The cloud is lifting, finally. Tuesday, that began to feel real for the first time. Sunshine has started to filter in by degrees onto the Miami Marlins again, gradually pushing away the gloom.
South Florida, in turn, is getting its wish, just as Marlins fans are losing their sturdiest excuse for never quite embracing this franchise.
Like a Giancarlo Stanton home run, club owner Jeffrey Loria is going, going, gone.
Loria is not leaving the ballpark nearly as quickly, alas, but he's headed right where we wanted him: Outta here.
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The imminent transition of power, away from the most controversial, disliked owner we have had in local sports, became palpable Tuesday in a way it hadn't before. It became something we could touch and feel and genuinely anticipate as the Herald reported, via MLB sources, that Loria had reached an agreement in principle to sell the team to the group bidding fronted by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and ex-Yankees superstar Derek Jeter.
The deal is not finished. That could take months. The $1.3 billion agreement still must wend its way through a thicket of attorneys and be ratified by MLB.
For now, though, an agreement in principle is cause enough for celebration.
The irreversible disdain for Loria and the shroud cast by the tragic death and then controversy around Jose Fernandez are being gotten past in a tangible way. By Opening Day 2018, the franchise slate will be wiped clean.
Marlins Park is new(ish) and a fun venue. The team is competitive. Better days are coming.
Bush and Jeter front a marquee group that will all but be welcomed with a civic parade. That's primarily under the ABL Doctrine: Anybody But Loria. More than that, though, on the face of the new owners are promising.
Bush, with time on his hands after a failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination, reportedly will be the primary owner in control of major decisions, and fronting a group of a handful of other investors. Loria reportedly will have zero stake in the team under the new ownership.
Bush is low-watt of personality, but that'll be welcome after years of Loria's bluster. An unobtrusive, background owner will be a gust of fresh air – especially with the starpower of Jeter coming on-board as the baseball man.
Are we certain the Bush-led new owners will be competitive spenders and prove to be a clear improvement over Loria? Nope. Can't be, yet.
Are we sure Jeter will be as good running a baseball team as he was playing on one? Nope. We can only hope.
For now this is a leap of faith, but it feels a little exhilarating.
The great unknown feels pretty great when contrasted with the owner we have known and mistrusted and wanted gone for so long.