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  • Tampa Bay & Miami

    I was reading the New York daily News at dinner and noticed the MLB attendance report among the stats.

    The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Florida Marlins have a combined average attendance better than only seven (7) other major league teams and in most cases, not by much.

    MLB's Florida experiment has been a disaster and it is time to move on. Raleigh / Durham / Triangle area of North Carolina, Portland, Oregon or any other growing metropolitan area would be deserving.

    In my humble opinion, neither team will draw enough attendance on a consistent basis. Both are a blemish on MLB!
    Last edited by TJH1923; 07-25-2007, 03:47 PM.

  • #2
    [QUOTE=TJH1923;957205]MLB's Florida experiment has been a disaster and it is time to move on. Raleigh / Durham / Triangle area of North Carolina, Portland, Oregon or any other growing metropolitan area would be deserving. QUOTE]

    Raleigh/Fayetteville is the 29th largest market in the U.S. Charlotte is 28th.

    Portland, OR is the 24th.

    Meanwhile Tampa is the 13th largest market and Miami is 17th.

    The smallest MLB markets are Cincinnati (33) Milwaukee (32) Kansas City (31). Each of these has a history of supporting baseball (for the most part.) I'm not sure how Portland and Raleigh would do.

    Comment


    • #3
      [QUOTE=Lafferty Daniel;957241]
      Originally posted by TJH1923 View Post
      MLB's Florida experiment has been a disaster and it is time to move on. Raleigh / Durham / Triangle area of North Carolina, Portland, Oregon or any other growing metropolitan area would be deserving. QUOTE]

      Raleigh/Fayetteville is the 29th largest market in the U.S. Charlotte is 28th.

      Portland, OR is the 24th.

      Meanwhile Tampa is the 13th largest market and Miami is 17th.

      The smallest MLB markets are Cincinnati (33) Milwaukee (32) Kansas City (31). Each of these has a history of supporting baseball (for the most part.) I'm not sure how Portland and Raleigh would do.
      It is apparent that the 13th and 17th largest markets don't translate into a fan base and toss in the fact that ownership for both franchises is mediocre at best. Throw in that a large part of these markets are on a fixed income or part time residents.

      Comment


      • #4
        How much of the Marlins' attendance problem has to do with their stadium situation, though? Between the heat and the frequent (though quick) rain showers, they might draw decently in a small stadium with a retractable roof.

        And Tampa... how much of that has to do with the fact they've never had a good team?

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm sorry if I offend any Florida baseball fans, but the only two teams that do have a chance of being contracted at all would be the Florida MLB teams. Both the Marlins and Rays.

          They'll be the only MLB teams without a new stadium. How long of a leash should MLB have for the Marlins to stay at Dolphin Stadium? 10 years? Nope. As for the Rays, in my opinion, they will never ever compete in the AL East, not with the Yankees and Red Sox spending like crazy. It was joke from "Day #1" to put a team in Tropicana Field. I mean, they even have trouble re-naming the team!

          This isn't a knock on the fans themselves, but I see this contraction scenario being very possible.
          My Top 4 funniest BBF posts ever:

          1) "plZ dOn;t' pOsT LikE tHIs n e mOr!"

          2) "The teams play 1962 games in 180 days."

          3) "Stadiums don't move silly, people do."

          4) "Once again you quibble, because it is I who speaks."

          5) Almost anything RuthMayBond says...

          Comment


          • #6
            what's even more embarassing for baseball is that since the Yankees have thier headquarters/minor league/spring training in Tampa, they have a huge fan base there. I don't know for a fact but I'd I think there may be just as many, if not more Yankee fans in the Tampa area then D-Ray fans. That isn't really fair to an expansion franchise to have to build a fan base inside a market that is so filled with fans of the most storied franchise in baseball. Especially since they are in the same division!

