A recent Sports Illustrated survey of 464 Major League Baseball players named Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as the second worst owner in baseball after Royal’s owner David Glass and along side the owners of the Devil Rays and Orioles. I suspect this has more to do with reputation than anything else.
Loria has pissed off many players in his days. He is still being blamed for something in Montreal, even though the fans didn’t show up, and ultimately MLB moved the team. I’m sure some of the 2005 Marlins are upset with him for trading them away to build our new up and coming lineup.
But is he really that bad?
He took big risks and splurged on special players (Pudge, Leiter, Delgado) even though it didn’t always help. He has managed to keep the best GM in the game. Yes, the Girardi situation and the Torborg firing didn’t go smoothly but baseball is not always pretty. Ultimately, the Torborg change worked out and the jury is still out on the Girardi decision (who, interestingly, has not been hired by anyone else yet).
Bottom line: We’ve been winning, we have another World Series ring, TV viewership is growing, and we have some of the best young talent in baseball. All this with a terrible stadium deal and low attendance. Loria, arguably, deserves praise for running a winning organization which overcomes legacy problems and deals with shrewed business and baseball decisions. I contend that he may be one of the best in baseball.
A special note to Marlins fans: John Henry received 9% of the vote as “Best Owner”. That alone should tell you how meaningful this list is.