By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — The Miami Marlins are one of the most pathetic franchises in Major League Baseball and all of professional sports, for that matter. On Thursday, we all got another reminder of why that is the case.

The Marlins charged extra money for tickets to Thursday’s spring training game in Jupiter, Fla., because the World Series-champion Boston Red Sox were in town. The problem? The Red Sox didn’t exactly send out the same lineup that beat the Cardinals last October, and that’s something that really upset some of the Marlins’ higher-ups.

According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel, “The Marlins had no comment, but a source said team executives were ‘outraged’ and planned to contact the league office.”


Where to start?

First, there are these raised ticket prices. According to Rodriguez, the Marlins charged between $10 and $12 extra per ticket for this game. Marlins management obviously saw an opportunity to make a few bucks because a franchise that is actually successful was rolling into town, as if that puts some sort of responsibility on the Red Sox’ shoulders to reward the Marlins for it.

News flash to the Marlins: The Red Sox can do whatever they want. If that means sending a bunch of minor leaguers to your spring training stadium, then so be it. The Red Sox owe the Marlins exactly nothing.

Second is the simple fact that this is spring training we’re talking about. Sure, it’s wonderful for fans from up north to head to Florida for a week, feel the warm air on their skin and experience the peaceful routine of seeing baseball every day. But it’s still spring training. It’s not real. Standings don’t matter. To borrow a line from Allen Iverson, we talkin’ ’bout practice. And if you’re the Marlins, you’re playing about 90 minutes from your regular-season home, so it’s really those traveling Red Sox fans that you’re trying to price-gouge in the first place. (Given that the Marlins averaged just 52.3 percent attendance at their shiny new ballpark this year, it’s a wonder how many Marlins fans are even out there to gouge.)

To really drive home how meaningless this baseball “game” was, consider this: The final score was 0-0. As in, nobody won. As in, it started raining, and nobody was winning, so the game ended. As in … it doesn’t count, and it doesn’t matter, and it’s spring training! (Also, as in, the Marlins are angry that the Red Sox fielded a minor league team … which the Marlins couldn’t beat.)

Yet the Marlins executives are “outraged” because John Farrell didn’t bring Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz for a glorified practice in Jupiter.

The article by Rodriguez cites an MLB rule, which says a team must play at least four regular players or players with a chance to play every day for at least three innings in games. The Red Sox for sure didn’t exactly fulfill that requirement, though Jackie Bradley Jr. (the opening day starter), Garin Cecchini (a top prospect who could crack the lineup by summertime), Ryan Lavarnway (47 games of MLB experience) and Brandon Snyder (87 games of MLB experience) makes it closer than the Marlins may know.

And here’s the best line from Rodriguez’s story: “The Red Sox didn’t even send over ex-Marlins relievers Edward Mujica or Burke Badenhop for Thursday’s game.”

No Mujica or Badenhop! Oh, the humanity!

Instead of worrying about the Red Sox, or worrying about Edward Mujica, perhaps the Marlins should worry more about having better players on … you know … their own roster. They finished last season with the second-worst record in MLB at 62-100. Yet they’re upset because David Ortiz didn’t fly out to left and single to right in a fake baseball game on Thursday. Priorities, people.

Then again, who knows? Thursday’s “game” may be the Marlins’ most important contest of the year. At least they have that 0-0 final score to make them feel great.

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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