            Comment


            • #7
              I haven't looked at the numbers but how does Florida draw when they put a winning team on the field?
              Baseball Journeyman

              Comment


              • #8
                Speaking as a Floridian (albiet not native, unfortunately) and a Marlins fan since my move down here:

                I think the number one factor isn't really lack of interest or a poor market. It isn't a lack of a base of passionate fans.

                The number one factor can be summed up in two words:
                Poor ownership.

                Don't forget, the Marlins had decent attendance through 1998, and actually drew over 3 million their first two years. Unfortunately, they were cursed with having one of the most despicable owners in sports, Wayne Huizenga, who crushed--crushed--many a Marlins fan's heart after he dismantled the 1997 championship team literally weeks after they had hoisted the trophy. Then he sold the team and John Henry fiddled around with it, not doing a whole lot. Then as a result of the Expos crisis, Henry sold and Jeff Loria bought. Now Jeff Loria is percieved as one of the worst owners in sports due to his bungling of the Expos fiasco and that being a factor into their inevitable demise. However, be that as it may, Loria
                still is arguably the best owner the Marlins have ever had, for whatever that's worth.

                The Devil Rays had Vince Namoli for most of their history, who never developed the team as it should have been developed, and they in essence have remained an expansion caliber team nine years removed. The new owner, Sternberg, has made some welcome fan-friendly improvements, but with the Rays looking as though they are headed for another last place finish, it's still a long road ahead.

                Now, of course, poor ownership is not the only factor. For the Marlins, geography is something of a hinderance. The South Florida metro area is not your typical metro area where "all roads lead to Rome". Instead, it is a 90 mile by 15 mile narrow strip that begins at West Palm Beach and ends in Homestead. To one side is the Atlantic. To the other side is the Everglades. There are only two major north-south expressways, I-95 and the Florida Turnpike. And the cultural and populous hub of South Florida, Miami, is not located at the center of the region but rather at the southern end of it. This makes getting down to Miami not the easiest thing in the world. And for fans living north of Fort Lauderdale, it makes it more difficult to come out to the ballpark on a regular basis.

                Stadiums might be a factor, although I think it is overstated. I think should the Devil Rays develop a winning team, fans will come to Tropicana Field. It's just a matter of getting that first step out of the way. I look at the Buccanneers, who drew paltry crowds much of the first two decades of their existance, until new ownership, a new approach and most importantly winning ways brought out the fans, who have now stayed and developed a strong loyalty. I think it can be no different with the Devil Rays. They've just never had a winning season in their existance, and that's a major problem. Tropicana Field is not the problem.

                The Marlins play in Dolphins Stadium. The fact that it is primarily a football stadium is not the problem. The heat and humidity, however, may be a factor. I myself have no problem with it. I was at the game last weekend and felt perfectly fine. But undeniably there are some to which the weather conditions may pose a problem. That's why as much as I cringe at the thought of indoor baseball, even those parks with retractable roofs, I wouldn't be that opposed to a new ballpark with such a feature if it means adding some stability to the situation.

                Mex4Prez mentions the Yankees factor in Tampa Bay, which also plays a part in South Florida. The Yankees even broadcast games in Tampa. I think that in and of itself is pathetic. Yes, Florida due to its climate brings a lot of northern implants, including a great deal from NY/NJ. And obviously there are going to be some old loyalties, which is fine. But I don't understand why that would keep you from having some interest in following your new home team if, for the very least, you simply love the game of baseball. I grew up a die-hard Orioles fan. I still consider them my favorite team, and if they were to face the Marlins in the World Series, I'd be wearing my black and orange (although I'd be hoping for a knock-em down, throw-em out, back and forth nailbiting 7 game series). But the fact is I don't live in Maryland any more, and as someone who loves baseball I want a team to watch and follow every day, and go out to the ballpark and cheer for. So yeah, I took on the Marlins as my new home team and I'm proud to say I'm a fan. And I don't mean to stereotype or demean and I know there are a lot of good people from the NY/NJ area on the board, but this is something that is a foreign concept to a lot of the NY/NJ transplants down here (in baseball and in other things), and it shouldn't be. As Stephen Stills so famously sung, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."

