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11-14-2012, 12:35 AM
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OT An [MLB] owner's word - The cautionary tale of Jeff Loria

Tonight the Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins appear to have traded away almost their entire core to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for mostly prospects.

The Marlins are of course the team owned by one Jeff Loria. Loria had kept the Marlins' payroll among the lowest in baseball for years and constantly threatened relocation if the county and city don't pay a major sum toward a new ballpark. Local government finally agreed to spend taxpayer money on this project and the new park was built.

This was going to be a new beginning for the Marlins, Loria who so far had been happy with being a non-factor most of the time actually signed free agents and looked keen to have a good team to go with the new ballpark, new name and new logo. This show of making the Marlins a credible team lasted less than a year. It most likely ended today. Loria has a new stadium, a big % of it paid for by the taxpayer, and will be able to cash in for the foreseeable future with a cheap team and generous revenue sharing money. The injured party? Miami locals who may have a few less functioning roads, a few less teachers, firefighters and cops and Marlins fans who will have little reason to give a damn most of the time.

Jeff Loria, of course, is *very* familiar to Canadian sports fans, given that he played a major part in assuring the failure of the Montreal Expos. Loria's handling of the Expos was so bad, he was named in a RICO lawsuit - a term most have only heard in gangster movies and shows about outlaw biker gangs. Though the suit was ultimately thrown out, one thing looks pretty likely : Loria acted in bad faith and the league was in on it. Bud Selig in fact arranged the sweetheart deal that got Loria the Marlins in the first place. The question remains how on earth public officials in Miami and Miami-Dade County fell for this guy's promises given his track record.

This man has now probably screwed over two cities and two fanbases and his fellow owners supported and enabled him. This is of course far from unique to baseball. The NHL's shenanigans around expansion and relocation in the early-to-mid 90s weren't all that different. Dishonesty, ruthlessness and unlimited greed have been the hallmark of sports owners especially in these two leagues.

Will the public ever realize that this lot are at best entrepreneurs with a "robber baron" era understanding of business but more likely simply a bunch of crooks?

Last edited by TheMoreYouKnow: 11-14-2012 at 12:55 AM.
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