Originally written on MarlinsBaseball.com  |  Last updated 4/3/13

BRONX, NY - OCTOBER 19: Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria watches from the seats as his team takes on the New York Yankees in game 2 of the Major League Baseball World Series on October 19, 2003 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Take a trip to one of our quaint “Cafeterias”. Order a cortadito and spark up a conversation about the Marlins with whomever may be around, and you will quickly notice one thing. There is an undeniable divide in the South Florida sporting community these days. While most will side with those who are angry, the ones’ who are supportive can be just as ardent in backing the team.  A new baseball season is upon us, and in less than a week, that divide will be noticeable to anyone who attends Marlins Park or watches the game on live television. The Miami Marlins are set to take on the Atlanta Braves on Monday, April 8th, setting the stage for the climax of what has been a tumultuous off season for the Marlins.  Owner Jeffrey Loria will undoubtedly be present at the ballpark that night, and what he will see, or not see, will not make him very happy. In only its second season in the park, the Marlins will open to what will probably be the lowest attended home opener of the 2013 season.  But, can we blame the fans for not wanting to support an owner who has, on many occasions, made it his priority to line his wallet instead of building a winning baseball team in Miami? But who is correct? Is it the owner who had to cut payroll because the 100+ Million dollar experiment did not work, landing the Marlins in last place in the NL East? Or is it the fan who feels that ownership “owes” them, that the City bankrolled a Ballpark with taxpayer money, and the Marlins promising to increase the payroll and bring in talent? Well, as it turns out, they are both correct and incorrect. The Marlins HAD to cut payroll.  Unfortunately, two things happened in 2012 that made the off-season moves a necessity.  One, attendance was not what the Marlins were expecting.  Teams can expect a spike in attendance during the first few seasons of a new ballpark, and while the Marlins attendance numbers did go up, they were nowhere near what other teams have drawn when they opened their new parks.  Two, the Marlins, as I stated above, finished in last place with their 100 million dollar payroll. As fans, we are partially responsible for where the team stands today.  We did not go to the games last season, when we had the opportunity to show MLB that there ARE Baseball fans in Miami and the South Florida market.  Don’t give me the “The team wasn’t winning” line.  While they were under-performing  it is NOT the front office’s fault.  They did what they said they were going to do.  They went out, and spent money.  WE DID NOT SUPPORT OUR TEAM. Now, the Marlins could have re-invested some of the money they saved when they sent most of our team north of the border to Toronto, and here is where they made their mistake.  Nobody would have faulted them for cutting the players that under-performed, then going out to try to get new ones.  Instead, we have what resembles a AAA team. So, the question is, where will YOU be come April 8th? Will you be one of the fans, so mad at the front office that you are boycotting the team? Or will you proudly wear your Team’s t-shirt, and attend the game? The Marlins are OUR team.  They represent Miami and South Florida.  We should support them by attending games.  If you are mad at the franchise, so be it.  Go to the games, don’t buy new merchandise, eat before you get there, but show your support for the players.  They had NOTHING to do with the moves the front office made.  They are still representing your city and hometown.  It still says Miami on the front of the jerseys.
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