They vented on sports talk radio, threatened to cancel their season tickets, and wrote angry letters to the editor. But theyre not over it yet. Marlins fans are still furious at team owner Jeffrey Loria more than a week after he traded five players and purged his payroll of $160 million in a controversial trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.
And the backlash isnt coming from just a few loud diehards.
A survey of 400 South Florida Major League Baseball fans, 90 percent of them self-described Marlins fans, found that the Marlins organization Loria, in particular antagonized and may have permanently alienated a majority of the fan base.
Only 23 of the respondents (6 percent) had a favorable opinion of Loria, and a third of those were people who said they personally know him. The only public figure who might lose a popularity contest to Loria in South Florida right now is Fidel Castro (who has a favorability rating of rating of about 1 percent, says pollster Fernand Amandi).
A majority of the season-ticket holders surveyed said they would favor a boycott if it led to Loria selling the team.
The poll, conducted Nov. 18-20 by Bendixen and Amandi International for The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald, found:
• 87 percent of Marlins fans feel furious and betrayed by the team ownership.
83 percent of Marlins fans have an unfavorable opinion of Loria.
• 61 percent of respondents identifying themselves as season ticket holders would support a boycott next season if that would force Loria to sell the team.
• 85 percent of Marlins fans feel the trade will benefit the Toronto Blue Jays more than the Marlins
• 95 percent think the trade was a fire sale, while only 4 percent think the trade intended to make the team better.
• 89 percent feel Loria has a moral obligation to field a good team because the new $515 million stadium was built largely with public funds.
The fans unload
I dont trust him, one poll participant said of Loria. Basically I think he is here to make money. He and his little Napoleon (an apparent reference to team President David Samson) are just here to make a buck.
Another fan surveyed said: He got us to build him a stadium with taxpayer money. He lied to us and is not living up to his promises and he should sell the Marlins. He is a lousy owner. He traded the players worth watching.
I dont think he has the best interests of the community or the team as a priority, said a poll participant. I dont think he understands the responsibility that comes with the public trust and the ownership of a professional sports team. Its a different type of business, not only one you can make a profit but with the public trust.
Other fans were more blunt:
Hes a leech and is sucking the money from Miami and baseball.
I hate him. All he cares about is lining his pockets. He just cares about money and not his team or fans. I wouldnt spend a dime on him!
He is a greedy crook, got what he wanted and now is not giving back to us. He should repay the city for the entire cost of the stadium plus interest.
The poll participants, selected at random, were 55 percent Hispanic, 38 percent white Anglo, 5 percent black and 2 percent other. Eighty-five percent were from Miami-Dade and 15 percent were from Broward.