The Marlins beat the Pirates last night, at home, in front of fewer than 7,000 fans. Before the game new Marlins owner Derek Jeter spoke to assembled media about evaluating his team’s start, what it will take to develop a winning culture, and those dismal home crowds:
“Developing a culture here, a winning culture, sometimes it takes a little bit of time. I like how the guys are at least going about their business. No one is happy with the results, go in the clubhouse they’ll tell you the same thing, but it’s a long season. We need to try to get a win tonight.
“It’s still early. We’ve played, what, 12 games? I don’t think you ever really try to judge a start, or judge a player, over a 12-game stretch. You play those games in the middle of the season they may not stand out as much as they do at the beginning, so I think you at least let it go three or four weeks until you start passing out judgment, but like I said I like the approach, guys are battling, they’re playing hard but we’ve got to find a way to win more games.”
I am particularly enjoying the emphasis on finding a way to win more games after the Marlins traded four outfielders who combined for 20.4 WAR in 2017. The franchise’s offseason moves were transparently about making the Marlins cheaper, so that the new ownership group could more quickly pay off debt incurred in the purchase of the team—to the extent that paying good baseball players to play for your team is a pretty tried and true way of winning games, exploring traditional ways to win will have to wait. Right now the Marlins are 4-9, with the second-lowest run differential in the National League.
As for the fans: The Marlins are averaging just 12,062 fans per home game, more than 3,000 fewer per game than the second-lowest average home attendance in baseball, and about one quarter of the average attendance at a Dodgers game. The team averaged just 6,556 fans per game over their three-game series with the Mets last week.
Some teams’ fan bases travel, I came from a team where our fan base traveled, that’s part of the game. For us, we want to get the baseball fans back into the stadium, and obviously pick up some new Marlins fans along the way. I think part of that starts with the experience—you come here, you have a good experience, hopefully you come back. Obviously we want the attendance to be higher, but that comes in time.”
No one should go to Marlins games.