Leftridge: Marlins’ Loria Takes Title of Worst Owner; Your Move, Glass

Remember everybody: it could be worse. The Royals COULD be the Miami Marlins.

In a complete demolition of a recently rebuilt and rebranded franchise, Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria surprised no one by systematically assuring the 23 Miami baseball fans that their team will never, ever be competitive.

Hot on the heels of a sparkly new $634 million dollar stadium and sparkly new uniforms, the most abhorrent owner in professional sports traded pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buerhle, shortstop Jose Reyes, catcher John Buck and center fielder Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays for a bunch of prospects.

Coupled with the 2012 midseason trades of starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, high-dollar closer Heath Bell, and infielders Hanley Ramirez and Omar Infante, the totality of the moves effectively shave WELL over $200 million dollars from their 2013 payroll. In fact, as it stands, the Marlins have less than $20 million dollars owed (before arbitration) to their 2013 opening day roster.

The word “unbelievable” does not do this figure justice, but the phrase “HOLY FUCKING SHIT” typed repeatedly is crass and unnecessary.

What is necessary, however, is questioning the motivations of a man who has, throughout his infuriating tenure as a team owner, repeatedly blown kisses to his fan base before immediately turning around and gleefully kicking them in the crotch.

Again, it’s not exactly a SURPRISE, however.

Jeffrey Loria began as an art-dealer and a baseball fan. After buying a modest stake in the Montreal Expos, he became majority owner in 1999. He subsequently made it his mission to isolate the Montreal fans and the surrounding municipalities by demanding a new stadium, playing home games in Puerto Rico (completely logical) and failing to broadcast games in anything other than English (makes sense).

Then, through a series of shady dealings involving THE COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE! (cue dramatic music sting), Loria sold the Expos to Bud Selig and the rest of baseball. Following this, then-Marlins’ owner John Henry sold his Florida team to Loria before he scampered off to buy himself the Boston Red Sox. In a classic Baltimore Colts-ian move, Loria packed up a truck and took all of his fine Canadian office equipment to South Beach. For all of the wheelings and dealings, he was sued (unsuccessfully) by the Expos ownership consortium under the RICO act, a legal proceeding typically reserved for criminal organizations such as street gangs and the mafia.

It was the opinion of the consortium—an opinion shared by Canadians and any baseball fan with an IQ over 70—that it was never Loria’s intention to keep the Expos in Montreal. They were right. It was the classic Cleveland Indians caper Major League, only in real life with real people (and more poutine).

And though the rest is history, it’s not exactly new or unusual.

After winning the 1997 World Series, the Marlins hacked their roster to pieces in what is traditionally viewed as one of the bigger “fire sales” in baseball history. (This was under then-owner (and Blockbuster founder) Wayne Huizenga.)

In 2003, they won the Series again, and the following offseason saw a repeat of their previous deconstruction.

And now, this.

Different only because it’s NOT following a winning season (and likely BECAUSE of the fact), this historic salary dump makes 1997 look like small potatoes. In a move that would make David Glass furrow his eagle’s brow in disapproval, Jeffrey Loria has made it painfully obvious that he doesn’t care about the fans of Miami, his public perception, or the fact that he will likely go down in baseball history as the Worst Owner Ever.

It must be interesting to live a life so driven by greed that your mind becomes almost reptilian in nature. To call Jeffrey Loria a snake, however, is too kind; even snakes have the occasional fan.

Happy holidays, Florida fans. I hope someone remembered to ask Santa that a certain art-dealer be dropped out in the middle of the ocean without a life-jacket, dipped in chum.


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11 Responses to Leftridge: Marlins’ Loria Takes Title of Worst Owner; Your Move, Glass

  1. DPW says:

    Maybe a bad owner, but which team has had a longer playoff drought?

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      No argument there. It’s a tough decision, really– would I rather be Chinese water-tortured for years, or mercilessly castrated in the middle of the night after being woken up from a sound sleep? Neither one is very pleasant. I think the huge difference is that the Marlins go on these RIDICULOUS spending sprees, build state-of-the-art stadiums to the tune of $600 million, and then smash fans’ hopes in the blink of an eye.

  2. chuck says:

    At some point in time, ya gotta turn it off and go in a different direction with ur money and time.

    • As long as he’s turning a profit, he doesn’t care at all. (This can be said about quite a few professional sports team owners, obviously. They can’t all have the passion of Mark Cuban, but some semblance of actually giving a shit would be nice.)

  3. Rick Nichols says:

    I believe there’s a famous song called “Moon Over Miami”, which, at least according to those 23 Marlins fans, was inspired by the sight of Loria climbing onto the roof of the old stadium one evening and subsequently dropping his drawers with his back to the field to make sure everyone knew he was a complete ass. Hey, even David “Discount City” Glass is looking better these days.

  4. chuck says:

    Our experience here in KC should remove the veils from our eyes. The identification with local pro sports teams should be reduced to the same kind of decisions we make with really expensive restuarants. If it sucks, turn it off.

    The guys behind the curtains, are, for the most part, interested in cash. Thats cool, but in the cold Monday morning lite, if it sucked, dont ever go there again.

    Hunt and Glass are not Cuban and Jones.

    They dont want it that bad.

    We shouldnt want their products that bad either.

  5. chuck says:

    Hey Lefty, go check out Bill Plashke’s take on this deal on yesterday’s Around The Horn.
    Seriously, he makes a good case for Lauria’s moves.

  6. chuck says:

    Wilbon on PTI agrees with him.

    He did it before, came back, won the WS.

    Prima Facie, not guilty ur honor.

  7. Bo says:

    Loria was an art-dealer. Didnt love art, loved to make money off of art. Doesnt love baseball, but loves to make money off of baseball. Same thing with businessman everywhere. How many of them actually love the product they sell? This is what happens when rational capitalists own sports franchises. They own to make a profit. We need some kind of rule only allowing die-hard fans a chance to own a team. How much more entertaining would sports be if the owners were just as irrational as the rest of us.

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