Unsurprisingly, no one is attending Marlins games this year. Well, that's not true. A few people are going to Marlins games this year. But by the standards of a normal Major League Baseball team, the league-worst 10,000 fans the Fish are drawing per game is bad — on the verge of historically bad. You know your attendance is a special kind of bad when the Tampa Bay Rays are outdrawing you by nearly 50 percent.
In fairness to the Marlins, we must note the team this year has done away with its long-standing practice of lying about attendance numbers. Even though the Fish had a relatively surprising 17-27 start, attendance numbers have plummeted since a fire sale that traded Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, and Christian Yelich for next to nothing. Seeing images of an empty Marlins Park has been the norm since the stadium opened, but predictably, this season has been catastrophically bad.
Under Jeffrey Loria's ownership, the team would count every man, woman, dog, and child within a 50-mile radius as a paid customer. If the team gave away 10,000 tickets and seven people showed up, the team counted all 10,000 as "sold tickets." Now the Marlins actually report asses in seats. What you see is what you count.
That's great, but the numbers make news because they're close to historic. The worst attendance across an entire season belongs to the Montreal Expos in 2004. In that season, the Expos drew an average of 9,369 fans a night, mostly because the team had already announced it would move to Washington in 2005. As you might expect, people weren't exactly flooding the box office to see a team that about to leave.
It's really a shame what has happened to baseball in Miami. With new ownership and a new philosophy taking shape, Marlins fans are in a tough spot: Do you trust the process and go watch the franchise start over again from scratch, or do you save your money and let it all play out before you invest your hard-earned dollars?
For any other city that hasn't been through what Marlins fans have been through, you could argue fans should support their team as it moves in a new direction. But it's totally understandable why Fish fans are staying home.
The Marlins are barely outpacing the Expos for the worst average attendance in MLB history. And it's easy to imagine how the team's numbers might dip even lower as the season wears on, the record grows even worse, and the beginning of the NFL and NBA seasons take away even the little attention the Marlins get right now.
Nobody said it would be easy for Derek Jeter and his ownership team in South Florida. But a historically low turnout at a relatively new ballpark is a bad beginning to their reign.
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