rebelx

Marlins Name Change

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I'm not dismissing the concerns. But this equation:

various sundry venue concerns > watching a championship baseball team play

doesn't say much about Miami as a baseball market....

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As someone who lived in L.A. and Fort Lauderdale, Brian, I'll give you the rain factor -- that's bad. Only the hardcore fans, like me and 500 others on some nights -- braved the weather, because a downpour was sure to come. However, it's rare that a game gets canceled, just delayed for a while as those quick, heavy afternoon storms plowed through.

However, I respectfully disagree on the traffic comparison. L.A. and Anaheim are terrible compared to Miami/FTL. One trip on I-95 kept me off almost for good, but the Turnpike always was manageable for me. I could cruise down for weeknight and weekend games in about 10-15 minutes from my place. Yes, they could use a better public transportation system, but I can't imagine traffic keeps fans away. It's just not that bad, aside from I-95.

One thing that fails to be mentioned when referring to their "championship" teams is that in 1998 the fans got burned. And I can tell you honestly, no matter how many owners or free agents signed, the fans didn't believe that the "firesale" wouldn't come again. And now it has. At least the current owners waited a couple of years after 2003.

I don't blame people for not coming out in 2003 (or 1998, obviously). 2004 and 2005 are different stories. The Marlins were the wild card team in 2003, it wasn't like they ran away with the division -- and people showed up for the Dontrelle Willis games, and then in droves for the playoffs. The fans are there, they just don't believe after 1998, no matter what.

Every time a Derrek Lee was traded, even if it was a smart baseball move, people started yelling "firesale." The truth is, even when they bulked up the team with a Carlos Delgado or refused to trade Mike Lowell in 2003, it didn't matter, because they were all waiting for the day when it was all torn apart. And what do you know, the Marlins did it again. It's a bit chicken-egg, but still... I believe the damage was done in 1998, and they blew it with a whole generation of fans, who probably went back to their old teams. It might not be until the young fans from 2003 grow up that the fanbase grows, which is a long time to wait. Instead of building on the 1997 title, they tore it down, and it still haunts them to this day.

Would I take that from the Cubs? A title followed by a team of rookies? Absolutely. But it doesn't work when you're trying to build a fanbase for an expansion team in a market flooded with Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and Phillies fans (among others).

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Many folks seem to be of the opinion that having a championship-calibre team on the field should trump the significant challenge to marketing the Marlins that has been created by the unique combination of "venue challenges" that the franchise faces.

The fact of the matter is that no professional sports franchise can guarantee a championship-calibre team from season to season. Therefore, the overall experience of attending a game in person must somehow make up for the vagaries of on-field competition. Florida Marlins fans contended with all of the aforementioned enjoyment-reducing "venue challenges" for four seasons prior to the club's first World Series championship. Granted, many MLB fans would kill to have their team win the World Series within four years of arriving on the scene. Still, Marlins' fans were immediately faced with a systematic dismantling of said team... on top of the same on-going traffic, venue and weather concerns. They then faced those on-going traffic, venue and weather concerns for another five enjoyment-reducing seasons leading up to the second World Series win. The result? Another dismantling of the team... on top of the same on-going traffic, venue and weather concerns.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Someone at MLB headquarters should have been smart enough to look at a table of historical weather trends for South Florida, as well as a Transportation Department traffic study, and been smart enough to recognize that if there was ever a market that demanded a state-of-the-art facility plan up-front, it was Miami. If a plan had been in place to swiftly build a baseball-only, retractable-roofed ballpark - preferably in dowtown Miami - I contend that the Marlins would never have experienced the attendance struggles they've faced over their fourteen seasons of existance. Would there have been slight ebbs and flows based upon the team's on-field competitiveness? I'm sure that there would have been. However, given the existance of the facility I've described, I feel certain that the Marlins would never have seen attendance dip to the precipitous levels they've experienced at Dolphin Stadium.

