Let me preface my comments by saying I am a Met fan first and foremost and still hate the Marlins as a division rival. Now that that’s out of the way, ARE YOU F’ING KIDDING ME! As a fan of Major League Baseball second, this is a disgrace and an embarrassment. Feel how you want to feel about Jose Reyes taking his talents to South Beach, feel how you want to feel about Giancarlo Stanton’s veneers (cmon, there is nobody you know with teeth THAT straight AND white) but to literally hustle the city of Miami to fund a new state of the art stadium and build all kinds of expectation to then BLOW IT ALL UP ONE YEAR LATER is downright gutless.
People have said for years that baseball wouldn’t work in Florida and for years they were proved right with the consistently low draw of both Florida teams. The Marlins have won two World Series since they started in 1993, only to sell off the team the very next year. Every town loves a winner but instead of building momentum on winning a championship they settle for the poor sight of empty stadiums and being generally an afterthought in baseball conversations. Last year was supposed to be different, last year was supposed to be the official coming out party for baseball in Florida. My fiancee is Cuban from Miami and let me tell you, these people LOVE baseball. They live, breathe, and argue baseball in Cuba. It’s no secret that Miami hosts a LARGE population of Cubans that come directly from Cuba and that enthusiasm they have for the game was a primary factor in re-naming the team. The point I’m making is that branding a baseball team to a city where the majority of its population loves the sport and identifies primarily with it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately what transpired after that decision is borderline criminal in my opinion, not so much legally as it is morally criminal.
Lost in all the hoopla and excitement for the new stadium was the raw deal this owner gave to the city of Miami. Sort of like buying a brand new car and fixating on how it would improve your social life while ignoring the “devil in the details.” Here are the facts of this deal:
1. The county of Miami-Dade and the city of Miami paid a total of $370 million dollars of taxpayer money to fund the construction of the new stadium. The total cost of this stadium is projected to be 2 billion dollars.
2. The owner of the Marlins Jeffrey Loria posted $155 million for the new stadium and the team gets to keep ALL the revenue from the stadium itself.
(Thanks to FieldofSchemes for the breakdown)
Loria’s argument for funding roughly one-quarter of the new stadium was that he needed money on hand to purchase top flight talent to open the new stadium. On that regard, he did just that. In an unprecedented move (for the Marlins), they went out and spent a boatload on new talent (approximately $200 million). Everyone in the media crowned the Marlins as the frontrunner in the division, they had their show on Showtime and had a stand-alone date all to themselves to open the season. It didn’t take long though before the team started to show its cracks. It started with Ozzie pulling an Ozzie and the team just went downhill from there. I thought the trading away of Hanley Ramirez was the biggest significant gesture that the Marlins were waving the white flag and the experiment had failed. Boy was I wrong! By now you may have been informed by various news outlets that the Marlins traded Jose Reyes, Marke Buehrle, Josh Johnson…basically anyone making over a million dollars to the Blue Jays in exchange for Yunel Escobar and a bunch of prospects. From July ’till now, the Marlins have shed $236 million dollars in future salary obligations and are looking at an opening day payroll in the neighborhood of $20-30 million! They traded away the faces of the Marlins for the last few years in Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson, decided not to bring back fan favorite Cody Ross, dumped EVERY SINGLE NAME PLAYER outside of Giancarlo Stanton (who by the way is pretty pissed off and has every right to be) and for what….ONE sellout game in its inaugural season?! The city of Miami got shafted…plain and simple!
To most hardcore Marlin fans, fire sales are nothing new. The Marlins win a World Series against all odds, then trade away everyone who got them there. It’s no secret that the Lorias keep payroll down to collect and pocket shared revenue distribution from the league. What really grinds my gears is that this time, he made his scheme and profits literally off the backs of hard working people. Is it Loria’s fault that the officials of Miami were stupid enough to agree to such a one sided deal? Absolutely not. Is it Loria’s fault that the team underperformed the way it did? Again, absolutely not. What is Loria’s fault is the unwavering greed displayed in sucking as much money out of this franchise as possible at the expense of taxpayers. The Marlin franchise value increased by about $90 million according to Forbes. Do you think for one second the taxpayers who paid for roughly three quarters of a new stadium that helped increase that value will see a single cent from Loria? Don’t hold your breath. As a Met fan, not having to deal with all those guys that have been traded is nothing but good news. As a baseball fan, the Lorias are the scum of the Earth and I hope they sell the team. They made their money and based on the reactions to this deal, people are waking up to the scam they are running. I think baseball as a whole loses in this deal, plain and simple. People will be looking to Bud Selig to shut down this deal as he has the final say on this but I don’t think he will, as he is no David Stern. This will just be another cloud in the sky as he rides off into the sunset while the people of Miami get stuck with the rain…at least they have a retractable roof.