There is an old saying that a leopard never changes its spots. In the case of Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, he has been wearing the same swindler’s coat since he purchased a share in the Montreal Expos in 1999. After the Marlins latest fire sale which saw them trade five solid players for mediocre talent and prospects, the same drama appears to be playing out in Miami which had played out 1,410 miles away in Montreal ten years earlier.
There has been just reason to speculate that Loria’s sole reason for purchasing the Expos was to facilitate a move from Montreal to an American market. Three years after Loria purchased the Expos, he and disreputable MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and then Marlins owner John Henry conspired on a deal which would mean the final nail in the coffin for Major League Baseball in Montreal.
After running the team to the ground, Loria sold the Expos to a partnership consisting of the 29 other major league baseball clubs, which meant the commissioner’s office would control the team. The Marlins were then sold to Loria by Henry, clearing the way for Henry to purchase the Boston Red Sox. Two years later, the Expos would play their last game in the city where Jackie Robinson made his professional baseball debut, thanks to the unscrupulous dealings of Selig, Loria and Henry.
Approximately ten years prior to swindling the taxpayers of Miami into paying 75% of the cost for building a new stadium for the Marlins, Loria the con-artist tried the same trick on Quebec taxpayers and failed. He unsuccessfully attempted to get the province of Quebec to foot the bill for a new stadium, even while taxpayers were still paying for the immense corruption involved in building Olympic Stadium. By turning down Loria’s request, the Quebec provincial government made the best move they have made in years.
Selig, whose job is to supposedly protect the integrity and best interests of the league and its fans, has not commented on the absurd trade between the Marlins and Blue Jays. Is this really a surprise considering that Selig and Loria are two buddies who worked hand in hand to deprive Montreal of an MLB team? What does one expect from a commissioner who looked the other way during the notorious steroid era of Major League Baseball?
The taxpaying residents of Miami have no one to blame but themselves for permitting a dubious individual with a checkered past to swindle and strongarm them into paying for a beautiful new stadium, which will now be the home to a Triple AAA caliber team. Loria’s handling of the Montreal Expos should have been a clear sign to the Miami natives that this guy cannot be trusted. Instead, they fell for his act hook, line and sinker. And thanks to their ignorance of recent history, they will remain on the hook for many years to come.
If there was anything positive to come out of the Expos moving, it was Montreal not having to deal with the likes of Loria and Selig. Unfortunately for the residents of the Magic City, Montreal’s “loss” has turned into Miami’s vice.