The unfortunate thing is that the market may well have been at least partially "poisoned" by the ineptitude exhibited in the fourteen-year struggle to solve the ballpark fiasco. That situation has been exacerbated by the "fear of firesales" that CubsFanBudMan mentions. That is the truly sobering aspect of this entire sad affair.

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I'll add that the football stadium that is now Dolphin Stadium really isn't a bad place to watch a game. The atmosphere is lacking because of all the empty seats, but that's why they closed the upper deck seats in 2003. One big problem of the stadium is that there is really nowhere to hide from the rain, save for the club seats.

In other stadiums, you see people flock to the upper reaches to get out of the rain, but still watch the game. At the former Pro Player, that really isn't possible. You need to go to the concourse, or sit and get wet like I did (a little water never really bothered me). So the rain really is a factor for a lot of people.

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Many folks seem to be of the opinion that having a championship-calibre team on the field should trump the significant challenge to marketing the Marlins that has been created by the unique combination of "venue challenges" that the franchise faces.

I'll bite.

I am one of those folks.

"Significant challenge?" Preposterous.

Baseball fans that won't go to the ballpark to support a championship team because the venue isn't ideal don't deserve to keep their team. Period.

I think it's a shame. I thought Miami would be a great baseball market. I was wrong.

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Well, I think that because their "championship team" got taken away in 1998, it had a lasting effect. They expected the new owners to do the same, which they did, except they waited through 2004 and 2005 to do it. Had Huizenga done that after 1997 -- i.e. try to win in 1998 and 1999 -- then the argument that they don't support a championship team would be stronger. We'll never know what would have happened, then, but I don't entirely blame the fans for not showing up in 2004 (like, say, the White Sox fans have been doing this year after some lower years). It's too bad for the current owners, because I think they legitimately want to make it work, but the Marlins fans are all about "fool me once... fool me twice... etc." Could be an endless cycle that even a new stadium won't fix now -- but a competitive team in 1998 might have -- and it might have led to that new stadium.

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I don't think having a gripe with what the previous owner did after a championship season justifies not coming out to the ballpark to watch your club win another championship.

Holding new ownership responsible for the actions of the previous owner is petty at best. I don't think that's the case. I hope that's not the case.

If it is, it would only provide further illustration of a lousy baseball market.

Yes, they might have been able to get a new stadium deal after the first Series if things had been different. But one might also say that the Marlins could have secured a new stadium had fans gone to the park during the most recent championship - if the fans can't be bothered to show up, why should politicians spend any political capital on the Marlins?

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So, if rain + poor infrastructure makes it hard to get to games...maybe Miami shouldn't have a baseball team.

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One thing I've noticed during this back-and-forth about the Marlins is that one of the bigger points people are making is the location of Dolphin Stadium and its inconvenience. This may be true for people from Miami. But don't the Marlins draw from more than just Miami-Dade County? There's Fort Lauderdale (the stadium's practically there), Hollywood, Palm Beach, and so on. Palm Beach to Miami is roughly 70 miles, if I remember from my travels up and down 95, a fair-sized population area. So it's not entirely inconvenient for all of South Florida, which (I am presuming) is the market the Marlins are courting.

I'm just wondering why such a big deal is being made on the location and quality of the stadium, when it actually makes the team more accessible to the people living north of Miami. A 20-30 mile ride isn't enough to dissuade fans of other teams; the Phillies have been the picture of mediocrity for a century and a quarter yet they draw from beyond Philadelphia. I live in South Jersey, and CBP is more accessible to me than it is for people in the northeastern parts of the city of Philadelphia. I know season ticket holders and fans who make the drive from the Jersey Shore, southeastern (and eastern) PA and Delaware to go to games. And fans in Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Houston, and so on dealt with watching baseball in multipurpose or football stadiums, and they still came out.

While I concede that weather may play a big role in keeping some people home, I can't think the location is that prohibitive, when it's still reachable for a lot of people. So I come back to the idea that poor support goes beyond the threat of bad weather and the stadium.

