On the heels of several unpopular trades and other personnel decisions, new Miami Marlins ownership could use some positive press to close out their first offseason at the helm.
They certainly didn’t get it from the Miami Herald, which just completed its thorough analysis of Derek Jeter’s ambitious “Project Wolverine” business plan. Revelations from the five-part series just perpetuated serious concerns fans already had about the group prioritizing short-term profits and nothing else.
South Florida hasn’t totally turned against the Jeter/Bruce Sherman administration...yet. Some fans will wait and see what prospects they receive for their best remaining trade assets (Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto). Others will withhold judgement until the Marlins take the field during the 2018 regular season. There’s also a bloc that feels fully committed to the multi-year rebuilding process.
But Nicholas Moncaleano has seen enough, and he’s rallying everybody who shares that sentiment. Welcome to “Project Sunshine.”
Moncaleano soured on Marlins ownership almost immediately after the transition was completed in early October.
“I heard a ton of bad things that the new ownership group would do once they took over,” he explained to Fish Stripes, “but despite the rumors, I gave them the benefit of the doubt.”
Then came the tidal wave of change. First, former Fish in the front office—Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, World Series champions Jeff Conine and Jack McKeon—were removed from their advisory roles. Longtime television play-by-play broadcaster Rich Waltz lost his job at FOX Sports Florida. “I had enough and decided that I should start this type of movement” when the Giancarlo Stanton trade became inevitable, Moncaleano says.
The Project Sunshine mission statement (which can be viewed in full below) takes issue with “smart-a** remarks” that Jeter made in December’s town hall with season ticket-holders and the insensitive way he has gone about dismissing Marlins employees. For example, Dawson learned his fate via text message (h/t Bruce Levine, 670 The Score). It also calls out Sherman, who has the largest financial stake in the team, for declining to speak publicly since his introductory press conference.
Moncaleano’s goals are (in his words):
- Sabotage the corrupt Project Wolverine by boycotting all Marlins games, and refraining from purchasing merchandise to prevent the group from profiting.
- Launch Project Sunshine petition to remove Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter from their position as Marlins owners.
Moncaleano’s petition has been posted on Care2 since Jan. 6 under the username @marlinsfansunite. The progressive social network states that it stands against “bigots, bullies, science deniers, misogynists, gun lobbyists, xenophobes, the willfully ignorant, animal abusers, frackers, and other mean people.” In his opinion, Jeter, Sherman and their fellow investors fit within that broad final category.
However, Moncaleano repeatedly cites findings from the Project Wolverine analysis at the Herald among his grievances. Their reporting was actually based on an August draft of the business plan (and several other earlier documents). The sale of the Marlins was not even finalized at the time.
“There have been subsequent versions of Wolverine circulated with amended figures, but the Marlins declined to share those numbers or comment otherwise for this series,” Barry Jackson writes in the first installment. Yet Moncaleano feels comfortable concluding that it proves their “commitment only to their own profit, and not to the success of our franchise.”
Moncaleano has a somewhat unique perspective. He began identifying with the team in 2011, more than halfway through the Jeffrey Loria ownership tenure. “I never thought poorly of him as many Marlins fans did,” he says despite frequent managerial turnover during those recent seasons, failure to lead the Fish to any winning records and various other embarrassments.
He’s hoping the opposition to this new group is a widely held belief. The Sunshine petition set its goal at one million signatures with an emphasis on getting there around Opening Day. There were only five supporters when this article was initially published early Friday morning, with that total growing to 209 as of 4:30pm ET on Sunday. (A Yahoo blog post referencing this report wrote that there were already over 300,000 signatures. That’s ridiculous.)
In addition to signing, Moncaleano encourages fans to share the link with like-minded individuals and use #jeteroutofmiami and #notinmytown on social media.
For updates on Project Sunshine, follow marlinsfansunite on Instagram.