In Columbus, Michael Arace profiled the Arch City Army, a group of Blue Jackets fans who sit in section 227 of Nationwide Arena. The Arch City Army is "70 days old and has 70 dues-paying members, 200 Facebook followers and a sponsor in R Bar proprietor Mike Darr." The Army "has made two appearances so far," and "both were for weekday games because their group is too large to sit in one section for weekend games." They "chant things like 'Wake up, lower bowl,' as well as the regular Jackets cheers" and MLS Crew-type songs. They also "ask those behind them if they want to move to the front of the section, then they stand all game" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 2/12).
LOOKING AHEAD: In Miami, Barry Jackson notes the Marlins have raised their payroll from $48M to $58M for this season, and team Owner Jeffrey Loria said that payroll for the '12 season, the first in the new ballpark, "won't be determined until next offseason." Loria: "The new ballpark will generate the need for some additional players. I've never disappointed anybody. When we needed players, we went out and got them." Loria, who gave multiyear extensions to Ps Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco in the past year, said the new ballpark "will give us further opportunity to do other things with other players, but they have to show all of us that they've earned it" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/15).
RENEWED INTEREST: Surprise (Ariz.) city officials said that Spring Training ticket sales for the Rangers are "booming, with fans from Dallas and throughout the state accounting for a large chunk of the more than 40 percent hike from last year." Surprise Acting City Manager Mark Coronado said that "plans call for the city to 'bring a Texas atmosphere to Surprise' by duplicating some promotions that have become a regular part of the game at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington." There are "tentative plans for post-game barbecues where fans and players and coaches would be able to mix." Coronado, "who met with team officials in Dallas in late January," said that "details of the revamped fan experience are still being worked out" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/12).