Saturday 9 March 2013

Loria makes an attempt to address angry Marlins baseball fans

Former Expos owner Jeffrey Loria continues to feel the heat from fans of the Miami Marlins, the team he purchased in 2002 after dumping our Major League Baseball franchise and effectively killing it.

Loria's fire sale of some of his best and most well paid players recently caused a major stir in the Miami area, where I just spent the week. It enabled to  cut the team’s $90 million payroll in half.  This all comes a year after a brand new $600 million baseball only stadium opened in Miami.

Jeffrey Loria
Although his stay in Montreal was brief, Loria was so disliked by fans that he had to be escorted around Olympic Stadium by security.

Recently, Loria decided to take out full page ads in three different Florida papers to explain his moves. “As the owner of the ballclub, the buck stops with me and I take my share of the blame where it's due,” Loria said in the ad. "Losing is unacceptable to me. It's incumbent upon us to take swift action and make bold moves when there are glaring problems. The controversial trade we made with the Toronto Blue Jays was approved by Commissioner Bud Selig and has been almost universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value. We hope, with an open mind, our community can reflect on the fact that we had one of the worst records in baseball. Acquiring high-profile players just didn't work, and nearly everyone on our team underperformed as compared to their career numbers. Our plan for the year ahead is to leverage our young talent and create a home grown roster of long-term players who can win.”

On the new stadium he said: "The ballpark issue has been repeatedly reported incorrectly and there are some very negative accusations being thrown around. It ain't true, folks. Those who have attacked us are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. The majority of public funding came from hotel taxes, the burden of which is incurred by tourists who are visiting our city, not the resident taxpayers. The Marlins organization also agreed to contribute $161.2 million toward the ballpark, plus the cost of the garage complex. In addition, the Marlins receive no operating subsidy from local government funding. The ballpark required that all debt service is paid by existing revenue. Furthermore, many are attacking the County's method of financing for its contribution, but the Marlins had nothing at all to do with that. The fact is, with your help, we built Marlins Park, a crown jewel in our beautiful Miami skyline, which has won over twenty design and architecture awards and will help make us a premiere ball club moving forward.

The Miami Herald did some fact checking on Loria's stadium claims and here are the results.

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