Loria Continues Staunch Defense Of Offseason Moves, But Columnists Not Buying It
Yesterday was the "third and final day of a public relations blitz" by Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria, and he defended the current roster by saying the Marlins are "not a Triple A ballclub," according to Clark Spencer of the MIAMI HERALD. Loria, mentioning by name 3B Placido Polanco, RF Giancarlo Stanton and C Rob Brantly, said, "It’s a ballclub with some pretty impressive players." Spencer notes Loria, for the most part, "repeated much of what he has said already and continued to defend the team’s trades." He said, "I did not want to be like some other teams in Major League Baseball. They make one or two changes each year, and they never have winning seasons. We’ve had a lot of winning seasons through this decade" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/27). In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis reports Loria "insisted that Miami is a fertile market for baseball and that the Marlins have a viable future there" despite drawing far less to Marlins Park in its first year than anticipated. He said, "Miami is a wonderful baseball town. It has a great baseball heritage going back long before there was major league baseball here. We have put together a championship-caliber [roster] of young players, a large group of them, and we're going to field an excellent team in the next two or three years that you're going to be proud of." Davis notes that is the "mantra Loria has settled on this week" with the full-page ad he took out in all three South Florida newspapers and an "informal gathering with a small group of writers Monday" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/27).
LORIA OUT OF TOUCH: CBSSPORTS.com's Danny Knobler wrote Loria "just doesn't get it, does he?" He is "no more in touch with reality than he was three springs back, when he declared the Marlins should make the playoffs -- with a team that ultimately couldn't even win more games than it lost." Knobler: "Yeah, that's what the few remaining Marlins fans want to hear, a few defiant words from an unrepentant owner. That's what they want, to hear Loria say that people around town have been 'congratulating' him for his latest fire sale." What the Marlins have "done over the last year and a half was never going to be easy to explain to their fans," but "leave it to Loria to find a way to make things even worse" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/26). ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan said, “Nobody's buying what Loria was selling here. ... You can't buy any of it. They have less than 5,000 season-ticket holders right now. This team is in a great deal of trouble, and when he did his ‘fire sale’ for the 50th time, I think he lost a lot of fans that might not come back.” ESPN’s J.A. Adande said of Loria not addressing the team's trade with the Blue Jays until Monday, “How do you think the Marlins fans felt when they waited since November for him to address this when the trade went down and now it's late February? This isn't a response. … This is a PR campaign because of lagging ticket sales, which are less than half of last season” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/26).
ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT NEEDED: In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote Loria's "attitude remains the singular obstacle to moving on." He "refuses to take responsibility for what happened." He "wasn’t contrite or humble on some level." Hyde: "He attacked. And attacked. And not just the media, which he thinks is fanning fan anger where I think we’re merely reflecting it" (SUNSENTINEL.com, 2/26). In St. Louis, Joe Strauss writes under the header, "Marlins' Owner Knows How To Make Fans Angry." Strauss: "Fifteen months after strutting through the winter meetings like a reigning emperor, Loria might be the least popular owner in American professional sport" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/27).
WAITING IT OUT: ESPN’s Buster Olney noted Loria has told reporters the team "will wait until after the season" to talk about signing Stanton to a new contract. Olney: “This begs the question: Why wait? Stanton is only going to get more expensive and if the Marlins offer and Stanton says no, they can move on with a clear conscience” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN2, 2/26).