VIERA, Fla. -- From March 12-16, Marlins Park will host World Baseball Classic second-round games.
The club was once hopeful that the Classic would be the first of many major baseball events in the new building. The franchise had its eye on another major prize -- the 2015 All-Star Game.
The Marlins were in the mix for the '15 Midsummer Classic, but last month, Major League Baseball announced it was going to Cincinnati. Throughout construction of Marlins Park, a posh retractable-roof building in the Little Havana section of Miami, the Marlins were optimistic 2015 was realistic.
"I was really hopeful that '15 would happen," team president David Samson said. "I believe that it should have happened."
Could a reason the Marlins were bypassed be all the negativity that has surrounded the franchise since they made their blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays on Nov. 19? No, Samson said, and for reassurances, he discussed the issue with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
"I spoke to Bud about that," Samson said. "Cincinnati was just ahead of us in line. That's the bottom line.
"It had nothing to do with anything [negative]. The Cincinnati decision was made long before there were any payroll discussions."
Miami scaled back its payroll from roughly $100 million a year ago to around $40 million. The earliest the club could now host the All-Star Game is 2017, after an American League club gets the 2016 game. But '17 isn't a lock either, because the Nationals also are in the running.
One reason the Marlins made their wholesale moves was based on revenues. The team finished last in the National League East, and as the losses mounted, attendance dropped. So the team didn't meet its ticket-sale projections. Samson noted that MLB and the MLB Players Association have all the Marlins' statements regarding their revenues.
"So they knew exactly what was going on, and they knew what this offseason was going to bring, long before November," Samson said.
Samson is aware of the public backlash since the November trade, and he is hopeful that once the season starts, fans will embrace the youthful team.
"What upsets me the most is, we want our fans to forget about life for a while, and enjoy baseball," Samson said. "Be entertained and have fun. When we are not providing that, that means we're making a mistake."