By Ed Coleman
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You’d like to think the fire sale or deconstruction of the Miami Marlins is now complete, but with these bozos driving the bus, who knows.
And complicit along with Miami owner Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson is Commissioner Bud Selig. It’s on Bud’s watch, and he has let these two clowns run roughshod over baseball for far too long. And it didn’t just start here — it began a long time ago when Loria owned the Expos in Montreal.
It’s quite ironic that Loria pulled off his latest dismantling of a franchise by dealing with another Canadian franchise (Toronto) after doing all he could to systematically destroy baseball in Montreal. Major League Baseball bought out the Expos for about $120 million and then gave Loria an interest-free loan, which he parlayed into ownership of the Marlins.
Florida won the World Series in 2003, and Loria had his first dispersal of talent immediately after that, much like previous owner Wayne Huizenga had done after the Marlins won it all in 1997. But at least those two gut-jobs followed something tangible like a championship.
Not this time.
It began during the season, when the enigmatic Hanley Ramirez was sent packing to the Dodgers, and that was followed by Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante being shipped off to Detroit. Heath Bell was traded to Arizona after the season and now this – Reyes, Johnson, Buerhle, Bonifacio and Buck heading north of the border for a shortstop with an attitude, a backup catcher and prospects, some of whom may turn out to be legit.
The Marlins’ owners, who were once reprimanded for pocketing revenue-sharing money instead of spending it, saved themselves approximately $150 million.
Don’t worry, Ricky Nolasco and Logan Morrison will be next, leaving Giancarlo Stanton to stand alone and introduce himself to a lot of new faces. You can’t really argue from a pure baseball standpoint – who wouldn’t want to shed salary and big contracts and constuct a “do-over.” But that’s not how ownership conveyed their plan to their constituents last winter while they were stockpiling free-agent talent. The con game these clowns have pulled off will have saved combined guaranteed salaries of $164 million through 2018, while probably leaving them with an Opening Day payroll of between $30-35 million.
But the biggest crime has been perpetrated on the people of South Florida. Marlins Park — the state-of-the-art home of Loria’s Looters — bears a price tag somewhere in the $500-650 million range — and it was predominantly publicly funded. The Marlins paid around 20 percent of the stadium, and also received a $35 million interest-free loan as well. So about 80 percent of the cost of Loria’s new baseball home is on the taxpayers of South Florida, who can ill afford it at this time (or any time) — nor can any of us at this time (or any time).
When balloon payments on the stadium come due, taxpayers will have more than $2.4 BILLION in debt service to account for.
Bud Selig presides over this mess — and says nothing. Typical.
You expect sleaze from Loria and Samson and their ilk. You’d expect more from the Commissioner of baseball.
Mo, Larry and Curley, meet Jeffrey, David — and Bud.
C U soon
Is it time for Loria to get the boot from baseball? Be heard in the comments below…