Within the past couple days, it has become heavily apparent that the Miami Marlins are gutting their team, only half a season into their first at the new Marlins Park. This past offseason, Owner Jeffrey Loria went out and did everything possible to buy his team a playoff spot, getting a new manager, new starting pitching, new closer, and new shortstop. What did all that get him? The Marlins are 7 games below .500 and 12 and a half games back in the National League East. It’s a pretty good bet that this team won’t be making the playoffs this season. But is gutting the team the right move?
One complaint that has constantly been made since baseball came to Florida is that the fans just don’t show up to the ballpark. The Marlins tried to rectify some of that this season by moving into their beautiful new stadium, Marlins Park. The team felt like they could afford all their offseason spending, as the money made by the new ballpark would pay those salaries. They also felt this team would be making a playoff rush, which would bring the fans out in droves. Unfortunately, this team has highly underperformed, so Loria felt it a smarter move to cut bait now, rather than wait.
A logical point could be made that Loria should have waited another year before doing this. It really feels like such a knee jerk reaction to go out and start trading off pieces left and right. But what did we expect? Loria has done this before. The Marlins have twice been World Champions, and gutted both times right after winning the big game. There is a history in Florida of teams being dismantled out of nowhere. Loria even has a history of such treachery, leaving the Montreal Expos high and dry to go buy the Marlins. Loria made a ton of promises to the fans of Montreal, and in the end, he jumped ship and let Major League Baseball take over the team. To put it bluntly, Loria can’t be trusted at his word.
This brings up another interesting question: Which is worse: Jeffrey Loria spending the money on his team, but gutting his team in a heartbeat, or David Glass, a man who doesn’t seem committed to spending money on his Kansas City Royals? I have been critical of Mr. Glass for years now, and for just reason. It just seems like the man doesn’t give a crap about his team and is more concerned about his bottom line. But to be honest, I would almost prefer that to what Loria is doing.
What Loria is doing is getting fans’ and their hopes up, then squashing them out of nowhere. It’s not real commitment. It’s commitment until things look murky, then it’s time to duck out. At least Glass is consistent: consistently cheap. If you are a Marlins fan, would you be shocked if Loria up and sold the team tomorrow? He seems weaselly enough to leave in the middle of the night and leaving for Indianapolis. Now, don’t get me wrong. Both owners are awful at owning at Major League Baseball teams, and the both sets of fans deserve better. But baseball has let them do these type of actions for years, so why should they stop now?
At the end of the day, I’m glad I’m not a Marlins fans. Sure, it sucks sometimes being a Royals fan, as I can’t say I honestly believe David Glass will ever spend money on his ballclub. But I can trust he won’t do what Jeffrey Loria has been doing for years. It is impossible for Marlins fans to ever have any dreams, other than for Loria to leave the team to someone who really cares about them. The same can be said about Glass and the Royals, but expectations aren’t driven up like they are in Florida. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I would take the devil I know over the devil who wants to leave when things start looking muddy. What a shame for Florida, and what a shame for Major League Baseball.