                And I would not demean the loyal fans of the Devil Rays and Marlins by calling their team a "blemish" on the sport. These are just as die hard fans as any team's core followers are (And probably about the same number of core fans as most teams, as well). The only difference is, you usually don't have the bandwagoneers along with it. Which is always a mixed bag. I can tell you there is a potential to draw very well in South Florida despite all the obstacles. In 2003 there was no problem packing Dolphins Stadium for the post-season. Both the 1997 and 2003 victory parades had well over 1 million people. Personally experiencing the post season in 2003 and going to two games, I can tell you the atmosphere was nothing short of amazing at those games. 65,000 screaming, towel-waving fans on their feet the entire game. It was like all the troubles and low turnouts of the regular season were a distant memory. When the Marlins beat the Giants in Game 3 of the NLDS thanks to Pudge Rodriguez's two run single with two outs and two strikes in the 11th inning, I can tell you there has been no greater baseball moment I had personally witnessed, and the Marlins' fans reaction was nothing short of astonishing.

                Contraction will never happen. First, it's an incredibly stupid regressive idea that shouldn't even be considered. Secondly, the player's union will never fly for it.

                Relocation, maybe, but I'm not so sold on either Carolina or Portland. If you look at basketball and the fact Charlotte is now on its second pro basketball team after the first one left town, it leaves me a little skeptical on their pro sports credentials. And given the fact the Carolinas have added a lot of out of state residents in the past decade or so, you would be left with the same situation with migrant fans and old allegiances that the Florida teams face. Portland I really can't say for sure, I can only say that baseball may or may not work there. I'm also certain that Las Vegas would be a horrible, unmittigated disaster and shouldn't even be considered for a MLB team.

                Give the Devil Rays good ownership and a shot to contend and they will be fine. Give the Marlins a sense of permanancy and stability and they too will be fine. Maybe I'm a bit biased, but I think with time good things will happen here in the Sunshine State.
                Last edited by PeteU; 07-26-2007, 07:13 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I will say this (and in doing so I again mean no personal disrespect to the Yankee fans on this board, all upstanding individuals and passionate baseball fans for sure). I think the Marlins fans at their full potential are better fans than Yankees fans.

                  How can I even say such a preposterous thing, you say? Well, I think back to 2003. Both the Marlins and the Yankees had been involved in exciting 7 game league championship series.

                  The Yankees won the ALCS on Aaron Boone's extra inning homerun against the hated Red Sox. Naturally, the Yankees fans were thrilled, and they loved to rub the outcome of that Game 7 in Red Sox fans' faces. But it didn't just stop after that series ended. During Games 1 and 2 of the World Series, Yankees fans brought out signs and banners. Not directed at their current opponent the Florida Marlins, mind you, but rather directed at their vanquished rivals, the Red Sox. They were obsessed over their Game 7 ALCS win. As for the Marlins, hey, those were just measley little bait to be consumed on a way to yet another World Series win. The "mystique" and "aura" of the Yankees would be enough to make quick pickings of the young, unknown Marlins. But because the Yankees had beaten the hated Red Sox, then obviously they were automatically entitled to another World Series win, National League opponent be damned.

                  The Marlins had also won quite an exciting League Championship Series. Now most people remember the 2003 NLCS for the Steve Bartman interference incident, but it should also be noted the series featured quite an amazing comeback by the Florida Marlins at great odds. They were down 3 games to 1 at one point. In both games 6 and 7 they were facing elimination with early Cubs leads. Yet they managed to come back each and every time and earn themselves a second trip to the World Series.