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Montreal?

I like that idea...but the Marlins should stay where they are.

As for Montréal, that town should get the Cleveland Browns treatment, i.e., a new Expos expansion team. And the famous tricolor logo stays!

[447]

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ohhh boo-hoo, a firesale robbed our desire to go to games. PLEnty of fans in all sports have supported their teams in decent numbers despite absolutely awful ownership.

The warmer the weather, the worse the sports market, it's as simple as that.

as for montreal, I would love to see them get a triple aaa team. the baseball fans in that town deserve baseball, and since an mlb team returning is a pipe dream, a triple aaa club would be perfect.

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I would love to see them get a triple aaa team.

An AAAAAAAAA team? What a frustrating call-up that must be.

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I say Move them on up here to Jacksonville , we have a New retro baseball park & just the right size plus we don't have near as many downpoors as they do . : B)

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I'm afraid Jacksonville hasn't exactly distinguished itself as a sports town itself....

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The warmer the weather, the worse the sports market, it's as simple as that.

Dallas seems to be a pretty good sports market, and it is hot as Hades.

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as for montreal, I would love to see them get a triple aaa team. the baseball fans in that town deserve baseball, and since an mlb team returning is a pipe dream, a triple aaa club would be perfect.

That too, would probably not happen. Minor League baseball is really pulling out of Canada right now (I think it has something to do with travel and visa costs). When Ottawa moves, its pretty much thought that that will spell the end of AAA baseball in Canada.

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I've heard rumors about a prospective ownership group investigating the possibility of bringing an independent minor-league baseball team to Montreal, most likely in the Can-Am Association.

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I don't think having a gripe with what the previous owner did after a championship season justifies not coming out to the ballpark to watch your club win another championship.

Holding new ownership responsible for the actions of the previous owner is petty at best. I don't think that's the case. I hope that's not the case.

Not saying it's right, just that that is the strong perception I got while living there, from talk radio to the newspapers to fan meetings I attended with Samson and others -- they never got over the 1997-98 title/firesale.

And technically, they did come out to watch the team win the second championship, they just didn't come out after the first few games the next season. And not surprisingly, like I said below, every move the team made got a firesale-esque reaction of "here we go again." The fans are afraid to commit because they were burned once, and in part because they didn't, they've been burned again.

Not condoning it or complaining, just reporting what I saw and heard.

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The fans are afraid to commit because they were burned once, and in part because they didn't, they've been burned again.

No. They burned Loria this time. I think the guy is a scumbag, but he kept the Marlins contending for another two years, and still couldn't get a new park or decent attendance figures. When you can't draw flies with a fairly loaded roster like Lo Duca, Delgado, Pierre, Beckett, Willis, Cabrera, et al., then it becomes very difficult as the man signing checks to keep trotting expensive guys out there to a sea of orange seats. (Maybe some are teal as well.) The fans, or lack thereof, are still pretty responsible for losing their team.

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Baseball fans that won't go to the ballpark to support a championship team because the venue isn't ideal don't deserve to keep their team. Period.

I think it's a shame. I thought Miami would be a great baseball market. I was wrong.

Enough already with the "no support for a championship team " arguement.

On July 15th 2003 the Marlins were in third place, 3 games over .500 and 13 games out of first.

They only got hot in the last two weeks of the season, and only clinched the wildcard like 2 days before the season ended.

You act like they were the '27 Yankees and no one was supporting them.

For the majority of the season they were a .500 team and they drew 1.4 million that year, which is normal for a team of that caliber.

No one expected them to be winning the Series even a month before the playoffs started.

Did anyone know or care who Josh Beckett was in June 2003, I don't think so. That team was a surprise to everyone including their own fans. The year before they had finished in 4th place and their BIG aquisition was Pudge Rodriguez who noone wanted.

Excuse Marlins fans if they are not inspired by a "championship calber" staff

that didn't have anyone with 15 wins.

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