What does it mean to be a Marlins fan?
By Phil Kimmel
When teams win Championships, it’s easy to say you’re a fan. But, when your team is down, that’s when the true faithful emerge. Many Miami Marlins fans know defeat. However, through this, we still stay faithful to our team.
The Miami Marlins have struggled for quite some time now, yet there are still loyal fans out there. In 1997 and 2003 fans came out of the wood-works, but few remained through the struggles.
It isn’t hard to see why fans would be wishy-washy given the ownership and overall franchise struggles. Yet, through the struggles, there have remained the loyal few. The few that have no problem saying, “this is my team, no matter the outcome.”
These fans range in age and span all demographics. But, what keeps us coming? What drives us to remain loyal to the team that so many laugh at? This question was presented this question during this last string of losses from the Fish.
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When first questioned, I had to think on it. Not because I didn’t have an answer. More so, I wanted to remove my initial emotion from the answer. I know my personal reason for being a fan. But, what drives the rest of the Fish Family?
Is it dedication to the ownership? I think we all know the answer to that. Jeffrey Loria is, far and away, the most despised owner in Major League Baseball. It obviously isn’t our dominance of the NL East. So what is it that draws fans to the Marlins?
Loyalty to the city.
Many fans are drawn to the team because of the city they play in. Obviously, the largest fan base for any team will be in their home city. Citizens, prior and current, of Miami know that the city itself is amazing. Rich in culture and a night life that no other city in the entire Southern United States can compare to.
Boston sports has long retained the slogan “City of Champions” as they have held championships in all sports. But, what about Miami? Miami had its era of basketball domination. The University of Miami had their time as well. The Dolphins hold the only completely undefeated season, unable to be replicated by any other team.
Then there are the Marlins. Underdogs in both of their World Series appearances, they still managed to pull off the unthinkable.
Literally the only team in Miami that has never won a Championship is the Florida Panthers.
So, sure, Boston may be the “City of Champions”, but, Miami isn’t far behind.
Championships don’t win loyalty.
We are all aware that Championships don’t win loyalty though. We have seen our fan base slowly decline since 2003. If all it took to retain lifelong fans was a championship, then I wouldn’t be writing this.
The initial group of the Marlins’ fan base came from when they were established. At the time, the Fish were the only baseball option south of Atlanta. For a whole new generation of baseball fans, they were all there was in Florida.
It also does not help that Florida is the home for retirement for many northerners. But, the locals, the people who have moved to other cities, still keep their loyalty to the Fish. Why, through so much abuse from ownership, do we still stay?
One word. Resilience.
I have touched on this before. But, for many, the Marlins represent more than just baseball. The Marlins, and the way they play, represent one of the many strengths that Marlins fans have. Resilience. No matter what the score, no matter what the odds, this team does not quit.
When the team is the underdog, they fight tooth and nail to the end. When they are down, they still give it their all to show what they have. The Fish are notorious for being thrown together with players that no one would think to start.
Just look at a player like Derek Dietrich. Dietrich fought his way onto the Marlins roster. When he loses a spot to a player like Dee Gordon or Martin Prado returning from injury, he doesn’t quit. He bounces right back and finds a new way to get into the lineup.
The Marlins represent hope. No matter how bad things are, they bounce back. They find a way to fight. They find a way to shine. No, they may not win Championships like the Cardinals or the Giants. But, for those resilient faithful. We sit, we wait, and we hope.
Next: Miami Marlins: Consistency is key for the rise of Jose Urena
When their time does come, sit back and enjoy. Know that your resilience, your faithfulness, has paid off and no one can take that away.