                  Now did the Marlins fans gloat during the World Series about their exciting NLCS win? Did the Marlins fans have all sorts of signs and banners blasting the Cubs in their moment of glory? Not really. Marlins fans focused on the task at hand, that being the New York Yankees. And sure enough, six games later, with a groundout to Josh Beckett the Marlins were celebrating on the hallowed field of Yankee Stadium in front of thousands of Yankees fans stunned silent and wondering what exactly had hit them. Meanwhile on the streets of Miami thousands poured out in celebration.

                  Sure I'm a bit biased on the matter, given my loyalties. But what the Marlins fans may lack in numbers, the few that are loyal have made up with their willingness to stick with this tourtured yet accomplished franchise. They do not gloat on and on about intangibles like "mystique" and "aura." They do not expect championships to be given to them on a silver platter. They do not claim that baseball history begins and ends with them. So with all deserving honor to Messers Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle, with all amazement at the storied venue that is Yankee Stadium, and with all due respect to the many loyal, honest and good natured fans of the New York Yankees (of which my wife is one), I'd take the company of a sparse crowd at Dolphins Stadium over a full house at Yankee Stadium any day.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PeteU View Post
                    They do not gloat on and on about intangibles like "mystique" and "aura."
                    Just another byproduct of ESPN's horrible baseball coverage. How many times do we have to listen to John Kruk or Joe Morgan waste our time discussing intangibles like confidence? They should be educating the fans on more important things like statistics. Since ESPN loves the New York Yankees, a lot of their fans seem to mention intangibles when discussing or debating baseball. It's like debating feelings versus facts, the ESPN way.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't buy into the the theory that people don't go to Marlins games because of a poor stadium and it's hard to get to. I am a Mets fan who lives in central NJ. When I want to go to a game I have to take a half day at work, drive over an hour to get to a park-n-ride, take a train to get to another train, then take the subway for like another 45 minutes. I'm sure there are better ways, but bottom line is it takes me a good 2-2.5 hours to get there and another 2-2.5 hours after the game I'll be home around 12:30-1:00 in the morning. And Shea is not exactally the greatest park to watch a game either. I know a lot of other people that live near me that do the same. If they are fans of the team they should show up regaurdless. I even go to games when my team stinks, which many Florida baseball fans don't.

                      And how can Marlin fans complain about poor managment? The team has won 2 championships in the last 10 years and currently have some of the best young players in the game. They will be a good team again before too long, maybe even win another series. Talk with some Cub fans about poor managment, they haven't even won a post season series in 98 years! So what if your team regroups and has a fire sale every 5 years or so. Every time they have done that it has worked. That group of players down there right now deserve better than to have 10-15 thousand per night.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sour grapes for south Florida fans. 1997 not enough to put on the mantel..Must...have...winning...team...every...yea r...to...support...and if winning team is 2003 jack-in-the-box Marlins, must ...have...new...stadium...


                        The teams shouldn't be there in the first place. No Devil Rays, no Marlins. Better baseball. I support contraction. The noun and the verb.
                        smoker

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by riverfrontier View Post
                          Sour grapes for south Florida fans. 1997 not enough to put on the mantel..Must...have...winning...team...every...yea r...to...support...and if winning team is 2003 jack-in-the-box Marlins, must ...have...new...stadium...


                          The teams shouldn't be there in the first place. No Devil Rays, no Marlins. Better baseball. I support contraction. The noun and the verb.
                          The best way to describe the Marlins...well...phenomenon (for lack of a better word) is that post 1997 fans were traumatized (again, for lack of a better word, and I know how you like words ).

                          Up through 1997, attendance was average to good at Marlins games. Then a couple of weeks later Huzienga started tearing the team apart and you have no idea how demoralizing it was for fans. (Huzienga has to count his lucky stripes for the birth of one Robert Irsay that he cannot be considered the worst, most despicable owner in sports history.) After the 1998 fire sale, Huzeinga sold, but to add insult to injury, he still owned the deed to the stadium. Which means not only that the Marlins got nothing out of parking, food sales and luxury box revenue, but that money actually still went to Huzeinga.

