Originally Posted by IslandRed
Well, if not for Huizenga, it probably would have been Tampa getting the team in 1993 instead of Miami. Whether that would have been better or worse for baseball is an open question.
And maybe my sense of history is incomplete, but when it was time to award the expansion franchises, I don't think anyone could have seen it coming as it did. Not that it's unusual for an owner to try his hand at having the public pay for a new ballpark, but an expansion team? Right away? When the team owner already owns the yard, too? And not just that, but throwing a temper tantrum and dismantling a good team (and a profitable one for Huizenga, looking at all baseball revenue, not just what ended up on the Marlins' books).
I personally don't know if other bids were there for the Marlins when the expansion franchise was awarded. I just remember that it seemed like the NL was in a mad dash to get a team in FL, saw the Blockbuster money, and couldn't turn it down. I believe at that time the NL and AL were still separate entities and FL was one big untapped market. When the NL decided to expand, there seemed to be a concern (at least from what I read in the papers) that the AL was going to move a team to FL, with the White Sox and Indians being prime candidates and the location being St. Pete. Fearing that the AL would have FL all to itself, the NL jumped at the chance to put a team in Miami. In the meantime, the White Sox had already built New Comiskey and the Indians had gotten Cuyahoga Co. to build them the Jake, leaving St. Pete out in the cold.
I do have to say though, Huizenga was pretty crass even by Baseball Owner standards to get an expansion franchise, buy the stadium in which you play (and its co-tenant), buy a World Series through free agency, then demand that the city/county/state build you a new ballpark, even though the stadium you just bought is pretty new itself. The craziest thing of all. There is plenty of private money in South Florida to finance a ballpark. First Huizenga and now Loria wants a free ride, and it appears he's willing to try to milk it out of which ever city will give it to him.