Jeffrey Loria crossed that that line between everyday villainy and cartoonish super-villainy when he traded five of his best players to the Toronto Blue Jays only one year after getting a huge honking publicly funded $409-million stadium.
There is knowing who, thanks to Jeffrey Loria, is coming to the Blue Jays, who are Canada's only Major League Baseball team, also thanks to Jeffrey Loria, who was the last person to own the late and lamented Montreal Expos. (Having Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, a Montrealer who worked for the 'Spos, pull off this deal is a dish of revenge served cold.) But there's telling someone what happened and telling someone what it was like. Taiwan's Next Media Animation did the best job explaining why this trade is really a scandal and why the true ball fans who also follow the Jays really take no joy in getting Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson by these means. (The trade is still awaiting MLB approval.)
It has everything, including cartoon Jeffrey Loria bonking an Expos mascot (fortunately not depicted as Youppi! as that would traumatize children and nostalgic adults) over the head with a bat. Twice.
It's great NMA drives home Jeff Passan's point that MLB commissioner Bud Selig did force former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt out of the baseball business to protect their lucrative TV rights. There is a recent precedent for the commish to do whatever he can legally to drive a bad owner out of baseball, which is what must happen with Loria. As my friend Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Times put it:
The Marlins are not a baseball team. They're a kleptocracy. Jeff Loria and his cohorts are cynical liars who care nothing about baseball beyond the cash it allows them to extract from gullible fans, corrupt politicians, unwitting taxpayers and a complicit league office, all of which they have either explicitly called stupid or clearly assume to be based on their actions.
They may continue to play baseball games in Miami, but baseball is merely the MacGuffin which drives the plot for the shysters in this ownership group and they will lie to anyone about anything in order to further it. In so doing, they are well on their way to destroying yet another market which should, by all rights, be fantastic for baseball.
Every sports mogul wants something for nothing, but seldom to this degree. Point being, being a Blue Jays fan and baseball nut have some separation. There's a bitter irony that the carpetbagger who bled the Montreal Expos dry so they could be moved to Washington, D.C., and was rewarded with another team where he could scorch the earth ends up boosting the hopes for the remaining Canadian team. I wouldn't expect most people who have not seen a Jays playoff game since they were in high school to remember that if Toronto does make the post-season next October.
As good as the deal could be for the Jays, it is that bad for baseball by a factor of nine. Credit NMA for hitting a hilarious home run on that point.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.