Marlins are Dolphins' stadium hurdle

Jeffrey Loria took the money and ran – now Dolphins want money, too

Dolphins owner Steve Ross talks about "future plans for Sun Life Stadium" improvements they want to make to make their upcoming Super Bowl bid more attractive.

On Monday, the Dolphins did a fine job delivering their public pitch for public money to renovate Sun Life Stadium. There were spiffy drawings of a canopy over the remodeled stadium and seats moved to within 18 feet of the field.

Dolphins owner Steve Ross continued his reign of transparency by saying he'd pay, "at least half," the estimated $375-400 million cost, as opposed to the usual nonsense of team owners offering nothing.

Team CEO Mike Dee talked about the upgrades necessary for attracting the Super Bowl. The microphone then went to local Super Bowl, Orange Bowl, University of Miami and Pan-American Games officials to show the sporting spectrum of support.

"We've got to make this work,'' Super Bowl organizer Rodney Barretto said.

All things considered, it was a worthy effort, as these events go, and I've seen them all going back to when the first Heat arena's proposal devolved into a comical debate over how many toilets were included in the plans.

This Dolphins presentation, in short, included everyone with a voice in the project except for the man with the loudest voice of all. Even if Jeffrey Loria says nothing. Even as he forever stays underground.

Even when the Marlins owner supposedly issued orders for his underlings to stay mum these winter months, Loria hangs in the air at events like Monday's like passed gas that just won't pass away.

If timing is half of life, as the comic says, the Dolphins' timing isn't funny. It's always difficult to get public millions for sports teams in South Florida, even if my hotel and rental car bills show I'm being taxed to build stadiums in other cities.

Don't doubt those bills. Get out and see the country. It's the New American Way, along with a Stadium Race among cities to have the biggest and richest sports venues, often in financially strapped school districts.

Loria's Legacy just makes the Dolphins' money grab infinitely more difficult in South Florida. Loria showed the potential reward when a palace is built for a rich man. He pulled the kind of bait-and-switch with his roster that a bad carnival act won't.

And now here come the Dolphins before the same Miami-Dade politicians. On the one hand, Broward and Palm Beach residents should appreciate their front-row seats to the show without any of their money at issue.

On the other hand: Did Chernobyl invest in a second nuclear plant on the day after?

What's most relevant to Monday is Loria's Stadium of Lies began with his tongue saying one thing about losing money and his books another. It doesn't matter that Ross isn't claiming to lose money. It doesn't even matter that Ross isn't Loria.

For a public official to have a chance for re-election, they'll need to see the Dolphins' books. Or make a show of seeing them. How could they not? How would it look if they appear on Deadspin.com showing their big profits after financing was approved (as the Marlins' books did)?

You can't blame the Dolphins for rattling the public coffers. The Panthers got a new arena. The Heat got two new arenas. The Marlins hit the mother lode by agreeing to pay $191 million and then, amazingly, paying just $150 million – or 25 percent of the cost.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, built and remodeled their own stadium for years (the stadium did get $60 million in state money over 30 years when the Marlins began in 1993).

As these kind of deals go across America, this proposal is an equitable mix between an owner and public dollars. You don't have to agree with what's going on in America. You might not think gaining a Super Bowl is worth a bump in Miami-Dade's bed tax.

My standard thought is if politicians are going to waste public dollars, they might as well waste them on something I'll use. But after the way the Marlins' stench went down, the Dolphins' best shot may be this:

Get Loria to fund the Dolphins' renovation.

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