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Report: Marlins threaten to sue ticket holders over seat complaint

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is reportedly taking a hard stand against some season-ticket holders. (USATSI)

According to a report from the Miami New Times, Bill and Jan Leon have been purchasing front-row season tickets from the Marlins since 1998, sticking by the Marlins' side through thick and thin.

And when the Marlins moved into their new digs last year, the Leons continued their support for Jeffrey Loria's team despite the turmoil that surrounded the team and the subsequent demolition of the squad.

But midway through the season, the team installed a new billboard along the third base side that partially obstructed their view of the action. All of a sudden, instead of being able to watch a game comfortably with no obstruction, the Leons were worried about their safety -- saying they weren't able to see hard-hit ground balls in foul territory coming their way. Plus, their view of the field was not as clear.

Here's a view from their seats before the new billboard was installed, courtesy of Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times.

text
The green pad is flush with the concrete wall.

And here's the after photo:

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The green padding is now raised a few inches because of the larger billboard.

Apparently, the photographers leave before the game starts, but it's the green padding that creates the obstruction. The Leons say they can only see foul territory by sitting up in their seats and leaning toward the concrete.

Since they pay $25,000 for the seats that became obscured, the Leons say they asked the team to change their seat location or they would not renew their tickets for the 2013 season. The team allegedly responded by threatening a lawsuit for nonpayment, according to Elfrink. It's unclear if the club made other attempts to resolve the issue before threatening the lawsuit.

The report goes on to say that the Leons signed a multiyear seat agreement with the Marlins in September 2010 that required them to pay $25,292 in September for the upcoming 2013 season. They say they haven't paid because the team refused to move their seats, so their bill is technically five months late and that's why the Marlins have threatened legal action.

"They've pooped on fans' feelings for years," Jan Leon told the Miami New Times. "These seats are not what we paid for. ... They wouldn't [move us]. We're just tired of fighting constantly over our view being blocked and our safety endangered. ... I have no intention of renewing. They're a Double-A team now. It went down the toilet when they sold off all the players."

Pooped on fans? Harsh, but completely fair. The Marlins have been treating their fans poorly for years simply by selling off star players whenever they were deemed too expensive. But, if it's true, threatening to sue season-ticket holders for complaining about seats that have become dangerous due to an obstruction would be next-level awful. Are $25,000 seats worth all the headache and bad PR? Doesn't seem like it, but maybe Jeff Loria & Co. feel otherwise.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook. Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: @MattSnyder27, @daynperry and @mikeaxisa.

 
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