Nov 14, 2012, 7:24 AM EST
Perhaps it’s possible to defend last night’s mega Blue Jays-Marlins trade on purely baseball merits. To say that the Marlins weren’t going to contend with Reyes, Buehrle, Johnson and the rest and that they needed to blow things up. To say that the return they’re realizing from Toronto was actually pretty good and can form the basis of the Next Contending Marlins Team if Miami plays its cards right. Indeed, I’m sure a cogent argument to such effect could be made if it hasn’t been made already.
Such a position, however, requires that one give the Marlins’ brain trust the benefit of the doubt and to assume that they have any interest at all in creating the Next Contending Marlins Team. Because absolutely nothing in owner Jeff Loria’s history suggests that he gives a tinker’s damn about winning baseball games, making fans happy and developing Miami as a vibrant market for Major League Baseball.
Quite the opposite, actually. Here are some random Jeff Loria and Marlins facts which, taken together, aren’t terribly random:
- After purchasing the Montreal Expos in the 1990s, he immediately claimed that, without a new stadium, the team that was much beloved and supported by its fans and once was near the top of the National League in annual attendance could not compete without a new stadium. When public officials balked, he cut payroll and denigrated the City of Montreal as a baseball market.
- In 2000, unsatisfied with rights fees offered by English-speaking TV and radio broadcasters in Montreal, Loria allowed the Expos to play with no television or English radio broadcasts, preventing thousands of Expos fans from actually seeing or hearing Expos games.
- In selling the Expos, he received a sweetheart deal and no-interest loans from Major League Baseball which allowed him to buy the Marlins put the Expos into league receivership. When he left Montreal, he moved the Expos’ entire front office staff, on-field staff, office equipment and computer equipment to Florida, leaving new Expos general manager Omar Minaya with virtually no resources with which to field a competitive team.
- The atrophied remains of the Expos then served as an easy target for contraction threats by Major League Baseball designed to create leverage in labor negotiations with the MLBPA and had the effect of alienating all but the most die-hard Montreal baseball fans. As a result of both Loria’s acts as Expos manager and his complicity in the league’s use of the Expos as an example and bargaining chip, Montreal was utterly destroyed as a viable baseball market.
- Loria took over the Marlins in 2002. Between 2002 and 2010, the Marlins got around $300 million in revenue sharing and banked at least $154 million of it in pure profit.
- Two years ago, the Marlins were forced into an agreement with Major League Baseball and the player’s union to stop violating Article XXIV(B)(5)(a) of the Basic Agreement which requires revenue sharing money to be used to improve your team instead of lining ownership’s pockets.
- In addition to team profits and the substantial appreciation of the franchise since he purchased it, Jeffrey Loria pays himself around $10 million a year in “administration fees.” As a result of last night’s trade, he is now paid nearly twice the salary of the Marlins’ highest-paid player.
- The ballpark which the Marlins convinced Miami to build them was paid for by the public against its will, was shady all around, led to public outrage which cost politicians their jobs and wound up costing far more, drawing far fewer fans than the team promised taxpayers it would and has led to virtually zero development of the surrounding area, contrary to the promises of Loria and his friends.
- A year ago Friday, David Samson talked big about the Marlins “rising payroll, higher revenues” and the team’s new way of doing things, a plan that lasted until roughly July.
- David Samson last March to a group of Miami business leaders: “I don’t have to hold back now that the stadium is built – not that I ever have …” He called people who run for office “not the cream of the intellectual crop,” adding about the entire population, “That’s not to say we’re not the smartest people in Miami. My guess is, if you’re in this room, we’re immediately in the top 1%.”
The Marlins are not a baseball team. They’re a kleptocracy. Jeff Loria and his cohorts are cynical liars who care nothing about baseball beyond the cash it allows them to extract from gullible fans, corrupt politicians, unwitting taxpayers and a complicit league office, all of which they have either explicitly called stupid or clearly assume to be based on their actions.
They may continue to play baseball games in Miami, but baseball is merely the MacGuffin which drives the plot for the shysters in this ownership group and they will lie to anyone about anything in order to further it. In so doing, they are well on their way to destroying yet another market which should, by all rights, be fantastic for baseball.
At this point, they should be allowed to do so. People should stop showing up. Marlins fans, no matter how much they love their team, should shift their allegiances to one which does not hold them in contempt. Jeff Loria and Major League Baseball should be forced to sleep in the bed they made for themselves and suffer the consequences of their greed and cynicism. The new ballpark may make allowing Miami go the way of Montreal a tall order, but perhaps the franchise can at least wither on the vine long enough to make it more appealing for Loria to get out of the baseball business and find some other investment with which he can fleece the unsuspecting.
In the meantime, anyone who decides to stick with the Marlins while this crowd is in charge deserves whatever they get from this abusive, exploitative relationship.
