Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria took out a full-page ad in the Sunday editions of the Miami Herald, Palm Beach Postand South Florida Sun-Sentinel and published a “Letter To Our Fans.”
I still say right about now it is more like “their fan” but what the hell, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this one time.
Here it is. Try not to laugh to hard:
LETTER TO OUR FANS
It’s no secret that last season was not our best — actually it was one of our worst. In large part, our performance on the field stunk and something needed to be done. As a result of some bold moves, many grabbed hold of our tough yet necessary decision only to unleash a vicious cycle of negativity. As the owner of the ballclub, the buck stops with me and I take my share of the blame where it’s due. However, many of the things being said about us are simply not true. I’ve sat by quietly and allowed this to continue. Now it’s time for me to resond to our most important constituents, the fans who love the game of baseball.
Losing is unacceptable to me. It’s incumbant upon us to take swift action and make bold moves when there are glaring problems. The controversial trade we made with the Toronto Blue Jays was approved by Commissioner Bud Selig and has been almost universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value. We hope, with an open mind, our community can reflect on the fact that we had one of the worst records in baseball. Acquiring high-profile players just didn’t work, and nearly everyone on our team underperformed as compared to their career numbers. Our plan for the year ahead is to leverage our young talent and create a homegrown roster of long-term players who can win. In fact, objective experts have credited us with going from the 28th ranked Minor League system in baseball to the 5th best during this period. Of the Top 100 Minor Leagues rated by MLB Network, we have six — tied for the most of any team in the league. We’ll evaluate this roster and possibly bring in additional talent based on our assessment of what we need. The very same naysayers who are currently skeptical once attacked us for bringing Pudge Rodriguez to the Marlins in 2003. More than any other, that move contributed to our World Series Championship.
The ballpark issue has been repeatedly reported incorrectly and there are some very negative accustations being thrown around. It ain’t true, folks. Those who have attacked us are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. The majority of public funding came from hotel taxes, the burden of which is incurred by tourists who are visiting our city, NOT the resident taxpayers. The Marlins organization also agreed to contribute $161.2 million toward the ballpark, plus the cost of the garage complex. In addition, the Marlins receive no operating subsidy from local government funding. The ballpark required that all debt service is paid by existing revenue. Furthermore, many are attacking the County’s method of financing for its contribution, but the Marlins had nothing at all to do with that. The fact is, with your help, we built Marlins Park, a crown jewel in our beautiful Miami skyline, which has won over twenty design and architecture awards and will help make us a premiere ballclub moving forward.
The simple fact is that we don’t have unlimited funds, nor does any baseball team or business. Fans didn’t turn out last season as much as we’d like, even with the high-profile players the columnists decry us having traded. The main ingredient to a successful ball club is putting together a winning team, including a ncecessary core of young talent. Are we fiscally capable and responsible enough to fill the roster with talented players, invest in the daily demands of running a world-class organization and bring a World Series back to Miami? Absolutely! Is it sound business sense to witness an expensive roster with a terrible record and sit idly by doing nothing? No. I can and will invest in building a winner, but last season wasn’t sustainable and we needed to start from scratch quickly to build this team from the ground up.
An organization is only as good as its connection with the community. We know we can do a better job communicating with our fans. That starts now. From this point forward we can ensure fans and the entire community that we will keep you abreast of our plan, rationale and motivations.
Amidst the current news coverage, it an be easy to forget how far we went together not so long ago. In 2003, I helped bring a second World Series Title to South Florida. We know how to build a winning team, and have every intention of doing so again. I know you share my passion for great Marlins baseball, my love of MIami and my desire to win again. We’re in this together and I humbly ask that we start fresh, watch us mature qjuickly as a ball club, and root for the home team in 2013.
In case you missed it Mike Piazza finally unveiled his book recently, titled “Long Shot” in reference to the fact the borderline Hall of Famer was drafted in the 62d round of the Major League Baseball‘s First Year Player Draft of 1988 (and even then only as a favor to his father, a childhood friend of Tommy Lasorda’s).
The thing is rather forgettable, but it did have a few interesting tidbits concerning Piazza’s well-chronicled “feud” with one Roger Clemens.
Ted Berg of USA Today talked about some of the “sillier” excerpts from this piece of fine literature about a week ago:
But perhaps the biggest – or at least the silliest – bombshell to come out of the book so far is the news that Piazza actually took karate to prepare to fight Roger Clemens on the field during their infamous beanball feud.
According to the NY Post:
Piazza tells how he mapped out a plan for revenge — taking karate lessons and visualizing the next time they would go at it.
“I would approach with my fist pulled back. I figured he’d throw his glove out for protection. I’d parry the glove and then get after it,” Piazza writes.
Parry the glove! He had his whole strategy all planned out! Outside of Izzy Alcantara, it’s hard to say any baseball player has ever put so much forethought into on-field fisticuffs.
Only when faced with Clemens in the 2000 World Series, after Clemens inexplicably threw a shard of a broken bat at Piazza’s knees, Piazza – the 6’3″, 200-pound, perpetually bearded, home-run smashing, muscle-bound stud – got cold feet.
“There were complications,” he recalls. “The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ass kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.”
It was a decision over which he still beats himself. “It was not only possible but — circumstances be damned — it was in order,” he said. “It was the story of the Series. I couldn’t deliver a punch.”
Say it ain’t so, Mike. You mean to tell me you were willing to risk suspension during the World Series – i.e. “circumstances be damned” – and the only thing that stopped you was that Roger Clemens was massive and terrifying and probably snorting like a bull? C’mon, guy. Why even bother learning karate?
The whole thing is just plain laughable, but I do respect the fact that Piazza was honest enough to own up to what most athletes wouldn’t have. Namely fear.
One of my better friends often asked me why people didn’t ever charge the mound on Clemens and my exact response was always “because the dude is freakin’ big man.”
But it was only a matter of time before some reporter stuck a mic in front of Clemens face in order to elicit a response to the book…
…And that time has come.
Without further ado, “The Rocket’s” response (courtesy of the Houston Chronicle) was as follows:
“He’d have to stand in line. I think there was about three guys on the Yankees that wanted a piece of me more than (he) did. He’d probably have to get in line.”
Clemens also noted that rather than martial arts training, Piazza needed speed training:
“He needs to go get with Jesse Owens or somebody on his speed, I think. He chased some dude around the spring training site one time, didn’t he, or something? …”
That was undoubtedly a direct reference to the time Piazza charged the mound on former battery-mate Guillermo Mota but wasn’t anywhere near fleet of foot enough to gt so much as within arms reach of the guy.
Any way you cut it, I feel robbed.
I’d have given vital parts of your anatomy (I reserve vital parts of my anatomy for such things as fine scotch and Wendy Peffercorn) to have seen Piazza attempt to put on his best Ralph Macchio imitation as the big ol’ Texan tried to remove his limbs one at a time.