Yesterday, Marlins fans woke up and decided to start their beautiful, relaxing Sunday off with a quick glance of the newspaper. Little did they know, the contents contained in the newspaper would likely ruin their day.
Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria put out a full-page ad in the three major south Florida newspapers, featuring a “letter to our fans” that was supposed to help persuade Marlins fans that better days were ahead. Instead, Loria just seemed to tick the angered Marlins fans off even more.
When I read the letter this morning, it made me feel like puking. You can read the full transcript over at The Miami Herald website, but today I want to go over the parts that caught my ire:
It’s no secret that last season was not our best — actually it was one of our worst. In large part, our performance on the field stunk and something needed to be done. As a result of some bold moves, many grabbed hold of our tough yet necessary decision only to unleash a vicious cycle of negativity.
So how do you counter one of the “worst” seasons in franchise history? By ripping the roster apart and trading anyone that makes money and ruining your credibility with not only the fanbase, but future free agents as well. Yes, that was really necessary, Mr. Loria.
As the owner of the ballclub, the buck stops with me and I take my share of the blame where it’s due. However, many of the things being said about us are simply not true. I’ve sat by quietly and allowed this to continue. Now it’s time for me to respond to our most important constituents, the fans who love the game of baseball.
I am sorry, but I cannot recall Loria ever taking the blame when something goes wrong. Remember former manager Joe Girardi? Yes, the one that was fired for yelling at Loria to stop yelling at an umpire during a game, because it was a distraction to the players on the field. Remember Fredi Gonzalez? He was fired after leading a overachieving Marlins roster. I was not the biggest Fredi fan, but after a few seasons of the same old stuff, I can see that not everything that went wrong under Fredi was his fault.
In fact, most of the blame for the 2013 season fell on the shoulders of Ozzie Guillen, who was fired almost a month after the conclusion of the season. Jeffery Loria also seriously considered firing President of Baseball Operations, Larry Beinfest this past offseason. Of course he decided to stay the course with the front office that has not made the playoffs in a decade, over the manager that had been here for only one season.
Losing is unacceptable to me. It’s incumbant upon us to take swift action and make bold moves when there are glaring problems. The controversial trade we made with the Toronto Blue Jays was approved by Commissioner Bud Selig and has been almost universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value.
Losing is unacceptable to Loria, but like I mentioned above, he counters that with what will likely be a worse on field product than in 2012. The Marlins are being pegged by many experts to lose 100+ games in 2013, that is not winning, the last time I checked.
Also love how Loria mentions how Selig approved the trade, but does not mention that the commissioner of the sports had to review this trade longer than he usually does and even mentioned that baseball would be monitoring the Marlins situation “closely.”
As for the experts part, let me defer to Michael Jong for thoughts on that:
As for the supposedly lauded move “outside of Miami,” I do not see it. ESPN’s Buster Olney called Loria’s decision making “a complete sham.” ESPN’s prospect maven Keith Law pulled no punches in lambasting Loria for this move. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs said the Marlins will not be seen as a real major league organization with their current management. Those are three names I respect in the baseball industry, three names that have no ties to Miami, and three names among hundreds of others that hated the deal with all of its implications.
Please Jeffery, can you email me the link of the “experts” that said this was a great move?
Loria goes onto mention that the Marlins improved their farm system from being the 28th worst to the 5th best in all of baseball. Well, guess what, the fans are not going to Marlins Park to watch prospects that are hundreds of miles away. They want to see production on the major league roster.
Loria got into financial and ballpark issues, but I am not going into those at this time.
The last thing I wanted to cover was the thing that probably irked me the most:
Amidst the current news coverage, it an be easy to forget how far we went together not so long ago. In 2003, I helped bring a second World Series Title to South Florida. We know how to build a winning team, and have every intention of doing so again. I know you share my passion for great Marlins baseball, my love of Miami and my desire to win again. We’re in this together and I humbly ask that we start fresh, watch us mature quickly as a ball club, and root for the home team in 2013.
Apparently, Loria knows how to build a winning roster, but has decided that the city of Miami has not been worthy of one of those in nearly a decade. Makes sense, right?
The Marlins team has not made the playoffs in 10 seasons. I will say that again for emphasis, 10 straight seasons without a postseason appearance. So if Loria knows the magical secret to building a winning franchise, why exactly has he been holding out on us?
The Marlins seem to lack a long-term plan on how to build their roster, but Loria wants to insist to fans that they should forget the past 10 seasons, and just remember the 2003 World Series?
As miserable as Chicago Cubs fans have been over the past century, at least their owners never tells them to hang their hats on winning a single championship under their “ownership.”
That 2003 roster can hardly be attributed to Loria either. Yes, his baseball people acquired key pieces like Juan Pierre, Ivan Rodriguez, and Ugueth Urbina, but most of the foundation for that team had already been laid out by former Marlins owner, and now Red Sox owner, John Hendry.
Let me know what you guys thought of the letter. Did something in the letter stick out and irk you guys that I missed? Please let me know in the comments.