“Did you not know you were being set up after the second hit?”

Obviously, Jeffrey Loria is one of the biggest assholes in the known universe (a population in which professional sports owners are disproportionately represented. And a focus on MLB doesn’t even get us to, to choose a pertinent example, Gary Bettman and company, but we’ll get to them later.)

And yet, to me the biggest villain in this story isn’t Loria. It is, by far, the Miami public officials who stole $500 million of taxpayer payer to hand it to Loria. I mean Loria is what he is, and unlike some of the greedy plutocrats who try to make money on their teams, he’s really good at it. Of course he was going to strip the team for parts and stuff the stadium revenues and revenue sharing money into his bottomless pockets. He already had the Bleezburg brothers lined up to build condos where the hangars are. Which is obviously something that Loria should be doing — whether in Miami or somewhere else — without a dime of taxpayer money. If the Miami politicians didn’t know they were being scammed, they’re too fuckin’ dumb to justify keeping their jobs being allowed to walk the streets unsupervised. And if they did know, they were in on it. Either way, they should be out of polite society.

35 comments on this post.
  1. DrDick:

    What is it about major league sports that attracts the most unsavory and least scrupulous predatory capitalists?

  2. Sherm:

    Team ownership is seen as the ultimate sport of kings.

  3. NonyNony:

    Hey at least we’re advancing as a species a bit. War used to be the ultimate sport of kings.

  4. Scott de B.:

    Wasn’t the mayor of Miami recalled?


  5. Karate Bearfighter:

    The process of getting rich enough to buy a sports team is probably also (to a certain extent) selects for assholes.

    That said, I like both Herb Kohl and Mark Attanasio as owners.

  6. Kurzleg:

    I can’t understand is why they bothered to build Loria a stadium. It’s not like people down there attend the games. Even with a new stadium the Marlins drew only 2.2 million for 12th in the NL. That’s up from last place over the prior six seasons. I just don’t see the demand side of this equation.

  7. Sherm:

    An upper middle class asshole buys a sports car and mcmansion to show off. A wealthy asshole buys a sports franchise. Same shit. Different asshole.

  8. Murc:

    Being a city official seems to induce some sort of highly specific brain damage where from the outside you look like a normal human being, but on the inside you think “stadiums = good.”

    And that’s without the possibility of graft.

  9. Sherm:

    They needed a new facility — they were playing in a football stadium without a roof in a city where it rains nearly every night around first pitch. But they shouldn’t have been given taxpayer money for it.

  10. FlipYrWhig:

    I think they start to think, “If I become known as the guy responsible for losing [Pro Sports Franchise], I’m going to have a hell of a time getting re-elected.”

    Plus they appear to get suckered time and again by the idea that the stadium will become the heart of a lively district that generates new businesses and affluent patrons.

  11. Kurzleg:

    This. And I’ll admit that I’m glad that Target Field here in Mpls got built with the help of a county tax. Having the stadium in downtown makes sense from an infrastructure perspective, and it’s just flat out cool to leave work and walk a few blocks to the ballpark. You can feel the energy when there’s a game that night. But in the end we’re lucky that the Twins owner is not the enormous douche that Loria is.

  12. Sherm:

    But in the end we’re lucky that the Twins owner is not the enormous douche that Loria is.

    No, your owner is just the son of the enormous douche who had been your asshole owner for decades.

  13. Rick Santorum's Leaky Faucet:

    Born and raised in that shithole of a city. Still don’t regret leaving.

  14. Kurzleg:

    It’s all a matter of degree, and that degree does matter. Or so it seems.

  15. Sherm:

    He got the taxpayers to pay for a stadium after threatening to leave for decades and trying to move the team several times. Same shit. Different asshole.

  16. DrDick:

    I think that goes a long way to explaining it.

  17. ploeg:

    The difference is that most upper middle class assholes don’t try to drive their sports car into the ditch just as soon as they get it.

  18. Kurzleg:

    Well, I don’t want to be defending Pohlad here. All I’ll add is that so far there’s been no fire sale anywhere near like what Loria has done. Plus, they ponied up the contract to Mauer. Maybe that’s a no-brainer, but it’s not like the Twins have the Yankees revenue. It remains to be seen if they can be competitive paying one player 25% of their total payroll.

  19. Kurzleg:

    Does this trade make Toronto the favorite in the division? They seem to have a pretty solid team with a few youngsters who’ll improve. Getting two top-of-the-order starters plus an above-average SS should do wonders for them.

