(the good news is, Joe is still employed. the bad news : he has to put all that stuff away again)
And there I was, thinking last Sunday’s hastily scheduled/quickly scrapped press conference was to announce the Marlins were still promising not to trade Carlos Delgado.
The incident that triggered Sunday’s events at Dolphin Stadium began in the seventh inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who went on to sweep the three-game series.
Loria, occupying his field-level seat next to the Marlins dugout, was barking at plate umpire Larry Vanover about balls and strikes. Girardi motioned for Loria to stop, one source said, the implication being, “Hey, leave him alone, we’re trying to win a game.”
Loria, according to two sources, then put up two fingers to indicate that it was the second straight game in which umpires made questionable calls. On Saturday, Girardi had been ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
“Then Girardi said, ‘Just stay out of it. I’m the manager.”” one source said. “And Loria said, ‘Well, I’m the owner,’ or words to that effect. ‘If you don’t like what I’m telling you, you’re fired.””
Another source said Girardi used profanities when telling Loria to stop, which angered Loria even more.
At that point, “Loria got up out of his seat and was preparing to get rid of Joe,” one source said. “Jeffrey can be very knee-jerk. Before he was done walking up the aisle, Jeffrey made up his mind to fire Joe right after the game.”
It was only after Marlins President David Samson, General Manager Larry Beinfest and Assistant General Manager Mike Hill intervened during a post-game meeting in Girardi’s office that Loria changed his mind.
“They stopped and thought about this, that it would be a public relations nightmare if the resurging Florida Marlins were to have fired a man who turned them around,” a source said.
When the doors to Girardi’s office opened, the manager then addressed his team. With Loria watching, Girardi apologized for losing his temper with Loria in full view of players in the dugout.
Marlins players on Friday refused to talk about Sunday’s incident. One person said the players and coaches “were sworn to secrecy.”