Thursday, November 15, 2012

Miami Marlins: Crooked Jeffrey Loria Destroys Another Franchise

Never did I perceive Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as a crook. But now, today, I have a different outlook on Loria and can't stomach his sins, which are embarrassing and negligent. He drops his head in shame with a sorrowful gaze in his eyes, watching his reputation smear, seeing his image fall from grace these days when he deceived, hoodwinked, misled and lied to millions of people in South Florida.

Loria, a dishonest, immoral, deceitful criminal, stole $509 million of taxpayer dollars to build a colossal palace, Marlins Park, and needs to be arrested, prosecuted and spend time behind bars. Along those lines, Loria’s con artistry and absolute crime is morally wrong, just like years ago when he was an owner in Montreal. The fact he's responsible and forever guilty of destroying the once pride and joy of major league baseball describes Loria's character.

By now, he's not the most likable guy, particularly in South Florida, where the folks can run him out of town for his dirtiness and deceptiveness. It's clear Marlins president, David Samson, and Loria lied about their finances, foolishly stabbed fans and taxpayers in the back to build a $634 million ballpark right across from a Walgreens - a team that was supposed to contend in October and maybe even for the fall classic after a rebuilding project. The Marlins, who were expected to make the postseason with an all-star team, couldn't reach expectations and prematurely exposed themselves to criticism by fading out of contention and underachieving, regardless of having a solid ball club.

Still, while he was committing fraud, and failed to run his business flawlessly, fans should have known something fishy was happening. Years removed from his prior affair in Montreal, Loria wasn't ever to be trusted. When he brought the Expos in 1999, he promised to remodel and turn the franchise into a winner. Perhaps most of all, dating back to those days, he assured that he’d build a new stadium or else move the team elsewhere. As time went on, during his ownership of the Expos, Loria dumped so much talent and fans angrily disconnected from a downcast, broken franchise. So before his arrival to Miami, Loria destroyed the Expos.

People in Montreal were lied to as well, as Loria promised to rebuild the franchise and bring a championship, but it was one of his conniving misdeeds. But winning a championship wasn't ever his priority, either. This isn't to say he wasn't a winner or that he never cared about constructing a triumphant ball club.

But there is a sense that he's only in the business to embezzle millions of dollars while running a scam, and ruin the integrity of a game that is already in shambles because of the performance-enhancing drug crisis and other deficiencies that have materialized under inept MLB commissioner, Bud Selig's watch. Granted, Loria lied to taxpayers of Miami Dade County, who are now irate over a hoax that leaves thousands of South Florida residents pledging to boycott the team. The monstrosity for a sordid owner, when Loria swindled taxpayers out of millions just to buy office furniture, expensive drapes and fabric for pillow covers, has sadly sabotaged his reputation and also placed the Marlins franchise in the middle of turmoil.

There is, no doubt, people hoping to file a lawsuit against Loria at this point, enraged and disgusted over the fact that he swindled fans again. It's almost mind-boggling how Loria hasn't learned the first time, committing similar crimes twice, still set in his narrow-minded, deplorable ways. The most troubling part of all of this, throughout the SEC investigation, is that Miami taxpayers will owe more than $2.4 billion once payments on the stadium balloons. He's more of criminal for pocketing revenue-sharing dollars, for claiming the team couldn't afford to erect the park themselves and for building a stadium on counterfeit money, thanks to baffled, misguided taxpayers who made it possible for the new ballpark, a venue with a bevy of empty seats last season.

This is a public outrage, to say the least, a franchise foundering and deteriorating on its deathbed. Selig couldn't stop Loria and Samson from destroying another baseball market, and a high-market team on the top of it. At least a couple times, perhaps more, Loria has done something to hurt and affect his persona. As he undermines the sport, he is, as usual, brilliant in a sense -- and sadly -- is brilliant enough to influence people to believe he's a shrewd businessman who will follow through on his promises.

The most powerful man in baseball, using his business acumen to become richer and bolder, happens to be a fraud, a phony, and a two-timing swindler. But no matter how one understands it, no matter how much no one wants to think about it, Loria and Samson are partners in crime, and this is a slap in the face to those who actually appreciates the game. After the most bizarre scene in Montreal, after allowing the team to hit rock bottom, Loria sold the Expos for $120 million to a partnership comprising of 29 other major league baseball clubs and he was given a $38.5 million interest-free loan. In return, he brought the Marlins for $158.5 million.

This made it possible for then-Marlins owner John Henry to purchase the Boston Red Sox. Of all things he's done, the Marlins team won the 2003 World Series. Amazingly enough he was the owner, he was the man who celebrated in triumph, but destroyed plenty of lives before and after. But because of an arbitration panel ruled in favor of Loria, Samson and Selig, claiming the plaintiffs' "sense of betrayal, even if justified, doesn't amount to fraud." At the end of the 2004 season, Selig declared the Expos would relocate to Washington, D.C.

All along, Selig know they were lying and refused to confront Loria and Samson. In other words, he condoned this behavior, he allowed them both to get away with these senseless actions. There wasn't a year that Selig didn't see the Marlins finances, but as always he's covering up for Loria and Samson to protect his legacy, the dispirited league and those two frauds' reputations. It's obvious Loria will be allowed a free ride, without serving a suspension or being hit with an expensive fine. In the meantime, though, he broke his promise that he and Samson vowed to competitiveness. Turns out he reneged on his word.

There's a problem in Miami, in the recent fallout of a trade frenzy, dumping $181 million in salary by sending Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 2012 trade deadline. The next move sending Heath Bell to Arizona shortly after the season ended. But the Marlins weren't done. Bye bye, Jose Reyes. See you later, Mark Buehrle. Farewell, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio. In other news, the Toronto Blue Jays -- just like that -- are AL East contenders, pulling off a 12-player trade, which is deemed as a major overhaul for the Blue Jays. And suddenly, even throughout the offseason, Toronto benefits in the latest fire sale for a Marlins team that's in tremendous disarray.

"Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple," slugger Giancarlo Stanton tweeted.

The Marlins owe $19.6 million to their four players past arbitrations, when they entered last season with a $101.6 million payroll. There's a very slight chance Stanton will re-sign and commit to a long-term deal with the Marlins. With all this lost talent, it only makes the Marlins richer, as the value increases to an estimate of $450 million, according to Forbes.

This is what sports have become in Miami, unfortunately, where a shenanigan is committing fraud and robbing fans of currency.