The Florida Marlins will sell all of the team’s players and field a squad of handicapped 12-year old Guatemalan orphans in 2011, according to an internal memo leaked to the website Deadspin.com. The news comes on the heels of the website’s release of the Marlins’ 2008 and 2009 financial statements, which disclosed a net profit of $49 million for the two year span in which the team claimed to be losing money and maintained the lowest payroll in baseball.
Team President David Samson blasted the anonymous leak of the internal memo, calling it “fundamentally unfair.”
“As a franchise, we and I are very disappointed that this information was leaked,” said Samson. “We try very hard to keep this type of information from our fans because it may give the mistaken impression that the Marlins are in this solely for the money, and not to try to win games.”
Samson stressed that the use of handicapped Guatemalan orphans is essential to the future of baseball in South Florida, particularly since the team has committed millions of dollars to the publicly funded retractable-roof stadium due to open in April, 2012.
“It’s very easy,” Samson said. “We can keep our present players and not have a ballpark, but that would not be fair to the 5,000 fans who regularly attend our games. We always base our decisions on the long-term viability of the ballclub.”
Samson added that the team’s decision to further cut payroll and employ handicapped children should not diminish the fans’ enjoyment of the product on the field.
“The Guatemalan kids we have assembled will be around long after our current players have left the game. The fans will have the opportunity to watch them grow – at least those who survive. The fact that they are overcoming physical obstacles should give an indication of the character of these players. We are confident that our fans will come to embrace them.”
Samson would not comment on the rumor that the team is also involved in negotiations to sell its mascot, Billy the Marlin, to a third division soccer team from Croatia.