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dabvu2498
06-21-2006, 11:14 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/lopresti/2006-06-20-lopresti-marlins_x.htm


Something fishy is going on in south Florida
Posted 6/20/2006 2:46 PM ET
MIAMI — Would you like to go to a Florida Marlins game? Would you like to take along 30,000 of your closest friends?
Don't worry. Plenty of room. Count on it.

If the citizens of south Florida have been paying attention on their way to the beach or the Heat game — and considering the attendance, they haven't — the Marlins are the hottest team in baseball.

The team with the $15 million payroll — not enough to buy one Alex Rodriguez — was 18-6 from May 22 through Monday. Nobody did better. The team that had used 18 rookies had won eight straight games.

"I told our guys in spring training, 'I expect you to win,'" said rookie manager Joe Girardi. "Just because you're young is not an excuse. You have a big league uniform on."

Yep, the Marlins are rolling. One thing, though. The tickets are selling like IRS audit notices.

Barry Bonds? Came here and couldn't break 10,189.

The Braves? They were in town last week. One crowd was 6,940.

The Marlins' average attendance is just over 11,000. Worst in the league, of course. Next is Pittsburgh, at 22,000. Double.

"You've got to remember, a lot of our kids are used to playing in front of 6,000 people," Girardi said. "Some of the crowds we get are big to them."

But about the ambience.

Dolphins Stadium is made to accommodate 75,000 screamers for a football game. A crowd of 8,000 baseball fans gets swallowed like an aspirin. It can seem as quiet as a green when someone is getting ready to putt.

"When you can hear the other team's bullpen phone ring," reliever Joe Borowski said, "it's not a good sign."

"You hear everything," pitcher Matt Herges said. "When you're on the field, you have to block it out. But it's hard to."

"I hear one peanut vendor more than anybody," pitcher Brian Moehler said.

At least Girardi can't hear any leather-lunged second-guessing in the dugout.

"The fans block it out. Those fans," he said, pointing to the electric fans on the ceiling.

Can't put all the blame on the populace. They've seen the Marlins twice win the World Series, and then twice dismantled.

"I appreciate the people who do come out," Girardi said.

Can't put all the blame on the Marlins officials. They're not lying when they say every summer day in south Florida, it looks like rain. A new ballpark with a retractable roof would be nice. There is new hope the state might help pay for one.

Go to a game and you get the idea the Marlins are squatters, playing on Dan Marino Boulevard. The seats are in Dolphins colors, with Dolphin logos. The names of past greats on the stadium façade include Don Shula and Larry Csonka. I half expected to see a coin toss.

Most of the few Florida jerseys worn by fans in the stands carried names such as Rodriguez and Conine. Marlins from the 2003 champions.

One kid, though was holding up a hand-made placard: "His name is Dan Uggla."

Dan Uggla. That would be Florida's starting second baseman.

Clearly, the Marlins must try to appeal to different tastes. Between innings, the jumbo screen showed scantily-clad cheerleaders dancing on top of the dugout, while the message board next to it welcomed a Cub Scout troop from West Palm Beach, and wished Zach a happy 14th birthday.

The Marlins are young, dashing, unspoiled by big money. And they're winning, now 29-37 after a horrendous 11-31 start. Ought to mean something, sooner or later.

"Everybody wants 50,000 in their stadium. That'd be wonderful," pitcher Dontrelle Willis said. "People know. I know when I drive around, people are knowledgeable. You just wish they'd come to the park."

And hopefully bring a date.

TeamBoone
06-21-2006, 12:00 PM
I truly don't understand this.

South Florida begged for a team and finally got it. From that day on, they have NEVER supported it very well. Flashes of grandeur, yeah... but crowds under 10,000 on a semi regular basis is not acceptable. The Marlins should be yanked from South Florida.

dabvu2498
06-21-2006, 12:02 PM
San Antonio says hello:wave:

oneupper
06-21-2006, 12:04 PM
I truly don't understand this.

South Florida begged for a team and finally got it. From that day on, they have NEVER supported it very well. Flashes of grandeur, yeah... but crowds under 10,000 on a semi regular basis is not acceptable. The Marlins should be yanked from South Florida.


No...then HOW am I going to see the REDS play!! :(

IslandRed
06-21-2006, 12:35 PM
I truly don't understand this.

