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Praise be to the Loria...


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Here is the article in the Herald about Loria. It portrays him in a favorable light. The question I have is, why was this only done just recently? Why did the Herald wait until now to give a positive story about the 'new' Marlins' owner?


Hats off to hands-on boss

Florida Marlins owner rubs elbows and chats with his players, who praise his avid interest, approachability and generosity.


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PROUD MOMENT: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, right, hugs Jeff Conine after Florida beat the New York Mets 4-3 on Friday night to clinch a wild-card berth. 'It's a great feeling,' Loria said. 'We're all getting excited together.'



He's got the best seat in the house, a front-row box adjacent to the Marlins dugout. His choice location offers him a close-up view of the baseball action on the diamond while, with a right swivel of his head, enabling him to keep apprised of what's happening on the bench.


From time to time, though, Jeffrey Loria stands and turns and gazes around at the stands inside cavernous Pro Player Stadium. He's accustomed to seeing the big glob of empty orange seats that prevailed during his first season-and-a-half as owner of the club. But in the past few months -- as the Marlins surged toward the franchise's first postseason berth in six years, renewing interest in the team that was rumored for contraction as recently as two years ago -- he's discovered something new: people.


''The biggest thrill that I get -- and it happened a couple of days ago and it's been happening for a while -- is when I stand and look around and see the faces of the kids,'' Loria said. ``It's a great feeling. We're all getting excited together, and I get a big thrill out of that.''


Loria -- the franchise's third owner -- is far more visible than either of his two predecessors and more hands-on than either Wayne Huizenga or John Henry, as well. He's taken every one of the team's road trips since July, and frequents the clubhouse to rub elbows and chat with his players.


''He wants to know the game,'' said Marlins utility infielder Andy Fox. ``He wants to learn the game. And most of all, he wants to win.''


Said pitcher Josh Beckett: ``He's in the clubhouse, he hangs out, and he's approachable.''


And, players say, he's generous.


Even though the Marlins' $50 million payroll is one of the lowest in baseball, a direct derivative of the team's small season-ticket base, Loria has reached into his pockets when players have least expected it, like when he took the entire team out to dinner at Morton's in San Francisco and again on that same trip when he stood up on the team's charter and told players he planned to make a quick stopover on their way to Pittsburgh: in Las Vegas.


''I think the one thing that stunned us was in the middle of that tough trip and we stop off in Vegas,'' Fox said. 'We got on that plane, and here we were 1-6 on the trip, and he gets up and says, `I know it's been a rough road trip, but we're going to stop in Vegas and have some fun.' When you have someone that does stuff like that, you try to repay him and you try to win and make the effort.''




And, yet, the public image of Loria hasn't always been favorable, especially when he first gained control of the team in 2001 and skeptics abounded. He remains scorned in Montreal, where he owned the Expos for two seasons before selling off the struggling franchise to Major League Baseball, then using the proceeds from that sale to buy the Marlins from John Henry. (Henry, in turn, bought the Boston Red Sox.)


Loria was regarded as tight-fisted, a perception that seemed to gather evidence almost from the moment he took over the Marlins. The franchise cut corners, eliminating the use of a radar gun to register pitches on road trips, and firing the original Billy the Marlin mascot for a lower-paid version who does other work for the team besides wear the familiar costume. One of the first trades made by the Marlins under Loria's new regime was the deal that sent high-priced pitchers Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to the Cubs for Julian Tavarez and a handful of minor-league prospects. One of those turned out to be pitcher Dontrelle Willis, who has emerged into a star and a Rookie of the Year candidate.


Loria said the early criticisms didn't come as any surprise to him, in large part because he knew the troubled club he was buying had turned off a community angered by the dismantling of the 1997 World Series team and numbed from the constant pleas for public financing to help build a new ballpark. Loria was attacked by sports pundits on air and in print before he hardly set foot in the door. He said he ignored it all.


''I can either spend my time listening to all of that, or get everyone together and motivate this organization to work toward what we wanted to do, which was to guarantee the long-term success of this franchise,'' he said. ``I think the new kid on the block always has to prove himself. I'm sure the fans had an unpleasant situation, disenchanted with what had gone on here. We had nothing to do with that, but we knew we had a job to do.''




