Miami Marlins latest ticket-selling gimmick is ‘exclusively’ ridiculous

Mike Oz

Good news: You're one of Gio Gonzalez' friends and family members. Yes, you there.

At least according to the lowly Miami Marlins, you are. They're offering a special, exclusive "Gio Gonzalez Family & Friends" ticket packages for this weekend's series. And to be eligible you don't need to have a password or know his middle name or have a Christmas card from Gio or proof that he follows you on Instagram.

Any ol' person, it seems, can access this "exclusive discount on tickets" by going to this here web page.

Two important things:

• The Marlins must have also traded the E section of their dictionary to Toronto, 'cause, guys, this isn't the definition of "exclusive."

• Gio Gonzalez doesn't play for the Marlins. He plays for the Washington Nationals, this weekend's opposing team. He is, however, from the Miami area. While it's sad the Marlins have to stoop to marketing at local residents who are fans of opposing players, it's not all that surprising. Especially when you consider how messy things are with the Marlins nowadays.

The Marlins ticket sales were a punchline before the season even started. There was the sparse line the day tickets went on sale. There was the Groupon offer for opening day. Then the "Would you rather have a $5 pizza or Marlins ticket?" question.

It all turned out like we expected — the team has the worst average attendance (17,162) in baseball and the lowest total attendance (738,000). Compare that to the league-leading Dodgers: 43,576 (average) and 2,004,528 (total).

Now this Gio Gonzalez thing? While it's not unique to the Marlins — stores like Old Navy and Foot Locker deem us faux friends and family members for sales all the time — it does reek of the desperation that the Marlins wear so well in 2013.

Owner Jeffrey Loria traded away his stars, so now the Marlins have to hollowly market other teams' stars? It's like they're a minor-league team promoting a rehabbing big leaguer coming to town. Or maybe it's just like they're a minor-league team. Period.

Here's an idea, Marlins: How about when the Detroit Tigers come to town in September, you have a "Miguel Cabrera Family and Friends" offer? Give "exclusive discounts" to all the former fans who stopped coming to games after you traded away your best players.

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