If there is one word to describe Miami Marlins owner, it could be "optimistic." He has never been shy to say he expects to see the Marlins in the playoffs, and now he is doubling down on that prediction while his team is tanking.
"School is now out, the [Miami Heat's] championship is accomplished, and we have a spectacular team — I still believe that, and I love our chances," Loria said to the Miami Heraldon Thursday. Echoing his unworried words from a week ago, Loria did not seem concerned by his team's 6-18 June record or its 9-game deficit to Washington in the NL East standings.
"The Dolphins don’t play significant games until the fall," he added, though the Dolphins aren't exactly a captivating franchise at the moment, either. "We're going to play our significant games in August and September, and by that time people will be so in love with us they won't want to go anywhere else!"
Loria has no doubt seen the outpouring of favor for the Heat around South Florida, and he probably is reminded of the love showered upon the Marlins after winning the 2003 World Series. He even brought them up Thursday. "In 2003 we had the same record as now," he said, though in reality the 2003 team was one game better than the current 35-40 team.
Nonetheless, he thinks his team will make a charge. "It's a playoff-caliber team, absolutely. We're going to have our run."
If last season was any indication, that run could come real soon. The 2011 Marlins followed up a disastrous 5-23 June with a 17-10 August. Mind you, the team was done in by a 7-20 August, but the Marlins can worry about August in August.
Loria also likes the way manager Ozzie Guillen has been handling the team. Though he admitted to being "ready to erupt" against his team earlier this week, the oft-fiery Guillen has been supportive of his young ballclub.
"He's keeping a very level head with these guys. I like what he’s been doing in many ways that are very subtle," Loria said, in the first-ever instance of describing Guillen as subtle. "He's a steady hand."
Loria is peaceful now (maybe because the team's home attendance is up 48% this season despite the team's 19-22 home record). But he can't not crack forever. The old Loria will return if the Marlins keep losing. If he's lucky, a turnaround is near, and he can look prophetic. If not, someone's getting fired before the season is over.