Miami Marlins fans are not entering the 2013 season with a great deal of optimism, and why should they be? After building a brand new ballpark, bringing in Ozzie Guillen as manager, and signing big names like Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle last offseason, the team has already decided to blow up their rebuilding project and start fresh.
According to Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post, a handful of Marlins fans decided to protest the team’s recent failures at the home opener on Monday by showing up wearing shirts and holding signs that were critical of the team and owner Jeffrey Loria. Those fans say there were kicked out.
“We’re Marlins fans,” 25-year-old Dan Barton, one of the fans who was ejected, said. “We’ve been there since 1993. We’ve been through only two winning seasons. We’re tired of it. I’m just over it. Free the Marlins.”
“It’s just sheer selfishness. Now you have this guy coming in. False promises, false hopes. I’m tired of it. We’re tired of the ownership. We’re tired of Jeffrey Loria.”
As you can see in the video above, the fans spoke with reporters on the concourse. About an hour later, Capozzi says they contacted a reporter via email to say that they had been kicked out of the park once the interview had concluded. Barton said that the group had yet to even make it to their seats, but one officer told them their sign was blocking the view of other fans. When they asked police what they had done wrong, they were simply told, “They want you to leave.”
Marlins president David Samson claimed the fans were ejected because they were causing a disturbance and would not present their IDs.
“We got information from the police that they’d run into a couple of fans who were walking around holding signs that were fine,” Samson said. “That was not the issue. They were drawing some attention to themselves. Making some noise later in the game, which is not uncommon.”
“As per standard operating procedure, the police go up, try to tell them to calm down and they did not. Then the police said, ‘Show me ID’ and they did not. And that was it. You have to show ID when asked. So they were ejected.”
The group of fans, which runs a website called RageAgainstTheMarlins.com, later said that the only “disturbance” they could have been causing was from fans who wanted to take pictures with them because their signs and shirts were a hit. They also said that Sampson’s story about them refusing to show their IDs was bogus.
“So to make it sound like we got kicked out because we would not calm down and not show ID is a lie,” they wrote on their site. “David (Samson) also implied that we had drank too much but we hadn’t even gotten to our seats. We had no time to drink!!! Not like we would pay for drinks there anyway. I wish we could go to court over this.”
That’s what you get when you spend more money on your center field sculpture than most of the players on your roster. Marlins fans are angry, and chances are their moods are not going to improve over the course of the 2013 season. If the team wants to sell as many tickets as possible, their best bet is to ignore the protesters unless they are causing a major disturbance. Otherwise, ticket sales will drop even lower than the level they are currently at.
H/T The Big Lead