Getty Images

Going deep with Jeffrey Loria

8 Comments

Jerry Crasnick sat down with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for a rare one-on-one interview.

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.

 

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
1 Comment

With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.