Marlins Snarkbox: New stadium attendance and U2

Yet another week has brought another weekly inbox article by MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, and that means the Maniac is ready to answer questions about all sorts of topics. Let’s get started, shall we?

It seems like there used to be more Spring Training games on television. Will we be able to see any Marlins preseason games on TV? It is hard for me to make it to Jupiter, Fla., to see many games in person.
— Robert P., Weston, Fla.

First off, shout out to my old hometown of Weston, FL! It’d be nice to see some Spring Training games on TV, but the atmosphere just isn’t the same as if you watched it live. I have yet to have that opportunity, but I’m very interested in doing so in the next few years.

Oh yeah, and I have not idea about this question. Frisaro, if you please:

It was just announced that Fox Sports Florida, the Marlins’ longtime regional sports network partner, will televise four Grapefruit League games: March 13 (vs. Washington), March 15 (at Tampa Bay), March 20 (vs. New York Mets) and March 26 (vs. St. Louis). The March 15 matchup against the Rays will be televised on Sun Sports, the sister station for Fox Sports Florida. The other three games will air on FS Florida.

To add a different perspective, a couple of the televised Spring Training games will feature broadcasters from both teams. Handling the telecast of the March 15 game will be Florida play-by-play announcer Rich Waltz, who will be partnered with Tampa Bay analyst Brian Anderson. For that game, Frank Forte will be reporting from the Marlins’ dugout, while Todd Kalas will be covering the Rays’ dugout.

I’d say that switching announcers sounds like a great idea, as Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton may be the most obnoxious set of homers in MLB broadcasting, but since every single local two-man booth is terrible, I wouldn’t really look forward to it. Seriously, they are all bad, except for Vin Scully.

Do you think the is a chance the Marlins will go after Grady Sizemore? What would it take for Florida to acquire him down the line when he is healthy?
— Jorgina F., Hollywood, Fla.

No. That was easy.

Grady Sizemore is probably an extremely good player if he’s healthy, but the Marlins have already spent what they are planning to spend. Don’t expect the team to take on another hefty salary after spending for John Buck and Javier Vazquez.

We know the Marlins’ front office, as well as the fans, want to see the seats filled at the new ballpark, but what is the organization’s realistic goal for attendance in the first season? Are they hoping to crack the three-million mark?
— Jesse S., South Beach, Fla.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the team drew well in the opening season. Most teams opening new parks draw pretty well to start. Whether that success continues will be on both the fans and the Marlins. The team needs to show that they are invested in success, something that I believe they are delivering. The fans now need to show that they can support a baseball team in south Florida with all the prevalent problems in building a fan base.

I’ve heard the Marlins have shown interest in free-agent third baseman Eric Chavez. Does the signing of Greg Dobbs take them out of the race, or are they still considering Chavez? It seems he fits the bill for what the Marlins want right now: Defense.
— B. Jameson, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Eric Chavez‘s old calling card used to be defense. But Eric Chavez‘s most notable calling card is being injured; since his last full season in 2006, he’s had only 628 PA and hit just .233/.290/.399 during that time period. These past four mostly empty seasons, he has totaled just 0.6 WAR. The guy is no longer a good player.

Having said that, is he better than Greg Dobbs, who is best known for one good season of pinch hitting (remind you of someone else on our team? Hint: he’s the team’s uncle)? Maybe, especially if he is as healthy as he and his agent are claiming (which he likely is not). The Marlins would be wise to take a look at him and give him a shot at third base. My question is why the Fish did not extend that same courtesy to Joe Crede, who has a better recent track record of health and production than Chavez. Crede fits the team’s theme of defense (+40 runs career according to TotalZone, +58 career via UZR), and he has more recently been a relevant player in the majors. In 2008, Crede lasted 373 PA for the Chicago White Sox and hit .248/.315/.460. A couple of seasons ago, Crede hit a pretty terrible .225/.289/.414 for the Minnesota Twins, but played Gold Glove defense along the way as well.

Again, I am perfectly fine with giving Chavez a chance on a minor league deal  but couldn’t the Marlins have given this same chance to a likely better bet in Crede? I think so.

When I glanced at the Tampa Bay Rays’ schedule, I saw they will be on the road at Houston June 24-26 when the Marlins play their “home series” in Seattle. Why didn’t the Marlins pursue playing the home series at Tropicana Field? Was there a hiccup in possible discussions to play there? We would at least have had a Florida crowd on hand.
— Victor Z., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Look, I used to like U2 way back when. Now I listen to a different style of music, but I can see that they still have strong appeal. The Marlins were simply outclassed. To be forced to move because of a band coming to town like this is an embarrassment, and it cannot possibly bode well for the status of the team heading into the new stadium. It looks just silly to me. Also, yeah, why not just play at the Trop, other than the fact that no fans would show up? Well, that’s probably the reason why; no fans means no money, and you know that if Marlins fans wouldn’t sit through an hour-long drive to get to Sun Life Stadium, they certainly wouldn’t head up to Tampa for a three-game set against, of all teams, the Seattle Mariners, with whom the Marlins share no history.

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