In the frenzied, furious time of football season other sports have a tough time making headlines. So it’s no accident that the news coming out of south Florida escaped banner headlines.
It seems that Marlins owner Jeff Loria made a trade. He sent seven front-lime players to the Blue Jays for a magic sack of beans. This move was neither dissimulation or prevarication.
Acting as an out-of-control backwater despot he chose to get cheaper. It was an eradication of salary. Winning be damned.
It should be noted that Loria is a pugnacious, self-righteous character of charmless egocentricity. He’s a crook. In his arrogant defiance of fate, he played the paying customers.
He should be arrested for grand larceny. Personal perjury at the least. He lowered the bottom line to feed his perverse fixation on profits. And he got away like a cat burglar in the night.
Before we go on, we need a refresher course on the mindset and peevish manners of the south Florida resident.This loud and proud fraternity is made up of former Cuban exiles. First coming to shore in the late 50′s as Fidel Castro seized power in a bloody coup. Operating in a cloak and dagger of darkness and impending doom. Not all made it. Some were left to toil in torture and hard-eyed, heavy-handed political bloodlust. Even after 50 years of democratic and free living in America, the wounds of their mother land still haunt and terrorize. Some are going on their third generation of state-side living. But Castro always looms just a 90 minute boat ride away.
What does this have to do with baseball?
It’s about lying. It’s about deception of truth. It’s about a proud group of brave people. Truth be told, it’s a mental discipline of survival.
So, how do we connect the dots to baseball? Easy. Much like the marginally maligned and paranoid Castro, Loria also used the Cuban community. This very loyal and unwavering group were promised one thing and delivered something else. Call it civic fraud. A bait-and-switch of fact and fiction. Much like Castro promised after he toppled the terrain of a corrupt system.
This time around Jeff Loria promised a competitive squad that would contend for championships. The only catch? He needed a new stadium. A new revenue generating facility would prevent the Marlins from drifting listlessly into baseball apocalyptic Armageddon. But he needed their patience AND paychecks.
In the worst of economic times, he was seeking public welfare. You build me a free stadium, I’ll sign quality players and we’ll both win.
It must be noted that in the Dade/Broward counties of Miami, almost nothing political happens without the Cuban support and approval. They take the right of being heard and voting very serious.
This group of sturdy, strong and solid voting block hang together. Rule number one in Miami: secure the Cuban vote. Without the support and ratification, bills die. Referendums sink. Propositions plummet. So it came as no surprise that Loria and his henchman staged a deranged attack of camouflaged intentions and implied motives. But the threat of losing their team tugged at their purse strings. The billionaire got his corporate equivalent to food stamps. This is where the story should end, right? The fans did their part. Now it was up to the owner to handle his promise. And in the beginning the omens looked positive. High-tone free agents were signed. A fiery manager was brought in. The promissory note pledged by the ticket buying public was satisfied. Then the melancholy echos of the past reared it’s Grendel-like head.
They lost. They lost a lot.
The team was lousy. The new baseball mansion did little to offset the calamity on the field. So the owner quit. Folded.
After one season of bad decisions and horrible realizations, Loria punted. He chose dollars over dreams.
He held a garage sale of his best (and expensive) players. The grim barrage of news was of a misguided mission. An owner had exercised economic exploitation. His grisly, filthy heart reverberated. His unnerving scruples well revealed. It was a grotesque display of rotten morals. The proud Cubans were swindled again. Much like Castro had promised a well of heroic grandeur, Loria all but guaranteed a World Series in south Florida. Both men were consumed by their warped motivations.
Where was the commissioner? Why did Bud Selig allow this to happen. Why didn’t he pull a Bowie Kuhn and void the deal like he did in the 70′s when Oakland tried the same nonsense? Where is the justice? Where is the outrage?
So Castro continues his tight-fisted reign in Cuba. And Jeff Loria tends to his bulging portfolio of deceit and lies 90 miles north. But it was probably best put by Castro when he opined…”I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating because it causes war. And hypocrisy. It causes competition”.
And once again, the Cubans are left to stand sentry to the lying usurpers preying on their tormented souls.
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