The annual MLB All-Star game features the greatest talents in the game, and this year was no different. Aaron Judge put on a tremendous show in the Home Run Derby. The players once again shined, by putting on competitive game that was at times loose and intense down the stretch, featured selfies with umpires and some extra inning dramatics.
However, as great as the players are, having Miami host the midsummer classic cast a dark (non-retractable) cloud over the proceedings, courtesy of one Jeffrey Loria.
Loria, you see, is the Miami Marlins’ owner. And Major League Baseball just once again handsomely rewarded him for being the vilest owner in sports.
Loria’s latest foray into the headlines was for suing his own season ticket holders, for not buying season tickets for multiple years. This after he unequivocally and unapologetically reneged on nearly all of his promises to the same season ticket holders (and the promises were really not much to begin with, basically parking spots and pregame buffets). Isn’t it nice to make headlines for suing fans (and oh, attempting to seize their property) for not buying tickets for your terrible team, while you host the biggest baseball event outside of the World Series?
But it somehow gets worse, because many of those same fans were already bilked once when the Marlins quite literally lied to the city of Miami to convince them to allocate funds for the new Marlins stadium (which funds, of course were raised by taxing those fans). The most egregious of those lies was that the team was struggling financially, which lie they repeated until Deadspin somehow obtained and exposed their accounting records. And that was just one of the many lies that turned into a $600 million+ handout from the citizens of Miami to Mr. Loria’s pocket.
And then there’s the story of how Loria was gifted the Marlins in the first place. After running the Expos into the ground, so much so that they had to leave Montreal, MLB essentially gave him the Marlins for free to avoid having him be the owner of the soon-to-be Washington Nationals.
It’s easy to laugh at that gargantuan roof, those cheesy uniforms, and the gaudy, tacky home run sculpture until you think about who owns it, and how he got it. It’s sickening that baseball not only excuses Loria but at every turn has rewarded him for being a complete scumbag. It’s possible that MLB wasn’t happy with Loria’s lawsuits making headlines during the All-Star Break, but I doubt it. More likely the league is privately thanking him for increasing revenues.
Obviously sports are a business and owners are motivated by profit. But what Loria has done is beyond the pale, certainly beyond what virtually any other owner has done in modern times. To give him the All-Star game and to celebrate this franchise in its current state is a slap in the face to all citizens of Miami and baseball fans everywhere. If the fans mattered, this guy would have been out of baseball a long time ago.
Thankfully, he’s reportedly on his way out. If that’s true, it will be via a massively profitable sale, and with an All-Star game as a parting gift. Must be nice.