In a few hours, my beloved, fully-recovered-from-that-choking-thing New York Mets will commence the 2008 baseball season against the Florida Marlins, but the Sun-Sentinel’s David Hyde asks that we “not ignore the 800 pound Gorilla in the room”. Noting the hosts’ paltry $21 million payroll, Hyde snorts, “I’m no Bill James, but it seems in picking this Marlins roster the primary baseball question was, ‘Will you double-up on the road?'”

The Marlins got $600 million in public money for a new stadium and amenities. They can’t just brush the subject of their embarrassing payroll under the carpet anymore and hope no one notices. As much as they want to, they can’t just keep saying, “This is all we can afford until we get our new stadium.”

These owners get $30 million in revenue sharing from other teams, which neither H. Wayne Huizenga or John Henry got in their tenures. They also get $30 million in local and national TV money. All that before selling a ticket.

At some point, doesn’t someone like Commissioner Bud Selig or another team owner step in and ask Jeffrey Loria and David Samson, “Just what are you doing with all the money we’re giving you?”

Because it sure looks like it’s just being shoveled into their pockets. It also looks like the Marlins are keeping the decks cleared of costs to sell to a new owner as the $600 million stadium windfall nears.

No matter, Loria and Samson need to talk about why they have this curb-high payroll. If they want to answer along the lines of why dogs lick themselves ” because they can ” that’s fine. People understand greed. That’s their call.

But they need to say why Miguel Cabrera couldn’t be afforded when just two years ago, at the previous player purge, they said he was the anchor to the future.

I’m not holding my breath for The Used Car Salesman or a fellow owner to find fault with Loria. The former is essentially Loria’s employee, while I’m gonna assume Fred Wilpon wasn’t displeased to see Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis dealt to the American League.