                          Then around 2000-2001 Major League baseball started throwing the c-word around (not that one, contraction), and given at that time the Marlins were at or near the basement in the NL East thanks to the firesale, fans were really afraid the team would simply be ripped out and/or shut down. Then it got sold to Jeffrey Loria, whose track record in Montreal just gave Marlins fans all the more reason to fear the worst. Suprisingly and amazingly, 2003 happened out of nowhere and actually caught all of South Florida by surprise. Fans happily came out to the postseason and packed the stadium full, and celebrated en masse upon winning the championship.

                          But like an abusive situation, 1998 still laid in the back of their mind and many were already pessimistically expecting a repeat of history. While 2004 didn't see a fire sale and actually saw a nice spike in attendance, there was a significant sell off of a lot of 2003 team players in late 2005, again raising fears. Factor in continious threats by old dirty ******* Wayne Huzienga (who as I mention still owns the stadium) to evict the Marlins and leave them homeless, plus perrenial failures to secure funding for a new ballpark even when several plans had come incredibly close to doing so. The fact that this accomplished yet continiously troubled franchise has not have a sense of security and stability since 1997 is probably the key factor (although not the only factor) as to why it hasn't drawn more than what one would expect.

                          Again, I'll repeat my belief that contraction is a dumb, dumb idea. First of all, it won't happen because of union issues and because of legal issues. Secondly, it shouldn't happen. It makes Major League baseball look like some second rate semi-professional roller hockey league in its third year struggling to establish itself. There's no real reason for the sport to self-inflict black eyes upon itself. Steroids and other external issues can do that just fine enough.

                          I guess relocation is a better option, but the big question remains where? There really isn't an ideal relocation market out there. Maybe Portland, but who really knows?

                          I know my account of the Marlins reads more depressing than a bleak Thomas Hardy novel, but that's not to say it is a unique situation in the sport. If every team in baseball history that ever encountered significant difficulties in drawing attendance like the Marlins and Devil Rays have was contracted, then Major League Baseball would be half the size it is now. And it's not as though there have not been teams who have faced difficultly and the seemingly certain threat of relocation, just to see it pull through in the end and stabalize. If I'm not mistaken, was it not in the mid 1960s that your beloved Cincinnati Reds were all but inevitably destined to become the San Diego Reds?

                          I think the best situation is for Major League baseball to weather the storm without any unnatural threat of contraction. I honestly believe that once the Devil Rays produce a winner (even if by fluke) it will cement the team's relationship with the Tampa Bay market, much like the Tampa Bay Buccanneers did upon building a winning reputation after two decades of orange jerseyed, goofy pirate mediocrity. And speaking first hand from down here in South Florida, I can tell you the fans are here; they just want to make sure they are not putting their love into a team that will be ripped away as has been threatened now for almost ten years running.
                          Last edited by PeteU; 07-26-2007, 03:53 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Contraction has nothing to do with how well the team does on the field. It has to do with how profitable the team is. If the fans decide they don't want to go to games and buy merch because they are afraid to lose the team, well they are just doing everything in thier power to kick the team out. The D-ray fans I can see having a hard time supporting the team cause they have never been any good. But the Marlins have won 2 WS in the last 10 years. Ask anyone and they'll tell you the only successful season is a WS winning season. Going by that you can say that the Marlins have been the 2nd most successful team in the last 10 years. If the fans of a city are only going to support the team win they win a world series, then the franchise will never survive there. In 2002 the Marlins drew just 813,000 fans for the entire season!!! And you can't tell me that was a bad team, they were only 4 games under .500 and had these players on thier team.....

