SBD/August 8, 2012/Franchises

Great Expectations: Marlins' Attendance Falling Short Of Hopes Amid Disappointing Season

The Marlins are averaging 28,406 fans at Marlins Park this season
Not only have the Marlins “been a bust on the field” with a 50-60 record through Tuesday, but attendance at Marlins Park has “fallen short of expectations, creating an uncertain future on and off the field,” according to Clark Spencer of the MIAMI HERALD. Marlins President David Samson “wouldn’t say” if the team will cut payroll next season. When asked “will heads roll, both in the front office and within the coaching staff,” Samson said that “nothing can be ruled out.” But one thing he “promised was that every mistake -- and there were plenty -- will be examined when team executives convene with owner Jeffrey Loria following the season.” Samson said, “I think it’s going to be an interesting October, a little different than the October we envisioned. Jeffrey’s going to look at everything. I mean, he’s angry, and he should be.” Spencer noted the Marlins had a “massive sell-off before the July 31 trading deadline.” Samson: “Not one trade that was done was payroll-motivated. It was chemistry-motivated. It was winning-motivated.” He added that he “hopes the fan base will look at the season as a fluke” (MIAMI HERALD, 8/7). Samson said, "We don't regret what we did. We'd do it again. What we're angry and disappointed about is it didn't work. So we don't regret doing it." He said Loria is "very involved in the team.” He added, “On the other hand, Jeffrey makes sure his people do their jobs” (MLB.com, 8/7).

SHINY NEW STADIUM: In Ft. Lauderdale, Juan Rodriguez wrote Samson can “point to one facet of the operation that surpassed expectations: Marlins Park.” Samson said, "Having it come in the way it did, on time, on budget and people loving it. To this day, half a season in, the emails and the comments are just tremendous. That has a much longer lasting legacy and it feels good we were able to accomplish that.” He added, "It is certainly tempered by the fact that this season we had completely different visions of how it would go.” Rodriguez wrote while the ballpark has “been a bright spot, the Marlins have not maximized it.” They are “averaging 28,406 fans, putting them on pace for about 2.3 million for the season.” That is “no doubt a robust figure compared to Sun Life Stadium turnouts, but the honeymoon period arguably ended before it ever really began because of the train-wreck season.” Still, Samson said, "The damage is mitigated by the experience people are having at the ballpark ... There's no doubt attendance is lower than we expected it to be this year, but I don't blame the fans at all.” Samson: "This was an all-in season. There's no doubt about that” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/7).

PLAYING THE BLAME GAME: Also in Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote, "Everyone can draw a list of why the Marlins season went splat. Every list should start here: Loria. Failed. Dreadfully." Loria is a “meddler of the highest order.” Hyde: “On some level, it's his team, his money and he can do whatever he pleases." But the "way he's running it the organization looks like a completed disorganization. … The meddling owner had the worst year of anyone” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/7).
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