Marlins' Fan Event Sparsely Attended; Samson, Beinfest Address Fans' Resentment
The Marlins' preseason fan festival known as Winter Warm Up held on Saturday at Marlins Park "appeared to be much more sparsely attended" than last year's event, according to Tom D'Angelo of the PALM BEACH POST. Marlins President David Samson said he had "nothing but pleasant reaction" from the fans he encountered at the event. But D'Angelo wrote Samson "apparently didn't see the handful of protesters." The Marlins on Saturday began selling '13 single-game tickets, but "just a handful of people were in line about 20 minutes before the ticket windows opened" (PALM BEACH POST, 2/10). In Miami, Clark Spencer wrote many of the fans in attendance on Saturday were “bitter,” and Marlins execs are “acutely aware of the anger." Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest said, “I understand where the fans are coming from and the upheaval. But it is time to turn the page. Organizationally, we have. I think it’s kind of done. I think it’s been hashed out enough.” Samson said, “Our tickets sold last year was a drastic drop-off from what we thought it would be. And we suspect there will be a drop from that as well. We projected that, which is why the payroll is at where it is. I sort of hope us messing up last year doesn’t ruin the enjoyment that we could give people in this park." Meanwhile, Samson addressed last week's reports that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was interested in purchasing the Marlins, and said the team is “definitely not for sale" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/10). Samson added of the Marlins' attendance woes, “We have to address how to get people here. We have a ton of ticket deals. ... We have discounts opening night and every game. It’s affordable. There are no parking problems. It’s easy in, easy out" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 2/9).
HELP WANTED: SB Nation’s Rob Neyer said the Marlins are a "disaster." Neyer: "Their fan base, which was already sort of iffy, is going to crater now and attendance is going to be way down this year and probably the succeeding years. I really think for that franchise to get on its feet again their going to have to have new ownership, and there’s no hint of when that might happen” (“Clubhouse Confidential,” MLB Network, 2/9).