Monday, March 23, 2009

Bad things do happen to good people...

Jeffrey Loria is getting his baseball stadium in Miami, that doesn't mean you have to like it. You can still stick in his craw and make him sick as a dog.

The rich are very different. Some people might have taken it personally if a judge told the local government they were big idiots for wanting to go in on the $634-million project, or if they were basically considered the worst thing to happen to baseball since George Will. Not ol' Jeff, though. He persevered. All it took was ruining one franchise in Montréal and running one in Florida on a shoestring.

Loria has basically lived like one of Ronald Reagan's welfare queens the entire time he has operated in South Florida. He paid $143 million for the Marlins after MLB took the burned-out rubble of the Montreal Expos off his hands and it's now worth $256 million, thanks largely to the fact he pockets revenue sharing instead of spending it on quality players. This actually violates the spirit and the letter of the collective bargaining agreement, since that money is supposed to be invested in players.

Meantime, there's nothing objectively wrong with taxpayer dollars going toward a sports stadium. It is essentially an open bidding process, since if a city doesn't play ball, the team leaves. That isn't the case here, since there really isn't any other city in the U.S. that has its act together enough to go after a major-league team. (Portland, Oregon? Las Vegas? San Antonio? Meh.) The politicians in Miami and south Florida didn't have to do this, but they did anyway, and a bad dude was rewarded. But hey, it's business; you can't damn people without souls.

Play ball: Miami-Dade agrees to pay share of Florida Marlins stadium (Miami Herald)

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