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More Loria behavior criticized; Dolphins, Heat, Canes chatter

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent made a good point when he told me recently that Jeffrey Loria “is an odd owner in that he runs the club without regard to people who are paying the bills.”

Loria already has lost credibility with Marlins fans by slashing $60 million off his payroll, without explanation.

The obvious consequence of trading Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle – who both said Loria assured them they would not be – is that “players don’t trust him,” one prominent agent said. “Why would anyone ever take him at his word again?”

That loss of trust and the alienation of his fan base stand as Loria’s biggest impediments as he enters his 12th season as Marlins owner.

But there are other areas, too, where Loria would help his franchise by changing his approach. Among the points raised in conversations that Marlins beat writer Clark Spencer and I had with several agents, players and people close to the team’s front office:

### Loria’s meddling in personnel decisions is widely known, but it’s even worse than perceived. Besides suggesting or dictating free agent signings and players to trade, Loria has instructed his front office to demote several players.

The Marlins went without a third catcher in September because Loria was fed up with Brett Hayes. One player said word came down during a game that Chris Volstad would be demoted because of Loria’s unhappiness. “He had one bad start, and Loria was like, ‘He’s gone,’” another player said.

“Everyone knows he does it,” the player said of Loria demoting players. “It makes it hard to play. Every time you come into the clubhouse after a bad outing, you’re thinking, ‘Oh, [bleep]! Is Loria going to send me down because he’s [angry] tonight, just because Loria’s in an [expletive] mood?’

“So all these guys, with the exception of Giancarlo [Stanton], walk around on eggshells.”

We can list all of the Loria-driven bad decisions (Heath Bell, John Buck, etc.) and his enlightened ones (signing Pudge Rodriguez, advocating the Ugueth Urbina trade), but the broader question is this:

Why is the owner even involved to this extent with personnel? “If Larry Beinfest and Michael Hill were left alone and given autonomy, they would be much better off,” one agent said --- though Beinfest took bad advice from his scouting staff on a bunch of former No. 1 draft picks.

Another agent said he’s left with the impression that everything beyond minor moves must be run by Loria – different from how the Heat, Dolphins and Panthers do business.

“Jeffrey wants to be Jerry Jones and George Steinbrenner making personnel decisions, but Jones and Steinbrenner want to win,” one of the agents said. “Jeffrey wants to make money first. That’s the difference.”

### Marlins players notice when Loria shoots disgusted looks or throws up his hands when a player fails, or when he leaves early when the Marlins are losing. Some don’t like that he sits so close to the dugout.

“He’s always looking in the dugout,” one former Marlin said. “Mind your business! Watch the game! But he’s got the seat right there.”

### Though Loria can be generous (such as buying jewelry for Hanley Ramirez), his presence in the clubhouse irritates some players, according to a former Marlin. “You never see an owner in the clubhouse unless there’s a reason to be, and you wonder what the heck he’s doing in here,” another said.

### Another player criticized Loria for talking to the team as a group.

“This guy sits down with us in Boston last season and tries to give us an [expletive] speech, to inspire us,” the player said. “You listen to it and then everybody kind of looked at each other like, ‘What the [bleep] is that? Is this guy serious?’ It was unnecessary.”

### Another criticism from players: Loria’s penchant for bringing up the 2003 championship team. “It’s on the bulletin board all the time – 2003, 2003, 2003,” said a member of the 2012 team. Everybody just gets sick of it. Let it go. Nobody wants to hear about the 2003 team.”

### Four agents told me their players cannot trust that their injuries and rehabilitations will be handled correctly because of lack of confidence in the training staff -- a problem that a former Marlin attributes to Loria’s loyalty to trainer Sean Cunningham.

One agent said his client’s rehab “was [messed] up. Rehab schedules were incorrect.”

So will Loria ever do a self-evaluation and genuinely change? Those close to him say that’s doubtful. One of his joys of owning a team is helping pick the players, and doing what he wants, without regard to public reaction.

One Loria friend said: “He acts like a fan and that’s bad as an owner.”

Said a former Marlins player: “It’s not that Loria’s a bad guy. [But] we just don’t like the way he goes about things. He gets everybody annoyed… He wants the credit for all the good stuff and none of the bad.”

CHATTER

### People who spoke to the Dolphins’ front office say Miami is pessimistic about its chances of re-signing Jake Long but will keep working at it. Long, believed to be seeking at least $10 million a year, scoffed at Miami’s first offer during the season, according to a teammate.

### If Philadelphia -- which entered Friday three games behind the No. 8 playoff seed – makes the  playoffs, the Heat will have a good pick in June’s draft, perhaps 15th or 16th. But if the 76ers miss the playoffs, Miami won’t have any first-round pick. That’s because the pick acquired from Philadelphia is lottery protected for three years, and Miami’s 2013 first-rounder is owned by Cleveland.

