As if they haven't received the most negative attention throughout the offseason, the Miami Marlins have recently threatened a lawsuit against season-ticket holders who claim the team obstructed their front row view with a billboard.
The team did add seven inches of green padding that reportedly "obstructed the view and put fans at a greater risk to get hurt by a foul ball," according to Jan and Bill Leon.
The Leons, like many south Florida baseball fans did, were quick to reserve and purchase two third-base line seats for the inaugural season at Marlins Park. According to the Yahoo! Sports report, the Leons spent approximately $25,000 for the two tickets. The couple also signed a two-year contract, making them contractually obligated to pay and receive the same two seats at Marlins Park for the upcoming season.
Requests to have their seats changed or to have the billboard shortened were unanswered, the Leons said, and at the conclusion of the season, the couple decided that they would not be returning for another year of baseball in Miami.
"They've pooped on fans' feelings for years," Jan Leon said. "These seats are not what we paid for."
Because of the fact that none of their letters led to a response, the Leons explained that they would not pay if the Marlins weren't going to, which grabbed the attention of Derek Jackson, the Marlins' vice president and general counsel.
The letter explained, according to the Yahoo! report, that if [the Leons] didn't pay by later this month, the Marlins would "reserve any right to pursue any and all appropriate legal and equitable remedies available to it at that time under the Premium Seat Agreement and under the law."
Having already wrecked his public image, it is hard to believe that owner Jeffrey Loria would refuse to change the location of season tickets for a couple that on a yearly basis put $25,000 directly into his pocket. His new public relations firm likely got involved, and the Marlins were quick to contradict everything the Leons said.
"We have offered Ms. Leon numerous opportunities to move to a different seat location, and each time she has refused to move," a statement from the Marlins read.
If that is a fact, the Leons were clearly using the placement of the billboard as an excuse not to renew their season tickets because of the offseason trades. However, the Leons' argument could be legitimate because of the timing. The two expressed the fact that they did not want to renew their season tickets directly after the season, months prior to the time when any trades were made.
Regardless of the outcome, the Marlins continue to be looked at the laughing stock of baseball. First they trade away all of their competitive and veteran players, and then they threaten to sue fans who want to support the franchise.