Could the reasons be unselfish? "We don't want to sell," Huizenga said recently. "We think the reason we should sell is to remove ourselves from the process and hopefully . . . then South Florida may build a new baseball park." The equation, though, probably included the $34 million Huizenga says the team lost last year, due mainly to costly free-agent signings.
Smiley says he is two-thirds of the way toward reaching Huizenga's asking price, which is believed to be $150 million. Huizenga says he has 30 days to stump up the cash. If successful, the new owners' next order of business will be securing that public-financed, retractable-roof ballpark on the Miami waterfront.
After that? Likely a free-agent fire sale, followed by the departure of manager Jim Leyland, who spent too many years in Pittsburgh to ever play bargain-basement baseball again.
Stadium or no, for a few years at least Smiley may feel he's bought himself a Florida lemon — no manager, no superstars, no farm system. But just wait until Castro dies.