The Miami Marlins' 2019 season is officially in full swing. The team managed to split the season-opening home series against the Colorado Rockies and look scrappy despite losing two to the Mets. Tonight, they go up against New York ace Jacob deGrom.
Although the Fish are expected to be the worst team in baseball, there have been some glimpses of an exciting future. Starlin Castro, for instance, is hitting up a storm. He has had two home runs in the last two games.
For most Marlins fans, the product on the field is as new as the paint on the newly refurbished walls in Marlins Park. Names they've only seen on paper or heard about arriving in trades are now actually here, in the Major Leagues, for their entertainment.
The narrative outside of Miami is that Marlins fans barely exist. Truth be told, though, there are many different types. The one thing they have in common: All have survived the zombie apocalypse that has been the team's entire existence.
Want to get to know the different types of Marlins fans? Here are some of the most well-known species.
1. The "first time, longtime" fan. Over the past decade-plus, a lot of people have checked out of Hotel Marlins. With the continued rebuilding, fleecing of taxpayers, and overall disrespectful, swampy, Ponzi scheme moves under Jeffrey Loria and David Samson, there were many reasons to leave. Can you blame them? A fan can only take so much.
Under new ownership though, those fans are slowly but surely checking in on the team again. It doesn't feel as dirty these days. Is it depressing seeing the franchise start over again while ex-Marlins win MVP awards and blast home runs in other uniforms? Sure. But the fresh start has allowed old Marlins fans a chance to fall in love with baseball again, even if that means watching the team lose 100 games.
Losing has never been the issue, really. Marlins fans grew up on losses. It was the filthy feeling of paying Loria our hard-earned money to watch the losses pile up. That's gone now, and these Marlins fans are back.
And they remained faithful. Why? You'll have to ask their therapists and tax consultants. Maybe there's a secret menu at Marlins Park. Maybe they love baseball more than the rest of us. Or maybe they're just better fans than we are. Either way, their level of loyalty is to be commended. Or perhaps we should stage an intervention. We're not sure.
3. The stalker ex-girlfriend. You know the Marlins fans we mentioned who left but have come back? Yeah — these are not those people. These fans need a restraining order slapped on them.
They are mad at Derek Jeter for things that are obviously Jeffrey Loria's fault. You wonder if there is a bit of Stockholm syndrome here. Maybe these Marlins fans have been Loria-hostages so long they've developed psychological alliances with their captors as a survival strategy.
If only these Marlins fans had been as vocal about Loria as they are now about Jeter. Every change to the ballpark is met with a snarky tweet. Every single Christian Yelich hit merits a Facebook post. It's as if they have nothing better to do than bitch about something they say they don't care about anymore.
4. The "I'm just here for the love of baseball" fan. Not a huge secret, but it needs to be said — not everyone in Miami is a fan of Miami teams. Not even close, actually. Some are 55-year-old baseball fans who grew up rooting for the Mets, Yankees, or Cardinals and don't want to change sides.
Ironically, these people fill a helluva lot of seats at Marlins Park. They're just there to see a professional baseball game. The Marlins are their unofficial second team, and that's fine. Their money spends the same.
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South Floridians are lucky to have teams in all four major professional sports right in our backyard. Not everyone can say the same. Some people are just at the park for the baseball, not the Marlins.
5. The Instagram fan. Let's face it — Miamians love to be seen, even more so online than in person. Sometimes you need to "do it for the 'gram," and Marlins games are a tremendous place to get some good social media material. "Hey, look at me. I'm at a Marlins game!"
These fans exist in every town, but in Miami, where being beautiful is a brand, Marlins Park has some great lighting and beautiful surroundings for amateur modeling. Hey, Insta-fans paid money like everyone else. Tough to judge them. After all, they're at the game. You're probably not. So who cares if they're breaking out a selfie stick in the stands?