South Florida begged for a team and finally got it. From that day on, they have NEVER supported it very well. Flashes of grandeur, yeah... but crowds under 10,000 on a semi regular basis is not acceptable. The Marlins should be yanked from South Florida.

I thought they did OK at first -- 3 million fans for the initial year. Then the next year, the strike killed all that momentum. They were building it back up, but Huizenga trashed any possibility of building on the 1997 Series win. That was the crippler.

It also doesn't help that the ballpark has no aesthetic value and is well removed from the happening spots in South Florida.

smith288
06-21-2006, 12:42 PM
Would help if they didnt play in that crap hole of a baseball stadium (but a beautiful football stadium).

oneupper
06-21-2006, 12:58 PM
It also doesn't help that the ballpark has no aesthetic value and is well removed from the happening spots in South Florida.

Bingo!

I would add:
It's hot, humid and rainy here during the summer months.
People prefer to be inside.
No public transport (for practical purposes)...gotta have a car to go to a game.
Lots of other things to do.

The Dolphins sell out. But that's 8 (count em) games. Much nicer weather.

Naturally, the Marlins ownership is doing the ''build me a stadium'' thing, which is also pretty sickening.

The Latin fans here are into baseball and the metropolitan area is large...but things are just not working out business-wise.

TeamBoone
06-21-2006, 01:04 PM
I would add:
It's hot, humid and rainy here during the summer months.
People prefer to be inside.
No public transport (for practical purposes)...gotta have a car to go to a game.
Lots of other things to do.

And why didn't they think of/consider all these things before begging for a baseball team? MLB should have thought of it too.

oneupper
06-21-2006, 01:08 PM
And why didn't they think of/consider all these things before begging for a baseball team? MLB should have thought of it too.

I think they expected the team would have a new park by now (w/roof).

Doc. Scott
06-21-2006, 01:15 PM
Portland's either not giving the Marlins any public money or not giving them as much as they want. San Antonio may be a smaller market, but it likely doesn't have this problem.

Heath
06-21-2006, 01:18 PM
I wonder if playing a few games in San Juan would be beneficial.

Just thinking out loud.

oneupper
06-21-2006, 01:21 PM
I wonder if playing a few games in San Juan would be beneficial.

Just thinking out loud.

Miami>San Juan>Montreal

Yachtzee
06-21-2006, 02:06 PM
Or how about not approving owners like Huizenga or Loria? The Marlins could well have had better attendance and maybe a new stadium if they had leadership at the top who worked with their community rather than hold the team for ransom.

Loria has run two franchises into the ground. I think that's enough.

savafan
06-21-2006, 03:08 PM
Wow, I just saw that the Marlins are only six games out of the Wild Card lead. How does this team do it?

oneupper
06-21-2006, 03:32 PM
Wow, I just saw that the Marlins are only six games out of the Wild Card lead. How does this team do it?

Pitching...

IslandRed
06-21-2006, 04:08 PM
Or how about not approving owners like Huizenga or Loria? The Marlins could well have had better attendance and maybe a new stadium if they had leadership at the top who worked with their community rather than hold the team for ransom.

Well, if not for Huizenga, it probably would have been Tampa getting the team in 1993 instead of Miami. Whether that would have been better or worse for baseball is an open question.

And maybe my sense of history is incomplete, but when it was time to award the expansion franchises, I don't think anyone could have seen it coming as it did. Not that it's unusual for an owner to try his hand at having the public pay for a new ballpark, but an expansion team? Right away? When the team owner already owns the yard, too? And not just that, but throwing a temper tantrum and dismantling a good team (and a profitable one for Huizenga, looking at all baseball revenue, not just what ended up on the Marlins' books).

KronoRed
06-21-2006, 04:12 PM
Wow, I just saw that the Marlins are only six games out of the Wild Card lead. How does this team do it?
They play in the NL ;)

Unassisted
06-21-2006, 04:12 PM
San Antonio says hello:wave:We sure do!

A version of this story was in the morning paper here. The writer concluded that this lack of fan interest in South FL shows that the "fish" has not wandered too far from San Antonio's "hook."

Handofdeath
06-21-2006, 04:12 PM
I thought they did OK at first -- 3 million fans for the initial year. Then the next year, the strike killed all that momentum. They were building it back up, but Huizenga trashed any possibility of building on the 1997 Series win. That was the crippler.

It also doesn't help that the ballpark has no aesthetic value and is well removed from the happening spots in South Florida.

