“That’s when I knew it was a fire sale and they were giving up,” said Floyd, who came to the home opener for the sake of his 4-year-old son but plans to come back only rarely. “They cut payroll by 70 percent. That’s an injustice. It’s unfortunate I’ll miss baseball, but I’m not going to pay money for a full season to see what’s essentially a Double A club.”
Other fans were mystified by yet another example of South Florida’s fickle fan base.
“It’s strange, and I haven’t been able to figure out the sports culture here,” said Josh DeBoer, a University of Miami graduate student and Chicago native (South Side, which means he’s a White Sox fan.) He graduated from the University of Tennessee, which packs 100,000 into the stadium on football Saturdays even when the Volunteers are mediocre.
“No matter how bad the White Sox are, or the Cubs or the Bears or the Tennessee football team, you go to the games,” DeBoer said. “You support who they are, not what you wish they might be.
“It’s a lot different here, seeing 10,000 people at a Hurricanes game.”
Maybe it’s time, finally, for South Florida fans to grow up. Enough whining. Enough with the excuses. (My personal favorite: There is so much to do here! As if there are absolutely no diversions in New York, Boston, Chicago or San Francisco.)
Loria has not been honest, wise or magnanimous. And Marlins fans have been abused by the emotional ups and downs of the past 20 years. But true fans don’t need a lovable owner. A lot of people who were not at the stadium Monday and won’t be throughout the season wouldn’t be in attendance anyway. The disillusionment Loria has caused is yet another convenient excuse to stay away. You could argue that the fair-weather, front-runners deserve Loria. They were made for each other, and they bring out the worst in each other.
“Miami fans have two faces,” Garcia said. “They’ll jump on the bandwagon when there’s a winning streak.”
Garcia will be back. Why would he deprive himself of one of the joys of life? He lives here. The Marlins play here. He will be loyal to his local team and its players, good, bad or last-place terrible.
But most of all, he’s loyal to baseball.