In case you weren’t around yesterday Marlins owner Jeff Loria published a full page “Letter to our fans” in the Miami papers, purporting to explain the Marlins’ controversial and exceedingly unpopular moves since last year. The full text of it can be seen at our post on it yesterday.
I just got a chance to read it and noticed something. Despite saying “the buck stops with me” and “I take my share of the blame where it’s due,” he is pretty clear in his letter that the buck hasn’t gotten to him yet and that any blame to him is not due. Indeed, Loria believes that he is in no way to blame for the state of the Marlins and the fans’ unhappiness with the franchise.
Here is a list of the people Loria believes to be responsible for where things currently stand, in order as they are mentioned in the letter:
- Anyone who does not believe the trade with the Blue Jays was a good idea because it was “universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value.”
- Every member of last year’s roster, all of which Loria says “underperformed as compared to their career numbers.”
- “naysayers who are currently skeptical”
- People who are “reporting negatively” and making “negative accusations” on the ballpark and its funding.
- “Those who have attacked us.”
- People who are “attacking the County’s method of financing” for the ballpark;
- “columnists” who have “decried” the trade;
- “We” meaning the team, for not communicating well with the fans. This is a superficial stab at responsibility, but the tone and placement of it is clearly that of a person who thinks they’re always right saying “I guess I’m not being clear, because you still don’t understand that I am right.” If Loria did want to take responsibility for the poor communication he would mention the fact that he has given no interviews and made no statements at all since last season ended and until this letter was published. He has also apparently forbidden team officials from talking to the media too. Yes, Jeff, “we” could do better with communication.
- He would, however, like to remind us that he helped bring the 2003 World Series championship to Miami. I guess when the team plays poorly it’s on the roster, when they don’t it’s on him.
Give Loria this much credit: he’s honest. He does not believe he is in anyway responsible for what’s happened to this team, so he will not pretend to be responsible or sorry for it. I suppose in some strange, awful world there is something noble to that. Problem is, no one besides him believes it, so I don’t think the letter is going to do a thing for him or the team.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.