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Big League Stew

Don’t go there: Marlins close upper deck for rest of season

David Brown
Big League Stew

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The Florida Marlins obviously cannot wait for the 2011 season to become a disturbing memory. As Clark Spencer reports in the Miami Herald, they are closing down half of Sun Life Stadium and will stop selling tickets for the upper deck:

Marlins spokesman P.J. Loyello said team officials decided it made little sense to staff the upper deck with ushers and security personnel for a section that attracted so few fans.

"It was an operational decision," Loyello said. "We don't sell a whole lot of upper deck seats."

They don't sell a whole lot of seats, period. The Fish bring up the bottom of the aquarium in ticket sales league-wide. And they have the biggest stadium, in terms of seating capacity. The first thing anyone notices about Marlins home games is how orange they are.

Shuttering half of the stadium is practical, but still embarrassing.

Yes, 2012 is looking pret-ty good indeed, especially with a new retractable-roof stadium being built in Miami's Little Havana sector: {YSP:MORE}

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How's it looking, Billy Marlin?

Anything would be better than this season. Even though they ended the first half with a five-game winning streak, the Fish tanked in the NL East by going 5-23 in June. Along the way, they endured many a hardship:

• An injury to ace right-hander Josh Johnson.

• The stunning resignation of manager Edwin Rodriguez.

• Sharply diminished returns from banged-up star shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

All of the fuss over Scott Cousins, who received death threats after he ran over Giants catcher Buster Posey, contributing to his season-ending injury.

• Sharp criticism of ownership by their own players — notably Twitter star and outfielder Logan Morrison — for the firing of a coach.

• And, as usual, nobody is going to their home games.

As a result, with the possible exception of two dates — Dog Day and the final home game Sept. 28 — the upper deck at Sun Life will be off limits. Anyone who actually owns seats up there will be upgraded to a lower-deck seat for the remainder of the season.

Hey, who else wants to get closer to Omar Infante and Wes Helms?

Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Talk doesn't disagree with Florida's action, but he hopes officials won't wrap the upper deck in some kind of ridiculous tarp, like they do in Oakland or did at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

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Nice curtain, Twinkies.

I see one other problem with closing half of the stadium: What about all of the upper deck home runs slugger Mike Stanton will hit in the second half? In batting practice and the games? He can reach the upper deck without a problem.

So, without fans or ushers to retrieve the balls, there will be some great pickings for Miami Dolphins fans once NFL season rolls around.

Are there still Dolphins fans?

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