Dec 11, 2013, 4:38 PM EST
And no, this is not a continued riff on my managerial handsomeness rankings. I mean, yes, the guy is an absolute dreamboat, but I actually sat through his press availability here at the Winter Meetings a few minutes ago and I cam away impressed for baseball reasons as well. It’s hard to put a finger…
Dec 11, 2013, 4:00 PM EST
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports on a big, big sales job: The club also continues to look to move closer Jonathan Papelbon. “They’re selling the [crap] out of him,” a representative from one club said. He’s owed $26 million over the next two seasons and, though the Phillies are reportedly willing to eat salary, no one…
Dec 11, 2013, 3:47 PM EST
Adam Kennedy is going to attempt a comeback at age 38, according to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. Kennedy sat out this year despite hitting .262 with a decent .702 OPS in 86 games for the Dodgers in 2012. Adams reports that he’ll work out for teams next month in the hopes of landing…
Dec 11, 2013, 3:29 PM EST
The Brewers used to have Corey Hart at first base and tried to bring him back. Then they were rumored to be into Logan Morrison. The Mariners jumped in front of them on both counts because, apparently, they want all of the first baseman. Heck, they now have both of those guys and Justin Smoak.…
Dec 11, 2013, 3:05 PM EST
Not satisfied with adding Corey Hart to the lineup today the Mariners have also acquired Logan Morrison from the Marlins for right-hander Carter Capps, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Morrison has been mostly injured and ineffective for the past two seasons, hitting just .236 with a .708 OPS in 178 total games,…
Dec 11, 2013, 2:45 PM EST
Corey Hart had an offer on the table to return to the Brewers following an injury wrecked season, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that he’s headed to the Mariners on a one-year deal. Hart missed all of this year, so it’s hard to guess where he’s at physically, but during the previous three seasons…
Dec 11, 2013, 2:35 PM EST
I was on SportsDash right before Francona today. So that means NBC Sports Network is THE network for bald dudes who live in Ohio:
Dec 11, 2013, 2:14 PM EST
Washington has been linked to basically every possible left-handed reliever all offseason and the Nationals finally snagged one, acquiring Jerry Blevins from the A’s for minor-league outfielder Billy Burns. Blevins was expendable because of Oakland’s impressive bullpen depth, but he’s been much more than a strict southpaw specialist with a 2.81 ERA and 132 strikeouts…
Dec 11, 2013, 2:00 PM EST
WSB News in Atlanta has learned that a group called the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots are going to sue the Cobb County Commission within ten days in an effort to block the expenditure of taxpayer dollars for the Braves new ballpark. The idea, the Tea Party Patriots, say, is that it’s illegal for public money to…
Dec 11, 2013, 1:50 PM EST
18.6 million people just watched “The Sound Of Music Live” on NBC–including one blogger who did so under heavy duress–so musicals are hot right now! And what better story for musical adaptation than “Bull Durham.” I mean, I guess: Producers of a new musical version plan to stage their show at the Alliance Theatre in…
Dec 11, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle was one of the 16 members of the Veteran’s Committee this year, and he voted on the Hall of Fame earlier this week. Today he has a column about that process and it’s pretty eye-opening. The first part: how sworn to silence the committee members are. Jenkins talks…
Dec 11, 2013, 1:23 PM EST
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Pirates and right-hander Charlie Morton have agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract extension that also includes a team option for 2017. Morton would have been eligible for free agency next offseason, but now the Pirates will have him under team control for $4 million in 2014,…
Dec 11, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
Jeff Passan has something that makes no sense to me: Sources: AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer “definitely in play” in trade talks. Nothing imminent, but teams know he can be had. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 11, 2013 The presumed reason why Prince Fielder and Doug Fister were traded was so the Tigers…
Dec 11, 2013, 12:48 PM EST
After playing 16 seasons for nine different teams Jerry Hairston Jr. has decided to call it a career. Well, at least a playing career. Hairston is retiring as a player and immediately becoming a member of the media, joining the Dodgers’ new television channel as a pre- and post-game host for 15-20 games. Hairston is…
Dec 11, 2013, 12:30 PM EST
He’s coming off his second shoulder surgery and just this week we learned, in the form of Roy Halladay‘s retirement, just how devastating shoulder surgeries can be. But that’s not stopping as many as eight teams expressing interest in Johan Santana, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York. The Mets, Yankees, Twins, Rays, Orioles, Royals,…
Dec 11, 2013, 12:16 PM EST
Well, now we know why NL MVP Andrew McCutchen spent so much time getting his hair done before going on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show: He proposed to his girlfriend in front of the live “Ellen” audience. I want to do this some day too, except on “Chopped.” Follow @AaronGleeman
Dec 11, 2013, 12:06 PM EST
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Shin-Soo Choo wants $140 million over seven years. Buster Olney was hearing the same thing. Scott Boras doesn’t do bargains — or if he does, he does them quietly, much later and after his demands aren’t met — so this is no huge surprise. At the moment Joel Sherman…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:51 AM EST
Davey Johnson is taking retirement seriously, staying away from the winter meetings and telling the Nationals he doesn’t want to be involved in spring training, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that new manager Matt Williams is trying to change his mind: I asked him to come to spring training. He’s not far from the…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
A David Price-to-the-Mariners trade just got a lot harder: Just saw David Price’s agent, Bo McKinnis, in lobby. Asked if Price would consider extension with #Mariners. Said no. MORE — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013 Asked McKinnis if Price would consider extensions with other teams. Said yes. Asked which clubs. He declined to answer.…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:19 AM EST
Homer Bailey is one season from free agency and looking at a huge payday, leading to speculation that the Reds might shop him this offseason. Yesterday general manager Walt Jocketty addressed those rumors–and specifically one regarding the Yankees calling him about Bailey–telling Mark Sheldon of MLB.com: I told them we’re not trading him. We’re trying…
- Mariners sign Corey Hart 18
- David Price would not consider an extension with the Mariners if he’s traded there 32
- Media paying for athlete interviews? Not likely. But watch this stuff closely anyway. 20
- Rockies acquire Brett Anderson from A’s 12
- D’backs, Angels, White Sox agree to three-team Mark Trumbo deal 65
- Robinson Cano agrees to $240 million deal with Mariners (260)
- Report: Mariners willing to offer Robinson Cano a 10-year, $240 million deal (143)
- Report: Yankees have agreed to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran (125)
- Brett Gardner is drawing “significant” trade interest (113)
- Managers, GMs to meet today to discuss the abolition of home plate collisions (113)