"I'm Not A Quitter:" Revisiting Jeffrey Loria's Most Hilarious Lies About the "New" Marlins
Jeffrey Loria is a liar. This is well documented. After years of claiming poverty while begging for ballpark handouts, leaked documents showed that, nope, the Marlins were actually one of baseball's most profitable franchises.
So why in the name of Conine did anyone believe Loria when he said the new Marlins Park would lead to a new era of big spending? Yet Loria snowed the local press again by dropping $200 million on free agents. Now that he's dumped all those players one year later, it's time to revisit some of his most cringeworthy quotes about this Glorious New Era of Marlins baseball.
-- Six Lies About the Marlins Stadium
Loria started by getting local sportswriters to foam at the mouth with his account of wooing Jose Reyes to the team by showing up to a meeting with a customized Marlins jersey with the shortstop's name on back.
As spring training started -- after Loria had added Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Ozzie Guillen and made a spirited run at Albert Pujols -- the glowing accounts began of a NEW Loria, one who would invest in his team.
Here's this gem from a February 27 Miami Herald piece:
"I love this team," said Loria, who was wearing a cap bearing the team's colorful new logo. "My business is baseball. Baseball is my business. It's a great pleasure. It's a great challenge."
Well, the second half of that quote rings true, at least.
Later, Loria makes one of many promises that the Marlins -- who eventually finished in last place -- will contend for title.
"I'll take my chances against any team," Loria said of the Marlins, who will have a club-record payroll of about $100 million as they prepare to move into a state-of-the-art ballpark. "We have super talent on this club."
..."I can only tell you the hairs on my arm were standing up when I came here a few days back," Loria said. "It's the same today. It's fresh. It's new. I think they're all ready to gel into something special."
Loria's biggest gems, in hindsight, come in a piece written by columnist Greg Cote on March 24.
Poor Cote. Let's hope Loria at least treated him to a bottle of wine and a halfway decent steak before he delivered this epic blowjob.
The first line of the story? "The emperor is walking the palace grounds."
Loria then gets nearly 2,000 words to stare lustily at his own reflection in the mirror, congratulating himself on what an amazing job he'd done in creating "something great and contemporary" at Marlins Park instead of a "concrete mess."
Worst of all, though, Cote buys Loria's pleas that he's a different owner now, that thanks to the hundreds of millions of dollars gifted to him by Miami taxpayers, he'll start spending money. Greg even knows better. Just listen to him:
Of course, let's not retrofit history or coat it with sugar. Loria's reputation as a cheap owner was earned. His team's payrolls were among the lowest in baseball for years, and his excuse of a bad stadium deal and lack of revenue didn't entirely fly. MLB and its union jointly and publicly admonished Loria for under-spending on rosters.
I have consistently been among the most vocal critics of Loria's past frugality, but I also supported the new stadium (inviting torrents of angry emails), because I saw the two as linked.
Loria claimed all along a new ballpark would mean a significant increase in spending and, credit where due, he has kept his word.
Is that right, Jeffrey? Are you committed to sticking this thing out, to putting a real baseball team on the field for the taxpayers who massively subsidized your business?
"I'm not a quitter," he tells Greg Cote. "And I believe in the city."
Woe unto anyone in this city who believed in him.
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