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Should baseball give up on South Florida?

November 15, 2012
  • The Marlins opened a new ballpark this year, but Miami still doesn't seem to be embracing baseball.
The Marlins opened a new ballpark this year, but Miami still doesn't… (Jason Arnold / Getty Images )

Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss Major League Baseball's presence in South Florida. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the conversation by leaving a comment of your own.

Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times

That should have been the question a few years ago, before baseball strong-armed South Florida politicians into picking up most of the tab for the Marlins' new ballpark.

The idea that baseball would pull the plug now is the kind of lunacy that would lead to lawsuits and federal investigations -- oh, right, the ballpark financing already is under investigation, because the Marlins lied to secure it. They told local authorities the team was losing money, but documents revealed after the ballpark deal was signed showed the team was making money.

There ought to be a lawsuit too, any day now, from season-ticket holders who bought into the false premise that the new ballpark would mean the Marlins would invest in -- and field -- a first-class team.

As a baseball trade, the Marlins' deal is defensible. Better to blow up a bad team and collect a ton of prospects than tinker with the roster and end up with sustained mediocrity.

But no one can trust Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as the man to implement the plan. He promised a new ballpark in Montreal, then killed baseball there, with the complicity of Commissioner Bud Selig.

Loria is doing his best to kill baseball in Miami too, but baseball ought to take the team away from him before he can. Selig shoved Frank McCourt out of Los Angeles, and McCourt's people left kicking and screaming "double standard." If Selig does not shove out Loria -- and he won't -- McCourt's people will have been absolutely right.

David Selig, Baltimore Sun

Why would baseball give up on South Florida? South Florida and its taxpayers paid $360 million to build a new ballpark and, presumably, improve the Marlins’ chances of sustaining a competitive team.

South Florida didn’t hire a risky manager. South Florida didn’t gut the roster after one year.

Jeffrey Loria did.

If baseball could give up on Loria, that would be one thing. But it appears that the owner didn’t technically violate any rules with this latest fire sale, so there’s not much that can be done.

That said, baseball is a game filled with unwritten rules -- and ways that they’re policed. If there’s some way of Bud Selig throwing a brushback pitch, it should be aimed at Loria, not the people of South Florida.

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