A year and two days ago, the team formerly known as the Florida Marlins officially began the rebranding of itself by formally changing its name to the Miami Marlins. Out were the old colors of teal, silver and white and in came flashy new uniforms doused in orange with yellow and blue. They left their digs at Sun Life Stadium or as I knew it, Pro Player Stadium, to the Dolphins and they moved into the new Marlins Park, equipped with an aquarium, nightclub and an interesting home run sculpture in left center.
The rebranded Miami Marlins were supposed to be more conducive to the South Beach lifestyle and the hope was they could finally establish themselves as a bonafide Major League Baseball team.
The fact that they still needed to establish themselves as a bonafide professional baseball franchise is a problem in itself. There’s no reason that a franchise that has won two World Series titles in the last 16 years should even be in this situation. The Marlins’ two championships are only rivaled by the Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants – each of whom have won two titles each in the same span – and the Yankees, who have won four. And nobody is questioning the legitimacy of those four franchises.
Ok maybe the Red Sox at the moment, but they have Bobby V to blame.
Yet despite the championship success, let’s just say the Marlins weren’t a star attraction. Prior to moving to Marlins Park, the previous Florida Marlins ranked dead-last among all National League teams in home attendance every year from 2006-2011. Even in 2003, the year they won their most recent World Series title, they were 15th out of 16 NL teams.
Hence, all of this led to the rebranding – the Miami Marlins era. Along with the new stadium, the frugal ownership made a splash at the Winter Meetings just week after they unveiled their new home. In came Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle and Heath Bell all for a total price tag of $193 million. Reyes received the longest and most lucrative contract in franchise history. Ozzie Guillen was brought in to manage a ball club with high expectations all of a sudden. (more…)