The Miami Marlins must suck up to a boat salesman for a website
Deep in the sweatiest bowels of Sun Life Stadium, one of Jeffrey Loria's minions is ticking off a to-do list for next season, when his ball club will be rechristened the Miami Marlins and move into a gleaming, fresh Little Havana home.
"New $515 million stadium at taxpayer expense?" Check!
"Garish logo in pink, blue, and yellow?" Check!
"Register miamimarlins.com to match the team's new name?" Che — uh-oh.
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The lackey types miamimarlins.com and "This Domain Privately Owned" announces an otherwise blank screen. The flack gulps.
Somewhere just off the coast of Miami, Guido Blanco laughs. The native Miamian, boat salesman, and avid fisherman has owned miamimarlins.com for 14 years — and he's not itching to give it up for the local baseball team.
"I don't really follow baseball, to be honest," Blanco says. "I'm from Miami. This is a football town."
Ouch. Truth is, the Marlins are SOL in claiming the site unless they want to invest the cash they probably should spend on a closer now that Leo Nuñez has fled the country.
Blanco bought the domain name for a couple dozen bucks in 1997 with vague plans to start a charter-fishing venture. The idea never took off, but he kept ownership of the site. That means the Marlins can't claim he's a "cybersquatter" and try to boot him.
"To file a suit, you have to show someone is using the name in bad faith," says David Roy Ellis, a St. Petersburg lawyer who has won several high-profile domain-name fights. "But using that name for a fishing company makes just as much sense as using it for a baseball team."
Indeed, the Marlins say they won't try to wrest the site from Blanco. "There are no plans for future acquisitions," says Matthew Gould, a spokesman for MLB.com, adding that marlins.com will remain the main web address for the newly renamed club.
So maybe Blanco will finally get that charter up and running. Just don't expect to see him at the new Marlins stadium. "I honestly didn't know they were changing their name," he says.
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