Today marked a very special day on the calendars of baseball fans everywhere: pitchers and catchers (on most teams) reported for spring training. While it doesn’t feel like spring in much of the country, an air of rebirth abounds, for the fans of well-off and lowly teams alike. Unless you’re a Miami Marlins fan. Then it’s doom, gloom, despair and Jeffrey Loria.
No, the Marlins faithful, all four of them, don’t have much to be excited about in 2013 after their team was stripped to the bone this offseason. Add the three potential behemoths in the NL East (Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia) against whom the Marlins will have to compete and the fact that the team’s owner has been holding the city financially hostage for a few years now, and you get a Marlins ticket sales department with quite a problem on its hands.
That problem manifested itself in the picture above. This was the scene at Marlins Park only a half hour before single-game Marlins tickets went on sale Saturday. I count four people, though it’s possible the person in yellow, obstructed by the woman in the black shirt, is a Marlins sales rep. In any case, either three or four people were lined up to buy single-game tickets to Marlins home game this season the day they went on sale.
As for the photo’s validity, it was taken by Palm Beach Post Marlins beat writer Joe Capozzi and posted to his Twitpic page. I don’t think it’s Capozzi’s place to troll his audience — you know, unlike the guy who owns the team he covers — so this looks pretty legitimate.
Now, there could be other reasons for the poor turnout besides a city’s total abhorring of their baseball team. For one, it’s February 11. The only people whose minds are on baseball already are your hardcore types, and it’s a safe bet most of those people have season tickets or game package tickets already. It’s also hard to imagine people who just buy single-game tickets not doing so from the comfort of their own home on the web, rather than going to the stadium months in advance. Also, Miami is firmly entrenched in basketball season. With the Heat pacing the Eastern Conference and the University of Miami in control of the ACC, I can’t imagine South Beach folk counting down the days until those teams finish and the Marlins commence.
Still, this is pretty pathetic. And one of these dudes is wearing a camo hat and shirt, with long black socks and sandals. Since this is Florida, I’m gonna let that slide, but clearly Marlins fans don’t have much to be happy about these days.