### Recruiting analyst Charles Fishbein said he believes Miami’s hiring of former FSU assistant James Coley as offensive coordinator has elevated UM from an underdog to the favorite to land Booker T. Washington linebacker Matthew Thomas and offensive tackle Denver Kirkland, rated among the top 10 nationally at their positions. “Thomas’ best relationship is with Coley,” Fishbein said. Fishbein favors Arkansas in the battle for elite running back Alex Collins, but UM believes it has a strong chance.

### The UM basketball team’s defense has improved markedly since Jim Larranaga replaced Frank Haith, and people around the program view Larranaga’s philosophy and teaching skills as a big reason, combined with the staff’s ability to develop players.

Haith often was willing to concede open three-pointers (Larranaga isn’t) and played far more zone than Larranaga. Comparing Haith’s final UM team (2010-11) to this UM team, the difference is dramatic: UM has risen from 163rd to 30th in scoring defense this season (nine points a game less), 83rd to 8th in field-goal percentage allowed this season (an impressive 36.9) and 226th to 47th in three-point percentage defense.

 

Comments

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Cutlerridge Laz

Is there any chance UM self imposes the NCAA tourney?

JohnYonko

Regarding the Haith statistics, the improvements are: 500%; 800%; and 500%. What was Haith doing right? What would Larranaga have done with the same players?

Seth

Ok, I may be biased because I am a HUGE Jeffrey Loria fan, but I think the main problem is that the fans just won't support a baseball product in South Florida. Mr. Loria, whom, admittedly, is my hero, tried his best to field a winner, yet the fans still didn't come out. He built a beautiful stadium and put together a top notch ballclub to back it up. Still, nobody came. So, in essence you get what you deserve. Luckily, Mr. Loria has decided to stay put and not sell the team. He is our hope, he is our light, he is our way to salvation. I love you Jeffrey Loria, even if others don't.

Jim Gallo

Loria, just move the team and let the U take over the ORANGE BOWL! Yes, I did say ORANGE BOWL. WAS a Marlin fan but will never go to a game again.

Barry Jackson

Cutler Ridge Laz: I would be surprised if UM self-imposed an NCAA Tourney bid, considering: 1) The DeQuan Jones payment apparently wasn't corroborated; 2) Next year's team (which loses several key seniors) would be unlikely to make it.
John Yonko: Haith did a lot of things right, including recruiting much of this current UM team, and it's impossible to say how this current team would have defended with Haith as coach. But Larranaga is highly respected for how he coaches defense, and these players have responded well to his system.

FIUJM

Loria is a disgrace as owner. I had season tickets and understood the Hanley trade. I actually renewed season tickets until he made that trade with Toronto, I had to ask for money back. I love baseball but don't want to pay for Triple A team next year. I refuse to spend another $ until he sells the team.

Beautiful stadium...crap owner! I'm done with him.

Juan

seriously, is there a worse owner in sports than loria? you might have been able to say donald sterling, but not anymore. can anyone think of anyone as bad?

AnonymousCane

Coach Larranaga is leaps and bounds a better coach than Haith, no question. I am not even close to knowing much about the game but if you watch this team and see the difference in ball handling, offensive strategy and the suffocating defense this team plays and see the player development compared to what it looked like under Haith your just plain blind!

And I liked Haith and still to this day support him!

Ignignokt

Loria needs to get out of the business .

Lt. Lois Einhorn

I would rather the Marlins move to Las Vegas than Jeff Loria remain owner, he's a scumbag and a greedy pig who completely destroyed two MLB franchises.

That the MLB hasn't stepped in to force him to sell the team boggles the mind.

WTF

Why would Jeff Loria be anyone's hero?

green

Why would Jeff Loria be anyone's hero?

Posted by: WTF | 01/27/2013 at 11:52 AM

2 world series winner, magnificent marlins park ...
how soon they forget ...

SELECTIVE AMNESIA

green

http://OperationSellout.com

Lets SELL OUT a 3rd game this week. Less than 500 tickets left for @CanesHoops vs UNC on 2/9.
– chris freet

What also surprised me was that the ticket prices for the game are NOT cheap. Duke is considered a premium game along with Carolina, FSU and Michigan St. This means 85 bucks for the lower levels. Higher level seats are around $30 bucks…but still, to sellout with premium pricing…UM will make a relative killing on this game and UNC and FSU.

The whoa is me story on UM basketball is fading fast. Coach L is worth his weight in gold to UM.
– magicbenton

PRICE GOUGING

green

If you look at NBA rosters, the ACC currently has 63 former payers in the NBA. That’s 10 more than the next best conference, the Pac-12 (53). When the new teams join and Louisville replaces Maryland, that will add 18 more NBA players to the ACC (while only losing 3).

