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Why Is the Marlins' Jeffrey Loria the Most Hated Man in Baseball?

Jeffrey Loria got Florida taxpayers to finance a new stadium, then dumped the Marlins' priciest talent. Is baseball's most hated man its worst owner, or just the most transparent?
Team owner Jeffrey Loria and mascot Billy the Marlin at Marlins Park in Miami on July 14, 2012
Team owner Jeffrey Loria and mascot Billy the Marlin at Marlins Park in Miami on July 14, 2012Photograph by Pedro Portal/El Nuevo Herald/MCT via Getty Images

Russell McBride has been a Miami Marlins fan since the team’s first season in 1993. For the past decade, he’s attended the home opener with about 20 friends. McBride was there last April when the Marlins played the first game in their new 37,000-seat, retractable-roof stadium—a gaudy gem of a facility that owner Jeffrey Loria filled with $191 million in free-agent talent, including players signed away from big-time franchises in New York and Chicago. Every baseball team is in first place on opening day; the 2012 Marlins appeared poised to be there in October, too.

When Miami plays its first home game of 2013, on April 8, McBride will be a conscientious objector. “I’m not going to attend any more games until there is an ownership change,” he says. This is as gentle an opinion about Loria as you’ll find. After a widely hated trade, he’s been called everything from a con artist and the biggest fraud in baseball by Yahoo!, to a “wheezing toad goiter” by ESPN. When the Miami Herald commissioned a poll of South Florida baseball fans in November, Loria’s favorability rating was 6 percent.