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In Miami, a baseball team’s owner apologizes for poor performance February 27, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Miami Marlins owner Jeff Loria is not popular. Okay, he’s hated by many. The owner signed a lot of major big-league players and a new coach in 2012, only to dismantle the team after a poor season. He shipped his stars to other teams, addressed the moves with incoherent statements, and appeared to break promises of creating something big after the state had invested in a new stadium for the team. So, what is an owner like Loria to do, especially after facing harsh criticism and weak ticket sales? Owners like Loria issue an apology.

Loria bought space in major newspapers across South Florida in February 2013 to write a letter to fans. He started the letter by saying:

“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 respond to our most important constituents, the fans who love the game of baseball.”

In addressing concerns that Loria’s moves made the team far worse, the owner wrote:

“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.”

And in response to fans giving up on the team, Loria wrote:

“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 quickly as a ball club, and root for the home team in 2013.”

Loria didn’t convince everyone to forgive him, though. Many sports writers criticized him even more. According to writer Joe Lucia:

“He seems oblivious to the fact that people are pissed off that the Marlins paid under 20% of the cost of Marlins Park when you look at the raw numbers, but are really paying just over 6% of the total cost when the interest of the loans taken out by the city and county are taken into account. He’s oblivious to the fact that if you completely punt on a season (like the Marlins did in 2011), spend a ton of money to contend and fail miserably (like the Marlins did in 2012), and then dump off nearly all assets for prospects that won’t contribute for the most part in 2013, you’re going to be looked at across the league like a fool that has no idea what he’s doing.”

For more on Loria’s crisis, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why are fans losing respect for Marlins owner Jeff Loria?

2.  Did Loria’s letter adequately address his crisis in confidence? Why, or why not?

3.  What could Loria do, through PR, to improve his image?

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