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Fish Focused on Fans

For the second day in a row, I've heard complaints from Marlins (both named and anonymous) about the lack of fan support at JRS.

As someone who attends about as many games as anyone, I have to say that I'm disappointed to hear the Marlins vocalize this publicly. To me at least, this is another poor reflection on the Marlins' front office. They should be working with the players to keep these sort of comments in house and to have the public comments reflect something more positive.

Telling people that they aren't good fans an effective marketing tool. These players, who don't have the courage to put their names behind their comments are effectively saying, "Fans in South Florida aren't worthy of our major league presence. If they want this team to stay in South Florida, they should start spending their hard earned dollars to come out and cheer for us - and not just when we're in the playoffs."

Maybe that's true. Maybe that isn't. There are a lot of other factors involved - and it's not all just that Miami is an event town. And I don't even mean the fact that many people are still without power (from Katrina) and getting back to normalcy after the storm - while that might be true, the attendance issue existed well before Katrina.

The Marlins need to look within themselves before they start laying into the fans. If you went through the clubhouse and asked the Marlins about the stadium experience that their families have at JRS compared to what they've had at other ballparks (when they played with different organizations), I'm confident that they'll find that nearly everyone rates the Marlins experience as below average. By that I don't mean to complain about the fact that hardly any of the seats are oriented towards the pitching mound or home plate. I don't mean to bring up the issue of ticket (or even concession) prices.

My point is how the ushers treat you, how the parking people treat you, what it's like to walk around the ballpark and all like that. At JRS/Dolphins Stadium, it's one of the worst experiences in the Majors. The Marlins employees blame the stadium folks and vice-versa. No one is responsible. Policies are inconsistent (no, you can't bring that water in; I'm sorry - sunscreen isn't allowed inside the stadium for today's day game...).

Make the ballpark somewhere that people want to come to for a night with a family and a good time out with friends. It's that in some ways today - but more than any other major league stadium I've been to (and we're North of 20 now), a Marlins game is a hassle.

More importantly, the players, who are in the midst of a playoff push, should be focused on winning the Wild Card or overtaking the Braves. (And that they're not - even if they're just getting sucked into questions from reporters - is one more example of how Jack McKeon doesn't have control of this club.)