Is the Marlins’ Jeffrey Loria the worst owner in sports?
To answer that rhetorical question, let’s summon the nearly dead memory of L.A. Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling or the very dead memory of former Raiders’ owner Al Davis. Both, megalomaniacs. Both, channeled expertise at micromanaging. Both, drove their team into the dirt for years.
Now consider Miami Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria. Is he worse? Let’s pretend Sterling and Davis got hammered one night, frisky and decided to adopt. That child would be dropped on its head, left in a car on a hot Florida summer day, and beat with an extension cord. And then permitted to own a baseball team.
That child would be Jeffrey Loria. Yes, sports fans, he’s that bad.
legacy reign of terror began in 1994 when Jeffrey Loria wanted to purchase the Baltimore Orioles. He lost and the entire state of Maryland sighs its collective relief. Then, in 1999, he bought 24 percent of Les Expos. Then, the team sucked, shareholders split and Loria ended up owning all but six percent of the team.
Then he bellowed, “We cannot stay here.” It was blast across headlines in English and Spanish, the entire city of Montreal hated his guts and jumped off that bandwagon fast. In 2002, Jeffrey Loria got the hint and got shady by selling the Expos to “Expos Baseball, LP,” which was a partnership of 29 other teams and that meant MLB owned the team and shipped that trade show to Washington D.C. (You’re welcome, Nationals.)
To wit, Loria was sued for a “conspiracy theory” of sorts under a RICO lawsuit. It goes to arbitration and Loria escapes unscathed. In 2003, his new team in Florida won its second World Series and that fool got to make a championship ring with 228 white diamonds. Eight years later, the team becomes the Miami Marlins and was victimized by at least a dozen surprise fire sales. Ironic that things smell very fishy.
Did you know that Jeffrey Loria is an major art history buff. He knows bupkus about baseball. At least Bud Selig is a baseball historian. Loria just treats the Marlins like they need to be history. Yet, here he is, ruining the game, his team and whatever else he puts his arthritic hands too. Today, Loria is questioned by all Marlins’ fans as someone who could care less if the team succeeds or not. He trades players for no reason. He ignores fans for every reason. Everyone Jeffrey Loria signs, he fires, trades or just ignores (e.g., Buerhle, Reyes, Bell). Yet, there he is, sweating like pig that knows he is dinner in the owner’s box in a brand-new stadium – only there is no one to put in it. That means, fans or players.
This story by Bleacher Report gives a great depiction about Loria’s management of the Marlins, but I think the question has already been answered. I would love to see him go because Loria is so bad for baseball. He bought the team for $158 million and today, Forbes appraises the team at $520 million. Only one question, “The hell are they looking at? Hot dog vendors and beer sales?”
The Miami Herald has issued the following report:
“Multiple sources,” the Herald reports, “described an organization filled with internal strife because of Jeffrey Loria’s meddling and constant intrusions on even mundane roster decisions.”
Meddling in the day-to-day is standard operating procedure for Loria. “He likes to be down in the clubhouse,” former Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca told me earlier this year. Lo Duca is an unabashed fan of Loria and his hands-on style, but he knows not everyone agrees: “When you have owners that are in the clubhouse a lot of the time, a lot of players will wonder why do you have a general manager or why do you have a manager? Why do you have a pitching coach? That’s why you hire those guys. It seems to work the best when it’s not like that.”
There’s not much more to say, Marlins fans. Your owner could suck an orange through a garden hose. Terrible. While the baseball team will never get first place again in this generation, the owner will always be first in the annals of Major League Baseball – not as the little engine that could, but as the overweight, overbearing owner that won’t.
Last thing: Ironic that Jeffrey Loria is an art aficionado because the Miami Marlins looks like a Pablo Picasso piece – everything runs together, nothing matches, it is worth a ton of cash and no one with half a brain understands why. Play ball.