SBD/November 26, 2012/Franchises

Polls Finds Majority Of Marlins Fans Feel Alienated After Team's Recent Trades

A poll found 87% of Marlins fans feel "furious and betrayed" by team ownership
A survey of 400 South Florida MLB fans, with 90% of them “self-described Marlins fans,” found that the Marlins organization -- and Owner Jeffrey Loria “in particular -- antagonized and may have permanently alienated a majority of the fan base,” according to Michelle Kaufman of the MIAMI HERALD. Only 23 of the respondents (6%) had a "favorable" opinion of Loria, and “a third of those were people who said they personally know him.” The poll, conducted Nov. 18-20 by Bendixen and Amandi International, found 87% of Marlins fans feel "furious and betrayed" by the team's ownership. In addition, the poll found 83% of Marlins fans have an "unfavorable" opinion of Loria. The results showed that 61% of respondents “identifying themselves as season ticket holders would support a boycott next season if that would force Loria to sell the team.” The poll participants, selected “at random," were 55% Hispanic, 38% white Anglo, 5% Black and 2% "other." Eighty-five percent were “from Miami-Dade and 15 percent were from Broward.” The Marlins “declined to comment” on the poll (MIAMI HERALD, 11/25). In N.Y., Bill Madden named Loria No. 1 on his list of “baseball’s turkeys of 2012.” Loria “embarrassed commissioner Bud Selig by deceiving the political leaders, taxpayers and fans in Miami that he was going to spend what it took for a championship-caliber team in exchange for them funding a new stadium for him.” Now that Loria has “taken his payroll from $188 million back down to less than $30 million, he can look forward to collecting his revenue-sharing and national TV booty and making a tidy profit -- all while effectively killing baseball in south Florida” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/25).

PARTING WORDS: The AP’s Steven Wine noted P Mark Buehrle, who was recently traded from the Marlins to the Blue Jays, issued a “parting shot at Miami Marlins' management after his stay with the team lasted only one tumultuous season.” Buehrle, in a statement issued Wednesday through his agent Jeff Berry, wrote, “'I'm upset with how things turned out in Miami. Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I'm putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career.” Marlins President David Samson said that the Marlins “didn't lie to Buehrle, but instead were compelled to make drastic changes after a disastrous season that included a last-place finish and disappointing attendance in a new ballpark.” Berry said that he and Buehrle were “wary of signing with the Marlins because of their history of rapid roster turnover, and because of the team's longstanding policy against no-trade clauses” (AP, 11/21). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote Loria tops Univ. of Alabama coach and former Dolphins coach Nick Saban "as the biggest liar in South Florida history," and it is “not even close, really.” Loria has “lied to players he wanted to sign, players he had signed, agents, taxpayers, public officials, media.” Hyde: “Anyone he wouldn't lie to given the chance?” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/22).

OUT SHINED? In Miami, David Neal wrote the Marlins and the NHL Panthers “sit on the sidelines, literally for the moment and in the South Florida sports scene now, depreciating in interest (if not value).” The NHL lockout has “stalled the Panthers’ momentum.” This period, which “should be their adulthood, epitomizes the perpetual adolescence in which these franchises arrest themselves.” Neal: “To call either franchise ‘young’ or to say ‘It still feels weird for there to be Marlins/Panthers,’ brands you as middle-aged or old.” That means to those 20 and under, "here and everywhere, the Marlins and Panthers have existed for as much of their lives as Red Sox and Red Wings. ... This failure to launch stuff is tired” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/23).
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