If you build it, they will come.
Well I can paraphrase Field of Dreams, but that doesn’t make it so. The South Florida community ponied up the cash because management said they couldn’t build a winner without a state-of-the-art baseball-only ball park. They even took meetings with other cities to show they were serious about moving if they didn’t get what they wanted in South Florida.
Jeffrey Luria and David Sampson got their wish. Big and Little Enos (a reference from Smokey and the Bandit, think about it, it fits) got everything they wanted. Retractable roof, check. Location at the old Orange Bowl, check. A home run sculpture in center field that looks like an ant hill with lights, check. Millions of tax money to go to the new place, CHECK! (cashed too)
They did all the right PR moves. They went out and hired Ozzie Guillen from the White Sox. A Latin legend without a filter. They signed shortstop Jose Reyes, starter Mark Buehrle and closer Heath Bell. The management said all the right things. What are they saying now?
The architect of this current version, Larry Beinfest said, “We’re disappointed in the club’s performance. We made our moves this winter, came out of spring training, and everyone’s expectations, and rightfully so, that we’d be in a different position today. The current team is really not in contention, at a tenuous spot at best, and I think it was time to restructure.”
Restructure? Are you kidding me? You put this team together a few months ago. The message was now that we have this brand new ballpark we are going to build to win and to be contenders for years to come.
No, this team was built to look like Big and Little Enos were trying to win. They made the moves over the office season to give the appearance they cared about the fans of South Florida.
What did South Florida baseball fans get?
A team that is currently 45-51 and starting to sell off its assets for the third time in its history. At least the first two came after a World Series title.
Hey, at least fans get to buy tickets for up to 58% off on Groupon. Yes folks, the team that brought you a new building, an ant hill in center and a mascot that looks more like Roberto the Rainbow Trout than Billy the Marlin sells tickets on the discount website!
This ownership group is a joke.
But the joke is on the South Florida community. They got their franchise as a reward for running the Montreal Expos into the ground. They begged and pleaded and conned their way to a brand new building in Little Havana. And as soon as they can, they will sell this franchise, that is nothing more than glorified double-A ball club, for a very large sum of money.
When they played in the house that Joe Robbie built, there were more people working the concession stands than in the stands. It was pick a seat night every night. At least in the 80’s when the Braves were horrible and selling tickets for a dollar to pad their attendance numbers, I knew the team had a future.
The Marlins only have one because their long lease. Don’t forget over the next 40 years, Miami-Dade County will spend over $2 billion dollars for the privilege of providing the Marlins the smallest ballpark in the major leagues.
What does the commissioner of baseball have to say this latest fire sale? NOTHING! Bud Selig has not ben an advocate for the baseball fan in South Florida. He allowed Wayne Huizenga sell off the clubs assets after winning it all in 1997 because the public would not build him a new building. Selig took away the 2000 All-Star Game from the area because of questions with the Marlins ownership and he let Big Enos sell off players after the second ring in 2003. Rest assured Selig will never utter the words, “In the best interest of baseball.”
Too bad the fans can’t trade away this ownership group for a few Cuban cigars and an owner to be named later.
In the best interest of the Marlins.