Monday, July 25, 2005

My thoughts on Baseball in South Florida

In the off-season between the 2002 and 2003 seasons I became a Marlins season ticket holder. I had been a fan of the team since its inception. But I went through personal financial problems, a failed business, a serious illness and a failed marriage during the mid 90's. I was ecstatic of course when the fish won it all in 97 and was just as disappointed as everyone else when Huizenga broke the team up. I decided to vote with my feet and like many other fans, stayed away.

I began attending games again in 2000. Just a few. Then a few more in 2001. By the end of the 2002 season it looked like the negotiation MLB's collective bargaining agreement was going to be ugly and that perhaps the Marlins would be a casualty of contraction. I attended the last game before the deadline and took a sign that said "Thanks for the Memories, Marlins" because I thought it might be the last fish game I'd ever see. A photographer from the Sun Sentinel took my picture and it appeared on the front page of the sports section the next day.

Luckily the negotiations did not end in a work stoppage or contraction. I decided right then and there to buy season tickets for the 2003 season. I bought a 2 for 1 package for the full season and a parking pass. I attended about 60 of the 81 home games that year and you can guess that it was ONE HELL OF A RIDE! Of course the Marlins were the hottest team in baseball during the last 4 months of the season and through the playoffs and World Series.

The Marlins situation is maddening because everyone I know watches the games on TV and nobody goes to them regularly. There are enough fans in this market to support the team, but they don't come out in person. It's really a shame because baseball is one of the best entertainment buys around. Tickets are cheap and you can even come into the game with your own food. I made a commitment to the team. I'll be a season ticket holder as long as there's a team in South Florida. I believe a new stadium located closer to one of our two population centers and with all of the bells and whistles of the new ballparks will draw fans. Anyway, I'm feeling a little frustrated tonight because the weeks keep passing and there is no new news on the ballpark front. Oh well. I'll keep my fingers crossed.


tealup said...

October Dreamin' in L.A.

If I still lived in Florida I'd see the games in person, but I live in La La Land so I watch them on my computer. I partnered up with a baseball addict ( and ex-minor league player) in 2001. He made me "aware" of the Marlins in 2003 (of course) and I was struck by their spunk and rule defying play. What heart, I thought. I was still a lukewarm Dodgers/Angels fan (OK I was a fence sitter) but when the GM decided in all his Moneyball wisdom to dimantle the Dodgers I knew.... I followed the three amigos who were traded over to the fish. I broke my loyalty to the Angels after the Guillen incident, since I could not see anything he did to merit such a draconian punishment.
I mean baseball players get feisty at times, they bean each other, benches empty, words and punches fly, and they throw chairs and cameras. It isn't "good behavior" but it isn't capital murder or anything!

So, watching the Marlins, I got to learn about the individual players and the history of the team. Smoe great ball players have come through that organization, and some heartless, wholesale trading dismantled it too! I thought DePodesta was a hatchet man!! Anyway, the current rebuilt team has my heart and I am still feeling they can make it to October....again!!

Robert said...

The new ballpark issue is pretty frustrating. I agree that we have plenty of support for the Marlins, they just don't attend games consistently. Like you, I know a ton of people who watch every game on TV, but don't go to games. We have good fans, but they need to show up more consistently. That and convert from the Mutts and

I run the office Marlins season ticket pool where I work, we're original season ticket holders since 1993. I've only been to 1 game this season due to family issues, but in past years I've averaged about 7-8 games a season, not including playoffs in 1997-2003 where I went to almost every game.

A stadium at the Orange Bowl site would draw more fans, no doubt in my mind. So many people that live in SW Miami-Dade just don't want to deal with traffic and drive 45 minutes + to JRS/PPS/DS.

tealup said...

Man I want to take a road trip to Miami and see the Marlins in person. I saw them at the Dodgers games but I want to see them in their home. They sure deserve to have more in person fans supporting them at every game.