Frank Martinez, a Miami accountant who has been in the cigar business since 1996, sent an email to The Miami Herald on Wednesday morning trying to take a positive and patient approach to the latest blockbuster trade involving the Marlins.
“Although it seems as if many are surprised and upset as am I, ultimately it is the organization’s right [to make trades] and as fans we should respect it — not like it, but respect it,” Martinez wrote.
“As a fan, let’s be patient and wait to see the other side of the coin.”
Martinez, who owns 100 Fires Cigars — one of the few retail shops near the First Base Garage at Marlins Park — has a reason to be hopeful. He’d like to turn a profit when the 2013 season begins.
But barring a drastic change by a Marlins front office that appears set on only dumping salaries this off-season, Martinez’s cigar shop and the $515 million ballpark that serves as his business’ main attraction could be a ghost town come April.
Marlins fans — from season ticket holders to the ones who just go to games whenever they can afford to — continued their backlash Wednesday over the 12-player trade that sent former All-Stars Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, John Buck and Jose Reyes as well as beloved utility man Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto for a group of seven players mostly recognizable to only baseball diehards.
“Everyone is mad, obviously, and I think we’re all fed up with how this management has run the team,” said 25-year old Miami native Raul Mas, an FIU grad student who started a page on Facebook titled “Force Jeffrey Loria to Sell The Marlins.”
“We’re the laughingstock of baseball again. There’s no way we’re going to be able to build a winning franchise again. What I’m hoping for is a model similar to how the Green Bay Packers are owned, where the city owns them. We’ve got to change ownership to whoever really cares about the fan base.”
The overriding complaint from most Marlins fans is that this isn’t the first time ownership has burned them.
They have cited the breakup of the 1997 World Series team under Wayne Huizenga, and then how Loria’s group began trading away parts of the 2003 championship team, including 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, without getting much in return.
After all, it was less than a year ago, too, that Loria opened up his checkbook and promised a new direction of spending that would lead to winning, only to tear it apart before the season was even over with.
“Deplorable. Despicable. Criminal,” Jonathan Rein, a 26-year old digital media artist from Casselberry said of the trade.
“Dealing Cabrera didn’t lead to a Cy Young for Andrew Miller, nor did trading Josh Beckett lead to anything other than Nate Eovaldi and salary relief in the form of Hanley Ramirez’s contract.
“It also hurts them in free agency, as no self-respecting player will go near this team, knowing they won’t do no-trade clauses and seeing how they treat players. That team that plays in a dump of a stadium out in St. Petersburg looks better every day. Unless the endgame is Loria selling the team off — preferably to Heat owner Micky Arison or someone of competence — there’s no hope of gaining me back as a fan.”