Sunday, January 9, 2011
Yesterday at a media roundtable, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told reporters "I was a little naive," in discussing a possible coaching contract with then-Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh without first firing Dolphins coach Tony Sparano. According to Ross and team general manager Jeff Ireland, the two decided against hiring Harbaugh, then signed Sparano to a contract extension, making a complete 180 in a matter of hours, while Sparano was left fluttering in the wind. I've criticized Jeffrey Loria plenty of times in this space, but you can bet your life that Loria would never look so pathetic as Ross did at yesterday's media roundtable, apologizing to and extending the contract of a coach he very clearly does not want leading his team, and stressing his commitment to winning(!) in the process.
You can say many things about Jeff Loria (lord knows I have), but he very rarely does not get what he wants. And even in those cases which he does not (like last year's failed courting of Bobby Valentine), Loria will not stick with a manager he does not want simply because the guy he did want isn't coming around (I know, he did leave Fredi Gonzalez at the helm about 6 months longer than he wanted to, but that was at the behest of Larry Beinfest and Mike Hill. Ross and Ireland both wanted Sparano to go, and then extended his contract anyway). Forgive me for presenting a false dichotomy, but I would gladly take a Marlins owner who is heavy-handed but decisive over one whose indecision baffles the fanbase and prevents him from taking the steps necessary to improve the franchise. (I prefer Heat owner Mickey Arison to both of these putzes, of course.)
One final note, apparently Ross is lobbying Broward County for money to help fund a multi-million dollar renovation of Sun Life Stadium. This is another area in which Ross can learn a thing or two from Loria.