Loria said his goal was to build a winner, knowing that would bring back fans. Attendance dropped to an all-time franchise low last season but has increased more than 40 percent this year. Even though the Marlins have drawn more than 1.2 million fans this season, they will still finish the season ahead of only the orphaned Expos and cross-state Tampa Bay Devil Rays.


''We're fine with these numbers,'' Loria said, noting the improvement over last season. ``We are where we are until the horizon presents a new vista for us.''


But Loria refuses to discuss any plans to seek public financing support for a new stadium. Nor does he address next season's player payroll, which would range around $90 million -- up from this season's $50 million -- simply to keep the current team intact. He says only that he's committed to ensuring the team's future in South Florida and trying to field winning teams.


''I don't really want to talk about payroll,'' he said. ``We don't know what we're going to do. We haven't discussed it. What we are focused on is getting to California [to face the Giants in the playoffs]. That's our first step. I never like to have my focus interrupted, because otherwise it takes away from the fun.''




Loria approved the money to sign free agent Ivan Rodriguez in the offseason, gave the go-ahead to trade for reliever Ugueth Urbina and didn't hesitate one second to go after Jeff Conine when All-Star third baseman Mike Lowell went down with an injury. He even approved the firing of Jeff Torborg in May even though the former manager was his personal friend.


''We're still friends,'' said Loria, adding he remains in regular contact with Torborg. ``He's excited for the team. It [the firing] was difficult, but it was necessary because I had to put the organization, the team and the franchise above my personal friendship. The community deserves to see this team do better, and they have. [New manager Jack McKeon] has done a spectacular job of motivating everyone, and that's one of the ingredients we felt was missing early on when we made the change.''


Loria said he's confident South Florida can support Major League Baseball.


''I'm here because I want to be here,'' Loria said. ``We're trying to make a major-league franchise here something special. Why should it not have a major-league team?''

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I hated the article the morning after clinching the Wild Card that called Loria "Most Vile Parasite." The only newspaper I hate more than the Herald is the New York Times.


A better comparison would be to the National Enquirer, to put the Herald in the same sentence with the New York Times is, no matter how much you dislike the latter, is like comparing a pig to a racehorse.


BTW, I'm no fan of the Times, there was a day when it really was "all the new fit to print", alas no more. Neither paper has anywhere near the credibility it had twenty years ago.


I was appalled at Miller's comment (and it wasn't a news story, it was commentary) and more, at the page position it was given. There was no reason that piece had to run on the front page of the sports section on that day, except that the editor wanted it there.


It is inconceivable that on the morning after the Marlins win the Wildcard that the Herald would villify the owner on its sports front page with the phrase "Most Vile Parasite" WITHOUT DISCUSSION AND APPROVAL IN THE NEWSROOM. That just doesn't happen.


Commentary often, frequently, runs inside. They had lots of other options laying out the section besides running Miller where and how they did, or even to run the piece, or edit out the comment. A good editor might have said "Jeff (Miller), not today Jeff" but had him rewrite this lead or just thrown it in the can. But the herald wanted to make sure that their feelings were known about this ownership and this is how they did it.


This was premeditated.


Richard Bush (Herald Sports Editor) had to know, or should have known, this was about to happen and let it happen. This is how he wanted the Marlins portrayed that morning. The Herald has done everything in its power to discredit this ownership, every chance it could, and this is just another example.


Today's piece may have been in response to the previous one but I suspect it was the other way around, knowing the Loria piece was in the works, Miller may have set out to "even the playing field" with comments.


What else would motivate Miller to pen that piece on that of all days. The sign metaphor was merely an excuse to destroy any goodwill the owner may have reaped from his teams success.


There is a culture in the Herald sports department that is hateful and mean-spirited and hurtful. To this reader they appear more motivated by the power they wield than being professional journalists out to report the news. One only has to look at the recent Kentucky Derby reporting debacle to realize this is poorly managed news department. Until they change editors it will remain the same.


As big a problem Mike Berardino at the Sun-Sentinel has had with the Marlins management this year he never stooped to this kind of gutter journalism. I give him props for that. What Miller did shouldn't be forgotten, or forgiven, the same way that Dan LeBatard, no matter how he seems to love The Fish now, should not be forgiven for the crude, hurtful and plain wrong things he's said over the last few years.

