Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson have taken a beating this week – and rightfully so. Documents show that the Marlins are flush with cash – thanks to MLB’s silly revenue-sharing setup – and are pocketing it instead of spending it to build a contender. Worse yet, the Marlins just coaxed the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County into coughing up $2.4 billion for a new stadium.
Somehow a team that listed its operating income as a healthy $37.8 million in 2008 alone swung a deal in which it would pay only $155 million of the $634 million stadium complex. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County agreed – without the consent of taxpayers – to take $409 million in loans loaded with balloon payments and long grace periods. By 2049, when the debt is due, the county will have paid billions.
That’s an epic con-job. Not disclosing your full financial situation while getting the locals to kick in millions? Disgustingly brilliant. Of course, you have to wonder – why would the county get into a deal like this without full financial disclosure from the Marlins? The fools running that county deserve plenty of blame. Good luck getting out of the deal. (Unless lawyers can hammer away at these lies.)
And then we have MLB. Running a baseball team is first and foremost a business. As we’ve said for the last four years on this site – what incentive is there for the owners to spend money? Strictly from a business point of view, if you can spend a little bit of money, then get a ton from revenue-sharing, and field a decent team every so often (17 seasons, six with a winning record, two World Series crowns), why would you pass that up? [Photo: Getty]