Not long ago, the Miami Marlins appealed to the citizens of Miami to approve public funding for a baseball stadium. They cried the poor mouth claiming they were hemorrhaging money and were in danger of having to relocate. The politicians of the City of Miami agreed without ever having asked to look at the books. They were eager to tear down the beloved Orange Bowl Stadium which had aged well past its expiration date. At one time they once had a chance to invest money in the Orange Bowl and renovate the historic site, but appreciating history for history’s sake is simply not a Miami thing to do.
So Miami’s politicians, under pressure from Major League Baseball, gave the ostensibly poor Marlins millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to build a baseball stadium on the site of the old Orange Bowl. A year later it was discovered that the Marlins cooked the books and were not nearing insolvency at all. In fact, they netted a cool $37.8 million in profit in 2008. The Orange Bowl, once home to the Miami Dolphins but most famous as the home of the Miami Hurricanes, couldn’t come down fast enough. In its place was erected Marlins Park, certainly the smallest and possibly the ugliest stadium in MLB. A year later the mayor of Miami was voted out of office in a recall election, and the federal government began a probe into wrongdoing in the stadium deal.
Hurricanes fans were devastated by the demolition of the once proud OB. The Hurricanes once set the NCAA consecutive home winning streak record there, rolling off 58 straight wins. The Canes won their first of five national titles in that building. Most relevant is the fact that some of the most intense games against the Canes’ nemesis, Florida State, were played in that stadium. The Orange Bowl was not a thing of beauty, but it was special. Many Hurricanes fans dared call it holy ground.
As if the Marlins’ lies about it finances weren’t bad enough, it proceeded to go back on their promise to their fans – all nine of them – to spend money to build a winner. Instead, it held a fire sale and got rid of all of their best players. Currently, the Marlins have the worst record in the National League.
However, perhaps their worst transgression happened two days ago when they announced they were holding a “Florida State Seminole Day” this Sunday. Yes, that’s right. The baseball team that snookered the taxpayers of Miami to build a stadium on the site of the Miami Hurricanes’ legendary football field was going to honor the Miami Hurricanes’ arch rival.
The most ironic thing about this embarrassment is that the game is against San Francisco Giants whose best player is Buster Posey, a former Seminoles catcher. Yes, the Marlins are holding a ceremony to honor an opposing player who graduated from the rival of the school whose stadium they lied about so they could tear it down.
No wonder one disgruntled Canes fan suggested on Twitter that the Marlins change their logo to a middle finger. This Sunday that middle finger will be directed at every Miami Hurricanes fan in the world.
The Miami Marlins lack integrity, shame, and self-awareness. Oh, and a winning record.