February 28, 2013

Marlins' Loria: The pro owner who pulled a con job

He got the public to pay for his stadium, then shipped his stars away.

By TIM DAHLBERG The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Jeffrey Loria
click image to enlarge

Jeffrey Loria, owner of the Miami Marlins, is trying to soft-pedal his image in south Florida, where fans aren’t bothering to buy tickets for a second-year stadium and a team, because of a payroll purge, that may not be good enough to win 50 games this season.

Photos by The Associated Press

Jeffrey Loria
click image to enlarge

Jeffrey Loria got the public to pay for his stadium, and he’s guaranteed millions through baseball’s television package. So if he doesn’t want to pay for quality ballplayers … well, so what?

Now Loria is raking in more money from MLB's new television deals than he's 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, 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 big money.

Apparently the 71 home runs Stanton hit the last two years weren't convincing enough.

Fans are reacting the only way they know, by refusing to buy tickets. The pitch Loria made to get his stadium was fans would come out in droves if they had a proper ballpark with a retractable roof. But the turnstile count last year was just 1.4 million, a million below expectations. This year will be even worse, with season ticket sales not even half the 12,000 sold for the inaugural season.

One newspaper called Loria the most hated man in baseball, and with Frank McCourt no longer controlling the Dodgers and Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list, it's hard to argue with that.

No, Loria may not yet be the worst owner ever. But give him time and he may get there.

 

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