Is Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria the worst owner in sports history? His recent public relations campaign – which has rightly been met with ridicule and revile – has reintroduced the question. Sports columnist Tim Dahlberg writes that if he’s not yet, he may get there if given the time.
Here are a few of the stinging excerpts from the column.
In the city of Miami, there is no debate. The Marlins owner is so reviled he might want to avoid going to his year-old stadium lest he find a mob ready to run him out of town.
His payroll is so low the team he will trot out opening day would have trouble competing in the Pacific Coast League, much less the National League.
Meanwhile, taxpayers are on the hook for a $634 million stadium that might have more tropical fish swimming around inside than fans in the stands.
His spin has fallen on deaf ears among fans and members of the media. He was asked by one reporter about the perception that the promises he made while campaigning to a new ball park was a “con job” now that the team has slashed payroll yet again. Loria refused to answer, so Dahlberg answered for him.
Actually, con job might be an understatement. He convinced local businessmen and politicians not only to build him a new ballpark, but guarantee him almost every dime generated from it.
He took on payroll because it was part of the deal to get the ballpark, but backloaded the contracts so he didn’t risk much of his own money doing it.
Then he dumped the new players he signed before the year was over. True, they didn’t perform as expected, but the contracts were structured in a way that sure seemed suspicious.
Now Loria is raking in more money from MLB’s new television deals than he is paying players. He’s guaranteed tens of millions in profits even if his team doesn’t win 50 games. And if he’s not the most popular person in South Florida, well, so what.
Loria won’t even commit to signing the team’s only remaining star. Giancarlo Stanton isn’t eligible for arbitration, and Loria said he wants to see him play another year before deciding to pay him major money.
Apparently the 71 home runs Stanton hit during the last two years ago weren’t convincing enough.