Add this to the fact that the ACC also puts the 2nd most players into the NFL, and you have quite a lot of talent in one conference!
– Hokie Mark

FARMER’S MARKET

green

http://www.statesman.com/news/sports/big-12-exploring-alliance-with-acc-two-other-leagu/nT7Bt/

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league is actively exploring a possible alliance with the Atlantic Coast Conference and two other unspecified leagues for the purposes of scheduling, marketing and possibly even television partnerships, an arrangement that might prevent further expansion.
– austin american-statesman

Sounds to me like:

A) A league that would like to expand but cant lure the teams that would make expansion worthwhile, financially.

Or

B) A league that really does not want to expand because it will further reduce its per school payouts, such as tv and bowls and they are looking for a “friends with benefits” scenario.
– cuseroc

WHITE FLAG OF SURRENDER

WTF

You're kidding right?

Jeffrey Loria didn't own the team in 1997, he was too busy torpedoing the Expos so people would stop coming to games and he could sell the franchise to a bigger market to line his pockets.

He was literally the bad guy owner from the Major League movies trying to destroy a franchise to make money.

rbleigh

That sums it up on Loria, he's fascinated by the Yankees & wants to be Steinbrenner but unfortunately doesn't realize that Steinbrenner's true passion was winning and would spend at whatever cost to achieve it.

As for Haith, he did sign some very good recruits is Larranaga doing the same? I'm sure these sellouts are helping. Haith's teams continually wilted under pressure, way too many turnovers at the worst possible time. They seemed to have no true offensive schemes and then had to chuck up lord knows many threes. And of course Jack McClinton couldn't shoot all of them. I still remember a few years back when they blew what had to be a 20pt lead at Cameron Indoor and the whole time you knew it was going to end up like that and so did Coach K.

And with that, great win the other night Canes, congratulations Coach L and keep it up fellas.

green

You're kidding right?

Jeffrey Loria didn't own the team in 1997

Posted by: WTF | 01/27/2013 at 12:04 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni_E3l-86QY

ALLEY OOPS

green

As for Haith, he did sign some very good recruits is Larranaga doing the same?

Posted by: rbleigh | 01/27/2013 at 12:07 PM

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/26/3201167/amid-duke-win-revelry-university.html

We have learned that class of 2014 forward Malik Price-Martin may have committed to the University of Miami basketball team this evening. The 6'9" 4 star talent from Northeast High School in Oakland Park, FL was in attendance and rushed the court with UM students at Wednesday's stunning blowout of then #1 Duke.

Martin had offers from top schools like Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Syracuse
-- stateoftheu.com

THE FUTURE IS NOW

green

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTM3X-uXs3w&feature=youtu.be

If you were watching closely in the second half of Miami’s 90-63 whipping of Duke, you saw a subtle gesture of defiance.

The Blue Devils were bringing the ball up the floor when a few Hurricanes went for it.

They slapped the floor.

Why’s does that matter? Well Duke is famous for the move to fire up the crowd in big moments. Miami flipped it on them and it wasn’t by mistake.

And that’s were it gets a little crazier.

UM sophomore guard Shane Larkin was shooting free throws immediately before the slapping.

“I just heard somebody scream my name,” he said. “It was Warren Sapp. He was like like ‘slap the floor on D.”
– michael casagrande

to date, 300,000+ youtube views …

SLAP ME SILLY

WTF

2 world series winner, magnificent marlins park ...
how soon they forget ...

SELECTIVE AMNESIA

Posted by: green | 01/27/2013 at 11:57 AM

Not too bright, are you green?

Jo jo

Haith was more than fortunate to inherit a very , very good team out in the Midwest.He is not capable of coaching up players to be that good.Comparing him to Larrannaga is like comparing hard and soft.Total opposites.Larranagga puts a premium on defense and intelligence.It shows markedly as compared to whatever it was that Haith attempted to do and get only mediocre results.Larranagga is the real dwal.Best UM Coach in it s history.Hamilton was a good one but needed more developement and talent.

Mike

Idiot Jim Gallo strick again.

Don Doe

I don't know why Loria would mention the 2003 team. Dave Dombrowski is responsible for that team. It was Dave who brought in 90% of the team, and guys like Alex Gonzalez, Derrek Lee, Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo, Josh Beckett, Braden Looper, Brad Penny, and a few others were there because John Henry was a real owner and he wanted those guys to be resigned for longterm contracts. When Loria went in he got a championship thanks to Dave and by 2006 (just 3 years) ALL OF THEM WERE TRADED.

'witz


I can't stand Loria either, but not because he acts out visibly when ball is played poorly. What's the fun of owning a team if you can't root like a fan?
I think I would do that too if I were the owner. Wouldn't you? I'd probably also do a lot of input to the field manager and the front office, (wouldn't you?)though of course my advice (or yours) would be much better informed and far more respected than Loria's. Owners like us would keep promises and put winning ahead of profit. I bet everyone here would be that kind of owner.
If any of us complained about Volstad's pitching, I think Fredi would've said something like "You're right, he's awful, so I'll send him down as soon as you get me someone better." He would know that he could say that or diagree with us without fear of getting fired.

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