Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald is the latest to take Jeff Loria down a peg. But he has a variation on it. Jeff Loria isn’t just killing the Marlins, he’s killing baseball fandom at large.
If rather than going to games or watching on TV or listening on radio, parents are teaching their kids to ignore the Marlins and baseball altogether, the damage Loria is doing to the sport won’t be contained to his team alone.
Baseball as a sport will be injured.
Not gonna say he’s wrong. But I think it may overstate the threat too. Baseball in south Florida is relatively new still, and even when the Marlins were winning the relationship between them and the fan base was still a bit tenuous given the fire sales they had before. That, combined with the large transplant population probably means that a lot of baseball fandom was being transferred to begin with. People weren’t thinking “Marlins or nothing” before, so I doubt they are now. They’re thinking “Marlins or … Yankees?” “Marlins or Rays?” “Marlins or ___.”
Not that this helps any, of course.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?