Miami Marlins ‘trade’ shows Jeffrey Loria, MLB at their worst
Jeffrey Loria, the worst owner in baseball, first tried to enter the big leagues in 1994 with a bid to buy the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore lucked out. The city got an owner who was more competent, more loyal to the town and rich enough so that he wasn’t tempted to turn the franchise into his own personal revenue-sharing ATM. Instead of Loria, Baltimore got Peter Angelos.
That’s how bad Loria is.
The reason Washington now has the Nationals, the team with the best regular-season record in baseball, is also due to Loria as much as any one person. In Montreal, he ruined the Expos. He had help. Montreal didn’t care much about baseball. But, as his three brief bitter seasons there passed, the shape of something not unlike a plot began to emerge.
The team was so bad and its future so bleak that his partners refused to meet cash calls. Thus, Loria’s original 24 percent stake, reportedly bought for just $12 million, grew to 94 percent by default. By 2002, the Expos were so pathetic that MLB bought the team from Loria for $120 million and then gave him a $38.5-million interest-free loan. Nice deal. What did he do with that $158.5 million? He used it to buy the Marlins from their unhappy owner John Henry. That paved the way for Henry to buy the Boston Red Sox.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “old boys’ network.” That’s it. It must be legal because nobody’s in jail, right? But it seems close.