Another day, another Marlins fan[s] turning against the team. No, they didn’t trade all their good players except Giancarlo Stanton this time. No, Jeffrey Loria didn’t write a self-serving letter to Marlins fans. What did happen? Well, according to the Miami New Times, a couple longtime Marlins season ticket holders made management unhappy. And you wouldn’t like Marlins management when it’s unhappy.
[Jan and Bill Leon have] paid tens of thousands for front-row season tickets since 1998. But last year, after the team installed an obtrusive billboard that blocks their view and dangerously obscures ground balls, the Leons asked to move into a different section. Their reward? A lawsuit threat.
More specifically, the Marlins sent the Leons a letter (it’s embedded in the New Times story, but you can see a larger version of it here) in which they note that the Leons’ payment for their 2013 seats (over $25,000), in accordance with their two-year season ticket agreement, was due in September of last year. “Should you fail to remit the outstanding payment amount within twenty (20) days of the date of this correspondence [ed. note: the letter is dated March 8], the Marlins reserve the right to pursue any and all appropriate legal and equitable remedies available to it at that time under the Premium Seat Agreement and under the law[.]” Jan Leon even provided perhaps the greatest summation of Marlins fans’ collective attitude we’ve ever seen:
“They’ve pooped on fans’ feelings for years.”
So, another case of the Marlins being the absolute worst? Well… not necessarily, actually, if the Marlins aren’t full of it (big if, granted). Why? Because while Jan Leon said the Marlins wouldn’t move their seats despite their requests, the Marlins said this:
We have offered Ms. Leon numerous opportunities to move to a different seat location, and each time she has refused to move.
Additionally, based on pictures in the New Times story, here’s a view of the Leons’ seats before and after the billboard was installed (only pay attention to the green foam; the cameramen in the second picture were gone by the time the game started):
It’s a difference – and given the $25,000+ they’re paying, the Leons have a right to voice a complaint about any difference – but we’re not sure it’s a game-changing difference. And if the Marlins did offer the Leons other seats as they claim, then this is a lot more nuanced than most “the Marlins are terrible” stories.
However: we don’t think it’s too radical to suggest that the Marlins haven’t earned our undying trust when it comes to the way they do business (Jose Reyes would back us there, we think), and that they, of all franchises, should tread especially lightly in dealing with fans who are upset with them, in the wake of the outrage over the offseason’s fire sale.
And that’s why, even if the Marlins at least have some argument they weren’t in the wrong in this case, we don’t feel bad revisiting the team’s Facebook page and posting some of the latest angry missives from fans who, months later, still feel betrayed. Under a post that asked for fan expectations and hopes for prospect Christian Yelich, who’s having a very good spring:
And under a promo for deals at the Marlins’ official online store, including a photo of a toaster that puts a Marlins logo imprint in pieces of toast:
Safe to say, if that’s where fan opinion of the Marlins is right now, they’d best – at least for public image purposes – only threaten litigation against fans who really, really deserve it.