                            SP-Beckett
                            SP-Burnett
                            SP-Brad Penny
                            SP-Carl Pavano
                            SP-Nate Robertson
                            SP-Julian Taverez
                            SP- Ryan Dempster
                            C-Charles Johnson
                            1b-Derrek Lee
                            2b-Luis Castilla
                            3b-Mike Lowell
                            ss-Alex Gonzalez
                            LF-Kevin Millar
                            CF-Preston Wilson
                            RF-Cliff Floyd
                            RF- Juan Encarnacion
                            c-Ramon Castro
                            inf-Abraham Nunez

                            I know that there are no hall of famers on that team, but it's still a good squad. Best of all, most of these guys were real young. Maybe if they had drawn more than 800,00 fans that year they would have enough money to resign some of those emerging stars. But instead they had to sell them off because the fans couldn't support the team enough. The same thing is happening now. Chances are you'll look back in 6-7 years and say man that 2007 team had some great players(Cabrerra /Hanley /Uggla /Dontrell /Olsen /Sanchez /Johnson /Willingham /Ross /Oliva) they should have been a dynasty, but with the 1.4 mil they are expecting at the park this season, half of those guys will have to be traded off when they hit free agency year.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mex4Prez View Post
                              Contraction has nothing to do with how well the team does on the field. It has to do with how profitable the team is. If the fans decide they don't want to go to games and buy merch because they are afraid to lose the team, well they are just doing everything in thier power to kick the team out. The D-ray fans I can see having a hard time supporting the team cause they have never been any good. But the Marlins have won 2 WS in the last 10 years. Ask anyone and they'll tell you the only successful season is a WS winning season. Going by that you can say that the Marlins have been the 2nd most successful team in the last 10 years. If the fans of a city are only going to support the team win they win a world series, then the franchise will never survive there. In 2002 the Marlins drew just 813,000 fans for the entire season!!! And you can't tell me that was a bad team, they were only 4 games under .500 and had these players on thier team.....

                              SP-Beckett
                              SP-Burnett
                              SP-Brad Penny
                              SP-Carl Pavano
                              SP-Nate Robertson
                              SP-Julian Taverez
                              SP- Ryan Dempster
                              C-Charles Johnson
                              1b-Derrek Lee
                              2b-Luis Castilla
                              3b-Mike Lowell
                              ss-Alex Gonzalez
                              LF-Kevin Millar
                              CF-Preston Wilson
                              RF-Cliff Floyd
                              RF- Juan Encarnacion
                              c-Ramon Castro
                              inf-Abraham Nunez

                              I know that there are no hall of famers on that team, but it's still a good squad. Best of all, most of these guys were real young. Maybe if they had drawn more than 800,00 fans that year they would have enough money to resign some of those emerging stars. But instead they had to sell them off because the fans couldn't support the team enough. The same thing is happening now. Chances are you'll look back in 6-7 years and say man that 2007 team had some great players(Cabrerra /Hanley /Uggla /Dontrell /Olsen /Sanchez /Johnson /Willingham /Ross /Oliva) they should have been a dynasty, but with the 1.4 mil they are expecting at the park this season, half of those guys will have to be traded off when they hit free agency year.
                              Listen, I think it's terrific that you have such a dedication to the Mets that you travel 2 1/2 hours to go to a game, and you always go through good times and in bad. It shows you are a true fan and speaks towards your passion for your team. Every team has its passionate fans like you. That includes the Marlins--there are people from West Palm Beach who travel 60 miles on I-95 just to see a game, and they'll do it on a regular basis.

                              But the bottom line is that you simply cannot compare the Mets to the Marlins. The Mets have not had the revolving door of owners the Marlins have. The Mets have not been forced into a subservient lease of a stadium where they recieve little out of the profits. They are not being forced to listen to threats that they will be evicted from their own ballpark. There have been no constant threats of relocation and contraction due to the stadium arrangement. So even when the Mets may have a bad year, fans like you aren't thrown into a situation of uncertainty and flux and wonder as to whether the team would be there the next year. So the Mets simply aren't an apt comparision.

