The Miami Marlins managed just two hits in a 2-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves in their home opener at Marlins Park on Monday. A reported 34,439 (93.1% of capacity) fans did show up for the game, though, so it’s not all bad news. A handful of fans adorned in homemade anti-Jeffrey Loria t-shirts and carrying signs protesting the club’s winter fire sale didn’t make it to their seats before they were escorted from the premises, according to reports.
The Marlins and Miami police claim that the fans were asked to leave on account of creating a disturbance and failing to present identification upon request.
Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post has more on the incident, including comments from the fans who were ejected:
One fan identified himself as Dan Barton, 25, of Fort Lauderdale. He wore a shirt that read: “Marlins baseball – helping other teams get better since 1998” – a reference to the franchise’s first roster purge.
Barton and four or five of his friends showed up on the main concourse above the first base line in the second inning and were approached by two reporters, from The Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
They posed for photos and talked about their anger over Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. One fan, who did not give his name, would periodically say out loud to fans passing by, “Free the Marlins,’’ which was also written on a sign.
“We’re Marlins fans. We’ve been there since 1993. We’ve been through only two winning seasons,’’ Barton said.
“We’re tired of it. I’m just over it. Free the Marlins,’’ the man with the sign said.
“It’s just sheer selfishness,’’ Barton said.
“Now you have this guy coming in. False promises, false hopes. I’m tired of it.
“We’re tired of the ownership. We’re tired of Jeffrey Loria.’’
They went on to say that they bought tickets from a scalper and parked in someone’s yard – their way, they said, of doing all they could not to let Loria profit from their visit.
The Palm Beach Post also posted a video of the fans in their protest gear:
There’s some conflicting reports here between the Marlins/Miami police and the fans in question. Barton, in an email to the Post, claims that he and his friend offered to turn their shirts inside out, but were asked to leave because “they” [Marlins officials?] wanted them gone. Marlins team president David Samson is sticking to the ‘disturbance’ and lack of identification defense.
Whatever the case, it’s bad PR for a team that doesn’t really need any help in that area.