No one's buying what Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria's selling.
Season ticket sales have plummeted from 12,000 in 2012 to just 5,000 so far this year, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Loria's defiant take on the team's scorched earth offseason isn't helping. After placing an instantly-maligned full-page letter to fans in South Florida papers Sunday, he continued to defend his decisions on Monday night during a 23-minute meeting with reporters and again on Tuesday. It was the first time Loria had addressed media since dismantling in November the higher-payroll team he had promised to provide when the Marlins moved into their new ballpark last season.
"I'm sorry we built this amazing ballpark and fans are feeling the way they do," he told a select group of scribes.
In fact, Loria "seriously" claimed not to have heard any negative feedback for several months, reports the Palm Beach Post: "I haven’t seen anything. I got a few silly phone calls. That was in November. It stopped. I’m hoping maybe we can just call a halt to it all and try and get behind the home team this next year."
That seems unlikely, considering photos from the first day of individual game ticket sales showed four people in line at the team's fan fest at Marlins Park, the public-private boondoggle that will eventually cost irate Miami-Dade taxpayers -- who never got to vote on the project -- some $2.4 billion.
Even the usually staid Associate Press couldn't go without digging the obvious. "The Miami Marlins' ballpark sat mostly empty Monday, which will likely be the case all year," read's the outlet's story from Loria's Monday attempt at image rehab.
Team president David Samson told reporters that 2012 ticket sales were 600,000 less than the "worst case scenario" of 2,000,000 -- leading to lower-than-anticipated revenues as the Marlins overestimated walk-up sales.
He declined to predict a sell-out for Opening Day.
"I’m not going to say Miami is not a sports town," Samson told the Miami Herald's Douglas Hanks. "Or that there is something wrong with the fans. I would never say that.”
Earlier on HuffPost:
"Can we retweet if we can't wait for new ownership to take over?"
South Florida Sports