Stanton

Hook, Line and Sinkered. Trying to understand Miami Marlins fans, a memoir

I was going to write an article entitled, “Marlins fans are bitches.” But it turns out that I could be wrong about my initial assumption. Being wrong about baseball stuff is nothing new to me.

To begin with, there are some legit Marlins baseball fans out there. One of them, Ashlee Nicole, follows us on the Twitters. Ashlee’s a true hardcore baseball fan and she knows her stuff. But going into writing this, I was under the assumption that while the Marlins might have had a few real fans like Ashlee, the rest of them (most of them) were complete whiny bitches who deserve nothing. Why did I think this? Well, you can thank Marlins Man.

I’m an extremely judgmental person and I often formulate my opinions based on generalizations and/or interactions with one person. Here’s an example – Back in 2007, while riding MARTA, on the way home from a Braves game, I ended up sitting next to this Cardinals fan. He was the snobbiest, most smug son of a bitch I’d ever met. Since then, I have judged the entire St. Louis Cardinals fan base because of this one guy I met on a MARTA train. To me, all Cardinals fans are terrible snobby assholes who wear cardigans and boat shoes. I’ll admit, this is a terrible way to be, but I can’t help it.

On Thursday “die-hard Marlins fan” Laurence Leavy, who we know as the Marlins Man, joined MLB Network Radio to voice his concerns about the drama that’s been going on in Miami since Derek Jeter and his boys took over. Mr. Leavy sounded like a true fan. He complained about how his beloved home team are getting rid of their best talent and how this is nothing new them. He was very angry, and rightfully so.

Mr. Leavy continued on his baseball tirade and explained to the listeners how Marlins fans operate. In an effort to explain why the Miami Marlins don’t sell many tickets, Mr. Leavy exclaimed that “Miami only supports winners.” He essentially implied that if the Miami Marlins were good – they’d have great ticket sales. As a die-hard Braves fan who watches an entire 9-inning game in August when his team is 20-something games out of first place, I was triggered immediately and basically judged the entire Marlins fan base upon this one ignorant answer from “Marlins Man.”

I thought to myself, “Where were Marlins fans in 2003, the year they won the World Series? In 2003 the Marlins had one of the lowest attendance records in MLB, averaging 16,279 fans per game. In 2004, the year following their World Series title, their attendance went up just a tick, but they were still near the very bottom of the barrel. Hell, where were all the fans then???”

However, after doing some sophisticated  armchair research and tapping into my memory a bit I found that the picture might not be as clear as it seemed. Besides, while I don’t mind folks judging me on my terrible takes (like this one) I would be truly hurt if other fan bases judged myself and other Braves fans based on one asshole like this one:

In 1997 (the only other year they went to the WS) the Florida Marlins actually killed it in attendance. Leyland was the manager, they had Conine and Renteria, and Kevin Brown. Quite the squad. They also had one of the biggest payrolls in baseball that year – $48.7 MM. And, as we all know, that next off-season the Marlins started their “fire sale” trend, and finished their 1998 campaign in last place. What if the Marlins actually had fans? AND, if you look at the year prior to their WS run,1996, the Marlins were not good, finished next to last place, but were still near the top in attendance. The Florida Marlins in the early-to-mid 90’s were cultivating baseball fans. Then they pissed them all off.

The Marlins have become a running joke and we joke about how they don’t have any fans. Seriously, what if the Marlins had legit baseball fans at some point? They kill it in attendance, they win the World Series, then they get rid of some of their fan favorites, lower payroll, finish in last place the very next season, and that was it. Perhaps it’s more complex than “Miami just supports winners.” Maybe that’s just the Marlins Man’s stupid terrible answer, which would still make him a flighty terrible fan (IMO).

“But Josh, the Braves sucked for years and they still had hardcore fans.” Well, not really. Their attendance sucked in the 70’s and 80’s. They didn’t start killing it in attendance until the 90’s, AND they never sold their entire team after a World Series appearance.

Here’s the sad realization, in my opinion, what if it’s too late? What if 1997 was it for Marlins fans? In the recent past, we’ve watched The Fish build a new stadium (their attendance ticked up a little bit in 2012, but nothing to write home about), we’ve watched them sign big players like Stanton, and we’ve watched them change their name/logo. All to no avail – still terrible ticket sales and an empty stadium.

Based on the last several years, it seems to me that the Marlins are too far gone to save. Perhaps someday I’ll be proven wrong. Marlins fans were lied to back in 1997 and then they were completely taken advantage of with their new stadium and since then it has seemed to be the same old song just a different verse.

I guess what I’m saying is – the Marlins Man and the Miami Marlins suck, but many of their fans do not, and the NL East Would be better with those fans back in it.

And just for the record I still think Cardinals fans are the snobbiest SOBs in baseball.

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Knockahoma Nation Episode 37 – CLEVELAND SUCKS!

On episode 37 of Knockahoma Nation Atlanta Braves Podcast Josh and Ken talk about JAWS, Jeter, Stanton, Shilling, FREDDIE McGriff, and Jim THO-MAYYYY  and pretend to know a little something about music. You’re going to want an extra beer for this show. Oh yeah and why fans should want the Braves to sign Bryce Harper…

Our new Swag Store is OPEN! https://shop.spreadshirt.com/KnockahomaNation/

We’re live on iTunes, GooglePlay, TuneIn and stitcher!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/knockahoma-nation/id1227301408?mt=2

https://play.google.com/music/m/Isxrrg2r4qonvnzn3se5aycdczy?t=Knockahoma_Nation

https://tunein.com/embed/player/p1000445

http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=137499&refid=stpr

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