Sun Sentinel Columnist
9:12 PM CST, November 13, 2012
In the end, you wonder why Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria didn't just follow his players out of the country on Tuesday. He has no future here. Baseball has no future with him here.
Loria broke the public covenant of a new stadium and dropped napalm on the sport in South Florida by trading five Marlins regulars with expensive contracts to Toronto for a minor-league roster to be named later.
He betrayed your trust. So you'll betray him now. He sold off his team. So you won't buy what he's selling anymore.
There's no need to organize anything with a, "Boycott the Marlins" headline. That will happen organically, perhaps even tragically for baseball fans now. And the only way that changes quickly is if Loria sells the team, which would be the smart play now.
All off-season, the Marlins talked of getting back to, "The Marlins Way." Is this Loria's definition of that? Cheap, vindictive and uncompetitive?
That's the Marlins Way?
Everyone thought the Marlins would return to their roots a little. But no one thought those roots would be 2005. No one thought they'd be back to the $16 million payroll they have after Tuesday's big dump.
Please don't delude yourself by thinking the Marlins will use these saved millions and rebuild the roster by smartly signing free agents. There's no chance of that. None.
Do you think any decent free agent signs with the Marlins after watching Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle crated up and shipped off less than a year after being signed here?
They won't want that same shabby treatment from the same shabby owner. Reputations fade slowly, too. The only chance the Marlins have of signing a free agent will be by ridiculously overpaying him.
Anyone betting on that? Or betting outfielder Giancarlo Stanton re-signs when his time's up?
"All right, I'm pissed,'' Stanton tweeted out Tuesday night. "Plain and simple."
He then changed his Twitter avatar so he wasn't wearing a Marlins uniform anymore. Getting Stanton back might be child's play compared to getting fans back, too
This is what you were told would never happen again. This is why a publicly-funded stadium was built. This is why they re-invented the franchise last winter – new stadium, new uniform, new logo, new payroll.
Same old Loria.
The new stadium even makes him richer for it. In Sun Life Stadium, his Marlins didn't own every revenue stream and still made $48.9 million in profit in 2008 and 2009, according to team records.
So he'll be a richer man now. And so much poorer. It was one thing for Marlins fans to feel betrayed when H. Wayne Huizenga sold off the '97 Marlins or John Henry upgraded his ownership to the Boston Red Sox.
They tried to get that stadium. They failed. They lost money. So whether you agreed with their ways or not, business was at the heart of their decisions.
What's at the heart of this? Greed? Arrogance? That's the unanswerable confusing question. It can't be just business, because it makes no fiscal sense to have a team with no hope to sell tickets.
Loria has been problem No. 1 inside the Marlins for a while by over-ruling his baseball people and blindsiding them with big contracts. Heath Bell. John Buck. Ozzie Guillen.
Those were Loria calls. How'd they work out? About as well as Tuesday's deal will for Marlins fans and the sport of baseball?
On some level, Tuesday has the feel of an owner taking his ball home. You don't like how he assembled his team? Fine. You don't get to enjoy it anymore.
Baseball took a long time to come back from Huzienga's fire sale of '97. It never trusted Loria after his fire sale in 2008. So there's no way to overstate the damage Loria did to the sport and his franchise Tuesday.
He shipped the guts of the Marlins to Toronto. The only way it makes a semblance of sense is if he's heading out of the country, too.
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