Great Moments in Customer Service: The Marlins threaten to sue longtime season ticket holders

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The Miami New Times reports the latest in Jeff Loria’s apparent plot to alienate every single person on the planet: suing the team’s fans when they have the audacity to complain about something.

The upshot: Bill and Jan Leon have been Marlins season ticket holders since 1998. Last year they moved with the team to the new park and entered into a two-year agreement for tickets, covering 2012 and 2013. They say their season ticket agreement allows them to move their seats if they didn’t like the location after the first year in the new ballpark. They didn’t like it because, after they checked out their seats and entered into the agreement, the Marlins put up a billboard and padding that obscured their view.  So the Leons said they didn’t want those seats anymore. They wanted to be moved further down the third base line.

They got no response from the team and their request to be moved went unanswered, they say. So they gave an ultimatum: move them to a different pair of seats or they wouldn’t pay for the second season.  Then they got a letter dated March 8 which demanded that they pay for the seats or else the team would sue them. There’s a scanned copy of the letter in the linked article.

The Marlins at this point have, what, a few hundred season ticket holders? And how many with the tenure of the Leons? Tell me: does anyone in the Marlins place NOT try to accommodate these people? Does anyone in their right mind threaten them with a lawsuit?  Even if the Leons are blowing smoke and this is really some ploy to get out from under their season ticket agreement, is this the best way to handle it? Or does one in the Marlins’ place instead call their bluff, see if they’re still unwilling to pay and then proceed to collection via less obnoxious means?

What in the hell is wrong with that team?

(link via CBS Sports.com)

Nationals’ sell-off a vindication for Dusty Baker

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The Nationals threw in the towel on Tuesday, trading second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Cubs and 1B/OF Matt Adams to the Cardinals. The club also placed outfielder and soon-to-be free agent Bryce Harper on revocable waivers but took him back. The Nats’ sell-off is a vindication for former manager Dusty Baker, let go after the Nationals failed to advance past the NLDS for a second straight year.

Baker had roughly the same team current manager Dave Martinez did. It was arguably worse, considering he never wrote Juan Soto‘s name on the lineup card. The 2018 squad, sans Baker, has been marked by mutiny and underachievement. While failing to reach the NLCS in Baker’s two years was disappointing, he took them to Game 5 in the NLDS both years as well as 95 and 97 regular season wins. Right now, Martinez’s squad has a winning percentage more than 100 points lower than Baker’s last year. They’re on pace to go 80-82, which would be their first sub-.500 season since 2011.

Baker has always had an undeserved bad rap. He was, correctly, blamed for the Cubs’ demise, due somewhat to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior falling apart, ostensibly from overuse. However, after his stint in Chicago, Baker took the lowly Reds from the bottom of the NL Central to the top in two years between 2008-10. Then he took the Nationals, which had won a meager 83 games in 2015 and had made the playoffs just twice since moving from Montreal, to two consecutive NLDS Game 5’s.

Not much changed from 2017 to ’18. Martinez inherited Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Michael Taylor, Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy, Matt Wieters, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler, Shawn Kelley, and Koda Glover, among others. But for one reason or another — injuries, admittedly, make up one reason — almost all of these players are having worse years under Martinez than under Baker. Describing the 2018 team to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Baker said, “They’re together, but they’re separate.”

Is it strictly Baker that would make the difference? No, of course not. But the Nationals organization seems unwilling or unable to address issues that may extend into the front office. The Nats seem happy to go through a new manager every couple of years and hope that fixes all that ails them. Since Frank Robinson’s five years at the helm from 2002-06, Manny Acta managed two and a half years, Jim Riggleman one and a half, Davey Johnson two, Matt Williams two, Baker two. Maybe the problem was never the manager. Perhaps the problem is the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo.