Thanks for the 54-108, you jerk

A decade late and several hundred million dollars short, Wayne Huizenga has regrets:

Outgoing Miami Dolphins majority owner H. Wayne Huizenga bid an emotional farewell to his favorite franchise Tuesday, but for the first time admitted he might have broke up the Marlins a year too soon after they won the 1997 World Series.

“We lost 34 million dollars the year we won the World Series and I just said, ’You know what? I’m not going to do that,’ ” Huizenga said at Dolphins headquarters when asked if he had any regrets about dismantling the Marlins in the aftermath of their World Series triumph over the Indians.

“If I had to do it all over again I’d say, ’OK, we’ll go one more year. I’m telling you right now at the end of this year I’m out of here.’ That’s what I would’ve done, but that’s in hindsight. There’s nothing you could do about it. The decision was made and we made it.”

Or he could have exercised a little moderation and foresight, cut salary some instead of completely, plowed some of the savings into player development, and allowed the Marlins to be consistently competitive as opposed to the occasional-feast-mostly-famine cycle they’ve been on for the past ten years. If he had, he might have seen his team value grow so greatly so as to substantially eclipse the operating losses from year-to-year.

I wish baseball wasn’t so restrictive with respect to who can and who can’t own a team, but if MLB is going to act as gatekeeper, I wish they’d ensure that whoever buys into ownership is committed to building the long term health, vitality, and value of the franchise as opposed to myopic idiots like Huizenga.

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  1. The Common Man said...

    $34 million.  How disingenuous can one guy be.  Especially since he’s probably not counting the revenue he earned from the stadium (which he owned, but as a separate entity).  Given that his payroll was 53 million plus, and the attendence was 2.3 million, and that he got added revenue for the playoffs and Series (without significant additional expenses), I wonder whether Wayne Huizenga actually turned a profit that season (even though “the Marlins” didn’t).

  2. Scafeets said...

    This guys is supposed to be a great businessman??!! First year in business, the Marlins attendance was 3,064,847—400,000 more than the league average. By ‘95, it had dwindled to 1.7 thanks to a crummy team, a crummy park and crummy weather.
    In the championship year of ‘97, the Fish beat the league average by bringing in 2,364,387.  Like Detroit Mike says; if you can’t make money with a low payroll and 2 million tickets, you’re certainly doing something wrong or using a fast pencil.
    In the 11 years since ‘97, the Fish have failed to bring in 2 million, because they continue to sell off their stars as soon as the fans take a liking to them. Ramirez is the one and only player with a long-term contract and everyone else is up gor grabs. They keep TALKING about building a baseball park in So. Florida, yet they continue to play in an old football stadium that was recently renovated with no consideration for baseball.
    BTW: Has anyone noticed how many rain delays the Marlins and their suffer through in a season? IF there was ever a case for a dome, So. Florida in the summer is it.
    Let’s hope the Fish get new owners soon and that those guys know how to do something other than take out the trash.

  3. dlf said...

    I miss Doug Pappas.

    Key sentences:  “…economist Andrew Zimbalist reviewed the Florida Marlins’ claim to have lost $34 million in their World Championship season of 1997. Zimbalist found that Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga, who also owned Pro Player Stadium through a different entity, attributed about $38 million of luxury suite, club seat, parking, concessions, advertising, and naming-rights revenues to the stadium rather than the team. This finagling made a profitable venture appear to be hemorrhaging money, and was used to justify Huizenga’s gutting of the team and subsequent demands for a new taxpayer-funded park.”

  4. Chadillac said...

    I remember the interviews in the dugout after the fish won in ‘97. Huizenga literally ripped the WS trophy out of some player’s hands as soon as the camera was on him. Real classy; he’s right up there with Marge Schott.

  5. Ron said...

    I miss George Steinbrenner. Say what you want about him, but he was out to win. Every single game, to include batting practice.

    I hate the Yankees, but George belongs in the Hall.

  6. Pete Toms said...

    @dlf – you beat me to it.  Zimbalist devotes some of his book “May the best team win…” to this subject.  IIRC, it’s what he refers to as “related party transactions”.

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