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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SI.com took advantage of a slow news week to unveil their lists of the five best and five worst owners in each of the four major team sports. As SI.com describes it, "The method was not scientific." They said some other stuff after that, but clearly the list is a group-compiled (the byline lists no author) compendium of conventional wisdom and sports neologisms. Torii Hunter made the following contribution, explaining the difference between "good" and "bad" owners:

Arte Moreno wants to win. When you got a guy like that, I want to be a part of that team.
The Banality of the Week Award goes to Torii Hunter.

But I digress. The real reason I am writing is because Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria made the "bad" list and was ranked the fourth-worst owner in Major League Baseball.

Click to enlarge.

To call the piece poorly-written is an understatement. Loria's capsule begins, "Despite the best efforts of another crop of youngsters, Loria may be running a second franchise into the ground." An interesting choice of words for a club that is about to break ground on a new stadium.

After mentioning Loria's Montreal malfeasance (which is justifiably a major stain on both Loria and MLB), the piece continues, "He then took control of the Marlins and watched his exciting team shock the Yankees in the 2003 World Series and then became Miami fans' worst nightmare: the second coming of Wayne Huizenga." Like the opening sentence, this distorts more than it illuminates. Loria did break up the Marlins, but not after giving the team two years to return to the playoffs while the club ran at a deficit. If you want to blame Loria for the 2005 fire sale (which is completely justifiable), you must also at least mention the fact that despite fielding a competitive and compelling team, the legendarily apathetic South Florida fan base failed to show up to most Marlins games. If you were losing money subsidizing a baseball team few people cared about, what would you do?

I don't like defending Loria, but when SI.com publishes such dreck disguised as commentary, they leave me with no choice.

Also, who was dubbed the best owner in baseball by SI.com? John Henry, the same guy who bought the Marlins from Wayne Huizenga in 1999, then sold the team to Loria when the City of Miami would not build him a new stadium. When he didn't get what he wanted in Miami, he simply moved to Boston, with the grace of the MLB owners and Bud Selig. In other words, the best owner in baseball was Jeff Loria before Jeff Loria was Jeff Loria.


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