Five Things Derek Jeter Needs to Know About Marlins Fans
Photo by Roberto Coquis / Wikimedia Commons

Five Things Derek Jeter Needs to Know About Marlins Fans

Derek Jeter forecasts huge profits after selling off Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and other Miami Marlins players for nothing. And fans are pissed. It's probably time for both sides to sit down and get to know each other a bit better, like, away from Prime 112 and South Beach.

If Jeter and his ownership team are going to win over a fan base they've alienated before pitchers and catchers report for their first season in town, they'll need to better understand what makes Marlins fans tick. Sure, holding town-hall meetings with a couple hundred season ticketholders is a start, but to really win over fans, Jeter needs to better understand them. Here are the CliffsNotes.

5. Latino Marlins fans do not need to be "catered to." Just no. Stop it. For too long we've gone along with the idea that Marlins fans somehow prefer Latino players, that the key to success when it comes to attendance is to get all the Latinos in Little Havana to walk into Marlins Park because the team somehow relates to them. False. You know what would get those people to go to Marlins games, though? A winning baseball team and a fun game-day experience. Spanish-language signs and music are irrelevant.

If the Marlins sign Bryce Harper for $500 million and win 100 games in 2019 with just Taylor Swift songs playing, just as many people would attend games as they would if it were all done with a Latino vibe. This is a borderline racist narrative that is lazy and becoming offensive. Jeter bringing it up just shows how lost he is when it comes to knowing the Marlins fan base.

4. Bottom line: Marlins fans won't fill the park until the team is worth watching. Marlins fans are not loyal. Some of you might read this and think, Hey, I'm loyal! I'm still here after all the crap they've put me through! Yeah, you're rare. Attendance numbers prove it. Television numbers prove it. Merchandise sales prove it. By literally every metric, Marlins fans barely exist. Do you blame Miamians for being this way? You shouldn't. Miamians don't blindly support anything, much less the Marlins, a team that has burned them multiple times over the years.

If Jeter and his cronies think they will draw more than 20,000 a night with gimmicks and fun little engine-that-could teams, they are mistaken. Miamians have other shit to do Tuesday nights. We aren't coming out so they can watch another 60-win team blossom into something worth watching. Jeter reportedly told prospective investors that he projects the Marlins' "paid tickets" to double over the next five years, which would be hilarious if it weren't so wrong and, frankly, very stupid.

Show Marlins fans the baby; don't ask them to come monitor the labor. Until then, don't be surprised when ticket sales are putrid.

Former Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
Former Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

3. Marlins fans know the difference between wisely investing and simply spending money to say you did. Too many times over the past decade, the Marlins have signed a player to a ridiculous contract seemingly out of desperation, the latest example being the albatross of a contract that is the five-year, $80 million deal the team gave to then free-agent left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. Chen has been an injury-riddled disaster in a Marlins uniform and is untradeable.

If the Marlins truly want to do things the right way now, do them the right way. No half-measures. If they hadn't paid Chen, they could have theoretically kept Stanton or at least made the numbers work. On the next go-round, it will make zero sense for the Marlins to build from the farm system up and then pay ridiculous money to average players just to field a respectable team. Either trust the process or don't. Enough with throwing money at problems. Build it; then keep it.

2. The stadium experience has been one of the few things with which fans have been satisfied. The stadium experience and everything that comes with attending a Marlins game shouldn't be changed. Aside from some challenging parking and traffic situations, going to a Marlins game is a pleasure.

People love the local food options, the seating, and the atmosphere and, hell, have even come to love the home-run sculpture. The only thing that sucks is the product on the field. Worry about that. Don't go changing anything else.

1. The majority of Marlins fans will hate Jeter for a very long time regardless of what he does. Good luck, Jetes! Nothing you can do will make fans throw their unquestioned loyalty in your direction. "Jaded" is not the word to describe Marlins fans. A therapist probably has a more fitting word to describe their scars and trust issues. You need to know none of those problems will be cured overnight.

The Marlins would need a fast, Chicago Cubs-like turnaround for fans to be onboard with this version of a rebuild. That isn't likely to come, because the Marlins just don't have the farm system or the assets to create a farm system even close to that of what the Cubs used to go from 100-plus losses to a World Series championship in no time.

So get used to being the bad guy, Jeter. That's who the Marlins are in this town, and it will take a whole lot of undoing to heal those wounds.

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