The Miami Marlins have yet to play a single game under the new ownership group headlined by Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman, yet one determined fan is already organizing a revolt against the group.
According to Ely Sussman of Fish Stripes, the SB Nation blog dedicated to the Marlins, a fan named Nicholas Moncaleano has launched “Project Sunshine,” a movement named in direct response to the new ownership group’s reported business plan “Project Wolverine,” and aimed at rallying fans dissatisfied by the initial wave of decisions made by Jeter’s group.
According to Fish Stripes, Moncaleano is hoping to get one million signatures on his petition, which was launched on Jan. 6 and can be found at Care2. The petition begins with Moncaleano “calling on all South Floridians to stand up for themselves and our community.” He says his ultimate goal is to have Jeter and Sherman removed from their positions as Marlins owners.
“I heard a ton of bad things that the new ownership group would do once they took over,” he explained to Fish Stripes, “but despite the rumors, I gave them the benefit of the doubt.”
Then came the tidal wave of change. First, former Fish in the front office—Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, World Series champions Jeff Conine and Jack McKeon—were removed from their advisory roles. Longtime television play-by-play broadcaster Rich Waltz lost his job at FOX Sports Florida. “I had enough and decided that I should start this type of movement” when the Giancarlo Stanton trade became inevitable, Moncaleano says.
The petition has over 300,000 signatures in one week. The goal is to reach one million by opening day. The group has also set up an Instagram page titled marlinsfansunite.
It’s probably worth noting that Moncaleano says he never really had a problem with now former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. “I never thought poorly of him as many Marlins fans did,” he told Fish Stripes.
That would put Moncaleano in the minority. Loria finished his tenure among the least popular owners in all sports, not just baseball. That was based on years of empty promises and other actions that left Marlins fans angry and embarrassed. Despite the early support, Moncaleano will likely find that despite Jeter’s rough first few months, there will still be plenty of fans willing to give him a chance to turn things around considering the shape Loria left the team in.
Beyond that, the goal here is obviously unrealistic. There’s no way Jeter or Sherman will be forced out unless some unforeseen circumstances develop. A boycott, which is also suggested in the Project Sunshine mission statement, probably won’t make much of a dent either considering the team’s already lousy attendance figures.
With that said, it’s well within Moncaleano and other frustrated fans rights to voice their discontent. It also serves as the latest clear message to Jeter’s group that they have a long way to go to earn the complete trust of their fanbase.
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