The faith fracture is so profound that the Marlins find themselves in an unfathomable predicament today and going forward. It is bad enough when your customers don’t trust you to be competent; it is another thing entirely when they don’t trust you to be moral. But both? You’d have more luck drawing fans to your new ballpark by combining Food Poisoning Night with kick-you-in-the-groin coupons.

The Marlins needed a front-office fumigator and brought in a public-relations firm instead. But newspaper ads don’t placate angry mobs. And spin is rendered useless when everyone in the environment is coughing on poisoned air. It was an understandable effort, trying to get the facts out last week, but this organization has created an atmosphere so contaminated that even truth has somehow ceased to matter. There isn’t a corporate entity in the world that wants to ask for your money in that climate, but especially not one that does its trust trafficking in the emotion business. South Florida feels like it is in bed with the baseball equivalent of a Ponzi schemer, and it doesn’t much matter if that’s true or not. The customer is always right about feeling wronged.

So the hostile noise engulfed the start of spring training, a time for hope, and the team’s owner was immersed in whatever the exact opposite is of what he was trying to buy with those newspaper ads. Any words from this management team — even contrite words, never mind condescending and combative ones — would have felt like firemen rushing to put out a raging blaze with hoses spewing lighter fluid. Those arrogant, tone-deaf newspaper ads were the result of bad advice? Sure. But only because there is no such thing as good advice given the smoldering rubble in the rearview mirror, the charred remains of what little faith was left. Meeting with the media was like demanding calm and reason while being lowered into a pool of piranha.