Sol and Mario Acevedo are too fond of the Miami Marlins to boycott games despite their loathing of owner Jeffrey Loria.
So they find ways to get seats inside Marlins Park for free.
For a game against the Phillies, the Kendall couple accepted four free tickets from the Wellmax van driver who cruises local neighborhoods and hawks giveaways to promote the medical clinic. The Acevedos parked at a friends house near the stadium and ate dinner early at home. They plan to do it again during the homestand that starts Thursday against the Cubs.
Total expenditure: zero dollars. The emotional toll of supporting a 5-16 team that cant hit is costlier.
Another time, they caught up with the Radio El Zol van on Flagler Street.
On air, theyll tell you where the van is and ask you to bring a red lipstick or a $2 bill or a hammer or wear Marlins colors, Sol said. I got tickets by showing a picture of my kids.
Its the game that precedes the game, and fans are willing to play in order to see baseball but snub Loria, who cut payroll and traded stars in reaction to the disappointing inaugural year in the new stadium.. Loyal, frugal or just plain sensible, they know supply outstrips demand during this season of discontent.
The franchise is up against Field of Schemes negativity: If you build it, they wont come.
There are deals aplenty. Free tickets for test driving a new car or buying a pizza or visiting a museum. Cheap tickets with a Subway sandwich. Discounted tickets at Groupon, StubHub, UberSeat. Two-for-the-price-of-one bargains. Food vouchers. The Marlins have partnered with the Orange Bowl Committee and Miami-Dade County Public Schools and other entities to give away tickets.
The Marlins had originally hoped for average attendance in the range of 33,000-35,000 when they moved from Sun Life Stadium to Little Havana, where capacity is 37,500, but those numbers proved far too optimistic, and this year is expected to be worse. Season ticket sales plunged from 12,000 to 5,000. The average paid attendance last year was 27,401. After nine home games in April, the average is 19,586, last in the National League but so far higher than the final six years at Sun Life.
We are confronting a confluence of things, including a fan base that is upset, Marlins president David Samson said. Were trying to bring people to the ballpark to enjoy baseball in spite of their feelings for me or Jeffrey. People arrive in a bad mood so we are working extra hard to overcome preconceived notions. Once they come in, they find its a great experience.
Fans at the stadium agreed with Samson and were very pleased with their discounted or free seats.
Nathan Asaro, a sommelier from Jacksonville, and his brother Joseph, a credit card fraud investigator from San Francisco, are on a quest to attend games at all 30 major league ballparks together. They bought $26 right-field tickets on StubHub last week, then moved 10 rows behind home plate, where they took photos on their cell phones.
We could call balls and strikes, Joseph said.
Said Nathan: It would cost $50 for seats not nearly as prime as these at other ballparks at least $200 at Yankee Stadium.
Philly fans flew to Miami for a weekend spring break April 13 just so they could watch their hometown team from a vantage point they could never have in Philadelphia, where the best seats are sold out. David Gleason and Lance Lepchuk paid $37 for $77 face-value seats on Groupon and said they were close enough to practically exchange high-fives with Ryan Howard.