Tag Archives: jeff loria

Bless You, Random Vandal

If you follow my Twitter feed, you know that the one team I truly, deeply hate is the Florida Marlins. There are other teams I dislike at various times for various reasons, but the Marlins are the only one who incite in me a white-hot burning rage.

Why? I delineated many of the reasons in this piece, so it seems pointless (and blood pressure raising) to do so again. But one cause I just glanced over was their owner, Jeff Loria, who I daresay could out-douche George Steinbrenner at The Boss’s infantile height.

Loria is the man most responsible for choking off the Expos at the root so they could move out of Montreal. Granted, he couldn’t have done this if Bud Selig et al weren’t so keen on making it happen, but the fact remains that he, more than anyone else, destroyed that franchise. (For some arcane reason, this move also necessary to allow the current Red Sox ownership to take over. It is a complicated tapestry of deceit.) He picked a needless public fight with Joe Girardi (who has done just fine for himself elsewhere), and fired another good skipper in Fredi Gonzalez, thereby serving up the next manager for a division rival (the Braves) up on a silver platter. He keeps his payroll at poverty levels (by baseball standards) and bullied Miami into building him a new stadium, only to be revealed as a lying scumbag who puts MLB revenue sharing money into his own pocket.

He has a huge man-crush on Hanley Ramirez to the detriment of his other players, despite the fact that shortstop’s tantrums and lack of hustle have increased at the same rate his performance has declined. He is also the kind of person who would buy his team the largest–and therefore best!–World Series rings ever when they came out of nowhere to win a title in 2003. And quickly returned to nowhere, as he dismantled the team piece by piece. Take a big steamy gawk at this thing and tell me this man should own a baseball team. Go ahead, I dare you.

That is why I have taken particular delight in this altered entry on Loria’s Wikipedia page. Bless you, random vandal. You are truly doing the Lord’s work. (Hat tip to @jameskann whose tweeting alerted me to this.)

Don’t Do It, Bobby V! It’s a Trick!

Thumbnail image for 99_nldsgm4_bobbyv.pngAs I write this, all the rumor, scuttlebutt, and foofara points to Bobby Valentine becoming the next manager of the Florida Marlins. This would distress me greatly, because I love Bobby V, and I despise the Marlins.

I actually don’t hate any player on the Marlins. I just have no respect for them, as an organization. They’ve won two World Series and dismantled themselves immediately after winning both of them. They take revenue sharing money from MLB and refuse to spend it on their roster unless shamed by Bud Selig into doing so (when Selig sides against an owner, you know they’re really doing something wrong). They play in a cavernous, charmless stadium that they couldn’t fill if each seat came with a free beer and blow job. And their owner is easily the biggest shitheel in baseball now that George Steinbrenner is retired.

One of my most painful baseball memories: seeing the Mets lose to the Marlins on the last day of the 2008 season, the last game ever at Shea. The loss prevented them from finishing in a tie with the Brewers for the wild card, and brought on another long winter.

Yes, the blame falls on the Mets themselves for letting this happen. But after the Mets made the last out, the Marlins hugged and high-fived on the field like a bunch of Little Leaguers who just earned a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. I know teams congratulate each other on the field all the time, but this was a prolonged, obnoxious celebration. They milked this bit for every last drop, as angry fans screamed GET OFF THE DAMN FIELD!! It was basically a huge extended middle finger to everyone in the crowd, and I will hate the Marlins until the day I die for that.

Not to mention this was the second year in a row that the Marlins beat the Mets on the last day of the season to destroy their playoff hopes. Yes, please, let’s not mention it.

As for Bobby Valentine, I know a lot of people don’t like him for one reason or another, and I understand why people wouldn’t like him. He certainly doesn’t suffer from a lack of ego or excess of humility. He has a weird sense of humor that doesn’t always translate well after it leaves his brain and enters the real world. Like his infamous dugout disguise in 1999, or his attempts at Cheech and Chong-esque jokes during the Grant Roberts mess in 2002.

Allowing all of that, I think Bobby Valentine is a true baseball genius. Just look at the Mets teams he brought to the postseason. They had lots of talent and were fun to watch (particularly in 1999), but they were not teams that should’ve gone deep into the playoffs.

Valentine was able to take those teams’ weaknesses and turn them into strengths. He compensated for a relatively weak starting rotation with judicious use of a great bullpen. While he wasn’t afraid to use his relievers early and often, rarely did he overuse them.

He also didn’t have fantastic outfielders to choose from, so he switched often between guys like Benny Agbayani, Ronny Cedeno, Darryl Hamilton, Melvin Mora, Jay Payton, Timo Perez…not exactly a collection of superstars. And yet he found enough playing time for all of them, while also managing to identify whoever had the “hot hand” at the time.

Bobby Valentine was fired after the 2002 season to pay for Steve Phillips’ sins, which still stands out as one of the dumbest things the Mets have ever done (quite a feat, considering the team). He found success managing in Japan, but clearly (and understandably) feels like he still has something to prove in the majors.

And I would love to see him prove it–if not with the Mets, then with somebody. I could even stomach Bobby V managing the Phillies or the Yankees. But there’s something about seeing him manage the Marlins that seems both unseemly and beneath him. Like he’s grasping at this opportunity simply because it’s been offered to him, when he would really be better served holding out for something better.

