Politics

Bad News: Marlins Deal Is Falling Through; Worse News: Loria Could Be an Ambassador

Marlins fans could have the worst of both worlds: Loria still owning the team and representing the U.S. as a diplomat.
Marlins fans could have the worst of both worlds: Loria still owning the team and representing the U.S. as a diplomat. YouTube

For a brief, delirious moment, Marlins fans thought they were rid of Jeffrey Loria. Sure, they'd have to trade the worst owner in sports for a family best known for propelling a xenophobic garbage bag full of rancid Tang into the White House. But that would almost be worth it to see Loria walking out the door.

Well, Miami, do you want the bad news or the Stranger Things upside-down-world horrifying news? OK, we'll give it to you straight: Loria's deal to sell the team to the Kushner family is on the ropes. And it's falling apart because Donald Trump wants Loria to be the U.S. ambassador to France.

We'll wait a moment while you finish spitting your coffee directly into your computer screen. Yes, Trump reportedly wants the worst owner in modern sports history to represent the U.S. with its oldest ally.

Why would that scuttle the deal to unload the Marlins to the Kushners? The sale — for a reported $1.6 billion — would have been to Joshua Kushner and Joseph Meyer, both relatives of White House advisor/Ivanka Trump's husband Jared Kushner.

But as businessmen with extremely tight ties to the president, Meyer and Joshua Kushner worry that handing over $1.6 billion to a guy who immediately gets a hugely important political post would carry more than a whiff of quid pro quo.

If Loria gets the ambassadorship — which Trump has reportedly already signed off on, over the objections of new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — the Kushner clan says it will back out of the Fish deal.

Admirable! But also kind of silly. The only conceivable reason Loria is on Trump's radar for a diplomatic post in the first place is because he gave Trump's campaign a boatload of cash.

You really think that Trump looked at Loria's relations with the residents of South Florida and thought, "Yes, there's a fellow who really knows how to tie deep and lasting diplomatic relationships!" Hell, it's a tossup whether Loria is more despised by South Floridians — who were forced into paying $2.4 billion for a stadium they didn't want — or fellow MLB owners, who bristle at Loria's bald-faced greed at pocketing revenue-sharing bucks that are supposed to make his team more competitive.

It's legitimately hard to think of a worse personality to carry out international diplomacy than Jeffrey Loria. So yes, the Kushners are right that it would stink to give Loria an ambassadorship right after selling his team to a White House-tied business group. But it stinks anyway!

Now, Miamians are looking at the darkest of all universes: Loria — Jeffrey Goddam Loria — with an important government job. And presumably, his son-in-law, a conceited frat-boy smirk in human form named David Samson, will be left behind to reap Miami taxpayers' largesse.

This Black Mirror episode sucks.
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink