Can the Marlins bring the fans back to the ballpark?

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27: Martin Prado
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27: Martin Prado /

The Miami Marlins front office is making a determined effort to bring the baseball community back to Marlins Park during the 2019 season.

My father has said for years that he does not want to pay for tickets to watch a sporting event while the product on the field lacks a winning culture. He may have been talking about pro football and his beloved Jacksonville Jaguars but the same principle can be applied to the Miami Marlins.

The front office is making an effort to bring fans back to the ballpark, but will the South Florida community buy into the game plan, one where another 90-95 losses is a real possibility in 2019. President of Baseball Operations, Michael Hill, is asking the fans to give this team a chance moving forward.

"“I would tell our fans to just give us a chance,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “So many people have written off the Marlins and really haven’t taken an opportunity to take a deep look at what we’re building.“When you have a lot to do, it’s going to take time and we understand where we’re at. But we’ve been able to add a tremendous amount of talent over the last 18 months.”"

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The Marlins aren’t a finished product, but the heavy lifting is almost complete. The minor league system is better than it was at this time last season. There are plenty of young arms to develop. The 25-man roster has rising stars in Brian Anderson and Sandy Alcantara.  All that is needed is time to gel, to find a winning formula and hope by 2020 mediocrity is achieved.

It’s been a hard road, one that the organization has not navigated well. The past ownership group, led by Jeffrey Loria, had the talent but could not produce a winner. The new ownership group under the watchful eye of Hill and CEO Derek Jeter, traded away plenty of stars and talent who could not produce a winner.

It was broken, whether the fans want to admit it or not. Jeter knew it and is working to build it from the ground up.

Hill sees the growth of the Marlins in the 17 months the team has been under the new ownership group.

"“We know where we were,” he said. “We know where we’re going.”"

Now, with changes to Marlins Park and the roster from Single-A ball at both Jupiter and Clinton to the Major League level, the new-look team in Miami needs to develop sooner rather than later. Fans are aware of the “drought” and potentially have used it as a reason not to come out. Miami’s front office is working to change to image and culture of the team and the relationship with the community.

"“We’re excited about the direction [of the franchise],” Jeter said Monday. “We still have a long way to go; I don’t know if I’ll ever be satisfied. As an organization, we’ve taken some great strides, and we’ll continue to do that.”"

Hill told the media the Marlins have added 38 prospects and upper-level players since this new management took over after the 2017 season. He referred to the minor league system as “barren” and sees improvements at every level of development.

There is great depth – something the team lacked in the final years of the Loria-owned ball club.

If the team builds it, will the fans come out and continue to be patient? That is a question still to be answered.

Jeter believes he and the front office are building a winner. When that should happen is not something he is will to set a date for yet. He did tell the media this franchise will continue to grow and move forward.

Next. The Marlins foundation is still being built. dark

"“I don’t put a time frame on it, because anytime you put a time frame on it, you’re telling your team it’s OK to accept mediocrity,” Jeter said. “That’s not the case. I said it before and I’ll say it again — when you’re competing, you’re competing to win. You do that every single day."