The Miami Marlins drew a surprisingly good attendance mark for their home opener at Marlins Park, as 34,439 fans were present for the team's 2-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The hope for the team was that all was well and that fans were willing to do a little more forgiving and forgetting than expected before the season.
One night later and thousands of empty blue seats later and that myth was debunked.
The Marlins had just 14,222 fans in attendance to witness the team's 3-2 loss to the Braves tonight, marking a drastic 58.7 percent drop in attendance from the first game of the year to the next. It seems the same fans that were heard through the radio emitting light boos at the team's poor play had better things to do on a Tuesday evening than to return to Marlins Park, as the stadium was a good deal empty this evening. Pictures of the park available here and tweeted elsewhere displayed large-scale abandoned sections of the park. Kevin McAlpin of the Atlanta Braves Radio Network, for example, featured this Tweet from 10 minutes prior to game time.
Of course, Marlins fans and south Floridians are notorious for being late to a ballpark, so that is not a full indication of whether the team was drawing well or not, but the official numbers do not lie about tickets purchased. The Marlins got a lot of purchases for their home opener in part because they offered insane deals that should not have to be offered by any franchise for ticket sales. The Fish were offering two-for-one Groupon ticket offers with merchandise credit in order to get fans to buy tickets. The purchases only needed to be worth more than $20, meaning a lot of fans came away with a free ticket for a midseason game.
On Tuesday night, there was no such offer, and the Marlins' attendance suffered badly as a result. If Marlins fans were sending a message about the state of the organization and its treatment of the fans, this was a good start. Whether or not Jeffrey Loria listens is another story entirely.