  20. JazzBumpa:

    Some of Mitt Romney’s friends are NASCAR team owners.


  21. Sherm:

    I think it does, plus they signed Melky today. And Jose Reyes is not an “above-average SS.” He was the best ss in baseball in 2011 and the 4th best in 2012 as per Fangraphs WAR. And if he stays healthy, he will put up some incredible numbers on the carpet in Toronto.

  22. Sherm:

    No, they leave that task to their spoiled kids.

  23. Richard:

    It occasionally makes sense for a city to finance construction of a stadium (Baltimore is an example of that since the construction of the stadium there revitalized the downtown area) but those instances are few and far between.

  24. Richard:

    Good rant against Gary Bettman, in many ways worse than a Loria, who is very close to ensuring that no season happens at all.


  25. NonyNony:

    Maybe not most, but many of them do.

    I wonder if we could see how much correlation there is between how big of an asshole you are and how quickly you drive your new sports car into a ditch.

  26. actor212:

    Two world series wins in the past, what, 14 years? He manages every so often to coalesce the stars in one place.

  27. actor212:

    NOt sure how his calves and hammies will handle astroturf on a regular basis, tho.

  28. efgoldman:

    There was a thread somewhere last weej about the worst owners in sports. Loria has now retired the trophy.
    Back in the 70s, there was movement to build a combo stadium (YUCK!) on the South Boston waterfront, then pretty much a blighted area.
    The state leg, led buy a South Boston rep, refused to give up the land or fund any infrastructure. End of project. The Patriots, then owned by the Sullivan family and right up through the first couple years of the Kraft family ownership, regularly threatened to leave town. The Sox, playing in a park they owned (and still do) just kind of muddled along under the trustees of Tom Yawkey’s estate, run by his widow, Jean, and a weasel lawyer (but I repeat myself)John Harrington, letting Fenway slowly fall apart.
    So, where are we now? The Pats’ modern stadium is fully paid for, with private financing, and the Pats are the Pats.
    Fenway has essentially been rebuilt, is a great tourist attraction, and I can no longer afford to go there.
    And the South Boston waterfront? The hottest piece of city real estate North of New York, with ca new convention center, a bajillion hotels, office buildings, restaurants, and apartments/condos.And we all hated on the state leg back in the day.

  29. Reader Feeder Bits for (Fri. 16-Nov-12 1630) | Boulder Dude:

    [...] “Did you not know you were being set up after the second hit?”: Scott Lemieux [...]

  30. Thlayli:

    This is the part I don’t get: usually the Marlins win something and then dump all the salaries. The sequence is off.

  31. c u n d gulag:

    Maybe Carl Hiaasen can write a book about Jeffrey Loria
    The man is a 1st class grifter.
    He let the Marlins win just enough before, that the city of Miami bet the house on finding the Ace of Spades.

    And think of “poor” Jose Reyes – the man signed his deal expecting to play on the grass in Miami, and now ends up in Toronto, on one of the worst artificial turf’s around.

    Note to free agent ballplayers – NEVER take a deal without a “No Trade” option!

  32. Brien Jackson:

    FWIW, this is really overstated. Loria wasn’t the owner during the real firesale in 1997-98, and the extent to which they tore apart the 2003 team is pretty heavily overstated. The most notable trade (Beckett/Lowell for Hanley/Anibal) even arguably came out in their favor, and looks *really* good if you imagine a counterfactual in which Sanchez doesn’t get hurt and Lowell wouldn’t have hit as well in Miami as he did in Fenway.

    Now, putting upwards of $100 million worth of revenue sharing money directly into his pockets, on the other hand…

  33. Brien Jackson:

    Yeah, that’s probably overstating things just a touch. Camden Yards looks pretty tucked in where it is, but it’s more of a pleasant thing to look at as you drive in to downtown from 295, but there’s not a whole lot else around it outside of a strip of bars across Russell St (and there’s absolutely nothing in the immediate wake of M&T Bank Stadium). First Mariner Arena is a different matter, but the stadium/convention center nub is pretty much empty for something you’d want to try walking to.

  34. Mike Schilling:

    That’s why the Giants keep winning championships: good karma.

  35. You Can Always Find the Money If You Need It - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money:

    [...] of a taxpayer sports arena ripoff goes this is one of the least unjustifiable ones. Illitch is no Jeffrey Loria — he invests in his teams and he’s not going to stuff the taxpayer money in his pockets [...]

Leave a comment

You must be