It was viewed as typically Miami: ugly, garish, show off, all style and no substance. It was an embarrassment in the ballpark that summed up the home city.
It's no longer the most embarrassing thing in the ballpark.
|Hanley Ramirez (AP)|
The traditionally stingy Marlins had filled their spanking new stadium with stars like shortstop Jose Reyes (six years, $106 million), starting pitcher Mark Buerhle (four years, $58 million), and closer Heath Bell (three years, $27 million). They even made well publicized overtures to Albert Pujols. They were serious. The stadium that cost the taxpayers of Miami $409 million had stars, something the Marlins had lacked in their history.
However after a 68-94 season things needed changed. It started with the firing of controversial manager Ozzie Guillen. More blood shed when the Marlins traded Heath Bell, a huge bust, to the Arizona Diamondbacks in October. Of his remaining $18 million the Marlins paid $8 to get him away because he was so bad, everyone thought.
|Jose Reyes (Business Insider)|
The rebranding of the Miami Marlins, ne Florida Marlins, was dead. The promise of a thriving baseball scene in Miami was gone. The only thing left, a stain on Major League Baseball. The man that killed the Montreal Expos, Jeffrey Loria, had done it again. This time he bilked the public out of $409 million. That's $409 million that will go on to cost $2.4 billion over the next 40 years.
Jeffrey Loria has once again killed a baseball franchise and once again Bud Selig stands by and watches it happen. This time more than just baseball is affected. Two generations of Miami residents and tourists will pay for the robbery of a man whose waste goes far beyond talent and potential. A trade has given the Marlins a death penalty and baseball's higher ups folded their hands while Bud Selig shrugged.
In nothing more than a modern day shell game Loria wheezed and wailed to anyone who would listen on the need of a stadium, one they could not afford, to be competitive and break out of the constant rebuilding malaise that had engulfed the franchise from the outset. As soon as his audience was captive, he showed them how easy the game was before showing his true hand. A series of high profile signings with backloaded contracts. A guaranteed one and done with the hopes of a big payoff, one that never arrived. As soon as he had the customers sucked in and the money given, the shells were gone. And baseball let him get away.
|Jeffrey Loria (Getty)|
With no stars to support a dead franchise in a dead region that home run pinwheel will rarely work. On the small occasion it does the tacky music, spraying water, and flipping dolphins will no longer be looked at as the most embarrassing aspect of the franchise, just a microcosm of all its owner stands for.
All flash, all style. No substance. No passion. No heart.
And it's allowed to continue.