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This is the best article written about the Marlins all year.


Tuning into Marlins, tuning out critics


by Jim Sarni

Posted September 26 2003


The sports talk hosts were ripping Marlins fans Thursday. Only 25,311 Tuesday and 28,250 Wednesday for the big games against the Phillies.


Never mind that these have been great, crazy-in-love crowds and nice numbers, considering that the team has a puny season-ticket base to start with and the games were on school nights.












The fans are out there. They're watching in record numbers on television.


Tuesday's Pax telecast did a 8.1 rating in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market, peaking at 13 in the final innings.


Wednesday's Fox Sports Network telecast did a 8.6, the highest rating in history for the team on the cable network. It beat the 8.1-rating record, set during the 1997 World Series season, and was the most-viewed program in nine out of the 13 quarter-hour rating periods between 7-10:15 p.m., peaking at 11.9 at 10 p.m.


"Marlins ratings on Fox Sports Net are up 60 percent over last season, said Jeff Genthner, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Fox Sports Net Florida. "The bitter history of the 1998 season can finally be put to rest. For the first time in six years South Florida baseball fans now have plans in October."


Living the moment


Dave Van Horne was a Montreal Expos announcer during their glory years, 1979-81. He got used to doing games that mattered.


But then came a big dry spell.


The Expos were in a few pennant races, but not in the thick of it. When Van Horne came to the Marlins in 2001, the losing continued. Now, all of a sudden it's September and the games count again.


"I've got great appreciation for these games," said Van Horne, the Marlins radio broadcaster.


All the Marlins announcers are living in the delirious moment.


"You can't let yourself get spoiled," said Len Kasper, the team's second-year TV announcer. "I've got friends in the business who have never had the chance to broadcast big games at the end of the season."


Jon "Boog" Sciambi was back in the radio booth Wednesday after missing a game with a stomach virus Tuesday.


Bill Beck, the Marlins' director of team travel, filled in Wednesday and had a nice call on Jeff Conine's home run.


He uses facts to point out that WQAM is full of crap and so is, to a certain extent, his own newspaper.

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toilet paper to clean up the crap WQAM puts out on the air. except that it is defective and therefore makes a bigger mess. Thank god for Fox Sports Net and the good ole Television.


But Cape ol' buddy I think you missed the point, this was a premeditated act, this wasn't the actions of some rogue journalist, they (the Herald sports editors) wanted this to be there. It's outrageous, but unfortunately, it's how the Herald operates.

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But Cape ol' buddy I think you missed the point, this was a premeditated act, this wasn't the actions of some rogue journalist, they (the Herald sports editors) wanted this to be there. It's outrageous, but unfortunately, it's how the Herald operates.

The Herald and Sun-Sentinel have lost all credibility with me. WQAM lost it maybe like 5 years ago. The only places that are credible for this team's fans to get good analysis is this forum, FloridaMarlins.com and Fox Sports Net Florida.


Very sad. Can't wait till WIOD/WRFX in 2005!

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Let me just throw more fuel on the fire - or pyre. I wrote to Le Retard, because I find his shift in personality appauling. He is a poser. But anyway, I wrote to him, asked him why he has changed his mind all of a sudden and then told him that those fans (us) whom he attacked (indirectly) and the franchise we supported KNEW him to be fake. But I also said it was ok that he is back on board in supporting this franchise. That that is a sign of good fortune here. (I am paraphrasing, because I didnt save my email). Anyway, he responded, "lighten up, man. It is sports."


To which I responded (again, paraphrasing) does that make you irrelevant? Does that mean your opinion has no merit?


He replied, "yep, on both counts."


Goes to show you, his only concern is his mouth and drawing eyes to his article. I dont read his BS anymore. In fact, it makes me want to go out there and take his job - and I could. :banghead

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typical pencil-pusher nerdy response: "it's just sports."


You say "it's just sports" if a game is cancelled because of 9/11. But, that's the best he could do after you berated him? Man, this guy is so clever. That's hilarious that he couldn't respond any better.


Just sports? Then maybe that should be our excuse for not showing up to games (well not US, but you know what I mean when I say "our excuse"). "Why should we show up for games and spend money? It's just sports."

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