Senior Baseball Columnist

An open letter to Marlins season ticket holders after payroll purge


Fans will hardly recognize their Marlins next season after trades. (Getty Images)  
Fans will hardly recognize their Marlins next season after trades. (Getty Images)  

Yep, this letter should be going out any day now to Marlins Nation, a quaint little place where anger-management counselors now out-number the citizens 5-1.

Dear Miami Marlins Season Ticket Holders,


Kidding. Although we realize that this might not be the best time to make a joke.

Which is why we would first like to thank you for your support over the years and, second, assure you that neither Hannah nor Kyra Samson will be starting in our infield in 2013.

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It's true. Our president, David Samson, said this on 790 The Ticket just the other day: "It's not like I'm having my daughter play second base next year."*

(* Note, this is as of Thanksgiving Day, 2012. Things could change).

We know you're angry. We know you feel betrayed. We know that many of you still think our manager is ... what was his name again? Oh yeah, Ozzie Guillen. Seems so long ago now.

Anyway, as an inducement to buy season tickets again in 2013, we would like to offer you the opportunity to attend, at no charge, our home opener next April 1 against the Nationals.

Wait, that's a lie. That game is our opener but, technically, it really isn't a home game. Because it will be played at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

But if you would like to watch that game on the scoreboard in Marlins Park, please, by all means, let us know. We can have concession stands open like that, and parking attendants in place to take your $50 in no time. It is no inconvenience. Trust us.

So what we are promising today is a free unicorn with each season ticket order this winter. And we would like to announce that leprechauns will dance atop the sod during selected games at Marlins Park next summer as well.

Actually ... that's not true, either. Except for at Notre Dame, there are no such things as leprechauns. We only just discovered that the other day, after we signed free agent Juan Pierre and ordered him to lead Samson and Jeffrey Loria to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The bastard couldn't. (Nor, for that matter, could Joey Cora. But that's another story). So we will trade Pierre by the end of the winter meetings. Which still gives you plenty of time to purchase an authentic Pierre jersey in our new colors. Only $259.99 in our gift shop. You fools.

Truth be told**, it's a good thing leprechauns do not exist. Because, as things turn out, neither does much grass in our new ballpark. Look, we made no promises things outside of our own wallets would remain green after opening day 2012.

(** This is only the second time anyone from Marlins' management has used the actual word "truth" in a non-strike-shortened year since March 17, 1993, according to

As many of you may be aware by now, we have traded Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, Heath Bell, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Edward Mujica, four biographies of Fidel Castro from the bookshelves in the manager's office, a crate of fried chicken left behind by Josh Beckett, Billy the Marlin's personal hot tub, Buehrle's flea-ridden dogs, Samson's tick-infested character and Loria's termite-infused soul over the past several months.

Previous to that, we traded away Beckett, Pierre, Derrek Lee, Mike Lowell, Carlos Delgado, Luis Castillo, Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, Ryan Dempster, Antonio Alfonseca's six-fingered gloves, several boxes of Jack McKeon's old cigars, a gross of Joe Girardi's curse words, old photos of Carl Pavano and Alyssa Milano, Dan Uggla's All-Star Game errors and Byung-Hyun Kim's pillows.

Previous to that, we traded away Moises Alou, Kevin Brown, Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Al Leiter, Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile, the blueprint of Eric Gregg's strike zone, some old salsa records from the 1997 World Series and Wayne Huizenga's heart.

You may have heard Samson explain some of this, again, on 790 The Ticket: "What we're trying to do is get better. It's hard sometimes to rip a Band-Aid off."***

(*** But so easy to rip off fans!)

Full disclosure, that's probably a tall tale, too. Not the Band-Aid part. Have you ever tried to remove a Band-Aid? Ouch, right? The Band-Aid part from Samson, you can take that to the bank (and while there, please make your withdrawal for 2013 season tickets).

But that other part ... OK, we'd sort of like to get better. But the ultimate goal here, and this is where you can continue to help, is to line each of our pockets with 24-k gold. And it is really, really hard to do that (though much easier here in South Florida than in other parts of the country).

So thank you, again, for kicking in that 2.4 billion for Marlins Park.

We appreciate your commitment as Marlins fans. We understand that our play on the field last summer often tested your faith. Had we known we would lose 93 games and finish last, maybe we wouldn't have pulled the eject lever in July in dealing Ramirez and Sanchez.

Maybe we would have done it in May.

But you'll never know, will you?

So our latest plan is to welcome new talent into our organization, which allows us to chop payroll to absurdly low levels and make more money while concocting more elusive promises for the future.

Good news is, those who purchase 2013 season tickets now will be in on what might be our best home schedule ever.

Thanks in part to year-long interleague play (let's hear it for Commissioner Bud Selig, who allowed our trade with the Blue Jays to sail through this week!), buy now and you can see Al Kaline, Ty Cobb and Hank Greenberg come to town with the Tigers (Sept. 27-29), Tony Oliva, Kirby Puckett and the Twins (June 25-26) and Herb Score, Bob Feller and the Indians (Aug. 2-4).****

(**** Technically, this might be a lie, too. The Tigers, Twins and Indians all will play in Marlins Park on those dates. But Kaline, Greenberg, Oliva, Puckett, Score and Feller might not actually be on the active rosters then. Hell, for that matter, Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison might not be Marlins by then, either. But you should buy season tickets, just in case.)

As Florida's poet laureate, Jimmy Buffett, sings, "If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane." Right?

Or, as another Florida poet, Carl Hiassen, once told 60 Minutes of Samson: "A pernicious little ferret from the first day he walked onto the stage."

OK, technically, Hiassen said that about a Miami commissioner named Humberto Hernandez, who was indicted for bank fraud and money laundering, was re-elected anyway, and then served until convicted on vote-fraud charge.

Close enough. What's a little misdirection between friends, right?

Bygones. Rest assured, we have reviewed 2012 from every angle, and we have reached the following conclusion:

As God is our witness, we thought turkeys could fly.

Happy Thanksgiving, and here's to 2013,

The Marlins


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