02/26/12 4:55 PM EST
Loria thrilled for new era of Marlins baseball
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
The Marlins feel they've assembled a high-caliber club capable of challenging in the National League East.
Developing into a winning club is the next step. If the team succeeds on the field, the franchise anticipates the fan base also will grow.
The Marlins had their first full-squad workouts on Sunday at Roger Dean Stadium, and team owner Jeffrey Loria couldn't be more optimistic.
"My expectations are the same every year -- be successful and win," Loria said. "We've got a pretty good club. After listening to our manager this morning, I couldn't be more excited."
New manager Ozzie Guillen brings a proven track record, and he has the ability to connect with his players.
"You just have to put the great product out on the field," Loria said. "[Put a] good product out on the field, with enthusiasm and honesty, as Ozzie says, and we'll be fine."
Before the team took the field on Sunday, Guillen gave a spirited pep talk to his players.
"He talked about the Star-Spangled Banner," Loria said. "He expects to see everyone up on the steps. It doesn't matter where you're from, he wants respect. He wants players to have each others' backs."
The mix of veteran additions like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Carlos Zambrano, with established Marlins like Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and Mike Stanton have the organization confident it will contend.
"Winning," Loria said. "It's all about winning and playing hard, and playing the game the right way. Ozzie said something about playing hard is nice, but play it the right way. I've known Ozzie for a long time. He's the most honest guy I've ever met. Not that others are dishonest, but it's a certain kind of integrity in your honesty."
With the team moving into a new ballpark, Loria feels the ingredients are in place to make the Marlins a high-profile franchise for years to come.
"We also have a situation now where it's a lot easier getting to the ballpark," Loria said. "Now we have our own ballpark, where it's easy to get to. People are going to see the excitement once they walk into that ballpark."
As the Marlins begin a new era, Loria noted that he is committed to owning the team for the long haul.
Loria told reporters he plans to own the club "as long as I live."
"I love this team," he said. "Things happen in life, and you never know. But we're going full-speed ahead this year. We do good things. We did something special, something that no one before was able to do -- we got a stadium built. We've done it in a way that is spectacular, I think. Beautiful place. Well conceived. Something for everybody."