Crasnick sells it as a look at another, more benevolent side of Loria than the cartoonish villain figure we often see. And I will grant that the interview does go deeper with Loria than most stories about him do. We certainly see an unprecedented humanity to Loria in this interview with respect to his reaction to the death of Jose Fernandez, with whom Loria was very close and whose death affected him greatly. Most of the interview deals with that, in fact, and it’s certainly worth reading for that alone. Loria knew Fernandez in ways most people didn’t, and it’s fascinating to get a glimpse of the late ace from a new perspective.
Still, no one has ever seriously questioned Loria’s relationship with his players. He was famously close with Hanley Ramirez and many other Marlins players over the years, often in cases where the player himself was not necessarily a fan favorite. Loria likes baseball and he likes baseball players. We’ve always known that. What he has been criticized for has been in not caring a whole hell of a lot about what fans think or feel and, instead, caring a whole hell of a lot about what will enrich Jeffrey Loria.
There is nothing in this interview to change our view about that. He drops multiple references to his own wealth and the ways in which he spends his money. He talks about wanting to win another World Series trophy so he can have matching “table lamps,” not because it’d be a great things for fans in Miami. Indeed, he doesn’t use the word “fan” once. By the time we get to a question about him possibly becoming Trump’s ambassador to France, the way in which he talks about all of that and his relationship with Trump makes him sound a lot like . . . Donald Trump. At least on a superficial level in which the world more or less seems to exist solely via his own personal experience of it and place in it.
I dunno. I don’t mean to pile on Loria, because so many people have over the years. And I genuinely feel for him in the wake of Jose Fernandez’s death, as the two seemed to have a genuine love for one another. You can tell the loss has hit him hard. I just don’t think that anything here rehabilitates Loria’s reputation or suggests that the reputation he has is unearned. In certain respects he, like almost everyone, is a good person, particularly for the people to whom he is and was close. With respect to how he affects most of us, as baseball fans, he’s still Jeffrey Loria.