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Jeffrey Loria is stealing time from a faulty plan

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  November 14, 2012 09:51 AM

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If Iím a resident of Miami today, I start putting together my lawsuit against Jeffrey Loria.

For as much as we criticize John Henry (with yet another reminder of the fact that his group has been here 11 years in Nick Cafardoís column today - we get it, John) and company , can you imagine if the Red Sox were owned by a crook like Loria? Hereís a man who helped destroy baseball in Montreal and is angling to do the same in Miami, where the Marlins owner stole $509 million of taxpayer dollars to build the hideous Marlins Park, only to turn around and conduct another historic fire sale for the franchise.

Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, and Jose Reyes are headed to the Toronto Blue Jays in a deal that completely turns the AL East upside down. You can compare it to the Red Soxí unloading of Nick Punto and friends last August, but it really is completely different. In Buerhle, the Jays are getting a horse who, admittedly, has not fared well in the AL East in his career, but is the most durable pitcher of his generation. In Johnson, the Jays are getting a potential ace who never seemed to get the proper run support during his time in Florida, but a wild card when it comes to switching to the American League. Reyes is overrated. And owed $22 million in 2018. Ack.

Ultimately, the Dodgers didnít make the playoffs after landing Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford last season, but thatís par for the course when Gonzalez is on your squad I suppose. Maybe the Jays wonít either, but thereís no denying they just got two top-of-the-line guys in their rotation. If youíre a Red Sox fan and saying today you wouldnít like to have one of those guys on your team, youíre lying.

But thatís far less egregious than what Loria has done in Miami, a terrible baseball market that pitched in the majority for that atrocity in South Beach with their tax dollars. For one season, Loria tried to justify his swindling by tossing cash at the free agent market last winter, signing the likes of Buehrle and Reyes to long-term deals. By the summer, Ozzie Guillen had already ticked off the entire population with his Castro love, and the Marlins began their dismantling by shipping Hanley Ramirez to Magicís open wallet.

So Loria has now crumbled two franchises. The Marlins are stuck in Miami thanks to their ridiculous stadium situation, and will very likely have crowds resembling a Gary Bettman pep rally. If this isnít the end of public funding for sports stadiums, I donít know what could possibly be more of a shining beacon to the stupidity of the process. Itís one thing when tax dollars go toward infrastructure in order to improve the surrounding areas; think the harbor in Baltimore or the waterfront in San Francisco. But when taxpayers are paying the bulk Ė the $509 million bulk of a stadium for a billionaire (Loria, that chump, chipped in $125 million, whadda guy), the system is corrupt beyond explanation.

Of course, it was Henry who sold the Marlins to Loria 10 years ago, and it was the Red Sox who reportedly turned down an offer of Johnson and Reyes before the Jays made their splash Tuesday evening. News of the deal even trounced any suspense of whether or not Bobby Valentine might win the Manager of the Year, which eventually went to Oaklandís Bob Melvin. Pfft.

The Red Sox intend to use the money they saved in the Punto deal. At least, we assume. You think the Marlins are going to make a run at Josh Hamilton? Not that they should, but this weekís trade signals that the franchise is due for another decade of irrelevance with an unwillingness to spend, even after its owner stole hundreds of millions from the state, whether the taxpayers are baseball fans or not.

Thatís thievery, and Miami should be livid.

Oh, and how do you think John Farrell feels today?

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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