How is it possible for one man to be hated by almost everyone in a city? Jeffrey Loria, the owner of the Miami Marlins, is well on his way to becoming the most hated man in Miami.
One year after building a brand new stadium with tax payer money, he executed one of the biggest fire sales in Major League Baseball history.
Just in case fans did not like him enough, he decided to publish a full-page letter in the three South Florida newspapers, The Miami Herald, the Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post on Feb. 24. He titled it “Letter to Our Fans”, but let’s just say that it was not written as a love letter to fans.
Probably the best part of Loria’s letter is when he says, “As the owner of the ballclub, the buck stops with me and I take my share of the blame where it’s due.”
He takes the blame where it’s due? That’s probably one of the funniest things I have heard in a while, since all he ever does is sit back, cut the payroll and watch his wallet grow thicker by the day. Loria has not taken responsibility for anything, not even for running the Montreal Expos into the ground a decade ago.
According to Loria, the fact that the Marlins are losing is unacceptable and he had to do something quickly before it got any worse. Let’s just remember that last year’s team had never played together. It usually takes more than one season for big name players and coaches, such as Jose Reyes and Ozzie Guillen, to form a winning bond. Reyes, easily one of the fan favorites of this franchise was told by Loria to buy a house in Miami for his family and himself. Turns out, Loria lied to his player and the Marlins’ fans. You can’t expect to be respected when all you do is lie to an entire community.
Another topic that Loria brought up in his oh-so-glorious letter was that the Marlins do not have a lot of funds to spend on big name, All-Star caliber players — yet another lie. The Marlins are one of the most profitable teams in the MLB, because the top of the organization does not want to reach into its pockets and pay the players that the Marlins need in order to win.
Loria continued to talk about the new ballpark and how the Marlins paid for more of the stadium than fans think. He said that the Marlins forked over $161.2 million for the stadium to be built, which is nothing compared to the $347 million that Miami-Dade County dished out for the construction. So, you don’t pay for good players, you pay for less than half of your stadium and, yet, there still are no funds to be spent? I find that very hard to believe.
David Sampson, president of the Marlins and Loria’s stepson, has publicly stated that they are in the business solely to make money. This is not the ideology that a team’s owner and president need to have. I guess they have not realized that there is usually a cycle in the sporting industry. That is, you pay players, players win games and championships and when they do that, fans tend to follow along and buy tickets and merchandise. Instead, when your team keeps losing and trading off their best players, fans lose interest and start to resent the very organization that they want to love and be proud of.
If I were in Bud Selig’s shoes as the commissioner of the MLB, I would do everything in my power to make Loria sell the team before he ruins the reputation of a baseball team owner. Apparently he just does not understand the concept of how, without the fans, there is no team.