Marlins rip out the Teal Monster to make a few bucks

Marlins fans, that proud clan of several hundred clad in teal and black, didn't spend their off-season dreaming of free-agent fire-throwers.

They didn't lie awake imagining Matt Holiday patrolling left field, or drooling over how the NL East could fall their way.

Nope. Fish faithful spent a long winter chewing their fingernails, wondering just how one of baseball's lowest-salaried franchises, which played last season in a park named for Lord of the Douche Jimmy Buffett's horrible beer, could possibly blacken the name of baseball even more in 2010.

Wonder no more, Hanley worshippers. A stadium that will see zero sellout crowds this year is now officially home to the biggest sellout owners of all time.

In a truly depressing effort to save a few thousand bucks, the Marlins have refused to replace broken light bulbs in their out-of-town scoreboard, the behemoth left-field fixture affectionately known as the "Teal Monster."

Instead, they've allowed stadium owner Stephen Ross to rip out the board — a staple of every baseball diamond in the land since the Babe patrolled Yankee Stadium — and replace it with ads for the MLB Network.

Fans won't miss it, team president David Samson helpfully explained: "Every fan has a handheld device with Internet accessibility."

Yeah! That's the attitude, Dave.

But why stop with the out-of-town scoreboard? The Marlins are already the most profitable franchise in baseball, according to Forbes magazine, and they didn't get there by thinking inside the box about cheapskatery.

Here are a few more innovations that can push cost-cutting to the next level for the Marlins, truly a team for our recessionized times:

• The sex offenders who once lived under the Julia Tuttle Causeway are homeless again after a Homestead hotel kicked them out last week. Sun Life Stadium has thousands of empty seats, even on game days. Stephen Ross, meet your new tenants.

• Hire ex-Creed frontman Scott Stapp as stadium organist. Yes, the 300 fans who show up to the game will commit seppuku at the sound of the voice that turned Opening Day's National Anthem into a grunge-vocal disaster. But think of the YouTube hits as he mangles "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," sullies "God Bless America," and verbally molests "We Are the Champions"!

• Hire a bunch of hairy, fat guys to dance between innings in exchange for a free buffet lunch. (Wait, you've already tried that one? Damn you, Marlins. You are good.)

 
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