A group of Marlins fans who showed up wearing shirts in protest of the Jeffrey Loria totalitarian regime were ejected from the game by police during yesterday’s home opener. Depending on who you believe, it was because either the fans were drinking and unruly and creating a disturbance, or because they were interviewed by a local television station and asked to leave soon afterward.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Dan Barton and some of his friends showed up at the first base concourse during the second inning. Barton was wearing a shirt that said “Marlins Baseball: Helping Other Teams Get Better Since 1998″. Another had a shirt that said “F Jeff [Loria]”. They also had a poster board sized sign saying “Free the Marlins.”
The group was interviewed at the concourse by reporters from the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel. As they spoke to the reporters, police officers watched and one could be seen in the background of a photo appearing on the website.
An hour later, the group e-mailed the reporter to let them know they had been kicked out before they got to their seats, and they explained that they were on their way home. “We asked police what we were doing wrong. And he said, ‘They want you to leave.’’
The Marlins’ response through team president David Samson is comical, and at this point deserves no benefit of the doubt. I mean, they might have some wiggle room if they weren’t targeting a group that appeared on a video with a local reporter and seemed friendly and not inebriated within a short time of being ejected.
“We got information from the police that they’d run into a couple of fans who were walking around holding signs that were fine. That was not the issue. They were drawing some attention to themselves. Making some noise later in the game, which is not uncommon,’’ Samson said.
“As per standard operating procedure, the police go up, try to tell them to calm down and they did not. Then the police said, ‘Show me ID’ and they did not. And that was it. You have to show ID when asked. So they were ejected.
“We go through games during the course of a season, it is not uncommon to have ejections of people who drink too much, do too much. Overall it is hard to, even for certain people, it is hard to put a negative spin on tonight’s game other than the fact that we did not win and got two hits.’’
Making some noise later in the game? Forget what the disgruntled fans actually said. According to the reporters’ account of when he was contacted again, this happened early in the game, and police were already watching in the background while the group was being interviewed.
My favorite part, though, is that negative spin comment. Oh, other than the fact that we did not win and got two hits with our dismantled team. The Marlins are now 1-6 and the hideous home run sculpture is more expensive than almost every player on the team.
Yahoo reporter Eric Adelson was at the game, too, asking players about the attendance. Well, until he got kicked out. He dropped this nugget late into his story:
The players themselves seemed buoyed by the turnout. Placido Polanco called the attendance “a good sign.” Starting pitcher Kevin Slowey said, “The crowd was amazing, for all the turmoil. A lot of people love baseball here.”
Further questions to players were shut down by Marlins media relations official Matt Roebuck who escorted this reporter out of the clubhouse.
It’s going to be a long season in Miami.
[photo via Palm Beach Post]