Loria, a New York art dealer and Yankees season-ticket holder whose father once faced Lou Gehrig in a high-school game, was outbid for the Baltimore Orioles by Peter Angelos in 1993 but spent $75 million for a controlling interest in the cash-strapped Montreal Expos in 1999. Although he allowed the club’s purse strings to open slightly in order to sign free-agent reliever Graeme Lloyd and trade for starter Hideki Irabu, the decisions were not wise ones and the Expos continued to struggle.
Cynics suggested that Loria had no intention of keeping the Expos in Montreal; speculation that was fueled in June 2000 by his tactless response to an Air Canada flight attendant who asked him to turn off his cellphone before takeoff. “No wonder everybody wants to leave Canada,” Loria grumbled.
Loria made waves on the field, as well. He invited Maury Wills and Jeff Torborg to spring training as instructors in 2000 without consulting manager Felipe Alou, and a year later he hired Torborg to replace the popular skipper.