how to not start a successful franchise this would be case study number one.
Despite themselves two separate owners of the Marlins have had two championship winning seasons, a reason most point to as proof that the residents of South Florida are bad fans. After all how could you not support a team that has won the World Series twice? However let’s examine what really happened. In 1997 then owner Wayne Huizenga went on a spending spree and bought all the talent that money could buy. No one knew it at the time, but this was the last time the franchise would behave like a real franchise. Because in reality he was a business man first and he soon came to realize that the economics of an outdoor stadium in the subtropics for a game that is played in the summer just could not work. So when the public wouldn’t help build a stadium with a roof he said that’s it, business is business, and started planning his exit strategy. He publicly stated during the playoff run that even if the team won the World Series he would dismantle the team and sell the franchise. This created a do or die type atmosphere and the talent that was assembled at the time fed off of it and rode it to a championship. Sixteen days after winning Wayne Huizenga initiated one of the largest fire sales in sports history trading away outfielder Moises Alou. Within time outfielder Gary Shefield, and catcher Charles Johnson were gone and soon enough all the high priced players were out and the team that was supposed to be defending a world series championship the very next year was epically bad and unrecognizable, going from 92 wins and winning the World Series in 1997 to 54 wins in 1998.
Fast forward five miserable years later to 2003 and all of the talent that was acquired from the fire sale was finally of age and the fans who had endured such awful treatment had finally began to really love the team again. Surprisingly to almost everyone everywhere the team came together and shocked the baseball world in one of the greatest Cinderella stories in all of professional sports, winning their second World Series Championship! However, once again key parts of the team were dismantled before the very next season losing essential players in first baseman Derek Lee, Catcher Ivan Rodriguez, and Closer Ugueth Urbina. To this extent we ask do you know what it’s like as a fan to win a championship and then have the team dismantled immediately afterwards over payroll? Now think about only going to the playoffs twice in the entire existence of your franchise and having that happen each time. Technically it’s probably better to have won it all and then lost the players than to never have won at all, however that is a hard and bitter pill for any fan to swallow.
The Marlins fan base has been completely shit on for so long. When the management hasn’t been dismantling championship teams the teams they put together were either outright bad or were in some form of developing talent and then trading it away once it came time to actually have to pay that talent real fair market value money. Adding to the list of previously stated purges we would like to mention the fire sale after the 05 season, the trade of Miguel Cabrera in 07 (the eventual Tipple Crown Winner), and the complete purge of all talent in 2012 except Ricky Nolasco an average starting pitcher who makes 11.5 million on a roster that is now less than 36 million.
This doesn’t even take into account the unbelievable heat, humidity, and constant on again and off again rain that has plagued us fans throughout our history. This franchise is the southernmost franchise in the league and is located in the sub tropics. The summers here are miserable and the local residents spend most of their time in an air conditioned car, an air conditioned building or some form of water. It’s not like the summers in the rest of the country do to the constant extreme sun and humidity, and people have to understand that. Of course we choose to mainly watch our usually bad team from the air conditioned dry comfort of our own TV rooms. Wouldn’t most anyone? Have you ever gone to the beach on a hot summer day, but weren’t allowed to go in the water? That’s what it was like, and this is talking about night games, the day games were just not even really feasible if you wanted to be comfortable, while you paid good money for overpriced products on and off the field. Oh yeah but the fans were supposed to get excited about the fact that the old stadium had a Hot Tub section. Also it was a football stadium located in the middle of nowhere. The seat angles were awful and there was nothing to do around there but tailgate in the parking lot, except the weather generally was not conducive to making tailgating comfortable. Finally lets complete the picture by talking about the constant short bursts of intense rain that plague the summers down here, where it can be blue sky on one side of a small city and completely pouring on the other, making planning for and staying at a whole game much more difficult. And some might say oh real fans endure what they have to in order to support their team, rain, heat, sleet, or snow, and the thing is the people who say that usually come from fan bases that have long histories filled with traditions of winning or at least actually trying to win every year. We have never consistently had that down here, and it was always blamed on the stadium and the rental deal and not getting full money from the parking or the luxury boxes or the food, ect as to why the management couldn’t operate like a real team. However they built up this idea amongst the fan base and those voting to approve public funding for the stadium that if we helped pay for a new baseball stadium they would change their ways and for good. And instead what they did was change their ways for one offseason and three months of the regular season. Well three months, a season does not make! They put together a talent laden team that hadn’t played together, they moved them all into a new ballpark that is cavernous and looks like retro future land in the middle of Miami of all places, they brought in the most volatile manager in all of professional baseball, and they couldn’t even give it a full season before pulling the plug and showing their true shyster colors. It’s outrageous, scandalous, smells of illegality, and completely fits the reputation of The Banana Republic in which the team resides.
Without any legal knowledge of what we are talking about we urge that the Dade county tax payers should form a class action law suit against the owner and their politicians for allowing this kind of deal to happen, and Bud Selig/Major League Baseball for allowing this kind of ownership to operate in their league. At the very least the players union should sue the league for allowing a MLB franchise to continually operate in patterns that resemble a class AAA organization, effectively undercutting the overall free agent market as a whole.
This whole situation stinks and is embarrassing for all parties involved and it’s our opinion what is best for everyone is for the current ownership to sell the team and leave town. Major League Baseball wouldn’t allow Marge Schott to continue to be an owner anymore because she used to act crazy and talk pro Hitler, and rub her dead dog’s hair on players before games for luck, and this obviously was embarrassing for the league. Yet they continue to allow this carpet bagging jerk off to totally manipulate Major League Baseball and its revenue sharing system, and the fans of this team solely for his gain without even trying to pretend to be competitive. This completely downgrades the respectability of the entire league, and a model professional organization like the NFL would never allow something like this to go on. How then did this happen? Why then would they let this happen? Oh yeah that’s right Major League Baseball is the one who sold the franchise to Jeff Loria to begin with, and now the circle of corruption can be completely understood.
We the fans therefore must take it upon ourselves to disassociate ourselves from the current ownership, while pleading with the hierarchy of MLB, and our politicians to please intervene in this situation and at least do right by the Marlins fans and the county of Dade in the end. Stop the corruption now! Force the Pretender to sell to people with real money and real intentions. The charlatans will make money off the deal and stay out of prison, something they don’t deserve, but should be happy with. Only then can the fans of this team start supporting a real Major League Franchise again. So to that extent I call upon everyone with an opinion on this matter to Rage Against the Marlins!