Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria embarrassed himself and the team’s fan base with one of the worst salary dumps in the history of Major League Baseball just months after opening a new stadium and acquiring half a dozen big-name free agents last year. Miami fans have shown their displeasure in a variety of creative ways, so it could only be expected that more disgruntled Marlins rooters would be out for the home opener Monday night.
That’s exactly what happened, and, adding another black eye to a team that collects them in buckets, the Marlins responded in a way that is sure to roil the fan base even more. Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that several fans who showed up to protest the Marlins on Monday night were kicked out of the game — for good reason or not.
One 25-year-old fan came to the game wearing a shirt that read “Marlins baseball: Helping other teams get better since 1998.” He and his friends hung out in the concourse with anti-Marlins signs, talking about the “selfishness” of the team in its roster dismantling. They also had unkind words about Loria.
Capozzi and another reporter were talking to the fans and then moved on to cover the game. About an hour later, Capozzi says, he got an email from the fans saying they had been ejected from the ballpark.
“They kicked us out,” the fan told Capozzi when Capozzi called to ask him about it. “We didn’t even make it to our seats.”
The fans said they were told their signs were blocking the view of others, and that the Marlins wanted them to leave.
After the game, Marlins president David Samson said the fans were kicked out not for the signs but rather for not complying with officers after they were approached about the signs. He said the fans had been asked for ID, and when they did not produce it, they had to leave, as is “standard operating procedure.”
“They were walking around just trying to create a, there’s a police term for it that I am not familiar with,” Samson said. “It has to do with disturbance, creating a disturbance. I don’t exactly know what it means, but it is [the police’s] job to make sure everything is safe for everyone.”
Yes, but whose job is it to make sure Miami is safe for baseball?