When the Florida Marlins play their 1998 home opener Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs at Miami's Pro Player Stadium, the best job may belong to the guys who hawk programs. A wholesale dismantling of the Marlins, who confounded the experts and captured the hearts of fans in South Florida by winning the World Series last October, validates the old sales pitch, "you can't tell the players without a program." So many members of last year's star-studded team have been traded or sold that when the Marlins were honored at the White House last month, veteran third baseman Bobby Bonilla quipped to President Clinton, "I wish all of us on that world championship team could be here, but they are working on that '98 budget cut." Before last season, Marlins billionaire owner H. Wayne Huizenga, who made a fortune collecting trash (Waste Management) and renting movies (Blockbuster), spent $89 million for half a dozen established players. He doled out $83 million alone on multiyear contracts for three stars -- $35 million for pitcher Alex Fernandez, who wound up on the injured list, where he remains; $25 million for outfielder Moises Alou, and $23.3 million for Bonilla. And on the second day of the season, he raised the salary of outfielder Gary Sheffield from $5 million to $61 million over six years, beginning this season. The spending spree paid off, climaxed by a dramatic seventh-game victory over the Cleveland Indians, giving the Marlins the championship in just their fifth season, and leaving the Indians still looking for their first in half a century. But even before the season reached the halfway point, the 60-year-old Huizenga announced that he planned to sell the team because of losses projected to be at least $30 million. Within weeks of winning the world championship, he initiated a fire sale of stars, and as a result, nearly half of the players from the championship team are no longer on the roster. Gone are Alou and his 115 runs batted in, first baseman Jeff Conine, infielder Kurt Abbott, leadoff hitter Devon White and half a dozen pitchers, including starters Kevin Brown and Al Leiter and closer Rob Nen and his 35 saves. And who did the Marlins get in return? Here's where those programs will come in handy: Oscar Henriquezs, Manuel Barrios, Mark Johnson, Mike Vilano, Joe Fontenot, Mick Paegler, Derrick Lee, Rafael Medina and Steve Hoff, and that's just the players acquired for three of the departed Marlins. "It stinks. They should have given us one more year, a chance to repeat," said Marlins fan Bob Cheatwood, 64, a retired airline pilot from Pembrook Park, Fla., who attended Marlins spring training games. "Because I'm a fan," Cheatwood added, he'll return to Pro Player this year. "But if I acted on emotion, I wouldn't go." But Steve Hill, who runs a bait-and-tackle shop in Jupiter, Fla., will stay home and watch the games on TV this season, instead of buying a weekend package, as he had planned. "I hate to see players bought and sold," said Hill, 48, as he watched an exhibition game against the Montreal Expos in his home town. "Just when you get some interest, they take it away." After drawing three million fans in their first season, 1993, the Marlins' attendance declined in each of the next three years. Last year, their stellar performance attracted 2.3 million customers for the 80 regular season home games, an increase of 600,000 over 1996. Yet they still averaged just under 30,000 a game, 11th among 28 major league teams. Huizenga acknowledges that Pro Player isn't well-suited for baseball, and says he hopes that a new owner will be able to get community support for a baseball-only stadium, perhaps in downtown Miami. (Pro Player is closer to Fort Lauderdale than to Miami.) Team president Donald A. Smiley reportedly is close to putting together a syndicate to buy the Marlins for about $158 million. With the club on the market, the task of deconstructing the Marlins fell to General Manager Dave Dombrowski. Now, four months after the purge began, Dombrowski says the payroll is "in the vicinity of where we need to be," which is believed to be about $28 million, compared with $54 million last summer. He is reluctant to talk about the experience, saying, "it's not healthy, continuing to turn back to that page." Dombrowski may not be finished. He still hopes to unload "a couple veteran outfielders, who really don't fit, from our perspective, with our philosophy." Although Dombrowski wouldn't name the players, 14-year-veteran Jim Eisen-reich, 38, knows he is on the bubble, as is 35-year-old John Cangelosi. Both were given two-year contracts in last year's spending spree: Eisenreich got $3 million, Cangelosi $1.075 million. "The way the game is now," said Eisenreich, sitting in front of his locker, "the teams either want superstars or 22-year-olds. Bench players like me are on their way out." The Marlins would have unloaded even more players, except that they could find no takers for some with inflated salaries. Chief among them is Gary Sheffield, who posted less-than-superstar statistics last season (.250 average, 21 homers, 71 RBI). Sheffield, whose $10 million salary this year is about one-third of the team's total, shrugs off criticism. "Let people say what they will. They don't think past first base," Sheffield said. "It's all in the past. I've abided by all the rules, and have never caused trouble in the clubhouse. I've had no complaints from the skipper." Manager Jim Leyland, who in 11 years of managing the money-strapped Pittsburgh Pirates earned a reputation as the best at getting a lot out of a little -- winning three consecutive division championships -- says he will have to "show a little patience" with his inexperienced squad. "We've got a lot of young talent, but it's a little different level up here {from the minor leagues}. But we've got a chance to be good in a hurry." He said the key to success this year will be a pitching staff on which no more than two hurlers will have a full year's experience in the majors. World Series MVP Livan Hernandez will be joined in the rotation by Felix Heredia, a converted reliever, and three rookie right-handers: Brian Meadows, Rafael Medina and Eric Ludwick. Meanwhile, the loss of name-brand players is good news for the many rookies in camp. Infielder Brandon Cromer, 24, said of himself and his fellow rookies: "This is our opportunity to show what we've got. We've all got a chance now." CAPTION:Missing Marlins Many of last year's world champs now play for other teams. Florida's '97 postseason roster, and where those players are this spring: Gone elsewhere Player; Pos.; Current Team Kurt Abbott; IF; Athletics Moises Alou; OF; Astros Alex Arias; IF; Phillies Kevin Brown; P; Padres Jeff Conine; IF; Royals Dennis Cook; P; Mets Darren Daulton; IF; (retired) Al Leiter; P; Mets Robb Nen; P; Giants Tony Saunders; P; Devil Rays Ed Vosberg; P; Padres Devon White; OF; Diamondbacks Still with Florida Bobby Bonilla IF John Cangelosi OF Craig Counsell IF Jim Eisenreich OF Cliff Floyd OF Felix Heredia P Antonio Alfonseca P Livan Hernandez P Charles Johnson C Jay Powell P Edgar Renteria IF Gary Sheffield OF Gregg Zaun C CAPTION: Jeff Conine, Moises Alou and John Cangelosi, from left, all still have these championship memories, but only Cangelosi still has this Florida Marlins uniform, at least for a while. CAPTION: Owner Wayne Huizenga was proud as a peacock to hold the World Series trophy last fall, but, in order to sell the franchise, he has divested himself of many of the Marlins' top players.