The fans in Florida are smart. Why cheer for a team that you know is going to be torn apart? The Marlins won the Championship and what did the owners do? Did they say thank you? Did they try to build on it? No. They blew it completely up for no good reason. They have different owners now and they want to pay as little as they possibly can. Dontrelle Willis will be gone by the end of the season. They do nothing to bring in the fans but crap on them. They make millions and then they plead poverty and say " Build me a stadium. Florida fans are right not to go to the games.

KronoRed
06-21-2006, 04:17 PM
They have blown it up twice ;)

Neither Florida team has done well.

savafan
06-21-2006, 04:23 PM
Neither Florida team has done well.

Two World Series championships in the last ten years (granted, without ever having won a division title) isn't too bad.

KronoRed
06-21-2006, 04:26 PM
But their support is terrible, even in the championship years they ranked in the middle and 2nd to last in attendance.

TeamBoone
06-21-2006, 09:15 PM
I think they expected the team would have a new park by now (w/roof).

I'm surprised they didn't get a promise like that signed in blood BEFORE they made the decision.

Z-Fly
06-21-2006, 09:32 PM
I went to a Marlins game in 2002. The stadium was in a terrible part of town. I would be similar to GABP being in the middle of Over the Rine and no city around it. The Stadium was terrible. No real attractiveness to it. We also had to park in the grass. There was nothing to do after the game. I had a really bad time. Most of the people there did not speak english. That is a place I will not go back to.

Yachtzee
06-21-2006, 11:28 PM
Well, if not for Huizenga, it probably would have been Tampa getting the team in 1993 instead of Miami. Whether that would have been better or worse for baseball is an open question.

And maybe my sense of history is incomplete, but when it was time to award the expansion franchises, I don't think anyone could have seen it coming as it did. Not that it's unusual for an owner to try his hand at having the public pay for a new ballpark, but an expansion team? Right away? When the team owner already owns the yard, too? And not just that, but throwing a temper tantrum and dismantling a good team (and a profitable one for Huizenga, looking at all baseball revenue, not just what ended up on the Marlins' books).

I personally don't know if other bids were there for the Marlins when the expansion franchise was awarded. I just remember that it seemed like the NL was in a mad dash to get a team in FL, saw the Blockbuster money, and couldn't turn it down. I believe at that time the NL and AL were still separate entities and FL was one big untapped market. When the NL decided to expand, there seemed to be a concern (at least from what I read in the papers) that the AL was going to move a team to FL, with the White Sox and Indians being prime candidates and the location being St. Pete. Fearing that the AL would have FL all to itself, the NL jumped at the chance to put a team in Miami. In the meantime, the White Sox had already built New Comiskey and the Indians had gotten Cuyahoga Co. to build them the Jake, leaving St. Pete out in the cold.

I do have to say though, Huizenga was pretty crass even by Baseball Owner standards to get an expansion franchise, buy the stadium in which you play (and its co-tenant), buy a World Series through free agency, then demand that the city/county/state build you a new ballpark, even though the stadium you just bought is pretty new itself. The craziest thing of all. There is plenty of private money in South Florida to finance a ballpark. First Huizenga and now Loria wants a free ride, and it appears he's willing to try to milk it out of which ever city will give it to him.

Newman4
06-21-2006, 11:53 PM
I went to a game there a couples years ago (Adam Dunn's MLB debut) and the stadium is in the boondocks if I remember. We walked forever to get from the parking lot to the park. We sat almost all by ourselves in the upper deck. The people there were really excited about their team though and seemed to be knowledgeable about baseball in general. A real baseball stadium near downtown would be nice to see.

RedEye
06-22-2006, 12:10 AM
And yet I'm still sort of glad we have RCast and Kriv in charge rather than DJ Jazzy Loria...

TeamBoone
06-22-2006, 02:09 AM
I went to a game there a couples years ago (Adam Dunn's MLB debut)

That was 5 years ago Newman!!!

Seems like yesterday doesn't it? :)

Shaggy Sanchez
06-22-2006, 02:19 AM
What makes me sad to be a Reds fan is unless things change around here the Marlins and their 14 million dollar payroll are going to have a better record than the Reds at the end of the year. I would love to see the Reds blow things up and have the ability to rebuild like the Marlins have now done twice. As for the crowds, the Marlins will never draw in South Florida as long as they are playing in that park.