Jeffrey Loria writes letter to fans of Miami Marlins

Owner of the Miami Marlins bought ads in all three major South Florida newspapers Sunday

Published On: Feb 24 2013 01:03:57 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 24 2013 10:12:50 PM EST
MIAMI -

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria on Sunday took out a full-page ad in all three major South Florida newspapers to address the fans.

In the open letter, which was published in the Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Loria mentions recent changes to the roster, saying, "acquiring high-profile players just didn't work, and nearly everyone on our team underperformed as compared to their career numbers."

Loria wrote that the plan for the year ahead is to "leverage our young talent." He added that this year will be the beginning of a "homegrown roster of long-term players who can win."

Loria also addressed the new Marlins park.

“The ballpark issue has been repeatedly reported incorrectly and there are some very negative accusations being thrown around. It ain't true, folks," wrote Loria. "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."

READ: Will's blog: Jeffrey Loria is 'out of touch'

When it came to the team’s finances, Loria posed a question to readers. He asked, "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! It is 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.”

Finally, Loria acknowledged a disconnect between the franchise and its supporters. “…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.”

The open letter in its entirety is as follows:

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

THE ROSTER

Losing is unacceptable to me. It’s incumbent 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

The ballpark issue has been repeatedly reported incorrectly and there are some very negative accusations 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.

OUR FINANCES

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 necessary 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.

COMMUNICATION

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

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Loria"