A couple of months ago, I posted an entry titled “Is Jeffrey Loria the worst owner in sports?” after a series of off-season gaffes came to light. Perhaps that title was prone to hyperbole, as the comment section talked about other awful owners in professional sports. However, I’m bringing up the topic again.
The previous post was written before Heath Bell was shipped off to Arizona, before Ozzie Guillen was officially fired, and (the reason for this re-hashing of the topic) before the absolutely ridiculous fire-sale trade announced yesterday evening, where the Marlins shipped off the rest of 2011’s off-season acquisitions (Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle), along with their best starting pitcher (Josh Johnson), their starting catcher (John Buck) and a valuable utility player in former Nat Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays for a quartet of malcontents and decent-at-best prospects. Oh, just for good measure the Marlins kicked in $4M dollars of (likely) revenue sharing money to boot.
I completely agree with the initial reactions from national baseball writers Bob Nightengale (who called the team a “Ponzi Scheme“), Ken Rosenthal (who says Loria should “just sell the team“), Buster Olney (who calls the Marlins the “Ultimate con“), from Scott Miller (saying that Loria “must be stopped“), from Keith Law (who called the deal a “boondoggle“) and from Jeff Passan (who calls this “a Baseball Tragedy“). Passan’s article in-particular is worth a read, as it details all the shameful behaviors of Loria and his son-in-law, napoleonistic team president David Samson, in gory details. You’ll feel the heat of anger just reading each new incident that these two con artists have perpetrated over the years.
Most infuriating to me is that this represents just the latest profiteering injustice that Bud Selig has empowered Loria to commit. Going back to his days with the Expos (who he left in shambles and which directly led to our first years of franchise incompetence), continuing through to the criminal negotiations resulting in a mostly-publicly funded stadium, now resulting in this dismantling (which leaves the team with roughly $20M in committed 2013 payroll). The shame is that Loria will pocket MILLIONS and millions more dollars by shedding all these ill-thought contracts. How is that fair to the baseball fans in Miami, or the taxpayers in Florida, or the players that remain on that team (see Giancarlo Stanton’s tweet for his opinion of the move), or to the other owners, or to the players union in general?
Selig should absolutely veto this trade in the “Best interests of Baseball” clause, and should force Loria to sell. The reaction and upheaval from the national media is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed reading and folling the sport. Enough is enough. I realize that these moves only benefit us as Nationals fans (since the Miami team is now likely to lose nearly 110 games, ala the 2012 Houston Astros), but my sense of fair play and businessmen obtaining ill-gotten profits spurs me to write this post today.