The Miami Hustle

The Miami Hustle

Fucking Jeffrey Loria.

The owner of the Miami Marlins has done it again: Suckered “fans” (the few, the not proud) of the Marlins into thinking he was building a long-term contender only to dump players to save money. If this seems familiar, it’s because it is part of a pattern.

Of course, this is the first time he has done it AFTER convincing the city of Miami to build him a new stadium. He also went the additional step last offseason of rebranding the team, changing the uniforms (quick cash), feigning interest in Albert Pujols and renting big-name free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle and Heath Bell. Genius move, that was, because any good con needs the appearance of reality.

Those players are all gone, of course, (along with many, many, many others) because he never meant to keep them and, you know, pay them. Loria, the art dealer, knows it’s best to sell high and buy low, particularly when you can use other people’s money. To be fair, he did receive Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolin — and while they may not have talent, they DO have lots of vowels. So that’s nice.

Loria is not alone in his scumbaggery, he is just really good at it. The NHL, for instance, has long been a haven for con men and two-bit hustlers. Not the players, of course. Hockey players are seemingly the most sincere and personable of any big-name athletes. It’s the owners and the guys who run hockey who are the worst.

It says something when your league is nearly 100 years old, and the third thing listed on your Wikipedia page is “labour issues.” There have been four league-wide work stoppages since 1992, one of which wiped out the 2004-05 season. There’s a reason the slogan for the league is not: “The NHL: Where fans come first!”

I don’t follow hockey close enough to know precisely who is wrong, but I am betting on the owners, as they have a history of mistakes. The second thing listed on the NHL’s Wikipedia page is “expansion,” which almost killed the league in the late ’90s and early ’00s. The league, eager to be more relevant, deluded its product just to expand to hockey hotbeds Atlanta and San Jose and Nashville and anywhere in Florida. Great job, guys!

Also, if you shut your league down for an entire year to “fix” the system (dumb owners spending too much cash) — and then have to come back eight years later and shut down the league to “fix” the system again (dumb owners spending too much cash) — clearly you fucked up the first time. There shouldn’t be mulligans in collective bargaining agreements.

Fans, of course, are the ones who get screwed by the Lorias and the NHLs. The owners will continue to be rich, the players will cash their checks, but the fans are the ones who invest in something that is not theirs, only to be reminded of that fact often.

The Internet has given fans a voice they did not previously have. It’s way more powerful than sports talk radio in the 1990s and 2000s. It’s a direct hotline to owners and players and managers. At least it levels the playing field a bit. Except the men who make the decisions can always shut down their computers and get off Facebook.

What’s the solution? Fans in Miami should continue to not go to games (they are good at that, to be fair). They should vote out the politicians who gave into Loria’s demands knowing he had a history of selling short. Hockey fans should not return just because the lockout is over. Stay at home. They take away six months from you, you take away six months from them.

We should stop pretending as if we have a stake in what happens in the sports arena. We don’t. We are fans. If we can’t make the decisions, we can at least try to influence the dialogue. And our wallets are way more powerful than our Twitter accounts.

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