                              You mention 2002. Let me tell you a little about 2002 so you have a better context for why it only produced 800,000 fans. 2002 was really the rock bottom year for the Marlins franchise. John Henry had decided simply to abandon the team and run off to the Red Sox. In some twisted verision of musical owner chairs, major league baseball bought the Expos, John Henry sold the Marlins and bought the Red Sox, and Expos owner Jeffrey Loria bought the Marlins. Under Loria, the Expos had crashed and burned thanks to mismanagement. South Florida fans were fully aware of this, and in fact fully expected the same level of ineptitude here. Hearing Loria would be our new owner was akin to the kiss of death.

                              Then, at the beginning of the year Bud Selig started seriously raising the issue of contraction. Everyone knew the Expos were target number one for contraction. The big question was who was target number two, but it was pretty clear it would probably either be the Minnesota Twins (who were having some major problems of their own back then) or the Marlins. This was seperate from the constant rumors of relocation that continued, and from the failure again to secure funding for a new ballpark.

                              You list the players and mention that the Marlins were only 4 games under .500 in 2002. Keep in mind no one was clairvoyant in 2002. No one in 2002 would have remotely dreamed the Marlins would win the Series in 2003. In fact, no one in May 2003 would have dreamed the Marlins would win the Series in October 2003. It's easy to say in retrospect that there were some great players on that 2002 squad, but most of those players you listed weren't even close to reaching their potential. Most of them were all virtually untested, and remained unproven throughout 2002. To Marlins fans, the 2002 squad was just another sub .500 team with a bunch of unknown and unproven players who may or may not work out, and with Jeffrey Loria of all people owning the team and Bud Selig talking as if contraction was inevitable, people were honestly thinking they might not even see the light of day for 2003.

                              This is Major League Baseball. This is not the NFL, where the salary cap system creates a natural scenario where a team will have to rebuild for a couple of years so they can contend for a couple of years, and it ebs and flows. A major league baseball team that has a fire sale and gives away all its top players may never recover. Just ask the Montreal Expos. The Marlins got lucky with the 1997-98 fire sale in that the prospects they recieved in return eventually panned out years later. But that didn't become evidence until halfway through the 2003 season. So in 2002 Marlins fans had every reason to be pessmisitic.

                              Don't ever underestimate the type of damage that the combination of poor ownership and the constant threat of relocation will do to a fan base's morale. The Baltimore Colts were beloved in Baltimore. They were Baltimore. Johnny Unitas, Art Donovan, Bert Jones and all. The city worshiped the Colts. Then Robert Irsay buys the team and starts threatening the city. He begins to threaten relocation. He even goes as far as to hold exhibition games in other cities where he threatens to move the Colts to, flies into the stadium in a helicopter to the cheers of the fans of that city. Needless to say, the last couple seasons of the Colts in Baltimore were not very pretty, and the games were not attended well because they knew the writing on the wall and it pained them to see their beloved team like this.

                              Let me put it in a good analogy. Say you are married. Things go downhill with you and your wife. You have not divorced or seperated, but your wife tells you she is going to start seeing other guys that she may or may not choose to replace you with. How on earth is this situation healthy for you, or make you feel optimistic on the state of your marriage?

                              Sure, the idea of Marlins fans packing the stadium en masse despite the constant threats of contraction and/or relocation is a great, heartwarming notion in a Frank Capra-esqe way. But this simply isn't the way professional sports works. The Marlins need a sense of stability. They need to get out under the thumb of Wayne Huzeinga and his constant threats, who is still bullying the team even after he has sold it. They need a new stadium, not because Dolphins Stadium is bad (and actually it isn't as bad a ballpark as one may think), but simply because it will be a place they are the primary tenant of and not be subject to others' threats to evict them. The fan base is here. We saw that in the 2003 postseason (and to some extent in 2004 when attendance had significantly improved.) Give the Marlins a sense they are here for good and it will work out pretty well. I'm telling you this because I've seen this firsthand.

                              Comment

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