Maybe a new slogan will help?
The Miami Marlins on Tuesday announced the hiring of a new public relations firm to help with the team’s battered image on the heels of jettisoning star players and renewed backlash against tax dollars used to build the team’s new baseball park.
Miami’s Jeffrey Group won the account. The company replaces RBB and founding partner Bruce Rubin, a longtime friend of owner Jeffrey Loria whose Coral Gables firm represented the team since it won the World Series in 2003.
“The client engagement is over,’’ Rubin said Tuesday. “I never discuss why a client engagement ends.”
The PR switch comes after a bruising debut season for the Marlins in the new $640 million ballpark. The team’s manager caused an international uproar when he declared his admiration for Fidel Castro, management slashed payroll by jettisoning star players, and now the Marlins’ stadium deal with Miami-Dade is under fire again as the Miami Dolphins use it as a foil for the subsidies they want for Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. At a recent debate on the Dolphins plan, one county commissioner cited a “stench” that lingers from the 2009 Marlins deal, where taxpayers borrowed about $560 million for the project.
Mike Valdes-Fauli, president of the Jeffrey Group, declined to get into the details of the planned strategy for reviving the Marlins’ image. But he conceded his firm of about 100 employees has some work to do with their new client’s messaging.
“Definitely the Marlins are cognizant of how important it is moving forward that they communicate better with fans and stakeholders across the community,’’ he said. “I think it will be important for the Miami Marlins to communicate their point of view on a whole host of issues, including on the upcoming season, some of the challenges they’ve faced in the past, and even the current comparisons with the Miami Dolphins.”