Jeffrey Loria agreed in principal to sell the Miami Marlins Major League Baseball franchise to a group including failed presidential candidate Jeb Bush and Yankees All-Star Derek Jeter. The deal is supposedly worth over $1.3 Billion dollars and with it, assuming Major League Baseball’s approval, one of the most shameful chapters in the history of professional baseball would end. Jeffrey Loria is every fan’s worst nightmare, a billionaire owner who rather than put a quality team onto the playing field has one of the cheapest payrolls in the league (routinely among the bottom five in Major League Baseball), rakes profits in due to revenue sharing whilst hiking ticket and food prices yearly. Because of this Marlins attendance which includes a fluke World Series win in 2003 (Loria’s first year owning the club), never left the bottom half of National League clubs in attendance finishing last eleven times in that span, and in the bottom three all but one year.
The one time they did not finish among the bottom three National League teams was the one year Loria decided to spend money on high priced free agents including then stars Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. However due to a lack of quality elsewhere on most of the roster the team went 69-93 and promptly traded their free agent signing the next winter. This coincides with Loria’s crowning achievement as Marlins owner: getting taxpayers to build his team a new stadium despite years of penny-pinching on roster upgrades. This stadium financing is estimated to cost the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County roughly what Loria is selling his ball club for now; 1.2 to 1.3 Billion dollars.
The malignancy of Loria on Major League Baseball predates this bilking of Miami while cheating the fans out of a quality team or attempting to make a quality team however as his other big achievements include selling the Montreal Expos to MLB for 120 Million in 2002 which paved the way for Montreal to become the Washington Nationals. This duplicitous move left Loria’s former Expos partners so incensed they tried to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to stop this real life Ebeneezer Scrooge. Marlins fans ought to build a statue of Derek Jeter and company tonight as now they may actually get a baseball team worth watching. In this dealing Rob Manfred has a tremendous opportunity to rid the game of a man, whose actions beg the question “does Mr. Loria even like baseball?” while potentially getting Miami faithful to give the Marlins another chance in their heart. Goodbye, Mr. Loria, may no sporting franchise ever be cursed by your penny pinching, may no county ever again be robbed by your unwillingness to invest in your own stadium, and may the Marlins prosper (except against the St. Louis Cardinals).
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