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Loria Deserves Credit


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He does....he put this team together and now we are contenders! Thanks Loria/ Beinfest!


Loria deserves credit for job well done



By Charles Elmore, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, September 26, 2003




It has been so long since the Florida Marlins were last in the playoffs that it's hard to remember what it feels like to give credit to an owner.


The same man we all ripped for the hot dog shortages on opening day 2002, and for dumping popular players such as Ryan Dempster and Cliff Floyd, has managed an astonishing turnaround job. The Marlins clinched at least a tie Thursday for the NL wild-card spot. If you had to pick an owner of the year right now, Jeffrey Loria deserves that honor.


Some might point to the Royals or the A's or even to former Marlins owner and current Red Sox owner John Henry, whose team is playoff-bound. But in terms of won-lost turnaround in one year, and a major-league-leading attendance increase (after a truly horrible year last year), I wonder if it's possible to beat Loria this season.


You can say it's the player-development program he inherited from former General Manager Dave Dombrowski, or the charmed moves of the general manager he appointed, Admin Beinfest. But Loria's team produced on the field and fans came back, taking a one-time contraction candidate back to post-season contention.


The Marlins led the majors with a 55 percent increase in attendance over last year. They have had the fourth-best increase in winning percentage after the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City and Milwaukee. Loria took a team that Henry said was "doomed" so many times that fans began to believe it, and he put it back on the A list for sports worth watching in South Florida in September.


Not everyone believes Loria deserves this much praise.


"I'm not sure I give him any credit," said Andrew Zimbalist, economics professor and author of Baseball and Billions. "The Marlins have put a lot of emphasis on player development."


If forced to choose an owner of the year, Zimbalist prefers the 2003 performance of Henry and his partners in Boston.


"I think the owners in Boston have been superior," Zimbalist said. "They're outsiders. They came into a fairly hostile environment and won people over. They renovated Fenway Park in a way that was appropriate and sensitive to the history. "


Also deserving, in Zimbalist's eyes, is Giants ownership, for thriving with a privately-financed stadium in San Francisco.


But others are not so hard to persuade.


"The fact that Loria was responsible for hiring the GM that made the right moves, and the fact that they have gone from possible extinction to post-season participant as a result, this certainly would give the


edge to Loria," said Patrick Rishe, economics professor at Webster University in St. Louis. "I'd give second place to the Royals' ownership and third to the A's. If you were judging over a five year period, perhaps the A's shoot up to the top."


For one season, though, the Marlins have made the most impressive combination of gains, he said.


"In fact, I might go one step further and say that no single owner in professional sports created as large of a turnaround for their franchise in one season as Loria has," Rishe said.


Is Loria a guy who just got lucky when Beinfest's guesses all came out right in a magical season? I think it's more than that. Remember Loria accompanied Beinfest on that awkward midnight mission to fire manager Jeff Torborg and a bitter pitching coach. Remember, too, that Loria agreed to spend the money on guys like Pudge Rodriguez ($10 million for one year) and on late moves to get Jeff Conine and reliever Ugueth Urbina.


According to Marlins President David Samson, Loria's stepson, Loria's gamble this season was his "willingness to lose money." Samson says the loss is more than $20 million. The payroll has been estimated at about $50 million.


But it still isn't a third of what the Yankees spend. If you measure wins by payroll dollars spent, the Mets come out least efficient and the Marlins are near the top (only Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Oakland did better, according to an analysis by Post business writer Jeff Ostrowski, using opening-day payrolls).


"I think it's a tribute to Jeffrey Loria and Admin Beinfest," manager Jack McKeon said. "Loria for OK'ing the extra money to get the guys and Admin for the ability to swing the thing."


This does not mean I support tax money for a new Marlins stadium. I oppose it on principle. But I also believe in another principle -- giving a guy his due for performance.


There are doubters like Zimbalist. Even he began to soften as the conversation went on.


"I guess Loria deserves to be up there, for this year anyway," he said.



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lol, yeah what the heck is Zimbalist talking about?


"I think the owners in Boston have been superior," Zimbalist said. "They're outsiders. They came into a fairly hostile environment and won people over."


Outsiders? Coming into a hostile environment? Sounds just like the marlins Front Office to me. actually in a way, montreal fans probably feel about Loria the same way marlins fans feel about John Henry.

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sad thing is the team would need 75,000 fans a day for all 81 home games to break even thanks to the curse of the Huizinga... I believe Loria said hes just gonna have to gamble and put together 3 solid years of losing money to build the fan base and get a stadium.

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no i think it was 75,000 for the passed 2 weeks' homegames....


not every home game

No, I remember reading a similar figure of 75K per contest to break even due to the economic constraints that Huizenga has put on this team. It was in one of the papers.


But Loria does deserve all the acolades right now. He was ripped up before he even got down in S Fl. The media is chomping on pure merda right now...this team has resurrected itself. I dont think we have truly begun to appreciate this in its totality yet. This offseason could be even more amazing than this season I feel...and I think we are going all the way this season.

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