If Richard Florida and Carle Steele Knew Anything About The Miami Marlins, They Both Would Be Even More Pissed

Carle’s blurb on the economics of sports teams and how they routinely shake down municipal and state governments to pay for new digs (complete with a Richard Florida column) tells only half the story, and as a fan of the former Montreal Expos, I don’t need a Google search to know that fans of the Marlins’ owner, Jeffry Loria, are few and far between.

In addition to fleecing the Miami taxpayers of more than two-thirds the cost of the Miami Marlins’ new baseball park, he also gutted the team after one season of relatively (for him) high spending on players. When the Marlins’ 2012 season down the tubes (in more ways than one — they finished last in their division), he gutted the team by trading the best, and not coincidentally highest-priced players, for draft picks, players to be named later, ham-and-eggers, and, presumably, some magic beans. Even if Loria died tomorrow and was magically replaced by someone with some baseball acumen, it would take five or six years for the Marlins to recover from this off-season.

Maybe that’s why, in a city filled with people who fled Cuba after the 1959 revolution, Loria is barely more popular than Fidel Castro.

Is there a lesson for Rider fans in this? Oh yeah. Maybe it’s just me being an old geezer, but I can still remember a time when the Riders were pleading poverty. From about 1994 to the 1999 season, under Al Ford as general manager, the Roughriders pretty much gave up trying to field a competitive team, abandoning scouting, signing only the most washed-up free agents, and fielding a team that was so devoid of quality that it looked as though the last 42 people in the Lazy Owl at last call on half-price draft night were poured into Rider uniforms instead.

Ford did this because the Riders board of directors wouldn’t give him the money to field a good team, he wouldn’t know where to look for players if he did have the money, and Saskatchewan football fans would lay down enough money to watch the team to cover most of the expenses even if the team stank. In many ways, the Riders once operated on the Jeffry Loria philosophy.

And that’s what scares the most about the city and province’s deal for the new stadium. In Winnipeg  the Blue Bombers are on the financial hook for $85 million for their new $200 million stadium (which, as a Roughrider fan, I will hereinafter refer to as the University of Manitoba Institute For Mosquito-Breeding Studies), while the Roughriders will pay only $20 million towards the cost of a new stadium that’s supposed to cost $280 million. Why the extra $80 million for a stadium that will seat roughly the same number of fans? Why did the Riders get such a sweetheart deal, in comparison to the Blue Bombers?

The very least the city and province could have extracted from the Roughriders was a ban on home blackouts during Rider games during the 30-year life of the deal to build and fund the facility. After all, if everybody in Saskatchewan — whether they follow the Riders, other teams in the CFL, would rather watch the NFL on Game Day, or have no interest in football — are helping to pay for the new stadium, they should have the right to see what their tax dollars have bought them. But much like what happened in Miami and Cincinnati (with the Bengals new stadium), governments become jock sniffers when pro sports want a taxpayer-funded handout.

Author: Stephen LaRose

2006 winner of the Canadian Association of University Teachers's Award of Excellence in Journalism for a bunch of prairie dog stuff. Invited into the best homes in Regina. Once.

4 thoughts on “If Richard Florida and Carle Steele Knew Anything About The Miami Marlins, They Both Would Be Even More Pissed”

  1. My friend and I used to split a pitcher of Old Mick’s Red for $6.95, I think, at the old place. There was never ANYBODY else in there, besides the bartender, who was sort of a jock-meets-book reader, i think his name was Blaine. Everybody 40 and over probably knows him. I’m under 40, tho, so he was just the guy who hated us.

  2. Thanks SLaR welcome back & HNY!

    Your Cincy link should be one of the most convincing to all PD/PS readers.

    I’m just wondering is where are 54,000 people going to piss away all that pilsner in a six hour span next November 24th?

    I hope your post makes the print edition soon!

  3. Yeeah man, like I was saying, thems were the days. Literally over-turning couch cushions on a weekly basis in my parent’s house looking for dimes, literally funding our fiercesome twosomes’ mid-week crappy draught fix. Cigarettes weren’t much easier to come by either, tho did come in 20-packs from the short-lived Medwell Drugs in Lakeshore Mall for $5/pack in those days. And that barkeep, imagine weened on Judas Priest but kept a steady stream of Robyn Hitchcock on the old Sony walkman. Yeeah, I’d say so.

  4. Me and him took a walk thru the uni last night, mostly to let my car thaw out in the PAS Building’s underground parkade. Fuckers, incl quintessential paranoid security guy, nearly locked us out after 11pm. If it wasn’t for some shady behaviour on someone’s part, involving an unnaturally propped-open hallway door between Ed Buildings and Phys Ed, My car would have been bathing all night in the underground while we would have been walking it. Then, whilst paying, a small package was slipped ‘neath a door in the underground, something we figured probably involved heroin or child porn. I declared we had to ignore the package slip; it was far too creepy and combined with the freaky door incident, felt it was better not to get involved. Plus that security guard who gave us the triple-long lingering looks was either perpetrating us, setting us up, or knew about the drug deal and thought we was the kingpins.

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