Thursday, August 25, 2011

COMMENTARY: 347 Reasons Why Nobody is Safe From the Internet Media

I was at the Marlins game yesterday...all 18 innings in fact. When I got home from an 8 hour day at the ballpark, I had no idea the firestorm I had created. Perhaps you'll recognize this tweet:
"Unofficial count of 347 at sunlife for first pitch... myself included! Counted by hand. Still not the smallest crowd I've seen here"
It was my tweet, and a factual tweet. Maybe I should've thought twice but I've tweeted about Marlins attendance before and never gotten any attention from it. I figured the journalists who normally find any reason to bash the Marlins would understand the game was rescheduled for the DAY BEFORE its original date and that the weather forecast was still iffy. Now I didn't expect them to know school has already started down here and most college students have begun to return to campus (Actually it was also the first day of UM classes).

The original "400 person game" which made headlines.
Which game had more people? I think yesterday!
As I continued to tweet and check my twitter replies, like I always do, from my spot in section 110 on my phone, I noticed something peculiar. People I didn't know were RT-ing me and I got many comments about my tweet. I was just stating the facts, remember. As I checked my newsfeed, I noticed some of the twitter handles I follow for sports "juice" were mentioning links about Marlins attendance. Keep in mind, this was during the 1st game of a doubleheader. I was floored to see my tweet mentioned. Something I am used to, embrace, and enjoy, was turning into the joke of the nation. Heck, even SportsCenter only mentioned game 1 on the air and did that just to talk attendance.

So, with that all in mind, I'd like to share with you a few facts:

  • FACT: Yes, 2500-3000 isn't a lot of people, but by the end of game 1 (the SCHEDULED start time), that was the approximate attendance. 
  • FACT: I had to switch work shifts to go to both games. Most people don't have that luxury, and I am grateful to the people who helped me switch.
  • FACT: I am also a member of the media, but I was a fan yesterday.
  • FACT: Yes, I do love small crowds. So what? I'm honest! I love baseball, I am a diehard, and I work in baseball! If anyone tells you they enjoy going to a sold out game (other than for financial reasons), they're lying. It's so much more fun to be amongst a small crowd! 
  • FACT: They only had 1 concession stand yes there were still lines! But you get to park right up close (easy exit), and you get to know your fellow fans. Can you do that in Philly, NY, or Boston?

However, I do have to give credit to one member of the media who covered this right. Dan O'Leary of the NY Daily News (@DanOLeary25) reached out to me for an interview. His column is the only one on this topic that I endorse. However, I even got a bit of backlash for that.

People have asked me why I didn't bash management. Here is your true answer: The same reason I don't bash fans. Yes, Marlins management has made some stupid moves, which may or may not have had an effect on this season. However, I am not going to get suckered into tying a long time argument with another long time argument. Management does not control the weather, after all! One article asked why a city of 2.5 million people can't draw more fans? People work and attend school, a storm is coming, and the team's bad.

Believe it or not, people HAVE shown up for Marlins games
in the past!
So why am I posting this? Well as a diehard fan, I am pleading to the media to go easy on us. In my lifetime, my home team has won 2 WS championships. Who cares how many people show up? This team won't get contracted (read the agreement for the new stadium if you wonder why.). This will probably go down as one of the 3 worst years for this Marlins franchise, but if you in the media take away attendance, you'll see this has consistently been a team that competes well into September and is respectable despite its low payroll.

I feel like I can't win here. My tweets turn into bash attendance, and the Marlins fans who read my tweets and the articles want me to bash management. That's not what sports are all about! What ever happened to sitting back, enjoying the game, and just having fun! That's what makes baseball so great. There's no point in complaining. I got to enjoy 18 innings of baseball for $1 yesterday (I used a rain delay ticket which you can exchange for another game). I don't care if 300 or 30,000 people show up, as long as I get my money's worth and have a good time, it makes no difference!

Last Minute Add: I want to share this tweet I received from @Davejshea
@790Justin was at a Marlins game in 2003 against Expos, 185 fans. Also a DH and also counted by hand.

2003 was the WS year. Weather causes havoc and that DH was due to weather (believe it was another hurricane, actually). It happens. No need to place any blame or make a scene out of it. If they had played the game today as scheduled, there'd be either no complaints, or people would complain that they played in the middle of a hurricane. The bottom line, is the Marlins and their fans will never win. Ever! 

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