Friday, April 26, 2013

Weasel of the Week: Jeff Loria

The owner of the Miami Marlins certainly deserves to be (dis)honored this week.

More than 10 years into his stewardship of the Marlins, Jeff Loria has proven to be the absolute worst owner in the National League. I'd say in all of baseball, but apparently there are heirs apparent to the egocentric throne of the late George Steinbrenner there, too. Anyway, Loria is exploiting the lack of managerial experience at the major league level of current Marlins skipper Mike Redmond, a former player who has a World Series ring (2003) from his previous tour of duty with the team. According to Yahoo!, Loria insisted on flipping pitchers Ricky Nolasco and Jose Fernandez for a Tuesday doubleheader at Minnesota, making Fernandez, a rookie, a higher priority than the veteran Nolasco, who reportedly has already demanded a trade. Small wonder, of course, that the Marlins, as expected, occupy the basement in the NL East while Atlanta, and not Washington, threatens to run away and hide, while the defending division champion Nationals have to jockey for position with------the Mets! (like, whodathunk?)

Loria considers Fernandez to be a personal pet project, but he fails to understand that most owners should be heard but not seen. The Steinbrenner brothers aren't craving the back pages in New York, like their father did almost to the point of obsession. The Cubs & Braves, to name two, are owned by corporate interests (Tribune Corp. & Time Warner, respectively) that don't feel it necessary to make knee-jerk decisions on what amounts to "luxury" holdings, if you will. Loria, on the other hand, is like the spoiled rich boy with the shiny toy that he feels needs to be attended to as much as possible, and at all costs. Loria has alienated the fanbase time and again with his impulsive fire sales, such as the one that started in midseason last year when Hanley Ramirez was dealt to the Dodgers, but he doesn't care. However, by undercutting a rookie manager who likely knows more about the team's needs than Loria does, Loria is setting himself up to  face additional apathy, not from his team----Lord knows that's building as we speak----but from fellow owners who probably feel sorrier for the players at this stage.

Let's face it. Owning a sports franchise ain't rocket science, but Jeff Loria, this week's Weasel, ain't a Rhodes scholar, either.

No comments: