If you haven’t noticed, and you definitely aren’t alone, the Miami Marlins are in the thick of the National League Wild Card race as we’ve reached the All Star break. The baseball purists in this town will blame the local media for not keeping the South Florida fans informed enough. The reality is that local television and radio cater to their audience, an audience that in large part has been yelling, "Let’s Go Heat!" during the past decade.
It’s the worst possible timing for the Marlins to have their best moment of the season. Dwyane Wade leaving town is the kind of thing that eats up news blocks for over a week. But how does it still seem that the Marlins, even in their most happy days are still met with negativity?
Just hours after the Giancarlo Stanton crushed a Home Run Derby record 61 long balls Monday in San Diego, the blogs began to write about how the Marlins offered a percentage point off select games for each home run he hit. Well MLB reportedly caps that at a 25 percent discount, but no one hears that. The Fish are still getting the bad press with headlines such as, “Stanton’s Dynamic Derby Screwed the Cheap Marlins.” This one isn’t even their fault, but the negativity attached to the franchise comes from a plethora of issues over the years involving one person: Jeffery Loria.
We are now one year away from the Major League Baseball All Star Game hitting Marlins Park in Little Havana, something team management has been pleading for since the moment ground was broken on their controversial stadium. It will bring an economic boost to the team and the city, and it could be the only reason Loria is sticking around.
The vitriol surrounding the Marlins owner is unlike any other. There is no man more hated by multiple levels of the community. His controversial and corrupt deal to make taxpayers flip the bill for most of the stadium, and his reckless and cost-cutting style of running a baseball franchise, have made him enemy number one. It plagues the entire franchise. Local blogs feed the monster that is social media, by constantly posting only the negative stories, business or baseball, and it becomes a vicious circle. So much so, that even when the team is performing well on the field, the casual fan wouldn’t know it.
There is no way Loria would put the team up for sale before the All Star game is played in Miami, but wouldn’t it make sense for him to cash out shortly after that? There is no way back for the Marlins’ boss. Forget all the other reasons the majority of people of South Florida aren’t fond of him, he had that ridiculous sculpture “thing” built in center field, and called it art.
The anger toward him has reached the point where it affects the team’s public relations. It doesn’t allow the true fans to revel in the current win streak, without having to defend the franchise from the irrelevant argument of a casual fan about something involving Loria. This Miami team is exciting. One of the better hitting clubs in baseball, including probably the strongest man to ever swing a bat. Four Marlins made the All Star Game Tuesday night in San Diego. It’s a team worthy of support, but it’s easy to understand the frustration of fans who continuously feel abused. I mean, we are talking about an organization that sued some of its own season ticket holders!
We all know this is an event town, and if the Fish do indeed find a way to make the postseason, the seats will be packed. Winning solves everything, except the already tarnished relationship between Jeffery Loria and the fans. If victory can’t save you, what will? Give us our team back, Mr. Loria.