New Marlins gear selling fast in South Florida
Players christen kiosks as fans flock to buy Miami merchandise
MIAMI -- New Miami Marlins merchandise is catching on in South Florida.
Fans already are showing their support by opening their wallets and purchasing the team's new gear.
"It's been all positive," said Marlins senior vice president of marketing Sean Flynn. "People are buzzing about all that has been happening."
The team officially became the Miami Marlins on Friday night. Shortly after the renaming ceremony, merchandise went on sale at marlins.com, as well as the Marlins New Ballpark.
Flynn noted that on Friday night, about an hour before merchandise went on sale at 11 p.m. ET at the ballpark, "there was a long line running down the street."
On Saturday, the Marlins set up kiosks at select locations in South Florida.
Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco were at the new store in Sawgrass Mills (12801 W. Sunrise Blvd.) from noon to 1 p.m. ET. Omar Infante, Gaby Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez met with fans at Dolphin Mall (11401 N.W. 12th St.) from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
And at the Marlins en Miami Store (3701 S.W. 8th St.), John Buck and Anibal Sanchez attended the opening of sales.
"It's Miami. Everything about this event said Miami," Buck said. "We're all here to celebrate the stadium and the change in direction the organization is going. It's really exciting."
The players who were at the malls took pictures with fans.
Marlins gear also is being sold at the Aventura Mall (19501 Biscayne Blvd.), and at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.
Flynn said the kiosks in the malls will remain through the holiday season.
Merchandise is expected to be in stores around town within a few days.
In the past, when the Marlins were seen in the community, they would be accompanied by their mascot, Billy the Marlin.
Many have wondered, what will happen now to the popular mascot?
"Billy is being recolored," Flynn said.
The new look Billy the Marlin should be around soon.
As for the futures of the Marlins Mermaids and Manatees, Flynn said the organization is still deciding what they will be doing with their in-game activities.
As for the product on the field, the Marlins have been among the most active teams in their pursuit of high-profile free agents.
They've already shown interest in free agents Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols and Ryan Madson. And team officials were in the Dominican Republic a few days ago to attend a private workout of center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who defected from Cuba last summer.
No negotiations can begin on Cespedes because he has yet to be declared a free agent.
After 19 seasons as the Florida Marlins, sharing Sun Life Stadium with the Miami Dolphins, the franchise now has its own identity strongly rooted in reflecting Miami.
"The vision from the beginning has been about Miami," team president David Samson said. "We wanted to be the Miami Marlins from the beginning. We embrace Broward and the Keys and Palm Beach County, but the fact is we're the Miami Marlins and we have a ballpark in Miami and we celebrate the diversity of Miami. When [team owner] Jeffrey [Loria] talked about the logo and how he devised it, it is Miami. It's what we've dreamt about for seven years."