Just before a critical vote on their taxpayer-funded playground, the Marlins are making promises:
With final voting on the Florida Marlins’ long-sought ballpark less than two weeks away, club president David Samson says he expects near-capacity crowds nightly the first year in the team’s new home, with annual attendance above 2 million for at least seven seasons.
Such an increase for the attendance-challenged Marlins would allow them to climb into the middle of the major league pack in player payroll, Samson said Monday.
“As soon as our revenues goes up, our payroll will go up,” Samson said at a luncheon to promote the upcoming season. “In the new ballpark, our payroll will always match our revenues, but our revenues will be higher.”
The Marlins have been last or next-to-last in the majors in payroll each of the past three years. In 2008 payroll was $22 million, while the median in the big leagues was $80 million.
“This is not a small-market team,” Samson said. “It has been a low-revenue team. Miami and its surrounding counties to me are at least a mid- to above-average market. If we can get the revenue that should go along with that size market, then we certainly should be at least in the mid-range.”
I’ll believe it when I see it. I have zero faith that a team owned by Jeff Loria will pay one penny more in payroll than it takes to field a team that doesn’t actually forfeit games. If they build that stadium, I expect them to skate on the novelty of the joint for a year or so, then complain that pre-construction revenue projections were unduly optimistic, while continuing to ship off the decent players the baseball operations side always manages to unearth prior to arbitration.