Remember a couple weeks ago when everyone was superpumped about Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter snatching the Miami Marlins from the cold, clammy hands of Jeffrey Loria? Those were a fun 24 hours. Since then, it seems much more likely that Loria will at least delay any sale until next spring, when he doesn't have to share any profits with taxpayers. In the meantime, other bidders could still sneak into the picture.
So as long as Loria and his people are going to toy with our emotions in an attempt to drive up the price or further screw the city, those prospective buyers might as well have a little more information to work with while they ponder their bids. Here are five things anyone buying the Fish should know before coming to Little Havana.
1. No one is going to the games.
Everyone needs to stop bullshitting one another: Nobody is consistently going to Miami Marlins games. Marlins Park was the emptiest in the whole National League yet again last year despite the team playing reasonably competitive baseball all season. The only way the Fish can jump from the bottom to somewhere in the middle of the league is if they put together an absolute powerhouse, and even then, nobody will care on a Wednesday night. Are you an awesome Marlins fan mad at this statement right now? Cool. You know who isn't mad at this? Your nine friends who don't give a crap about the Marlins. Sorry! Jeets and Jeb need to know, bro.
2. Prioritizing Latino stars isn't at the top of the list.
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In the past, for some reason, Marlins execs have figured more fans might come to the game if the franchise's stars were all Latino. MYTH BUSTED! Baseball fans in South Florida do not care if the catcher is named Rodriguez or Jones; they care if he's good at baseball! Just like other cities! Yes, it's weird. Is it a bonus if a star player is Latino in Miami? Sure. Just look at what Jose Fernandez accomplished before his untimely death. But is it a huge priority the new owners should use as a tiebreaker on a personnel move? Not a chance.
3. You can pretty much forget about north Broward and Palm Beach County Marlins fans.
This isn't a Marlins problem; it's a baseball problem. You have to adore baseball to get in your car on a Tuesday night and drive an hour to catch a game. Unfortunately, this is just a reality in South Florida. Few people in the community care to do this even once a month, much less multiple times. It's just the law of the land at this point. If you want to draw more fans from outside Miami-Dade, your best bet is to hold Tinder nights and craft beer festivals. Think not-baseball stuff, and that might get people away from their DVR for an hour or three. Of course, when your franchise has been suing some of its most loyal fans who were actually willing to make the drive, the task of drawing those people to the ballpark is even more daunting.
4. Most Marlins fans are satisfied with the outfield, but that's about it.
The Marlins are bad, but they aren't that bad. The Fish have homegrown their entire outfield, and it's one of the best in baseball. Giancarlo Stanton, Marcel Ozuna, and Christian Yelich are fully capable of leading a team to a World Series championship. The problem is their teammates are dead fish. All around the diamond, the Marlins have pieces that fans wouldn't miss if they were traded tomorrow. True fans know the farm system is a mess and would rather gut this team and build for the future rather than continue kidding themselves with a perpetual 70-win team driven by its outstanding outfield.
5. Marlins fans will probably love you because you're not Jeffrey Loria.
Don't screw this up, buddy. Once you, whoever you are, buy the Marlins, you'll be loved. Fans have been waiting for this moment for more than a decade. Tagg Romney and Jeb Bush look like really good guys right now — just think about that fact. Once the team is sold, the new owner will be able to ride a high as he restores trust in the franchise, assuming the Fish don't mess it up. Treat fans right. Miami fans will reward you if you create a culture that they believe, at the very least, has the team headed in the right direction.