The Miami Marlins have gone through a lot in the past three months since the 2012 season officially ended. The team had what was likely the worst calendar year of the club's history, as it struggled through a terribly disappointing season. The team made a series of midseason trades that seemed to clear dead-weight salary for re-appropriation, but the team then decided against investing in this core and broke the entire foundation down, culminating in the greatest fire sale trade of the organization's history.
It is no doubt that the Marlins had a terribly ugly 2012 year, but they want to open the 2013 year and campaign the right way. Of course, that does not mean investing back into the team that was supposedly going to be able to afford a mid-market salary for years to come. No, the Marlins want to show that they are capable of communicating with their fans by hiring a new public relations firm. Friend of Fish Stripes David Hill of NBC 6 Miami has the details on the topic.
Jeffrey Group president Mike Valdes-Fauli acknowledged his firm faces a tough task. "Definitely the Marlins are cognizant of how important it is moving forward that they communicate better with fans and stakeholders across the community," he told the Herald.
"I think it will be important for the Miami Marlins to communicate their point of view on a whole host of issues, including on the upcoming season, some of the challenges they've faced in the past, and even the current comparisons with the Miami Dolphins."
If the Marlins were indeed this cognizant of and interested in their negative publicity, they would have probably considered their inconsistent planning processes and their constant trigger-happy moves that disrupt any long-term laid-out plans. If the Marlins had an approach that fans could get behind for long-term success, Marlins fans would be more willing to invest into the product. But a season like 2012, with its high promise and immediate downturn, followed quickly by a panicked destruction of the team's core, is only going to encourage Marlins fans to stay away from the product. After all, the slightest hint of failure may cause owner Jeffrey Loria to abandon whatever three-year goals the team set just three months prior.
A public relations change is going to do little to stem the tide of anger about the Miami Marlins. Most fans are irrationally angry just because the Marlins traded any players, as their sense of "here it comes again" about this team is really strong. But in my opinion, this fire sale went beyond that and betrayed the fan base more than could have been imagined. And the only real way to change this is to change how the front office and ownership run and interact to make the product on the field a success. A change like this is likely to represent an actual improvement over the current situation, far more than any public relations firm change will accomplish that.
David seems to be in agreement with me that this particular fire sale hit a nerve above and beyond the typical Marlins fire sale.
Even if the Marlins become competitive once again in a few years, fans' enmity for Loria may never subside. The best PR firm in the world would have a difficult time making South Florida love Loria again.
Loria has challenged the Marlins fan base one too many times, and it would seem as though something more astronomical than a public relations switch will be needed to buy the fans' trust back again.