I’m sure that’s not true. After all, he interviewed for the Orioles’ opening and decided that wasn’t for him (who is it for?). And he’s apparently good buddies with Jeff Loria (a fact that makes me question all the good things I’ve said about him), so at least there’s some connection between the two men.

But seeing him in a Marlin uniform–which now appears more a matter of When than If–will be kind of like seeing Eugene Levy in all those terrible American Pie straight-to-DVD follow-ups, or Steve Martin in virtually everything he’s done in the last 15 years. You just wanna grab him and say, “Look, I know you want the work, and maybe on some level you need it, but you’re better than this, and this will not end well.”

Because you know that, even if Bobby V and Loria are BFFs, there will be conflicts between the two of them over the direction of the team. I can’t imagine he’ll enjoy Florida’s $45 million payroll, or taking buses between cities, or scrubbing the dirt out his players’ uniforms by hand, or mowing the field on off days.

Loria’s already run two good managers out of Florida–first Joe Girardi, then Fredi Gonzalez (and basically handed the Braves, a division rival, their future manager in the process). Bobby V is no better than either of these guys in his willingness to take shit from others. Is he likely to stay quiet when Loria continues to do things on the cheap, or do other insane things like install a shark tank behind home plate at their new stadium? Unlikely.

So if you haven’t said yes yet, Bobby, and you have a spare moment to reconsider, I humbly suggest you do so. Jeff Loria might be your buddy now, but I bet he gets a lot less friendly once five dollars is involved.

Jeff Loria and the Art of the Deal

theo.jpgSo it looks like we’re all set, Mr. Beinfest. You guys get
Manny Ramirez, the Pirates get Jeremy Hermida, and we get Jason Bay. Manny’s
already approved a trade, and we’ve submitted the offer to the league office for
approval. So there isn’t a single logistical obstacle to making this deal a
beinfest.jpgYou know, Theo, for a three-way trade, this agreement has
come together in surprisingly easy fashion. I mean, you hear rumors about
three-way trades every year and they almost never come to fruition because the
particulars are just too darn complicated. It’s amazing that this one is about
to go off without a hitch.
theo.jpgI know, isn’t it?

beinfest.jpgRight now, it seems that there’s nothing at all that could
prevent this trade from being completed. All I need to do is press my official
general manager’s APPROVE TRADE button.

theo.jpgBy all means, do so.

beinfest.jpgI thoroughly intend to. My index finger hovers over said
button as we speak. I merely need to lower that finger and depress the button in
order to consummate our agreement.

theo.jpgI eagerly await that action.
beinfest.jpgLet’s see. I am lowering my index finger. My index finger is
now on the button. I’m about to apply some pressure and activate the

loria.jpg* kicks down office door *
Hold on there, Larry! This is my
money we’re talking about! I’m not jumping at the first future Hall of Famer I
see! You gotta know how to negotiate, kid!

beinfest.jpgBut we did negotiate, Mr. Loria, and I feel that this offer
is more than fair.
loria.jpgKid, a true businessman doesn’t want fair deal. He wants
totally unfair deal. You wanna totally humiliate the other guy.

beinfest.jpgThat sounds like the exact opposite of what you’d want to do to someone you’d like to do business with again.

loria.jpgYou got a lot to learn, kid. I’ll take this one home. You go and scrub them used baseballs so we have them ready for tonight’s game.

beinfest.jpg* sigh *

/leaves office

loria.jpgSo, Mr. Epstein, you’re offering…who is it again?

theo.jpgManny Ramirez.

loria.jpgUh huh. I’m not familiar with that model.

theo.jpgHe’s one of the best hitters of his generation.

loria.jpgBest hitter of his generation? Okay, that’s nice. Lemme look at my blue book…oh, says here he’s knocked in at least a hundred runs 11 of the last 13 years. I guess that’s okay. Of course, I can’t make a decision before taking him for a test drive.

theo.jpgHe’s a player, not a car. His body of work should speak for itself.

loria.jpgDo you know what I do for a living, Mr. Epstein? I’m an art dealer! I deal with the best arts in the world! You know who has the world’s largest collection of original Trapper Keeper prints? Me, that’s who! So I think I know a little something about working out a deal!

theo.jpgDo you actually want to work out a deal? Because it sounds like you have no interest in negotiating seriously.

loria.jpgI guess if you’re looking to unload this Manfred Dominguez person, I could take him off your hands. But if I’m giving up a can’t miss, sure thing like Jeremy Hermida, I have to get some financial compensation in return.

theo.jpgWe’ve already agreed to pay the remainder of Manny’s salary.

loria.jpgAs well I would expect. I mean additional considerations. Say, two million dollars or so of additional considerations.

theo.jpgSo let me get this straight. We’re handing you Manny Ramirez for virtually nothing. Because you’re trading another player and we’re paying Manny’s salary, you would actually make money on the deal.

loria.jpgAccording to my calculations, yes.

theo.jpgAnd even though you get tens of millions of dollars from revenue sharing every year, you refuse to spend any of that money on keeping players in Florida. You’ve traded away every single good player your team ever developed because you refused to give them salary arbitration. And yet, you want me to give you two million dollars on top of everything else.

loria.jpgThat would be nice.

theo.jpgAnd just to refresh my memory, you’re the douchebag who completely destroyed the Expos.

loria.jpgThe very same!

theo.jpgThanks, I think I’ve heard enough.

loria.jpgHe’ll come crawling back. They always do. Except for those times when, you know, they don’t.