Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria met with reporters Monday as part of a three-day public-
relations campaign intended to put a positive focus on his poorly received offseason moves.
Loria, 72, said the roster purge was necessary because the team was headed in the wrong
direction, and needed a more responsible payroll in the wake of having lost tens of millions of dollars in 2012.
"We had to turn back the clock for the moment and push the restart button, and get these young players in here and get them together and look where we are in another year or so," Loria said, adding that he understood why fans were upset.
Fan backlash has focused on the fact the Loria shed payroll amid optimism that last year's free spending would mean competitive payrolls beyond that season.
"It's a constant, sometimes personal pounding," Marlins president David Samson told reporters after Loria left the meeting. "It's hard for anyone. On top of that, you're writing checks. It's hard. But I understand every side."
Loria hired a national public relations firm to help repair his image. He published an open letter to fans in several media outlets on Sunday, and plans to speak to TV cameras at spring training on Tuesday.
Loria also had harsh words for the Miami Dolphins, who are seeking tax money to help upgrade their stadium. The team has insisted that their plan is different from the financing agreement for the Marlins' ballpark, which was built mostly with public money.
"That smear campaign?" Loria said. "I'm sure it's just their effort in order to get their deal done. Listen, I hope the Dolphins get their deal. But it has nothing to do with us."