After a contentious offseason for the Miami Marlins, Yahoo! Sports writer Eric Adelson went to the team's home opener on Monday. He spoke with fans who are still angry with owner Jeffery Loria after the team dumped salary by trading away some of its most-recognizable players.
Adelson also wrote that he was escorted from the clubhouse after he asked players about the attendance at the opener -- a respectable 34,439 fans, higher than expected and "likely a fish story (Hello, Groupon!). But on a beautiful night in South Florida, a majority of the seats at Marlins Park were filled," Adelson wrote.
"Further questions to players were shut down by Marlins media relations official Matt Roebuck who escorted this reporter out of the clubhouse."
A report from The Palm Beach Post said that some fans protesting the offseason moves at the opener were kicked out of the stadium for "creating disturbance."
Many have reported on fans upset with Loria's moves this offseason. Before last season, the Marlins opened a new stadium -- one that will cost taxpayers $2.4 billion. The team looked ready to win after a spending spree netted Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes. But in its first year in the new stadium, the team struggled.
Then, this offseason, Miami agreed to a massive trade with the Toronto Blue Jays that sent away Buehrle, Reyes and star pitcher Josh Johnson, among others. The salary dump helped Miami lower its payroll from more than $100 million to about $40 million. Some fans considered the move a betrayal. The issue is especially acute for Marlins' fans who have seen two World Series winners torn apart almost immediately.
Loria told Sports Illustrated's S.L. Price that the moves were made for baseball reasons -- essentially, to help turn the team around more quickly. But based on comments from fans, attendance figures were expected to drop this season.