As Jeffrey Loria prepares to finalize the sale of the Marlins to former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and businessman Bruce Sherman, we take a look back at some of the most cringeworthy moments of his 16-year ownership of the team....
April 8, 2002
Six weeks after Loria took control of the Marlins, the team ran out of hotdogs in the fourth inning of its Opening Day game against the Montreal Expos. We repeat: They ran out of hotdogs on Opening Day. Although it was the concession company’s gaffe, Loria got roasted and it was an embarrassing start to his tenure as owner.
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Aug. 6, 2006
Loria and then-manager Joe Girardi got into a public shouting match during a home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Home plate umpire Larry Vanover made two questionable calls on two pitches by Marlins reliever Taylor Tankersley, and Loria, sitting in the stands near the dugout, began heckling Vanover. Girardi turned toward Loria and asked him to settle down, leading to the argument. Girardi was named National League Manager of the Year that season, but was fired by Loria anyway.
July 28, 2013
Tino Martinez, who was hand-picked by Loria to be the team’s hitting coach, resigned following allegations he verbally and physically abused players. Rookie Derek Dietrich said Martinez "erupted in anger unjustly and grabbed him by his neck and neck chain," according to a Miami Herald report. Martinez has admitted that he once touched a player in anger, saying he grabbed Dietrich by the jersey earlier this season. Other players claimed Martinez had been verbally abuse.
Before 2010 season
The Major League Baseball Players Association forced an agreement with MLB that required the Marlins to increase their payroll for three years. It jumped from $37 million in 2009 to $46 million in 2010. According to MLB’s Basic Agreement, any club that receives money from revenue sharing must use those funds “to improve its performance on the field.” But after the 2012 season, Loria once again imposed a salary dump. The Marlins went 62-100 the following season.
April 4, 2012
Perhaps nothing in Loria’s 16 years of ownership made Marlins fans cringe more than when he trotted out a frail, hunched over Muhammad Ali on the inaugural night at Marlins Park. Loria rode onto the field in a golf cart with Ali, holding the trembling arm of the universally-loved boxing champion, who was in the latter stages of Parkinson’s Disease. The plan was for Ali to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, creating an Atlanta Olympics torch-lighting moment. Instead, the crowd, upon seeing Ali’s condition and expressionless face, fell into a hush, as if in shame. Awkward moment, to say the least.
Have we forgotten any ignominious Loria moments? Fire away....