When we speak of spring and baseball, we speak of renewal. New shoots of grass, possibility, the warm rays in Florida. We rarely mention the game's antipodal force that dwells there too, a darkness that consumes joy—its unblinking saurian eyes unevolved for 37 million years, unregenerate in its predation on all hope. In the right light, it even appears vaguely human—the leering aspect of a German silent film villain, clad in the cheap dress shirts of an irritable substitute math teacher. I speak, of course, of Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.
A map of Loria's character would manifest as the wind on a 19th century Atlantic chart, a wide fat face gleefully wrecking clipper ships. This is a man who robbed Montreal of the Expos and saw his business partners sue him; who regularly hurls talent away from his roster with great force while pocketing revenue sharing money; who bilked his team's hometown for $2.4 billion for a white-and-pastel airbrushed baseball crypt with a sunroof, and who once wrote a guide to life. For children. Via comic strips.