Going deep with Jeffrey Loria

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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.

 

Jones, Maddux, Morris consider Bonds, Clemens for Hall

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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Hall of Famers Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris and Ryne Sandberg are among 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee that will meet to consider the Cooperstown fate of an eight-man ballot that includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro.

Hall of Famers Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also are on the panel, which will meet in San Diego ahead of the winter meetings.

They will be joined by former Toronto CEO Paul Beeston, former Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein, Anaheim Angels owner Arte Moreno, Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng, Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter and Chicago White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams.

Three media members/historians are on the committee: longtime statistical analyst Steve Hirdt of Stats Perform, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Neal and Slusser are past presidents of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Hall Chairman Jane Forbes Clark will be the committee’s non-voting chair.

The ballot also includes Albert Belle, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Curt Schilling. The committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A candidate needs 75% to be elected and anyone who does will be inducted on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the BBWAA vote, announced on Jan. 24.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their 10th and final appearances on the BBWAA ballot. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program, just over two weeks after getting his 3,000th hit.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) in 2021. Support dropped after hateful remarks he made in retirement toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the BBWAA ballot in 2019. Murphy was on the BBWAA ballot 15 times and received a high of 116 votes (23.2%) in 2000. Mattingly received a high of 145 votes (28.2%) in the first of 15 appearances on the BBWAA ballot in 2001, and Belle appeared on two BBWAA ballots, receiving 40 votes (7.7%) in 2006 and 19 (3.5%) in 2007.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.

This year’s BBWAA ballot includes Carlos Beltran, John Lackey and Jered Weaver among 14 newcomers and Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner among holdovers.