Patrick Hruby has written an excellent analysis of the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins) recent wild spending spree in the free agent market — which is the result of an unscrupulous stadium deal that was pushed through by Miami-Dade County commissioners and other local politicians without a referendum. See Yahoo! Sports ThePostGame (Full disclosure: Hruby quotes this writer in his column.)

If you haven’t followed the Marlins’ stadium escapades, give this piece a read. What’ll you’ll find are the key details of what might be the ugliest publicly-financed stadium/arena deal yet. This dubious arrangement is now the target of an SEC investigation due to the shady actions of all involved, including not only the local bigwigs, but Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria, and possibly even Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. City and county taxpayers have been handed a tab that includes $100-plus million in parking garage construction; a $35 million loan to the Marlins; $12 million for road repairs and other incidental costs; and over $347 million in ballpark construction bonds (which will cost the public more than $2 billion over the 40-year payback period … rest assured the Marlins will be crying poor once again halfway through that 40 years).

This public fleecing took place despite the Marlins turning a tidy profit. In 2010, leaked documents showed the Marlins actually made $48.9 million in profits in 2008-09, while all the while talking about their financial dire straits, having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, and putting a lousy team on the field for fans.

Hruby urges fans and taxpayers to not take it anymore and demand change.

“Demand that sports franchises share their profits with the same cities and counties that are sharing their costs of business,” writes Hruby. “Demand that Congress eliminate the antitrust exemptions that allow leagues to act as unregulated monopolies, playing the build-or-we’ll-move stick-up game, over and over again….”


Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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