x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Meddling by Miami Marlins owner not just another fishy story

Management style of Jeffrey Loria has left followers weary and suspicious.

Ricky Nolasco was at the centre of a controversial management policy. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images / AFP
Ricky Nolasco was at the centre of a controversial management policy. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images / AFP

It wouldn't be Miami Marlins baseball if owner Jeffrey Loria were not expanding his sizeable aura of ill will.

Last week, it was reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that Loria had directed the MLB franchise's rookie manager Mike Redmond to switch the order of starting pitchers Ricky Nolasco, a veteran, and Jose Fernandez, a top prospect, in a day-night doubleheader in chilly Minnesota. Loria allegedly wanted Fernandez, 20, to pitch in the warmer day game to protect him, even though baseball protocol, and the manager's plan, was to give the favoured first game to the established player.

After the story broke, Loria denied meddling. Redmond said only that it was an "organisational decision".

Either way, Loria's management style has left Marlins fans weary and suspicious.

After his surprising team of young stars won the 2003 World Series, he methodically sold them off.

Unable to build baseball attendance in the Miami Dolphins' football-friendly stadium, he convinced Miami to build a downtown ballpark, which opened last year to much fanfare.

Loria did his part, finally, by expanding his payroll with more talented players. When the 2012 team faltered, Loria did a U-turn, trading off US$100 million (Dh3.67m) of salaries in the off-season, yanking the team back to its usual small-market, low-expectations existence.

The facts of the pitching switch may be murky, but in Miami, Loria will never be innocent.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE