Jeffrey Loria was the head of an ownership group that bought the Montreal Expos at a distressed price before the 2000 season. Legend has it, major league officials and fellow owners tired of Loria's constant complaints, and wanted to get him out of the way in order to try to fix the Montreal mess.
The Red Sox were for sale in 2001. Florida Marlins owner John Henry and Larry Lucchino headed a group that wanted to get that club. They were a couple of Commissioner Bud Selig's favorites, and he helped maneuver the sale of the Red Sox to them.
That left the Marlins in need of an owner. Loria used the Montreal sale as seed money to make the purchase. He took over in February 2002, and with the players in place from Dave Dombrowski's prior work as general manager, the Marlins beat the Yankees in the 2003 World Series.
Loria let that roster deteriorate, with Miguel Cabrera's departure in 2008 as the final blow. Loria was highly unpopular in south Florida yet still managed to get a new stadium, Marlins Park, in 2012.
The report surfaced last December that Loria wanted to sell, with an asking price of $1.7 billion. That astronomic figure was unattainable. Eventually, two bidders surfaced:
Jorge Mas, a second generation Cuban and self-made billionaire; and a group with Derek Jeter as the frontman and Bruce Sherman as the main money man.
Baseball had the choice of steering Loria toward Mas, a success story with deep local roots, or Sherman, best known locally for massacring the Miami Herald in an attempt to enrich his equity firm.
Baseball signed off on Loria's $1.28 billion sale to Sherman. Now, Jeter has butchered the roster to the point that, in a couple of remarkable weeks, the Sherman/Jeter combo has become more reviled than Loria.
The Marlins were supposed to be baseball's gateway to the Caribbean when they started in 1993. They have risen briefly to win two World Series in 25 years, but for the most part, horrid ownership has caused the franchise to be a nonentity in south Florida rather than a multicultural celebration of the game.
Read Patrick's blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.