The Miami Marlins have been a major league franchise since 1993, and since then they have not invested much time into fitting in with the rest of the league. The Marlins did win the World Series in 1997 and 2003 and have had their fair share of success in just 20 short years, but that is not to say that they fit in with the rest of the league.
For the first 18 years of the Marlins, they played in
Dolphin Joe Robbie Pro Player Land Shark Sun Life Stadium under the alias of the "Florida" Marlins. Whatever the name, the stadium was less than idea. The summer heat created an outdoor sauna and the daily rain both delayed games and added even more moisture to the stadium, that was practically sweating itself. Maybe the location about 30 minutes outside of Miami would have been good if it was safe and away from the elements, but that was not the case.
That stadium, like the "Florida" moniker is now ancient history for the Marlins, as the team moved into the beautiful Marlins Park before the start of the 2012 season. The move to the new stadium in the new location with the new roof and the new free agents and new logo and new uniforms promised a new start for the Fish. The Marlins got just that, a new start, nothing more and nothing less. The team's attendance struggles before 2012 were well-documented and a new start with a higher payroll and a promise of contention seemed to be the solution for the Marlins. Fans would come to see the new look team and their crazy home run sculpture (Editor's Note: Andrew, you should know to call it the Monstrosity around these parts! -MJ) and outfield nightclub and backstop fish tank. The goal was for the Marlins to be a normal Major League team as far as baseball was concerned...and be as different as possible in every other aspect.
The history of the Marlins pre-2012 was defined by the apparent disregard for the fan. Both of their Championships were followed shortly after by fire sales. While it is somewhat of a misconception that the 2003 World Series win was followed directly by a fire sale, the Marlins' upper management did give the team more chances to succeed in 2004 and 2005 but pulled the plug before the 2006 season, trading practically every player on the roster. Mirroring what the Marlins did just seven years before after winning the 1997 World Series. This is the exact type of "different" the Marlins should have sought to avoid with their fresh start in 2012, the type of "different" involving betraying the fans.
The 2012 year promised a "different" Marlins team, but what we got was a typical Marlins team, which is, in fact, different than the rest of the major leagues. "Different" is usually a good trait, but only in moderation. Rainbow barf home run sculptures and tri-color minimalist Marlin logos are absolutely fantastic. They add to the overall Marlins experience and they make the Marlins stand out from the rest of the National and American League. Ultimately, the Marlins need to have a good product on the field if they expect to get a fan base, an ounce of attention in south Florida or (gasp!) a profit.